All was quiet in the bar. Pretty much everyone was looping, and they even had a few guests, so naturally some story swapping had already gone down, but right now, everyone was just relaxing. Drinks had been passed around,the place was nice and warm, and a few individuals had even started to doze off.
Suddenly lurching upright from where she was lying down on a booth bench, she screamed the first thing that came into her head as she threw a smoke bomb.
"I can't take it anymore! Party!!!"
The pink smoke filled the room in an instant, and when it cleared a moment later, the bar had fallen victim to Pinkie's decorating. All the empty chairs were now facing the bar, which itself now had several microphones on stands atop it, and small spotlights shining from above. The walls of the bar had been covered in pictures of various music albums, and a gold record was hanging over the door. Also, a DJ booth had been set up in the corner, with a small sign on it reading 'reserved for Vinyl (Unless she wants to sing too.)' There was also a disco ball for some reason.
And there were streamers everywhere.
"Oh, you've redecorated!" a brown stallion from the guest tables commented with a grin. "... I don't like it."
Then he ducked as several other guests started pelting him with peanuts.
Pinkie herself was blinking in surprise, half finished mixing a bowl of punch with a bottle of the bar's cider, with several large bags of flour and sugar balanced on her back. "Wait, that's it? The smoke was supposed to last another two and a half seconds! Aww man... That's the last time I use smoke bombs past the expiration date."
Twilight just sighed as the entire bar gave Pinkie a look. "Really Pinkie? We were trying to relax."
Pinkie bounced in place frantically. "Ooh, but Twilight, we have friends here that we don't see that often! We have to do something fun with them! We don't know when we'll get to see them again! And besides, you guys were quiet for like, a whole six minutes! How can you even stand to do that!? And besides, it's getting close to the holidays! We need to get warmed up for caroling! I didn't do that once, and my voice blew out like a flat tire! I wasn't able to talk for a week!"
Gilda grinned. "We know. Most relaxing week that I can ever recall." she called from the far end of the bar.
Pinkie just blew a raspberry in response.
Big Mac came out from behind the bar, placing a leg over Pinkie's shoulders. "Come on now Pinkie, we all agreed this would be a vacation loop for the guests. I know you want to have a party with them, but we're sticking to a more normal loop this time."
Pinkie just raised an eyebrow. "And what's not normal about caroling for the holidays?"
Mac nearly answered, but then had to pause to think about that one.
Rarity shrugged. "The only thing not normal about Pinkie's idea, is that she tends to go a little overboard. With what she has set up so far, minus the punch and cake ingredients of course, I don't see why we can't have a singing contest, so long as Pinkie remembers that that's ALL it is."
Pinkie flopped down on the floor in front of Rarity, looking up with wide, pleading eyes. "Aww, please?"
"Ugh, fine. But we're making it interesting then! If I can't make this a proper party, then I get to make a rule for the contest!"
Rarity just smirked and turned to Twilight. "I don't think we're talking her out of this one darling. She'll probably throw the party around us anyway if we don't let her vent a bit."
"But... but... gah, fine, but participation is optional! If the guests don't want to join in, they don't have to."
Pinkie stepped up. "Fine, but I get to set a prize for the contest!"
"... Not a Party."
"IT'S A PERFECTLY VAL- I mean, um... (ahem). 'I am shocked and offended that you would assume such an ulterior motive on my part Twilight... And also your mane looks weird'."
"Don't blame me! Discord's the one with the cue cards!"
Twilight turned to look, just in time to see Discord stuff a large sheet of white cardboard into his mouth, then try and whistle innocently. The effect was rather ruined by the cardboard muffling his whistles.
"Just... You know what? Fine. Just name your rule."
Pinkie grinned and hopped up onto the bar and grabbed a microphone.
Big Mac frowned and started wiping the hoofprints off his bar.
"Okay everyone! You can only sing a song you feel applies to you personally, and your experiences over the loops!"
A scraping sound echoed from the back of the bar. Two of the visitors were moving towards the bar full of microphones. To be more accurate, a young mare with a dark brown mane topped with a yellow headband and ribbons was dragging a dark-coated, black-maned young stallion ever barwards, despite the grooves his hooves were leaving in the planks lining the cellar floor.
"Let GO!" the mare growled, dragging herself and her unwilling cargo ever bar-wards.
"You are NOT singing 'Bokuen Desho Desho' to these people!" the stallion grumbled. trying and failing to find purchase to drag the two of them back to their booth.
"Why not?" the mare snapped. "It's perfect for me! Even the Hub anime says so!"
"Because you sing it at EVERY karaoke event we go to!" the stallion gasped, half with exasperation, half with his failing effort to restrain the smaller but more athletic pony. "Besides, isn't it cheating to use your own theme song for a contest about your experiences in the Loops?"
"Fine then!" The mare slung the stallion up onto a bar stool, ignoring the generally embarrassed stares of the native Loopers (and, for that matter, practically everyone else in the bar). "Then YOU pick one!"
Defeated, the stallion slumped against the bar for a moment, eyes glancing over one of the track books. His eyes lit on one title, and a small smile crept cautiously out on his muzzle. "This one," he said, hoofing the list to Pinkie Pie and pointing to the track.
A few moments later, after Vinyl queued up the track and the opening hook began playing, the stallion took up a microphone and began singing:
Welcome to your life, there's no turning back...
As the mare joined in, half the Loopers in the place pulled out recording devices of one kind or another. Nobody wanted to miss the sight, even in pony form, of Kyon and Haruhi Suzumiya singing a duet of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."
Well, almost nobody. One immense midnight-black unicorn war stallion, dark red mane immaculately braided, slumped back in his chair and tossed his copy of the track list over his shoulder. The purple pegasus and the little green earth pony sharing his table smirked at him in silence.
"Little punks beat me to it..." Ganondorf grumbled.
Pinkie whispered rapidly to Lyra at her table, then hauled her giggling temporary partner on stage for a makeshift duet.
Pinkie started off. "I'm friends with the monsters, from under my bed!"
Lyra picked it up, fighting to keep from laughing. "Get along with the voices, inside of my head!"
They both started from there. "You tryin' to save me, stop holding your breath. But you think I'm crazy! You think I'm crazy!'..."
"Here I come to save the daaaaay!"
"No, Discord," Twilight Sparkle shouted, "stealing Andy Kaufman's lip-synch gag does NOT COUNT!"
Derpy looked over the song list, then shrugged as she checked a box, and handed it off to Vinyl. "Might as well get in on this. Come on Doc! We got a song to perform!"
The stallion known to many as Time Turner, but when Awake in Equestria, known to even more by a different name, attempted to hold her back as she dragged him to the stage. "It-It's not 'Doc', Derpy... and I'm not particularly gifted at singing. I rarely ever do it at all!"
She just grinned. "So? That just means it's something new!"
He paused at that, then slowly his eyes widened and he grinned. "Why... so it does! Come along Derpy! Our adoring public awaits!" he declared, suddenly being the one dragging her to the stage.
Once there, both took a moment to compose themselves as they waited for the music to start. "Just love this! A singing contest! How novel! Never been in one before. So exciting! Oh, um, by the way, which song did you pick?"
Derpy just grinned. "I've spent more loops than I can count as your companion, even before you Awoke. Take a guess!"
The Doctor paused, blinked, started to respond, paused again, rubbed his chin in thought, smirked and started to answer again, paused a third time, then sighed and gave her a tired look. "You didn't."
Derpy giggled. "I did."
"You were barely a thousand when you were on your twelfth regeneration! You're reckless and you know it. Plus the Master, and your whole companion collecting thing. What else could I have picked?"
And then she started them off as the music started, shaking her flank to the beat as she got into the groove.
"I hear your heart beat, to the beat of the drums! Oh what a shame that you came here with someone! While you're here in my arms... Let's make the most of the night, like we're gonna' die young!..."
"Applejack must be serious about this one," Rainbow Dash muttered to herself as the farm pony took a microphone.
"How can you tell?" one of the visitors asked from an adjacent table.
"She's taken off her hat."
Sure enough, Applejack had not only taken off the hat but had shaken out her long ponytailed mane before singing:
When yer weary, feelin' small,
When tears are in youre eyes, Ah'll dry 'em all;
Ah'm on your side when times get rough...
Dash cocked her head to one side in careful judgment and asked the world in general, "Does 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' work sung in a Southern accent?"
Big Mac merely swayed back and forth to the somewhat jazzy beat. The song he had chosen had no words yet. Half the bar was calling foul, and the other half was cracking up.
Mac shrugged, placing a hoof over the microphone, though he couldn't hide his grin. "Ya'll said to pick a song that we felt was connected to our experiences with the loops, I'm just following the rules."
Gilda, Trixie, Discord, and Chrysalis had been starting to have a little too much fun heckling the singers, and Statler and Waldorf, the Muppet Anchors weren't helping, so he felt this was justified as revenge. With a smirk to the makeshift balcony they were all sitting in, ("It's tradition!" Waldorf had insisted.), he recited the one word in the song.
A black unicorn nudged a white one. "Let's sing Beneath a Moonless -"
"Are you serious? God no!" She backhoofed him, inadvertently knocking off his half-mask but recovering well to return it nearly instantly. "Have you no shame?"
"Don't you 'but Christine' me," she hissed. "That is not a song to be heard by anyone else ever. It's bad enough that it's on the backup. Besides, there are foals here."
"But..." Pouting at his failure, Opera Ghost discreetly slipped a few coins to a neighboring Looper.
"There is nothing that could make me consider it and I don't know why you are. Now go on up there, you're singing 'I Will Possess Your Heart'," she directed with an insistent gesture.
"But that makes me sound like a stalker," he protested.
"Well, you are."
"I'm getting better..."
"Consider this your punishment for suggesting that song. Now get on that stage and sing!"
Twilight had to admit, as she sipped her drink, that Luna could really put some feeling into the chorus of her song selection.
"Baby do you dare to do this? 'Cause I'm coming at you like a dark horse!..."
There was a momentary lull in the festivities as the various loopers debated amongst themselves over what song to sing next.
A purple-furred stallion looked at his non-pony companions. The five of them were sharing a table in the corner of the bar.
They looked at him expectantly.
He raised an eyebrow.
Turning to each other for a moment, the four quietly chattered amongst themselves before turning back to the pony and grinning.
Several loopers who had recently experienced a certain unpleasant loop grimaced as the first notes of 'Les Toreadors' began to play from the karaoke machine.
On the stage was a sight that did not make those loopers feel any better: a purple pony in a security uniform...flanked by a bear in a top hat, a bunny in a bow tie, a duck in a bib, and a fox with a hook.
"We're waiting every night, to finally roam and invite, newcomers to play with us, for many years we've been all alone~"
The pony Loopers had been waiting for the moment when Sweetie Belle would take the microphone. The greatest vocalist among the Equestrian Loopers, whatever she sang would not only be well done but absolutely, perfectly on target for the topic at hand; so went the unspoken consensus.
And as Sweetie took a mike in her magic, twenty ponies leaned on the edge of their seats to hear which song Sweetie had chosen.
Sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things, not bad
Sing of happy, not sad...
It wasn't the profound, complex, sweeping song anypony had expected, but most of them joined in on the "la la la" parts anyway.
The moment Sweetie Belle relinquished the microphone, Pinkie Pie took it up. "I can top that one!" she crowed. "Hit it, Vinyl!"
The speakers played a brief hook of plucked notes on a guitar, and then she began:
It was just after dark when the truck started down the hill that leads into Scranton, Pennsylvania
Carrying thirty thousand pounds of bananas
Carrying thirty thousand pounds (hit it Big Mac!)
Rolling his eyes, the bartender finished the line:
Three quarters of the occupants of Mac's bar, Twilight's the loudest, spoke with one voice:
"PINKIE, IT SUCKS!"
Rainbow Dash frowned. "Hey, Pinkie already did one with Lyra! Why is she up there again?"
Pinkie just stuck her tongue out playfully. "Only your best performance counts, but I never said you only had one shot!"
A number of local Loopers suppressed groans as Twilight approached the stage, while others murmured words of encouragement.
"So, I know I'm not much of a singer outside of a Heart Song," she preambled. "But I've actually been practicing this one-"
"Mostly in the shower," Spike whispered to Rarity. His wife promptly shushed him, but didn't manage hold in a giggle.
"Right, well, I thought I'd give it a shot." She took a deep breath as the music started, even going through the full motion of throwing her cares away.
"Pathological monsters! Cried the terrified mathematician,
Every one of them a splinter in my eye..."
Discord tugged out a bit of cotton wadding he'd stuffed in his ears. She wasn't half bad.
"Mandelbrot Set! You're a Rorschach Test on fire!
You're a day-glo pterodactyl!
You're a heart-shaped box of springs and wire!
You're one badass bucking fractal!"
Twilight had gone all in as she finished out the song, hooves wrapped around the mic, eyes closed tight, and body flailing in a vague approximation of rhythm. As the last chords died out, she opened her eyes, remembered she wasn't singing into a comb in her bathroom, and blushed furiously.
Her cheeks only reddened further as applause broke amongst her friends, their hooves pounding the bar's flooring.
"I really like math, okay," the Anchor mumbled before hopping off the stage and scampering back to her seat.
"Aw, mom, you did great," Nyx said, patting her mother's hoof as she put away a camera.
Trixie took a deep breath, then instead of singing, started speaking very rapidly. "Trixiehadjustdiscoveredhowtomakethermi-"
Everyone started throwing bottles at her.
"Sorry, Silver Spoon, Zecora, but I ain't got 'Witch Doctor' in my playlist," Vinyl Scratch lied. "You'll have to pick something else."
"Awwww," Silver Spoon moaned.
"A second time I'm denied my wish," Zecora said.
"Because your first choice wasn't in English!" Vinyl finished for her.
Celestia glanced down as she felt tapping against her forehoof. Meeting the beady little eyes, her own gaze narrowed.
Angel pointed at the stage, and Celestia shook her head.
"You know I can't carry a-" He stomped his foot and pointed again.
"You're calling in that favor? Now?" She sighed before standing. "I suppose I've done worse in the name of-" He tapped her again and held up a slip of paper. Reading the song title, her white coat somehow managed to pale further.
"Of all the creatures I have encountered in the defense of the realm, you possess the blackest heart," she whispered. Angel scuffed his foot against the ground, blushing at the praise.
Murmuring swept through the crowd as she ascended to the stage. Standing before the mic, pulling on eons of experience to maintain perfect composure in the face of adversity, she cleared her throat and started to sing.
"And so you're back! From outer space!"
Discord stood up. "I will be performing a song by the Beatles," he announced.
"Ten bits says it's Lucy in the Sky!" Vinyl called.
"Nah, Yellow Submarine," Sweetie opined.
"Surely it'll be I Am The Walrus?"
While the various ponies debated, he stepped regally up to the microphone, and took it in one claw.
"Oi've got a brand new combine harvester..."
The twangs and accompaniment faded away.
"That was not a Beatles song!" Sweetie said, after a few seconds of silence.
"Dear me, and you believed me?" Discord looked hurt. "I must be losing my touch."
A comically large pointing finger landed on his head.
"Oh, here it is!" He folded it into a small microphone cover, and slipped it over the top. "Next!"
Shining slowly slid downwards in his chair as half the bar glared at him while his wife sang. "She... she's gotten better, alright? But you can't deny she was a bit obsessed for a while! The rules said 'experience with the loops', not, 'the way you are now'!" he protested weakly.
Meanwhile, Cadence sang on, fighting to keep from giggling as she noticed the occasional looper's eye twitching slightly as long repressed memories were dug up.
"You're on the canon ground! I'm up in crack ship space!
Let's start a shipping war! Don't care if I get hate!
Don't like my pairings? Well, then you can hit the bricks!
This is my OTP! I'll go down with this ship!
I ship it!"
(Hubris Plus, masterofgames)
"Vinyl," Ivory Scroll called out, trotting to the mic. "Requisition me a groove." The speakers blared to life with lively kettle drums and horns.
"When I was four there was a tidal wave in Kingston town,
With a foot and a half of water!
Everyone was alright,
But I cried all night,
It blew my alphabet blocks out of order!
And they said, 'This mare's born to be a bureaucrat!
Born to be all obsessive and haughty!'
I hid long applications
inside the invitations
to my very first political party!..."
"Ugh... I remember that. The first time she was elected, she won by only one vote, because only she voted. Nopony else could figure out how the ballots worked." Rarity muttered to Sweetie Belle, who forced back a giggle.
"...We never asked to be bureaucrats!
No that's simply what the Admins made us!
We'd stamp the time and date,
and sign in triplicate,
even if nopony paid us!
They say the world looks down on the bureaucrats.
They say we're smelly, compulsive and weird!
But when push comes to shove,
you've gotta do what you love,
even if it's not a good idea!
Everypony!" The Mayor swept a hoof across the crowd.
"They said Ah probably shouldn't be a brewer," Applejack chimed in, spinning a jar of potato cider on one hoof.
"They poo-pooed Trixie's thermite obsession," everypony leaned away from the magician as she waved a canister.
"They warned me not to fly with one good eye!" Derpy added, drifting into ponies on either side of her as she hovered.
"Settle down now, the song is session!" Cheerilee scolded.
A red pony with a rainbow colored train track for a cutie mark grinned at his friends as he took the stage. "Hello everyone! I'm Imagination Express, but my real name is Right. I've chosen a good one. I can see it, up here." he smiled, tapping the side of his head. "I can see you all loving this one."
The five friends at his table all slumped. "He's at it again..." the pale pink one groaned.
The green one just propped his head in his hooves. "Imagining his way to victory. That's just what he does. We can't exactly stop him."
The yellow one folded her forelegs. "If he sings about food, I'm pulling him off the stage myself."
Right didn't pay them any mind. "This is a little number I found on the internet. Hit it Vinyl!"
Vinyl nodded with a smirk, starting up a happy, fast paced little number.
"I like trains!"
He got a mixed reaction to say the least, though Fluttershy at least nodded sagely.
The vibrant red pony in the sea-captain's coat, known as Magnificent Rogue, grinned. "Look at him." he chuckled, gesturing to Right on the stage. "The newbie thinks he can keep up."
The rest of the ponies, plus the one robot bird, at his table shook their heads, all smirking. "Well," the grey one, Ascended Fanboy, pondered aloud with a wide smile as they all left their seats. "... I suppose we had better show him how the veterans do things, eh, Marvelous?"
"Not without us you aren't." a pony from the next table over laughed, pulling on his straw hat and gesturing for his own crew to join him as he also rose.
Rogue grinned. "Ah, Luffy. Was wondering when we would meet again. I suppose we could go for a team up, for old times sake.
Mere moments after Right had finished, the sixteen members of the two most powerful crews of pirates in the loops were on the stage. "Everyone ready?" Rogue asked with a grin, getting nods from all the rest. "Let's make this showy!"
"With a hi-hi-ho and a hi-hi-hey, we're hoisting the flag to be free! Our captain will stand on the bridge and sing, 'Pirates are all we can be!' With a hi-hi-ho and a hi-hi-hey, we're bound to be close to the sea! We will steal the show, jolly rogers go! We are wolves of the sea!"
A mare and two stallions by the names of Titanic Hunter, Long Strategy, and one who was the proud owner of the absolutely badass name; Dreadnought Reaper. Their casual names were Eren, Armin, and Mikasa. And right now, they were getting on stage quite reluctantly. "How did we get roped into this again Armin?"
The blond maned stallion shrugged as he pulled out a drum set. "I think it had something to do with your bet against Harry over who could annoy Umbridge more."
Eren tossed a spare guitar at the aforementioned wizard, who simply opened his subspace pocket and dropped the instrument in. "This is all his fault. Stupid wizards."
Mikasa plugged her own base into the stereos provided by Vinyl Scratch. "Should we lead with our theme?"
Eren chuckled smoothly. "Sure, why not. Armin?"
Armin smirked with a touch of confidence. "Lets do this. Mares and stallions, ladies and gentlemen, Guren no Yumiya!"
"Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind der Jäger!"
No one was really sure if the performance counted or not.
On one hand, a song with no words at all seemed like cheating.
On the other, the singer couldn't exactly speak.
On yet another, no one was entirely sure if the song counted at all, as it was a bit difficult to confirm if it matched the looping experiences.
And so, while the entire bar debated, Angel Bunny continued to mime his way through The Hall Of The Mountain King.
The contest stopped for a moment as Sunset held a whispered conversation with Vinyl. The back and forth stretched out before the DJ lifted a hoof and waved Pinkie over. After a little longer, the contest organizer nodded to herself.
"I'll allow it, on grounds of warm fuzzies and being essential to the song," Pinkie announced.
"You got it, boss," Vinyl saluted before stepping away from her turntables.
"Thanks," Sunset told them before grabbing a stool and trotting onstage. Settling onto it, she unpocketed a banjo, checked the tuning, and strummed out a simple tune.
"Why are there so many songs about rainbows?
And what's on the other side?..."
Nearly everyone in the bar had their jaws hanging open.
Twilight leaned over and poked Rainbow Dash. "Hey, isn't that kind of... I dunno... an odd choice for her?"
Dash shrugged. "It's way outside her norm, yeah, but I think she chose the song based on the title and didn't know the lyrics, or that it was metal. Still, I'm proud of her for going through with it." she grinned.
On stage, Fluttershy was a wolf, the stature hiding her trembling, and her thicker fur hiding her bright red blush. Still, she was giving the song her all, even if only to get off the stage sooner.
"So what if you can see! The darkest side of me!?
No one will ever change this animal I have become!!!"
Vinyl stood, Sweetie taking over managing the booth, as Vinyl took the microphone.
On a sleepy endless ocean when the world lay in a dream
There was rhythm in the splash and roll, but not a voice to sing. Sweetie lifted her head, remembering helping to sing Arda into being.
So the moon shone on the breakers and the morning warmed the waves. Luna and Celestia both caught their breaths.
Till a single cell did jump and hum for joy as though to say
This is my home, this is my only home
This is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
And should I stray in the dark night alone
Rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden....
Voices echoed as everypony joined in on the final chorus, shaking the roof.
This is my home, this is my only home,
this is the only sacred ground that I have ever known, Sunset wept as she sang, remembering the long loops traveling, wondering if she would ever find Equestria. Home, even though she tended to loop away from it.
And should I stray in the dark night alone Nyx's voice echoed with Vinyls together above the rest.
Rock me goddess, in the gentle arms of Eden.
Vinyl repeated the final line two more times, as the music faded, and the other voices with it.
She finished the final repetition and stepped down. The silence the song had cast held everyone spell bound for a few more seconds, before thunderous applause, hoof stomping, and cheering broke out.
Kyubey viewed its pink and yellow prey from the shadows: enormous potential, lots of issues to generate despair with just a little nudge…it was risky, going after a pony, but well worth the risk since nothing indicated any of the ponies were Awake.
It stepped out into the light-and was promptly glomped.
"Aww, who's a cute little MLE? You are! Oh yes you are a cute little Malevolent Looping Entity! Oh yes you are!"
Kyubey uh oh'd. This was most definitely not according to plan.
Twilight stared at the vacant lot in front of her for a good five minutes before she started to twitch and storm over to Big Mac's bar for a drink and see if Applejack wouldn't mind her sleeping over until Sunday when she could break into the House.
She hated when the Denizens stole her library!
As she started to stomp away, there was a letter that smacked her in front of the face. Frowning, she open the letter and started to read it.
'Dear Twilight Sparkle,
I was under the illusion that when I came for your treehouse, you were in there. However, your friend was in there.
In her five minutes of stay of the Incomparable Gardens, she has caused severe damage to the weather system throughout the entire House, caused the Pit in the Far Reaches to be filled with taffy, the Middle House's mountain is now upside down and we are still currently trying to comprehend what she did to the Great Maze.
In lieu of a bill for the damages, please take the remains of your treehouse as well as your friend on the conditions that she never enters the House again.
Twilight blinked and turned her head to see the toppled wreckage of her home with smoke still flowing out of every window. Suddenly, an explosion was heard from within and a pony-shape projectile landed in front of Twilight, covering her with dirt, dust, ash and fish.
It took Twilight several seconds to regain the ability to speak but by that time, the pony-shape projectile spoke.
"I really don't know what happened Twilight!" Derpy said, standing up and shaking off the dust on her coat, as a wall of the library collapsed inwards. "All I did was drop a tea cup!"
Twilight just blinked as a fish fell onto her face as another explosion was heard from within.
131.4 (Wildrook) Sunset Saber
The redhead with yellow streaks was surprised as she looked at her uniform.
'Well, I've replaced Arturia,' she thought. 'Might as well play the part.' "I am known as Servant Saber. I ask of you, are you my master?"
Shirou sighed. "Nice to see you again, Sunset," he said. "And yeah, I am."
"You two know each other!?!" Lancer yelled.
"Back off, or else I use your real name and force a death-match right here and now," Shirou replied.
Lancer glared. "You're bluffing," he said.
"I can not only memorize your spear, but learn its history. The spear aimed directly at my heart, and it's cursed. From the name, I'm guessing you're from Ireland, and...you smell like dog."
There was a glare. "Hound," he said.
"And you just screwed yourself over," Sunset replied, bringing out a Keyblade known as Realta Nua. "Hound of Ulster."
Lancer growled. "Guess I've no choice," he said. Before he could stop, he flinched. "I can't. Rules of the game dictate that I have to fight to the death."
There was a bit of silence.
"What do you mean...ugh...luckily for you, I'm going to retreat. My Master's a coward."
"Tell Kotomine I'm coming for him for what he did to my Dad," Shirou replied. "I was in the fire. You think I DON'T remember what happened?"
Lancer then sighed. "Again, luckily for you, I'm a nice guy. Next time, find me a pint, then we talk." He then dashed out.
Sunset was surprised. "Is he..."
"If he was, he'd signal me," Shirou replied. "But now, you've got a chance to meet Rin this time."
131.5 (Kris Overstreet)
Fluttershy poked her head very, very cautiously over the back of the sofa. "Er... I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash, but you startled me terribly when you pulled out that pistol."
"Yeah. Sorry." Rainbow Dash sat on the rug, examining the very large pistol in her hoof with a distinctly non-Dashian melancholy.
Gradually Fluttershy worked her way out of hiding. She wasn't exactly afraid of guns, not anymore; her several loops in the Warhammer universe had accustomed her to weapons and their use, far beyond what she'd really have preferred. But in her house? Held by Rainbow Dash? And pulled out of subspace in a manner that suggested Dash hadn't really been aware she was doing it? When it came to Fluttershy's nerves, context was everything.
"So, yeah," Rainbow Dash said, "I picked up a new skill last Loop. Wanna see it?" Her tone suggested that she, herself, didn't particularly care one way or the other. That was definitely NOT the Rainbow Dash Fluttershy knew. Something was very wrong.
So when Fluttershy said, "Oh yes, please," her enthusiasm was less for the skill (which, if it involved firearms, she could do without seeing demonstrated forever) and more to give support to her oldest, dearest friend.
Outside the cottage, Rainbow Dash pointed to a tree across the meadows and woods, just inside the border of the Everfree Forest. "You see that bare, rotten limb on the top of that beech?" she asked. "About half a mile off there?"
Pegasi have excellent vision by nature. "Yes," she said, "but it'd be tough to hit it even with a long rifle from-"
And then, BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
Moments later the first bullet clipped the branch off just above the leaves. Before the branch could fall, the remaining three bullets split it into four more or less equal sections.
Rainbow Dash, showing no signs of her usual brag or enthusiasm for her own awesomeness, ejected the magazine, pumped the action to clear the chambered round, and pulled out a cleaning kit and oil from her subspace pocket.
"Wow, Dash," Fluttershy forced herself to say. "That's a really awesome gun."
"It's not the gun," Dash said, holding it out to Fluttershy to examine. "No sights, no tracking, just steel and bullets."
The more Fluttershy examined the weapon, the more impressed she was. "Dash... that really is awesome," she whispered.
"Eh," Rainbow Dash shrugged, retrieving the weapon and beginning the cleaning work. "Not worth it."
"Not worth what?"
"Not worth going through the Loop I picked it up in."
"Which Loop was that?"
Rainbow Dash set down the gun for a moment and pulled something else from her subspace pocket- a pair of sunglasses. The tiny lenses were tinted yellow.
"Trigun," she said, putting the glasses on, looking at the gun. "It was awesome at first, so long as I ignored the Loop memories. But then..." Shaking her head, she added, "Why doesn't anybody understand? When he says, 'Love and peace,' it's not a slogan or a greeting. It's an unanswered prayer."
Shifu looked at his friend that he had gained throughout these Loops and smirked.
"It seems today, old friend, we shall learn who the true master is." Po, and the Furious Five stood behind him, proud and determined to answer this question once and for all.
"Indeed, Master Shifu." Master Splinter nodded his head, with his four sons off to the side, eyeing the Kung Fu Masters. "And what a better way to test this with our new students?" He smiled, stroking his beard, looking down at the sparing arena that had been reinforced beyond measure with magic, steel and other properties gained over the Loops to prevent the damages leaking outwards. Both Masters had agreed to the conclusion that with their current students, it would last for a good while before everything came crashing down.
"Indeed!" Master Shifu gave a faint smile, looking at his student with pride. "Master Derpy, the Kung Fu Master of the Drunken Fist/Hoof, are you ready?"
"Yes'm, Master Shifu!" The pony responded with a smile on her face up to the man that had trained her to use and hone her usual accidents into an actual form of martial arts that did give her some form of better control. She looked at her fellow blond haired opponent.
"Bravo-san, are you ready?" Splinter looked down at his own student, wearing proper samurai armour and his sunglasses.
"Hai, sensei Splinter." He kept his right hand on his sword, looking at the wall-eyed mare in front of him. "You ready, sexy mama?" He flashed her one of his old foolish smiles, while keeping in a proper stance to not shame himself or his sensei.
Derpy found herself blushing at the compliment, but nodded her head and moved herself into a proper stance. "Yes, Johnny," She then slowly moved herself into a fighting stance of her Kung Fu style of Zui quan with her opponent drawing his blade slowly and taking a proper mein stance.
They both stood still, waiting for the only person that could judge this while staying safe to begin the match.
Ranma looked at the two, eyes darting back and forth, wondering how he got dragged into this once more before he steadied his nerves.
"Ok, I want a clean match; no Looping powers whatsoever, just your own skills. Understand?"
"Hai/yes." They both answered, with a small smile on their face growing.
"All right... begin!" With that, one of the original Loopers leaped into the corner.
The two of them didn't move, knowing the dangers of making the first move. Slowly, in a clockwise circle, they began to circle each other until they were a quarter from their starting positions. Without any form of warning, the samurai leaped forwards, going for a strike to his opponent's chest.
To which Derpy simply stepped to the side, smacking the blade out of the way with her left arm, pivoted on right foot and used her right hand to smack the helmet. It might sting, but it would really disorientate her opponent. "Sorry." She said by reflex alone, as she began to strike the back of the other Looper while using her wings to dance around the man.
"It's nothing baby doll," he chuckled as he rolled off the attack, and letting his helmet fall to the floor. He knew that the woman in front of him wouldn't actually hit his unprotected head as it would be beneath any true martial artist. Swinging his blade around him while trying to sweep her legs, he found himself smiling. "I've had far worse in my own Loops. Heck, a lot of the women in the baseline hit a lot harder."
Derpy giggled at this, ducking under his blade stroke, some of her hair falling to the ground. "Oh really?" She asked as she delivered one of her stronger punches; enough to send a person through several wooden walls, not strong enough to level a mountain. He was sent back several feet, into the barrier with a grunt. "Oh my gosh, are you -"
"Haha, that's what's it's like back home!" He laughed, shaking his head with joy, spinning his sword in his hands. "Come on, mama, let's fight!"
With that, the two titans clashed.
"So Derpy dear, tell me more of your daughters." Johnny Bravo smiled at his equally wounded friend as they sat in their lifeboat. It was one of many that darted the water after their fight had sunk New York City. Bravo had been a gentleman, helping her in first and pulling out a towel he always kept with him for her water clogged wings.
Derpy blushed, drinking the mug of cocoa that she had brewed from her own subspace pocket with a bit of snort. "Well, my little muffin is just the best girl a mom could ask for and my star is already making a name for herself in most of the loops. She's normally a teacher, or a professor, or something along the lines."
Johnny nodded his head, looking at the woman sitting across of him with a gentle smirk. "You must be proud of her."
"Proud of both of them." She chuckled, one of her eyes focused on him. "And you?"
"I've got my mamma, and my friends back home." He gave a small sigh. "I acted like a real jerk in my baseline, hitting on anything with a pulse. Thankfully, I've stopped that and reserved that for true classy dames such as yourself." He gave her a wink, causing her to blush and giggle again.
"Oh stop, I'm sure you say that everypony you meet." She looked down at her mug.
"Nope, but I'm sure your husband tells you that every time you two wake up." He countered with a raised eyebrow.
"Actually, I don't know who he is," she sighed, looking at the floor of their lifeboat. "It was something that was lost in one of the crashes." She sighed, placing her mug on the edge of the boat. "Most of the times, it's just me and my Muffin. Not many ponies really want to be with a clumsy mare like me that causes so much destruction." She gave a little sniffle before she found herself wrapped into a tight hug.
"Now that ain't right." Johnny said smoothly, rubbing her back slowly. "You are one hell of a woman, great big beautiful eyes, two wonderful daughters, one gorgeous laugh and a personality worth fighting for." He lowered his sunglasses so she could see his own eyes. "If they can't handle that, then they don't know what they're passing up."
Derpy decided to act on an impulse and gave him a kiss. He returned the favour and it lasted a good twenty seconds before they broke it off. "Wow."
"That good Derpy?" Johnny asked as he pulled her into his side, wrapping an arm around her and letting his blanket cover the both of them.
"Better than most muffins," She said with a smile on her face, still blushing. With a yawn, she snuggled into his side as she began to doze off. "Thanks for the fight."
"Anytime Derpy baby." He gave her a kiss on the forehead as she giggled again before drifting off to sleep. "Anytime."
131.7 (Kris Overstreet)
... and the Rest Loop: Swarm of the Century, Stare Master, Green Isn't Your Color
(Note: the "and the Rest" Loop was a baseline Loop in which the Awake Loopers were Twilight Sparkle, Ivory Scroll, Zecora, Cheerilee, Gilda and Angel Bunny. Twilight had decided to "go through the motions" to rest from a trying Loop, and the other five took advantage.)
"Darn that rabbit!"
"There he goes! Get him!"
"Come back here with my accordion!"
Twilight Sparkle poked her head out of the library to see Angel Bunny hopping like mad along the Ponyville streets, towing a red wagon piled high with musical instruments behind him. Not too far behind followed a gathering mob of angry ponies.
What on Earth?
Twilight Sparkle teleported ahead of Angel, held up a hoof and said, "Angel, could you stop a moment and explain-"
Angel whooshed right past her.
A moment later, the mob whooshed right OVER her.
Pushing herself up from the hard-packed dirt street, Twilight rubbed at some of the worse bruises. Right, she thought, time to explain to that rabbit that I am not Fluttershy. I don't care if he is Looping.
A second teleport landed Twilight in front of Angel, blocking his entry into Sugarcube Corner. "Angel! Explanation! Now!"
Before Angel could do more than roll his eyes, the door to Sugarcube Corner slammed open, pasting Twilight to the exterior wall behind it.
"Ear-flop, eye-flutter, knee-twitch!" Pinkie Pie shouted, one hoof still on the door handle. The mob froze and immediately ,and as one pony, took a careful step backwards away from Pinkie. Angel, being nobunny's fool, dashed into the bakery with his looted cargo.
"Anybody? Anybody?" Pinkie asked, looking up, down, at the mob, back at the door... with her own hoof on it. "Oopsie! I thiiiiiink this one may have been my fault. Sorry!" She peeked around the door just in time to see Twilight peeling herself off the wall. "Sorry, Twilight!"
"That's... okay... Pinkie..." Still wobbly on her hooves, Twilight let Pinkie help her into the bake shop. The door closed to a universal sigh of relief from the mob... which, a couple of seconds later, turned into a universal cry of outrage as they realized the bunny had made his escape.
"You," Twilight said, stopping just short of a growl. "Explain now, and make it good."
Angel did a quick pantomime, which included bouncing up and making himself look as spherical and big-eyed adorable as possible, pointing frantically to Pinkie, and then miming a bunch of musical instruments being played by one pony.
"I don't get it," Twilight said.
Angel slapped his forehead and let the pads of his paw slide down his face in frustration.
"Wait a minute," Pinkie Pie said, suddenly as serious as non-Awake Pinkie ever got. "What have we got here? Harmonica? Accordion? Trombone? Banjo? Cymbals? Tuba? Recorder?" Her voice became more frantic until, at the bottom of Angel Bunny's wagon, she said with relief, "Whew! No maracas! I was afraid there'd be-"
Angel groaned loudly enough to be just barely audible, slapped his forehead, and turned for the door.
"Wait a minute," Twilight said. "These musical instruments..." She glanced at the calendar, opened her mouth, and then bit her lip to stop herself from mentioning the visit from Princess Celestia the day after tomorrow... which she wouldn't receive notice of for another hour or two. I completely lost track of the baseline! Stupid, stupid, stupid! she thought to herself. Is there such a thing as Loop senility?
"This is what you need to play the Parasprite Polka!" Pinkie Pie said. "I guess I could do without the maracas, if the parasprites aren't too hungry. Have you seen any parasprites, Angel?"
Angel nodded frantically, pointing back out the door, doing a rapid pantomime that ended with his ears flopped in front of his face like the mane of his owner.
"Fluttershy found one?" Pinkie asked.
Angel nodded frantically.
"Well, you came to the right pony, Angel!" Pinkie Pie nodded. "Help me on with the tuba! Twilight, could you go explain to those folks outside that this is a parasprite emergency?"
"Er... yes, sure," Twilight shrugged. "I'll take care of it."
That evening in Fluttershy's cottage, after the handful of parasprites were led back to the Everfree Forest and seen on their way, Twilight and Pinkie explained things to Fluttershy, who wasn't that much less upset than the owners of all the musical instruments Angel had swiped. "And then when I took the flyswatter from him he pulled out a flamethrower!" she said. "The poor little creature had to hide in my mane, it was that frightened. And now I hear he's been stealing things? Angel, you have been a naughty, naughty bunny!"
"No way, Fluttershy!" Pinkie Pie said, holding up a hoof in objection. "Angel did all of Ponyville a huge favor! How many were there at first, one?"
"Why, er, yes," Fluttershy said, "but it ate some apples, and some sandwiches, and some tea-cakes, and suddenly there were three of them, and-"
"And before long there would have been thousands of them!" Pinkie continued. "My Granny Pie told me all about parasprites! They'll eat a town to the ground if you let 'em! And they would have started with your cottage and every scrap of food in it!"
"Pinkie speaks the truth, and nothing but," a voice came from the door. Zecora entered, taking a seat next to the other ponies and Angel. "That is why I have left my hut. I wished to deal with the threat in a timely way," she winked at Twilight at the word, "only to find Angel Bunny has saved the day."
Fluttershy looked at the other ponies. "Is this true? Twilight?"
"Well," Twilight said, having had a lot of practice in this sort of lie when she didn't feel like explaining the Loops, "I read about parasprites in Canterlot. I always thought they were a silly myth, but when Angel Bunny rounded up those instruments, I knew it was serious." Please don't examine this too closely, Fluttershy...
"Oh." She turned her full attention to Angel Bunny. "I'm sorry, little Angel. You were doing a good thing after all, and I didn't realize it."
Angel shrugged indifference.
"But tomorrow you're going to go to all those ponies who you stole from and apologize," she added firmly. "They would have loaned you those instruments if you'd asked nicely."
Angel's face went through the contortions of disbelief, frustration, and finally resigned acceptance. He nodded agreement.
Twilight, who'd routinely seen the rabbit test how far he could push his caretaker, made a mental note.
The cockatrice blinked at the figure in front of it. Whatever it was, it wore black robes and carried a red glowing thing in its paw. This didn't concern the monster, since very little bothered a creature which could petrify its prey at will in a matter of seconds.
But its spell required eye contact... and the robed figure wore a mask that completely concealed its face. Only the long white ears poking out the top of its hood gave a hint to the little creature's identity.
And then the little robed thing took a step forward, and the cockatrice felt its presence grow, as if it were twice as tall as the chicken-snake-thing, rather than almost vice-versa.
Without eyes the mask still bore its own gaze down (up) at the cockatrice. Without words, without sounds, using nothing but menace, the little thing communicated the idea that, as frightening as hydras, timberwolves, cragodiles, chimaeras, and other denizens of Equestrian wild spaces could be, when it came to absolute terror nothing, absolutely nothing, had a hope of beating the little creature with the blood-red ray of light in its paw.
You have a choice, the faceless gaze replied. Challenge and defeat me, or get out of town.
And I don't even have to SEE you to beat you. That's how dangerous I am. What have you got?
Well? What have you got, punk?
The cockatrice did a quick inventory. Petrification magic which wouldn't work... a poison bite it likely would never get close enough to apply... and the ability, in dim light and partly hidden in bushes, to look like a common chicken.
Did it have anything else? No... no...
...wait, yes, yes the cockatrice did have something else. It had a pressing engagement elsewhere. Any elsewhere.
With a hiss and a cackle of fright, the monster scuttered off into the depths of the Everfree.
"But we gotta go inta th' Everfree! Elizabeak's tracks lead this way!"
The robed figure quickly extinguished its lightsaber and put away the robes and mask. Any moment now a stupid, wilful chicken would pass this way...
"... an' just as we was about ta go inta th' forest, out comes Angel Bunny leadin' Elizabeak behind him!"
"Oh, did you do that? Good bunny!" Fluttershy hugged the rabbit warmly. "But you shouldn't have gone in either! The Everfree Forest is a very dangerous place for a defenseless little bunny like you! I'm so glad you didn't get hurt!"
Twilight, who had come to check on Fluttershy's adventures in fillysitting, watched Angel accept the mild scolding and excessive babying in good humor, and took another mental note.
"Flootershy! It is time to make... der magics!"
Before the reluctant pegasus could step in front of the camera, a little white figure in a grey pinstripe suit stepped between Fluttershy and Photo Finish, holding up one paw in negation.
"Vot is zis?" Photo Finish looked down at Angel Bunny, who held up a business card and presented it to her. "Roar, Magnet and Angel, Everfree Talent Management. You mean to zay... you are zee agent for Flootershy?"
Angel nodded once, firmly, decisively.
"Er, Angel Bunny, what are you-"
"Yes! Zis is good!" Photo Finish nodded. "Every great talent needs der business ponies to take care of der ticky-tacky money questions so notting gets in der vay of... der magics!" The glasses scanned up and down the bunny and added, "And der business pony with zuch a sharp suit- it is good!"
"I made it for him," Rarity said, fanning the last tiny ember of hope for her own breakout with Photo Finish.
Not noticing, Equestria's most famous photographer clapped her forehooves together. Out of nowhere came a tall stallion with a neatly trimmed beard and a suit nearly as sharp as Angel's. "Zis is my business manager!" she said. "You two, make with zer talking. And Flootershy and I, we vill make... zer magics!"
Photo Finish's manager felt a trickle of sweat under his mane as he noticed the smirk on the rabbit's face.
"I can't believe a rabbit who can't talk can negotiate that well!" Photo Finish's manager gasped. He accepted a third mug of coffee from Twilight before continuing, "I've been in this business twenty years, and he came up with clauses and found legal points even I'd never heard of! That rabbit is vicious!"
"You're not the first one to say that," Twilight smiled. "But did you get where you wanted to go?"
"Not where I wanted to go, no," the manager said. "But Miss Finish can live with this." He pointed to the very, very thick contract in front of him. "Fluttershy gets a cut of the gross on everything, invested in a blind trust, and retains ownership of her likeness. Photo Finish's usual Now-I-Go clause got duplicated for Fluttershy- I admit I hope I get to see Fluttershy use it on her. Photo Finish still gets the money she needs to make, 'der magics,'" he finished with his hooves doing air-quotes. "Now I just have to catch up with them long enough to get their signatures. Unfortunately the train for Canterlot doesn't leave until the morning."
After a bit more conversation Twilight escorted the manager out the door before turning to face Angel, who lay back on a cushion with the knot of his tie loosened. The carrot in his teeth jutted up in at the optimal angle for smug.
"I can't believe I haven't noticed it before," Twilight said. "You're protecting her, aren't you?" She couldn't help smirking as the carrot dropped from his mouth. She pulled a datapad out of her pocket and floated it over to him in her magic. "No pantomime. Tell me."
Angel looked at the device, pushed a few spots on its screen, and then began typing like mad until, satisfied, he raised it up for Twilight to read.
I'm almost never Awake unless Fluttershy is too. When Awake she can take care of herself. But in baseline she's a doormat. She needs watching over. So I take care of her, just like she takes care of the dumber animals here. I'm just protecting the sweet situation I've landed here. That's all there is to it.
After reading, Twilight raised an eyebrow. "All there is to it? Really? Or does it have something to do with the fact that Fluttershy's the only person in this Loop who doesn't hate or fear you?"
When Twilight lowered the pad to him again, he merely pointed to the last sentence of his previous statement, then folded his forepaws.
"But it's more than just taking care of yourself," Twilight continued. "I've seen you work hard just to keep Fluttershy from embarrassing herself. Or to help her around the house when things are really bad. A lot of the time you act like a rotten, selfish pet... but not always."
Angel squirmed, frowned, then waved for the return of the datapad. After a bit more paw-pounding on the touchscreen he handed back the message:
I want your Pinkie Promise that you will tell nobody about this. Absolutely nobody, Looping or not. Not a soul, ever.
Just as Twilight finished reading, Angel jumped up and snatched back the pad long enough to add:
And I still admit nothing.
Twilight smirked. "Of course I won't tell anybody," she said. "Who would believe me?"
Angel tapped the screen once, and the words PINKIE PROMISE filled the datapad from edge to edge.
Twilight heard a rustling behind her, and turned to see Pinkie Pie rising up from a potted plant, holding a sign over her head that said: FOREVER.