Dio

Cold Comfort [Closed: Steel]

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Twilight ate her food in a chipper mood. Something about being back at her home base sent the mare about her activities large and small in a good mood. Being surrounded by such a vast reservoir of knowledge and capability always did wonders for her attitude. Knowing that around them swirled the answers to thousands of important questions and a thousand more questions they didn't even know needed to be asked, this was her idea of a spa resort. She had the capability to get up and work on any one of a thousand artifacts, each one unique and strange in its own way. The world was her oyster and the oyster was a reality-warping space-fold. She was just happy to be here, safe and sound, in the safest place she could imagine surrounded by the most dangerous items in Equestria. All hers to study, understand, and make safe for Equestria. It was a fascinating place.

Yet it seemed to matter very little to her in this moment. Her mind wandered to other subjects, more immediate and physical, the demands of the moment's socialization overriding her basic sense of adventure and scientific curiosity that lay at the very core of her being. Instead it seemed to venture over to the other side of the table. Deadalus, and indeed the little magical artifact he had, were so unique in their own way that she couldn't help but feel more than a small twinge of curiosity that was somewhat more silly, slightly more deliciously malicious than she would normally have prescribed herself. What made then tick? A playful series of queries danced in her head for a few moments. She felt herself blush and then shake her head free out of her revue, her guest, friend, and Keeper seemingly more on task than her. Had to focus.

“Yes. We must understand this artifact. Truly it is...unique, and powerful, though I'm not sure if it is dangerous. It seemed oddly...protective. Of itself mostly, but not in a harmful way. A sentience was there. Thought. Where you have thought you have planning and consideration. While it would be a stretch to call it living, I don't think it would be wrong to assign some manner of intelligence to it,” she began, continuing to eat.


“But whatever the case may be, the artifact is now in our possession and it can be studied at any time. We have been working on it and the after effects of it for a while now. Perhaps we should take a break, return to this when our minds have been cleared of the fog of direct action and impact?”

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“The unknown is dangerous, Princess. Power is dangerous. Unknown power, compoundingly so.” Daedalus took a moment to indulge in drink. It seemed hydration was needed in copious amounts after their latest escapades. “Of course, that does not quench my need to study it. But care must be taken lest we find ourselves out of our depth. Benign as its intent might be, it most certainly has its own agenda. And should we find its goals in opposition to our own, I would find it difficult to place the artifact’s needs above yours or mine.”

 

The usual lilt vanished from Daedalus’ voice, the gravity of his pronouncement seeming to suck the color out of him for the moment. A bit of edge was clearly present, accompanied by a subtle bristling at his own words. Were one unacquainted with him, it might be easy to assume fear. But Daedalus would sooner indulge in hubris before he would allow fear to rule him. Pride and envy, it seemed, would kill him before cowardice. He would not allow an artifact to outsmart him, however prodigious its power.

 

"I must, however, concede to your suggestion." Just as quickly as it came, the proverbial dark cloud dissipated. "I would be happy to pick up analysis at a later date, after we've completed our… convalescence. Perhaps over a long soak in a tub, perusing wine and olives at our leisure?"

 

However sour his mood had been a moment before, that smile was genuine. After handling warp anomalies and roughing it half dead, Daedalus  could use a bit of self indulgent relaxation. Perhaps Twilight felt the same.
 

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Twilight Sparkle was a Princess and an Arcane Mistress by title and trade, but she was a scientist at heart. Nothing was as pure to her as the methods and reasoning to be found in scientific academia, but she also knew its limits. It was why she was capable of approaching magic in the manner she now did. While others faltered at the altar of mysticism or bred themselves harshly to the orthodoxy of scientific methodology she understood the waves that progress rode upon. Not for her were the many debates to be had fruitlessly regarding whether or not this or that was proper to research. Instead she understood better than any other that you had to take risks inside of the confines of the scientific method at some times and rely on your own skill and power in the arcane at others while building for yourself a formula for future success.

In this case she understood his concerns, though she appeared nonplussed by the more dramatic and intense focus he gave to his words. In most ways she wasn't. She had learned long ago to put faith in her instincts and she was going to do it here. It was dangerous, very likely. It was unknown- absolutely. He was right to be concerned. Right even to be- though he would never admit it- scared. She still was. But her instincts told her that it was safe, at least for now. That it wasn't a threat to her she felt certain about. “I understand your concerns, Daedalus, and I share them. But I know to trust my instincts as well, and I know- though I don't know how I know- that I'm safe. That you're safe. That, for now, the relic is safe. This may change in the future but it won't be now,” she smiled, “feel free to lighten up a little. We did something pretty amazing out there. Reveling in it is no sin-” she started, then her eyes opened wide.

“Reveling!
Pinkie Pie!”


A schedule popped up out of nowhere in front of Twilight, her eyes desperately searching as a clock popped in a moment later.

“I'm late for one of Pinkie's parties- already late!” She said, hovering desperately in mid-air.

“Heeeeh heeeh-” rubbing the back of her neck- a moment later, a hug with Daedalus, “-sorry but I've gotta go. You've got the full run of this place. If you need me you know how to reach me!” she said, looking at him one last time and vanishing before the blush became too apparent.

As Twilight vanished, another noise echoed loudly across the Keep. The book being read by the other mare dropped to the table with a loud crack as the mare herself vanished entirely, no trace of her existence left.

And then Daedalus was alone in the Keep. Alone, but not forgotten- by neither mare.

***************************

Twilight zapped back into real-space in the map room, the pitter patter of Spike's claws, his voice, Starlight yelling out her name- she had been missed, obviously. She took a look at the clock- huh, had time changed? She wasn't late anymore. In fact she still had ten minutes! A bit too awkward to head back to the Keep for now. She shook her head free of the thoughts that danced their way in as her friends arrived, happy to have found her- all the while unaware of the ghostly, invisible presence which had watched her and looked at her map room. As the others arrived it too vanished, and all was right with the world.

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