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deviation in storage by Raikita

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“Needless to say, I haven't been able to so much as touch a pear since then.”

Dinky burst into a fit of giggles on her mother's back while Ditzy hid her own laughter behind a hoof. Sparkler, even as she rolled her eyes, couldn't hide the smirk on her lips. “I'm starting to believe you make all these things up to impress my mom.”

Time Turner staggered as if he'd been struck, dramatically holding a hoof up to his barrel. “You [i]wound[/i] me, Sparkler! In so many centuries of life, do you really think I would need to lie about my exploits?”

“Yes.”

Time Turner's melodrama turned into outright sulking as he hung his head. “You could at least act impressed.”

Sparkler continued on nonchalantly. “Well, somepony has to keep a level head when you're around, and it isn't going to be her.”

Ditzy's right eye turned to her elder daughter as her left swiveled in the socket before catching up. “Sparkler...”

“Don't even try to deny it, Mom. You haven't exactly been subtle about what you two do.”

Time Turner and Ditzy both stopped in their tracks, sharing a slightly panicked look.

“Um...” Ditzy's eyes started to drift apart as she looked back to Sparkler. “'What we ‘do’?”

Sparkler rolled her eyes, scoffing. “We both know, Mom.”

“Yeah!” Dinky bounced on her mother's back. “You guys have sleepovers all the time.”

Sparkler gave her adoptive sister a glance. “...yeah... 'sleepovers'.” She turned back to her mother. “Anyway, we've both seen him sneaking away from the house. Either when Dinky walks home from school, or I'm coming back from work. You two are together nearly every day.”

While Ditzy was physically incapable of blushing —lack of a pulse meant lack of flowing blood— she could still feel embarrassment like a living pony. “Sparkler, I am a grown mare. I am quite capable of keeping a level head.”

“So am I, Mom,” she countered. “And I've seen you giggling like a teenager around him more than once. It's pretty obvious neither of you are thinking all that clearly.”

“Bah!” Time Turner did a rather poor impression of a sheep, calling attention back to him. “Thinking clearly is overrated anyway. I've lasted for centuries just flying by the hairs of my tail!”

“That sounds painful.” Dinky —still balanced on her mother’s back— glanced back at her own, rather stubby tail, flicking it around a few times. “It never felt good whenever Sparkler picked me up by mine.”

“Well, Squirt, if you’d stop running off all the time, I wouldn't have to grab it.”

“I don't run off all the time!” Dinky stomped her hoof, then winced. “Sorry, Mommy.”

“Hmm?” Ditzy glanced back, then blinked. “Oh, right, don't worry about it, Muffin. Mommy doesn't feel pain, remember?”

“Oh yeah...” Dinky's ears drooped. “Sorry, Mommy, I forgot.”

Ditzy giggled, pulling Dinky off her back and messing with her mane. “You don't have to keep apologizing for everything, Muffin; Mommy doesn't mind.”

Dinky squirmed and flailed in her mother's grasp, giggling the whole time. “S-stop!” She could barely get out her words. “Mommy! Stop!”

Ditzy started giggling herself, just tickling Dinky without mercy. “What's the magic word?”

“Ple-ehehehehehe-se!” Dinky finally stopped flailing as her mother relented, panting and still giggling occasionally. “What was that for?”

“Because I wanted to.” Ditzy's eyes swiveled in opposite directions as she smiled. “I reserve the right to tickle my little muffin as much as I want, same as every mother.”

“Ugh, gag me.” Sparkler tried her best to scowl at the scene, but couldn't quite make it stick. “Could you two be any more sickeningly sweet?”

“We could pull you into it too,” Ditzy offered with a grin.

“No thanks.” Sparkler took a couple of steps back. “Like I said, one of us has to be the adult here.”

“Aww...” Ditzy layered on the 'baby voice' “Is Mommy's special little star growing up?”

“Moooooooom!” She whined, sounding exactly like the child she was pretending not to be. “I’m twenty-six years old! You can't keep calling me that!”

“Why not?”

“Because I'm not a child anymore!” She stomped her hooves in frustration, continuing to undermine her own point. “Why can't you treat me like an adult?”

“Okay.”

Sparkler, already preparing for more whining, found herself tripping over her own tongue. “That— you— what?”

“I said, 'okay'.” Ditzy fluttered over to her older daughter with a smile on her face. “You've grown into a fine mare, and I'm proud of you for it.” She wrapped her forelegs around her in a hug. “But you'll still always be my special little star.”

Sparkler, though she blushed a bit at the nickname, eventually brought one of her own legs up to hug back. “Okay, Mom. Just don't call me that in public anymore,” she muttered

“Sure thing, sweetie.” Ditzy let go of Sparkler, and started to trot away, then suddenly vanished with a 'woosh' of displaced air.

Sparkler and Dinky both jumped in shock, and even Time Turner recoiled slightly.

“Damn it!” Sparkler's horn flashed as she touched a small gem earring; a silver hoop and a couple of small sacks popped into existence, each snatched up in her magic. “Of course this happens in the middle of the day, and out in the open.” She tossed the circle on the ground, then removed several gems from the bags. “May Luna damn summoners...”

“Technically speaking, you're a summoner yourself.” Time Turner weathered Sparkler's glare with practiced ease. “I'm just saying, you're basically damning yourself with that phrase.”

Dinky simply stood at the edge of the circle, pushing a few of Sparkler's gems into place. “So... who do you think summoned Mommy this time?”

Sparkler sighed, rubbing at the base of her horn. “I dunno; I just hope it isn't that one mare from last month; by the gods, she was creepy.”

“Is that the one that kept talking about eating me?”

“No, it was the one who had her hooves all over Mom and made all those comments you didn't get.”

Dinky blinked, then scowled. “Oh, yeah, she was weird.”

“Anyway, I need to focus; magic around here is kinda weird and I don't want to accidentally summon something I shouldn't.”

Dinky nodded and stepped away. “I sure hope Mommy's okay.”

“Oh, don't you worry, my dear.” Time Turner joined the young unicorn as her sister worked. “I'm sure you're mother is fine, no matter what manner of vile sorcerer summoned her.”




“I can't believe you two would be so colossally stupid!”

It wasn't every day, Ditzy reflected, that she got to listen to another parent lecture their kids. Even rarer that she knew the kids getting lectured.

Although, calling 16-Bit and Skeleton Key 'kids' was a bit generous; they were at least as old as Sparkler, though they seemed to lack most of the good sense that came with age. This wasn't even the first time they'd managed to summon her, albeit accidentally. Considering what most summoned creatures would do to them, her appearing instead was actually probably a good thing.

“But, Mom,” Skeleton Key whined, “he said he knew what he was doing!” The off-white unicorn's gray mane was wild from the magic surge of the summoning ritual and his blue eyes were slightly unfocused. Whatever the two had done to get her here, it had taken a lot out of him.

“I don't give a flying feather what he said!” His mother, a green pegasus with a blond mane and tail, flapped her wings with a snap. “You overtaxed your magic and tried to summon a demon! What the hay were you thinking?”

Skeleton Key looked down at his hooves, muttering things quietly.

“I didn't raise you to mumble, Skeleton.”

The unicorn muttered again, not looking up still.

“Skeleton Key!”

He jumped in shock. “I was trying to get laid!” His hooves went to his mouth in an instant, eyes wide in horror and darting around wildly.

His mother's expression mimicked his own; her mouth opening and closing several times, with no sound coming out. “You... you...” Her expression finally turned into pure rage. “Do I need to spell out how many ways that could go wrong? Do you realize what you could have lost?”

“Well, technically my vir—”

Her face just got redder. “How about your soul?”

“Mom, I—”

“I don't want to hear it anymore!” She grabbed his ear in her teeth, making him wince in pain. “Home,” she said around it, “now!”

With a bunch of halfhearted protests and the occasional exclamation of pain, Skeleton Key was dragged out of the room, leaving 16-Bit and his father, 8-Bit, alone with Ditzy.

The older Bit, a brown Pegasus stallion with a blue mane and tail, simply looked at his son, a pale blue earth pony with an off-white mane and tail. He didn't shout, didn't even raise his voice as he spoke. “I taught you better than this, 16-Bit.”

The young stallion hung his head low. “I know, Dad...”

8-Bit sighed, shaking his head. “Go to your room; we'll talk about this after I decide what your punishment is going to be.”

16-Bit didn't say anything, just sullenly trudged out of the room, his eyes not leaving the floor.

Once they were alone, 8-Bit shook his head once more and turned to his unintentional guest. “I'm sorry about this, Ditzy. I really thought I got through to him after last time.” He brought a hoof up to rub at his temple. “By the gods, what am I going to do with that boy?”

“It's not really my place to say,” Ditzy admitted with a wingshrug. “I just hope he realizes the danger before he hurts himself, or worse.”

“Yeah, you and me both.” 8-Bit sighed once more, still rubbing his temple. “Do you need me to send you on your way?”

“No thanks,” Ditzy smiled. “I was with my daughters before this; they should—”

Ditzy vanished with another 'whoosh', leaving 8-Bit to his own problems.




And reappeared back in Whinnistrad, inside of Sparkler's portable summoning circle.

“Welcome back, Mommy!” Dinky jumped at her mother and hugged her around the barrel, breaking the metaphysical circle in the processes. “I missed you.”

Ditzy was still more than a little disoriented, but managed to smile and wrap one of her legs around Dinky. “Thanks, Muffin, I missed you too.” As her eyes stopped spinning, she was able to focus on Sparkler as well. “And thanks for pulling me back.”

Sparkler nodded as she started picking up her summoning components. “So, who was it this time? And should I start reworking the wards on the house after we get back?”

“No, they'll be fine as is; it was just 16-Bit.”

Sparkler groaned. “Ugh, that loser again? Can't we report him to the paladins or something? I know he's not a licensed summoner.”

“He's a young stallion who's still getting used to his power,” Ditzy said, “not some dangerous sorcerer. No need to run the risk of him getting some of the less tolerant beings sent to his house.”

“Fine,” Sparkler grumbled, kicking at the dirt. “But I still don't like it.”

“It's not good to dwell on these sorts of things, sweetie. Don't worry about it.” Ditzy fluttered over to her eldest daughter and gave her another hug, smiling at her.

Sparkler, for her part, returned the hug with a blush. As much as she felt awkward in the undead mare's embrace, there was just something comforting about the act itself.

Ditzy finally pulled away from the hug, still smiling pleasantly. “Now, lets see about lunch.” And she was off and trotting. Some of her steps were a bit ungainly, but she had dealt with the complications of her body for long enough that she could avoid looking like a shambling horror.

Sparkler found herself chuckling; for whatever reason, her mother's hugs always made her feel a bit better. Her bad mood hadn't totally disappeared, but it was lessened enough that she could enjoy her day.

“We should probably catch up to them.” Time Turner earned a glare as he interrupted her thoughts. “We're going to lose each other if we don't hurry.”

“Whatever.” Sparkler pushed passed him with her glare still in place, not even turning to look at him when she heard his hoofsteps following her a moment later. Freak.




“So, when we all woke up the next morning: I had dyed my coat neon pink, the mayor had an apple painted on his face, and his daughter was sharing a bed with a dullahan!”

Ditzy laughed while Sparkler rolled her eyes; Time Turner's stories always seemed to end with situations like that, and a strangely large number of them seemed to involve fruit in some way. Both of them had long since given up understanding how such things continued to happened to him; it was just easier that way.

Time Turner chuckled. “Needless to say, that gave a whole new meaning to giving heeeee—” his eyes strayed to Dinky, then back to Ditzy, who shook her head very slightly. “—eeeey, what's it matter? They were a cute couple. They were even getting married last I heard, though I think the mayor there still has a standing arrest warrant for me, so I couldn't attend. Shame too, I knew the dullahan a hundred or so years ago; she was a good friend of mine.”

“What's a dullahan?” The tiny unicorn was barely big enough to see over the table, but she was looking back and forth between the older ponies with child-like interest.

“A headless horse, Muffin,” Ditzy said. “Just one that found their head and carries it around with them.”

Dinky tilted her head, thinking. “Oh! Like the pony who lives down the road from us? Miss Minty?”

“That's right, Muffin!” Ditzy smiled at her youngest daughter, lightly clapping her hooves together.

“Mom,” Sparkler deadpanned, “she's not a foal anymore.”

“Aww, you'll both always be my little foals.” She pulled Sparkler into a one-legged hug.

Sparkler groaned. “Laying it on a bit thick today, aren't you?” She shot her sister a glare when she giggled.

Ditzy chuckled herself, but released her hold. “Yeah, I am,” she admitted. “I've been having a bit of a rough day is all.”

Time Turner pulled a pocket watch out from his collar, apparently to check the time. “We all have days like that, Ditzy.” His eyes shining deviously as he replaced the timekeeper. “You know, I think I might be able to help.” Without another word, he stood and headed into the diner the four of them were seated outside of.

“Always trying to show off,” Sparkler grumbled, making Ditzy frown.

“Why do you put him down so much? He's been nothing but nice to you and Dinky.”

“Because you'd kick him to the curb if he wasn't,” Sparkler snapped back. “Seriously, Mom, the guy's a total freak.”

“Just because he's willing to look past my... condition... doesn't mean he's a freak, Sparkler.”

“Or he's using you to fulfill some sick fetish.”

“Sparkler Doo!” Ditzy slammed a hoof on the table at her daughter's comment, then winced as she heard something crack. She gingerly looked down, groaning when she saw the crack in their table; she was lucky the table hadn't broken outright, given her usual luck. And, on top of that, when she lifted her hoof back up, the forelimb flopped about at unnatural angles.

Ditzy chuckled nervously as she hid her broken leg from the ponies around her, her loose eye falling out of sync with her normal one as her gaze darted around. A few ponies were confused, a few had missed the whole thing entirely, and a few more were pointedly looking at anything that wasn't her at the moment. That was part of the problem with an undead body, the rot sometimes made parts of it more brittle and prone to break than others. Especially when she had to deal with a level of strength most non-earth ponies didn't have.

Sparkler just sighed, shaking her head. “Let me see it, Mom.”

Sighing to herself, Ditzy extended the broken limb toward her elder daughter. “That shouldn't have happened...”

Sparkler just eyed the leg, moving the loose portion around as her horn glowed faintly. She was vaguely aware of Dinky peering over from across the table but most of her mundane senses had been pushed to the side as she felt out the spells around her mother's body. “The preservation spells seem to be wearing a little thin...” She glanced up, raising an eyebrow. “When was the last time you visited Lyra to have them redone?”

Ditzy fidgeted in her seat, eyes drifting further out of alignment. “Well... you know how much I've been working lately. And Lyra isn't always in Ponyville because of what she does...”

“Mom, we both know you've been working more than twelve hours pretty much every day. And it's got nothing to do with how busy you are.”

Ditzy's eyes both managed to turn away from Sparkler. “Well, it's not like I need to sleep or eat...”

“Sidetracking doesn't work with me anymore, Mom. How long has it been?”

Ditzy was silent for a moment. “Um... almost two months now.”

“Ugh!” Sparkler's hoof caught her face as she groaned. “Mom, you know you need to make this a priority. Otherwise...” she held up Ditzy's broken leg.

“I know, sweetie, I know. I just... look, can we discuss this some other time? Is there anything you can do about my leg?”

Shaking her head with a sigh, Sparkler examined her mother's leg once more. “It won't be a perfect fix, but I can at least put it back together. You'll have to see Lyra about it when we get back to Ponyville.” The glow around her horn intensified as an aura of matching color surrounded the break in Ditzy's leg. “Just hold still...” she shifted the limb about to make the alignment match up as best she could, then let the spell do the rest of the work.

It wasn't the most complex or even the cleanest of spells, especially since it was meant to repair gems and not bone, but the same principle applied to both. They both possessed a lattice structure that gave them their hardness and the spell would replicate the structure to repair scratches, and even fuse broken pieces back into the whole. It was no substitute for a proper healing spell (or the undead equivalent), but it could stitch a bone back together well enough.

The glow finally faded, and Sparkler wiped some sweat off her forehead. “That should at least keep it in one piece for now. Just try not to hit anything too hard with that leg.”

Ditzy moved the limb about a few times, grateful it was no longer flopping about uselessly. “Thank you. But don't think this means you're off the hook for what you said about Time Turner.”

Sparkler glared at her mother, but said nothing. They both had a few things they needed to discuss later.

“Did somepony mention me?”

The three mares all turned away from Ditzy's newly repaired leg as the object of the disagreement came trotting into view. There was a tray with a few drinks balanced on his head, all of which swayed alarmingly as he weaved among the various tables and ponies with a manic grin upon his face.

“Careful!” Ditzy called out. “You'll spill them all over yourself!”

“Not to worry, Ditzy, my dear.” Time Turner spun around one of the cafe's wait staff as they took the order of somepony else. The drinks went flying upwards, only for Turner to remove the tray from his head and continued to spin about, almost dancing as he walked. One-by-one the cups were smoothly caught as they came down, barely spilling a drop as they landed on the moving platform. Finally, after several overly flourished turns, the stallion came to a stop in front of their table, sliding the tray and drinks up and off his hoof.

“As promised, drinks for all!” He took a low bow with a smirk, and was just about to sit down... when a drink came tumbling out of the sky, bouncing off his head and spilling its contents all over his face.

Sparkler snorted with laughter, almost choking on her own drink as she did. “Seven tries, and you still can't get it right!”

Time Turner raised an eyebrow at her words, then took a lick at some of the liquid still dripping from his face. When he tasted apple juice, he turned his gaze to the younger unicorn present.

Sure enough, Dinky was looking at the three tabletop cups with her head tilted. “Didn't I get one?”

Time Turner quickly shook the spilled juice from his coat and flashed her one of his best smiles. “Hold that thought.” Without further ado, he pulled out the very same pocket watch from earlier and flipped open the faceguard.

Just in time for light blue energy to explode out of the contraption and envelop him.




“We all have days like that, Ditzy.” Time Turner spoke up once more, his eyes shining deviously. “You know, I think I might be able to help.” He returned the pocket watch to his collar, then stood back up, heading into the diner once again...

Or for the first time...

Or, more than likely, both.

That was always the trouble when it came to Chronomancy: Equish was simply not a language built to handle the complexity and nuances of time travel. Even a single trip, regardless of direction, tended to play havoc with the tenses.

He was just lucky this was only a reset of the last few minutes, not nearly as many things to remember in that small a timeframe. Nothing like the time he'd had to relive an entire year of his own life, in a linear fashion, but that was neither here nor there.

First, avoid the hole beside the next table over. He smoothly stepped over a shallow depression that had tripped him on more than one reset.

Pause to let the guy unhappy with his salad miss you. Turner stopped dead in his tracks as a bowl of half-eaten salad sailed in front of him, the stallion a few tables away screaming about the quality of the cafe's wares.

Arch your back up. A tiny filly giggled as she ran underneath him. And down. He dropped to the ground to let the filly's father jump over his prone form as he continued to chase after her. And okay.

He stood back up, brushed the dirt from his coat, and continued on, finally reaching the cafe door.

Move to the side. A mare slammed open the door, storming out with a growl. Another followed a moment later, calling out about something being 'just a one-time thing'.

Thankfully, it was much easier to navigate once he'd gotten inside. It was a nice day, and most of the indoor tables were empty. Even the requisite shady corner table for secret discussions remained vacant, which Time Turner could only assume meant something good. As such, he was beaming as he addressed the stallion behind the counter.

“Greetings! One oat-a-pop, two wheat smoothies, and a child's apple juice, if you would, my good sir!”

The stallion, a fairly unremarkable earth pony with a gray coat and a black mane, glanced up from the counter he was wiping down, then grunted something, then said. “Kay, give me a few minutes.” He left the wipe rag and trotted over to the other end of the counter, pulling out a blender when he got there. Wheat grains and some milk came a moment after and were unceremoniously dumped in the blender. “You want the oat-a-pop in a bottle or glass?”

“Glass, same for the juice if you can.” Turner knew the glass wouldn’t be an issue, but that had been what he'd said the first (well, technically fifth) time through; it was best to keep as many things consistent as possible when replaying things like this.

The other stallion grunted something in acknowledgment, pouring out the blended smoothies into their own glasses already. He then pulled a case of large bottles out of a cabinet with a visible 'cold' spell rune etched into the wood and poured out the final two drinks, setting them all on a tray. “That'll be...”

“This should cover it.” Time Turner seemed to pull a small bag of bits out of nowhere and dropped it on the counter. “Keep the change, my good fellow!”

While the stallion counted out just how much Turner had paid him, he pushed the tray onto his head and calmly walked away.

Once outside, however, he set about remembering the next set of pitfalls that awaited him.

Move to the right. He took an oblong way around one of the table, just as a wildly gesturing colt lost his balance and started to topple over, only for Time Turner to push him back upright without breaking stride. Turner didn't even stick around to hear him say 'Thanks', because he could already hear the voice of the most beautiful mare he knew.

“—hook for what you said about Time Turner.”

“Did somepony mention me?” He couldn't help but grin as the three ponies around the table all looked toward him, no doubt incredulous about his method of liquid transportation.

“Careful!” Ditzy called out. “You'll spill them all over yourself!”

And that's the cue to avoid the waitress. “Not to worry, Ditzy, my dear!” He spun and let the drinks fly upward, calculating the time it would take for each one to land as he watched them ascend, remembering how badly he'd misjudged Dinky's last time. He continued his movements, making sure to catch each drink as gently as possible. And maybe twisting time a bit to give himself an edge.

“As promised,” he said as he placed the tray and three of the drinks on the table, taking his little bow a moment sooner this time. “Drinks.” He stood up just in time to catch Dinky's apple juice as it finally came down. “For everypony.”

The youngest unicorn gave a 'Yay!', holding the drink between her hooves as she sucked on the straw, but her sister only grumbled as she held the oat-a-pop in her magic.

“And it only took you eight times to get it right...”

Time Turner narrowed his eyes slightly.

She'd gotten the number of resets right last time too, but he'd passed it off as a fluke. After all, they all knew how his magic worked, but to have her get it right again was just too much of a stretch to call 'coincidence'.

“And how did you know that?”

Sparkler looked up as she sucked down some of her pop, only answering after a good number of seconds had passed. “I've been around Minuette enough to know how chronomancy feels, even when it's just the echos of it. And you've got seven 'echos' around you right now; it's simple math, really.” She went back to her drink as Time Turner's expression darkened further.

“I see...” He would have to have a talk with Minuette. Again.

“Thanks for this, TT.” Ditzy spoke up as she took a long gulp of her shake, licking the foam off her upper lip. She was smiling brightly and one of her eyes was a bit out of alignment, and Time Turner couldn't help but smile right back at her.

The most important thing for a Chronomancer was to never forget the 'now'. He was with Ditzy, there were no pressing needs for either of them, and confronting Minuette could happen after he wasn't needed anymore. That was his 'now' for the moment, and he would live it. He took a sip of his own shake, savoring the taste with a smack of his lips. “As I've said, Miss Doo; always a pleasure.”

Sparkler stopped her sipping so she could snort, ignoring the glare she got from her mother. “So, are we actually going to get something to eat while we're sitting here? Drinks are nice and all, but I actually am kind of hungry.”

“Yeah, me too.” Dinky stopped drinking her apple juice and looked down at her stomach. “Breakfast wasn't very big today.”

“How you stay so small with as much as you eat amazes me, squirt.”

“Hey!” Dinky reared up and clopped her hooves on the table. “That's not funny, Sparkler!”

“Wasn't meant to be, Dinky.”

“Girls...” Ditzy's firm tone cut into the conversation. “Be nice to your sister.”

Both of the unicorns stopped their arguments, neither willing to fight their mother over this.

Ditzy nodded. “Good; now, lets see about that food.” She raised her hoof to flag down the waitress Time Turner had 'expertly' avoided a few minutes ago. “What does everypony want?”

Dinky perked back up. “Pumpkin Soup and grilled cheese!”

“And you wonder why I say those things...” Sparkler sighed, shaking her head. “Okay... just a salad for me, Vinaigrette dressing.”

Time Turner set down his shake. “I'll just have a sunflower sandwich, I'm not that hungry.”

“And I'll just have some dessert; this cheesecake looks really good.” Ditzy licked her lips.

Sparkler chuckled a bit as the waitress walked away. “No muffins this time, Mom?”

Ditzy frowned, or tried to at least; the expression didn't quite take when her mouth kept trying to twitch back up. “Muffins aren't the only thing I eat, Sparkler.”

“No,” Sparkler admitted with a smirk. “Just the only thing you bake every other day.”

Dinky and Time Turner couldn't hold back a chuckle, while Ditzy just groaned, her face flopping onto the table. “Times like this, I wish I could blush...”

Sparkler chuckled herself, patting her mother just about the wing. “Relax, I just had to pay you back for earlier.”

Ditzy groaned again, but slowly pushed herself back up with a sigh. “Okay, okay; fair's fair, and I'm sorry for teasing you earlier.”

Sparkler nodded, her chuckles trailing off as she looked around. Though the half-completed tower still loomed ominously over the center of town, she could pick out ponies dismantling it from here. “Hard to believe somepony got this far along before anypony noticed.”

“Mind magic's good for keeping secrets,” Time Turner spoke up, following her gaze. “Also has a tendency to drive ponies who don't know what they're doing insane.”

Sparkler turned to him, cocking her eyebrow. “Like you?”

Time Turner smirked. “Oh no, nothing like me.” He chuckled, pulling out his watch and dangling it on its chain. “Most ponies go insane from stress, or some sort of repressed issues, or just because the wrong thing happens at just the wrong time. But chronomancers...” Red energy glowed within the closed watch. “Chronomancers are born insane.”

Sparkler's eyebrow rose even higher, and glanced to her mother. All she got was a stiff shake of her head in response. It still didn’t stop her flippant snort. “Right... I'll keep that in mind.”

“Hey, is that ours?” Dinky, still using the table to stand on her hind legs, pointed a hoof toward the cafe. The other turned and, sure enough, they saw the waitress, with a large platter balanced on her back.

“I'd say it is, Muffin.” Ditzy clapped her hooves together. “I can't wait to—”

“Heads up!”

Everypony in the general area stopped what they were doing, and a sound akin to breaking glass was heard, followed by the angry crackle of electricity. Ponies screamed and several dove to the ground, a bolt of magically generated lightning arcing through the air.

Sparkler grabbed Dinky and coated both of them in a thin layer of magic, diving to the ground. Time Turner, a blue glow fading from his watch, pushed himself back from the table and landed on his back with a wince. Ditzy, however, had never had the best reflexes.

The lightning bolt struck her square in the face with a thunderclap, but just as quickly rebounded off as her head snapped back. The bolt struck the middle of the street, blowing out a chunk of ground as Ditzy swayed in her seat, eyes spinning wildly in opposite directions. “Oooooh... I think I felt my heart beat a few times there.”

“Sorry!” A lime green earth pony mare with a darker green mane and tail came running into view, her hair was frizzled and frazzled, static electricity sparking around it. “Accidentally summoned an elemental and couldn't banish it in time! Is everypony alright?”

There was a general response of 'yes' from most of the other ponies, though several looked at Ditzy as she swayed in her seat.

Sparkler dispelled the field around her and Dinky and stood back up. She turned to Ditzy. “Mom, you okay?”

“I'm fine, I'm fine.” She wobbled a bit, then shook her head. “Just waiting for everything to stop spinning.”

Sparkler sighed in relief. “You're lucky that bolt didn't just fry you.”

Ditzy actually giggled. “Not really, remember?”

Sparkler blinked a few times, then mouthed out 'Oh'. “Right, you're too full of magic yourself for most offensive spells to get through.”

Ditzy smiled. "That's r—” And she abruptly popped out existence again.

Sparkler started, then stamped her hooves. "Oh come on! Twice in the same day?”




Ditzy, still a bit woozy from taking a lightning bolt to the face, was thus even more disoriented than usual when she appeared in someone's summoning circle for the third time that day.

“Sorry,” she said, trying to make the world stay still for a moment. “I know I'm probably not what you were looking for, but don't worry; this happens a lot.”

“No, there wasn't any mistake. You are exactly the pony I was hoping to see, Ms. Doo.”

Her vision finally stopped twisting and spinning, settling on a pony (a mare, going by her voice) completely covered in a black robe. “Wha...”

“Hello, Ditzy; you and I have much to discuss.”
The Necromantic Adventures of Lyra Heartstrings 5

Hoo-Boy; this one was delayed a long time wasn't it?

I'm sorry, I really am; but the first draft of this chapter was... not something I was proud of, not at all. It spent way too long on an unfunny joke, and added little to nothing to the overall story. This one, while it took me a while to work out, honestly was a lot less painful to write; Slice of Life is still my weakest genre, but I'm happy with how this one turned out.


Anyway Special Thanks to: R5h, Nicktendonick, Icefox (both of whom have written stories in this verse, if you haven't checked them out yet), AppleTank, nightwalker, Themaskedferret, fervantwilight, ShadowLDrago, RagnuPony, Star_Catcher (and their girlfriend, who I can't link to), and MalWinters. They're the ones who helped make this legible, and broke down more than a few blocks I had to deal with in the writing process.
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"Last check; is everyone ready?"

Nathaniel looked up from his scrolls to the badger as he spoke. The grizzled warrior was clad in some of the best armor their shared money could buy, but it did little to hide his hulking physique; even less to hide the scar over his left eye. He'd never actually given them an answer to how he'd gotten it, and they'd stopped asking. Still, he had survived for over a decade as an adventurer, so it stood to reason he knew what he was doing.

"I was ready the last time you asked, Bartholomew." The badger's good eye snapped to the side, narrowing as he glared at the speaker.

Nathaniel followed his gaze, spotting what could be considered his 'contemporary' in the party. The strange, rat-like creature had joined up with them several weeks ago, having goals that aligned with their own quest just enough for her consider working with them. Not that it had been an easy partnership; most witches didn't really get along well with others, it was just part of the deal where they were concerned. Not helping matters were the tendency of those around her to get zapped by electricity  from unknown sources.

Bartholomew had accused her of doing it on purpose more than once, but 'Shorty', as she called herself, had always denied it.

"Watch your tone, Witch. We allow you to stay, but our patience has limits."

"Peace, Bartholomew." Nathaniel glanced to the latest speaker, a Minotaur named Thesis who had joined them all some time ago. It continually amazed all of them that the hulking beast of a creature, while he carried a greatsword that would have made Bartholomew green with envy, was actually his kind's version of a cleric. Admittedly, one just as likely to sling thunder and lightning as he was healing spells, but a cleric nonetheless; and no one in their right mind adventured without a healer.

However, Thesis wasn't doing much in the way of either at the moment. He was kneeling with his sword stabbed into ground, eyes closed, and his hand clasping the hilt as he prayed to his deity of choice. "In-fighting will gain us nothing but headaches and mistrust when we need neither."

Bartholomew scowled at him, but was cut off before a comment could be made.

"He's right, and you know it, Bartholomew." The group's final member didn't even look up from sharpening their blades. "We're already going to be courting death just by doing this; I'd rather not have to fight the closest things I have to friends as well."

Bartholomew's scowl only deepened, a growl actually rising in his throat, but he didn't lash out. "Very well, Ven, but the point still stands. Are you ready?"

The cat just smirked, looking down the edge of one of his short swords. "Honestly? I don't think I am, but I'm as close as I'm going to get."

Bartholomew grumbled, then turned back to Thesis. "And you?"

"Momentarily," he responded. "I'll be ready once my meditations are complete."

The badger nodded, then finally set his gaze on Nathaniel. "And what of you, Wizard? Are your spells prepared?"

Nathaniel gulped, but nodded all the same. "I readied every high level spell I could find, and anything that looked like it could be useful."

"...and, the one we need."

Nathaniel nodded gravely. "I made sure it was the first one I prepared. It's good to go." He hesitated as Bartholomew nodded and started to turn away. "Are you sure about this?"

The badger glanced back toward the scrawny wolf. "You picked a bad time to start questioning my leadership, Wizard."

"That's not what I'm questioning, and you know it." Nathaniel rolled up the scroll and tucked it inside his robes. "I've actually studied what I can find about this creature, and have some idea what it's capable of. Wouldn't it be smarter to simply gather an army instead of having five people trying to deal enough damage to stop it?"

Bartholomew looked Nathaniel in the eye, then sighed as he dropped his gaze down, suddenly looking far more tired than the group was used to seeing him. "I won't deny it, the idea has crossed my mind more than once; especially now, when we're so close to the battle at hand. But there wasn't nearly enough time get a hold of nearly the numbers we would need, not without endangering the civilians near the beast.

"I don't like it any more than you do, Nathaniel; but this is simply the only option we have right now."

Shorty scoffed, letting her rat familiar scurry up her arm to rest on her shoulder. "So melodramatic. I don't know what you're all worried about; this thing's never had to deal with me, or my spells. Once it gets a taste, it'll turn tail and run."

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Thesis opened his eyes with a small smirk. "You would do well to remember as such, Shorty."

"Whatever, I know what I'm doing." She waved her hand dismissively at the Minotaur's warning. "So, we doing this or not?"

Bartholomew took a deep breath to calm himself from snapping at the strange rat-creature, and to settle his own nerves about the whole mess he was about to lead them into. "Yes," he finally said, "I suppose we are. Any last minute objections?"

Thesis shook his horned head, standing back up with a grunt and pulling his sword out with one tug of his massive hand. "I am centered, and my spells are prepared. I'm ready for the battle."

Ven took a few more moments to check his blades, then nodded and slid them into a matching pair of sheaths at his sides. "Drinks are on me if I don't get killed."

Shorty chuckled, stoking her familiar as she limbered up her fingers. "I'm going to hold you to that, kitty."

Nathaniel just sighed. "I still think this is a bad idea, but I'll do my part."

Bartholomew nodded, reaching back to ready his war-hammer. "Okay... here we go."

The party finally started walking, they had a bit of a journey to go before they got to where they needed to be, and very little time to get there.

--------------------------

Travel was never easy nor quick, even less-so when their destination wasn't located near anything in particular. Still, none of them were any strangers to marching on for hours, spending days to get to new towns just for supplies. A single day's march was nothing compared to some of the things they had done, especially when one factored in just how... empty, the area was.

Oh, there was a forest, which they were traversing with a long practiced care, and there were enough insects that they tried even Thesis's patience, but nothing more dangerous than a feral wolf (easily frightened off by the minotaur's bellow) accosted them as they moved through branch and bramble.

While normally, they would have welcomed such peace, they were becoming increasingly unnerved by how quiet everything had gotten. It left them with little to distract from the sense of impending doom weighing on their hearts.

"Nathaniel." Bartholomew finally broke the silence of the woods, hefting himself over a fallen tree. "Where did the scroll you found say this thing was buried?"

The wizard shooed away a fly as he thought back a few days. "Nearly eight leagues from what it called 'Castle Grayskull', by way of the setting sun. All the research I've done says that was the ruins we had to rest in the other night, and we've been heading west since we left them. We should be nearly there."

"No 'nearly' about it, puppy." Shorty, having gotten a good ways ahead of the group, called back to them. "We're here."

The others joined her one after another, stepping out into a clearing; while not unusual in and of itself, the massive hole spiraling into the earth most certainly was. It was massive, several hundred feet across and the black depths faded into invisibility long before it ever reached the bottom. The edges were jagged, with rocks jutting out and great gouges that hadn't been worn away by time.

"...yeah," Nathaniel said, pausing to peer over the edge with a gulp. "This is what the book spoke of; the tarrasque is buried in the depths of the earth here."

The forest seemed to grow still at the mention of the creature. The tarrasque was, according to a book they had stumbled upon in the ruined castle a few nights ago, the most powerful engine of destruction the world had ever known. Dragons were as flies to it; the gods themselves trembled in fear of such a creature being set loose upon the world, to the point most refused to even act against it. Armies were said to be tossed aside with a single sweep of it's hands, and no weapons forged by mortal or immortal weapons were truly deadly to it.

None could say where, when, how, or why such a creature was made, or to what ends it had been made, just that it existed. And that it was set to awaken any day now.

Nathaniel, for all his own intelligence, hadn't been able to recognize the dating system the old kingdom had used. As such, he was only able to give a vague idea of when the beast was set to break free of its magically induced slumber; the fact they hadn't heard of some massive rampages yet meant it was probably still asleep, but they couldn't keep relying on luck and hope for the best.

Bartholomew was right, there simply wasn't time to do anything else.

"So..." Ven peered over the edge of the gaping wound on the planet himself. "I don't see any stairs, so how are we getting down there?"

"Me." Nathaniel cracked his knuckles and turned to the group. "Had a feeling this would come in handy." He closed his eyes, reaching within him to the power all magically potent beings held within themselves, then spoke a single word in an arcane language. He felt the power flow through him, light gathering about his hands as other lights surrounded the other party members, including himself. He slumped a bit after the casting was complete, a hand going to his head. "Ohh... that was something."

Thesis raised an eyebrow. "You okay there, Nathaniel?"

The wizard waved off his concerns. "Yeah, yeah; I've just never cast Feather Fall on that many people at once." He managed to straighten himself up, walking to the edge of the pit once more. "Okay, I know the drill with these sorts of things. Wizard tests his spell first." And he jumped, putting as much distance between himself and the edge of the hole as he could. And, while he did fall, it was a far cry from the speed he should have plummeted at; the spell was holding, it seemed.

With a grin, he twisted himself around in the air, still drifting downward. "We're good! You can jump now too."

Bartholomew didn't hesitate, just hurling himself off the cliff face and starting his slowed descent into the dark depths.

Shorty, meanwhile, just turned to look at Ven and Thesis. "You ever wonder how you got to the point where jumping off a cliff was the sane thing to do?"

Thesis chuckled. "Many, many times, I assure you." The Minotaur charged off the cliff, joining his companions in their fall.

Ven just shrugged, a wild grin on his face. "What do I have to worry about? Cats always land on their feet, remember?"

Shorty just shook her head, letting her familiar scurry inside of her robes once more. "You guys are nuts."

"Yep, coming?" Ven took a running leap, flipping a few times in the air before he started his fall.

Shorty sighed, then shook her head. "Gods help me, I've gone native." The strange rat-creature closed her eyes and just ran right off the cliff edge, best to not give herself time to think about what she was doing.

Not like it would make it any easier to survive.

-----------------

The fall was a lot longer than any of them had been expecting. Nathaniel actually had to recast the spell part-way down when they all started falling at a more natural speed, since they had been slow falling for nearly half an hour. However, Ven did eventually call out that he saw the ground approaching; and not a moment too soon at that; the second spell cut out when they were about ten feet above the ground, and Nathaniel was out of times he could cast it.

Still, they managed to land more or less smoothly. Bartholomew and Thesis landed with a pair of grunts, both of them strong enough to not stagger, and Ven had literally cat-like grace on his side, so he landed without making a sound. Nathaniel and Shorty, however, had neither of those on their side, and both landed somewhat awkwardly.

Still, none of them where hurt, that was the important part.

"Okay then." Shorty smoothed her robes, her rat familiar slipping out of the sleeve and up to her shoulder. "So, where is this damned thing?"

"You can't expect a book over five centuries old to be accurate to that level, Shorty." Nathaniel held up his hand and snapped his fingers. A ball of light appeared over his head, illuminating the general area. "It's somewhere in this pit, that's all I can say for sure."

Bartholomew took charge immediately. "Okay, spread out and see if you can find it." The badger opened a bag of holding strapped to his waist and pulled out a torch, with a strike of some flint off his his hammer, it was lit. "And please, no one touch anything that they can't identify. I don't want a repeat of that one temple from a few months back."

"I said I was sorry!" Shorty stomped her feet as she turned red with rage, and everyone was sure they smelled something like the air following a thunderstorm.

"Just get to work; we don't know how much longer we have!" Bartholomew turned from her and started off into the darkness.

Shorty, still angry, snapped her fingers like Nathaniel and summoned her own ball of light. Her grumbling was still audible as she walked away from the rest of them, making Ven shake his head.

"Those two are going to kill each other one of these days, am I the only one who realizes this?"

Thesis just shook his head. "If they come to blows, they'll stop before serious harm is done." The Minotaur held up one of his hands, a glowing ball of sparking electricity appearing in it. "Now then, I suppose we should actually start looking for the abomination." He grunted, shifting his own armor around and heading off in another direction.

Nathaniel and Ven both nodded to each other and headed separate ways as well; the former already having his light source and the latter not actually needing extra light to see in the dark. But both confident in the party's search abilities.

After all, how hard could it be to find something as massive as what they were looking for?

---------------------

"So... anyone finding anything?"

Shorty's voice echoed throughout the cavern, causing everyone to pause in their search.

"I got nothing but a lot of stalagmites over here," Ven called out. "Good thing we didn't jump down on this side."

"More of the same for me." That was Thesis. "I think we might have gotten lucky with our entry point."

Bartholomew's snarl echoed through the cavern. "We're definitely in the right place, I found some pictures of something I don't recognize; that's got to be it."

"Maybe it decided to move." Shorty's sarcasm just made the other party members roll their eyes. "It's not like this is prime real estate here."

Bartholomew snarled even louder, preparing a retort, but was interrupted before he could start.

"Guys! You need to get over here, now!" Nathaniel's shout was slightly panicked, but it did cause the rest of them to start running in his general direction.

They stumbled a few times over uneven ground, and Shorty was pretty winded by the time they managed to catch up to him, but they did all reach him eventually... standing at what looked like the edge of a small cliff, with nothing else around.

Bartholomew was the first to ask the obvious question. "What is so important that you called us here, Wizard?"

Nathaniel gulped, fidgeting under the leader's intense glare. "W-well, I got to here and thought that it might be down there-" he nodded into the small canyon "-or something." He gulped again, but held up his hand to direct his magical lantern. "S-so I sent this down to check and... well..." Rather than finish, he simply directed the little glowing ball downward, passing several outcroppings before it finally stopped a short ways down. "Look... just look very carefully."

Bartholomew scowled, but looked at where the ball had stopped. It was a strange formation, rounded and slightly protruding from the area around it. It wasn't anything all that special in his mind, just something odd in a giant cavern; and he was about to start berating Nathaniel for wasting their time...

When the outcropping moved.

It was short, barely a second in length, but the strange formation moved, and he could see something smooth and slightly reflective under it as it did. Bartholomew blinked several times, unsure of what he'd just witnessed, when the answer hit him so hard he actually stumbled back.

"An eye?!" He gaped at nothing as his mind struggled to comprehend this new knowledge. "That's an eye down there?!"

Nathaniel nodded, the light floating back up. "We're not on the ground, Bartholomew. We're on the thing's back, and this is its head."

Bartholomew gulped, struggling to regain his balance as he tried to clear his head. "Okay... okay... we... we knew this was a possibility..."

"No we didn't!" Shorty stomped her foot again, and the party froze as they remembered where they were. However, the beast below them didn't stir, letting them relax a fraction of a bit, and to let Shorty continue. "We were prepared for, at most, a dragon. This thing is not a dragon; hell, I'm pretty sure it could swallow a dragon in one bite! We're not ready for this, Bartholomew! No matter how much you want to growl at me!"

The badger gritted his teeth so hard it seemed they likely to crack at any moment. "Shorty, what would you have us do? Leave and let this thing awaken to do gods know what before any form of resistance can be formed? Just pretend we never found out about this thing?"

Shorty looked down to the 'ground'. "We might live a bit longer..."

Bartholomew drew his hand back like he was going to strike her, but managed to hold himself back, growling so lowly it could almost be felt. "I will not run and hide with my tail between my legs like some sort of coward. If I am to die, if the world is to die, then I will die on my feet with a weapon in my hands. If you want to leave, then leave, I'm continuing with the plan."

Shorty scowled up at the larger fur, but didn't say anything for a long time. "...okay then, what is the plan?"

Bartholomew sighed through his snout, then looked down at the eye, just as it fluttered again. "Truth be told, we don't have time for something big and flashy; the damned thing looks like it's about to wake up any moment now."

"So..." Ven spoke up, a grin back on his face in spite of the situation. "Just wail on it with everything we've got?"

Bartholomew nodded. "More or less; it's the best we've got right now." He pulled his hammer out once more, grunting as he hefted it in his hands. "Everyone, if we don't survive this... you've made my life very interesting."

"I feel the love," Shorty deadpanned, but readied herself to start slinging spells.

Ven just smirked, drawing both his swords with great flourish and even twirling them a few times.

Electricity crackled around Thesis's hand while his other drew his massive greatsword. "For glory," he said with a smile of his own.

Nathaniel sighed, going over the other spells he'd prepared for the encounter. He had no illusions about surviving this encounter, he just hoped he actually did something instead of got in the way. "Lets just do this."

That was all the say-so Bartholomew needed; his hammer was lifted over his head, and swung down as everyone else backed away. The head of the hammer ignited as it fell, and seemed to explode at impact with the 'ground'. Bartholomew wasn't hurt, but the rest of the party felt the force of it ever several feet away, to say nothing of the wave of heat from the explosion itself.

Thesis bellowed out a Minotaur war cry, holding out his hand as a lightning bolt blasted out of it with a mighty thunderclap. The bolt hit what they could only assume was the creature's neck, given the size of it, and he was already readying another.

Ven moved as a blur, his twin blades slashing and swinging down and even at the spikes they now recognized as part of the creature's back. The blades, forged in adamantite, left an icy trail in their wake, occasionally even freezing part the 'ground' when they struck it.

Shorty's hands were both out, doing a bit more effective job of freezing large areas and actually chilling the air so much the party could actually see their breath.

However, Nathaniel just continued to look down off the edge of the creature's head, his eyes wide and his mouth surprisingly dry. He supposed he could have hurled flame, or frost, or even lightning, but... well...

"Nathaniel!" Bartholomew had hammered down another explosive blow, glaring at the wolf wizard. "Attack! Now!"

"...it isn't even waking up."

Shorty's concentration went, the chill dissipating in nearly an instant. "...what?"

"It isn't even feeling this!" Nathaniel gestured down, where the eye still only occasionally fluttered in the last vestiges of sleep. "None of what we're doing is even hurting it!"

"Don't give up yet!" Thesis raised his spell arm, calling massive bolts down into the hole, each striking with a deafening thunder. "We have to keep trying!"

"We've come way too far to just give up now!" Ven had taken to slashing the same spot on the thing's neck. "We'll get through eventu-"

The 'ground' suddenly shook, and Nathaniel saw the eye down below shoot open.

"I don't think 'eventually' is going to be soon enough."

It was almost like an earthquake, with how much the ground shook and shifted. The massive creature's every movement tossing them about like dolls. Ven managed to hook one of his swords on the thing's scales as it stood, with Thesis grabbing onto one of the spikes before he could fall, even managing to dangle from one hand and grab Shorty as she fell passed him.

Bartholomew and Nathaniel, both on the head, rocked and pitched about the most; the badger dropping prone as he did everything to keep his balance and the wolf having to cling to the 'cliff's edge as he nearly toppled off it.

Finally, after several moments that lasted nearly an eternity, the Tarrasque stood, its gaping maw stretched wide in a yawn that showed off incredibly large and sharp teeth. And the light streaming down from above managed to reveal something else that left Nathaniel's eyes wide as he looked down.

"Um, Bartholomew? I don't think this thing is an 'it'."

Nathaniel could barely believe what he was seeing. Not only was the massive creature standing on two legs like each of them, but he honestly couldn't all the way down to its feet, not with the two massive... circles, for lack of a better term, on its- no, her chest. The Tarrasque they had been questing to find and stop was a female; he'd honestly expect a detail like that to have been mentioned somewhere in the books he'd been studying about her.

"So I see." Bartholomew hauled the wolf back onto her head with a grunt. "What I don't see is how this changes our mission."

Nathaniel blinked, then shook his head to clear it. "Right, right... I don't know where my head's at right now."

"Hey! A little help back here would be appreciated!"

Bartholomew and Nathaniel looked at each other for a moment, then ran to the back of her head, looking down over the spikes running down her back. Ven still dangled there, both his swords hooked on the edge of a scale; Thesis and Shorty had, luckily, pulled themselves up onto one of the protruding spikes, meaning they were relatively safe for the time being.

"Dammit." Bartholomew lay down again, holding out his hammer for Ven to grab the head and let Bartholomew swing him up to pull himself up onto the head as well. "Okay... you two okay down there?"

"What the hell do you think?"

"Shorty's fine, Bartholomew. I lost my sword, but I'm okay."

Bartholomew nodded. "Okay, I need you to-"

The 'ground' shook again, cutting Bartholomew off as the Tarrasque started to move once more, heading to the edge of the pit.

Hands that could have held a full grown dragon in their grasp came up, the massive claws at the end sinking into the rock and dirt. Then, the same process repeated with similarly clawed feet and toes, each digging into the wall; then, with the wall groaning in protest, the Tarrasque began to climb.

It was almost unreal; the massive female was scaling straight up the wall as easily as any of them could climb a ladder. Granted, some chunks of it were torn loose in the process, but it barely seemed to slow here, if it slowed her at all. And, of course, the party was left stumbling and staggering as her movements obliviously tossed them about, Thesis and Shorty getting the worst of it down on her back.

"We need a new plan," Ven hissed, struggling to find some sort of grip that wouldn't knock him flat again.

"I know," Bartholomew snapped back with a growl, then turned to Nathaniel. "We need to stop it from reaching the top."

"Her," Nathaniel corrected automatically. "And how do you expect to do that when we couldn't even wake her up?"

Bartholomew glared at the wizard for a moment, then turned his attention to the wall as the Tarrasque continued to climb. "Hit the wall as she gets a hand hold. Then hit the other; it should knock her down."

Nathaniel started at him for several moments, then shook his head. "I'm going on record and saying this is a dumb plan."

"I think Shorty's rubbing off on you."

"Not in the mood, Ven." Nathaniel concentrated, waiting until the Tarrasque went to sink her claws into the cliff-face again, then blasting out the strongest Fireball he could cast.

The ground exploded in fire and stone, making the Tarrasque roar in surprise. She didn't seem to be hurt from what they could see, but she hadn't been expecting that; nor did she expect the ground around her other hand to explode in a similar manner.

With both her hand-holds gone, the beast's balance was lost, and she slipped backwards, her feet losing their grip as well. Comparatively speaking, the fall afterward wasn't all that long, only a few seconds, but the three on her head still landed pretty hard when she hit bottom. Thesis and Shorty didn't fare any better, knocked off the spike they had been on, and only saved from a fatal fall because they managed to hit the Tarrasque's rump first, bouncing off it and landing on the ground at an angle; painful, yes, but they'd both live to complain about it.

"Think she noticed that?"

It appeared the universe wasn't in the mood for Ven's sarcasm, as one of those massive hands suddenly snatched the three up in a single sweep of it. Bringing them around to her face as she glared at them; a growl so deep and loud it shook their very bones emanated from her throat, and her maw started to open.

"Hit her with everything you've got!" Bartholomew swung his hammer into one of her towering fingers, with Ven slashing away at another. Lightning, ice and fire crashed against her form from everything Thesis and Shorty could hurl at her, the Witch actually calling a storm of acid rain to deluge down on her. Even Nathaniel threw his entire stock of Fireball and Lightning Bolt spells at her, and every cantrip he could think of off the top of his head.

But nothing seemed to do anything. And, to make matters worse, they were nearing her maw and their eventual demise.

"Nathaniel, the spell!"

The wolf turned to Bartholomew. "But it-"

"We're out of options, just do it!"

Nathaniel bit his lip, trying to think of something, anything, besides wasting the only spell that could be used to send her back into hibernation. It only had a chance of working like that if she were already unconscious, but the chances of them getting her there seemed less than zero at this point. Bartholomew was right; there was nothing else any of them could do.

Reaching deep within himself, Nathaniel called on every bit of arcane knowledge he had ever learned. He had one shot, one cast, one chance to completely alter how the world worked in one instant. "I Wish..." His body started to glow as the power flooded through it; Wish was, perhaps, the most powerful spell a wizard could learn; able to make the the unreal a reality and wipe the slate clear for the impossible.

And, just maybe, able to save their lives.

"I Wish... that she wasn't a threat!"

For a single second, Nathaniel was certain he heard someone giggle just behind his ear, before the glow from his body sank into the Tarrasque's hand. It shot through her body like lightning, magnifying and growing in intensity as it did. She thrashed in pain, dropping them as she did, though they managed to survive thanks to Shorty calling up a whirlwind to slow them as they fell.

Light continued to surround the Tarrasque, covering her entire body as black smoke started to pour out of her, the light growing ever brighter and the creature's roars growing ever louder. Until, the light grew so bright they could see nothing else, and the creature gave one final, earth shaking bellow.

And everything was still.

---------------------

"So... that happened."

It was night, the party had set up camp near in the same clearing as the hole, some distance away from the edge. While they didn't like the idea of camping out in the open like this, they were in no state to start the long trek back to civilization. Ven alone had twisted his ankle pretty badly in the fall, and Shorty hadn't used her left hand since the battle had ended.

Nathaniel, though not looking overly banged up, had cracked some ribs in the fall and was more or less sore all over. Only Bartholomew seemed to be more or less whole from the encounter, and he was busy scowling at the flames.

"Yes, that happened." The badger turned to Nathaniel. "I must admit, that wasn't the wish I was expecting you to make."

The wizard tried to shrug, but winced halfway through. "I panicked, okay? I just wanted the threat to go away."

"Probably could have worded it better, pup." Shorty winced as her familiar shifted about on her shoulders. "Might have made things a bit easier."

"I'm sorry, what else do you want me to say? I don't even know if it would have worked if I'd worded it differently."

"Can we not do this now?" Ven groaned, shifting his bum leg. "None of us are going to be thinking straight until Thesis can patch us up? When's he coming back anyway?"

The ground started shaking again, drawing the party's attention to the hole again. Without any ceremony, the massive, hulking figure of the Tarrasque cleared the edge, then brought her head close to the ground so the Minotaur could slide off an onto the ground. "There you go." The voice coming out her maw was deep, but far more feminine than it had a right to be. "And, again; sorry about... well, everything. I... I wasn't... really... well, thinking."

"I'm not going to complain about surviving; and you honestly seem apologetic, so it's no chip off my horns." Thesis walked over to join the group, smiling as he did. "Finally found my sword again, so, let's see about getting you guys back on your feet."

"Me first." Shorty winced as she shifted her arm to let Thesis get a better look at it, and ended up looking at the Tarrasque as she sat on the edge of the hole. "So... what are we going to do about her?"

Everyone was silent, even Thesis not really saying anything even after the conversation he'd shared with her.

"Well..." Ven started, "we're not really under any obligations to do anything about her now. Are we?"

"No..." Thesis admitted, his hands glowing as he ran them up and down Shorty's arm. "But, I don't like the idea of leaving her alone out here."

"Nor do I," Bartholomew admitted. "I'm sure it'd come back to bite us in the ass if we did."

The group fell silent again, before Nathaniel finally spoke up. "Um... we could let her come with us."

Everyone turned to him, some faster than others.

"I-I-I mean..." He found a particularly interesting blade of grass to look at. "Well... it's sorta our fault she's like this now, so that would mean it's our responsibility to help her now." He blushed. "And... well... she's... um..." He trailed off, muttering as his face took on a red hue.

Bartholomew's eye twitched. "I'm going to believe that you didn't say what I think you did there." However, he did grudgingly admit, "but you do have a point. She is our responsibility now; so... I suppose we will have to take her with us."

Nathaniel sighed in relief, or tried to before he winced from the pain in his ribs. "I'll, um... I'll let her know."

The wolf gingerly stood and slowly walked over to the Tarrasque as she continued to sit there. He managed to get close enough to her to touch one of her thighs, tail wagging as he could feel the thick and corded muscles beneath the scales. "Hey," he called up.

High above, she blinked and looked down, then smiled when she saw who it was. "Hey."

"So... remember that thing we talked about when you carried me up?"

"Yeah?"

Nathaniel braced himself. "Well, looks like you'll be joining us after all."

The Tarrasque, the very being that had nearly annihilated all of them not more than a few hours ago, squealed like an overly excited teenager, actually snatching him up and hugging him to her impressive chest. It was painful of course, given the state of his ribs, but Nathaniel couldn't help but smile even as he flinched in pain. Though she was quick to set him back down when she realized this. "Sorry... I got a bit excited..."

"It's fine, Thesis still needs to patch me up."

She winced at the mention of it. "Yeah... sorry about that too."

Nathaniel waved off her concern. "Don't worry about that; just part of the job. Speaking of which, have you given any thought to what sort of class you want to be?"

While it was mostly a formality, especially with as much power as she clearly had, there was just a system to how these things worked. Besides how bad could it-

"Well... I've been thinking about it for a while, and... I think I'd make a pretty good bard, don't you?"
Not The Average Adventure
So... yeah, I randomly decided to write this one day, and it spiraled out from there. I can't say it wasn't fun, though, so that's something.

Also, shout-out to the people who let me use their characters.

Thesis: March Dragon (he doesn't have a DA profile as far as I know)

Shorty: :iconmeisterli:

The Tarrasque as a creature belongs to Wizards of the Coast.
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Regularly Scheduled Rampage by Dragon-of-Twilght
Regularly Scheduled Rampage

The city was still and quiet.


Well, 'still' and 'quiet' were both relative terms. The sidewalks and streets were still bustles of activity, and cars still honked in the streets, and a few street performers either danced and sang to various types of music (and with varying degrees of talent). But, on the whole, there was not a whole lot going on. Which was just to be expected at 2:36 PM on a Thursday; it was simply not a time when a lot of things happened.


Which, of course, was why everyone noticed the shaking of the ground so suddenly.


It was a rhythmic tremor, which ruled out an earthquake, but it also kept repeating, which ruled out any sort of demolition as well. That left just one potential source for the shakes.


"Hey, down there!"


Yep, that confirmed it. Even before most people managed to look up and spot the absol towering over the buildings and flattening whole blocks with each colossal step, he had already announced himself.


And, strangely, most waved up at him in greeting, or at least acknowledgement.


There was no mad dash to flee, no mob of frightened and panicked people trying futilely to flee the titan; the only ones who seemed at all scared were a few people from out of town. And even they couldn't do more than gawk around them at how blase the reaction of the locals remained.


"Sorry I'm a bit late," the gargantuan quadruped continued finally. "The guy who was supposed to show up twisted his ankle when he tripped over a canyon." He actually held up one of his paws as some of the locals started to express concern. "Don't worry, Doc said he'd be on his feet again in a couple of weeks. I'll bring him by on Saturday if you don't believe me. But, until then, I'll be handling the usual rampage duties here. We cool?"


Most of the locals either nodded or shrugged, a few dozen even called up with 'Get Well Soon' wishes to pass on the injured macro, but the general consensus remained the same: they didn’t mind a replacement.


The absol, for his part, just smiled down at them. "Great! Anyway, let's get this show on the road!"


As the absol stomped down with the force of a localized earthquake, the locals took the time to explain a few things to the out-of-towners. There was a macro settlement not too far from the city. Only about the proportional size of a small town; and, while the ones who lived there were a nice lot, they all had the instinctual urge to smash up micro cities like this one.


It was a problem, but one they had recently had a breakthrough on.


Due to a few theoretical physicists on both sides of the size scale collaborating, an experimental technology had been developed, and they were in the process of getting it okayed by the governing bodies. It was essentially a forcefield that protected micros from all the usual hazards of a rampage: falling, debris, even the macro themselves. Essentially allowing macros to rampage at their heart's content with only property damage to worry about. It also meant the city could save money on demolition crews by just allowing a macro to smash through the city every so often.


Needless to say, it was a lot to swallow. But seeing people climb out of the absol's paw prints with their only markings coming from the dust and dirt was a pretty effective demonstration. And, before long, several stomped on outsiders admitted the whole thing was kinda fun in a weird way.


And the absol, for his part, just kept stomping away. He'd help clean up eventually, but he was simply having too much fun to stop right now.

------------------------------------

Art by :iconstampydragon:

Story by me.

Stampy drew a pic, and I wrote a silly story for the pic; not much else to this, I'm afraid.

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  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Nightwish
  • Reading: Pony fics
  • Watching: Atop the Fourth Wall
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
Made it 26 years on this earth. That's worth celebrating, right?
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Nightwish
  • Reading: Pony fics
  • Watching: Atop the Fourth Wall
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
Hey there, me again!

I know some of you are probably growing sick of seeing things like this from me, but I'm not being completely selfish this time!

A while back, I posted about a friend of mine who wrote a story set in the same universe as Necromantic, an AU I've started to refer to as the Necroverse.

That story, Flash's Demon, is still ongoing, in case anyone is interested.

Anyway! The reason I bring this up, another friend of mine has written a story set in this universe. I now give you The Farmer and the Fae; the first meeting of two very familiar characters in a very unfamiliar manner.

Enjoy, and thank you for your time!

deviantID

Dragon-of-Twilght
Nathan
United States
Favourite genre of music: Country
Personal Quote: Yes, I am insane
Interests
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Nightwish
  • Reading: Pony fics
  • Watching: Atop the Fourth Wall
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Mountain Dew
Made it 26 years on this earth. That's worth celebrating, right?

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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2016
Read the latest chapter of Pony POV Series. It has to do with an idea you and  CrazyJabberwock discussed on Jun 4, 2015. 
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:iconsomerandomminion:
SomeRandomMinion Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2016
Luna deals with an unexpected annoyance: www.deviantart.com/art/Luna-la…
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:icondragon-of-twilght:
Dragon-of-Twilght Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2016
Hah; reminds me of some RP I've done with a friend of mine. Where the Celestia and Luna in Equestria were variable sized avatars, and the sun and moon are just the cutie marks of the real ones, so they're basically always mooning the planet.
Reply
:iconsomerandomminion:
SomeRandomMinion Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2016
:rofl: That is hilarious!
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:icondragon-of-twilght:
Dragon-of-Twilght Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2016
Yeah, my friends and I come up with a lot of really weird ideas when we talk. Hell, that's where that Tarrasque story originally spawned from.
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(1 Reply)
:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016
*A changeling walks into Coffee Swirl's shop*
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:icondragon-of-twilght:
Dragon-of-Twilght Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016
Swirl: *No reaction whatsoever* What'll it be?
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016
"A tall glass of fraternal love, with a concentration of 50-adfectus proof please." 
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:icondragon-of-twilght:
Dragon-of-Twilght Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016
Swirl: *Sighs through his nose, pulling some special boots for his forelegs* Hold on for a moment. *He heads back to the storage room behind the counter where this... thing exists. It looks like a vaguely insectoid structure, with various pockets of semi-congealed goo dotting it. Inside those pockets, tiny glowing balls are visible, undulating about under their own power. Scraps of paper with Swirl's mouth-writing are stuck beside the pockets, each sporting some short-hoof on them.

*With his usual stoicism, he sticks one of his hooves into one of the gel pockets, plucking out one of the balls. Trotting back on three legs, he places the ball over a cup and lightly taps it with his wing. The ball pops, filling the cup with a strange liquid; it has a smell that reminds him of his younger days, when he and his family had moments where they weren't fighting and could actually get along like normal ponies.

*Finally, he trots back to the counter and passes the cup over to the changeling.* That'll be 7 Bits.
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