1000 Years Later

by DekaSkittalz

First published

After the events of 1000 Years, our (technically not so young) teenage protagonist is ready to face the world. Or is he?

1000 years later after the events of 1000 Years, Null will be thrown into the deep end, seeing if he will sink or swim. How will he cope with his newfound freedom? Will it be what he hoped for? And most importantly, what will crack first? the eggshells he treads on, or he himself?

WOOOO. featured already from the first chapter with a couple hours! 5/9/19

Waking Up

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Discord is a fanatical one. That much would be obvious to anyone who met him. But despite this, he is sharper than he appears. Hence why he was loitering around a bit before he decided to enact his revenge upon the Princesses of Equestria for imprisoning him in stone for two thousand years. Doing nothing but gathering intelligence over the course of his imprisonment, as well as keeping himself occupied through his own insanity, he knew about Null and Princess Luna’s plan to free him. He also knew how much Princess Celestia absolutely detests the thought of it.

“Well well well, if it isn’t little Null. Funny name, wouldn’t ya say? We both know what it means; ironic that your only friend gave it to you.” Discord said aloud, not caring if any heard him as he strolled casually up to Null’s statue.

“You know, I envy you. The chaos you could cause would be way more unique than anything I could ever come up with.” He says as he coils himself around the human statue.

Poking him on the nose, he continues his little tirade. “Which is why you should consider yourself lucky! It’s not every day I help someone other than myself.”

“Apparently, due to Luna’s little parasite, she had to redo parts of the spell to free you. If not for me, you would still be here for a couple hundred more years. I’ve looked over her little list for the spell, and honestly it’s so simple, it pains me to see it take so long to be completed. Isn’t this great?!”

He smiles proudly and waits for a reaction from the statue. When he gets none, he frowns a little. “You know, you could at least pay attention if you’re not going to say thank you.”

He stares at the statue for another moment, then lets out an exasperated sigh as he teleports off of the statue and reappears in front of him walking away. He snaps his fingers and grumbles to himself. “Ungrateful whelp. Honestly, the nerve of some people!” with that he slinks off as the human statue developed a crack in the stone on his leg.


...

No… Luna, no…

Celestia… how could you do this… She’s your sister….

My only hope…

Gone…

What… what is this? I’m thinking again… R-right… This is what thinking is like. How long has it been? It feels like it’s been forever…. Maybe it has been. Who knows? My sight has yet to return. I wonder how things have faired without me…. No matter. The world will keep on turning without me.

Sitting in the void of darkness that is my own psyche is… calming. Unusually so… I guess I’ve finally come to terms with insanity, and let it claim me entirely. But… if that’s the case… how am I having a rational thought? Something must have broken my insanity…

CRACK

W-what was that? What… what’s this feeling… its… I can’t put my finger on it... is that… my leg?

CRACK

Immediately I feel something I haven’t felt in so long, but know all too well. Pain. Unsure of what’s going on, I just give up trying to make sense of it and let it happen; hoping it’ll pass soon. This doesn’t turn out to be the case, as the pain continues to shoot up my body; at least I think it’s my body. It’s been so long that I don’t even know what I’m feeling anymore.

CRAAAAAACK

My eyes are instantly assaulted by a bright light, and my limbs all fall free with gravity, as I can’t remember how to use them. It takes a while, but my eyes adjust to the bright light, which I soon recognize as the day’s sky; puffy white clouds drifting lazily by across my vision. This I recognize thanks to my eye telling me that I’m looking at clouds; I wouldn’t have figured this out without my eye to tell me because I’m still stuck on the fact that I’m not face first in the dirt, alongside the fact that I’m feeling pain.

Speaking of which, the pain I feel from my limbs falling on their own accord is indescribable. It’s like every bone in my body is breaking all at once for the first time ever. Then I recognize something else I’m feeling: stiffness. It’s an unpleasant feeling… And I want to stop feeling this way.

I blink for the first time. Still the same blue sky. I twitch a little involuntarily, which shifts my vision. This scares the fuck out of me, sending my heart into a frenzy; something I’m also unused to, which scares me even more.

I-is this it? Am I free?

I feel a small tug at my lips, despite the pain it causes. Judging from what I would assume my new body position is, I’m on my knees, laying back over my own legs and feet, arms strewn to either side, my head facing the sky. There’s only one thing I feel like I should do right now… and I don’t know why.

“....aaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-!”


“We are gathered here today, to once again honor the heroism, of these six friends. Who stood up to the villain Discord, and saved Equestria from eternal chaos!” Celestia states with a proud smile as she announces this to an audience chamber full of ponies.

The ponies cheer and stomp their hooves in response, happy to thank their saviors. Said saviors just stand there and smile, and bask in the warm feeling of satisfaction having saved their home.

However, the cheering is interrupted by a strange sound that everyone can hear coming from outside. Everyone soon recognizes this sound as a pained scream; and a loud one at that. Everyone quiets down, and listens to the screaming; which stops and pauses, likely for a breath, then continues.

Everyone is highly unsettled by this, and as a result, panic starts to spread. The guards attempt to calm everyone down, and starts to relocate them to a more secure location until they can identify what is causing such a disturbing sound.

Once the audience chamber is empty, the only one who remains is a handful of guards, the six heroes who defeated Discord, and Princess Celestia herself. The six ponies look at each other, all unsure about what to make of the situation, but clearly on edge and at the ready should they need to do something. Celestia herself sits on her throne, an unreadable mask upon her face, ready to deal with whatever may come her way. The guards that are left within the room are all facing the door, at the ready with their weapons should anything come through it.

Then, the screaming dies down. For some reason, this unsettles everyone even more than when the screaming was still audible. Suddenly, their ears are assaulted by another scream, this one way louder, almost seeming to shake the castle. And this time, they’re unready for the scream they hear.

CEEEELLLEEEEEESSSSTTTTIIIIIIAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

The scream ends, and Celestia starts to feel a little uneasy. Everyone’s caught off guard when the door blows open, the doors flying off their hinges and into bits and pieces flying across the room. As the smoke clears, everyone is at the ready, watching and waiting to see what will come out from it. None are ready when they see a strange bipedal creature, they likes of which are only familiar to those who would have seen such a thing in the castle gardens. Celestia however, felt her heart drop into her stomach when she recognized said creature.

He stood there in the broken up doorway, his Left Eye glowing a brilliant blue as he scowled and seethed with rage.

“I’ve got a bone to pick with you…” he said in a chillingly calm voice.

Confrontations

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The room was deathly silent. I could feel all eyes on me. I’m still a bit disoriented from being able to move my own eyes, still in pain from moving at all in a thousand years, and I surprised even myself when I blasted the doors down, but at this point I’m rolling with the flow.

Celestia has the gall to look calm, the guards look to be a mix of either pissed or terrified; none in between. The six regular looking ponies that are in the room have a mix of various expressions. This quick survey of the room also tells me a few interesting things. Those six regular looking ponies aren’t normal; They each represent one of the elements of harmony apparently… what happened Celestia? God, just thinking that name pisses me off…

Then one of the guards does something stupid.

“You’ll not harm our Princess!” he yells as he charges me, a spear aimed right at me. Snapping my vision to him, I knock him away with a blast from my eye, he goes flying and hits the wall with a thud that reverberates around the room, his spear impaling itself inches from his head.

Skill shot!

My eye hurts a bit from doing this, but I shake it off. Turning my attention back to the rest of the room, I smile at them. Must have been a creepy smile, because the six ponies start to back away slightly. “Anyone else wanna try something stupid!? This is between me and that bitch right there!” I say pointing at Celestia.

She remains silent and watches me carefully, her hooves and wings twitching in anticipation of anything I might do.

The blue one decides to pipe up. “Oh yeah?! You’ll have to get through us first!”

Ignoring her, I continue to glare at Celestia. Her silence is starting to piss me off. Blasting a chunk of the wall by her head, causing debris to explode from her doesn’t even phase her. “FUCKING SAY SOMETHING! All these years, and you’ve got nothing to say!? Well listen here bitch, I’ve got quite a bit!” blasting the spot just in front of her throne still doesn’t phase her.

The guards all rush me and I back up a bit and wait until they’re all in the doorway I just blasted open, and send them all flying in one huge group. the choke point is always a fucking slaughter.

Walking back in, I glare at the one who imprisoned me. Surprisingly, she finally says something; her voice is a bit shaky, but she doesn’t seem to notice. “What do you want Null.”

The purple pony seems to perk up at this. “Wait… Null? As in that statue from the gardens? I thought that was just a statue!”

“Yeah, she would have you believe that wouldn’t she.” I spat at her. “And don’t remind me of it… god it fucking sucked.”

The blue one decides to try me again. “Yeah, well you’ll be back there soon enough! We’ll beat you!”

Snapping my vision to her, I read her info card. “Rainbow Dash, shut the fuck up. This is beyond you.”

This startles her, but she’s right back to anger immediately. “How do you know my name?!”

I laugh. “I know all your names! Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack! Now shut the fuck up!” I snap, each one flinching as I said their names. Fixing my sight back on Celestia, I decide to answer her question. “What do I want Celestia? I want you dead. I wanna watch this castle burn, and everyone in it, you included. I want to make you pay for what you did it me!” I yell, sending a blast right at her. She brought up a shield just in time, but it cracks a little bit. “You fucking ruined my life! Scratch that, you took it away from me! And I did nothing to deserve it!”

Celestia remains quiet, and Twilight decides to speak up this time. Good thing it’s not Rainbow Dash, else she would have gotten blasted. “There’s no way that’s true, Celestia would never do something like that to someone innocent.”

I feel something break off in my mind. “Bullshit! Tell them what you did to me Celestia! How you turned me to stone all those years ago based on a what if!” her eyes widen a bit after that. “That’s right bitch, I heard everything! All those years, stuck as a statue, forced to look in one spot, unable to do anything! Unable to talk, unable to sleep, unable to even fucking breathe! Wishing I’d fucking die instead of live another day of that fucking torture, constantly teased with the hope of freedom from your sister-” I pause for a moment, thoughts of what happened to Luna catching up to me. “And that’s another thing! Luna was the only one I ever considered a friend here! And you fucking sat idly by while she got corrupted by Nightmare Moon! A fucking shadow! You being the reason she was so easily corrupted, because of your carelessness!”

Her expression shifts from indifference to anger. “Don’t you dare speak of my sister that way!”

I send another blast at her shield, cracking it some more and making her flinch involuntarily. “I’ll talk about her however I damn well please! I was there for her more than you ever were! Countless nights she came and vented to me! I’m basically her fucking diary! And now she’s gone! Because you fucking banished her to moon!”

I didn’t notice it before, but there’s tears dripping down my face. I ignore them and continue. “Constantly fading in and out of sanity, constant teases for the sweet release of death! When Sombra attacked, when Luna nearly smashed me in a fit of jealousy over you, when Tirek showed up, when I went tumbling down into the ravine! I don’t even know how long its been from that point in time, because that moment completely broke me! She was my only hope, and she was this close to finishing the spell!” I bring my pointer finger and thumb barely a centimeter apart for emphasis.

I stop, and take a few breaths. I wipe the tears from my face, and when I pull my arm away from my face, I notice there’s something red on my arm. Is…. Is that blood? confused, I touch my hand under my right eye. Regular tears. I touch my hand under my left eye. Blood. that doesn’t seem healthy…

Bringing my attention back to the room, the six ponies seem shocked and at a loss for words. Even the blue one has the wind knocked from her sails. The purple one mumbles to herself. “I thought turning ponies to stone was like putting them to sleep…”

I scoff. “It’s nowhere near that humane. It’s comfort for you. Ya’ll think you’re doing things without hurting someone just so you can sleep better at night.” she shys away at that.

Turning back to Celestia, I ask her something. “Let me ask you this Celestia. How old do you think I am? Or rather, was; when you ruined my life.”

She takes a moment to actually ponder this. “I don’t know anything about you, so I wouldn’t know.” she says evenly.

“I was fourteen! I’m a fucking child Celestia! I hope you sleep well knowing what you did to an innocent child! All because of what? My fucking eye? An eye that fucking blinded me when I had it open, and that I didn’t even want!? Do you know how I got this Celestia? How I got here? Because I’m not even from this world! I was trapped in a cave, and I found a blue orb. I touched it, and the next thing I knew, I found myself falling from the sky. I wander for four days, get time traveled three more days by that asshat Discord, and then I get turned to stone by you.”

Taking a shaky breath, I recompose myself, if only a little. “And that’s all I can even remember. I don’t remember what home looks like. I don’t remember my parents faces, I don’t remember if I even had siblings, I don’t remember if I was adopted, loved or resented, or if I even had a family! And now it’s too late to even care, because that was all a thousand years ago, give or take! My family, and everything I knew is dead and gone! For all I know, my world could probably be destroyed by now!”

Sniffling, I fire blasts at her to punctuate each word. “That. Is. Why. I. Want. You. Dead.” I feel blood dripping from my left eye more heavily now, but I don’t care. Her shield is now spiderwebbed and just barely holding up, the six ponies in between us look terrified, and let out a yelp each time I blasted Celestia’s shield. One more blast should break it… then I can fucking end her!

However, I stop when I hear something from behind me that causes my blood to freeze.

“N-Null?”

That voice… n-no, it can’t be.

I turn around slowly look at the source of that voice. Its Luna… it’s fucking Luna!

“L-Luna?”

She seems hesitant, but nods. “Null? W-what are you doing…”

“Telling her I’m trying to kill her sister would probably be a bad idea…”

“You’re trying to kill my sister?!” she exclaims.

“Shit! I said that out loud?!”

She fixes me with sad glare, which is kinda conflicting but she’s somehow pulling it off. “Null… please… don’t do this. We wrongfully imprisoned you, and I’m sorry for that… but don’t go down the same path Nightmare Moon sent me down! Please, I believe in you. I know you’re not evil… I’m your friend, remember? Please… don’t let my trust be misplaced…” she says as a few tears start to build up in her eyes.

Man, she’s really broken up about this… if I do this, then everyone would think Celestia was right about me… but at the same time, I’d finally get back at the bitch! But then I’d lose my only friend… But revenge!

Looking into Luna’s eyes, I see through her vision for a moment. Focusing on Celestia, I notice she’s got a few tears in her eyes as well, and a look of pure fear on her face. Probably worried I’ll kill her sister or something. Cutting the connection from sheer will, and surprisingly not passing out this time, I focus back on Luna. taking a deep breath, I go to speak, but she catches me off guard when she darts forward and does something that I never could have been prepared for. She hugs me. Her face buried in my chest, her tears staining my shirt. She mutters a bunch of pleases and other things I can’t quite make out.

“H-how are you here? I thought Celestia banished you to the moon.” I ask, still in shock.

“...Null… That was over a thousand years ago…”

This throws me for another loop. I feel a rage building up at the prospect of having lost another thousand years to time. But looking back down at Luna, it melts away into a different kind of anger. Anger at not wanting to hurt her. Which is sort of contradictory in and of itself, but it’s my feelings, I’ll describe them how I want.

Internally at war with myself, I find myself frozen in place. Deciding to place my faith in Luna, I reach my arms up slowly and hug her back. “...Alright…”

She pulls away after a moment and looks at me with a teary smile.

I turn and look back at Celestia. “I still wish you were dead… but I won’t be the one to do it. I won’t be the evil you saw in me. I also know how important you are for the world’s balance.”

I look around the damaged throne room, at the six ponies who seem to be confused and still scared. At the unconscious guards scattered across the room. Back at Celestia… a thousand years she ran this place by herself. Wherever… this place is… must be that new castle they relocated to when the Everfree took over. “You’re not a bad leader Celestia. Keeping Equestria up and running for two thousand years will attest to that. You’re just a horrible person…”

I see a tear finally streak down her face. “Luna, get me out of here before I change my mind.”

Reconciliations

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I find myself sitting on a luxurious bed in a dark bedroom, light blearily filtering through the curtains. From my guess, and the emblem of Luna’s cutie mark on the door, I’d wager it’s her room. It’s been so long since I’ve even seen one of these that when I sat on it, I melted immediately and decided to lay on it.

I lay there for a couple moments before Luna breaks the silence. “So… Null…”

“Yes?”

“I just… I don’t know what to say… you’re here… and not a statue… even hearing you respond is surreal.” she states.

“You used me as a diary for a thousand years. I’m pretty sure any social boundaries are already broken between us.”

“I didn’t use you! You… were the only one who would listen…”

“You thought I was listening. You genuinely didn’t know if I was there or not.” I state indifferently. Letting the awkwardness hang in the air a bit, I continue. “But… thank you…”

She perks up a bit and tilts her head at me. “For what?”

I rub my face, a sensation I’m still not used to. “For doing everything you did. Despite everything, you still treated me like a person. You even named me; something I’m okay with because I forgot my real name… and what’s a person without a name? Ya know?... it helped… keep me sane...barely.”

She nods and startles me when she sits down next to me and lays her head on my stomach, looking at me. “Well… you helped me alot too. Even if you didn’t do anything… you were there when nobody else was.”

“Despite you being partially to blame for my predicament in the first place…” I trail off.

She cringes at this, and her expression quickly morphs to one of sadness. “I’m sorry… I should have never listened to my sister, but we were both exhausted from fighting Discord, and I was young and naive, an-”

I cut her off by raising my hand in a stopping motion. “Despite all that… you’re still partially to blame. You can’t change that. But, it wasn’t your choice. Even I could see that. And as I said… you were there for me all those years, and were actively trying to free me. You’ve already been forgiven.”

I see fresh tears building forth, and she grabs me in a hug, rubbing her cheek on my chest. Bit awkward, not gonna lie, but after so long of nothing, this kind of physical contact is definitely welcome. I almost don’t want her to let go… but another thought comes to my mind.

“Your sister on the other hand…”

“Null, you’re not still going to try and kill her are you?” she fixes me with a hard glare.

“Don’t look at me like that, that bitch deserves worse than death; death would be a mercy.” I spat at her.

“She’s my sister!”

“I don’t give a fuck! I don’t think you understand just how badly she fucked me up! And since you missed the little tirade I gave Celestia, I’ll enlighten you a bit! For a thousand years, I couldn’t do anything; not eat, breathe, sleep, anything. I couldn’t even look around on my own. Constantly fading in and out of sanity, wishing I would die instead of live another day of that hell! If I ever go crazy again, fucking kill me. Because if you put me in stone again, when I get out, I’ll kill you too.”

She seems startled by my threat, and backs away from me.

“The fact you’re alive and well is the ONLY thing keeping me at bay. I thought you were dead Luna! When Celestia banished you to the moon, I thought that was it. I didn’t know how long I’d been out of it for after that. Then I wake up for seemingly no reason, free and alive. Of course the first thing I’d try to do is get revenge! For myself and you! But you don’t need revenge… you seem to have fixed YOUR issues with her.” I take a couple deep breaths; still not used to talking or breathing, these rants are really taking a lot out of me.

“Null…”

Great, I left her speechless. “If you want to keep your sister alive, you better keep her away from me. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop myself If I see her again.”

“Null, if you’re going to stay here with me, in the same castle that she also lives in, you’re going to run into her sooner or later… and I’m sure she’ll come to apologize as well! Just give her time.” she sits back down, but keeps a bit of distance from me.

“Doesn’t matter. She’ll never be forgiven.”

“B-but, I’m sure she’s truly sorry!”

“I don’t care! Luna, not everything can be fixed with a few words. Before you waltzed in, I was putting everything into perspective for her exactly how badly she fucked up. She’s probably feeling real guilty and upset about what she did. And that’s good! I want her to suffer that guilt, she deserves it. If she comes to me to pour her heart out, I’ll fucking laugh.” I give off a mock laugh just to put emphasis on my point. “Side note, where even were you anyways?”

She seems to want to ignore my recent question, but she knows I won’t change my stance, so she lets out a sigh. “I’d just gotten back from a meeting in a foreign country. Imagine my surprise when I find out Discord had just attacked… I came as fast as I could, but it seems the Element Bearers took care of it before I could get here.”

“Wait, wait, wait a second, Discord attacked? When?” I sit up and look at her.

“It was about an hour before I ran into you. Now that you know where I was, what about you? How did you get free?” she questions.

I raise a finger and open my mouth to respond but stop when I realize I don’t even know. “...That’s a good question…”

“You mean you don’t know?”

“I wasn’t even conscious, the fuck do you want from me?! All I know is out of nowhere I’m slowly regaining my consciousness, then a bit of pain, then I’m free.” I say harshly.

She flinches from my harsh tone, but let’s out a sigh. We sit in awkward silence for a bit, and I lay back down. I feel sleep starting to grip me, but Luna’s voice pulls me from it.

“What about your eye? The last one who had an eye like it nearly wiped out all life on equis…”

“The fuck was that guy called again? The hash slinging slasher or something like that? Doesn’t matter. Anyways, I don’t know shit about it. I got stuck in a cave one day in my home world and found a glowing blue orb, touched it, next thing I know I’m here in Equestria. I wandered for a couple days, then I ran into you after getting time warped. You know the rest. My eye used to be normal like my right one.” I say, pointing at my right eye for emphasis.

She looks at my eyes for a moment, and I look away from her, not wanting to see through her vision. “Sooo… what can you do with it?”

“Fuck if I know. So far, all I know is it can tell me things about other things, I can see through other people's sight, and I can blast shit apparently. Discovered that last one when I woke up. Hurts like a bitch too.” I say as I scratch off some of the blood that’s dried on my face.

“Could be a bit more I can do, but I haven’t found out yet. Being imobile kinda makes it hard to find out what you can do, ya know?” I see her open her mouth but I cut her off. “And if you’re wondering if the eye makes me want to destroy Equestria like the last guy tried to do, no. that guy was probably just a dick. Either that or it isn’t affecting me for some reason or another.” her mouth clicks shut.

I let out a yawn, reveling in the feeling of tiredness, but once again it’s torn from me as I feel something wet touch my face. Jumping back, I look at Luna floating a wet rag where my head used to be. “The fuck are you doing?”

“Well, you seem tired. I just figured you’d sleep easier without all that blood on your face. Plus, I don’t want it on my bed either.”

I go to say something but I realize she has a point. “Fine, whatever.” I lay back down where I was, and she starts wiping the blood from my face. Surprisingly it's actually quite soothing, and I find sleep gripping me even quicker. Before I know it, I’m out cold.

Incremental Adjustments

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Coming to from my slumber, I slowly rub my eyes. Put off by this, I jump up and my open my eyes wide, looking around. “Oh yeah… not a statue anymore.”

I’m still in Luna’s room, exactly how I passed out. Relaxing a bit, I yawn and stretch, cringing in slight pain every time a bone popped. “Luna?” I call out. No response. My first night of sleep in forever… I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get a dream… oh well.

Getting up, I notice some weight on me that I didn’t notice before; likely due to my anger. Looking down at my chest, I notice the clip to something. Unclipping it, something falls from my back to the ground, and it’s enough to make me jump. Looking back at it, I see it’s just a backpack. My backpack. “Oh yeah… forgot I had that… I wonder what’s in it.”

Sitting down by it, I open it up and take a look inside. Some things I can recognize, like notebooks, pencils, a bottle, and what appears to be food. It takes me a moment to recognize my slingshot, but the device is a complete unknown to me. Pulling out one of the packages of food, I take a look at the inside. It doesn’t look like its aged at all…

Giving it a sniff, nothing seems off as far as I can tell. Closing it up again, I put the package back in the backpack, and close it up. Suddenly, I’m hit with a weird feeling in the lower half of my body. What the… oh… oh crap! Literally!

Looking around the room, I find the bathroom thanks to my eye letting me know which door was it, and run over to it, nearly tripping over myself on the way there. Throwing the door open, I rush in and go about my business.

As disgusting as it sounds, it was euphoric. Not the action itself, but the fact I did it. Something about everything I do just has a touch of satisfaction to it. Probably from not having been able to do anything in the past. Looking over at the shower, I decide to go ahead and take one. Locking the door, I strip down to nothing and bundle my clothes up, leaving them on the toilet lid. Stepping into the huge shower, tub thing that seems more akin to a big hot tub than an actual tub, I take a look at the fixtures. “Lets see…. Yep… yeah… yes, this confirms it. I have no idea how this thing works.” deciding to just twist random knobs until something happens, I grab both knobs and twist. The water starts jutting from the tub faucet, at surprisingly a comfortable temperature. beginners luck strikes again! Now… lets see if I can get the shower running.

Looking at the knobs I haven’t twisted, I see one in the middle. Giving that one a try, I’m startled by water falling on me. Looking up, I see the entire ceiling panel over the tub is a shower head, giving off the effect of rain. huh… that’s… actually kinda cool.

Standing in the rain like shower, I just stare at a particular point of the tub. Suddenly, the room changes. I’m back in the old garden? What… trying to look around, I find my vision is locked in place. No… no, not again! I see Luna in front of me, smiling a sad smile in the rain. Luna! Do something, I’m a statue again!

She simply frowns and grabs me in magic, and throws me to the ground hard. As soon as I hit the ground, the world goes back to normal. Recoiling in fear, I fall to the ground, and look around, breathing rapidly. Still the same shower…

“What was that…” letting out a sigh, I try to calm my breathing. Leaning against one side of the tub, I decide to watch some of the water fall from the shower panel. Watching it fall towards me for a couple minutes, flashes of the rainbow blast from the elements consume my vision, and nearly cause my heart to stop. When my vision turns back to normal, I just curl up and close my eyes. “No… not again… not ever…”

I don’t know how long I laid there for, but it must have been long enough for Luna to come back, because I hear a knock at the door that startles me. “Null? Are you okay? You’ve been in there for a while…”

Taking a second to compose myself, I respond. “Y-yeah! I’m fine. I’ll be out in a moment.” I get up and grab a random shampoo and conditioner, and start actually cleaning myself. After that, and some body wash, I rinse off and turn off the shower. Looking around for a towel, I find one on a rack and dry myself off as best I can. It doesn’t occur to me that this is probably one of Luna’s used towels until afterwards, but I shrug and hope she won’t notice. Not like I care either way. A towel is a towel.

Going to put on my clothes, something falls out of my pants pocket when I pick it up. Looking at it, I can’t tell what it is. Picking it up, I flip it around and examine it. Pressing one of the buttons on it, the display on it lights up and I get a vague idea of what this might be. Pocketing it again, I finish getting dressed. Noticing other things in my pockets, I pull them both out. Keys and… wallet? Wait a minute… god I’m stupid. Using my eye on the object, I confirm that it is indeed a wallet. Shrugging, I carry them out in my hand, intending on putting them in my backpack. Not like they’ll do me any good here.

Upon walking out, I notice Luna sitting at her desk, writing. I walk over to my bag and put my wallet and keys in the bag. She turns and looks at me when she hears the unzipping of the bag, and tilts her head. “How’re you feeling Null?”

Zipping up my bag, I look at her. “Honestly? I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure out what each of these feelings even are… speaking of feelings…”

She raises an eyebrow and motions for me to continue with a hoof.

Taking a deep breath and letting it out, I start. “Sorry about yesterday… I was still mad from… you know who…” my fist clenches at the thought of her, but I let it go. “But it still wasn’t fair to take it out on you.”

Luna offers a sympathetic smile. “It’s alright Null. Just try not to make a habit out of it.”

I nod with a smile, then look at my watch. Hm… looking around for a clock, I find one on the bedside table, and walk over to it. Comparing my watch, I find they aren’t in sync, and adjust my watch accordingly. And by that I mean I fiddled with the buttons until they read out the same time. Said time happened to be a little past six in the afternoon. Wait a minute… “Luna? How long was I asleep for?”

“Well, you fell asleep yesterday at two in the afternoon…” she glances over to her clock. “I’d say you were asleep for twenty seven hours, give or take. It was your first time sleeping in so long, I didn’t want to bother you.”

“Twenty seven hours? Jesus…”

“What’s a Jesus?” she asks with a tilt of her head.

“I’m not entirely sure…” I trail off.

She stays quiet for a moment. “It’s funny… after so long… I don’t actually know what to say to you. I thought it would be easy to talk to you… but it’s just not.”

“I don’t see why that would be. You can still tell me anything, nothing’s changed. Except I can actually talk back now.” I state.

“True… it’s still difficult though…”

We fall into companionable silence after that. After a moment, I suddenly feel a lurching pain in my stomach. Grabbing my stomach and groaning, I lay on the bed. “Lunaaaaa….. My stomach hurts… what does that mean?”

She raises an eyebrow. “How do you not know what your own body is telling you?”

“Excuse me princess, but I’ve lost all sense of self years ago. I have no idea what these body signals mean.” I say a bit more snidely then I meant to.

A look of regret overtakes her features, and she motions towards me. “Right… sorry. That was insensitive of me…” she clears her throat. “It probably means you’re hungry. You haven’t eaten since you got here, and I don’t know when the last time you ate before… before that, was.”

I let out a sigh. “It’s okay Luna. You didn’t mean anything by it.”

She nods. “Dinner should be ready soon. We can head down to the dining hall now if you’d like?”

I nod. “Yes, pleeassee… anything to get rid of this pain.” getting to my feet, I clip my backpack on again and follow Luna as she heads out the door. “I don’t remember hunger being this painful.”

“Again, you haven’t eaten in a long time. It’s the most probable cause.” she states in a matter of fact way.

I shrug and continue following her. “At this point, you’d probably know more about my body than I do. And you don’t even know what I am.”

She looks back at me curiously. “That’s a good point actually… what are you?”

I chuckle but stop when I realize I don’t remember. Hm…

I stop by a window and look at myself in the reflection. My eye stares back at me, and it’s a little unsettling. I’ve had it for years, but I never really lived with it… never really got to look at it either. Pushing that aside, using my eye on myself tells me exactly what I am.

“I’m a human apparently.” I state casually.

“Apparently?” she parrots.

“Yeah. I wasn’t sure so I examined myself.”

“With your eye?” she questions.

Turning back to her, I motion for her to continue leading the way. As she does, I answer her question. “Yeah. As much trouble as it’s caused me, it’s got its uses.”

We arrive at a set of double doors, and Luna opens them. Inside, candid chatter can be heard coming from inside. Upon looking inside, I can feel anger and a migraine growing in my head. Inside, three to each side of a long ornate dining table, is the six element bearers. At the head of the table, looking directly at me, is Celestia herself. Upon seeing me, her eyes widen in a bit of fear, but she does her best to compose herself. Twilight Sparkle, who was talking to her, noticed her change in mood, and Looked to where Celestia was. As a result, her mood changed from happy to concerned and slightly fearful. It was a similar process for the rest of their little entourage. Looking at them, they all cringed when my gaze landed on them; even Celestia herself cringed a bit.

“Well… This should be interesting...”

Dinner

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It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Me and Celestia had a stare down for what felt like years. I can feel my blood boiling just looking at her. I can feel the familiar trigger; similar to that of gripping a lever or putting you finger over a button. Something must have happened, because I can see her flinch and tense up; and in my peripheral I can see the others recoil in fear as well.

Before anything else can happen, Luna’s face takes over the focus of my vision. “Null. Control yourself.” I open my mouth to try and lie, say I wasn’t going to do anything, but she cuts me off. “Your eye is glowing.” My mouth clicks shut. I force my eyes shut and shake my head. The feeling of that trigger that I long for dissipates, and I rub my eyes before opening them. Looking around again, I can see everyone is still staring at me.

Luna grabs my hand with her magic, something that feels odd admittedly, and leads me to the table. I focus on my hand, trying to avoid looking at anyone. Luna takes a seat at the end of the table, opposite of her sister. I take the seat to her right, which happens to be next to Rainbow Dash. I ignore her, and stare at the empty seat across from me. I don’t know how long we sat like that. I could feel all their eyes on me; It was beginning to piss me off.

Eventually, one of them disrupts the silence with a cough. “So… Null, was it?” Twilight Sparkle asks timidly. I simply nod in response, trying to control my temper. She goes quiet, apparently not knowing what else to say.

Someone else speaks up. “U-um… Null? Can I ask you a question?” Too easy.

“You just did” I respond. I hear a small ‘oh’, and I decide not to be mean to her. Besides, she’s not Celestia. “I’m kidding. Go ahead and ask your question.”

“Oh, um. I was just wondering… W-what are you?” she questions.

“Human” I reply without looking from the empty chair. “The only one as far as I know.” I decide to tack on.

It goes quiet again. Until a certain someone opens their mouth. “Null. I want to apologize… I-”

I cut her off. “Shove it. I don’t want to hear it from you.”

Everyone gasps in shock, and she tries again. “Null, I’m trying to-”

I tear my gaze from the chair and glare at her, cutting her off again. “Your words are meaningless. Maybe you do feel bad, maybe you don’t. But why should I accept your apology? Just so you can clear your own guilty conscious and sleep easy at night? Hell no. You want me to forgive you? Kill yourself. Then maybe I’ll consider forgiving you.”

“NULL!” Luna yells at me.

I glare at Celestia for another moment, just long enough to see a tear form in her eyes, before I look away. “What do you want from me Luna?” I ask.

“I want to know why you won’t just accept her apology!” she demands.

I fix her with a glare. “Let me put this into perspective for you Luna. Would you forgive ME if I kill Celestia?”

She doesn’t respond. “Would you forgive Sombra for his assault on the Everfree Castle, and the countless lives he took? Would you forgive Tirek for stealing everyone's magic?”

Again, she doesn’t respond, but this time she looks down in sad realization. “One more, because maybe this one will hit a little closer to home. Would you forgive Nightmare Moon for what she did to you?”

She looks up at me with a look of pure shock, mixed with a little bit of anger. Everyone else gasps, and Celestia speaks up. “Null that’s enou-” I slam my hand on the table to interrupt her. Truth be told, it hurt a little; which is kinda concerning. I’ll have to remember to be careful. “Answer the question!”

Luna continues to look down, and with quiet shaky rage, responds. “N-no… not ever…”

“You see that anger you’re feeling? That’s barely a fraction of what I feel towards your sister. That’s why I won’t forgive her. Not everything can be forgiven.” I finish explaining.

I’m surprised when someone else from the table dares to speak up. Even more so when I see who it is. “Now wait just a minute there! Didn’t you say she was your only friend? How could you treat her like that!” the usually quiet pegasus rants.

Looking back at Luna, I start to see just how deeply my words affected her. She doesn’t deserve this… but she needs to understand where I stand, and that I won’t be swayed.

Glancing around the room, I can tell everyone is upset with me. Do I care? No. But I can’t just leave Luna feeling like crap… Plus, even if I’m right, if I come off this way, it’ll look bad on Luna for vouching for me...

Letting out a sigh, I look back at Celestia. “I’ll make you a deal Celestia. Don’t talk to me, and I’ll do my best to forget you exist. It’s better for everyone.”

Before she can respond, the blue one next to me pipes up as well. “Now you hold on buster! How do you get off talking to the princesses like that?!” she grabs my head and forces me to look at her.

I tear my head away from her grasp, and look away. “First off, because it’ll probably end up saving lives; Yours included. I may hate Celestia but I’ve got no vendetta against the rest of you. I just severely distrust you all. Second, word of warning. Don’t ever force me to look at you. My power is my eye, and I’d hate if my second chance at a life that was stolen from me was spoiled by accident because of some arrogant child who thought she had some sort of moral high ground, and decided to try and start a fight with someone that could end her life in an instant...”
honestly she could probably whoop my ass… I still don’t have a hang of my power… doesn’t mean I can’t accidentally hurt someone with it.

She shrinks back, obviously frightened by my threat. I let out another sigh. “Look. I don’t want you all to fear me. I’m not the next big bad guy for ya’ll to go blast with the elements or whatever it is you do. But I won’t let you all push my buttons like you know how everything should be, like I’M the problem here. Whether you all like it or not, I was wronged. Nothing will change that. You don’t get to decide what fixes it.”

Another survey around the room, and everyone is still mad at me. Jesus christ, what’s it take to appease these ponies… way back when, they were pacified with combat in the dueling circle. Now, words offend them like I had spit on some puppies.

Groaning, I put my head in my hands. “Look. I make no promises to actually forgive her, but Celestia will get a chance to earn forgiveness. When that chance will come along, I don’t know. But will that be enough to satisfy you all?” I look up and look at Celestia specifically. I still want her dead, but I know I can’t do it. Any chance I’d have at a normal life would vanish in flames if I did. Celestia seems to contemplate my offer, and nods solemnly. Everyone else, upon seeing Celestia agree, calms down a bit. Even Luna seems to be looking somewhat happy that I at least made an effort; despite how small it was.

Letting out one final sigh, I raise my hands into the air and take a breath. “NOW CAN SOMEONE PLEASE BRING US SOME FOOD!? I FEEL LIKE I’M BEING EATEN FROM THE INSIDE OUT!”

Testing Limits

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After Dinner, Luna and I decided to walk around the castle grounds. Well, I decided to, Luna just followed. After a while of walking in companionable silence, I find myself subconsciously gravitating towards the garden. Upon reaching it, the first thing I look at is the broken remnants of my own statue. Luna comes up beside me, and looks at the rubble that used to be me.

Neither of us know what to say, and I don’t know what to feel. Confused, I walk up to it, and pick up a part of the rubble. It all fell from my body like a shell. Looking up at the pedestal, I see myself standing on it. Not another statue, but my actual fleshy self… just… standing there as if I was a statue… then it looks at me; my own two eyes staring down at me. It then fades away, with no rhyme or reason. Looking back down at the rubble in my hand, I chuck it as hard as I can at my pedestal. I don’t want to look at it, but I can’t bring myself to look away… angry at my own indecision, I do the only thing I can think to do. I blast it. It explodes into a shower of stones, and I grasp my eye in pain. Gritting my teeth, I look back at the place where the pedestal used to be, holding my hand over my left eye.

“Null! What has gotten into you!” Luna says from behind me.

“I couldn’t stand looking at it… It was mine, I should be allowed to decide what happens to it.” Luna goes to say something, but then something lands behind me, interrupting her as she lets out an sound of panic. Turning around, I see it’s my plaque. I sigh and pick it up, and wipe off the dust. Of course though, I accidentally smear a bit of blood on it. I hand it to Luna, who takes it in her magic with a bit of confusion. “You keep it. It was a nice gift, but I don’t want to see it. It’s just a reminder of the past.”

Luna fixes me with a glare. “Null. you need to control yourself. You can’t just go and destroy everything that angers you! Not just for the obvious, but because you’re also hurting yourself in the process!” she says pointing at the blood on the plaque for emphasis.

Looking back at the rubble, something clicks in my head. “Hey Luna. If you’re back here… why weren’t you the one that free’d me?” I ask, not taking my eyes of the rubble.

“I was going to! But I’d had only been back for a year or so. And when I got back, I didn’t have nearly enough magic to do it… and when I did, I found out Nightmare Moon tampered with the original spell, so I had to redo a couple parts. I wanted to make sure you were exactly how you should be.” She defends herself.

I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding in. Glad she didn’t forget about me… of course she had a legitimate reason.

Looking to the evening sky, I see that it's actually closer to night than evening. “Hey… Don’t you work during the night?”

“I do. But I’m not going to just leave you alone.” she answers.

“So you’re staying?” I ask hopefully.

She shakes her head, much to my disappointment. “I’m going to be assigning a guard to keep an eye on you. I’m sure you can handle that.”

I raise an eyebrow skeptically. “You serious? A guard. In case you can’t recall, I nearly killed some guards when I first woke up. How do I know they won’t try to kill me?”

She rolls her eyes. “Because the guards you nearly killed were my sisters guards. As much as it pains me to discredit Equestria’s defenses, her guards are… below my guards standards. On top of that, this particular guard is from of a group I trained personally; The Crescents.”

I raise my eyebrow higher. “Really now?”

She nods. “Yes, they’re the very best the Lunar guard has to offer.” she says with a stamp of her hoof for emphasis.

I fix her with a skeptical glare. “Best or not, you ever stop to think maybe I don’t want a guard following me around?”

She just gives me a small glare of her own.

“You don’t trust me.” I say simply.

Her look quickly changes into something between sadness and anger. “It’s not that I don’t trust you Null. I just don’t trust that eye of yours. Whether you claim to have control of it or not, however small that control may be, there's no telling what else it’s capable of, or if it could take control of you at any moment. You said it yourself, you don’t know what else it can do. It’s just too much of a risk that cannot be left unchecked. I trust you Null, I really do. But given the history of that eye, I have to do this. Please, understand this.”

I continue to glare at her for a moment before turning with a hmph. “Fine.”

She lets out a sigh of relief; Probably glad I’m being cooperative. “Thank you.” she lets out a quick whistle that I almost missed. After that, I hear the flapping of wings. Landing next to Luna is a Thestral. Quickly using my eye on it, I find that his name is Skyline, and that he is indeed, very tough. Not that I have much to compare to for reference, but he could probably keep up with Luna herself in a fight. Definitely not beat her, but he could hold off for a while.

This thestral is a dark gray color, with a slightly lighter shade of gray for hair, with neon blue tips. Said hair is shaggy and unkempt; same goes for his tail. He’s got no armour, and the only thing to indicate he’s even a guard is the blade that’s strapped to his side. His smile and easygoing expression is strange, like it doesn’t belong on someone like him. After a moment of awkward silence on their part, Skyline finally speaks up. “Hey there.”

“...Hey there? Luna, aren’t guards supposed to be more… is disciplined the word I’m looking for?” I question.

“The Crescents are trained differently. Instead of stripping them of their differences, they embrace it. None of them act like traditional guards do; makes them think differently, and come to their own conclusions. However, they are very disciplined; Each are under a special oath.” she quickly defends.

Examining Skyline again, I see that nothing’s changed. As stupid as it sounds, she definitely seems to have gotten results. Letting out a groan, I just sit down on the ground. “If you say so. Cya around Luna.”

She seems a bit off put by my sudden dismissal, but seeing nothing else that needs to be said, and a growing urgency for her to go to work, she takes off with a huff.

When she’s out of sight, Skyline speaks up again. “You’re too rude to those you consider friends, you know that?”

Fixing him with a glare, I respond tersely. “And you’re too laid back for the position you’re in, you know that? And who are you to tell me how I should treat my friends?”

“Not telling you how to treat your friends, just pointing it your poor attempts at keeping them. Or in your case, your only one.” he quips with the same smug smile he’s had the entire time.

“How do you-” he cuts me off.

“Know she’s your only friend? Every pony in Canterlot knows. You screamed it to the heavens above when you attacked Princess Celestia.” he explains.

“Not my brightest moment. I should have just killed her instead of wasting time.” I state coldly.

“Try it again and I’ll have to stop you. I seem laid back but honestly, you’ve got me more on guard than I’ve been in a long time. Luna trusts in you, and that’s enough for me to give you a chance; but I won’t hesitate if it turns out her trust is misplaced.”

Rolling my eyes, I get up and stretch. “Yeah yeah, whatever. For as different from a regular guard as you are, you all have one thing in common. Your undying loyalty to the throne.”

He raises an eyebrow. “What’s wrong with being loyal to one’s nation?”

“Nothing wrong with that. Just pointing it out. Now, I know you have to have a dueling circle around here somewhere. Where is it?” I question.

“I’m not going to fight you if I don’t have to.” he states.

Letting out a scoff, I look at him like he’s stupid. “I don’t want to go there to fight you. The sooner I get a handle on my powers, the sooner I can rid myself of you. So out of courtesy, I’d rather mess around there than cause more damage. I didn’t care about this pedestal because it was mine, but everything else isn’t.”

He considers this for a moment, then nods and starts walking towards the back of the castle. I follow him and he leads me to what looks to be a training area. In the middle, I spot the big open dueling circle. Bigger than the one back at the Everfree castle. Stepping inside it, he steps inside as well, and a big dome of magic encompasses us. “I thought you said you weren’t going to fight me?”

“I’m not. But two ponies have to be in the dueling circle for it to activate. So, here I am. Just don’t actually attack me and it should stay on.” he explains.

After contemplating the workings of a magic arena, I shrug it off and turn to the opposite end of the circle. “Alright, then lets try going all out. See how that ends.” I say, and start charging my eye. When I feel I’m at my limit, I let out the blast and immediately regret it as an indescribable amount of pain shoots through my eye; enough to cause me to yell out in pain. Clamping my hand on my eye, I can feel a lot of blood flowing from it like a river. I stand there, teeth gritted, and completely ignoring whatever I might have done to the shield, if anything at all.

When the pain goes down to a tolerable level, I glance at the spot where I blasted and find nothing there. Same old dome. Looking down at Skyline, I see he has an impressed look of shock on his face. “How’d it turn out?” I question.

He picks up his jaw from the ground and looks at me. “You actually cracked the entire shield. This entire dome was covered in cracks! And these things are stronger than even Luna’s shielding magic!”

“Huh… so I could have actually killed Celestia if I was a bit more calm and actually focused... too late now.” I mutter to myself. Still clutching my eye, I glance at him. “Hey, how come you’re not disturbed by the blood?”

He looks at me again. “I’ve seen my fair share of nasty wounds. Wasn’t expecting it, but I’m definitely more used to it than I should be.”

I scoff. “Sure, you’re probably just a vampire, and don’t wanna admit it.”

He chuckles. “Nah, you can tell a sanguine apart easily by their eyes. They have red eyes; I’m just a regular thestral.”

“Sanguine?” I question.

“The correct term for what you called a ‘vampire’”. He explains.

“Right… well, let’s see if I can figure out what else I can do with this thing.” I say as I turn away from him.


After a couple hours of just standing in that circle, Skyline being bored, and me trying to do anything other than blast or examine, It starts to click in my head that this is gonna be way harder than I thought. Groaning, I look back at Skyline. “Hey, you. Try to attack me.”

He raises an eyebrow at me. “Uh… are you sure about that?”

“Yeah, I’m thinkin maybe I’ll figure something out in the heat of a fight. I won’t fight back, don’t worry. And go slow! I know you can keep up with Luna, and she’s way faster than I could ever hope to be.” I explain.

He shrugs and unstraps his blade, and holds it at a ready position. “You ready?”

I nod and keep an eye on him, lowering into some form of a defensive stance. He simply walks up to me, and does a couple of regular slashes at me. I jump away from them, simply avoiding each attack. However, I quickly find myself against the dome wall, which he quickly thrusts at my head. His blade and himself, along with me, is quickly caught in a magical aura, inches from my face. He’s floats away from me, and me to the side, before we’re unfrozen and I glare at him.

“Again!” I yell out in frustration.

He shrugs and steps outside the circle, then back in, causing the dome to reappear. We both take positions in the middle of the circle, and we begin when he starts throwing the same lazy swings at me. This time, instead of letting myself get cornered, I roll to the side a step or two away from the wall, and watch as he raises an eyebrow at me. He shrugs and continues his lazy onslaught, and me backing away constantly. Two more near corners and a couple rolls later, he swings one a bit too far, and I decide to capitalize on that. His apathetic behaviour is beginning to piss me off. I duck under the swing and rush him. Once I get within a distance I can attack him, I kinda lock up and don’t exactly know what to do; I settle for just grabbing him by the neck.

However, the match doesn’t end as neither of us are encased in magic. He takes this moment to thrust at my abdomen, ending the match then and there.

“What were you planning to even do? You caught onto my intentional slip up, but after that you just… froze.” he questions.

“I don’t know, I don’t actually know how to fight! I just got tired of you not taking this seriously.” I vent.

He rubs his neck at the spot where I grabbed him. “Well one thing’s for sure. You’re not very strong. I almost didn’t feel you grab my neck.”

I let out a sigh. “One more time. This time, put me under more pressure. Don’t let up either.”

He looks at me like I’m stupid. “You sure you wanna go through with this?”

I nod. He resets the circle, and we take up our positions again. This time, he is constantly making swings at me, and I can barely keep up with them. After one particularly close swing, I ended up falling to the floor, and he swings downward at me. I roll to the side, and recover my footing at the end of it, and dart my head back from a thrust that very nearly touches my nose. I jump back again, and now there's a fair distance between us. He quickly closes the distance between us with a flap of his wings. In a quick moment of panic, I find myself falling down to the ground again, but he quickly adjusts to keep me in his line of attack. In a split second, I look a little ways away past him from underneath him, and suddenly, my world shifts. I feel a strange sense of vertigo, combined with a feeling of motionlessness; one that I would associate with weightlessness. It all passes in less than a second, and I hit the ground, landing on my hands and knees. I hear the sound of Skylines blade dinging off the shield, and I get up and look around wide eyed. I find myself a couple feet behind him, and he turns to look at me confused.

I look at him just as, if not more confused. “I can teleport!?”

Further Tests and Troubling Thoughts

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For the first time I can remember, I can actually feel a genuine smile coming on my face. For the first time, something went right. “YES!” I pump a hand in the air.

“Do you even know how you did that?” Skyline questions.

I give him a look. “Really? You’re just gonna rain on my fun like that?”

He shrugs. “Either way, better get a handle on that before you start teleporting all over the place randomly.”

I raise a finger in protest but realize he could be right. “... You... Yooooouuuu…. Bah, forget it.” I say as I stretch a little bit and feel around mentally for anything familiar to what I just felt. After a couple moments, I find it, but it’s not exactly the same. Latching onto that feeling, I think about where I wanna be. Luna’s room, Luna’s room, Luna’s room. sure enough, I find myself going through that same vertigo; but instead of Luna’s room, I find myself in the spot where I was looking at, a couple feet away from where I originally was. Another thing I notice, is that it hurts this time. Not too badly, but enough to notice it.

Rolling my eyes, I groan. “Of course it’s limited. Can’t ever just get a straight up gift!”

“What are you talking about?” I hear Skyline question from the side.

“What I’m talkin about is, it hurts to use it, and I can’t just teleport wherever I want. I gotta see it apparently. But why didn’t it hurt the first time…?” I explain then question to myself.

Suddenly Skyline takes another swing at me. I roll my eyes and go back to trying to dodge him. “Why are you still going at this?” I question with a dodge roll to the side.

“You told me not to let up. Plus, someone has to lose for the barrier to go down.” he explains, and to add to his both proverbial and litteral point, he does another quick thrust at me. I just barely manage to dodge it this time, and I figure I might as well prep another teleport to use in case I can’t avoid him in time. A couple more swings, rolls, and it becomes routine. Me barely keeping up, and him getting more predictable with his attacks as he continues to do the same swings and thrusts.

I’m quickly tiring out though, my moves becoming more sluggish by the second, but I don’t know why. I know what’s going on, but my body just can’t keep up…

In that moment, I wasn’t paying attention and notice a bit too late as he goes for another thrust. Having that teleport prepared, I look a few feet behind him and pull the mental trigger. Sure enough, I end up in that spot; but it doesn’t hurt for some reason. I tuck that tidbit in the back of my head for now, and turn to focus on Skyline again. I’ve got a few seconds to catch my breath, and I decide to start preparing another teleport to test my brewing theory.

He charges me this time, something different from what we’ve been doing for the past couple minutes, and is coming at me with a large swing. A bit intimidated by the huge swing, I take a step back and look behind him again, and just barely get the teleport off in time. Okay, so if I time it right, it’s got no drawbacks… risk vs reward it seems.

Turning to face him again, watch him evenly. “Hey, try to keep on me after I blink. I need to test something.” he nods, and once again he’s on me. I backpedal a bit, and he forces me into a corner again, then does the thrust I’ve come to anticipate. Blinking behind him, I quickly turn around to face him, only to see his blade flying in my direction. I quickly blink past it in a blind panic, only to see Skyline himself flying at me this time. I blink above him and fall to the ground, unable to keep my footing. Before I can react, we are caught in magic, him and his blade inches from my face as he came at me with a downward dive. I float away from him and the magic drops both of us, and I lay there resting. so I was right. Good to know.

He offers me his hoof, and I take it as he pulls me up. “Alright, that’s enough for tonight.”

I look at him confused. “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

He simply smiles. “It’s not hard to tell when someone’s body has had enough. Keep pushing yourself tonight, and you’ll pass out.”

I sigh. “You’re probably right, but I don’t get why. My body just doesn’t want to keep up!”

He thinks about this for a bit as he stays quiet. “Didn’t you say you were fourteen? You’re still a kid.”

“I’m older than you and your past five generations combined!” I quip.

“But your body isn’t.” he states.

I stop and take a look at my body. I don’t think I’m any different… I must still be fourteen. Bah, of course my body wouldn’t have aged a second while I was imprisoned. letting out another sigh, I stretch and leave the circle. I start to head back to the castle, and I hear Skyline follow behind.

“Where are you going now?” he questions.

“To drown out my screaming muscles.” I state.

“Oh yeah? And how are you going to do that?” he asks me.

“I’m gonna find where they keep the alcohol in this place and drink til I can’t feel it anymore.” I explain.

“You sure that’s such a good idea?” he asks in mild concern. Whether for me or his own safety, or even the safety of others, I can’t tell. Doesn’t matter though.

“I won’t do anything stupid if that’s what your getting at. Now come on, you lead. I know you gotta know where they keep the stuff, and I’m not gonna wander around aimlessly while you know where what I’m trying to find is.” I state.

He sighs and walks ahead of me. “I’m sure it’ll be easier to watch over a drunk anyways. Remind me where this idea of yours even came from?”

“Because I’m well over old enough, and I don’t wanna think coherently right now; I’ll probably just end up pissing myself off. And if I do while drunk, at least I won’t remember it.” I explain.


I find myself on a balcony with Skyline. I’m not exactly drunk yet, but I’m well on my way if the bottles lined up on the ledge have anything to say. I chugged down quite a bit at first, despite Skyline’s warnings that i’ll regret it. Bah! Let me regret it. It’ll teach me not to drink again. Until then, oh well. Thankfully, pony alcohol tastes pretty good! At least whatever I grabbed does.

Standing there for a while, I look at my watch and see that it’s a little past eleven P.M.

“Hey Skyline, question for ya. Why are the regular guards so weak?” I ask out of the blue.

He looks at me oddly. “I wouldn’t say they’re weak… They just have a lower standard than the lunar guard. Plus, unlike myself, they weren’t trained by a princess.”

“And why do they have a lower standard?” I question.

He eyes me a bit more before looking out over the balcony. “Over the years, Celestia lowered them. Peace lasted for so long, she didn’t think they needed as much combat readiness; she wanted them to be more prepared to keep the peace among the citizens.”

This time I look at him. “So why is the lunar guard better? At least according to what Luna said.”

He chuckles a bit. “We left. When Luna disappeared, we all went back home. We followed Luna, not Celestia, not some parasitic shadow. So when she disappeared, we did too. We upheld everything she stood for; and when she returned, so did we. we didn’t really change much from back then; we just survived.”

I nod, taking this information in, as well as another sip of booze. “And where did sanguines come into the mix?”

“Sanguines have always been around. Even longer than regular thestrals like myself actually. It’s… difficult to explain really. It’s what you could call a pureblood lineage; at least that’s what it was originally. Now it’s mixed all over the place. But basically, when some sanguines started breeding outside their own kind, we thestrals were made. So there’s a little bit of sanguine somewhere in me, but it’s not enough to wake up on its own.” he explains.

“Uh huh… so that’s why… a thousand years ago, Celestia’s guard was pretty well matched with the lunar guard.” I state randomly.

“Yeah well, without that eye of yours, I’m sure anyone could take you. Even a foal.” he quips.

“Oh yeah?!” I state and turn to him.

He merely chuckles to himself. “Relax, I’m just messing with you because your drunk. Its hilarious.”

I turn and grumble to myself as he continues to chuckle. Flopping over, I lay upside down across the railing.

Then something catches my interest out of the corner of my eye. Looking up and out into the distance, I see light shining through the window of what seems to be a giant tree. Normally, I would probably think nothing of it. But in my alcohol addled mind, all I find myself thinking is: “Shiny….” and with that, I teleport to it.


I find myself spacing out in the main dwelling area of the Library. The girls agreed we should have a little get together to try and take our minds off of Null. Sure, we all deserve a bit of relaxation, but I just can’t rest easy with him running about as he is. He’s dangerous! He tried to KILL Princess Celestia! Admittedly he’s not done it yet, but he still wants to! Who knows what else he might want to do!

I mean, he said he has no qualms with anyone else… but… that isn’t exactly reassuring. If he kills Princess Celestia, we’ll have no choice but to confront him… thus, making us his problem… but… as much as I hate to admit it… it’s justified... and I don’t know what’s worse: Losing the Princess, or the fact that she did such a thing… at first I didn’t believe it. Princess Celestia would never have done such a thing! But… she did. She admitted it… she told us everything she did. How she used the elements on him without even trying to identify friend or foe… how she convinced her sister to help her... how she was against Princess Luna’s attempts to free him... how she left him a thousand years ago at the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters.

None of it sounds true… but she swears up and down that all of it is… I… I just can’t look at her the same anymore… ever since I was a little filly, she was always my faultless idol; I looked up to her as the one who could do no wrong. She was The Princess Celestia. but now… I don’t know what to think…

And his eye… it’s so… mysterious… and obviously dangerous. I’d love to study it, but given who it’s attached to… I doubt i’d get the chance. What else can it do? How does it work? I’ve never seen anything like it… or anything like him! He’s an entirely new species! When I first saw him in the castle gardens, I thought he was just an artistic vision and thought nothing else of it. I never knew there would be a living being inside of it! Luna never mentioned him either… though it was never really brought up… and she was busy readjusting to today’s society.

Where does he come from? Are there more? Do they all have eyes like his? So many questions buzzing around my head… I certainly feel terrible about what happened to him… but he can’t keep going on the way he does.

I’m torn from my inner turmoil when my friend Pinkie Pie hops past me on the table. “Pinkie? What are you doing on the table?”

She stops mid air and turns to look at me. “Trying to distract you!” she exclaims with a smile. Looking at her, you wouldn’t even think something was bothering her. But something was. All of us were. At least she’s trying. She then turns and resumes obeying gravity and continues to hop around.

Surveying the rest of the room, I see Rarity chatting with Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash is locked in a hoof wrestle contest with Applejack. They’ve been like that for the last five minutes… one of them will budge soon.

I get up and head over to the snack table that Pinkie set up, and grab a small plate of cookies and a cup of apple juice. I sit back down and go to attempt to distract myself with the treats when a knock at the door stops me. “Who could that be at this hour? It’s almost 11:30…” I mutter as I get up and head to the door. Walking down the stairs, there’s another knock at the door. “Impatient pony…” I mutter to myself as I reach the bottom of the steps. Another set of knocks, and I speed up my pace a little. “One moment, I’m coming!” I call out.

I get to the door, and open it up. “Hello, who… is…” I trail off as my heart drops into my stomach. I backpedal, and scramble away from the door. Standing in the doorway, is the cause of all my scramble thoughts… Null.

A Little Get Together

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“Uh… hi?” asks in a questioning tone as he waves with his first two fingers and thumb while the other two loosely clutch to the neck of a bottle. Said bottle appears to be… no… is he really?

“Null? What are you doing here? And have you been drinking?” I ask with a bit of nervousness that I can’t shake. If he’s drunk, he’s even more unpredictable than before.

It’s now that I notice that his strange eye is clenched shut, with traces of blood around the rim of it. There's only one thing I know he can do that causes that, and the thought of what he might have done terrifies me.

He takes a moment to process my question, raising a finger in thought, then looks around confused. “Why am I here? Hm…. oh. Oh yeah! I saw something shiny over in this direction from Canterlot and I wanted to find out what it was! And wandering around town, the only source of light is coming from here. So I figured, this must be where the shiny is!” he explains as if this was normal.

One thing seems to stand out to me though… “how did you get here? The girls and I took the last train of the day, and Canterlot is at least a couple hours away. And why would you want to FIND something shiny anyways?”

He makes a snapping sound with his fingers, and chuckles. “I teleported! It hurt like hell though… still does. My guess is the farther I try to go, the more it hurts.”

I stare at him wide eyed. HE CAN TELEPORT?! while this is a better reason than the alternative, that he killed someone and was coming for me next, it’s still baffling to think that he can do it. “And.... my second question?”

“Huh? Oh! I… actually don’t know why. Just felt compelled to.” he states. We stand there for a bit longer in awkward silence, before he clears his throat and looks directly at me. “Listen, I don’t think I can make it back to Canterlot on my own… and I’d rather not be alone with my thoughts. Can… can I stay here? Just for the night?” he asks.

I cringe a little internally, not really wanting to let him into my home. But standing the way he is in the doorway, he just looks… pitiful. So different from when I first saw him. So vulnerable instead of angry. Suddenly, an idea pops in my head. If we can make friends with him, then he’ll have more people to listen to! And he won’t kill anyone!

Hesitantly smiling, I nod and motion for him to come in with a hoof. “Sure! Everyone else is upstairs right now. Um. you should probably go to the bathroom and clean up a little bit before coming upstairs though. There's still a bit of blood.”

He touches around his eye and winces a little, and looks at his now bloodied finger. He sighs and looks around. I point him in the direction of the downstairs bathroom, but before he can start, I step in front of him. “What’s the deal Twilight?”

I gulp and decide to push my luck a bit. “I think you’ve had enough to drink tonight. You shouldn’t even be drinking in the first place, you’re a child still; at least physically.”

He narrows his eye at me, and looks at me for a couple seconds before letting out a sigh while shrugging. He hands me the bottle, which I take in my magic and step aside to let him to go the bathroom. Looking at the bottle, I decide to dump the rest of it just in case he decides to try and take it back. I take it into the kitchen and proceed to dump it all down the drain, and deposit the bottle into the trash, and head back upstairs. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, everyone looks at me.

Dash speaks up first, evidently done with her hoof wrestling. “Who was it?”

“Had to be someone noteworthy if it took you so long.” Rarity tacks on.

I close my eyes, take a calming breath, let it out, and open my eyes again. “It was Null. he’s staying the night.”

Suddenly everyone looks at me wide eyed and they all let out a collective string of questions, ranging from why, how, and for some reason something about oatmeal from Pinkie.

I clear my throat and stamp my hoof to stop everyone's yammering. “Apparently, he teleported. I guess he can do that. As for why, he can’t make it back. It hurt him too much to get here and he asked if he could stay the night.”

“And you said yes?!” Rainbow questions.

“Of course I did! We can’t just let him wander around unsupervised. Who knows what he’d do? Besides, I had a great idea! If we can make friends with him, then he’ll be less likely to hurt anyone. Not exactly the best reason to try and make friends, but the ends justify the means, don’t they?” I explain. “Besides, this way we can learn a bit about him instead of just assuming bad things and writing mean songs about him.” I narrow my eyes at Pinkie at that last sentence, who shrinks back with a sheepish grin.

I then hear a flush from downstairs, and following that, steps up the stairs. Looking towards the stairs, I see Null climbing them. He trips over the final step, and falls flat on his face. “Owie…”

I help him up, and Applejack voices a new question. “Is he alright Twi? Something seems off about him.”

“He’s fine, just a bit intoxicated is all.” I answer.

“He’s drunk?” Dash asks with a mischievous grin on her face.

I glare at her. “Yes, which means no playing any pranks on him.”

Null speaks up from beside me. “I’m not drunk, just a bit tipsy.”

Applejack gives him a leveled look with a raised eyebrow. “Really? I can smell the booze off your breath from here.”

He waves a hand dismissively. “Bah, I’m drunk… so what?” he then heads over to the couch and flops down on it.

“While it may not be the best way to go about making friends, it certainly makes it easier!” Pinkie chirps as she hops to his side. Most wouldn’t be able to tell, but having known her long enough, it's easy to tell how uneasy she is with the situation. She’s scared. Of course, I don’t blame her one bit. I think we all are a bit scared here.

Null turns to look around the room, stopping for a second to look at each of us. We all look back. He takes a deep inhale and lets it out. “Come on, I’m not gonna do anything, so stop lookin’ at me like that.” he says with a bit of annoyance in his voice.

At that, everyone snaps their vision to anything but him. This time, he groans. “Stop that, all of you. If I’m that big a wrench in the works that y'all can’t go back to whatever it was you were doing, I can just go. It's not hard to see where you’re not wanted.” he gets up to go, and none of us make to stop him. We all just stand there guilty looking, but not wanting to admit he’s right.

Surprisingly though, someone does stop him. Fluttershy, of all ponies, walks up to him and tugs at his pants just before he can take the first step down the stairs; causing him to stop in his tracks. The room is silent, all of us fearful of what he might do.

“...Y-you don’t have to go Null. I’ll be the first to admit... were all s-scared of you.” we all cringe at that, thinking he’ll just get more angry. “We all know what happened. And while I don’t agree with you… I understand your reason. I’m personally terrified… but, I don’t want to have to be. None of us want to. And we certainly don’t want to fight you, or see you fall that far. So please. Don’t go.”

He stands there for a moment, his back still turned to us. After a moment, he speaks. “You know why Luna fell victim to Nightmare Moon, right?” nobody says anything, but Fluttershy gives a small ‘mhm’ in response. I’m a bit confused as to why he’s asking such a thing, but brush it off in favor of concern for Fluttershy’s immediate safety. He then lets out a sigh and turns back, looking down on Fluttershy, who offers him a soft smile in return. He opens his left eye, which causes us all to visibly flinch, and my heart rate to skyrocket in fear. He watches Fluttershy for a moment, then smiles. He actually smiles.

He then drops to his knees, and were all startled when he wraps his arms around her in a hug, and starts babbling incoherently. Only thing I’m able to catch is something about a ‘one eyed bloody monster’. Tears are brimming from his eyes, and surprisingly, no blood is coming from his left eye; just tears. Fluttershy hugs him back after getting over her initial surprise from the sudden contact, rubbing his back and whispering calming things into his ear.

I can’t help but find myself smiling at the display, and a quick glance around the room shows everyone else has a small smile as well; even Dash can’t help a small grin.

Eventually, Null lets go of Fluttershy, and stands up, wiping away the tears from his eyes. Fluttershy herself turns and looks to the rest of us. “How about we continue this little get together then, hm?”. We all nod in agreement, and Null moves back to the couch with a smile plastered on his face.

I notice Rarity hesitantly poke his knee to gain his attention. “Hm? What’s up.” he questions.

“I can’t help but wonder, how did you know our names? Back when we first met?” she asks.

“Huh? Oh. Oh! That’s because of my eye.” he says as if that’s a normal thing.

I tilt my head and shamelessly take this opportunity to learn more about his eye. “Can you elaborate?”

He looks at me confused. “Huh?”

I roll my eyes. Small words Twilight, small words. He’s drunk after all, so I should also take everything he says with a grain of salt. “I mean, can you explain how that works?”

“Oh. well basically… how can I put this how you’ll understand… imagine a card. And that card has a bunch of information about you. And only I can see that card. It just kinda floats around whatever it’s for.” he looks at me. “So for example, your moms name is Twilight Velvet. Now, I don’t know what she looks like, how she behaves, or even how she sounds. I just know that's her name, and she’s your mom. Another example, that book you have laying on the table has 246 pages. I don’t know what’s written on those pages, or how many words are in the book.” he explains surprisingly well.

My curiosity outweighs my unease at the fact that he can just know all this. “So it works on objects too… wait, doesn’t it hurt to do that?” I ask, recalling the blood from when he teleported.

“I mean… not anymore? It never hurt in the same way the other things make me hurt. When I first got this eye, I couldn’t see anything because of it. Remember those cards I told you about? Imagine them everywhere; So many that it blocks your vision. Little info cards about every little insignificant thing. I had to keep my eye closed, otherwise I’d be pretty much blind. Took me… I’d say around 200 years to be able to use it properly.” he says.

My eyes bug out and I can’t stop myself from saying what I say next. “TWO HUNDRED YEARS!? Just to learn to use a single spell?!”

He frowns a bit but shrugs. “First off, it's not a spell. I don’t know what to call it, but I know enough about magic to know this isn’t directly a spell. Or if it is, it’s constantly active; Never really had a chance to get someone to scan me for magic. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m asking you to do it right now. Second, yes. Two hundred years. Small amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but I can see how that would seem like a long time for you. But when you’ve got nothing to do but watch and observe the world in front of you, ocular abilities tend to be the only thing you can work towards. Now I can keep my eye open and not see a single card unless I want to. But I generally let it show me cards that would be of interest. How it knows what’s useful and what's not… I don’t know.”

I’m at a loss for how useful such an ability could be. Still dangerous, but useful. I’ll have to scan him later…


And just like that, the questions went on and on, ranging from what else my eye could do, what snacks I liked, what I was, and even fashion. I answered them all as best I could, even if Twilight didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t know what else I can do besides what she’s seen already. I did make a show of teleporting around for them though. They freaked out when they saw the blood, but I washed it up. They didn’t let me teleport anymore after that; bunch of party poopers. The rest of the night went on like a regular party, and I was actually happy. Drunk, but happy. I like these ponies. They’re nice.

So now I find myself laying on the couch in the dark now, since I don’t have a sleeping bag and I’d probably be too big for one here anyways. Everyone else has already went to bed in their sleeping bags, or actual bed in Twilight’s case. Apparently Twilight has an assistant as well. He went to bed before I showed up, so I didn’t get to meet him, but I’m sure we will in the morning. I take one last look around the dark room, the ponies scattered around on the floor. Pinkie somehow cleaned up in less than a minute, which scared the piss outta me, but at least they have a clean space to sleep. Taking one last look around the room, I smile and close my eyes, drifting off to my first peaceful sleep.

Alone and Afraid

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I find myself unable to sleep. So, here I am. Sitting on the balcony. Looking out across as far as I can see, I can only imagine what might befall this kingdom should Null snap and give in to his desires...I’m sure Luna could take my place, but I know first hoof how difficult it was for me when I… Banished her...

I wouldn’t wish that upon her anyways. Unlike me, she wouldn’t have any hope of her sister coming back. Even moreso, by the hands of her friend no less. I can only imagine how close they actually are.

’I WAS THERE FOR HER MORE THAN YOU EVER WERE!’

His words echo through my head, haunting me. Reminding me of my failure to my own family. Letting out a shaky, breath, I look down at the ground beneath my hooves.

’I’M BASICALLY HER FUCKING DIARY!’

I shudder as I hear his voice again.

Everything was going so well too. Luna was adjusting to modern society, The elements have found new bearers, Twilight’s studies were coming along nicely. And now, Null entering the equation seems to have put a halt to all of that.

He wants me dead. But… here I am; Still alive. He says he has nothing against anypony else, which seems to be true… he could have killed my guards when he first appeared; but he didn’t. Sure, he nearly did, but they all seemed too close to be accidental. Those near deaths had to have been deliberate on his part. Which only makes me even more fearful of him. With how much anger and raw emotion he was showing… he was still focused enough to do such precise actions…

And he was still sane enough to stop when he recognized Luna… I’m not sure whether to find that comforting or disturbing… the fact he recognizes anything at all is a miracle, according to what he says he went through. How did he get free to begin with? Let alone with his mind intact.

I rest my head on the railings and continue to stare out into Luna’s night sky.

And of course, there’s the fact that I deserve all of his hatred… I really am at fault here. I should have at least tried… to at least have said something to him. There’s nothing I can do either. If I try talking to him now, he could fly off the handle. I can’t offer to go through what he did for multiple reasons. I doubt I could go through what he did and come out sane… and I’m too important to this country. Would that even appease him? No doubt everypony else would have their objections. There really is nothing I can do… nothing except wait for a chance.

I begin to wonder, what other mistakes have I made? Who else have I wronged? Who else could be the next enemy lurking around the corner? What else could be going on that I’m unaware of that could lead to the next uprising?

...What if Discord got free? What chaos would he cause? How would he react to Null? And vice versa? Null might hate him as much as he does me if he knows the role that he played in getting him imprisoned.

I let out a sad, mirthless laugh. I say that like I can shift the blame entirely over to Discord. No… while he shares some of the blame, I’m still mostly at fault. Still… it is something to think about… Maybe I could offer to let Null decide what to do with Discord? That could score me a few points. But that’s definitely a dangerous offer to make… depending on what he chose to do, it could lead to Discord being free again. I’ll have to give this more thought.


I sit alone; still on the balcony, looking out at Luna’s night sky. How long I ended up stargazing, I’m unsure of. It must have been a while though, because I find myself starting to nod off. however, just as I’m about to, I hear the telltale sound of wing beats. Looking to where its coming from, I see one of Luna’s guards flying towards my balcony, and perch himself upon my railing. Upon closer examination, I realize it’s one of her Crescents. Wait... “Skyline, wasn’t it? Aren’t you supposed to be keeping an eye on Null?” I ask with a poorly hidden yawn.

He sits down on the railing and greets me with a dismissive wave. “He’s asleep on your student’s couch right now. Passed out drunk probably.”

I raise an eyebrow. “And how did he get there? Let alone get drunk?”

“Long story short? He started drinking and we were just talking on one of the upper walkways. He saw something that interested him, said ‘shiny’, then teleported away. I figured out where he went because the only thing that could have been considered “shiny”, was a light coming from Twilight’s library. He ended up talking to your student, and she let him in. I watched through a window until he fell asleep.” he explains.

“And they’re safe, yes?” I question with a bit of concern.

Rolling his eyes, he responds. “Of course, he’s probably going to sleep til noon with how much he drank. That, and given how old his body is, he’ll definitely be out for quite a while.”

Their safety no longer in question, I turn my attention towards the next most pressing matter. “And you let him drink? Despite knowing that his mental stability is clearly in question?” I raise my eyebrow again.

“It was either show him where it was or let him get mad while wandering the castle. I’m sure we both don’t want him angry, regardless of how weak he is.” he states.

This actually piques my interest. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I ask. “How would you know if he’s weak?”

He takes a deep breath and looks down at the castle grounds. “He wanted to get a better handle on his powers, so he asked to go to the dueling circle. How he knew what one was or that we had one, I have no clue. I let him mess around in there for a while, then he asked me to fight him a lil bit. How do I know he’s weak? He doesn’t even know how to fight. He managed to take me by surprise by lunging for me under my blade, and grabbing me by the neck. But he couldn’t follow up; He didn’t know what to do. Barely felt it too. I didn’t even have to try against him; his body would have given out had I not stopped him. He’s not strong at all Celestia. Even a foal could take him down if he didn’t have that special eye.”

“A foal? Really?” I question with obvious skepticism in my voice.

He simply shrugs. “Maybe I’m not giving him enough credit, but he’s definitely a glass cannon. Yes, he could really hurt ponies, definitely can kill them too; But he’s just as fragile.”

I take a moment to digest this information before I remember something he said earlier. “You said he can teleport? Did he display any other abilities? Any magic?”

He rubs behind his head awkwardly. “Well, maybe ‘teleport’ is a bit of a stretch. He can only go as far as he can see. He tried teleporting somewhere but only ended up a few feet in front of himself. So the best way I can describe it, is he can blink. Of course, it hurts him, but apparently it doesn’t if he’s in immediate danger; if that makes any sense.” he brings a hoof to his chin in mock thought. “That’s the only thing he discovered while in the dueling circle. As for magic, I’m not exactly a unicorn, so I couldn’t really tell you. Maybe your student will turn up some information on that.”

I let out a sigh; of relief or disappointment, I’m not sure. I feel Skyline place a comforting hoof on my shoulder. Bold move honestly. “I wouldn’t worry too much about him Princess. Your safety isn’t in jeopardy.”

I look at him. “It isn’t my own safety I fear for. There’s plenty he could do to get to me. And I can’t take any measures to protect those things, else it might anger him more. Even me knowing what you told me could anger him.”

He raises an eyebrow. “Why do you care so much about his feelings?”

“Because… the guilt I feel for what I have done compels me to care. His case isn’t like Sombra’s or Tirek. He’s willing to try and live a normal life. His grudge against me is justifiable; just because I’m a princess doesn’t place me above any wrongdoing. So I have to do what I can to help him, as much as I can from the position he’s placed me. Would it really be so different had it been Discord who put him in stone? Or even a random citizen?” I rant out loud.

He thinks over this for a good moment. “Well, had it been Discord who imprisoned him, I’m sure he’d have no problem allying himself with us. He’d still want to kill Discord, but would anypony really object to that? Had it been a random citizen for whatever reason, he’d either hate all ponies or have no care in the world because whoever would have done it would be long gone. At least, that’s what I think. But none of that matters, because those aren’t the case.”

Letting out a sigh, he prepares to take off. “Get some rest Princess. Judging by how he’s behaving, if you give him the space he needs, everything should be fine.”

With that, he takes off back towards Ponyville, leaving me alone with my thoughts once again.

Making New Acquaintances

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I wake up with a start, quickly sitting up and groggily surveying the room. I immediately regret this decision, because I’m met with a massive throbbing headache as soon as the sun makes contact with my eyes. I groan as I bring an arm up to block the sun, and flop back down on the couch, letting the crook of my arm cover my eyes. In the quick second where I was able to see, I noted that all the girls were still asleep.

It’s another ten minutes before I muster up the willpower to actually get up; I don’t wanna overstay my welcome. I vaguely remember how I got here, remembering that I drank last night. The hell was I thinking… What else happened last night...

I get up and stretch, once again cringing in slight pain and euphoria with each pop. that’s kinda concerning… my body isn’t this fragile, is it? Has it always been this way? contemplating that thought for a moment, I shakily get to my feet, and start heading downstairs. Upon reaching the bottom of the steps, I see a small purple and green dragon in the kitchen. He glances at me, looks back at the stove, then doubletakes back to me and I can see apprehension spread across his face. I let out a sigh and walk towards him.

“Look Spike” I begin, using my eye to find out his name. “I ain’t gonna hurt ya or anyone else, alright?” I say as I squat down in front of him, and boop his nose.

He goes cross eyed looking at his nose where I touched it. He rubs it, then looks at me. “You’re Null, aren’t you.” he says, barely able to not stutter.

“Oh? So you know my name. What else have you heard about me I wonder?” I question.

“Only what the girls told me. I heard about what you did though… or rather, tried to do. Are you really that mad at her?” he inquires with that youthful curiosity only innocent kids could have.

It’s tough to keep my temper from flaring up at the mere mention of her, but it wouldn’t be fair to Spike if I didn’t. Taking a deep breath, I slowly nod. “I have my reasons Spike.”

He looks me dead in the eyes, some sort of conviction in them. “Are you going to try and kill her again?”

Frankly, I’m a little shocked he’s mature enough to fully understand the weight behind that question. I debate giving him a legit answer, but decide to give him the respect of a real answer. “I don’t know. I want to, but I know she’s important… if it makes you feel any better, I got things holding me back from doing it.”

He raises an eyebrow questioningly. “What kind of things?”

“Well, Luna for starters. She’d never forgive me if I did, and I don’t want to do that to her anyways. Next, my own desire for a normal life. I know if I go through with what I want, I’ll never have that opportunity. I want people to stop being afraid of me… but that’ll take time, I know that. Then there's people like those six up there. They at least seem to be trying to help me, if letting me stay was anything to go off of.” I look at him. “Does that answer your question?”

He contemplates my answer for a long moment, then finally looks at me and gives me a nod. I let out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding, and give a weak smile. I raise up a fist, and he bumps one of his own against mine, smiling a bit himself.

I get up and stretch, heading towards the front door. “I’m gonna head out, tell everyone I’m sorry for just leaving like this.” I say. “Your foods starting to burn by the way.” I toss in, noting the slight burning smell in the air. He jumps with a panicked yelp, and immediately turns to try and salvage the dish.

Making my way out the front door, I shut it gently behind me, and look around. Letting out a deep breath in the crisp morning air, and let it out. “What am I even doing…” I say out loud to myself. I glance towards the distant Canterlot, contemplating whether or not I should try to get back, or take my time and explore a bit. Remembering the amount of pain it took to get here, which was numbed by whatever I was drinking, I didn’t exactly want to go through that again.

I let out a chuckle as an amusing thought crossed my mind. “Maybe I can get the town to attack me so I can get there without the pain. Certainly would be easier.” Shaking the dumb thought from my head, I start walking, deciding to keep to the path, no matter where it took me. I don’t care about being seen, as there’s no point; everyone probably already knows I exist, public statement from the princesses or not. How they’ll react, now that’s another question entirely.

As I walk through town, I start to drift more and more into my own thoughts than actually paying attention to the town. I wonder if anyone knows anything about me other than when I tried to kill Celestia. Absentmindedly walking around the fountain, I kick a rock to the side and continue down the path. Wasn’t I a god at one point? Am I still a god? Probably not; Celestia probably put a stop to any worshipping right quick. But, then again, cults are still a thing… I shudder a little bit imagining what a cult might be doing to try and summon me. If they heard what happened, they probably think they succeeded and expect me to lead them to a new era or something. Pft, like that’ll happen. What was I even the god of anyways? Luck or something like that? Hm… guess I’m lucky to be alive. Nobody really knows how I got free. I allow myself a small chuckle. Maybe I am the god of luck here. Have to be pretty lucky to come back from the brink like I did. Bah, I doubt it. Best not to get full of myself anyways.

I mindlessly side step a pony who either didn’t see me, or was actually approaching me. I casually look over my shoulder to see which of the two possibilities it was. To my surprise, I see the pony continuing to walk with her head pointed at the ground. She's a pink unicorn with a purple and teal mane and tail, and a cutie mark of a purple and white star with two blue glimmering streams. Raising an eyebrow, I stop and turn around, and follow the pink pony. What could be troubling her so much that she doesn’t even notice me almost tripping on her? Let alone not notice me to begin with.

As she continues to walk, I decide to find out for myself. I jog up to her and tap her on the shoulder. She stops, seemingly shaken from whatever deep thought she was in. Turning to face me, she looks like she’s ready to chew my ass out, but her expression immediately morphs into one of confusion, with a hint of curiosity.

I simply wave. “Uh, hi? You alright there?” I question, even more curious about this unicorn since she didn’t run away. Maybe her mental state isn’t so great?

She sits down, staring at me wide eyed, her jaw hanging. I wave my hand in front of her, and even snap my fingers a few times, but she remains the same. reminding me of myself here…

I decide to read her info card and crouch down in front of her. Her name is about as unique as any other pony name, so there isn’t much to comment on; Starlight Glimmer. I clap my hands in front of her face. “Yo, Starlight Glimmer! You alright?” I ask.

She shakes her head clear of whatever funk was clogging it, and looks at me again, with slightly less wide eyes. “Y-you know my name?” she asks with wonder. Giving a simple nod, she looks me up and down, head to toe. “H-how?”

I actually let out a laugh. “I know everyone’s name.”

“Um… a-are you Null?” She asks.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised she knows my name. Of course, she probably read about it in the paper or something. Upon seeing me give another nod, her face slowly takes on a smile, and she proceeds to pounce on me, knocking me to the ground easily due to my crouched position.

At first, I thought she was a crazy Celestia devotee and had a crazy smile for having a chance to get me for attacking her princess. However, after a moment of panicked scrambling, I realize she’s not attacking me at all. In fact, she’s… hugging me? Okay… now I’m confused. Why is she… so god damn soft… I shake my head from the weirdness that was that thought, and look down at the pony currently burying her face in my chest.

“S-so, what’s on your mind? You were so deep in thought that you didn’t even notice me walk by you.” I ask trying to ignore the awkwardness of the entire situation. Wow, I sound really self absorbed when I say it like that.

She looks back up at me with a look of disbelief on her face. “WHAT?! I walked past a literal GOD and didn’t even notice?! I’m SO SORRY!” she yells, panic quickly setting in her face.

Once again, I’m shocked. I didn’t think anyone even remembered me. I decide to voice this query. “Wait, wait, wait, hold on a second, you know I’m considered a god? How?”

“That’s… a long story? I heard about you when I was young. I did a little research, and liked your whole shtick. It was… a nice escape from reality; Luck was something I was really down on at the time.” she answers. “Tell me, do you have a cutie mark?” she asks with a hint of what sounds like hope in her voice.

“Uh…. No? I don’t even think it’s possible for me to get one.” I answer truthfully. What would my cutie mark even look like anyways?

Her smile only gets wider, and she throws her hooves into the air. “Perfect! Can I come with you?! You’re probably preparing to re-establish yourself in the world, right?” She looks side to side conspiratorially, then whispers to me behind a hoof. “I can help you overthrow the Princesses!” she then giggles in glee.

I pick her up and set her down in front of me, then sit cross legged in front of her. I fix her with a hard look. “Alright, let’s set things straight here missy. First, there will be no overthrowing of anyone. As much as I’d love to take out Celestia, I care too much for Luna. And those are for my own personal reasons, nothing to do with a desire to rule or gain power; So get that idea out of your head. Second, I’ve no idea what kind of god you were told I was, but to spell it out for ya, I was considered the god of luck. Okay? I was the Auspicious Observer. I don’t have any plans to lead any sort of cult to a new era, nor did any cult summon me.” I actually don’t even know if that’s true or not… but she doesn’t need to know that. “if that breaks your faith in me, then go find a different god to worship.” something clicks in my head. “And that’s another thing! I’m not even a god! That entire belief was started when Luna put a plaque on my pedestal like, 547500 days ago; and due to me not being a pony, people just assumed I was a god and word spread. Know why ya don’t hear anything about me these days? I was stuck down in a ditch for who knows how long! I can only guess that I was brought to canterlot sometime in the middle of Luna’s banishment; gone long enough for word of me to just stop. An-”

I cut off my rant after taking a breath and using the moment to look at who I was talking to. She’s looking at me as if I had just kicked her puppy. Hurt, and sad. I let out a sigh, and take a couple calming breaths. “Look, I’m sorry. I’ve just… been through alot, and never had a chance to tell my side of… anything till as of recent really. I didn’t mean to yell at you…”

She takes a moment before responding. “So… you’re not really a god?” I shake my head. “So all that time I spent praying, hoping that things would get better, were all for nothing?! My entire life I believed in you!” she yells, clearly upset with tears in her eyes.

I can’t think of anything to really say, so I just let whatever words come go. “Look. It obviously wasn’t for nothing. It got you here to where you are today. If your faith got you through tough times, then that’s all that matters. If I brought you luck, or made your day better just by being a thought, then it wasn’t for nothing. Besides, what did you expect of me anyways? You thought I could just snap my fingers and everything would go right in your life or something? Of course not. There’s nothing special about me except my eye, and I don’t expect you to know anything about it.”

She looks down at the ground, obviously still distraught. Man, now I went and made someone sad… I mean, how else would someone react when they were told their god was a fake?

Groaning, I roll my neck and cringe again in the pain. “Look, I can’t just make everything better for you. But I can hear you out at least. You still never told me what was troubling you.” I lead on.

She looks up at me with a contemplative look. She lets out a sigh. “I suppose I’ve got nothing to lose from telling you.”

“That’s the spirit! Oh, one more thing. I may not be a god; Celestia and Luna are closer to godhood than I ever could be. But I can still kill one; If you try to do anything to hurt Luna, I’ll make you regret it.” I state.

She raises an eyebrow and actually steps up to me. “Oh yeah? I thought you said you had no power.”

“I said there was nothing special about me except for my eye. Knowing your name isn’t the only thing I can do with it. Haven’t you read the paper lately? I tried to kill Celestia and nearly succeeded. Luna stopped me, but the point is still there.” I explain. No point in me trying to keep that a secret, and better to hear it from me than someone else who would make it sound 10 times worse than it already is.

Her eyes widened at the word ‘kill’, and I can guess why. Ballsy little pony doesn’t have what it takes to be a killer. Good, nobody should.

“Simply put, I can be your best friend, the last thing you see, or a nobody to you. Take your pick.”

She regards me with another skeptical look. “You said you can’t get a cutie mark?” I raise an eyebrow, but shake my head anyways. “And you’re not lying?”

“Why would I?”

She thinks it over for another few minutes, then smiles to herself. “Alright… friend.” she giggles to herself as she says the word ‘friend’.

Getting up to my feet, I start walking and motion for her to follow. She does so and walks alongside me. “Where are we going?”

“Somewhere more private I guess. Unless you wanna tell me what had you so down in the dumps in front of a whole crowd. We made quite a scene.” I say as I point over my shoulder with a thumb at the crowd of ponies who were watching us. What they think, I can’t be sure; Too many for me to care to figure out.

She looks back and is visibly surprised to see that many people.

“Relax, it’s more likely they’re apprehensive about me than anything you might have done. They were probably even concerned for you.”

With that, she turns back around and I hear the crowd disperse. We continue walking along the path in amiable silence until we’re pretty far down the path; so far that we’re actually outside the town approaching a forest. Suddenly, my eye immediately puts a pop up in my vision about the forest, forcing me to look at it.

Upon reading it, my eyes widen in surprise.

The Everfree Forest

Memories and Treasures

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Coming to a sudden stop causes Starlight to also stop. I stand there for a solid minute just staring at the forest. The Everfree… been a long time since I’ve seen that place… I never got to explore the castle or the town either…

Starlight tugs on my pant leg, pulling my attention from the forest. Looking at her, I note the curiosity in her expression. Looking back at the forest, I speak. “Sorry, just got a bit distracted. That’s where I spent a thousand years of my life. Probably a lot more actually…”

She looks at the forest as well. “How can you tell?” she asks.

I point to the forest. “That’s the Everfree Forest. Way back when, before Luna was banished, their castle was in that forest. It’s ruins are probably still there too. But I bet you already knew that, didn’t you.”

She remains quiet and I consider my options. I really wanna go see the castle… despite it being destroyed, I feel compelled to do so. But at the same time, after what happened… the forest has changed quite a bit… glancing back at the info card that floats in my vision, I see a warning label that clearly reads out in red capital letters; DANGER

“You wanna go there, don’t you.” she states. It isn’t a question either.

“Mm… You’d be correct on that one.” looking back down at her, I continue. “But I’m not just gonna leave you here either.”

“We can go if you want. Honestly, I didn’t have any place in mind, I was just passing through town.” she suggests.

I raise an eyebrow at her. “You sure? That place is dangerous.”

She raises an eyebrow at me. “I thought you almost killed Princess Celestia. This forest is what scares you?”

“Alright you, if you’re so sure. We can talk at the castle then. Kill two birds with one stone.” I say as I start walking.

“I thought the phrase was ‘feed two birds with one scone.’” she questions.

“Bah, eat my diction.” I quip.

Giggling at my snarky remark, she starts walking ahead of me towards the forest. Shaking my head, I do a quick jog to catch up to her, and resume walking by her side.

For the bravery she was showing, it was quickly becoming apparent how much of an act it was. It started off small, walking closer to me than before, then a slightly anxious posture. Next was the shifty eyes, snapping toward any sound in the forest. One time she even bumped into me and yelped aloud, startling even me with the sudden noise.

Letting out a sigh, I stop and look at her with my arms crossed. “I told you we didn’t have to come in here if you didn’t want to.”

“I’m fine!” she says defensely. “It’s just… the Everfree is unnatural. It gets to you rather quickly.”

I crouch down and boop her, to which her face scrunches up cutely. “You ain’t gotta act tough ya know.” I get up and keep walking, throwing a careless hand into the air. “Besides, I’m scarier than anything we’re gonna find in this forest.”

She hurries along to keep pace with me, still on edge, and keeping even closer to me than before.

As we follow the path, I figure I could take her mind off being in the forest before she has a panic attack or something. “So, what’s buggin ya? You never did tell me.”

She looks up at me. “I thought we were gonna talk at the castle?”

I raise an eyebrow. “I don’t see why we can’t talk now. Unless you’re purposely avoiding the topic?”

She huffs and gets a rather annoyed look. “I’m not avoiding anything.”

“Then what, pray tell, was bothering you so much that you were just passing through town with no destination in mind?”

She stops and sighs. “Alright, I am avoiding it… I’m just… trying to gather my thoughts in a way I can express them. Not used to talking to others about anything.”

“Pft; yeah, I’m right there with ya sister.”

She gives me an accusatory look. “And how would you know?”

I cross my arms and give her a hard look. “Uh, hello? Stuck in stone for two thousand years? Conscious for about half of it? I think I know damn well what it’s like to not talk to others.” I state just a tad bit too harshly, as she flinches back from me. I sigh. “Sorry. Guess we’re both out of touch when it comes to friendship.”

I start walking and pat her on the head as I walk by her, mussing up her hair. “Come on, let’s keep going. It shouldn’t be too much farther.”

She follows. “I promise we’ll talk when we actually get to the castle, okay?”

I smirk. “I’m holding you to that.”


The rest of the way was walked in silence, and we approach the ruins of an old town. Old wooden posts, stone bricks, old cobblestone paths with cracks and grass growing through it. I look around, taking in sight.

“Huh… so this is where everyone lived. It’s smaller than I thought it would be.” I say.

“Well to be fair, it has been a thousand years since anypony’s inhabited this area. On top of that, when abandoning an area, ponies tend to take down their houses for materials. So it’s pretty safe to say that this is about half of what the outer town actually was.” Starlight explains.

“Mm… that makes sense. And there’s been plenty of time for nature to reclaim the land. So I shouldn’t be surprised… but I still am… wish I could have seen this place in its full glory.”

Scratching my neck as I walk, I add on as an afterthought. “Though to be fair, If I could have, I’d probably be the reason why it is the way it is now.”

“Why’s that?” Starlight questions.

I chuckle. “I don’t think I cared enough about Luna back then; I was too angry. Though I guess it does depend on how far along I was in my imprisonment.”

“...Why do you care about Princess Luna anyways? No offense.”

I let out a sigh. “She was the only one who cared about me, and thought I didn’t deserve what happened to me. Starswirl cared a bit as well, but that’s only because Luna asked him to help her free me. Honestly I don’t think she’d have been able to stop me from killing her sister back then even if she was able to free me. Reason she was able to stop me a couple of days ago was because I was in so much shock at having found her again… I thought she was gone forever. I didn’t want to lose that.”

“... So… what did happen to you? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“... Celestia and Luna used the elements of harmony on me; turned me to stone. There’s more to it than that, but I don’t want to get into it right now. Maybe I’ll tell you the full story in the future.”

With that, I continue making my way to the castle itself. Arriving at the gate, I barely nudge it and it falls off the hinges completely. “Dunno what I was expecting honestly.” looking up at the ruins of the castle proper, I glance off to the right. “See that building there?” I ask, pointing to said building, which is dilapidated like the rest, but at least still standing. “That was Starswirl's school of magic. Dunno if there’s anything still there.” looking directly across from the school, I scowl. “And that’s the castle garden. Wasn’t much, but it was where I stood.”

Walking over to it, I slow my stride and look around the area. “It’s so different…”

A sharp pain stabs at my mind, bringing me to my knees. Images flash through my mind, all of my time standing here. The mortar strikes from when Sombra attacked. The two guards fighting in the dueling circle. Various snippets of conversations that have happened in front of me. I can feel myself struggling to breath, as if I’ve forgotten how to again. Curling up on my side, shaking, I can feel myself pushing my arms against my chest, my heart beating a million miles a minute.

I’m snapped from it all when I feel something collide with my face. Still shaking, I turn, and see Starlight standing over me, her hoof raised to smack me again. I take a moment to calm my breathing, and try to get my heart rate back to normal.

Sitting cross legged, I continue looking at her. “S-sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

She looks at my with a bit of concern on her face. “I’m not an expert on… whatever you are… but I don’t think that’s healthy.”

“Just a couple of flashbacks… nothing serious.”

“If it was just a flashback, it’d be fine. But you were having a full on panic attack there. Are you sure coming here was a good idea?” she questions.

Looking at the castle, I get up and dust myself off. “Maybe not. But were here now anyways. Come on, lets go explore what’s left of the castle. Find somewhere still intact that we can sit down and talk in. sound good?”

She gives me an annoyed look, but nods. “Alright, but if you have another panic attack, I’m dragging you away from here.”

I shrug and walk into the castle itself.

Upon walking into the throne room, I get another flashback, this one not nearly as debilitating as the previous one. Visions of my time spent in the throne room when Luna refused to leave. The fight between her and her sister. I grab my head and shake it all off, hoping Starlight doesn’t notice.

Spoiler, she did. But since it wasn’t as bad as last time, she merely gives me a skeptical look but says nothing.

I find myself wandering the halls on the bottom floor, seeing as what’s left of the higher up floors doesn’t look stable at all. There really isn’t much to see; some shreds of tapestry, busted up pedestals, ripped up rug covered in dirt, entire chunks of floor missing, etc.

After numerous dead end halls and empty rooms, I find a dark stairwell leading down underground. Heading down it, I hear Starlight speak up from behind me. “Do you even know where that leads?”

Turning back to look at her, I shake my head. “Nope. But adventure calls! Besides, I never knew much about this castle, despite being here for so long. Don’t tell me you aren’t curious about what’s down here.”

She shuffles side to side with indecision clearly written on her face. I’m about to try and say something else to try and convince her, but it seems I don’t have to as she shakes her head and starts descending the stairs, using a spell to light up the area with her horn. Not that I need it, but she probably does. I nod and keep going down myself. “I call dibs on the first thing I see that I want though.”

I nod. “Assuming there even is something down here worth wanting.”

Upon reaching the bottom, I’m a little confused. I see a pathway, but overlapping it I also see a stone brick wall that matches the rest of the stairwell. I’m more confused when Starlight speaks up.

“A stairwell that leads to nothing? What’s the point of that?”

I continue to look at the path, and close my left eye. Doing so, the path disappears. Swapping eyes, now with my right eye closed instead, I clearly see the path.

“It isn’t a dead end. It’s an illusion.” I state, walking up to the path and putting my hand on the fake wall. Pushing on it, it takes a moment before I fall through it, to which Starlight gives a yelp of fear.

“Null!”

I call back after getting my footing. “I’m fine! I told ya, it was an illusion. Just do what I did.”

A moment later, I see her phase through the wall as well. She looks back at the illusionary wall, raises an eyebrow. “That’s a pretty strong illusion… must have been cast by the princesses themselves.” she turns to me. “How did you know it was an illusion?”

I point to my left eye. “Well, I was able to see right through it with my left eye. Only my left eye though, that’s why I was confused. It looks really weird. On top of that, a stair well that leads to nothing? Kinda hard to believe.”

Hiking her eyebrow even higher, she looks at my left eye. “You can see through illusions? What else can that thing do?”

That thing, is my eye thank you very much. And as for what else it can do, a couple things. But in terms of just normal eyesight, it seems it’s just really enhanced and unaffected by anything. So… yeah.” I say with a shrug. Looking down the hall, I see it leads to a room, it’s content hidden behind a door. Walking to the door, I open it and find a room filled with various things. Weapons, artifacts of various kinds, books, potions, etc.

Starlights eyes light up like a christmas tree, and immediately darts into the room and starts looking through the stuff. I shake my head and follow her in, looking through the various things.

I don’t know what any of these potions are, so I decide to just grab a couple and stick them in my bag, for curiosity’s sake. Looking over at the unicorn, I see her nose deep in an unmarked book. “What’s the book about?”

She looks up at me with a wide grin and a glint in her eye. “This is a book detailing Starswirl's research into forbidden magic, and magic that was lost overtime! Do you know how much I could learn from this?!”

I raise an eyebrow. “You sure it’s a good idea to be learning forbidden magic?”

She immediately closes the book and hugs it tightly to her chest. “Hey, I called dibs on the first thing I wanted. You’re not taking this from me.” she says defensively.

Raising my hands in a placating manner, I motion for her to calm down. “You can keep it or burn it for all I care. Just saying, it’s probably forbidden for a reason. Just don’t do anything stupid with it, like mess up the flow of time or something, okay?” I say jokingly.

She chuckles awkwardly. “Hehe, yeah…”

I look at her for a moment before my eyes widen. “WAIT THERE’S ACTUALLY A TIME TRAVEL SPELL IN THERE?!”

She winces at my tone, but hesitantly nods.

I sigh and really contemplate if I should let her keep it. “Tell you what. You can keep it. But don’t use the dangerous spells in there, like the aforementioned time travel. You mentioned there was lost magic in there?”

She nods. “Yeah, stuff that just sorta got lost over time. Not all of it’s dangerous.”

“I’ll take your word for it, because I don’t feel like trying to recall what I know about magic.” I state as I go to the books. Sifting through them, I find a particular blue book. Raising an eyebrow, I open it up and after glancing through its contents, I hand it to Starlight. She takes it, albeit confused.

Apparently it was his notes on magic in general. Shortcuts to make almost all spells more magic efficient, more effective, etc.

I also find a book about the potions that I took. Flipping through it and comparing the potions I took, I find myself putting a couple back, as they are either useless or something so dangerous I don’t feel okay with carrying. The potions I kept along with the others I took to replace the ones I put back, are just a couple healing potions, pain nullifiers, stamina and strength boosters. Each last about a half hour, except the healing potion since it works differently. I decided to keep the book as well in case I ever wanted to get into potion making.

Looking around the room, my eyes fall on the weapons. I walk over to them as Starlight continues going through the books. Most look to be either made for ponies, or too big for me to even use properly. Cursing my youthful body, I glance over to the smaller weapons. Assorted versions of crossbows and daggers. I decide to just take a dagger, seeing as a crossbow would be useless to me. The dagger I grabbed at random is strange. Instead of a simple double edged blade, it’s got teeth cut into it and a blade on the other side. Shrugging, I strap it to my bag and decide I’m done here.

Looking over at Starlight, I see most of the books are gone. “Where did the books go?” I question.

She looks over and smiles. “Pocket dimension! Glad I found that spell early.”

I roll my eyes. “Well then you can read them all at your own leisure. Come on, let’s get out of here.”

I jump out of my skin when I hear a voice I wasn’t expecting. “Yes, you should get out of here, shouldn’t you.”

Turning to face the entrance of the room, standing there, is Princess Luna, along with Skyline.

And she does not look happy.

“...Shit…”

Cache and Trust

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Silence ensues in the room as me and Luna stare at each other, Skyline keeping a close eye on Starlight, making her shrink under his scrutiny. My eyes flick from Luna to Skyline, then back to Luna, waiting to see if either of them will say anything.

After they don’t for an extended amount of time, I decide to break the silence myself. “I really need to put a bell on you. What are you doin’ here anyways?”

Luna maintains her clearly not amused look, and purses her lips. “I could ask you the two the same thing; you were to remain in Canterlot, under Skylines watch. Then I receive a report from him that you just vanish into thin air towards Twilight's residence, to which the next morning you were no longer there. I was too busy to come retrieve you at the time. And as for you,” she says while turning her attention to Starlight. “While it’s not illegal to visit these ruins, I must ask you return what you found here. Same goes to you Null. This room was not meant to be found, and was purposefully hidden by magic to prevent others from finding it.”

Starlight lets out an ‘awe’ when told she had to return the stuff we found. I on the other hand, crossed my arms. “Why should we? We found them fair in square. It was left here; so obviously you didn’t care if they were found. And if you did, why didn’t you move them to Canterlot?”

Luna seems to be irritated by my words. “Because we thought the natural protection of a forest nobody enters would be secure enough. It seems to have worked well enough, considering nobody has found this place in over a millenia. As for why you can’t keep what you found, that is because this room is a collection of all that’s left of Starswirl’s work.”

I purse my lips. “That’s hardly an apt reason. Lemme give you a rundown of all we got, hm? A dagger, a book that explains the potions over there, a few of said potions, while she got a stack of books. There's plenty more dangerous things in this room, and you know it.”

She glares at me for a moment before letting out a sigh of defeat. “Fine. you may keep a select few items you found, but not all of them. Some of that information is too dangerous to be let out into the world. Specifically, that potion book from you.” she then turns to Starlight. “Please show me the books you took and I’ll take the ones you cannot have.”

Starlight nods enthusiastically and does as she’s asked, obviously excited that she gets to keep some of her loot. Her expression gets continuously less and less enthusiastic when Luna takes well over half the books, leaving her with about seven books, when she originally had around forty.

Luna puts the other books back, and gives the room another lookover. “Do keep in mind, if I catch wind of you using the knowledge found in those books for malicious purposes, I will place you in the castle dungeon.” She turns to me. “As for you, you’re coming back with us to Canterlot. Say goodbye to your friend.”

I look at her a bit miffed, but don’t fight it, figuring I already pushed my luck far enough with this room. I turn to Starlight and just shrug. “I guess I’ll see ya around. Stop by the castle and we can hang out later; Still never got to talk much.”

She nods and smiles a bit. “I’ll be sure to do that.”

Luna watches us for a moment, before she clears her throat. “What is your name miss?”

Starlight turns to Princess Luna and answers without missing a beat. “Starlight Glimmer.”

Luna nods and looks to Skyline. “Skyline, escort Starlight Glimmer out of the forest, back to Ponyville.”

Skyline nods and motions for Starlight to follow him, which she does. Luna just stands there waiting for them to leave.

I raise an eyebrow at her, and when they are gone, I take the bait. “What is it?” I ask.

“Just mulling over the fact you made a friend that fast. Despite you leaving Canterlot without permission, I’m proud.” she explains.

I cross my arms again. “That’s another thing. Since when were you my mother? If I’m going about this correctly, you’re only a handful of years older than me. Why should I have to listen to you?”

She looks at me frustrated, and takes a calming breath before answering. “Because if our friendship isn’t enough for you to trust my decision to keep you in Canterlot, remember that I am a Princess of this land. I want to trust you Null, I really do. But please, you have to cooperate with me.”

I eye her for a moment before walking up to her and placing a hand on her shoulder, crouch down, and look her in the eye. “Trust is a two way street. Remember that.” I then stand up and motioned to the door.

She shakes her head. “It will be easier to just teleport back. Prepare yourself, most don’t do well with teleportation.”

I roll my eyes and do nothing. I’ve teleported before. It isn’t that bad.

She then nods and casts a spell. In an instant, I feel myself being pulled and squished at the same time, while somehow feeling like I’m being pulled through a tiny hole, along with a general sense of queasiness. It’s all over in less than a second, and I find myself on my knees in Luna’s bedroom. “What the blazes was that!? I can teleport myself, and it feels nothing like that!” I exclaim when I get over the small amount of sickness.

Luna raises an eyebrow. “Perhaps your method is different from ours. You’ll be fine in a minute or two; besides, you get used to it after a few times.”

I crawl my way onto the bed and sit on the edge of it. “How did you even find us anyways? As you put it, I vanished into thin air.” I ask.

“That illusional barrier you passed through. As soon as you crossed it, I along with my sister were alerted. I decided to investigate since I was already close by looking for you. What were you doing there anyways? And why did you leave last night?” she explained then questioned.

“I was walking with Starlight and saw the forest’s name. I wanted to see the castle I was stuck at for so long for myself. As for last night, I was a bit drunk and wound up at Twilight’s place. She let me sleep there, I woke up and left early, and bumped into Starlight.” I explained and flopped back onto the bed.

"and why did you decide to drink? from what I remember, Skyline tried to tell you no."

"I wanted to ease my nerves, and not think for a while; something I can’t really stop myself from doing most of the time. Of course though, I didn’t handle it too well. I didn’t get sick, thanks to Twilight, but I definitely wasn’t myself.” I stated.

Luna sits next to me. “Oh? Then in what way did you not handle it well?”

I poke her. “Because I’m a childish drunk. I blinked all the way from here to Ponyville because I saw something shiny. Said shiny thing happened to be Twilight’s window because the lights were on. She and her friends were having a little party and I was in too much pain to even think about trying to blink back. That’s how I ended up staying the night at Twilight’s place, and from what I remember, I was pretty childish there too.”

She mulls over my words for a moment. “Skyline mentioned your method of teleportation has the same drawbacks as your other ability?”

I nod, then wave my hand in a ‘sorta’ motion. “Its situational. If I time it right and use it before something tries to hurt me, there's no drawback. Its stupid, but better than not having it be that way. The pain seems based on distance.”

Luna nods and lets out a yawn.

I chuckle a bit. “Tired?”

She nods. “I’m normally asleep by now. These past few days I haven’t been on my regular schedule, so my sleep pattern has been disturbed.”

I roll my eyes then take off my backpack and place it at the foot of the bed, and get up and head for the door. “Go ahead and sleep then. I’ll just walk around. Don’t worry, I won’t leave the castle.”

She looks at me for a moment with a look. No kind of look in particular, just… a look.

“You never told me to stay in Canterlot last time. This time I’m telling you I will. Trust.” I say.

She lets out a sigh, takes her regalia off, then flops onto the bed and curls up in her bed in a very unprincess like manner. I chuckle quietly at the display, and quietly leave the room. Finding myself out in the hall, I look both ways before picking a random direction and heading out.

Boredom and Recollections

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Turns out, despite this place being such a huge castle, there isn't actually much to do in it. At least not that I found. Sure, every place has a purpose; the food court, the barracks, the guest room halls, the offices, etc. etc.

But not much to actually do in said places, as they all have a purpose, which isn't entertainment. Understandably so, the country has to run somehow.

The glares the guards keep sending my way don't help either. Sure, I nearly killed a few of them but that was just to get them to back off before they did something stupid. I'd rather take them out of the fight while I'm still in control than accidentally kill them out of reaction, and I'm sure they'd prefer it that way too. It was probably a bit too far, but I had murder on the mind anyways. They're lucky I only wanted Celestia.

God that name leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I didn't even actually say it. To be fair though, my thoughts have been my only form of expression for the longest time, so it's still weird to actually have a physical reaction to my thoughts.

Back to the now though, I'm still wandering the halls, looking for SOMETHING to do. I told Luna I'd stay in the Canterlot, so that's what I'll do. However, while the guards may be disciplined enough to not act on their emotions, I can still feel their hateful glares and watchful gazes.

I decide to go back to the balcony I hung out with Skyline at, figuring at least there I could be alone. It takes me a few tries and a few dead ends before I actually found it, but when I did I climbed up on the guard rail and sat down on it, dangling my legs over the ledge. I sit there and let my thoughts pass through my head without interruption.

… I wonder if I'd still take fall damage after blinking…

I look down over the ledge at the seven odd stories below, and quickly decide that I'll not be testing that here. Besides, I'd rather not bleed out my of eye right now anyways.

I suddenly remember that I have something that I've been meaning to check out, and quickly pull out the rectangle thing I have.

I examine it, and discover it's called a phone. Okay, neat. Flipping it over, I see three buttons, which my eye identifies as power, volume up, and volume down. Alright, power… pressing it, the screen lights up and opens to a lock screen which displays an image of a white tribal styled stars. After taking a second to unlock it, it goes to a home screen, displaying a background of the same stars, but now black with a white background. Cool. I glance at the battery percentage, which sits at a flat 50%.

Only reason I'm able to identify anything is because of my eye. Without it, I'd be lost…. Same could be said for allot of stuff in my life actually.

Alright…. Gonna have to find a way to charge this at some point. Deciding to just keep it simple, I decide to look through the gallery. Several folders appear on screen, one of which causes my eyes to widen slightly as I realize what it is; I look around, paranoid that someone was nearby. They weren't, of course.

I didn't remember what a female human looked like, but I sure as hell know what genitals look like.

I can feel a mild blush playing across my face, much to my annoyance. I'm one thousand an-. No wait… two thousand and fourteen years old…I've watched ponies fuck, not that I had a choice in the matter mind you; this shouldn't embarrass me so much. I roll my eyes and look at the other folders, tapping on one of them labeled memes. I get through about thirty of them before I decide to go back. Some of them were funny, others I didn't understand at all. I decide to look through the camera roll, and I'm a little off put by the amount of other humans. After so long of only seeing ponies and animals, I forgot what kind of variation humans can have.

I get a little upset when I realize that those were humans that were in my life back then. People who were important to me; why take a picture otherwise? Pushing my examination a bit further, I figure out who some people were. Mostly friends, mostly the same ones. I stop when I come across a picture of me and what is apparently my family. My mom and dad.

The sad thing is, I don't actually feel anything towards these individuals…. Yeah, I'm upset at having lost them, but I can't remember anything about them. Yeah, my eye can tell me they were good parents, that they loved me. But outside of that, it's like I never knew them.

Something else that catches my attention is the name that associated with me in the image. Jace Ingram Soto. was that my name? Then why did the eye label me as Null when I looked at my reflection...

Am I really such a different person now? So much so that I'm not even deserving of my birth name?

I wipe the tears that's been collecting in my eyes for the past few minutes that I've been staring at this picture, and back out of the camera roll. It's weird, I don't even know why I'm crying.

I inhale deeply through my nose to try and clear the mucus that had gathered, let out a shaky sigh, and look out to the horizon, letting the phone hang loosely in hand.

"Whatcha got there?" An annoyingly familiar voice comes from right behind me. Startled, I end up throwing the phone into the air and it bounces from hand to hand a few times before I narrowly catch it over the ledge.

Securing my grip on it, I let out a sigh of relief and turn to glare at the owner of the voice. "None of your business." I say pocketing the phone.

Upon seeing my face and the evidence that I had been crying, he winces a bit. "Ya all right man?" He asks.

Letting out a sigh, I turn again and look back at the horizon. "I'm fine."

"You don't look fine. Wanna talk about it?"

"If someone says they're fine, they clearly don't wanna talk about what's troubling them. So you tell me." I respond tersely.

He stands there for a moment before hopping up on the guard rail and sitting next to me. "Your friend asked when the next time she'll be able to see you was."

Appreciative for the change the subject, I decide to give him a reply that isn't rude or snide. "And what did you tell her?"

"I told her it's up to her. She's the one who's gotta make the trip to Canterlot. Not an expensive train ride, but she didn't look like she had much to begin with." He replies evenly.

I let out a sigh. "Yeah, it wouldn't be fair to expect someone to give up what little money they have to see you. Especially when we just met."

He looks at me. "Hey, she's the one who asked about you. You seem to have made quite an impression on her."

I scoff. "Either that, she's happy she got to keep some books, or she still thinks I'm a god."

"Yeah, I heard a bit about that. God of luck wasn't it?" He asks, trying to keep the conversation going.

I groan at the prospect of hearing another person say it. "Yeah, I was considered the God of luck. I don't know how many people still know of that, let alone how many of them still believe that after what I did."

"I dunno what to tell you about that. What I can tell you is that you still had a following. Or rather, it was brought back. When your statue was recovered, question was brought up about what you were. The plaque on your pedestal left Celestia pretty much no wiggle room, and she didn't wanna scare anyone. So she ended up telling them about your godhood, but told them that you were merely made in your own image, not that you actually we're the statue." He explains.

"Hmpf… Damage control it would seem. Tell everyone half truths, and give them something else to be happy about so they don't notice the omissions. Typical. Wait, why do you know all this?" I question as I turn to face him.

He shrugs. "I just sorta basic knowledge. Admittedly I did read up on you when Luna tasked me with watching you, but still. Was mostly just refreshers."

I stare at him for a bit, deep in thought. Turning back to the horizon, I let out a sigh. "You know, I'm not ACTUALLY a god, right? I can't just, snap my fingers and make everything right in the world. I can't make you win the lottery or whatever. All this God stuff is just… fake, make believe."

He stays silent for a moment, I assume trying to formulate his thoughts into words. "does that really matter?"

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"Fake god or not, you're still a figure associated with the concept of luck. If it makes people happy, if it gives some a reason to go on, is it really wrong to be what they want you to be?" He goes on to explain.

I actually think hard on that thought. Would it be so wrong? Looking down at the ground, I get a flashback of when the ponies were preparing to launch their assault on Sombra's capital. Thousands of soldiers praying to me. Praying for me to watch out for them, for a safe trip home, for luck on the battlefield, to watch over their families for them in the very likely event that they don't return. Hundreds of voices run through my head, each with a similar request. Would they not have had the same motivation to fight had they not thought I was there for them? Is placebo's really a bad thing? Do they actually work?

The flashback fades, and I'm back on the ledge of the guard rail. My first interactions with Starlight Glimmer comes to mind. 'if your faith in me kept you going, then it wasn't for nothing.' if I helped her just by being a thought in her day, just how many others did I help in the same way?

"Maybe not… but I think it might not matter anymore after what I tried to do to their princess. Opinions will definitely be mixed. And even if they were mostly positive, what am I supposed to tell them? Matter of fact, what would become of Celestia? I tried to kill her, and as you put it, screamed my reasons to the heavens above. I can't just say, 'oh we talked it over and everything cool now'. But I can't make them think I want them to revolt against Celestia either. What would I even wanna do with them anyways? I don't know what I even WANT to do about them. Then there's the diehard Celestia devotee's, who would probably want me killed for trying to hurt their princess. I'm sure no matter what she told them they'd still want me punished. And then there's those caught in the middle of it, those who don't know what to think anymore. Confused that their 'perfect princess' would do such a thing."

He chuckles. "You make it sound as if you care about Celestia."

I scoff. "I don't give a rats ass about her. I care about what she is to the nation. To the world. I need Equestria and the world to function properly to live a normal life here. She controls the sun and helps run the nation. Plus, she's Luna's sister. Anything that happens to her because of me would make her think less of me, so I have to be careful about her for my own interests. But if anything happens to her that isn't my fault, you can bet your ass I won't be doing a damn thing about it."

He tilts his head. "Despite her controlling the sun as you mentioned?"

"She controlled the Moon when Luna was gone. I'm sure Luna could do the same." I say.

"And what if Luna asked you to help Celestia? What would she think if she knew you just let her sister die?" He pressed.

"Just what scenario do you got running in that head of yours?" I snap.

"Say she was in a fight with something. And Luna for whatever reason couldn't go help her, or even if she could, needed you to help as well. Would you?"

I take a moment to think about it. As much as I hate it, Luna really wouldn't forgive me if I said no.

"I'd have no choice but to say yes. I'd only focus on fighting though, Celestia would have to watch her own ass; I'm not gonna throw myself in the way of an attack for her sake. If I do something that inadvertently saves her from an attack, it would be coincidence. But what are the chances of any of that happening? That's worst case scenario. I highly doubt I'll ever be put in that position." I answer.

"On top of that, in case you forgot, I ain't much of a fighter. Our little trounce in the dueling circle can easily attest to that. Hell, had Celestia chosen to fight back when I tried to kill her, I probably wouldn't be here." I tack on.

"It's about what you'd be willing to do. It shows that you care just by saying that you'd do it. At least a little bit; whether you think so or not. Now whether you actually follow through is a different story, but still up to you." He states.

"Tch… whatever. You think what you wanna think man…. Ya know, this is what I meant last night. If I think too much I'll just make myself angry."

"So, what, you're just not gonna think for the rest of your life?" He asks.

"Of course not. Doesn't mean I like it though. I did nothing but think for a thousand years, I'm kinda tired of it." I say.

He remains quiet after that. I don't have anyone else I feel the need to say either, so we settle into a companionable silence.

Suicide Isn't Funny

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After an indeterminate amount of time, I pick myself up and stand on the ledge of the guard rail again.

"Null? What are you doing?" Skyline questions with a hint of apprehension in his voice.

I simply do a couple of stretches, forward and back. I'd be lying if I said I didn't almost lose my balance a few times, but I was able to right myself. "Testing something" I say. "If it doesn't work out, I need someone to go get help. That's where you come in." I vaguely explain.

"That doesn't tell me anything except that you're planning on doing something stupid. The question still remains, what are you doing?" He asks.

I look down over the ledge. "Do you think I fall from this height would kill me?" I ask with a mischievous smirk that he can't see.

I can practically hear his eyes widen; I jump before he gets the chance to grab me, deciding to yell out a random word I found on my phone. "YOLO!"

feeling the wind whipping by my head is actually pretty cool. Admittedly seeing the ground rapidly approaching, I could definitely do without. I can hear Skylines wings beating hard though the air to try and catch up to me and likely grab me, but I ignore it and focus on a point on the ground. Here's hoping this works. If not, well… let's just hope it works.
Preparing a blink, I use it as soon as it's ready, just in case momentum does carry though. Better to fall three stories than seven.

Seeing the ground immediately in front of me was really jarring, and left me little time to prepare for any kind of pain. Thankfully, it was more startling than anything, like falling out of bed; Using my eye hurt more than the actual impact. I roll over and look up into the sky to see Skyline rushing towards me with a worried look on his face. Worried for me or his job, I don't know.

He lands near me, and starts looking over my body for injury, but stops when he sees my smirk and bloodied face, along with my left eye clenched shut. He then just gets a disappointedly annoyed look on his face. I can't help but laugh at his expression, to which he jabs me in the gut rather harshly. "This isn't funny, Null. You could have died and you know it."

I laugh a bit more, rubbing the spot where he nailed me. "Should have, would have, could have, but didn't."

He just gets an angry look on his face. "This isn't a joke! Your life could have ended and you sit here laughing! And for what? What were you even testing?!"

"In case you didn't know, I don't care about death. As if it wasn't obvious. And I was seeing if momentum carried though when I blink. Thankfully, it doesn't." I explain with a careless smile. I get up and start walking towards the gardens.

He runs up alongside me after a moment. "How can you be so casual about playing around with your own life?"

I raise an eyebrow at him. "Uh, because after about… say six hundred years of wanting to die, you sorta stop caring about stuff like that. I'm free now, so I get to live my life, true. But if it were to just end, I wouldn't care. As long as it's not going back to being a statue, I'm fine. And since I'm free, I'm gonna live how I want to, and not having the fear of death makes it all the more fun."

"What about Luna? What about Starlight? You'd just leave them behind?" He presses.

"Nah, they can come along if they want; you can too if your up for it. If not, I'll just haunt you all." I joke.

I glance at him after that comment, and upon seeing his expression of pure discontent, I decide to be a little serious.

"They're reasons to be careful about it. I'll fight death if it comes for me, but on my own terms, I'm not afraid to approach it. I'm not gonna hold back in life just because death is a possibility." I state.

"But-"

"I view life and death differently than you. I've been in and out of insanity. I spent a thousand years unable to do anything I wanted. So now, I'm not gonna let anything hold me back from living how I want." I cut him off, crossing my arms.

"Besides, why do you care? If I die, you go back to your regular work instead of putting up with me for Luna." I question.

"I have my reasons…”

I roll my eyes. "If it makes you feel any better, I was at least careful about it. I was thinking about pulling that stunt before you showed up, but decided to wait till someone would see so they could get help if anything happened."

I hear him muttering loud enough for me to hear. "Careful would have been not trying that at all and finding a saner way to test it."

I raise an eyebrow at that. "Sane? Did you forget who you're talking to?"

After a moment of silence, he shakes his head and decides to do what he normally does. Change the subject. "So why are you going to the gardens?" He asks, the anger still evident in his voice.

"Because I've only ever been able to view a garden from where I was placed. I wanna look around one on my own power for a change." I explain.

He raises an eyebrow at me. “And you’re not gonna destroy anything while you’re there?”

“Of course I’m not, what kind of animal do you take me for?” I respond annoyed. “I have a love hate relationship with gardens at this point. I feel both comfortable and uncomfortable in them, but I don’t exactly feel comfortable anywhere else.” I explain.

“Then why not try to find someplace you do feel comfortable then?” he asks.

Rolling my eyes at his stupid question, I start walking backwards to face him while talking. “Because, if I tried to find a place, I’ll never find one. Comfort is something that you can’t go looking for, it’s something that comes to you. Ya understand?”

He tilts his head at me. “That's an odd way of looking at it… but I guess can see the logic behind it.”

Continuing to walk backwards, I start wiping the blood from my face. Bad timing apparently, because I end up tripping over a rock or something; turning my body around to try and catch myself, I land face first into a small gathering of strange looking blue flowers.

From behind me, I can hear Skyline actually trying to hold back some laughter. Rolling over, I look at him unamused. “Hey, what's got you to change your attitude so quickly?”

He simply smirks and manages to get his laughter under control. “Oh nothing… just remembering a joke is all.”

I scrutinize him a bit, but shrug it off. Getting up, I dust myself off and keep walking through the gardens. “Whatever you say.”

He follows behind me, and I watch the local animals skitter around the garden. I briefly wonder if I stood still long enough if they'd climb on me like all those years ago. I quickly shake the thought from my head with a shudder.

Squirrels. Birds. Various other animals. All of them watch me as I watch them.

I'm a little perplexed when I see a phoenix sitting on a tree branch. My memory catches up with me after a moment, and I remember exactly who that bird belongs to. I feel a bit angry at the reminder, but do my best to ignore the feeling. She didn't do anything. However, I notice that she's watching me intently, as much as I'm watching her.

I walk up to about a few feet from her, and she looks a bit apprehensive, as if she can't decide whether to stay or fly away. I maintain eye contact, and keep staring at her. Skyline follows behind me, curious but keeping his thoughts to himself. After a few minutes of us just staring at each other, I stick my arm out to prompt the bird to come to me.

Her eyes widen a bit, but her expression clearly conveys intrigue. After a brief moment, she comes down from the tree and perches on my arm.

Using a finger to pet her, I'm surprised that I'm not getting burnt. Instead, she's just really warm.

"How'd you do that?" I hear Skyline ask from behind me.

"How'd I Do what?" I ask without looking away from the bird.

"How'd you command Philomena? She doesn't listen to anyone except Princess Celestia and Princess Luna." He elaborates.

I simply shrug. "Who knows. Maybe she's curious about me, maybe she's scared. I can't claim to know how animals think."

He continues to stare in disbelief and amusement.

"Philomena. Prized pet of Princess Celestia herself. And here you are, spying on little ol' me." I say to the firey bird.

She shakes her head at me.

"So you're not spying on me for Celestia?"

Another shake. "Then what are you doing, hmm?"

She spreads her wings in a silly way, making it look like she's shrugging, eliciting a small chuckle from me. I lower and lift my arm, promoting her to fly away. I let my arm fall to my side as I watch her leave.

"Well that was a strange encounter." I state.

"I'll say. She didn't attack you or get defensive or anything." Skyline says.

"She's a smart cookie. She knows that I could destroy her if I was that petty about her owner. Probably doesn't wanna push her luck." I muse.

"Null, don't."

"I'm not gonna, I'm just saying it might be why she behaved the way she did."

He lets out a sound of aknowledgement, and I walk towards the edge of the platform that holds up the castle, and look out across the countryside dotted with various towns and settlements.

I feel myself get yanked back, forcing me to take a few steps back, and I look down at the perpetrator. "What'd you do for?" I ask annoyed.

He keeps a grip on my shirt, somehow, and shakes his head. "I can't trust you near ledges anymore. Regardless of your eye, you can still mess up and die."

I roll my eyes. "You know, holding me like that wouldn't stop me anyways."

"No, but unless you want to be required to wear an eyepatch, I suggest you cooperate." He says with what I assume is supposed to be some sort of authoritative tone, but it just doesn't sound right with his voice.

"If you force an eyepatch on me I'll put you in a wing binder." I threaten. "My eye is to me as your wings are to you; A part of me, who are you to take that away?"

"Unlike you, my wings don't make me a danger to myself or others." He answers.

I cross my arms and raise an eyebrow at him. "Says the one trained by Luna herself."

"My point stands. I'm a potential danger because of my training, not my wings. Difference is, I use it to protect others. You just want to run around and do whatever." He explains.

I let out a sigh, not really feeling like arguing with him anymore. Deciding to change the subject, I look back out to the countryside. "What's it like training under princess Luna anyways?"

"What? Why?" He questions.

I shrug. "I'm just curious is all."

He lets out a sigh and a slight shudder. "She's brutal… but effective. You remember how she told you that the crescents embrace difference? Well, everyone's difference is part of their own individual training. She identifies our difference and challenges it. Does everything she can too suppress it. That's just the mental half of it. We almost never got a moment to rest. Wake up, morning routine, then physical training, which encompasses anything physical we learned, not just exercise, all day with only lunch as a break. One day a week we had a class that she assigns each of us one on one with her, where she'd teach us things that I can't really tell you about. Dinner comes around, which was strange in and of itself."

"Why was it strange to eat dinner?" I ask, genuinely interested in how Luna does things.

"Because Luna would join us from time to time and actually get to know us. She'd refuse to talk about training during it. Still don't know why she does it…"

He stares at the ground and shakes his head after a moment. "After dinner, it was back to bed. But it never ended there. She'd continue our training in our dreams. Creating scenarios for us to try to adapt to, sparring with the intent to kill, putting us through our fears, and fighting us herself. She never told us what each night would hold. So, as I said, we almost never got a moment to rest. And even then, our training never really ends. She'll drop in our dreams whenever she feels like it to keep us sharp." He finishes.

I stand there, taking in all the information. "Interesting. That's very interesting…"

He shrugs. "I guess. I don't see how it is, but no harm if you think it is."

Just then, I hear a familiar voice clearing her throat behind me. I turn to look behind me and see Luna standing there, looking much more well rested. Skyline let's go of me and bows to her, getting a nod in return. I glance back at the ledge, half tempted to jump off just to spite Skyline, but decide against it.

"What have you two gotten up to?" Luna asks.

Before I can get a word out, Skyline says the dumbest thing he could have said. "Null here tried to kill himself today."

Even worse was that he gave no context. Luna eyes widen in shock at the sheer bluntness and implications to what he just said.

I, on the other hand, just groan. "I did not!"

Before I can even try to explain, he says the second dumbest thing ever. "He jumped off the balcony, Princess."

Luna's eyes flick back and forth from Skyline to me.

I roll my eyes and turn to Skyline fully. "I told you I was testing something, and it worked. Look at me, I'm fine!" I even make a show of jumping around to make my point.

Before he can say anything, Luna stamps her hoof to get our attention.

"Skyline, you may leave a fully detailed report on my desk at your earliest convenience. Dismissed."

He nods and walks away back to the castle.

She then fixes me with a look. "You and I are going to have a talk about this."

I can only think two words. God damnit.

Playing With My Emotions

View Online

I stand there waiting until Skyline disappears from view, then face Luna completely. "For the record, I wasn't trying to kill myself." I start off with.

"Skyline has no reason to lie about such a thing. Why would he say that if you didn't?" She presses.

"I said it before, I was testing something. I wanted to see if momentum carries through when I blink. It doesn't, I'm standing here perfectly fine, all is good in the world." I explain.

"And you thought the best way to test that was to jump off a balcony? What on Equis were you thinking Null? Three to four stories is considered a lethal fall. The lowest floor we have balconies on are the seventh floor. What would you have done if your momentum did carry through? What then?" She admonishes.

I simply shrug and cross my arms. "Then I guess I'd die." I say bluntly and without remorse.

She stands there, breathing deeply to keep herself calm and collected.

"Look Luna-" this time, I'm the one getting cut off.

"No, you look Null, you may not care about your own life, but there are others that do. And not just me. I know you care more about others than yourself, but you aren't thinking about those others feelings. Even those who don't like you, they don't want to see you dead." She rants.

"Others care about me? Name one besides yourself." I interject.

She raises an eyebrow at the challenge, maintaining her serious expression. "Skyline."

It's now my turn to raise an eyebrow. "Skyline? That's a load of bull and you know it. He only babysits me because you tell him to. He only tried to stop me from jumping because it's his job."

"Skyline has his own reasons as to why he tried to stop you, though it's not my place to say what they are. If you tried to make friends with him you'd probably find out yourself one day. He cares about you as much as he cares about everyone else." She states.

I purse my lips. "Name another." I challenge.

"Starlight Glimmer." She shoots back.

"We just met today. Hell, you only met her for a moment, how would you know anything about her?" I question.

"One, she followed you into the Everfree Forest. Most ponies wouldn't even follow their best friends into such a place. Two, you must be blind if you failed to see the way she looked at you. Believe you me, she cares about you." She states as if it was fact.

What's that supposed to mean? I cross my arms. "Just how many people care about me then, hmm?"

"Aside from Skyline and Starlight, the element bearers. Probably not nearly as much as the ones I previously mentioned, but you have hardly spent any time with anyone. Myself, Starlight, Skyline, and even Celestia have reasons as to why we care. My point is, you haven't even given life a fair chance yet. How can you expect anyone to care if you haven't even taken the time to meet anyone, let alone get to know them?"

I purse my lips and chew on her words for a moment. She does have a point.

After I don't respond, she continues speaking. "I know what you're going through Null; Your first life was taken from you. Mine was too. When I returned and was freed from Nightmare Moon, I felt lost. Nothing was as I once knew, nobody knew me. Everything felt familiar but foreign at the same time."

She looks out across the countryside like I had. "I admit, there were times when I felt like giving up. But I didn't. I gave everyone the chance they gave me, and now I'm on top of my life again, and have reason to keep on top of it."

She looks back at me. "Give it time Null. You may not feel the need to care for yourself right now, but you have to take that initiative so others get the chance to care as well."

I stare at her evenly for another moment. Once again, she's got a point. And if she did it, why can't I?

Letting out a sigh, I turn away from her. "Fine. I'll try a little harder to stay alive, okay? Happy now?"

Instead of responding with words, she catches me off guard with a hug. I awkwardly put my arms around her and reciprocate the gesture. After a moment, she lets go of me and backs away.

"So, you came down here for a reason. What was it."

"I came to collect you for dinner. You're not exactly on any schedule, so I figured I'd get you in the habit of one, however many things are on that schedule aside." She smiles. "As well as to thank you for keeping to your word and staying on the castle grounds."

I cross my arms but a smile creeps onto my face anyways. I motion for her to lead the way, which she does. Following behind her, a question pops into my head. "Hey Luna. Not that I'm complaining, but I'm surprised you let me keep that dagger. Mind if I ask why?"

She responds as she walks. "Because there's nothing special about it aside from it's design and material, so it isn't nearly as dangerous as the rest of what was there. It's a defensive tool more than it is a weapon. That's why I let you keep it. Plus, it's technically a legal blade anyways, just not common due to how difficult they are to make."

"Huh… how's it a defensive tool?" I ask, genuinely curious. Might as well know what I got.

"That dagger is called a sword breaker. The teeth are designed to catch an opponent’s blade and either lock it in place or break it all together, allowing you an opening. Was designed by unicorns from what I remember of it." She lectures.

I don't have any time to ask any other questions as she opens the door to the dining room, revealing Celestia sitting at the end of the table, alone this time.

I feel the familiar trigger again, but I shake my head before I can act on it. I follow Luna in and sit down next to her, and stare at the empty chair in front of me. I hear Luna and Celestia talking idly to each other, but I ignore their words, and they don't try to include me in their conversation. Smart choice honestly, as I'm doing everything I can to keep myself in check.


Dinner went by without incident, and I managed to not have to say a word. Hooray for small miracles. Right now I'm following Luna through the halls. I still haven't learned the layout of this place, but she's slowly teaching me. Apparently each section is numbered, which makes things a bit easier to memorize. What doesn't help is how MANY sections there are. I digress through. She leads me to a door in the guest hall and motions to it.

"I figured you'd appreciate a room of your own." She says simply.

I nod. "Well, I can't just keep using your room forever." I say evenly, not moving.

She watches me then stifles some giggles and motions to the door again. "This is your room, silly."

…"I knew that." I say as I open the door, ignoring Luna's continued giggling. I find my bag is on the desk to the side of the room, but aside from that, it looks like a regular old castle guest room. Bed, desk, bathroom, window, shiny floors, etc. The plus side is that this room is on Luna's side of the castle, so the architecture more reflects the moon instead of the sun.

Luna seems to be waiting for me to say something, but I really can't think of anything to say. Despite it being clearly a guest room repurposed to be my own, I still feel overwhelmed at the prospect of having a space to call my own. A proper space too, not just a garden pedestal or something akin to that.

She must have taken my silence the wrong way, because her voice takes on a hint of worry. "Is something wrong? Is it not to your liking?"

I focus on her more than the room and shake my head. "N-no, it's not that at all. I'm just…overwhelmed. Speechless. I wasn't expecting anything like this."

A wave a relief washes over her face and she smiles. "What, did you think I'd make you stay in the gardens?"

"I'd really rather not. I'm still not sure how I feel about gardens anymore." I say while rubbing my arm awkwardly.

She chuckles. "I wouldn't do that to you. If I remember correctly, you said I'd have to kill you before you let that happen anyways."

My eyes go a bit wide at that. "Never expected to hear a pony talk about murder so casually, let alone in a joking manner." I say with my arms crossed.

She sits down as she speaks. "Well, while I'm not exactly a fan of it, death is no stranger to me, be it intentional or not. Part of being immortal and having to defend your home from those who would seek to destroy it and cause even more death." She says in more a somber tone.

I understand exactly what she means too. I've watched ponies grow from infancy to adulthood, then to elderly, then to their death. Past that, I've seen what she's had to do to uphold her kingdom.

I rub the back of my head. "I guess I sorta forgot you were an immortal princess for a moment."

She nods and we delve Into a comfortable silence. I spend another minute or two checking out my new room, before I let out a yawn.

"Tired?" She asks in a teasing voice.

I simply nod.

She gets up and heads for the door. "I'll let yo-" I cut her off by blinking in front of her and enveloping her in a hug. Sure it hurt to do it, but it doesn't hurt that badly since it's such a small distance, and is outweighed by the desire to give her a hug, if only to show my appreciation if nothing else.

She's caught off guard, but quickly returns the hug with a smile. "You're welcome, Null."

After a moment, I let her go and she exits the room. "Have a good night, Null." She says as she closes the door.

I watch the door for a moment before I flop onto the bed and melt in the comforter. I kick off my shoes, but struggle with the socks, forcing me to get up and do it with my hands. Tossing them to the ground next to my shoes, I crawl under the blankets and almost immediately fall asleep.

It isn't as good as Luna's bed, but man this is still really good.


POV: Rarity

I was peacefully sleeping when I'm woken up from my beauty sleep from the sound of some shuffling around within my own boutique. Normally, I'd just assume it was Sweetie Belle, but she isn't this loud, nor does the alarming sound of objects clattering accompany her morning routine.

I slowly rise and listen carefully, and I can more clearly make out what I can confirm is coming from downstairs. "What in Equestria is causing all that racket?" I mutter to myself.

Removing my sleep mask, I hop out of bed and with a bit of trepidation, quietly walk down the hall and then the stairs. Only the downstairs lights are on, which tells me that it's likely not my sister causing this noise. Reaching the midpoint of the stairs, I can finally see onto the main showroom floor, and what I see both surprises and irritates me.

I see what I recognize as Null, going through my dresses, tossing them about and mumbling to himself. Deciding to make myself known in my own home, I clear my throat loudly. Null stops what he's doing, and turns to face me. I'm severely caught off guard when I notice his eye is a different color. Instead of it's normal turquoise, it's a deep green color. Another thing that stands out, is his expression; he just seems… very critical.

"Oh, Rarity, fancy seeing you here." He says evenly.

"I could say the same to you. Mind telling me why you're making a mess of my shop?" I ask annoyed.

"I'm going through and judging your work. You should be ashamed of yourself for making such gaudy and mediocre articles of clothing. I mean, honestly, they're all just dreadful. Look at this one for example, the colors match, sure, but it's basic as all hell and just covered in gems to compensate for a lack of actual style." He says as if he actually knows how fashion works.

I can feel my eye twitching, ready to rip him a new one and educate him in the art of the dress, but think better of it. Something doesn't feel right, and he's unpredictable even in the best of circumstances.

Ignoring his opinions on my amazing work, I continue down the stairs and approach him. "You still never answered my question; Why are you here? From word around town, after you left the sleepover you went to the Everfree with someone, who was then escorted back to town by one of Luna's guards. Shouldn't you be back in Canterlot?" I question.

He takes a few steps back away from me for some reason. "First off, keep your distance and don't touch me. While you're probably the cleanest one around here, I still don't want your germs." He visibly shudders, much to my offense.

"Second, I saw this building and wanted to see what kind your work was like. Unfortunately, I'm disgusted with your work. Everything is so inconsistently repulsive that I can't let it stand. So I've taken it upon myself to dispose of them." He explains as if it was normal.

I can feel my eye twitch again. And again. And again.

"You'll not be doing anything of the sort!" I exclaim.

"Why not? Come on you can't tell me you're actually proud of these atrocities! It's an affront to the eyes!" He States as if it's fact, as if he has the authority to deem such things. He then continues piling the clothes onto the floor.

I can feel something snap and I give up trying to deal with this myself. I pick him up in my magic and start carrying him outside towards Twilight's library. She and Spike can get a letter to Princess Luna to come collect Null. He's acting severely out of hoof.

He struggles in the air in my magical grasp. Yelling various things at me that I tune out.


POV: Applejack

I had just gotten done bucking a tree when I hear some rustling from behind me. Turning around quickly, I see a head dart behind a tree. It's not anyone I recognize, and I'm quick to try and figure out who it is.

"Alright, you been caught. Come on out now and we can both go about our days." I call out as I slowly approach the tree. "You have until I get there to come out. It'll be easier on both of us if you just give yourself up, I already saw you."

I get to and round the tree, and was about to chew out whoever was trespassing, when I see that it's Null. He's standing still, staring off into the distance, barely even breathing, as if he's pretending to be a statue. Another thing that throws me for a loop is his eye; It's purple. "Null? What are you doing here? And what's with your eye?"

He remains where he is, staring off into the distance still. I reach out and tap him, to which he yelps and jumps away, falling and backing away from me until his back is up to a tree again.

I raise an eyebrow with a confused look on my face, and I slowly bring my hoof back down to the ground.

"What's gotten into you? You're jumpier than a jack rabbit, Null." He just continues to breath sporadically, staring at me in what looks like fear.

why would he be afraid of me?

I approach him slowly. "Calm down Null, it's just me. I ain't gonna hurt ya, I promise." I say in as much a soothing tone as I can. I get to him and put my hoof on his knee.

"A-Applejack?" He shakily gets out.

I nod. "Now why don't you tell me what's got you so spooked, hmm?"

He looks away from me, his eyes getting a bit hazy. I tap him a bit. "Hey, hey, none of that now. No panic attacks for you, not on my watch. Breath, okay? In, and out."

He hesitantly nods and we go through a few breathing exercises to try and help him calm down. Something's must really got him freaked out, because we sat there for a few minutes before he was calm enough to stop. He still looked paranoid, but not nearly as bad as before.

"There, now you wanna tell me what's wrong?"

"... Memories… Flashbacks… Horrible ones…"

I don't really know what to say, I've never dealt with PTSD. Maybe Twilight might know how to help. Or at least have a book on it. I may not know how I feel about him yet, but he doesn't need to suffer. Specially if what he said about being a statue is true.

"Come on, get up. We're going to get you some help." I help him to his feet and we start walking, him lagging behind and jumping at every little thing.


POV: Pinkie Pie

Today found me just walking down the streets of Ponyville, just enjoying life. It's one of my days off and I just felt like taking a normal stroll! Yep. Totally normal stroll. Nothing special about it. No siree, no other reason at all. You can't prove anything!

Oh look! It's Null! Wonder what he's doing out and about; you'd think he'd be back up in Canterlot. He makes me a bit nervous but I can't let that show. Right now, he seems to be watching a frog.

I walk up beside him and watch with him, interested to see if there's something he sees that I don't. It's usually the other way around, but given his eye, he probably has an advantage over me; for all I know, this frog could actually be an evil wizard in disguise and the only way to keep him in check is to watch him!

The frog hops. Null gasps in surprise. Another hop. Another gasp.

"Fascinating…" I hear him mutter.

"I know right? You should see them croak!" I whisper from beside him.

He jumps a bit and looks at me, surprise evident on his face. Can't blame him, allot of people usually are when I sneak up on them.

"Pinkie Pie! You're so pink!" He exclaims.

I tilt my head and look down at myself. Figuring I'd play along, I act surprised as well. "No way! I totally am!" I look back at him, and notice something. "Oh my gosh, Null, your eye is pink as well!" I say with genuine shock.

He puts his hands to his face, and rushes off to a nearby fountain, and looks into the water, assumingly to look at his reflection.

Running up beside him, I look at our reflections side by side.

"Pinkie!" He exclaims.

"Null!" I shout back.

"My eye is pink like you are!"

"Do you know what that means?!" I ask him.

"What. What does it mean?" He asks, excitement in his voice.

"Your eye matches me! We should show the others!" I suggest.

He then turns to me and grabs me by my shoulders, looking me in the eyes. "Pinkie! There's no time for that, we gotta show the others!" He says.

"You're right! My idea was just silly, but you're on a whole other level! Let's go!"

And off we went. I wonder what everyone else will think.


POV: Fluttershy

I was just finishing wrapping a bandage around a bird's leg when I heard what sounded like crying. I perked up my ears, listening carefully to see if I was hearing things or not. After the crying only got louder, I dismiss the bird, free to return back to his family, and follow the sound into the forest. As much as I don't like this place, I can't ignore someone clearly in distress. They could be hurt!

I don't have to go too deep into the forest to find the source of the crying, but what surprises me is to find Null to be that source. I fly up to him and tap him on the shoulder. "Null? Are you okay? Why are you all alone in the Everfree Forest? And why are you crying?" I ask.

He simply removes his hands from his face and looks up at me, teary eyed, snot dribbling down from his nose. A sight that stands out though, is that his eye is a deep dark blue instead of it's usual light blue.

Instead of responding, he just buries his face back into his palms and keeps crying.

Something must be really upsetting him… maybe some tea would help calm him down. Besides, anywhere is better than this dangerous forest. I hold him by his shoulders and guide him back towards my cottage.

After sitting him down on the couch, he just collapses to his side and keeps crying. I can't even imagine what must be upsetting him to make him like this.

Just as I put the kettle on the burner, I hear a knock at my door.

"Fluttershy? Are you okay in there?" I hear Twilight's voice call from the other side of the door.

I quickly shuffle over to the door and open it. "I'm fine Twilight, it's Null who's in distress. I don't know why though…"

She looks over my shoulder and see's him crying on the couch, oblivious to the rest of the world around him.

She raises an eyebrow. "Well that was easier than expected. Princess Luna sent me a letter saying that he disappeared again, and asked us to check around Ponyville; but I guess you already found him. Where was he?"

I look at him for a moment before turning back to Twilight. "I heard crying in the forest, and I thought someone might be hurt or need help. I was surprised to find it was him. I tried asking him what was wrong, but he wouldn't say anything; I thought some tea might help calm him down. But now I'm not so sure if he's still crying this hard." I explain.

She goes to say something but I cut her off. "There's something else you should know as well. His eye is a different color." I say.

"Really? What color is it now?" She asks, academic curiosity clear in her voice.

"It's a dark blue. I only saw it because he looked at me when I found him. I don't know if he's even aware of it." I answer.

"Hmm… Well, there's nothing for it. If he won't say anything, then maybe Princess Luna can get through to him. Come on, let's get him to the library so Spike can send a letter." She suggests.

As much as I would like to help Null myself, she has a point. Princess Luna would probably have an easier time doing it. I nod, go and pull the kettle off the burner to let it cool, then return and coax Null into a standing position, and guide him to the door.

With a nod to Twilight, she turns and leads the way; crying human In tow.


POV: Rainbow Dash

I'm flying high above the town looking for one troublesome human. Twilight got a letter from the Princess saying he went missing again, and now we gotta find him. Ugh, I swear, he's more trouble than he's worth! I get that Princess Luna knows him, but still. Since he's gotten here, from what I heard, he's done nothing but be a bother.

You'd think he'd stick out like a sore hoof, but I can't see him any-wait… is that. Yep, there he is. Darting down, I come to a stop right in front of him. He catches me off guard when he smiles and starts clapping. Another thing that puts me on edge is that his eye is yellow. Something isn't right…

"That was awesome, Rainbow Dash! Amazing stop." He smiles, does an odd gesture with his hand, and walks past me, humming a tune to himself.

"... What? Hold up." I say as I fly back in front of him. "What's up with you. Why are you being nice to me all of a sudden. Are you drunk again? And why is your eye yellow?" I question.

"Nothing, because I can, no, and no idea." He says as he walks, spinning around with his arms spread, almost like he's dancing.

He's acting strange… Something's up, and imma find out what it is. I fly alongside him. "You know Princess Luna is looking for you, right? You just sorta... left Canterlot. Again."

"I don't doubt it. That's fine though, I'm not doing anything wrong. Just loving life right now."

"That's… Not what I meant."

I'm about to continue with a follow-up but he gasps and runs off. "Starlight! Staaaarrlliiiggghhhtt!" He calls out.

"H-hey!" I call out as I fly after him.

He runs up to a unicorn and picks her up in a hug. This unicorn squeaks, clearly not expecting the hug.

"Null? What are you doing here? I thought you went with Luna back to Canterlot." She asks.

"I'm just living life, Starlight. Just living life. How about you? What have you been up to?" He responds.

"Wait, wait, wait, hold on, time out. You two know each other?" I ask.

"We met a day ago. We talked a bit and uh… Yeah. We kinda know each other? We're friends to say the least." She answers.

"Uh huh… Well, Twilight told me to bring him back to her library if I found him, so that's what I'm gonna do." I say as I grab his arm and start leading him towards the library.

I wasn't expecting this 'Starlight' to follow, but it's not really a problem.


POV: Twilight Sparkle

Me and Fluttershy just got back to the library with Null, but I'm startled when I hear some yelling from inside. Opening the door and walking in, my jaw drops when I see Rarity standing there, with Null held in her magic, yelling and thrashing about.

"Dirty, filthy, fucking, peasants! UNCLEAN!" I hear him yell. I stare, dumbstruck, offhandedly noting his green eye. The crying behind me reminds me of Null, and I turn to face him.

Wait, what?!

I look between the two Nulls, confused out of my mind.

Spike also seems to see what I'm seeing, so I know I'm not going crazy.

Rarity finally notices us as she looks down from the Null she's carrying, and gives me an annoyed smile. "Twilight dear, can you please tell N-..." She trails off as she sees the Null that we brought with us. "I knew something wasn't right." She simply states.

"You can say that again!" I hear Pinkie's voice from behind me. "Twilight! Null's eye is pink like me!" She calls.

"Yeah! It surprised us so much that we just had to show you all!" I hear his voice say.

I turn around and see her bouncing alongside a THIRD Null, this one, like she said, with a pink eye.

Fluttershy for her part just doesn't know what to say. She's looking uneasily between the three Nulls.

"Alright, everyone inside. Let's try and figure this out." Pinkie and the pink eyed Null follow me, Fluttershy, and the dark blue eyed Null inside.

"Hang on now, ya got one more!" Another voice calls just before I close the door.

Opening the door again, I see Applejack with a scared looking, purple eyed Null.

I stare wide eyed at this Null as he shakes and jumps at every little thing going on around him.

"Four Nulls? How is this possible?! This isn't possible! It makes no sense!" I yell, causing the scared Null to jump and hide behind Applejack.

I let out a sigh and motion for them to come inside. I step outside and look at my hoof impatiently.

"Twilight, darling, what are you doing?" Rarity calls from inside.

"You all came here with a different Null. I'm expecting Rainbow to show up with one if the trend is to be followed." I state. As if on queue, Rainbow rounds the street corner with a Null of her own. Not only that, but a pink unicorn as well. I wait for them to get closer before I do anything.

I look at this Null, and see that he's got a big bright smile on his face, and his eye is yellow. I turn my attention to the unicorn. "Are you Null's friend?" I ask.

She nods. "Yeah, sorta. Why?"

"Then you might be able to help. Come on." I say as I walk inside.

"Wait, help with what Twi? I got Null right here, what's the problem?" Dash asks annoyed. I simply motion for her to come inside.

They do, and immediately see the problem. "Oh." She says lamely.


POV: Starlight Glimmer

"Wow… This is bizarre. 5 Nulls… whys that one being restrained?" I ask a bit dumbstruck.

"I had to because he wanted to destroy the dresses that I make for a living, simply because he wouldn't know fashion even if it hit him on the head!" The white unicorn, who I recognize as Rarity, Element of Generosity, says, directing the last part at the Null held in her magic.

I know a bit about these six because I had to account for them for when I was planning to… Well… Do bad things.

"So… not that I don't want to know what's going on here, but how could I possibly help?" I ask.

Twilight was about to say something, but was interrupted by the crying Null, who cried louder for a moment before quieting back down to sniffles and normal crying.

"Oh will someone please shut him up? I'm tired of listening to it!" The green eyed Null said from his spot in the air.

"We could say the same about you bub!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.

The room devolves into a cacaphony of yelling and arguing, and random blurbs from Pinkie and the pink eyed Null. This goes on for a moment before I finally have enough.

"QUUIIIEEEETTT!"
"QUUIIIEEEETTT!"

Me and Twilight stare at each other in surprise at having yelled at the exact same time; but other than that, it works, and everyone stopped they're bickering.

We awkwardly laugh before Twilight clears her throat to address the room.

"Alright. We have 5 Nulls here, each with different colored eyes. What do they all have in common?" She asks everyone.

There's a moment of silence before the green eyed Null speaks up. "I've got nothing in common with them. They're all gross, I couldn't possibly have anything that relates me to them."

The pink eyed Null gasps, the crying one cries harder, the purple eyed one shrinks even further behind Applejack, as he's refused to leave her side since he's gotten here, and the yellow eyed one just seems unphased, continuing to smile.

I raise an eyebrow at this behavior. Why would he say that about himself?

Twilight then poses another question. "Alright, what were they all doing when you each found them?"

Rarity speaks first. "I was sleeping when I heard him making a racket downstairs. When I confronted him he proceeded to insult my work, and said he was going to dispose of it, that I should be ashamed of it. I then picked him up and carried him here, hoping you could help or at least contact the Princess, where I found Spike but not Twilight. I shocked when she showed up with a different Null."

Next is Applejack. "I was just doing some work on the farm when I heard some rustling behind me. I saw what I thought was a trespasser, so I gave them the usual rundown I always do. Turns out, it was this fella." She says motioning to purple. "He had this thousand yard stare, like he'd seen a ghost or something. When I tapped him he got jumpier than a fish outta water! I went through some breathin with him and when he was calm enough, he told me he was having flashbacks. I figured Twi could help better than I could, what with when she went all therapist on Rainbow that one time."

Fluttershy tries to go next, but Pinkie beat her to it. "He was watching a frog hop along when I found him. He seemed really interested in it! Then when he noticed me, he was surprised that I was pink! I mean, duh, it's in my name. Of course I'm pink! But then I noticed that his eye was pink! So when I told him he ran over to a fountain, looked at it, and declared that we must show you all after I had the dumb idea of showing you all. Man, I tell ya, I don't know WHAT I was thinking!"

"He was just walking around the forest while crying. He won't say anything, and he's been crying the whole time. I was gonna try and calm him down but Twilight came over looking for him. And now we're here." Fluttershy says softly.

"He was just walking through town, humming to himself and dancing around. 'living life' as he put it." Rainbow Dash states.

I decide to add my own little anecdote as well. "I heard my name being called and when I turned around I saw him running towards me, then he just picked me up in a hug. We talked a bit on our way here, but that wasn't much."

"Hmm… how does any of it correlate…" Twilight thinks aloud.

Then Spike pipes up. "Jeez, sounds like he's got some emotional issues." He jokes with a chuckle.

"Wait, Spike, say that again!" Twilight demands.

"Uh, I said he has emotional issues?" He says more like a question.

"That's it! Spike, you're a genius!" She exclaims. She then runs over to one of the many bookshelves and pulls out what looks like a psychology book, flipping through the pages and stopping on a circle chart detailing emotions.

Starting to figure out where she's going with this, I look at the different Nulls. "I think I get it… They're all embodiments of his emotions. Happy, sad, scared… the other two I'm not sure about though."

"Those two would probably be surprise and disgust, according to the book." Twilight calls out.

"But that still doesn't get us any farther than we already were. Like what did this? And how do we undo it?" Rainbow Dash points out.

Just then, something seems to click in my head. I run over to Twilight and check that book. "Wait a minute… oh no."

"What's wrong uh… I'm sorry, I don't think you told us your name?" She asks.

"Starlight Glimmer. But we have a problem. A BIG problem!" I yell while looking at the book, as if it held the solution. "We only have 5 Nulls here. What's missing, hmm?"

Everyone's eyes widen as they start to piece it together. Twilight finishes the thought for me. "Anger. And what makes him madder than anything?" Everyone just stays silent as that sinks in.


POV: Princess Celestia

Today is slower than usual… few have come for day court today. For once, I actually wish today was more busy. The pointless complaints of the nobles would have served as a decent escape from my own thoughts at the very least. Yesterday Null just stared at the table and ate in silence; He didn't even register that my sister and I were talking about him.

I'm stirred from my thoughts as the throne room doors open. I straighten myself out, but am immediately put on edge when I see who it is. Him approaching me is something I did not expect at all, especially by himself.

What serves to further my unease is that his eye is now red, glowing brightly, and his rage filled expression is clear as day.

He acts before I can get a word out.

"RRAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!" he screams as he sends a blast my way, which I barely manage to teleport out of the way for. Looking where my throne used to be, I see chunks of rubble and a sizable hole in the wall. My eyes are wide and I stare in disbelief at him. He was going straight for me, not messing around.

A whole platoon of guards rush into the room after hearing that. Looking between them, I act quickly to avoid any casualties and teleport both me and Null out into the countryside.

"What is the meaning of this Null! What happened to a chance for forgiveness? Where is the sense in all this?!" I yell at him.

He goes quiet for a moment. Blood dripping down his face, he starts laughing. Slowly, a small chuckle turns into full blown manic laughter. "Forgiveness? Your shrines burned, your streets running with blood, your false idols shattered, your people slaughtered by the thousands, your very planet torn apart. And only then, would you come to understand the barest fraction of my hatred!" He yells, drawing a dagger and lighting his eye in a sinister red glow.

Seeing as he's leaving me no other choice, I summon my armor and halberd, and ready myself in a defensive stance.

Taking my lack of offense as a challenge, he starts running directly at me. He isn’t fast at all, but I’m still on guard. When he’s about halfway across the field from me, he disappears from sight, and reappears directly in front of me, taking a wide slash at me. I bring my halberd up to block his attack, and while it isn’t enough to break my guard, it’s definitely stronger than I was expecting, enough to make me stagger from such an unexpected strength.

Where is that strength coming from? Skyline said a foal could take him!

I’m not left much time to think, as he then teleports to my side. I take a sweeping swing at him, and he teleports to the same spot he's already in just in time to avoid the first, but I catch him when I continue the sweep, bringing the blade up in the air, and him with it.

Not intending to give him time to recover, I rush him down and thrust at him. Unfortunately, he teleports higher up before teleporting back down near me, taking various swings and teleporting around me with each one. I use a force spell to throw him back, and he teleports to the ground.

I take a moment to gauge him. His eye is oozing blood, but it doesn’t appear to be affecting him at all; his breathing is still fairly even as well. Even with a fairly sizable slash across his chest, he doesn’t even seem to notice.

I rush him myself this time, my speed not allowing him time to react to the butt end of my halberd hitting him upside the head, sending him flying to the side. He rolls a bit before he gets back up to his feet, rubbing his head. “You’re really pissin’ me off Celestia! Just die already!” he yells as he sends blast after blast at me from where he stands. Using a magic shield, I’m able to mitigate all his attacks; but he catches me when he teleports directly above me after a blast and sends another at me, forcing me to take a step back to avoid it, which unfortunately leaves me open to the first attack, sending me sliding back a few feet. My armor absorbed most of the impact, but not without cost.

“You’re not leaving me many options here Null.” I state as I teleport and stab him in the abdomen with the sharp end of my halberd, and twisting. “Yield!”

However, he doesn’t back away from the blade; instead, he pulls himself further onto it, and looks at me with an insane grin, blood leaking out of his mouth now. “NOT UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD!” he yells as he gets me point blank with a blast, sending me flying and ripping the blade from his body.

Rising back to my hooves after regaining my senses, I see him downing a glass bottle filled with a bright red liquid. He tosses the now empty bottle to the side, and his injuries quickly start to mend themselves.

I raise an eyebrow. “Where did you get a revitalization potion? Let alone one so effective.”

“Haha! Wouldn’t you like to know! It doesn’t matter though, because you’ll be dead soon!” he taunts.

I give him a tight lipped stare, and I’m about to rush him again when a letter drops in front of me, reading the words ‘EMERGENCY, OPEN IMMEDIATELY’. I quickly glance at it on the ground, then back to him, waiting to see what he’d do about it. When he does nothing, I quickly snatch up the letter, jumping back when he teleports close to me for another attack.

He keeps up the assault, not giving me a chance to even open the letter. Teleporting it away for now, I return my focus to the battle.

“FALL INTO OBLIVION!” he yells as he shoots me with a blast I didn’t notice he was charging throughout his assault. I try to pull up a shield, but I can’t get it up in time and it shatters, the impact sending me flying far across the field. He’s on top of me in an instant, dagger pulled back ready to thrust itself into my jugular; but he doesn’t get the chance to. From the side, another blast of magic slams into his side, sending him sliding far across the field.

I blink in shock, thankful to still be alive. “Are you alright, Tia?” I hear my sister’s voice call out to me. I rise to my hooves to look at her, then nod. “I am, thanks to you.”

She nods and looks back to Null, who is back on his feet again, dagger in hand and looking ready to go again. “STAY OUT OF THIS LUNA. THIS IS BETWEEN ME AND HER!”

She shakes her head, and calls out in a calm voice. “I became part of it when you decided to try and kill her. You told me that if it came to this again, to kill you instead. I keep my promises.”

I look at Luna. Her voice is calm, but I can see the clear sadness and disappointment in her eyes. I’m caught off guard by a blast, due to me not watching him. He then teleports to me again, and tries to slash at my throat, but is intercepted by Luna, who is now in her armor as well, six ethereal blades following her and a seventh currently holding Null back. Two of them slice at him and cut deep into his arm, blood spilling out. He teleports past her and lunges at me again just as I gain my footing, forcing me to bring my halberd up in defence. I force him back with another spell, and Luna capitalizes on it by impaling him with three swords, pinning him to the ground.

Luna then walks up to him and eyes him. “Why Null. Why did you do this?”

He ignores her, and teleports away, leaving Luna to pull her swords from the ground and look around the field for him. We see him far away, downing another revitalization potion. I move to Luna’s side, ready to move as one. She nods to me, but before we can move, we’re caught off guard by a strange sight. Null gets sent flying further across the field by a blast that looks familiar to one of his own.

I raise an eyebrow at the spectacle, and before I can ask, Null teleports in front of us. I quickly raise my halberd and thrust it at him, but he backs away. “Whoa whoa whoa, Hold on there missy! I’m not the one you’re after!” he says with a calm smile. I raise my eyebrow even higher at this, and quickly notice that his eye is yellow instead of red.


POV: Princess Luna

I’m confused… first he’s trying to kill her, now he’s happy? Is he bipolar or something?

He’s currently raising his hands in a placating manner, still smiling, and I eye him warily. I then notice his eye is yellow. “Look, I get this is gonna sound crazy, but that isn’t Null. Well, it is, but it isn’t all of us.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I notice two other Null’s currently fighting the first Null.

“That’s our anger. You can’t kill him. Well, you can, but it would make it impossible for us to be complete again.” he states.

I raise an eyebrow. “You’re split into multiple copies of yourself?” I ask.

“Not quite; were split by emotions. As you can see, I’m Null’s happiness!” he says with a bright smile.

“And who are the other two keeping him occupied right now?” I hear my sister ask from beside me.

He looks back at the ongoing fight, which is starting to look like a losing battle for the two fighting the one. “That’s our Disgust and Surprise; the only other ones out of the six of us who are capable of fighting. Getting Disgust to agree to help with this was tough though, lemme tell ya!” he says with a grin.

I notice the red eye’d one give a particularly devastating blow to both of the other Null’s and get a bit worried. “Why are you split though? What happened?”

He shrugs. “If I had to guess, it was probably something in the gardens. Skyline did laugh after we fell into some blue flowers. We didn’t think anything of it at the time.”

“You fell into some poison joke? That’s what caused this? You’ve got to be kidding me.” I say. At least I don’t have to kill him… but still.

He nods, that smile never leaving his face for a second. “Well, there’s nothing we can do to change the past. Anyways, we’ll try to keep him busy, you two try to knock him out. And do hurry, I don’t think we can hold him off too much longer.” he says.

Before either of us can respond, he teleports away and enters the fray. I stare at the battle unfolding before me in disbelief, trying to process what’s happening.

“Perhaps a sleep spell will work?” my sister offers as a suggestion.

“It would probably be the cleanest method… I’m just… still trying to wrap my head around this.” I shake my head and dispel my swords and armor. I light my horn with magic, and wait for an opportunity. I see it when the red eyed one stops to drink another potion. Teleporting in quickly I cast the spell on him. He stumbles back, shaking his head, and quickly succumbing to sleep.

With a sigh of relief, I turn to the other Null’s, and eye them warily. They all look a bit worse for wear, but are all seemingly relieved that the battle is over. I pick up the potion that he was going to drink, and give it to the three of them. They each take a few sips of it, and their wounds slowly mend themselves.

The one who dubbed himself happiness picks up ‘anger’, and slings him over his shoulder.

“Where are the rest of you?” I ask.

This time, Disgust answers. “Back at the bookworm's house.” he then looks at my approaching sister, who has now removed her armor and sneers.

“I suppose I owe you three my thanks. Without your help, we probably would have made a horrible mistake.” She then makes show of a small bow.

“We each have our own reasons for doing it. If it were my choice, I’d have stood by and let you die.” Disgust says, leaving my sister aghast. “But, you're lucky. Happiness there reminded me that Null would be disgusted in himself if he threw his happiness away when he still had a chance for it.” he explains.

Celestia ponders this for a moment before nodding. “That’s... understandable. What were your reasons?” she asks, directing the question at the other two.

“Well, Anger wanted to kill you. If he did that, it would throw away pretty much any chance I have at existing. Sure, killing you would feel great; it would be litteral suicide, because then Luna would never forgive Null.” Happiness shrugs with a smile.

“Yeah! Don’t get me wrong, I’d be eager to kill you too! But I just wanted to be surprised by the outcome. I already knew what would happen if I went against you all, but I didn’t know what the end result would be for helping you all.” Surprise answers.

“Wow… um… I’m… unsure how to feel about knowing that you all want to kill me…” Celestia says awkwardly.

“Seriously? Anger there exists pretty much solely because of you; You're really surprised that the rest of him wants you dead? Get real.” Disgust deadpans.

“Anyways.” Happiness interjects. “We should head back to Twilight’s place and get started on that cure. Luna, if you would?” he says with a smile.

I look at Celestia who simply nods after a moment, an unclear look on her face. To others, she’d seem fine, but I know her better than that; She’s troubled. I want to ask her, but she probably wouldn’t open up right now, and we should probably get Null put back together before Anger wakes up. With that, I nod and start casting a mass teleportation spell. Within seconds, we’re all standing in the middle of Twilight’s Library, minus Anger who is being carried.

Immediately, Celestia is tackled by her student in a hug, expressing all kinds of relief. Everyone else surrounds my sister and I, bombarding us with questions. As cute as it is, we really need to fix Null. Clearing my throat, I address Twilight. “Twilight, would you happen to know how to make the cure for Poison Joke?”

She turns from her mentor and looks at me confusedly. “Poison Joke? I mean… yes, and I even have the materials for it but… wait… you’re saying Poison Joke did this to him? How?! It’s supposed to play a prank on whoever comes in contact with it!” she exclaims.

“It would seem so. I have no clue how this ended up being how it affects him, but Poison Joke was created by Discord himself. Trying to understand his ways is impossible.” I state.

She simply lets out a sigh of annoyance and walks off to prep the cure.

After a few more minutes of assuaging everyone's concerns, Twilight comes back and announces that the cure is ready, and to follow her. We do, and she leads us to a relatively decent sized tub. “Alright all of you, in the tub.” she announces.

“Seriously? The cure to Poison Joke is a bath?” Surprise asks in… well… surprise.

Twilight nods and with only help from two of the element bearers for the other two I’ve not met, they all get into the tub.

After a moment, they all slowly sink under the water, and a bright light emits from the bottom of the tub. A single body then floats to the surface. We all wait with bated breath to see if anything else will happen.

His eyes then screw tightly shut, and he groans. “Uuuggghhh…. It feels like every bone in me body is broke.”

We all collectively let out a sigh of relief.

“Why do I feel wet? And why do I feel both physically and emotionally drained?”

This time, we all burst out laughing.

Questions and Wagers

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I groan in pain and simply float in what I assume is water. “Where am I?” I ask the group of laughing people.

They eventually quiet down, and I recognize Luna’s voice speaking. “You’re in Twilight’s Library, Null.”

Very helpful…

“Yeah, okay, so why am I wet, floating, and in so much pain that I can’t be bothered to move or open my eyes?” I ask with a hint of annoyance in my tone.

Another voice responds this time, and I recognize it to be Pinkie Pie’s. “Because you’re in a bathtub silly!”

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. If I’m at Twi’s place, a tub would be the most logical option… why didn’t I think of that?

“And the other half of my question?” I ask, wondering why they’re being so dodgy on the subject.

The room stays quiet for quite a while. Until… One particular voice, the last one I wanted to hear, speaks up. “You attacked me Null. I was left with no choice but to defend myself.”

I was about to say something, but what she said caught up with me before I could do so. Dumbfounded, and still in pain, all I could manage was, “...What?”

“You attacked me; or rather, your anger did. It seems you were split by your emotions. From what your happiness told us, we can only surmise it was due to Poison Joke.” she explained.

“...You wanna run that by me again?” I ask, equally as confused as I was before her explanation.

“Perhaps we should get null out of the tub and dried off before continuing this?” Luna offered.

“No, I wanna hear this now. What do you mean ‘split by my emotions’?” I state, starting to get impatient.

This time, Twilight spoke. “Well, from what I gather, you fell into some Poison Joke, which for whatever reason, split you into six different versions of yourself; each representing one of the core emotions: happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise, fear, and anger. Me and my friends found five of them, but the sixth, anger, found Princess Celestia.”

I float there in the tub, going over in my head what I was just told.

“...how close was it?” I ask, curious about how close I came to dying and or killing Celestia.

“Quite frankly, you should have died multiple times. The only reason you didn’t was because of some potions you had. A few revitalization potions, I’d guess some stamina and strength enhancers, and probably a pain nullifier...no pun intended.” Celestia answers.

“That sounds about right… Null was in possession of those kinds of potions… I’m not sure whether or not it was a good or bad thing that I let you keep those.” Luna states.

“Had I defeated your anger, you might not be here now. Though there was a time or two where you almost killed me as well. Take that for what you will.” Celestia tacked on.

“Hold on, so if I was on a pain nullifier, why do I hurt now?” I ask, not exactly sure how the potions I took are supposed to work.

This time, Starlight speaks up, and I’m surprised to hear her voice. I wasn’t expecting her to be here. “Because the potion doesn’t make the pain not exist, it just makes you not feel it for the duration of the potion's effects. Plus, revitalization potions don’t do anything for pain. Everything’s just starting to catch up with you now.” she explains.

“Mm… if you say so… how’d you get dragged into this though, Starlight?” I ask, genuinely curious.

“I was just walking through town, then your happiness found me. Didn’t know it wasn’t exactly you at the time, so we just talked while Rainbow Dash was leading you back to Twilight’s place. Twilight thought I might have been able to help, considering I was your friend; That’s how I got roped into this. But what about you? How did you wind up in some poison joke?” she asks.

“Hell if I know… last thing I remember was Luna giving me my own room… before that, dinner with Luna and Celestia, don’t ask… I don’t even know what Poison Joke is, so I wouldn’t know.” I admit.

“Wow, two thousand years old and you don’t know what Poison Joke is?” I hear Rainbow’s annoying voice quip.

“Rainbow!!” everyone yells.

“Ah, bite me, I wasn’t even there for well over half of it!” I yell.

Celestia clears her throat, which stops anyone else from adding their own two cents. “There is some Poison Joke in the Castle Gardens. It normally only plays a small harmless prank on whoever comes in contact with it. It’s only there because it’s a rare and exotic plant. It’s even in a section of the gardens closed off to civilians to prevent anyone from accidentally coming in contact with it, and everyone in the castle knows it’s there.”

“...Wait, in the gardens? You mean those blue flowers I fell in… that’s why that fucker was laughing! He knew!” I exclaim. “When I can move again, I’m gonna kick his ass!”

“Now Null, there won’t be any of that; Skyline will appear before a proper court-martial for his actions. You of course will have to testify, but I’m sure you won’t mind.” Luna states.

I’m about to tell her that isn’t really necessary, but another idea pops into my head. So I kept quiet. Instead, I change the subject. “Can someone get me out of this tub? It’s starting to get uncomfortable just floating and unable to move… bringing back some bad memories. Oh, and does anyone know any sort of pain spells? This is starting to get to be a bit much.”

I hear someone’s horn chime, and feel my body get picked up entirely, so as to not move me too much. Despite whoever’s gentleness though, I still end up screaming in pain; though I do bite my lip and keep my mouth shut, trying to hold it back. When the pain subsides enough, I feel myself growing incredibly warm, and wetness dragging down my clothes and hair seems to fade away. Next, the pain in my body starts to subside by a marginal amount. Not entirely, and still hurts alot, but not nearly to the extent as it once did. I then feel myself being gently set down on the floor. I make sure my footing is stable, then I slowly open my right eye, my left one still hurting way too much to try and open.

Looking around the room, I see the element bearers, Spike, Starlight, Luna, and lastly Celestia. Surprisingly, I don’t feel nearly as much hatred as before when I look at her. It confuses me to no end, but my attention is stolen away when I decide to look down at myself. Looking at my clothes, I notice a few things about them. Namely, a big hole just below my sternum. There are a few other cuts and holes scattered across my clothes, as well as a few spots of blood soaked into them.

“Whoa… I see what you meant when you said I should have died a few times… uh, if there were multiple copies of me, why did my clothes get messed up?” I ask, still reeling a bit from the state of my clothes making the fact I nearly died feel all the more real.

“Well, it was still you. You still feel the pain that your clones felt, so why wouldn’t your clothes be in the same state your clones left them in?” Starlight offers.

“I dunno… it just doesn’t seem like it should be that way.” I say with a small shrug.

“Well, they are clearly ruined, might as well do away with them; come now, let’s get you out of them.” Rarity says as she starts trying to pull my clothes off me. I yell out in pain as she forces my arms up to pull the shirt over my head.

“Knock that off, you ain’t takin’em from me!” I yell as I try to hang onto my shirt, which is currently over my head and tangled up in my arms. She lets go of my shirt and I pull it back down, with a huff, and hold my arms to try and alleviate the pain, though it does little much to help.

“Sorry.” she says with a sheepish grin. “Though,why won’t you get rid of it? It’s all torn up and covered in blood; there’s clearly no point in wearing it anymore.” she asks with a tilt of her head.

“Well, aside from the fact that it’s one of the last few things I have from my past, I don’t exactly have anything to change into; and while you ponies may not wear clothes, you’ll be hard pressed to catch me without any. Keeps me warm, keeps the sun off my skin, and keeps my privates hidden away.” I explain with no small amount of annoyance in my voice.

Some eyes dart towards my pants when I say that, some dart away to look anywhere but at me, and my eyes roll as I start shuffling towards the door.

I hear some mutterings behind me about nipples, assumedly mine, and some questioning my gender. I turn around and face them all. “I’m right here ya know; I have ears. Yes, I have nipples. Yes, I’m a boy. No, I’m not special to my race for having them, at least if the pictures I saw were anything to go by.” I say, my annoyance rising ever higher.

“Pictures?” about half them question.

“Another remnant of my past, much like my clothes. Maybe I’ll show you all, maybe I won’t; don’t get your hopes up though.” I say, turning back around and heading for the door once more. This time however, I end up tripping over myself, and find myself falling towards the ground with a yelp. Thankfully, someone catches me with magic, and I look back to see every single unicorn in the room with their horn lit up. Even Rainbow Dash looked ready to bolt to catch me, which makes me raise an eyebrow in surprise. I then feel a pair of hooves gently push against my chest, making me rip my head back to my front, seeing Pinkie Pie there, helping to right my orientation.

“How the hell did you get in front of me?” I ask her with a raised eyebrow. She simply giggles and winks while shushing me. I watch her walk out the door with my eyebrows threatening to fly off my face. I turn back to look at the rest of the group. “Did any of you see her move?”

My question is met with a few giggles. “Seriously, did any of you catch that? How did she do that?”

“It’s best not to question Pinkie Pie. I don’t even think your eye could explain her to you; though if it can, please let me know!” Twilight says as she walks past me out of the room.

I sigh and follow her out of the room, and everyone else follows suit. I turn back and raise an eyebrow at Rarity, who notices immediately and looks at me curiously. “What?”

“Despite you being so ready to trash them, do you think it’s even possible to fix my clothes?” I ask, honestly expecting her to just say no.

Instead, she looks more intently at my clothes. “It would be a difficult task, considering how badly damaged they are. I could probably do it though.”

“Is that you offering to or are you just saying that someone of your skill is required for it?” I ask with a bit of skepticism.

“Well, if you’re willing to part ways with them for a bit, then I’m offering.” she counters.

“How long is a bit?” I ask.

“A few hours, a day at most.” she says nonchalantly.

I study her for a moment. Even for the element of generosity, I still find it hard to believe she’d do it free…”What’s the rub?”

She raises an eyebrow at me this time. “What do you mean rub? You asked if I could do it, and I told you I could, and am willing to. While I may not personally see it as a style I’d wear, I still appreciate fashion in all its forms; Even an otherworldly form, in your case.”

Again, I study her intensely for a moment, searching her face for any hint of deception. Without my left eye though, I’m purely guessing, as I’m a terrible judge of character, and admittedly have come to rely on my eye for this kind of stuff; maybe too much. Eventually though, I decide to follow Luna’s advice, and give her a chance. “Know what, sure. Just gotta find something else to change into first.”

She gives off a smirk. “Well, I have no shortage of dresses available. Some minor alterations and I’m sure I could make one fit you.” she says with no small amount of amusement.

“Yeah, not happening.” I say firmly.

“Well, if you don’t want your clothes mended~” she says teasingly.

“...Your bluffing.” I challenge.

“Am I?” she questions, maintaining that smirk.

I squint at her, trying to determine if she’s actually serious or not. The absurd image of me in a dress amuses me for a moment. So much so that I’m surprised I find myself entertaining the idea.

“Know what? I’ll make a bet with you. If you can make me look like a female, I’ll let you put me in a dress. Fail at it though, and I get to burn the dress you put me in afterwards.”

She involuntarily shudders for a moment, but her smirk returns in full force. “You’ve got yourself a wager, darling. But if I win, you have to keep the look for three days.”

It’s my turn to shudder, and I start to reconsider the bet. On one hand, she’s got no idea what a human female looks like. On the other hand, she’s a fashionista. She probably could pull it off. I decide to take the risk though, as a fun little bet has no harm in it.

I reach my hand out, and we shake on it. I then turn to Luna with a childish smile. “So how about it Mom? Can I stay for a bit and play with my friends?

Luna rolls her eyes at my childishness, but smirks. “Very well. I must admit, I look forward to seeing the outcome of this little wager. Though we will have some important things to discuss later on, as well as you having to appear for the court martial, regardless of whether you win or lose the bet.” she says, maintaining that grin.

My smile drops as I register what she says. “Son of a…” I stop before I finish, and just sigh. I cast another look around the room, seeing everyone smiling and giggling at the little bet that I had just made. Even Celestia seemed to forget that I nearly just killed her. Well… part of me did. I still despise her, but for whatever reason, I just can’t muster up the strength to care right now.

Rarity starts walking out the door, and I sigh and follow behind. I notice Starlight, and Rainbow Dash follow suit, and I raise an eyebrow at them. “And what do you think you’re doing?” I question the two of them.

“What, you think I’d miss the chance to see Rarity shove you into a dress? And make you look like a girl on top of it? I wouldn’t miss that for the world!” Rainbow Dash says.

“Uh huh… and you?” I ask, turning my attention to Starlight.

“Well, aside from how funny it will be to see you in a dress, I also wanna make sure you don’t end up hurting yourself. You aren’t exactly up and at 'em right now.” she says with a smile on her face and a bit of genuine concern in her voice.

I smile a bit at her concern. “Well, let’s get this shitshow on the road.” I say as I turn back around and hobble after Rarity.