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Everything posted by Dio

  1. Hibana clopped her hooves in applause as Shiroi wrapped up her number. “Now that’s a Shiroi I never see! Maybe your office isn’t as much a dank dungeon as I thought!” She laughed. Riko beeped in protest as she was first hissed at, then had the bottle snatched out from under her. With head drooping, Riko warbled sadly and floated back to her owner and curled up between Hibana’s wings. Hibana chuckled, reaching a wingtip to stroke Riko’s head. “It’s okay, hon. They’re just excited and thirsty!” “See, Limi, Oyabun Ryuichi will take good care of you!” she teased, switching effortlessly back into Common Equestrian, “Relax! This is a party, not some secret mission!” “Unless, of course,” she said in a suddenly terse whisper, leaning in close with dead serious face in clear violation of Limi’s personal space until they were nearly muzzle to muzzle, “you’re a caribou secret agent.” She locked eyes with Limi for a moment before her pupils briefly darted to Ryuichi. A smile tugged on her lips and soon it became apparent she was barely holding herself together. Hibana burst out laughing, nearly falling upon her haunches and spilling her drink. Through some miraculous combination of dragon breath blown out in snorting laugh and a quick dive by Riko, her shot glass was saved from the floor. The dragon flames were enough to ignite the fumes around the rim of the shot glass, setting it ablaze. Hibana took the glass from Riko, raising an eyebrow at the flames before shrugging and downing the shot anyway. "Exactly how many golems do you have running around, Hibana?" “Just Riko for now,” she replied lightly booping Riko’s “snout” with her nose. “I’ve been mostly working on modular systems for both Riko and Raiju. No sense in replacing hardware if upgrades will make her do just as well!” “So who’s next to sing? If no one else is heading in, I’ve had my two-drink minimum entry fee already, so I can go!”
  2. The shop was a cozy affair. Its interior was lit by an old hearth at the far end of the dining area and the soft glow of faerie lanterns enchanted to shed light without heat. Small circular tables ringed with similar cushions offered seating away from the main counter. A small censer stood upon a corner table, its smoldering coals filling the room with a faint hint of incense. The area behind the counter was just as prosaic. A few posters with descriptions and sketched drawings of menu items and a chalkboard scrawled with the day’s specials stood behind the till. Quite conspicuously overlooking the counter sat an ornate carved statue of an okami yokai, another lit censer of incense at its feet. Bucephalus raised an eyebrow. While the carver had given the wolf a countenance of neutral, watchful tranquility, Bucephalus could not help but think its eyes were constantly upon him. From the kitchen came the quiet bubble of hot broth in pots, the crackle of grease in a fryer, and the clinks and clanks of dishes being washed by hoof. Bucephalus sighed. As hungry as he was, the shop was likely a one-pony operation. He couldn’t expect them to be at his every beck and call. Thus, Bucephalus waited. "Hello! Are you a hopeless fan of gourmet ramen and dumplings too?" There was a beat before Bucephalus was able to respond. So absorbed in scrutinizing the okami statue had he been that he’d hardly noticed the newcomer. A quick glance told him that there was no one else in the shop that she could have been talking to. “I rather fancy myself a hopeless fan of a full belly,” he smiled. “If that is to be accomplished by ramen and dumplings, I welcome it.” He glanced at the raindrops beading upon her hat. “Would that make you a hopeless fan of remaining warm and dry?”
  3. If the sergeant saw him now, he would surely think that Daedalus had gone mad. To the outsider he would have been shouting at empty air, but to Daedalus he was shouting over the screaming, yelling, and moans of pain coming from the transparent facsimile of Twilight floating just feet from him. It was clear she was in pain. Daedalus had seen pain plenty in his lifetime, but Twilight’s pain hurt him far more than he had expected. His eyes rapidly darted between the projection and the now glowing artifacts in his saddlebags. They were thrumming quite strongly now, glowing ever brighter and shaking as if they would surely burst their bonds. It took a moment, but Daedalus finally made the connection in his head. The artifact capsules were part of the anchor. They were reacting to the ley flow because they were part of the anchor mechanism. Or rather what was inside the capsules. Each one rattled against the others, the metal barely containing the energies resonating within. Daedalus’ thoughts raced. They capsules would explode. There would be shrapnel. Shrapnel at this range meant certain death to fleshy targets such as himself. When he tried to pick one up with his magic the feedback shot an electric jolt back through the aether stream that struck him struck him in the horn like a lightning bolt. Daedalus dropped the capsule like a heated kettle. Normal magic was going haywire. He had to try something else. Daedalus took a deep breath, centering himself and reaching into the Void to pluck a strand of ley undisturbed by the turbulence around him. With another flick of his horn a blade-shaped ridge of black crystals shot out of the ground. Daedalus checked his footing to make sure he was secure. If he fell upon it, the monomolecular edge would slice him in half. He reached down to the ground where the blue capsule lay vibrating madly. It was difficult to hold between his front hooves and even more difficult to rear up and slam the capsule into the crystalline blade. Thankfully, the split was clean. The halves of the metal cracked and fell away from the crystal within, allowing it to freely levitate upwards, accelerating toward where Twilight had plunged into the Anchor. Seeing the desperate plan work, Daedalus got to work on splitting the rest of the capsules. As the last crystal broke free and ascended, Daedalus flicked his horn again, dispelling the crystalline blade so that it did not leave a hazard. Even in the chill of the northern spring, sweat had begun to bead on Daedalus’ forehead and dampen his mane. The effort of pulling from non-local aether and the physical exertion of manually cracking the capsules was finally starting to show. Even so, however, Daedalus remained wary. “Come on, Twilight. Did that do it? Help me help you!”
  4. Music wafted through the streets and alleys of Downtown Long Kong, the raucous blaring of club speakers and the excited chatter of patrons carrying even into the quieter portions of town. As the distance from the riverfront increased, the architecture morphed from the sleek, modern design of Long skyscrapers and entertainment venues into more traditional stylings of Long Kong suburbia. The last rumble of distant thunder gently shook windows and sent ripples through the water pooling in the cobbles. In spite of the passing of the storm, a humid haze lingered at street level, its sticky miasma clinging to the coats of goers-about like hitchhiker seeds. Bucephalus shook the last of the rain out of his mane. Or rather, the mane he had assumed. This form was of a well-built pegasus stallion, his coat the white of freshly cleaned bone with mane and fetlocks the hue of rusted iron. His heavy footfalls reflected martial discipline, but the measured rhythm of his steps reflected high-born pedigree. Thankfully, he had managed to shelter in the metro station before the worst of the storm had struck. Water beaded off his coat and clung to the strands of his mane, but he was otherwise none the worse for wear. But now another problem presented itself. A low growl shook his stomach and put a cringe to his face. It was a long walk to get to the main street Downtown. His dwindling bits meant an unnecessary train ride was out of the question. As if granted by providence, a ramen shop was just around the next block. Bucephalus took one whiff of the delicious scent of soba and broth and began salivating. Love and friendship fed changeling magical reserves, but food was what filled a hungry belly. Furthermore, staying to do dishes or assist with cooking meant a few more bits to pay for lodging for the night and food the next day. With nothing left to lose, Bucephalus hoofed open the door and stepped inside, taking a seat upon one of the cushions by the low counter.
  5. Dio

    Time Out

    They are so cute and squeezable!
  6. Dio


    The Long with the dragon tattoos?
  7. Warm spring air ruffled through Daedalus’ mane, a far cry from the dry, cold void from whence they came. The portal popped closed behind them and Daedalus was suddenly overwhelmed with the myriad singing of evening birds and the chirping and buzzing of insects. Persisting between worlds, even within the soundless void, was the name, “Kyanaster.” “Star of Blue,” he silently mouthed while gazing into the glowing white-blue pebble that now floated before him. Whether Discord was being figurative or literal in his assessment of the star’s desires, Daedalus did not know. Discord spoke in riddles, constantly misdirecting and redirecting, his inflection belying sincerity but his words equivocating far beyond their colloquial bounds. Daedalus was a skeptic. Stars did not live as ponies did, did they? With feelings and dreams and desires? Or perhaps it was the inhabitants -- either potential or past, it seemed Discord made no differentiation between the two -- of the worlds that circled the star before its collapse? While standing upon the barren asteroid, Daedalus had caught glimpse of a cold, rocky ball transiting the pulsar’s glow. Had there been ponies on that planet, too? Had they met with an untimely end when their star ultimately died? What luxury it truly was to be able to think of these things in leisure. This Kyanaster, her power was strong; even a miniscule fraction of her was sufficient to allow for teleport sigil calculation and rendering at orders of magnitude faster than what he could do in his head. Whatever it -- she, even -- was bore further study. The fading of Kyanaster from the sky went unnoticed by Daedalus, as he focused solely on the soft glow emitted from the tiny star floating beside him, a glow that seemed to flare brightly for a moment before dimming to quiescence once again. “Alicorn princess I am not,” he echoed his earlier reply, his gaze still fixed upon Kyanaster. “Though I suppose more alicorn and less princess now that I think of it. Twilight and I have yet to speak of any long term career development goals; for all I know, I could be back on the road when she returns. My individual skills are considerable, but building a proper network in Equestria of those in the know per se, is a journey unto itself. I’m sure you understand the feeling.” But even as Daedalus prattled on, he knew that all gifts came at a price. There was no way Discord would simply give him Kyanaster without some sort of compensation. No Kastroti patron would ever do so wasteful a thing. Reformed as Discord was, Daedalus was still certain he would ask for reparation or at the very least make a game of it. “So you’ve successfully flung me to the far reaches of space, hooked me up with your star friend, and complimented my potential. What do you get out of it?”
  8. Dio

    Biru Chahaya

    Such a pretty princess!

    Put it on. Do awesome things.

    1. SymphonicFire
    2. Rosewind


      I should play this music when shopping on bad-dragon.

  10. The reformed spirit of chaos and disharmony? That seemed to be an oxymoron of titanic proportions! Qing respected Mister Silverheart as both an instructor and a favored stallion vetted by Miss Yue, but she had to question his judgment on such things. Thankfully, Discord seemed to be willing to be diplomatic, his smugness belying neither malice nor hostility. Furthermore, Miss Yue seemed to be firmly in control. It was then that Qing realized that the Chamberlain’s sudden absence. Or more precisely, his sudden departure, much to the chagrin of her eardrums. Aiya! With the Chamberlain gone that meant… gulp. She was in charge. Her ears drooped as she realized the sudden responsibility that she had suddenly been saddled with. She could only hope this would be resolved quickly and a simple dismissal of the staff would be sufficient. But without Miss Yue’s command, the best she could do was remain on standby and keep the staff there as well. There was also the more pressing issue of Yun He. Qing could immediately tell she was uncomfortable. The lack of eye contact, the dazed expression, the awkward ticks from both her hooves and wings. In a moment, the skittishness from assuming command departed and her heart swelled as she recognized the classic signs of anxiety. Oh the poor dear. Qing empathized, she truly did. She had to do something to assist her! “[Miss Yun, I am Dong Qing, Her Majesty’s attendant. I am here to ensure matters go smoothly, which also means ensuring that matters concerning her fair citizens are attended to.]” Qing’s tone softened considerably, a slight smile appearing on her face. “[As an academy alum, you are free to enter and leave the academy as you please. Even with Her Majesty present, I would not expel you under these circumstances. If you require escort to your destination, however, I can quickly make arrangements so that you arrive unmolested.]” She gestured with a wingtip toward the retinue of staff that remained on standby. "Always a pleasure to see you, Silverheart, I trust you've been well since we last spoke? Perhaps after all is said and done we can take some time to catch up?" Qing recognized that voice. She recognized it all too well. Oh no, how could she have missed it? She had been so concerned with the Chamberlain and Yun that she had entirely missed Prince Lian’s arrival. Unforgivable! “[Prince Lian!]” Qing’s conditioned response was to whirl around instantly bow, nearly dropping her glasses and narrowly missing Yun’s face with her tail. “[My humblest apologies for not even acknowledging your arrival. Please forgive me!]”
  11. Daedalus felt the aether shift before he saw it. The apparition caught the corner of his eye as he was already turning to face it. At first it seemed to be a ley resonance ghost, but as he slipped back into realspace and the mirage remained, he settled sight upon it as a purposeful projection. Twilight addressed him in brief by proxy. “I’ve recovered all of the loose artifact capsules,” he replied. “No sign of the last survivors yet, but we’re still looking. Wait, are you seriously going to--” She was. Daedalus cringed as a scream that only he could hear split his eardrums and seemed to vibrate the aether around him. The projection mirrored Twilight’s actions in the aether, horn aglow, wings and limbs spreadeagle as she touched the vein of the world. If anypony else could hear it, they would have every right to have been alarmed. For a moment, Daedalus cursed Twilight’s decision to dive right in. It was a filly’s means of working something out, diving straight in instead of detaching the Anchor from outside using surgically precise spellcraft. “You’re expecting me not to be alarmed by that?” Daedalus growled through gritted teeth, his ears still throbbing from the audio assault. “Projection or not, there’s void magic in there! Watch for it so you can compensate!” Again, the doubts surfaced, not for Twilight’s competence, but for her safety. Much like litigation, diving face and aura first into a raging aetherstorm was horribly unpredictable and nearly always costly. Princess or not, it was still threatening to life, limb, and possibly soul. A few seconds in and the hum of the anchor was already beginning to subsume the air around him. It took a moment for Daedalus to realize the strange hum was not coming from the Anchor above but from his own saddlebags. He quickly dropped the saddle and opened up the packs. The magical capsules he had collected glowed much more strongly through their quartz windows. Each one thrummed with barely contained energy; energy that seemed to be growing with every passing second. Whatever those artifacts were, they were reacting to the Anchor’s activity. “That can’t be good,” he muttered. Turning to Twilight’s projection, he shouted to be heard over the drone of magic and the screams of aural agony. “Whatever you’re doing you need to hurry it up. I’ve got what looks like a positive aether-reactive feedback loop going here in these artifact capsules!”
  12. Dio

    Silver Belle

    Mama Belle!
  13. The gallery continued upward, terminating in a large cavern with several stacks jutting out of the cave floor, one of which obstructed the immediate exit of the gallery. For the moment they were concealed. The sound of agitated chatter grew louder, but was still obscured by the sound of rain and thunder and the echoes through the cave. Daedalus tugged lightly on Rose’s tail with his magic to indicate for a stop. The chatter approached, finally resolving itself as the echoes were directed into the gallery instead of diffusing into the aether. “... being cold and wet. That agent is sure taking his sweet time for the pickup. The airship should have been here by now.” “Shut up. Big ponies upstairs have eyes and ears everywhere. I hear the guy running this op can just disappear you with a wave of his horn. I’m not taking that risk in ticking him off. He’ll be here when he gets here.” “That doesn’t stop it from being you guys’ turn to go on the next patrol.” “Fine. Get up. We’ll take one lap around and then I’m putting on some coffee. This damp cold is miserable.” Daedalus realized that the two arguing guards were just on the other side of the column and were rapidly circling around. He had to think fast. A glowing rune appeared in front of him, vaguely approximating the shape of a sine wave with a strikethrough overlaid across it. The sound of rain and thunder abruptly stopped in the tunnel, leaving it eerily silent. Another set of glowing runes appeared behind him, spelling out a terse message, Two coming. Silence up. Grab when in range. Shadows moved around the column without the sound of hoofsteps. Daedalus tensed and gripped the form of Kyanaster socketed into his armor with his magic. At the first sight of a WRAITH uniform, Kyanaster leaped from its pocket and flared to life, its miniature starfire briefly lighting the cave next to Daedalus’ head. A runed circle appeared in front of the first mook, stopping him dead in his tracks. Before he could backpedal, a portal opened and sucked him inside with unnatural force. Daedalus whirled around and pointed his horn in the opposite direction, the same runed circle appearing in the midst of the group. The exit portal opened, spitting out the mook face first right in front of Squall. The other mook cried out in vain as the silence bubble smothered his words in magic. The vacuum of the first portal opening caused him to stumble, landing him squarely in front of Rose. Grab them! Daedalus mouthed in silence, but in clear view. If one paid close attention, they could see wisps of shadow flame dispersing from both his horn and the mage’s implement floating next to him as well as the unnatural wintry chill that swept through the tunnel, leaving patches of hoarfrost in its wake...
  14. The next two artifact pings were close by and found in similar circumstances. Each was encased in a sealed metal capsule with a quartz window, though they glowed different colors. The first was violet, the next an emerald green, the next an unearthly blue. Their similarity elicited curiosity, but Daedalus knew better than to open them in the field, especially with a minor apocalypse in the process of being defused above. Now there was one remaining. Daedalus cautiously trotted toward the next ping while keeping an eye out. So far, no sign of the missing crew. If he didn’t locate them in the debris field, it was likely they might not have survived the landing. The terrain had become far more hazardous. Fragments of hull had shredded the canopy, larger ones knocking down trees, obstructing Daedalus’ path with fallen logs and jagged stumps. The forest floor in the valley was littered with splintered wood, much of it blackened by fire, coated with a thin layer of frost from the cold. The glint of quartz caught Daedalus’ eye. He gingerly weaved between the logs and splinters, finally arriving at the resting place of the final capsule, this one glowing gold. He lightly gripped it with his magic, checking for breaches of containment. Satisfied that no ruptures had occurred, Daedalus pocketed the capsule and turned his senses to locating any survivors. Suddenly, something else pinged his search spell from above, catching his attention before he could recast the spell. Daedalus was tempted to ignore it at first, assuming that it was just Twilight working her magic. But something seemed off when the ping repeated. Daedalus stopped in his tracks and turned his eyes skyward. “Is something the matter?” “Continue your search, sergeant. I need a moment to scry again.” The sergeant nodded and waved his troops on. Taking a deep breath, Daedalus dipped into the aether once again, feeling the turbulent flow of ley around him. Something strange was happening above. Having walked the edge of the void many times -- even more so after Discord’s strange gift of Kyanaster -- he knew the signature of the void. He knew when and where time and space had become warped or artificially reshaped. Whatever had happened at the Anchor reeked of it. Kyanaster thrummed quietly in its armor socket in response. “Terrestrial ley lines don’t pull from the void,” he muttered. “Twilight, what have you gotten yourself into?”
  15. Dio

    Candy Shimmer

    That's A work in progress to you!
  16. Dio

    "Is it not to your liking?"

    Limi, I...
  17. “A kidnapping?” Hibana snorted, raising an eyebrow. She mock scowled at the brothers. “All right, which one of you jokers is responsible for this?” Barely waiting for a response, Hibana tapped a hoof on the ordering crystal. “Fifth of Apple Bourbon. You know what kind!” Sweet Apple Acres Zap Apple Bourbon was an import to be sure, but Hibana could afford to live high for tonight. Her discovery of it was entirely on accident one night after the usual post-match pub crawl through Watertrough. It had quickly become a favorite of the Dome crew after a round at one of the hole in the wall places near the arena. The service was prompt, with an attendant appearing at the door seemingly moments after her order had been placed. “You boys can keep your rice water! I’m here for the real stuff!” Hibana grinned as she accepted the bottle and its accompanying shot glasses. “Riko, hold this.” The snake-like golem unfurled itself from its necklace form, the spaces between its segments glowing faint violet. It curled itself around the neck of the bottle and idly floated by Hibana’s head as she set down the other glasses upon the table for those who potentially wished to partake in Zap Apple Bourbon. As songs were previewed and debates ignited over who would be the first to venture upon the altar of the karaoke stage, Hibana took a moment to study the young caribou. A bite-sized caribou! Kawaii! She mused to herself. Just about every other caribou she’d seen in photographs and passing in the streets had come off as hulking giants compared to the average pony or long sun, exuding near excessive amounts of confidence in their own strength. This… Limi was it? Seemed skittish as a foal on the first day of school. “Riko, pour.” The golem chirped in acknowledgement and poured the literally sparkling liquid into the glass she held in her hoof. The liquor seemed to shift from one color to the next, cycling through all the colors of the rainbow before repeating. She allowed the flavor to waft into her nostrils before quickly downing the shot. She was pouring another in short order, grinning and sauntering over to where Ryuichi had seemingly corner Limi. “Don’t caribou usually fancy drink and song?”
  18. Daedalus’ muzzle scrunched as Discord intruded upon his personal void bubble. It was then that he realized that sound did not propagate in a vacuum, so all of his vexations were voiced into void. Discord was probably having the time of his life doing bad lip readings. And thus he chose not to give him the pleasure of repeating his question. Against his better judgment, Daedalus took a deep breath and released his grip on the void cloak. A deep chill wrapped itself around him as his protective layer of air was rapidly stripped away. He held his breath as long as he dared, but when he finally expelled it, he found the air around him breathable. The asteroid was too small to hold an atmosphere, but either Discord had imported his own air or had somehow suspended Daedalus’ need for biological sustenance. The cold remained, but he was able to breathe and his senses told him he was momentarily safe. With regards to the neutron star, Discord was not wrong… technically. They were nowhere near the actual surface of the pulsar. But a pulsar’s degenerate matter held more mass in a thimble-full than entire planets, with correspondingly strong gravity. Even being within visible range of the pulsar would be like crashing into a normal star’s surface. It was probably only Discord’s meddling that Daedalus was not immediately being shredded by gravitational tidal forces or cooked alive by radiation that had penetrated his shield. “I have little means of traveling out this far if I expect to be able to return,” he finally said. “Carelessly teleporting into the void of space is tantamount to suicide if a clear destination is not in mind. I can’t say I haven’t sent unsavory individuals out this far, though. Tearing open a portal in space-time is easy. Controlling it is hard.” “Before you ask, I brought them back. I am not so heartless as to kill in cold blood or so barbaric as to slaughter in fits of rage. But they were changed when they returned. Maybe it was fear, fear of desiccation, irradiation, incineration in the heart of a star at their exit point. Fear of the unknown that surrounded them, the black soundless void, the endless sea of stars and the stark reminder that they were in the cosmic scale insignificant. Fear of not just being killed, but forgotten among the stars. Perhaps that’s what you smell. The stench of void-touched fear.” “I walk the edge between the void and the material. The void is from where I draw my reserves of aether. I suppose the taint of it lingers long after I’ve actually finished channeling it.” The draconequus reached into his feathered coat and pulled from it a small pocket watch which he began to wind. "Besides, you've got quite a bit of snark for somepony floating in the vastness of space." He seemed to dangle it as a threat as he leaned back calmly, returning the watch to it's rightful place, claw remaining over his chest a moment. “How else would I avoid radiation poisoning?” Daedalus replied, giving Discord a sidelong glance. “But with a splash of bitter whine.” Daedalus carefully beheld the gem forged from the heart of a dead star. “Stellar lifetimes are many orders of magnitude greater than those of my kind. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend how much energy it has produced over that span of existence. Even in death, the echoes of a star’s power are still enough to kill me thousands of times over.” The scholar in him recoiled. Having exotic matter so close, even the miniscule quantity Discord held, would crush him with the weight of a small planet. Even if it did not, it could potentially irradiate him or catastrophically decay when exposed to environs other than the black void of space. But the mage in him eyed the specimen hungrily. Even the smallest bit of stellar corpse held energies nearly impossible to aggregate via earthly means short of a minor apocalypse. The fact that it had not killed him already was evidence enough that whatever Discord had done to it made it possible to harness. He grasped the star with his magic. A sharp chill shot through him as it made contact, a wintry blast that snaked through his gut and rapidly subsumed his spine before filling his mind with an ever-expanding mass of cold bleakness. For a moment, he thought his insides would surely freeze solid. But Daedalus refused to release his grasp. His horn flared brighter and purple wisps of shadow flame began seeping from his horn and eyes. His mane and tail flashed from its characteristic ashen white to blackness darker than night. Stars glimmered in it for the briefest of moments before it returned to normal. The mage collapsed, panting. The star floated, quietly humming, now attuned to him. Daedalus felt no pain, only an overwhelming sense of loss, a fractional echo of the last millenia of a dying star. The coldness of the void subsided, replaced by a glowing warmth; not the harsh sting of pulsar radiation, but the soft caress of sunlight. With it, so too did the loss subside. "This place will always be here now, for we've met it. It existed. Perhaps you should meet others too. You've many wishes behind that big head of yours. I must say there's a charming sense of potential within your abilities. If you could just look passed yourself." He smirked, letting out a laugh. "What are you going to do with it?" He asked regarding the crystalized star, the unfulfilled wishes. Discord opened the portal home, but Daedalus remained lying down on the desolate rock for a moment longer. Indeed he drew his power from the void, but now the void had come to him. He looked to the tiny star floating next to his head. “Let us test this, then.” Leaping to his hooves, Daedalus whirled around, the star following his gaze. A glowing violet circle traced out around him as he spun, sigils appearing in sequence as he traced out the runes for a teleportation circle. It was something truly amazing. Scribing a teleportation circle would ordinarily take hours normally, but doing this took mere minutes. Was it the star’s affinity for folding space-time? Daedalus didn’t know yet, but it was exhilarating. "Consider it… a wish I'm fulfilling for the star. It always wanted to see a world." He smirked. Daedalus stepped through the portal Discord had opened briefly, but immediately cast a recall spell to the circle he had just scribed. In a flash, he reappeared at the runed circle, proving that it did indeed work. He looked to Discord with a wary smile before stepping through the portal. “I suppose it was what you intended to do to my life after all.”
  19. IPS Update 4.1.19 has been deployed. As usual, please allow at least 24 hours for streams and notifications to update and for DNS to propagate before reporting bugs. This update consists of backend security fixes and performance improvements.
  20. IPS Update 4.1.19 has been deployed. As usual, please allow at least 24 hours for streams and notifications to update and for DNS to propagate before reporting bugs. This update consists of backend security fixes and performance improvements.

  21. Scree-covered incline was too treacherous to slide or walk down, but a little ingenuity put them at the bottom of the ravine in ten seconds flat with nothing more than a light coat of dust from sledding down upon a disc of magical force. A wave of his horn dispelled the disc as the remainder of the guards dusted themselves off. A hoof motion sent them fanning out through the forest with military precision. Confident in their ability to at least warn him if danger approached, Daedalus focused on the locator spells that Twilight had sent out from the mountain-top. A circle of runes appeared in front of him, which he pressed in practiced order, producing a pointillistic overlay of the surrounding terrain. Multiple pings showed in the aether, responding to Twilight’s spell as bright violet dots. A few moved erratically, darting about as if carried by a swarm of gnats, but in the midst of the chaos, a few remained motionless. Daedalus followed the wreckage, leaving signs along the way to mark the trail and periodically waving at the sergeant to check if everything was okay. Nothing seemed to have happened yet. It didn’t take long before he was upon the first signature. A large fragment of hull had smashed a tree, leaving a cavity under which something could potentially lurk. After studying the situation for a few minutes, Daedalus focused upon a spell, purple wisps of smoke seeping from his eyes and horn as a black crystal obelisk erupted from the ground, lifting the hull piece above the compartment. There, nestled below was a small metal cylinder with a quartz window, its interior glowing a faint violet. He double-tapped the metal “roof” with a hoof to ensure that it was stable before leaning down to pick up the container. “This must be it,” he muttered, lashing it to his saddlebag with the cord recovered from the river debacle. “Two more and a gaggle of guards to go…”
  22. Daedalus had just enough time to take a deep breath before being swallowed whole by Discord’s portal. He would have cursed the draconequus, but doing so would waste precious breath in the airless void of the between, breath that could hardly be spared given he didn’t even know if the destination would have breathable air. In all likelihood, neither did Discord. A quick wave of his horn simultaneously cast void cloak, giving him a thin bubble of breathable air and mild protection against freezing, irradiating, or desiccating to death in deep space while tracing a glyph in clear view of Discord: the distinct image of a pegasus’ wing with only the middle pinion raised in a vulgar gesture. Meanwhile, a long string of sigil sequences went through his head as he attempted to manually compute a return trajectory based on what the void cloak was telling him. The universe went black for a moment as Daedalus was ejected from the portal exit and came to a dead stop upon slamming into something cold and hard. It took a moment for Daedalus to fully come to his senses, mumbling thinly veiled curses over concussion and potential fracture. Thankfully, it seemed none of his good limbs had sustained any more than superficial damage, though he would definitely be sporting a welt on the back of his head by the end of the day - whenever that happened to be, seeing as Discord seemed determined to throw him around like a ragdoll between and among multiverses. He gingerly climbed to his hooves. The air within the void cloak was cold and dry, uncomfortable but at least breathable. For now, the spell would hold. All around was darkness. As his eyes slowly adjusted, a dim starscape slowly bloomed before him, none of which seemed familiar. Wherever they were, it was nowhere near Equestria. Suddenly he felt a slight warmth wash over him. The void cloak blinked red and made agitated clicking noises, indicating that what had just swept over him was in all likelihood lethal without protection. If the vacuum of space didn’t kill him, the radiation probably would. Daedalus glanced toward the direction indicated by the void cloak, spotting a dim disc in the distance that was slightly brighter than the background stars. “A pulsar. I see you have an affinity for odd astronomical objects and putting me in danger of losing life and limb. I honestly have to wonder how Twilight keeps it together.” He snarked. The core of a dead star blinked in the distance, its lethal radiation sweeping across the cold asteroid that they stood upon every few seconds. With a few scrying sigils and construction of a proper teleportation circle, Daedalus could find his way home in both time and space with a few hours work. What concerned him more than where was why they ended up where they did. “Is this supposed to be some sort of metaphor for your own life or what you intend to do to mine?”
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