Chance smiles lightly over to Snow. "No offense taken." He then turns his attention to Dusk. "Many have left, but many more have stayed, and this town has grown a great deal. It never had a chance to do that before. It doesn't seem likely that the entire town decided to leave otherwise. As for final tests.. we're at the final question. Can we save this town?" He rises to his hooves. "Follow me, my friends." He leads them to a hallway, and at the end he unlocks a door. "What's in here won't harm anypony. It currently can't affect anything." The door opens up into a large room. The walls are lined with all sorts of books on time and ancient magics, and a number of different magic artifacts. In the center is a large obelisk, made out of both power crystal, which increases magic energy, and silver crystal, which boots magic potency. There's old magic runes carved in it in various places, and a number of artifacts inset into the structure, including two time artifacts that Chance brought in from the future, embedded into the top. "My life's project here. This, my friends, is the Time Anchor."
Starfire follows along, hoving just higher than walking height, oooohhhing at the vast array ot tomes and lab stuff. "Love, just how many secret labs DO you have scattered about Equestria anyhoof?" fluying up to look at a curly rune near the top of the obelisk. "This giant needle doesn't come with some green and purple critter than splits into four parts and merges with the patterns on the sides of the spire to poke a hole in space-time does it?"
Snow_Bolt follows after the group as they enter the 'super secret life's work lab'. Snow, as it is well known, has never been a pony that was terribly big on magic, but the lab does look like its definitely a lifes work. It could pass for a lab that you would see in the movies at Screenplay's theater, though this time a reality. He blinks as Starfire speaks up. That was strange, but Starfire is an odd sort of gal, "What exactly does it do?" he asks.
Dusk nods to Mirage and smiles, "Oh that's quite certainly a possibility. By saving the town perhaps things are many times better. Perhaps there are hundreds of ponies around now that wouldn't have been. But also quite likely others that were, but are no more. It's just a very tricky and sensitive subject to mess with." He then follows as Chance leads us to.. a rather amazing room. Not just the incredible device and artifacts, but the impressive collection of knowledge. "The Time Anchor? Or certainly looks very impressive." Dusk has already glanced over many of the titles visible, snagging a book or two for a glance as he listens to the others, and slipping the books back. "Yes, I'm guessing the rather obvious, but just what do you have particularly in mind, Mr. Chance?"
Mirage is apprehensive at Chance's warning, since it's not clear what the danger could be. Upon entering the room, she's taken in by the beauty of the obelisk, it's blending of crystal, runes, and artifacts creating a wonderous sight. "Oh, Chance! This is remarkable," Mirage says with all sincerety as she looks but doesn't touch. She looks at Chance when he mentions the device's name... and considers the implications that name brings to mind. Snow Bolt brings up the immediate question. He's always going to the heart of the subject. Mirage gives Dusk another sideglance. "For a stallion who enjoys bending time, you seem very adamant that we shouldn't be trying to help," she says quite seriously. Then she listens to Chance as he prepares to continue.
Chance smiles lightly over to Mirage at the compliment. "Thank you. It certainally was enough trouble to build." he answers. "I'm hoping it works as well as it looks." He chuckles to Starfire. "I really only have one secret 'lab', but several ways to get there." He chuckles at the last question Starfire has. "Um, not exactly." He swivels his attention over to Snow. "Well.." He trots over to an ordinary water fountain he has in here. "Think of time like the surface of this water. Usually it's stable. If you change something in it.." He drops one drop of water in it. "..it'll create ripples. But time will always fix itself. It'll always calm down to what it once was." The ripples fade away and the water is smooth again. "You can't change time. Not really. It'll always revert to what was, in some way or another. However, if you keep the change constant.." He turns on the fountain so there's a constant drop-drop-drop of water, and the water ripples again. It doesn't calm down this time. "You can keep the change in time. Time constantly tries to fight against the change and calm down, but the changes stay there. That's what the Time Anchor does. It keeps the water rippling from the point of the change. It lets the change stay in time." He glances over to Dusk. "It needs powered up. Some unicorns in town can help. Snow can also probably help with his lightning. It's different then normal pegasus lightning. It should work. Dusk.. I'd like you to set the Time Anchor's timeline in the new timeline that comes out of this. It's going to have to be a mix of the two pasts.. the one with Marishville, and the one without. I believe this is required so that a time paradox doesn't occur when we anchor Marishville to reality."
Starfire ponders this explanation and finally lands, shaking her head. "YOu mean something like never having built this thing because the reason you made it was to repair what you did and if you don't do it and did not do it there would be no reason to make this?"
Snow_Bolt is half tempted to ask what happens if the whole machine busts when they power it up. The answer to that question couldn't be good, though he ponders a second question about what might happen if they don't try to power of the machine. It seems like if you are faced with certain destruction and only probably destruction you should choose probable destruction every time. After all the MRC are masters at breaking things. Time is only the most recent thing, though probably the biggest, "So if we fire this machine up the town gets to be saved and doesn't revert to the past time?" he asks just to make sure that he has it all straight in his head. He is more than capable of powering something, provided it doesn't break when he hits it with the lightning.
Dusk looks to Mirage and shakes his head, "Sorry, my love, that's not the impression I mean to give. We certainly have to help these ponies that are indeed here, now. I'm saying messing with history, one, shouldn't be possible. And two, if somehow it is, you have to handle it with the care of all the ponies you may be changing or even erasing. I, myself, manipulate things at the present with variations that may have had a different past. And even if I were able to alter a pony as such, I wouldn't. So yes, we'll do all we can to help. I just don't want to be hurting others in the process is what I mean." He listens as Chance explains things, nodding to himself as he agrees with much of it. "It more than looks like you've done a lot more homework since before, it sounds like it too, Mr. Chance. Though yes, that's the trick. Juxtaposing two different times at once. Assume this device works as described, we could anchor it here. But changes, like you spending the last 80 years here, would be anchored too. Do you think this device can handle both at the same time?" Oh, and we've broken time before, with the vines.
Mirage tilts her ears as she listens to Dusk. "Yes, you said that before. But the point is, Dapple Double did nothing to deserve becoming the magically corrupted Elder that baited and attacked Chance. And the ponies of Marishville did nothing to deserve either being killed or having to abandon their town. And Chance somehow remained ignorant of all of that until the Elder came for him?" She pauses to look at Dapple and then back to Dusk. "I think history was already broken and it needs to be fixed."
Chance answers each pony in turn once again. He nods lightly to Star. "Exactly. Time will have to settle in a way that still gives a reason for the Time Anchor to be built." He then glances over to Snow. "That's pretty much the idea." he assures the unicorn. He then glances over to Dusk and smiles a bit. "I've spent most of the 80 years I've been here doing exactly that. I guess the fact I never die is good for something after all. It's helping me to save this town, my home for the last 8 decades. For the first time, I'm actually thankful for it." He tilts his head in Mirage's direction for a moment. "That is one possibility. Perhaps all of this is how time is fixing that problem. It's not the most likely explination, but it is a possible one." He then looks over to Dapple. "My old friend, it's time." Dapple nods and heads out.
Starfire nods, then gets some asperin from her shoulder tote. "I shall try not to think about that part. It makes my head spin."
Snow_Bolt thinks thats about as much of the explanation that he is going to understand. He'll have more 'time' to think about it later. Unless they all run out of time here and now and the machine blows taking the town and all of them with it. He does agree with Starfire. They are here and the town needs to be saved, this appears to be the best way to do it. Of course they are trusting a pony that isn't really high up on his 'I trust you' list. So basically it all boils down to this. Why not? "Ok."
Dusk nods to Mirage, "True, other than I believe the time he could have had some idea might have been once he knew he had a talent at all, which was about a year ago." He grins at Chance, "Certainly good for something, yes. So what do you need us to do? We certainly need to make this work!" He looks around to all the others as Dapple heads out. If anypony short of a Princess can do it, hopefully we all can.
Mirage is pleased to see everypony in agreement, even if Snow Bolt obviously has his share of reservations about this. Mirage does too, for that matter. But her sense of the injustice makes the risks seem worth it all. She gives a little nod to the others, and then to Chance to show she's ready.
Chance heads around the room, starting to gather all his books in boxes. "We'll need to get all of this stored away." Outside the room a number of other ponies is heard coming inside, moving things around. "The house was built in the middle of town. The Time Anchor is built in the exact center.. as far as we could measure. The town is built roughly equidistant around this spot." He heads over to the obelisk, and kicks out some floorboards around it. Underneath is a stand which the Time Anchor is built into, all of which is sitting partially buried in the ground at the spot. "The others are removing my furniture and such. The house needs to be removed. If all of you could just help me get my stuff stored, I would greatly appreciate it. The house was built to protect this while I was in the process of building it, both from the weather, and from too-curious ponies."
Snow had thought that they would be powering up the battery right now and seeing if this thing was going to work, but instead it looks like they will be moving stuff. Okay. Thats a completly different activity than he had prepared for, but certainly easier and less dangerous. He turns around and joins the ponies that are working already to get the stuff out of the house.
Dusk hmmms and nods to Chance, "Certainly we'll help!" He's with Snow though, as not quite what he expected the first step to be. He keeps Blue safe on his back as he turns to Mirage to see if they can work together. He's pretty good at gathering up things with his magic, or even helping disassemble large items. He wouldn't be surprised if Mirage couldn't get it all organized and efficient doing it all on the fly. And keeping track of where it all goes. Dusk would help sort all the books, but looks like Chance already has them all well organized already.
Mirage, like Snow, is completely surprised that not only do Chance's books need to be moved before the Time Anchor can be started, but the whole house is due to come down too. "Oh! Alright," she says with a confused look. Then she helps get things moved out as well. Who knew that saving a town involved so much moving of furniture? She nods to Snow and Dusk and begins get things moved in an organized manner. After a few moments, she feels as if she's working back at the Magic Research Center. At least sweeping shouldn't be needed this time.
Chance smiles and thanks all his friends for the help. The books and artifacts and furniture gets moved out, then anything else left standing. A group of unicorns and earth ponies come over to take down the house itself. They finally get the last room, the one containing the Time Anchor, taken apart, the last of the lumber getting moved out. What's left is an empty plot. "They're going to turn this area into a central park." he mentions to the others as they finally get everything cleared out. "Alright. Snow, would you assist the unicorn team in powering up the Time Anchor with your lightning? And don't worry about frying it. If anything, I'm concerned if we'll have enough power to get it powered up correctly. It's going to absorb a large amount of magic before it'll start to even activate the artifacts and runes. I'll activate the time artifacts once it's powered up. I would ask you to help with the powering up, Dusk, but I want your magic fresh to help set the anchor to the new timeline that comes out of this."
Snow_Bolt finishes up with helping out the moving crew and then listens as Chance instructs him what he wants him to do. It's a simple enough propositiong. Lightning, and alot of it. He generally likes to keep his lightning storms to a minimum but it sounds like this time he can really cut loose and let it all out. Hopefully the weather team here won't mind too much. When he hears that this is going to turn into a park he half wonders if it will be the only Time Park in Equestria, "If we don't end up vaporizing the town you can always go back to selling time shares again..." he says to Mirage. With that his horn begins to glow green as he concentrates in his mind what he would like to do. He begins by creating a cloud above the anchor which proceeds to begin to strike the machine with bolts. Once that is done he decides to kick it up a notch and his horn crackles in addition to glowing as a somewhat steady stream of lightning flows from horn to machine.
Dusk grins, "There sure better be a /whole lot/ of pizza when we get done with all of this!" he jests. Well at least this is certainly something everypony can help with, even Blue if she wants. And with Mirage here, and help of so many ponies, it's taken well care of. He smiles and looks to everyponyelse as we finish up, and then turns and listens to Chance's instructions. He nods, "Will do. Though since you've been working on this, do you know what I should be expecting to see at moment, or how we'll know?" Dusk will of course keep an eye out for anything that he can tell. But might as well get the information right from the pony's mouth. "Oh, impressive there, Mr. Bolt!"
Mirage makes sure that all of Chance's important things are organized and safely away as the contruction ponies take the house down section by section. Finally, all that's left is the Time Anchor, surrounded by a vacant lot. She nods to Chance about the park. "Not too different than the Crystal Heart at Princess Cadence's palace," she replies. She tilts an ear and gives a little smile to Snow. "Well, if the town goes, we'll be going with it," she says, not feeling comfortable with chuckling at such an important moment. As Chance gets Snow and Dusk ready, and Snow begins to summon down lightening, Mirage blinks! Snow is channeling lightening through his horn as well? She didn't know he could do that! Mirage steps back to where Starfire is, standing next to her to watch from the edge of the lot.
Chance smiles lightly to Mirage. "I suppose not too much different, only completely different." he jokes gently with Mirage, then looks over to Dusk. "My best theory is that the timelines will group together as one, and the Time Anchor and Marishville's timeling might start to seperate from the group. I'm not exactly sure how you would see it, but that's the closest I can come up with." He watches the Time Anchor absorb all that magic. "Everypony, we need to charge it faster! Full power! Snow.. put everything into it that you can! Let's see what you can do!" The unicorn group really pours on the magic, though they're starting to get drained.
One of the beauties of what Snow does is that as long as there is an environment that can support what he does after a short while things sort of become self sufficent. Particularly with things like clouds. Once they are made he just lets them be. In this case he has to work to keep them in the spot they need to be but that isn't massively taxing. Once the lightning from his horn is stablized he feels that he can move on to something else to add a bit of power. He creates a couple more clouds all rotating around the top of the anchor to add more power. He's never really felt like he could cut loose before since most of the time he always was holding back, not wanting to cause a scene. Here exactly the opposite is true. There appears to be a first time for everything. He hears Chance calling and asking for more and decides to give it a shot. The clouds seem to be doing fine and are continually raining lightning down. Now he sees what he can do directly. He ionizes the path between himself and the machine and just sort of releases a stronger bolt of lighning. So much so that he has to close his eyes, which makes little difference since he can still see in his mind what is happening. As the lightning increases in brightness so does the green glow from his horn. If youw were looking closely you could also see a bit of green glow around the corners of his eyes with little snaps of electricity.
Dusk hmms and kind of likes Mirage's comparison to the crystal palace. This may not be such a major city or so well known even once it's stable, assuming this all works, but the ponies here will have their own sort of version of that. Even if it isn't the same thing, of course. He nods to Chance, "Very well, I'll be watching for that!" he has to speak louder as the sound from the constantly crackling lightning grows more powerful, and brighter! Dusk holds a hoof up to shield his eyes from the nearly pure white light, being this close. He has to keep close, unlike Mirage and the others. He magics up the goggles he was using when testing the magic reacting materials before. Much better. He watches with amazement at the display Snow puts on when he isn't holding back. It is quite an impressive display of weather magic power. At the same time Dusk is already delving into the different paths through this town and through the anchor, even if it isn't started yet. He wants to be able to spot any differences when they do happen.
Mirage is watching with growing awe as the town ponies pour magic into the Anchor, but even moreso at Snow Bolt, since she's never actually seen him manipulate the weather before. Ordinarily, each cloud would have a pegasus or two kicking or jumping on each cloud to make it give off lightening. Snow seems to be able to accomplish the same task by some sort of remote control. And with more than one cloud at a time, too! "No wonder the local weather team balked at having Snow as a member. It would be an embarassment to have a unicorn controlling the weather more easily than most of the pegasus ever could," she thinks to herself. "And not only is he controlling the lightening, he's channeling it through himself as well!" She gives a knowing look to Starfire, although the royal carriage driver seems more interested in whatever she's listening to on her Pony Trotman that all the magic being expended at the center of the lot. Above the noise of magic and lightening, Mirage can almost hear Starfire murming as she sways to the music, "Dontcha wish your marefriend was fun like me? Dontcha?" No, Mirage must be hearing that wrong.
Chance adds an aside to Mirage, "Thank you for helping to pack things away, Mirage. You did very well in organizing it all." He watches Snow as the unicorn ramps up the lightning. He grins lightly, and mentions to Dusk "Looks like Snow can do alot more then he lets on." The power crystals in the Time Anchor finally start to glow, then some of the artifacts start to activate, along with the magic runes. The structure starts glowing. "That did it everypony! You can stop powering it up!" he yells to the power group. He then steps up to the obelisk. "I'm going to activate the time artifacts. Be ready everypony!" He reaches up, touching his two time artifacts, and activates them. As these are activated, temporal energy starts to build up, glowing brilliantly. Through the haze of time energy, hanging around the structure like a fog, but rippling like water, different ponies and scenes fade in and out as time itself shifts across potential realities. The effect spreads out like smoke, also temporarily affecting the realities of ponies immediately in the vicinity.
Snow_Bolt just barely hears Chance as he calls out to stop. Far from being tiring that actually felt sort of good. He'd had alot of pent up energy and its certainly no longer repressed. He instantly disengages the lightning from his horn and just as easily vaporizes the clouds. After this is done he opens his eyes just in time to see the temporal energy coming from the machine. It's positive in that the whole thing didn't just explode in his face, though he suspects you probably wouldn't have felt a thing being that near to the epicenter of the explosion, but it also doesn't leave him time to get out of the way of the temporal energy flowing from the machine either. As the various possibilites flow around him he notices a couple of things. The first being that he feels a loss of his, for lack of a better way of putting it, his 'magical sense'. Its always there and now its not. Simultaniously he feels a tightness across the sides of his body. As if the harness of his wings were pulling tighter. He quickly steps out of the harness to hopefully relieve the discomfort, and the second he gets it off a pair of wings, real wings, fling outwards. He glances back in shock and surprise, "Oh boy..." is all he manages to say. He has wings, but no horn.
Dusk glances back to Mirage to see how she's doing and smiles to see her back there watching. He turns back and nods to Chance, "Indeed, Mr. Bolt's weather magic is, to say the least, spectacular," he comments back. In the literal and figurative sense. He sees the device starting to power up and Snow dissipate the blinding lightning and energy almost as easily as blowing out a candle. Dusk keeps but slips up the goggles to see again. But as the anchor and the time magic kick in, it's not his regular sight he's focused on. He steps in even closer to the device, the area around him and it seeming to distort and waver.. Sometimes in waves, sometimes as in jumps forwards and back.. Dusk turns his head this way and that as if looking at, or for, something, as the distortion keeps growing, making it harder to even see him clearly. What you can make out of him seems to shift and change.. as if vaguely looking at him at different points in time, wearing formal wear, fancy robes, muddy and roughed.. But the waves and distortion spread out over the entire lot and beyond.. reaching out further and further into the town as uses his talent and magic, actively manipulating and growing the power, starting to see where it has to go, seeing the merging paths. But it has to get them all.. all the ponies in Marishville, and all the crossing lines from the old past.
Mirage wasn't at all sure as to what to expect. At least everything seems to be going as planned so far. Mirage gives a nod and smile to Dusk. She's about to ask about the smoke when it swirls around Snow Bolt, and in just a few moments, Snow is the pegasus he could have been, had not the circumstances of his heredity made him a unicorn! At least Snow had time to disappate the weather he'd summoned, or else it would be out of control by now. Mirage sees the temporal 'smoke' billowing closer, and she turns to say something to Starfire. But instead, Mirage finds herself looking at herself! Though it's not quite her. This Mirage seems much more relaxed and confident while she idlely focuses her magic and casually materializes a pretty green rose which she then magicks into her mane, just by her ear. "You should have applied yourself to your study of magic," this new Mirage says with a smile. "You wouldn't just be a secretary for your boss. You could have been an equal." Mirage turns at the sound of another voice, coming from her other side. "Or if you'd stayed with your career, you'd be a pony of importance by now," says another Mirage, wearing an expensive and professional looking business suit, mane coiffed efficiently but attractively. "You'd be giving the directions instead of taking them." Original Mirage looks back and forth between the two alternate paths her life could have followed, not liking at all what she's seeing and hearing.
Chance glances over to Snow as he changes to a pegasus. "Wow, that's really neat, Snow!" He blinks a bit at Mirage's time changes though, and decides to add "You're just fine as you are, Mirage. Your magic is wonderful." He changes as well. Different atire, different manedos, he gets a temporary business suit, and even his hair color change. But through it all he's still Chance, the unicorn, with the same overall look and cutie mark. Wait.. why is everything suddenly bigger? He glances down at himself. Nope, he's a pygmy pony! Okay, maybe not quite the same.
Light leaks out of the time-shifts, at first like a fire burning, building up, breaking through the foggy time-film in small spikes of shattered rainbow, small needles of color scanning around the area in a random pattern before being sealed back inside the area of shattered time. The entire surface then quickly shifts to a million colors as timelines wash over each other at an expodential rate, finding a stable potential, and the time ripples explode out, flowing out over reality at the speed of time itself. Two timelines come together, threading through each other, until a true timeline takes hold. But Marishville refuses to budge in its place in this new timeline, and time is forced to stitch it into the present. Like a zipper closing, Marishville's 'living' timeline collapses over it's 'ghost-town' timeline, replacing and wiping the old version from existance, the effect rippling back until it meets the moment Chance altered the town's reality. The two past points in time collide, and bounce foward once more.
Chance gets ran out of town by the town's stallions, but when they get back, they find the gaming center on fire, and find Chance once more there, trying his best to save everypony. They only surmise that Chance saw the fire and risked his life to come back and help them, so they decided that his debt was paid. However, it turns out that some sort of magic sickness has also hit the town around this time. Chance discovers how he can use the two time-based artifacts he brought with him, and his increasing knowledge of time magics (which he studies over the years), to help hold back the destructive problem. He attempts to leave at times, but finds he can't without the harmful effects trying to overrun the town. Only he can safely use the artifacts, and they have to be activated frequently to hold back the magic sickness. He makes plans to build a time-device that will more permanently keep the town safe, since no pony can remove the disease from the town. He waits out the years until he can call back a group of dear friends to help.
Chance runs from the town and the ponies trying to lynch him, unaware that his talent has created the problem that's growing at the gambling house. Thankfully, the ponies of the town are able to take care of it. He eventually finds himself in Ponyville, and time continues fairly normally. A number of ponies from Marishville find Ponyville, settling there, altering some minor and personal timelines, but the future overall continues as it once was. Spiderbats, along with silver crystals, are discovered on a hill outside of Ponyville. An explosion scatters them. A unicorn stallion with a 'green hoof' for wild creatures finds them later and learns out how to tame the winged spiders. Right now the pony is secretly raising them outside of Ponyville, figuring the other ponies wouldn't much care for them. A small group of ponies is wandering through the everfree, and get attacked by timberwolves and a roc. The unicorns in the group are able to help another group, containing two monochrome ponies, that arrives get away from the wild animals. A problem at Chance's banana plantation crops up, and a group takes a train to Trottingham. They have a relaxing ride, and some time to rest in Trottingham before heading out on a mailing ship. It's small, but tolerable. They finally get to the plantation, and the next day check out the problem. It takes a bit of investigation, but they find a magical time-based sickness has overrun the trees, rotting them literally over night, then slowing down for a while before flairing up again to affect other trees. After some failures at a solution, Chance gets a couple of time-based artifacts from what he calls his 'Collection'. As they attempt to experiment with the devices to see if they can be used to help the trees, they both accidently activate together as Chance holds them, pulling him out of the present and into the past, along with the magical sickness, the sickness getting pulled in like a time-based needle to a time-based needle to a time-based magnet.
As the crestfallen group goes back to the mansion to start researching on how to bring back Chance, if they can, a pony of light purple-grey arrives, that calls himself Dapple. He tells the group that Chance is well and alive, and he wishes for his friends to come to Marishville and help him with a project that'll help save the town. Dapple finally convinces the entire group to come, they meet up with Chance, and after some preperation, they activate the device. A flood of temporal energies explodes throughout the region...
Time ripples calm, and settle into a single timeline. However, memories that were anchored by Dusk in another timeline have also been stitched into the memories and pasts of the group. They now have two pasts from the last couple years (80 for Chance), one that is, and one that never was. The memories of a crazy pony remembered, but there's a distinct difference, like those memories are from entries in a diary one no longer recalls, but know they're true, instead of those from direct experience. Knowledge and experience merge into one, and so the past that could have been, once was, and now never has been, lives through the group. The first thing Chance does after things have settled is to ask "Starfire, my friends, is everypony alright?" He gets answers from many more ponies then just those in the original group, for he's been here 80 years and he has many friends in this town, and yet he directs the question primarily at his original friends. After an hour of checking out the town, is time for celebration. The device worked! The disease in the town has been stopped by the silver crystal device. Even now it doesn't dissapear, but it's no longer affecting the town. The town tosses a party in the town square. Unknown to all aside from Chance's group, the device is also anchoring the living town down in time. It is now literally the obelisk of the present time, a single point defining this time foward. Yet it's importance to protect the town and region is so stressed, that it's going to be protected from this time foward, beyond the protection artifacts and runes that cover it.
And just as fast as Snow experienced his change he is once again changed back to his old self. Which is probably for the best since that is how he was 'meant' to be. The whole situation is very similar to when you lose a tooth, at first it feels terribly weird and then over time becomes normal. Of all of the odd things that have happened to him in response to his being with the MRC this has to rate at the top of the weirdness scale. You don't get much more strange than having time wash over you and through you, "I think I'm good..." he says. He can't really register much more than that. This is going to take a lot of thinking to figure out.
Dusk can't focus much on the others and what's happening to them, beyond watching all their paths and how they are in flux and changing. Which is good, as the fluctuation is just what's needed, he can tell, and keeps powering it further with his own magic, the forces growing, at the center of Chance's own "improbability drive." And it's quite a sight to behold, especially with his view of the paths, past and present and future. It's not just a sea of paths twisting and washing about, but multiple and growing number of seas overlapping, the waves of one interacting with the others, reaching out into infinity. Dusk has to focus and not just let himself get lost in grandeur of it all. Then they start to fall in place.. The paths Chance had build this device to pull together and anchor. It is an amazing combination of factors that have to fall into place to make all possible combinations still be valid.. Chance being there.. and in the town.. being with us.. going back.. us coming to help him.. They all have to happen. But he can also see a simplicity in it all.. But fixing several things in true history, the rest has to change to fit it. Like a disaster changing the landscape a river runs through. It may flood and flow all over at first, but will eventually find the path to flow to its destination and settle into its new stream. And now that point has been found. Dusk waits patiently, not to do it too soon, then uses his talent to shift the entire time anchor, the effort causing the cracks and light to spring forth, so that it now crosses all these points at once. Then the waters can start to flow on their new path, all the other distortions 'draining off' into the new flow and the world around the ponies here gradually settling back. Dusk stands there, wobbling a little, then sits down where he is. "Whew.." is about the extent of his response. Then he looks around to see if things are okay too.
Mirage gazes at herself that she could have been had she not quit her magical studies. She pulls her head up and frowns. "I'm not defined by my magic, or that I'm a unicorn. I'll make my own life, thank you!" she says as she reaches out her forehoof, giving that Mirage a push and causing her to fade like smoke on the wind. Then she looks at her second self. "And I -am- a pony of importance. I have friends and a love I would never have found if I stayed with my career. My life is more than earning profit for stockholders." Again, another touch of her hoof, and the other path she could have followed is gone on the breeze. Mirage closes her eyes and takes in a deep and refreashing breath, and when she opens her eyes again, she sees Starfire still swaying to her music... some ponies know what they want from life all along, evidently. Mirage clears her mind and realizes that Chance's Time Anchor actually seems to be working! No ponies are missing, and the town is not a burned out shell of a ghost town. "We did it?" she asks with disbelief, before trotting over to Dusk, Snow Bolt and Chance. "You all did it!" she grins, giving Chance and Snow each a big hug before going to Dusk and kissing him!
Chance glances over to Dusk as he sits down, and trots over to him. "Very nicely done." He gives a glance around, then grins at Mirage. "Yes, we did it." He looks over to the Time Anchor for a moment, watching it function, then looks back to Mirage and Dusk and Snow. "We definitely did it! This'll ensure the town stays safe." He once more glances thoughtfully at the glowing obelisk. "Still, I'm going to have to visit Marishville every few years now. Even the Time Anchor will be affected by time trying to revert back. The time artifacts need to be reactivated every now and then. I'll have to do that until I can figure out a way to have the unicorns of Marishville activate it for themselves, so they can protect their own town."
Snow doesn't really want to jinx it but it seems that everything is ok and that the town is still here, and that we are all still here. Nothing exploded and ripped a hole in the the fabric of time and space. He smiles to Mirage as he gets a hug from her and then smiles as Dusk seems to indicate that its over with, "That was the strangest thing I think I've ever done. In the interest of completeness...there are no other towns we have to do this for? Because if we do I'd like to get it over with right now."
Dusk takes several deep breathes too and starts to regain some of his strength and clear his head of the overwhelming amounts of possibilities he had to follow, and pull together. He looks up just as Mirage comes over and promptly kisses him! It's just a moment of surprise, followed by joy, pulling her to him into his hooves and kissing back passionately. Any questions Dusk had about things being okay or not seem to be quite settled. The kiss parts and he smiles, "Mmmm I do love you, my Dear Mirage." He grins and gives another squeeze. After giving them a few moments Chance comes over and Dusk smiles and nods, "Thank you, Mr. Chance! I didn't quite figure what your device was until I finally saw what it was doing. It was quite an impressive bit of work! I can really appreciate what went into it. You may find its more stable than you think now. But that shouldn't stop you from visiting." He chuckles. Then he turns to Snow and sees he is looking well too, and laughs at his comment! "I may like to wait until after a good night's sleep first, if you wouldn't mind, Mr. Bolt!" But then he smiles and gives a more serious nod, "But that was quite a bit of impressive work of your own here. The other unicorns here put in quite a lot, but I don't think it would have kicked over without yours."
Mirage kisses Dusk back, lovingly and tenderly. "I love you too, Dusk," she says softly before nuzzling him. Then she is looking around, seeming quite surprised and very happy with the results. "You looked very nice as a pegasus," she says to Snow. "And you did wonders today. I had no idea you have such power and control." Then she dips her head to Chance. "Chance, I owe you an apology. I thought you didn't care, when instead you cared very deeply. I'm sorry. And thank you for devising a way of saving the ponies of Marishville. If I'd done what I wanted, I would have failed."
Thursday, September 5, 2013