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[Age of Heroes] Ember's forge [closed, ask if you want to join!]

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Ember falls down on her couch with a heavy huff as she played out the events of yesterday. So many mistakes, so many foolish blunders. She lost Bits on that outing! Lost! You are not meant too lose bits from stealing! “Spitfire will kill me if she hears of this.” She grunts in despair before she takes another sip of coffee, boiling hot and black as darkness, just the way she likes it. “Where'd I be without Kave.” She mutters with a glance off at the bulls guitar resting in the corner of the living room of their modest apartment/shop. “Well, without good coffee and many other things.”

 

She looks out the window by the couch and enjoys the early morning skyline, Kave was already at work down at the docks. Bull was insane too stay up late jamming with his band only too work in the morning. But he must be more sane than her, he was not a supervillain. Speaking of supervillains she has some supervillain gear too fix. Getting off her couch and heading downstairs she pulls out her supper well hidden chest full of supervillain gear. Ok so it was not the most well hidden thing in the world. But she told Kave if he opens it his short tail was sleeping on the couch for the rest of the year.


Pulling her disguise out she takes count of the platemail and what she needs to fix and what parts were missing. “What a bloody mess this was… look at you! This is going to take a week to fix at the fastest! Ware too even start? The missing parts? They’d take the longest to replace…” And she has job orders to complete as well. No wonder most supervillains do it full time. “Well, no point wasting time. Ore to smelt and steel for forge.” She mumbles with a wave of a hoof before she builds fire up around her hoof and tossed it into her forge to start it. “Let's hope I don’t get more customers.”

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"This is the place?" Machina hummed softly to the AI in his suit. His hidden gaze slowly appraised the appartment with the hint of curiosity. He couldn't help but to find it peculiar how an upstarting villain had such a welcoming looking house. It was almost homely in fact. Like the Harbringer of Tartarus could have actually been a mother. Secretly... the stallion actually hoped she was a mother, or at least had some symbalance of family. It'd give him less reason to get involve when she gets too far out of control in the future should her career continue.

 

He had two saddle bags strapped to his back. One that held what appeared to be slag metal, and the other one is his initial dented helmet once he had removed all of the electronics from it. And a box. He had a spare helmet on, this one complete with a violet visor.

"Affirmative. Residence Records says her name is Ember. Though the logic for your visit baffles me. If I my data is correct, she is a villain," The AI in his helmet spoke with a hint of feigned annoyance.

"And I barely count as a hero," The stallion chuckled as he gently knocked on the door. Though he stood still for a moment, before allowing his gaze to slowly drift to an... open sign. Oh right... it was a store as well. Wait... was it also a house? He could walk into a store... but it'd be incredibly improper to just barge into a home. Maybe it was a store on one level... and a house on the other? Customers could walk into the first floor, but do not have access to the second floor. There was also an open sign... and it clearly said open.

Could he walk in? The stallion stared at the door with a very long hint of confusion. His brain was practically TREMBLING as it tried to work this puzzle out. There was some dreaded contradictory logic ahead of him. Before him stood an apartment, a mare's castle! Privacy well earned! And yet it was a shop... with an open sign, which means it's publically open. But it's still an apartment! One that belongs to a villain, but even a villain is allowed her own homestead! But... it's not like he came by to trash her. Just to say hi.

"HHhhhnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngHh" The stallion groaned softly as he steps away from the door.

"Sir? You're thinking about this too hard."

"I.. .I got this...."

"I think you might need a check up after that blow to the head.... allow me sir.." Without permission, the AI siezed control of the heroe's legs. Forcefully walking him forward and opening the door, before stepping inside.

The stallion was about to protest vividly... but it was a bit too late.

"Oh... hello! Er... this is a shop right?" He looked around, it did seem like the blacksmith's shop A.R.I.D. had described to him.

"Sir. I've scheduled an appointment with your physician for tomorrow."

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Well, seemed this was the place. Probably. Really, there wasn't many options left to him once he gave the info he knew about her, but this was the first one he went to check. Call it a hunch, but he felt like this was the right one. Speaking of which, there was already a stallion there that reminded him of one of the heroes that fought the mare before. Who was he again? The tech one? Certainly seemed that way with how he was talking to himself and the visor. Either way, the stallion had just entered the shop, and the griffon wasn't that far behind.

 

"So, this is a forge? Haven't really been to too many." He said, gazing around as he saw the three of them were alone for now. Good, he didn't really feel the need to out her identity in front of her husband, assuming he was right about her anyways.

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Ember snorts as the bells ring as the door opens, why did she have to open her muzzle? “Hold on, just a moment.” She says with a wave of her only wing.

 

The inside of the room was clearly a shop. Weapons, armor and more line the walls of the shop and custom made steel jewelry was lined up inside of glass display boxes. The shop was cut off in too side, the sales floor that was displaying goods and on the other side of a short wall one can look over was the forge and smithing supplies and gear. To the rear of the shop was the staircases up to her home. Ember locks the large chest and shakes her head, this is why she never makes headway on her work. “So, what are you looking for toooo…” The mare’s words trail off as she turns around and looks at the two ponies in her shop. She looked like a deer in stuck in a light as her one good eye looks them over. “W-Welcome! So, what do you need?”


She walks over to the wall dividing the room reared up, laying her front legs over it. “Swords plate, chain mail. I can do it all.” She did her best to sound relaxed but she lacked the skill or training too hide the fact she was scared and very worried. "And please, don't stare at my burns. It's rude."

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The stallion immediately looked behind himself when he heard the door open. His gaze fell upon a very familiar griffon. An image popped up in his visor, as if on qeue to give him a comparison. Oh right… he doesn’t even know the griffon’s name yet. But still… he was one of the ones whom were in the fight. But he had completely disengaged.

To Machina’s knowledge… unless he followed him… he’d have no way of knowing for sure where to go. Though… it’s quite possible that the Harbringer of Tartarus did such a poor job at fleeing… that half the world observed her running back to her home.

Yup… fantastic.


“I do believe it is,” Machina hummed. His visored gaze slowly turned to the smithing tools in the back. “You got the furnace and everything back there. Good place for you to get some more arrows made, yah?”

Though a new voice came into the scene. The stallion immediately perked up, and turned his head to the source. He blinked for a moment when he saw a rather scarred mare round the corner. Oh dear… it also appears she’s missing a wing. He could sympathise on that note, he’s missing all four of his biological legs!

 

But what came next was… more of evidence of her villain identity than anything else. If the look of horror on her face didn’t tell the story, than the heart rate Monitor A.R.I.D. had brought up on screen certainly did. The poor organ was playing drummer for some heavy metal.

He allowed his gaze to slowly turn over the shop. It… was utterly mundane. There were no signs of trap doors, secret elevators, switches… or anything. Not really a villain’s lare at all. Heck… she was putting a lot at risk for doing this.

But then came an odd statement. His head turned back around for a moment to look back to the mare.

“Your burns,” The stallion asked. His helmet soon let out a soft whirring noise. Some of the sides parted open a bit to expose a track, and allow the visor to roll to the back of his helmet, and slip inside a socket on the back of his suit. The helmet than began to part, and compress it’s self down mechanically into what looks like a collar around his neck.

Machina’s was a brown stallion, with a heavily disheveled mane. It also appears that he might be an insomniac as his eyes seem to dance around with the joys of caffine. That… and the dark shadows under his eyes. Though barely noticeable, there were some signs of tech actually needing to be embedded into his skull to correctly work his prosthetics.

Over the eye, where the mare had punched him was a large pad of gauze that had been taped in place. And if it wasn’t for his fur being a naturally dark and neutral color, the dark purple bruise that had spanned the entire same side of his face would have been visible.

And more curiously enough, there seemed to be no ill will or malice in the stallion’s gaze. He just regarded the mare with a curious stare.

“Sweety, it isn’t rude if I think the owner looks like a cute mare” There was not a hint of sarcasm, or humor. He was just dead pan serious. But he gave a shrug.

“Also you don’t need to be scared. I… don’t know why the big guy is here. But I’m not here to cause a rucus, or covert you to the side of good, or lecture you about the laws… or any of that nonsense. Just to say hi as a pony. Name’s Voronoi by the way. Voronoi Fractal. Or Machina, which ever you prefer.”

 

EGAD! A  hero whom completely exposed his identity!? But then again… is it really an exposure? If he walked around in society, it’d be painfully obvious that he’s Machina with the way his legs look. Unless ponies were that dense.

“First things first…” He hummed as he pulled out a bundle of badly damaged armor parts. Parts from the HoT’s armor He gently set them on the counter one by one. “Believe these are yours.”

He then rang out in a sing song like tone, “And then this! I believe you’ve earned it after that blunder…” He hummed as he lifted out his wrecked helmet. Once again, he had removed the electronics from it, and destroyed some of the more specific bits of it’s design. But the cracked visor, and the dent along with a few burns were still there.

“Concider it a trophy from the first…. What ever I’m called these days… that you’ve badly damaged.” He tapped his covered eye. “Did this and cracked my skull. So… congrats!”

 

Then the pony pulled out the box. Flicked it open with a mechanical talon and a smile. “And muffins. Claw made."

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(For some reason this got unfollowed... sorry.)

 

Tehengu hummed as he looked around the shop, his gaze moving to the mare that entered the room. Aerion mare missing a wing, looks good so far. Missing an eye too, and badly burned. The griffon watched her, giving a look of sympathy for a moment. 

 

"I'm not here to fight either. Not unless you give me a reason to. I'm just here to asses things." The griffon said, humming a bit as he watched her. "Don't worry too much, by the way. Dunno how he found you, probably some tech thing, but I wouldn't expect too many heroes to come knocking because of your... other activities. Not that I consider myself a hero. I'm just a soldier."

 

Tehengu fell silent for a little bit, as if considering something, then nodded to himself. "How about some arrows? I could use a refill."

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“I… Uh.” Ember blinks as she tries to work out what was going on. Gifts? Sorry? A work order for arrows? CUTE!? “Um. What? Sorry I just… WHAT!?” She yells as her nose scrunched up. “I fail to understand why you two are doing this, or is this some overdone trap? Do you think I will just smile and be friends? You two must be insane to believe I’d overlook what you are. I don’t care how much you say you are not heroes you are the same as they are, slaves to the un-gifted and fear full.” She pushes off the short wall and walks back to her forge with an angry flap of her wing.


“But if you refrain preaching about the law and “good” I will keep my muzzle shut about true freedom…” She stops walking and looks back at her 'gusts' as her good eye looks them over. “I will make whatever you wish so long as you pay for it. But if you use them against me I WILL shove them where the sun never shines. And you, gear legs… Not bad looking yourself.” She chuckles as she pushes aside some of the fear and anger but did not lower her guard as she starts gathering what she will need to make arrows..“And uh… Thanks for retrieving the missing plates, will save me a lot of time… Now I HAVE to ask this. Why help me? Tell me the truth. What are you getting out of this? Nothing ins free in life and everypony wants something."

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Machina couldn’t help but to laugh at the compliment. Well, that was definitely something to pick his day up. Even if it was possibly said in sarcasm. And a bonus was that the mare was even being surprisingly non-hostile! The stallion had partially expected to get a faceful of flames for just showing his face through the door! Good thing that did not happen!

“Aw thanks, sweety! I was worried that ponies would be turned away by the metal when they were installed after the initial four months of agony. Good to see that isn’t true!” The pony hummed.

And shortly after saying that his suit let out a soft clicking nose, followed by a beep. With the locks disengaged, the pony began to remove his armor from the barrel of his body. First the metal plates, and then peeling off the patented cyber weave from his body. He did have to pause for a few seconds to disconnect a few items from his actual body. From what? Who knows… it was mostly hidden by his fur.

And underneath all that armor was a stallion that looked a little less bulky than what the armor would normally describe. Like a cross between some noble pony and a regular rancher. He had the slimness of a show horse but his frame was fairly solid.

When he moved in certain ways however, that would pull his skin taught, some of the underworking constructions that would be required for his body to function correctly with his cybernetics would become visible as subtle bulges, sharp areas, or sometimes flat plates. The mounting sockets that connects his legs to his body also has metal plates that wraps around his back, bolted into the hidden constructions in his body and his bones… and plugged into his spine. Other than a few areas where he looked like a slim fitted tank, his body was still mostly pony.

His cutie mark was of a golden gear with a capital sigma in the center. 

Once the pony was completely out of his armor, he just dropped it to the floor and allowed it to fold its self. It was a gesture of good will. The pony sacrificing most of his defensive capabilities to put the mare at further ease. One lucky shot could end him, but his reaction time could prove to be troublesome if she did try anything.

 

"You mentioned something about a slave to the weak and true freedom? So I take it your main reason for being a villain was because you wish to practice and enforce the true natural laws? Which... completely summed up is survival of the fittest. It describes that if some creature wants something, and is strong enough to take it... than by right it belongs to that creature. For the weaker to protect themselves and belongings, they give up some of their natural rights to unite under a banner to become something stronger... like a pack of wolves for instance. They create laws, words that removes some defined natural right, that governs them. This is called the social contract. Personally, I'm more of a fan of evolution and natural selection."


Now then… to answer your question… Absolutely nothing~,” the stallion chimmed with a lilting tone. If the mare could see if a pony was lying from the look of his eyes… he definitely wasn’t. "And frankly I have very little to loose other than what mentally makes me a pony, and my life!"

The stallion then moved to the counter and sat down next to it. He opened the box and blindly selected a muffin from it and took a bite out of its crown. He munched on it quietly after making a small murr. He got lucky on his selection. This one was a mango blueberry muffin. Once he was finished savoring the flavor and swallowed, he spoke again.

I literally just wanted to be friendly and make friends where I can. Name is Machina by the way! Or as some ponies call me as I'm dealing with giant monsters, Deus Ex Machina. Or Mr. Roboto. But... to be fair... I kinda cheated and already know your real name. Soo... Just call me Voronoi Fractal. That's my real name. or Java if that's difficult.”

 

Machina then turned to look to the griffon with a raised brow. "Though I -am- curious. How did you find her?"
 

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"Won't have to use the arrows on you if you don't make trouble." Tehengu said. "Besides, I'm a merc. As long as it's nothing against my code, I'd probably accept a paying job from anyone." The griffon shrugged at that, falling silent as his eye scanned the shop again.

 

As the stallion removed his armor, Tehengu looked over his body, easily spotting the unnatural shapes pushing against his skin as he moved. He had to wonder how much damage an overload of electricity would do to the machinery. 

 

"What do I get out it? Nothing really, except a new contact in the underworld and possibly making you think twice about causing trouble. And of course I'm going to pay for the arrows, I didn't expect any freebies from you." Tehengu chuckled a bit after that, turning to Java as the stallion asked his question. "I've got connections that are very good at finding things out for me. It helped that she gave clues out during the fight. A one-winged Aerion mare wearing metal armor, kinda narrows the search a bit."

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Ember looked away from her work as Java speaks to her and starts to remove his gear, as more of his body is seen the more Ember’s eyebrow arched up, ending with her whistling as he was done. “Well for a pony that looks like he tried to hug a the world's largest blender you seem fine too me. And my pain did not last nearly as long as yours, but I’m no stranger to large amounts of it. One look at my body can tell you that much I believe.” she looks away from Java and starts working her forge bellows. “Be glad my mate is not home, I think he’d be jealous that I am even saying that about you. But you did take a punch to the face from me with no hold back… That alone puts you some steps ahead on the “cool male” chart far as I care.”

 

As she gets in to the movement of pumping the bellows she looks back up as Java talks about… something. Most of it was going over her head. “Uh… Ya, ok.” She bushes away whatever he was trying to say about her views as he moves on to say he wanted nothing. “Hard to believe that. You even got me cupcakes, say I look nice and then jump out of your gear? Be glad my mate is not here he’d get the wrong vibes from all of this!” She giggles after saying that and smiles, relaxing more. She liked Java, even if he did buck up her plans he was not a bad pony it seems.

 

Now the bird brain on the other hoof was blunt and too the point, no buttering up and sweet talking. She can respect that. “Sadly I make no plans to stop what I am doing so you better get use too me trying to shove them under that tail. But it’s… Upsetting I was so easy to track down. I wanted to make a fake wing to hide the fact I only have one but lack the skills to make such a thing. Let alone the gear, Bits or time.” she looks down at her forge and drops her smile into a frown.


“You two may not try to take me away, but if the cops learn or others? I need to work out a better outfit and get myself a real hideout so I don’t lead cops to my door…” She chews this over in her head. “Java… How much will it cost me to talk you into making me a fake wing? And bird Brain, how much too keep that beak shut forever about my home?” she looks back up at them, her good eye glaring at them both.

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"Be glad that your mate isn't home," the stallion laughed after taking another bite of his current muffin, openly giving a hint that gender really doesn't matter to him. "I'd be giving him similar flirtatious comments. Then I guess I'd have to worry about taking a second punch from you. Maybe you'll take my head off with that one!"

 

"Muffins!" The stallion corrected as the mare said cupcakes. He brought her muffins. Cupcakes were stupid and atrocious little critters. They're nothing more than baked goods that the baker attempted to hide some sort of falling out by dressing it up to look pretty and presentable.But when you take a bite, surprise surprise! It tastes like nothing but sugar.

But finally their conversation drew to something of a more personal note. Both the mare's wing, and the lack of some other place than home. The stallion thought quietly to himself. The wing was an easy solution. But the base? That might honestly be difficult. And while he would personally never recommend a secret hideout to any pony, this mare did actually have a family. Like he had hoped. More reason to not take her out of the picture for good if she gets completely out of control.

The stallion let out a mock, but playfully thoughtful hum. A bit over exagerated, even if the pony wasn't currently putting on his best thinker pose. "Oh, I'd saaaay... an Arm and a Leg."

He gave the mare a serious look, and then a playful wink with his tongue sticking out.

"No not really. I honestly wouldn't charge you," the stallion sighed. "When I'm done working for the day, there's really not much for me to do with my free time. So a distraction is always appreciated." The pony then gestured to his shoulders where the connection socket was. "And depending on how you want it done... charging you will just be insult to injury. Because it will put you out of commission for some time if you try doing the Cybernetic implant way. And... for a wing... if it's not part of your body it won't hold you up in the air stably."

"And the entire limb will need to be mostly some sort of aluminum alloy with exact perforations to reduce the weight without being problematic to the integrity. You'll need a machine and some computers to do something like that. And then to actually fly, there will need to be a skin I suppose. In other words... with the help of my cousin, we can make you a wing that looks close and weighs close enough to your other wing." The pony then cleared his throat. "Though we could try to make something that looks mechanical, if there's a particular look you're going for.


"And... as far as your need for a hide out..." The stallion looked around for a moment. "Usually this goes against my personal noninterferance policy. But you're trying to run a family here... which is beyond what most villains or heroes do. Check the subway tunnels. Somewhere along the southern redline there was a rotunda fitted with a Lazy Susan rotary and some tracks. My guess was it acted as an interchange, but it was decommissioned at some point and walled off. It shouldn't be too hard to find though, it'll most likely look like a tunnel that got bricked over. Just punch through the wall and you're in. I'll probably stop by and do something to make that hole look inconspicuous."

"But I got to ask you. Why did you get into this life? You look like you have a lot more to loose than the soldier and I."

 

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"You'd have to get to me first." Tehengu shot back, chuckling a bit as he settled in and getting more comfortable. He mostly listened to the conversation going on, but her mention of being unable to hide her missing wing made him frown in confusion.

 

"You couldn't just have your wing inside the armor and avoid the need for wing holes? How useful is one wing anyways?" He questioned, not sure about her complaint there. She wanted Java to make her a fake wing? From the sounds of things, Java was offering to make her an actual working wing... Hmm... And now he realized he had never given a name.

 

"Name's Tehengu, by the way." He said simply after Java had finished speaking. "As for the whole keeping quiet thing, is it not clear enough that neither of us really want to out you? I don't want to be separating a family if I can help it. Speaking of, I'm curious about why you're doing this too, since you've still got a family to lose. I don't really have anything to lose anymore."

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“Nope, no punching if you did. I’d just sit back and see how well you handle a caribou Bull. He’s a flirty drunk.” Ember says pulling a smirk back on her muzzle. “And muffins?” She leans her head too the good side and looks at the box. “Well… Buck me. Need to add going blind to the list of things wrong with my eyes.” she snorts and rolls her eyes as she takes a muffin and hears what he has to say about a fake wing… And even told her a good hiding spot. “Well uh…” She takes a bite and thinks about it. “Give me some time to think about going that far with the fake wing. But that sounds like a good spot to hide out.”

 

Now they both have to ask why she is the way she is. Wonderful. “I enjoy it. Easy as that. I feel alive, my heart beats like a hammer and all the world around me is sobbing at my hooves. It’s like a drug and I can’t seem to go too long without needing a fix.” She looks at the muffin she was eating and debates telling them about what happened as a young mare but drops it.


“I do think about what can go wrong every day. Someday I’m going to bite off more than I can chew and die. Bet I’m going to have a VIP pass to the flames down under eh?” She takes another bite and shrugs. “And good point bird brain.. Hiding my wing may be better. But I think it’s me missing the power to fly… You try going with one wing and tell me how much you miss the other one.”

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“Oh?” The stallion hummed at the thought of having that situation reversed on him. It was also peculiar that the mare gave him her blessings as the go ahead. Speaking of which… drunk? Was he out drinking so early in the day? Or perhaps that was just a comment. Ah… he will never know until he personally meets him he guessed.

 

“Then I suppose you’ll have quite the selection of tickets for that show then.” The stallion laughed. And shortly after he swallowed down the rest of his muffin. He rolled up the trash and tossed it into the nearest trash can.

“But when you made up your mind, you can just reach me in two locations. Both are in Canterlot. The hero academy, don’t show up as Harbringer… the custodians will make you experience tranquility in the afterlife. Or you can go to the Eclipse Aerospace Laboratory.” The stallion hummed.


“Now I guess it’s only fair that you know why I became a hero.” The stallion hummed thoughtfully.

He then slowly moved one set of mechanical talons over his shoulder to rub the artificial limb, “Well it was shortly after I had to have these installed. I’m not a super powered pony, I just ruined myself as a product of stupidity. I was just in a long running competition with my Cousin, and I went too far. The result was massive arcane radiation and blast damage to my body, some of my limbs looking an exploded tree. And the one that wasn’t had the consistency of a wet noodle. Plus some internal damage.”

The pony cleared the throat. He then scratched his head. “I figured it’d be an interesting life to take up. Plus it allowed me to fill a role that most other heroes don’t seem to pay much attention to. The buck who stops other heroes and some villains when they go too far. Been an interesting run, I had to take down a few heroes when they finally snapped and went postal.”

The stallion sighed, "Crime doesn't pay, and neither does being a hero."

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"Fair enough. I'd want to get back up there too. The closest I've come to your situation is when one got injured. Couldn't fly for a while and by the end I was a little stir-crazy from being grounded. Can't imagine what it's been like for you." Tehengu said, cracking his neck a bit as Ember decided to use her little nickname for him instead of his actual name. "By the way, if you and your mate ever end up in Ponyville, I own a little house in Whitetail Woods you guys could stay in. I barely use it with all the traveling I end up doing."

 

After that, it was apparently story time, so the griffon took the opportunity to grab himself a muffin and began eating it as he listened. Apparently Ember was in it for the thrill, and Java was there to keep things from going too far. 

 

"I used to be a soldier. Special ops unit. My squad was like a family to me, we took care of each other. All but one, one loner in the squad..." He paused at that, his free claw tightening a bit in anger. "One traitor. He betrayed us on a mission, got the whole squad killed, except for me. I was the sniper, I covered them from above, which just meant I had a front-row seat to the bloodbath. I had to complete the mission on my own, and I did it with the added bonus of taking down the traitor. That was the day I lost everything, my eye included."

 

"After that, I quit. Tried being a civ for a while, but that didn't work out, so I started doing mercenary jobs. Feels like I never left the military with who I'm working for now..." He sighed a bit, relaxing a bit once he had finished that. "I guess I started this cause I was bored of civ life, I needed something to fight for."

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Ember let's them both speak as she swallows the last of her muffin and gets back to prepping for the arrows. Easy to make for a smith of her skill, the only hard part was fletching. She never got the hang of that and felt unicorns and griffins did better do too fingers and magic. She hums as she let's the heat of the forge roll over her fur as as she she picks what steel to make the arrow heads as the two get done talking. “So, a soldier at heart and the another that did it out of just wanting to give it a try. Of us three I think the Bird has the best backstory for why he is the way he is. Me and you gear butt? We just do it for the heck of it it seems… Well ok you made it more useful. Makes me feel lame now.”

 

She looks up at them and thinks. “And thanks bird brain. But I am not going to take you up on the home just yet. Got to trust you some more before I crash in a stranger's home.” She chuckles and smiles. “That bull is going to lose it. Me, enjoying talking to some ponies? What’s this world coming to. Well I did enjoy talking too Spitfire but she trained me. So eh. Maybe I just miss chatting about things like this. Maybe I just feel good seeing as we broke the ice already. With hoof too the face and being shot at by arrows. Good way to break it.”


She looks down at the hot coals and like she was jumping up onto a bed, rolls over on her back and just lays on the raging flames. “Yessss, sorry. I felt cold. I do this a lot if I’m alone. It’s like a nice hot bath for me… Speaking out me and fire. Gear Flank, so this fake wing… Can it take the heat? Be real… Crap if I have to worry about cooking it out. I’d miss taking fire baths. Or using my fire powers on the more extreme end of things.” She rubs her chin as she thinks. “Fire is a big part of me so it’s a big worry…” She looks at the bird and thinks a moment. “And HOW do you use magic? Or do you have some unicorn pre-spell all the arrows?”

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Machina smiled softly to himself. First he was gear butt, and now he is gear flank. He wanders what the next thing he’ll be called. If everything is related to his arse, than maybe Gear Arse? Mmm… sounds kinda tacky to be honest. But it’s still a possibility with the way she’s soaring through the synonyms of one’s posterior.

Though he did watch curiously as she spread out across the hot coals. He slowly approached and picked one up with his metal talons. He slowly rolled it around examining it with his eyes for a moment. He turned it over for a moment, and then his ears flicked as a soft mechanical voice spoke from his collar.

“Spitfire? That old girl is still going strong is she?” The stallion scoffed with a bit of surprise. That was a villain he’s heard about since he was a foal. Now it’d be impressive if the grandma was still causing havoc in equetria.

“One thousand three hundred degrees celcius,” A small mechanical and feminine voice rang out.

“Well… it’ll be hard to do. But it’s still possible…” The pony hummed softly as he lowered the coal back into the fire pit. Though he visibly winced he had forgotten that metal is an excellent conductor of heat. So he was granted with the nice sight of the air’s distortion around his talons.

“We have an alloy used for our Airships engines and plating at the engineering lab. It’ll be tricky to get that light enough to use as a bone for your wings. And for the skin… well….”

The pony rubbed his head as he stared furiously into the pit of fire.

“I guess I could ask a dragon nicely if he could donate some shedded scales for science.”

The pony then looked over to the Griffon, “Do you know a dragon?”

The pony's expression soon turned blank. He slowly turned to look at the mare who was lying in the coals when something finally hit him. She's perfectly fine... and yet she's got some massive and permanent BURNS on her body.

"Wait... hold on, how did you get those burns?"

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"Fair enough, can't blame you for that." Tehengu responded, chuckling a bit as he looked over at her. "I wouldn't want to stay in a stranger's house either. And I suppose there are worse ways to break the ice than a fight." He finished off his muffin after that, smiling a bit at the taste and throwing the trash away. He blinked in surprise as Ember decided to use her forge as a bed. The griffon supposed it made a certain amount of sense that a mare like her would be resistant to fire.

 

"I dunno where the magic comes from, I just know how to apply it." Tehengu replied to her question, shrugging a bit. "It's probably like yours, you're no unicorn either." He added, looking her over for a moment before he looked to Java as the stallion asked about dragons.

 

"Yeah, I know some dragons. Not friendly ones, but still..." The griffon chuckled a bit before pausing for a moment and continuing to speak. "Actually, there is one dragon I can think of that's pretty friendly. She's one of those eastern dragons though, dunno if her scales would work."

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Ember watched the Machina look the hot coal over and work out in his head if he can make it work. Part of her hoped he can but she can’t shake off the feeling it will come and bite her on the cutie mark later. She looks over at the griffin as he speaks about his magic and how he doesn't understand how it happens. “You know. I’d poke fun that you don’t know how it happens but… Well. You are not wrong. It just happens. Moving and making fire is just like flying is for you. Just something we do.” than gear butt asked her the big one.


“A hero happened!” She snaps as the flames rush up around with the same rush of anger as her voice. Ember gets up to her hooves and looks at them both like a wolf with rabies before she backs off and forced herself to relax. “A hero shot me with a magic missile. It did this to me. I may have died that day if not for… The villain he was trying to take down.” Ember looks at the two males with her good eye as she watches how they reacted to her words. “That mare was spitfire, she saved my life. Took me in and if you heard about her crimes for a time she had a sidekick. That mare was me. Not long ago she told me it was time for her to move on and for me to step up and be more. I did… And well, you guys got too see how my first outing went.”

 

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Java wasn’t surprised by the answer when it was finally told. How could he be? He specialized in taking down heroes when they go too far. And villains when the ends does not justify their goals, or their crimes were too heinous to ignore. To hear of a wayward bolt of pure power flying into the civilian crowd from either party intentionally or not was definitely not a foreign concept to him. And while he kept a straight face, his eyes did show his sympathy.

“Well… what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…” The pony hummed softly before turning to the griffon.

“You know what… just point me to the angriest dragon you know. I kinda feel like being roasted alive,” if the pony was being sarcastic… it’d be really hard to tell.

He then took a seat next to the counter and shrugged. “But I wouldn’t discredit any villain from an act of kindness, if that’s what you were waiting for,” he yawned. “And I can’t say anything to defend or accuse the hero without actually being there myself to see the full story.”

 

“The most I will say that it was still his fault for not being able to account for all of his shots. Kinda funny though… not a lot of heroes actually have that sort of trigger discipline.”

 

And now… that left one thing to address.

The pony clapped his hooves together. “Now then! Yes, your first run on your own was a complete cluster buck. And a LOT of mistakes were made.” The pony hummed softly.

“The first lesson you might want to learn is situational awareness. The griffon over here just kept pegging you with arrows. Somebody like him would be the first thing I'd take out. It seems inconsequential to take him out immediately at first... but he always has a massive impact on you if he can consistently land his shots. Can't do anything about him? Unless you're unlucky changing sceneries will solve that issue temporarily. If they are a gadget based hero with a general kit... then you're unlucky..." The pony hummed as his hind leg's thigh opened up to pop out some sort of small portable missile. He snatched it out of the air by swinging his foreleg over it, and forecfully loading it into his cannon. Instead of firing it, he just gently pushed it out of the canon to show a few rotating barbs. "Scatter shot. I don't really take it with me all that often to be honest. I just had a feeling I'd give you a lecture."

“The second you might want to learn is zoning. If you have too many heroes on you at once, then do some crowd control. Get them off of you. Flail like a foal throwing a tantrum if you have to, but you NEVER want to be surrounded for too long. I saw that you tried to grab a hostage... which is good. But one hostage is hardly ever a big impact. It shows desperation. A larger crowd will prevent heroes from going all out on you, and hesitate. If you didn't burn down the jewlry shop and kept everyone prisoner in a prisonl of flames instead, that fight might have turned out differently for you.  Then again... I've known some heroes for being stupid enough to put dozens of lives in danger because they think the villain's threats were empty. Toxic Breeze wasn't kidding about his nerve gas scheme. A hero just charged right into the building and set it off. Yup... a bad thing happened that day.”

 

The pony paused for a moment thinking about what he said. "Mmm... it sounds weird... but most heroes see the same mistakes so much, that they eventually want to see it done right for a change. Or know how to do something right."

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Well, a hero had caused the burns... it wasn't unheard of when a hero's attack ends up hitting a bystander, wether through missing the target, the target dodging, the shot being deflected, or even purposefully on the hero's part. Still, it was probably why she had chosen the side she did, which was unfortunate. His face betrayed nothing, but his eye and the sigh he let out showed he was both sorry for what happened and annoyed at yet another hero messing up like that. 

 

"Wait, what? Why would you want to deal with an angry dragon?" Tehengu asked, looking to Java with a bit of confusion. "Know what, go ahead. Your funeral after all. The angriest ones are probably in the dragon lands or the badlands. The closest one I can think of is in one of the mountain ranges in Equestria, can't remember the name of it exactly. I think it's close to Canterlot though."

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Ember was rather shocked from the long talk Machina gave her about what she failed to do and how to improve on it. She already worked out most of it but he did have a few good points for a not-hero with a cute gear arse. After he was done she takes a few moments too think about his words and digest them. “Never did I think i’d be getting tips and help from a pony I tried to kill. You are starting to make me feel a tiny about of pity for hitting you that hard. Keep it up and I may even feel sorry about it!” She says shaking her head as she steps down and off the hot coals.


“I will take what you say too hart, I already know some of the ways I failed but you did make strong arguments on how to fix them. After I work on claiming that hole in the wall as a lair I will work on improving some things. The Harbinger of Tartarus is not done yet! As she hardly did much “Harbingering” last day… is that a word? I made it up. Uh, well. Seeing as you are willing to help me… This dragon… Well. It may be useful to have a mare along that can’t die from fire?” She says with a growing grin. “I don’t believe in “free” things. So I have to do something. And helping you get me a new wing… Well it’s worth it. I miss flying. a lot. And it will help me a tone as the Harbinger! If I can fly…” She looks over at the giffin. “It’s more easy to make fried chicken as payback for making me a ice cube. I had to take a boiling hot bath after that battle thanks to you.”

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“Sure sure,” The stallion chanted to the griffon as he gave him a few locations… and gave him a warning. “It’ll be fun. I always wanted to see who’d show up for my funeral. But I don’t think I plan on dying just yet. No… no there are still unwritten chapters in my story… oh darn.”

The stallion sighed as he now tilted his head into a mock look of thought. “I guess I’ll just have to ask it nicely for its shedded skin. And even add a “pretty please do not kill me” with sugar on top of it.”

 

And then Harbringer got in on this. Offering to help collect some of the scales from the dragon. Of course she would want to help. “Y-…” he started, but cut himself off with a hoof going up to his lips. He took a deep inhale, and then started again.

“You know what… why not. The more the merrier. Push comes to shove I have a backup plan if asking nicely doesn’t work… and the thing just… makes a chew toy out of us.”

“Hopefully it’ll not have to get to that point… dragon would be just minding it’s own business when we came in and stuffed it.”

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Tehengu watched the two as Ember offered to help Java with the whole dragon thing, making him blink a little bit as he debated internally. He was taken out of his thoughts a bit as Ember talked to him, complaining about when he had frozen her. He gave her a smirk, chuckling lightly before responding.

 

"Well that's what you get for setting the place on fire. Even if you could get up to my level, it'll be no easy feat to beat me." He said to her, smirking a bit. "As for the dragon, guess I'll come too. Don't want to see you two gone cause of some dragon. Besides, I'm sure you could use a guide to the lair. And you might as well skip the whole asking nicely thing, from what I can tell he only likes dragons."

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“Sounds like a date then, but let's not rush off just yet.” Ember says chuckling. “Not ready for that just yet. May as well give all of us time to make ready, I’m a busy mare and got orders to do first. We will need to work out a good time too try it… Arse Gears, tell you what. You show me you can make the parts that can take my fire and if it works, I will go for this and we can hunt a dragon. Much as you say this is free, I’m going to re-pay you if I do this.” She thinks about some and speaks more. “Will just have to work out how after the fact.”


She looks over at Tehengu and grins. “And I am going to land at least ONE punch on you next time. Maybe a fireball to.” She sticks her tongue out at the bird and gets back to work as she looks the steel over and starts pulling them out of the fire and takes it over too her hammer and anvil and starts the first shaping of the arrow head. “You. guys. like. too. drink?” She asked between hammer blows before stopping to look at them. “I got drinks from my mates homeland. It kicks even my tail.”

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