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~Princess Luna

Post in forum #1905 - An ongoing MLP Roleplay Thread, Rated PG-13.

Morhoof shrugged and moved to set the lamp on the table. His head didn’t hurt much. “Even still, what ability you do have has served an important role. And may very well again in the near future.” Morhoof would need a very big blackboard to tally the amount of times that some form of magic would have made things ten-fold easier for him. Turning his attention back to the doorway, he sifted through his thoughts for any course of action that wouldn’t end in total disaster. “Oh.” Morhoof’s lips curled into a small humorless grin. “I forgot about that.”

Fantasy, Perth and Punctuality followed Morhoof’s gaze to the open doorway onto the silvered frozen room and then back to him. Perth looked ready to facepalm, Punctuality seemed a little uneasy, and Fantasy took on a highly suspicious look. “Forgot about what?” she said.

Morhoof could have sworn he heard a faint echo of nasally laughter in the back of his head. But was it real or imagined? “Er.” he said. He unearthed the contents of a pocket. In his claw he held up a small box. It had the dull coloring of tarnished lead, felt like warm smooth wood, and had a steely clink when tapped. “I have a plan but it might be tricky to implement. In the box is a cockatrice eye, which can still turn any living creature that looks upon it to stone.” Morhoof set the box on the table next to the lamp. Holding it made his spine itch. What if he dropped it and it opened? “Too bad we don’t have another stone.”

“One is bad enough!” Fantasy said.

Punctuality furrowed his brow in thought. “But how are we going to un-stone them? And what if you accidentally look at it, then what? Or stone my parents?”

Morhoof mentally face-hoofed. “Oh right, Breaking Dawn had the antidote.”

“Who?” Punctuality said. Morhoof quietly bit the inside of his cheek to keep from cursing.

Perth chimed in. “As a matter of fact, the message you received along with this box declared that Madame Fleur Blanc had custody of the tears. So while they may be rendered stone for a time, we may eventually reverse the effect.”

Morhoof had forgotten that. He still didn’t remember when Perth had read that message, but he didn’t definitely remember disposing of the message in a way that made Perth reading it impossible. He turned to Fantasy. “What do you think?”

Fantasy took a moment before she responded. “I guess that could work, but Punchy has a point; accidents do happen.”

“Mm.” Morhoof said. He mused on this risk. Morhoof reached for a cigarette and lit it with the lightning arc between his hooks. He had matches, and had once been rather fond of the sulfuric odor. Taking a long draw, something in the corner of his eye caught his attention. The sunglasses sitting on Punctuality’s head reflected the soft illumination from the oil lamp. “History time. Does anypony here know the story of a creature with a mane and tail of snakes? And the hero that defeated her? Or more importantly, how.”

Fantasy jumped as if prodded in the cutie mark. “Oh! You mean Maredusa? She was beheaded by Purrseus the Griffon, allegedly the son of some griffin god and raised by pegasi in the Pre-Equestrian Era.” Morhoof nodded. Before even his time, if it had ever happened at all. Fantasy continued. “He avoided her gaze by using a reflective shield, looking at her in it instead of directly, so he could see without seeing. It’s up in the attic. I can go get it if you want.”

Morhoof blinked. “You have the Mirror Shield of Purrseus in your attic?” Not entirely implausible, given what else Smog had stored up there, but Morhoof thought Smog had removed all the dangerous artifacts.

The purple mare did a double-take. “Haha, no. Father dressed up as Purrseus one Nightmare Night, it was ridiculous, the costume couldn’t hide his horn and the fake-stone Maredusa head looked like she had gas pains. Good shield though.”

“Never mind, I only mentioned the tale as an example. Indirect observation defeats the magical rays of petrification beasts. Perth, do you think it’s possible to adjust Punctuality’s sunglasses so that things seen through them are clear, but in some way reflected and indirect?” Punctuality swiveled his eyes upwards to his sunglasses. “Don’t worry, I’ll buy you a new pair afterwards.”

Perth crossed his arms, looking annoyed but proud. “You are putting my skills sorely to the test, Mister Lute.” He smiled and relaxed a little, though it was a faintly worrying smile. Punctuality levitated his sunglasses to the koala. “Thank you. Within an hour? It may be possible, but I might only slow the process, rather than make you immune.”

Morhoof nodded. “That would fine, anything that prevents it from instantly turning me will suffice. I don’t plan to do any deep gazing into the box, but if I were to accidentally glimpse inside, then any enemies left un-stoned could-”

The two unicorns turned their attention to the cellar door in unison, as if they had heard a noise. “Wow, I felt that.” Punctuality said.

Fantasy just looked relieved. “Oh, okay.”

Perth was oblivious, already digging into his doctor-bag.

Morhoof stared at the cellar door. Somepony was hiding in the cellar? Was there an assassin in the bathroom and a brass band on the third floor? A troupe of clowns ready to caper from out of the cupboard? Who could possibly be left? He focused his hearing and faintly picked up the clip-clop of hooves. The cadence of walking four-legged pony gait, but…clinky. Horseshoes? …claws? ‘Wait. Oh!’ Morhoof thought. A wave of relief washed over him as he moved closer to the cellar door. “Thank Celestia he’s okay.” Morhoof wasn’t sure how Breaking Dawn had gotten in there, supposedly the tunnel into the cellar had been sealed, but the dragon-pony always had a plan ‘Z.’

“He?” Fantasy said.

Morhoof looked over his shoulder to the purple unicorn and then turned again at the creak of the cellar door’s hinges. A deeper shadow stood among the shadows, tall and imposing around eyes that should not have been that visible in the dark, which should not have been that deep in the light of the well-lit room. Morhoof’s nerves instantly turned to jagged glass. He met the piercing eyes as the creature emerged from the unnatural darkness. His mouth hung open as he was about to say something, but the only thing to escape was a whimper. Ingrained instinct kicked in: RUN! But it wasn’t quite where he wanted to go; he back-pedaled until his rump landed on a chair. Abject terror rooted him to it, unable to move his muscles save for a slight tremble. The windigo might be gone, but the thousand-year fear campaign certainly wasn’t.

Luna turned to acknowledge Fantasy, Punctuality, and finally the still-oblivious Perth in his madness-place. She used an unreadable but royal stare. The unicorns bowed, Punctuality after a slack-jawed moment followed by a prod and hiss from his sister. Luna spoke. “We require an explanation for this unnatural stasis we sensed.” Her eyes narrowed and landed on Morhoof. “We require it now.”