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The Vault of EEEEEEEEEVIIIIILL

combatcomma Sep 13th, 2018 (edited) 1,135 Never
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  1. >You had a pretty nice job.
  2. >You got to sit in a room and look at stuff.
  3. >...
  4. >It sounds better when you realize the stuff is evil.
  5. >Like, end of the world evil.
  6. >You were here because you could freely handle this evil stuff.
  7. >This had been found out when you put some glowy necklace on.
  8. >You had proceeded to take it off when some ponies asked.
  9. >Apparently it's pretty bad, but she's okay.
  10. >You'd think they'd hide it better, but you're paid pretty well for your job so you're not complaining.
  11. >You called her Glados when you got to know her better since she didn't remember her name.
  12. >That was kind of sad, but maybe you could help her.
  13. >Currently, you were doing inventory, Glados around your neck.
  14. "So you don't remember anything?"
  15. >Glados makes what you can only imagine is the mental equivalent of grunting noises in your head.
  16. "Are you still trying to do that mind control shit?"
  17. >{Yes, you confounded colt! Now submit to my will for I am-for I am...This is what I do Anonymous. I am a fire to any foolish enough to be my candle. And you refuse to burn.}
  18. >You look away from the checklist, patting the small necklace.
  19. "There there. This is a good thing. You're not hurting anybody and you have somebody to talk to."
  20. >{I-yes. You are right. Do you know how long I spent at the bottom of a well?}
  21. >You nod, returning to the list.
  22. "I bet you could have been there awhile since you don't need food or water. It must have been horrible."
  23. >The amulet vibrates on your chest.
  24. >{Yes. It was.}
  25. >You give her another pat, even if she can feel it.
  26. "How about when I'm done I drink some green tea?"
  27. >She may not be able to feel herself, but she has senses through you.
  28. >{B-but you don't like green tea.}
  29. "No, but you do."
  30. >She's silent as you mark off a few more items.
  31. >{I'd like that.}
  32. >You make another check before patting her.
  33. "I figured you would."
  34.  
  35. _-_-_-_-_-_
  36.  
  37. >Today was market day.
  38. >You had done a little bit of bargaining with your boss and gotten Glados out of the vault.
  39. >They were big on reformation here, so it wasn't too hard.
  40. >The one catch was that you had to have a guard with you as long as you moved around with her.
  41. >That was fair.
  42. >She told you some stories of what she could do, hoping to entice you.
  43. >It didn't work because world domination sounded super boring.
  44. >{See?! That right there! That attitude is just-GRRAAAGH!}
  45. >She could kind of read your mind, which could be annoying, but also nice.
  46. >{How could this possibly be nice?!}
  47. {Well, it's like we're two super close friends who can tell eachother all our secrets.}
  48. >If you focus on the thought, she gets it clearer.
  49. >{I-you-I could tell other ponies your secrets!}
  50. {Yeah, but they'd be under your control, so it's a moot point.}
  51. >She starts screaming again as you give her a pat.
  52. >She was currently hidden by your shirt.
  53. >Didn't need to freak ponies out.
  54. >Your guard taps at your leg.
  55. >"Sir? are you alright?"
  56. >You give her a smile and nod.
  57. "Everything's fine. Glad is just mad that she can't rule the world."
  58. >Stiff Breeze shakes her head.
  59. >"I can't believe they have a stallion tending to...that thing."
  60. >Annoyance starts to rise in you as well as a pit of anger that isn't yours.
  61. "Yes, well I'm resistant to many of the objects in the vault. Her especially. She's actually pretty nice once you get to know her."
  62. >The anger shifts to pride as Stiff shakes her head again.
  63. >"I hope that thing isn't getting to you."
  64. >She tilts her head back, giving you a smirk.
  65. >"If she isn't, maybe we could have some fun. We can call it even for me keeping you safe all day."
  66. >This was tempting, sure, but you wanted to keep Glados happy.
  67. >And right now it looked like you had a chest burster about to pop out, with how much the amulet was bopping around.
  68. >The burning hatred you felt didn't help either.
  69. >You put a hand on Glados to keep from making a scene and give Stiff a stern look.
  70. "Aren't you on duty right now?"
  71. >The smirk slowly fades away, confusion taking over.
  72. >"Uh, yeah-"
  73. "Fraternization with civilians is strictly prohibited for all guards during duty hours. Article twelve, subsection nine."
  74. >You can feel the confusion from Glados at this.
  75. >{How do you know this?}
  76. {There's a shit ton of frisky mares in this city. And when a guard says something like 'we can call it even' you need an out. There are some not too pretty mares in the guard.}
  77. >Glados chuckles to herself as Stiff starts sputtering.
  78. >{Perhaps you do have a devious side.}
  79. >"I-I apologize, sir! It will not happen again. There is no need to tell my superiors."
  80. >You pat her on the head and carry on you merry way.
  81. "Of course there isn't."
  82. >She sighs as annoyance bleeds over from Glados.
  83. >{You're going to let her go just like that?}
  84. {Of course. She didn't do anything wrong. What would you do?}
  85. >Images flash across your vision far too fast for you to see.
  86. >{I would-}
  87. {It involves demon ladys, doesn't it?}
  88. >She's silent as you can almost feel her blush.
  89. >{N-no! If you must know it involves normal, low level demons.}
  90. {Uh-huh. What do you think of tuna salad?}
  91. >{I think I could give you better taste buds.}
  92.  
  93. _-_-_-_-_-_
  94.  
  95. >{A small city.}
  96. "Nope."
  97. >You were sitting in your office, Glados around your neck.
  98. >You wonder if you can get her refitted for your size.
  99. >She was a little tight around your neck.
  100. >{If you gave in, you need not worry about physical discomfort.}
  101. "I'm good."
  102. >{Ugh. How about a large town.}
  103. "I've got enough paperwork already. Are you going to do the paperwork of running a large town."
  104. >{That's what minions are for!}
  105. >Glados was on her bi-weekly 'I want to rule the world' bargaining grumble.
  106. "Well what if they don't want-"
  107. >{They are minions! What they want does not matter!}
  108. >You open a drawer, pulling out a report.
  109. "Actually, a positive workplace can be-"
  110. >{STOP! I will have none of those charts.}
  111. >She sighs in your head.
  112. >{Can we at least conquer a small farming village?}
  113. >You frown and shake your head.
  114. "You know we can't do that."
  115. >Glados' mind shifts into the amulet as melancholy seeps into you.
  116. >Your frown deepens as you try to think of something to cheer her up.
  117. >You look around your office and-
  118. >A smile slowly crawls across your face.
  119. "Why would you want to conquer any of that boring stuff, Glados? You've already got something great right here."
  120. >The melancholy turns to confusion and annoyance as she returns.
  121. >{What are you babbling about, you daft colt?}
  122. >You gesture to the office.
  123. "You conquered this office. It may be small, but it is right next to a vault full of Equestrias most dangerous objects."
  124. >You give her a poke.
  125. "Which includes you."
  126. >You kind of hope she won't be some day.
  127. >The mixed emotions slowly turn to pride.
  128. >{Hmm. Yes, this will do. Now let's get to reorganizing my lair.}
  129. >You hold up a hand.
  130. "I'm vetoing black and red."
  131. >Rage explodes from her like lava from a volcano.
  132. >{What?! No you can't-}
  133. "Don't want anyone thinking I'm under your influence, now do we?"
  134. >{...Very well. How shall you redesign it?}
  135. >You shrug.
  136. "I don't know."
  137. >The anger, which had slipped away for a moment, was coming back.
  138. >{You don't know? Aren't stallions supposed to be good at this kind of thing?}
  139. "I hear they are, but I'm a man not a stallion."
  140. >{I am so angry that if I had a stomach I would vomit on you out of sheer rage.}
  141. >That's a thought.
  142. >You look to the empty corner by the door.
  143. "We could get a popcorn machine."
  144. >The anger is completely gone, replaced by the feeling of 'stop being retarded' in brainwave...shape?
  145. >Form?
  146. >{For what purpose?}
  147. "Well, if we get a popcorn machine we'll get visitors. So it'll kind of be like the ponies are coming to pay their respects to you."
  148. >She's silent for a moment as you put the folder away.
  149. >{You are wonderfully devious.}
  150. "Only when I need to help someone."
  151. >She's silent for another moment as you pull out some paperwork.
  152. >{What if you needed to help ponies by conquering them?}
  153.  
  154. _-_-_-_-_-_
  155.  
  156. >{We should get a pet.}
  157. >You are instantly on alert.
  158. >If Glados wants something nice, that usually means she'll try to use it for trouble.
  159. >Like that one time she asked for you to bring spicy food to the potluck.
  160. >Only pegasi do well with spicy stuff as you found out.
  161. >You made some jalapeno bottlecaps and while they were good, some of your coworkers weren't happy.
  162. >You were running water and milk for nearly the entire office, Glados cackling madly in your head.
  163. >{Oh, that was a good one. Those were actually good too. You should make them again.}
  164. >You frown at her, slowing the cart down so you can talk to her.
  165. "C'mon Glad, can't you try and be nice?"
  166. >{I could, but I won't.}
  167. >You sigh, looking over the cart briefly before continuing on.
  168. "You know Celestia-"
  169. >{I am already bored of this conversation.}
  170. "...Okay, what kind of pet would you like?"
  171. >{A cat.}
  172. "I'm guessing a black one?"
  173. >{Theeeeyyyy have lower adoption rates?}
  174. >You nod, waving at a pair of mares that held the door for you and your cart.
  175. "They do. On Earth at least. I haven't checked up on that kind of thing in Equestria."
  176. >A bit of nervousness starts to bubble over from her.
  177. "We both know I have one rule, Glados. Don't go poking around where you don't need to be."
  178. >A bit of fear starts to rise up as you think of her display case.
  179. >You put her there whenever she was bad or you went to bed.
  180. >You wore her nearly every waking moment otherwise.
  181. "I understand that you can get bored and that some stuff will slip over, but please don't go sorting through my head."
  182. >You drop the mental image of the display case and you can instantly feel her ease up.
  183. >She's silent for a moment, allowing you to pick up your pace.
  184. >{Would you say you are cruel, Anonymous?}
  185. "Do you think I am?"
  186. >{Mayhaps you are and you get some sick pleasure out of tormenting me.}
  187. >She probably got into your mental porn folder.
  188. >{I did not!}
  189. >You smile as embarrassment bleeds over from her.
  190. >{I would like to go in the display case now.}
  191. >You give her a tap and a smile.
  192. "Do you really want to?"
  193. >{...No.}
  194. >Your smile softens as you reach your destination and press an ID crystal against a small green pad.
  195. >{You are more perverse than any of my previous wearers. In fact, you may be the most perverse thing on this planet! I thought stallions were supposed to be pure and innocent but then you put me on.}
  196. >You smile as you push the life-like golem laden cart into the next room.
  197. "I told you already, I'm a man not a stallion."
  198.  
  199. _-_-_-_-_-_
  200.  
  201. >The golem worked and you couldn't be happier.
  202. >Glados lifts a hoof and gently runs it across her cheek.
  203. >"I still don't understand why you would do this."
  204. >You shrug, unable to keep the smile off of your face.
  205. "Think of it like this: that golem tries to suck pony souls into it. With you occupying it, and us putting some binders on you, two threats have been dealt with."
  206. >Some scholar that didn't want to deal with her aging parents had made the thing.
  207. >In the end, it had gobbled the mares soul up, forcing her to take care of her own body until it died.
  208. >After that, the golem simply stopped and was thankfully secured before it could nab anyone else.
  209. >No one's sure what happens to the souls it eats.
  210. >You shudder, trying to shake off the unpleasant thoughts.
  211. >Glados is fine since she...
  212. >You really wish you understood this, but the techs assured you she would be okay.
  213. >The golem, or as it was properly called The Caretaker Construct, adapted based on the resident soul.
  214. >With Glados attached around the neck, many changes happened very quickly, since it would try to match the users soul or...something.
  215. >The construct was just a bit shorter than Princess Luna and naturally included wings and horn.
  216. >The pitch black coat almost seemed to absorb light while a red mane would try to dance in a nonexistent wind.
  217. >The multiple inhibitors kept her from truly being able to do anything and her mane from actually doing the floaty thing.
  218. >She moves the hoof away from her cheek to take a look at the bracelet.
  219. >There were similar ones on each hoof and at the base of her horn and wings.
  220. >"Are all of these really necessary? I mean..."
  221. >She stops speaking, simply staring at the hoof as she moves it around.
  222. >Your smile drops a bit.
  223. >When was the last time she could do something so simple?
  224. >You nod to the guards before stepping forward to place a hand on her back.
  225. >She jumps in place, her head whipping around the room.
  226. >Her eyes settle on you and she starts to calm down.
  227. >"You...it really is odd how different you look when I'm not seeing you through a mirror."
  228. >Your smile widens as you chuckle.
  229. "Yeah, that's because you're using your own eyes."
  230. >She stares at you for a moment, seemingly lost in the words.
  231. >"My own eyes."
  232. >You nod.
  233. "Despite some incidents, you've been doing pretty good. So that means you get to stay in there for as long as you like, so long as you behave."
  234. >She scrunches up at that.
  235. >You love when the ponies do that, it's adorable.
  236. >"Behave? I will behave in whatever manner I see fit! I am-"
  237. >Her complaints are silenced by you running your hand along her cheek.
  238. >The poor girl looks like she was just hit by a train, but it has the intended affect.
  239. "Listen to me, Glados. IF you mess this up, not only will they take you off of that golem, but they will lock you up in one of the deeper vaults. I want to help you, I really do, but if you screw this up it's going to be like that time you were in that well."
  240. >You let that sink in as you step back to the control station.
  241. >As you watch her process this, one of the tech mares leans over to you.
  242. >"Do you think she'll be alright?"
  243. >You scratch at the back of your head as you look at the mare.
  244. "I sure hope so."
  245. >She chuckles to herself as she starts to walk away.
  246. >"At least she has some real teats you can twist now."
  247. >What?
  248. >You shake off the comment and turn back to see Glados shakily walking towards you.
  249. >You smile and move to meet her halfway.
  250. >She waves off any attempt to help once you arrive.
  251. >"I am not a foal and you are not my father. I am a mare and you will give me space to do as I please."
  252. >You grin and pull out your secret weapon.
  253. >A hand darts to her ear and she's putty under your fingers before she can object.
  254. >"Oooh. Whatever wizardry this is, do not stop."
  255. >You let her enjoy herself for a moment before slowly pulling your hand away.
  256. >She looks at you and the scrunch is back.
  257. >With a vengeance.
  258. >"I told you not to stop."
  259. >You grin as you lower yourself just a bit.
  260. "Well, you see, lunch is being served in half an hour. And today they've got daffodil sandwiches."
  261. >Her eyes widen and you think you see a bit of drool.
  262. >"I have yet to see this sandwich, but it sounds fit for a queen."
  263. >You stand back up and gesture towards the door.
  264. "After you, Your Highness."
  265. >She begins to march forward before hesitantly turning back to you.
  266. >"Do-do they have green tea?"
  267. "Don't you remember? I brought a thermos with some today."
  268. >Her wings shuffle and her ears flick about as she stares you down.
  269. >You tilt your head to the side, trying to get a read on what she's doing.
  270. "Um. Are you-"
  271. >"For you."
  272. >Why yes, you are a big guy.
  273. >You shake your head.
  274. "I'm sorry?"
  275. >"You said I would have to behave. I will behave for you."
  276. >She looks at you for another second before continuing her shaky march, a guard following as soon as she reaches the door.
  277. >You smile.
  278. >She's going to be okay.
  279.  
  280. _-_-_-_-_-_
  281.  
  282. >Glados had nearly licked her tray clean and when she was done with that she demanded other ponies food.
  283. >You were able to reel her back in by offering her your pudding cup.
  284. >Because of this, you're probably going to have to make something for the janitors that were working today.
  285. >She still has a bit in her mane and refuses to let you get it out.
  286. >Once that was over, the two of you, plus a guard, went to requisitions to get a couch for Glados to sit on while you work.
  287. >That place is funny.
  288. >You can get beds, chairs, spears, and magical artillery cannons.
  289. >"Sir, you can just sit down. I can move this by myself."
  290. >You nod as you grab the other end.
  291. "I'm sure you can, Argent. That doesn't mean I won't help."
  292. >She stares at you for a moment as she purses her lips.
  293. >"Sir-"
  294. "You know, I've been given the Equestrian Star of Service."
  295. >You got some medals and a bunch of other stuff for doing stuff that was easy for you, but dangerous to ponies.
  296. >One of them meant that you could give guards orders, up to a certain rank.
  297. >You thought it was a little crazy, so you never really pulled it out.
  298. >But ponies being stubborn and probably hurting themselves is a good time to use it, you think.
  299. >Argent purses her lips again.
  300. >A second later, her horn and her side of the couch light up in a silvery glow.
  301. >The couch is moved from the cart and quickly brought into your office.
  302. >The two of you set it against the wall before you look at her.
  303. "See how easy that was?"
  304. >She nods.
  305. >"Yes, sir."
  306. "And if anybody asks, you're free to say that you lifted all by yourself. And I, a stallion, certainly didn't give you orders to do otherwise."
  307. >She nods again.
  308. >"Thank you, sir."
  309. >You chuckle to yourself.
  310. "Thank you, Argent Aegis."
  311. >A hoof snaps up in salute.
  312. >"It was my honor, sir."
  313. >You wonder if you can order her to stop saying sir?
  314. >...
  315. >Why does it seem so quiet?
  316. >You look down and...
  317. >Oh.
  318. >You're not wearing her anymore.
  319. >This feels weird already.
  320. >Your head pops back up as you look around the office.
  321. >She was supposed to be-
  322. "Glados!"
  323. >The mare jumps, her head slamming into the top of the popcorn machine she was eating directly out of.
  324. >She turns to face you as best she can while trying to rub her head with a hoof.
  325. >She glares at you as bits of popcorn try to escape from her mouth.
  326. "You can't just eat from the machine like that."
  327. >She keeps up the glare as she continues chewing.
  328. >You're actually a little surprised, considering the mess she made earlier.
  329. >Must've remembered to chew with her mouth shut.
  330. >Argent moves to place herself by the door as Glados finishes chewing.
  331. >"I don't see why not! This popcorn machine is my shrine and I shall do with it as I please."
  332. >You smirk and cross your arms.
  333. "So you want to use your shrine to eat like a peasant?"
  334. >Her jaw drops and the dual tone red eyes flicker.
  335. >"You dare call me a peasant?"
  336. >You shake your head.
  337. "No, I'm just saying you have very poor table manners."
  338. >Her wings flair out.
  339. >"Such things are not important! I can feast in any way I desire."
  340. >You look at the ground beneath her.
  341. >There's mostly popcorn, but she's still dripping pudding.
  342. >You kind of want to give her more and see if the girls at the lab can figure out how she did that.
  343. "Well-"
  344. >"Anonymous."
  345. >Your eyes snap back up to see Glados' tongue flicking out.
  346. >"There-neh-I have popcorn stuck in my teeth."
  347. >You step behind your desk to get some toothpicks.
  348. >You still don't know how ponies used them.
  349. >"It-bleh-is almost as infuriating as you are."
  350. >You roll your eyes and smile as you return to her with the picks.
  351. >You pull one out and offer it to her.
  352. "Here, this'll help."
  353. >She looks at the pick for a moment, tongue still flicking about, before looking at you.
  354. >"I said it was infuriating, not that I want to get rid of it. I am going to personally remove every piece of this popcorn and I will relish every second of it."
  355. >You pull the pick back, a smile growing across your face.
  356. "Will you get the pudding too?"
  357. >She looks at herself and then down at the growing pile of pudding.
  358. >There's more on the floor than there was in the cup.
  359. >What did she do?!
  360. >She looks back to you, tongue still wagging.
  361. >"Do you-mlem-have any napkins?"
  362.  
  363. _-_-_-_-_-_
  364.  
  365. >Argent was no fun.
  366. >She was all 'protocol this' and 'guidelines that'.
  367. >You can understand being a bit stuffy, but this was too much for just sitting in an office.
  368. >Admittedly, there were two rather dangerous relics in the room, but they weren't doing anything.
  369. >Well, anything bad at least.
  370. >Glados was currently using the golem to simply roll around on her newfound couch.
  371. >She looked like a cat that just snorted a line of cat nip.
  372. >And it was hilariously adorable.
  373. >You smile and look at Argent, who was eyeing Glados nervously.
  374. "You can join her if you want. I doubt she'd mind."
  375. >"Yes I would!"
  376. >Argent jumps as you turn to look at Glados.
  377. >"Oh, by the Father when did furniture become this wonderful?"
  378. "Well I don't know about here, but modern production practices on Earth led to-"
  379. >"It was a rhetorical question! Let me have this moment, Anonymous!"
  380. >You chuckle and turn back to Argent.
  381. "Are you sure you don't want to play a game of cards or something?"
  382. >The stubborn guard shakes her head.
  383. >"No, sir. I have a duty to keep you safe and to keep her out of trouble."
  384. >You look at the supposed threat she is talking about and see Glados happily nuzzling every corner of your couch.
  385. >Turning back to Argent, you point at the odd scene.
  386. "Do you really think she's going to do anything?"
  387. >"It's better to be safe than sorry, sir."
  388. >You would like for Argent to try and make friends with Glados but-
  389. "I guess I can understand that mindset."
  390. >She nods.
  391. >"You may be more resiliant than some here, but I've seen good mares hurt through carelessness."
  392. >"Will you two just-ugh! Fine if it will get you two to be quiet-"
  393. >Glados hops off the couch and begins to walk towards Argent.
  394. >"Then I will share my throne. Come here, peasant."
  395. >Argent is instantly on guard, her horn lighting up as the noticeably larger mare gets closer.
  396. >"Ma'am, I am going to have to ask you to stand back."
  397. >"Do not think for a moment that you can give me orders, foal. I am older than your blood line and infinitely more powerful."
  398. >You should probably do something.
  399. >But...this could be a good chance for them to become friends.
  400. >"Need I remind you that your magic is currently blocked and that you had trouble walking not even an hour agao?"
  401. >"That matters not. I am-"
  402. >Glados stops talking as her hoof makes contact with Argents armor, making you worry that the guard cast a spell without you noticing.
  403. >Your concern seems misplaced as Glados continues to talk.
  404. >"What...what material is this?"
  405. >Argent keeps her horn lit, but seems to relax slightly at the change of subject.
  406. >"It's steel plate with a gold finish for magic protection."
  407. >"It's warm."
  408. >Glados locks eyes with Argent.
  409. >"You're warm."
  410. >You don't know if this is a good or bad thing.
  411. >Glados quickly moves forward and despite the limiters blocking her full strength, lifts Argent up off the ground and presses her against the wall to nuzzle her.
  412. >"Oh, and your fur is so soft. And the metal is so smooth and-"
  413. >"M-ma'am, can you please put me down?"
  414. >"Nnnooooo."
  415. >Glados starts to aggressively nuzzle the guardsmare, who was begging you with her eyes for help.
  416. >You do your best not to laugh and simply put both of your hands out before slowly bringing them in, silently mouthing 'hug her' as you do so.
  417. >She clearly doesn't like the idea, but attempts it anyways.
  418. >Her hooves slowly rise up and as soon as they lock together behind Glados' back, the larger mare shudders.
  419. >"I-I do not remember the last time I was hugged. Or even could be hugged for that matter."
  420. >"Yes, well...I'm not exactly touchy feely type myself, ma'am."
  421. >"Hmm, so we can both agree to never talk about this once I'm done?"
  422. >"Absolutely."
  423. >SNAP
  424. >VVRRRRRSSHHH
  425. >Two heads whip around to see you holding a camera that was slowly dispensing the picture you just took of the two.
  426. >You grin like an idiot as you quickly make your way around the desk.
  427. "Hey, I've got to go meet a friend. Will you two be okay for a moment?"
  428. >"No."
  429. >"No!"
  430. >Argent lights up her horn, but can't do much as Glados drops her when she tries to turn and stop you.
  431. "Great! You two stay here and play nice."
  432. >Glados tries to charge, but she was still unfamiliar with her legs, allowing you to easily side step her and get to the door just as Argent got back on her hooves.
  433. >Her horn lights up, but it was far too late as you charge into the hallway.
  434. >Mortal Coil was going to love this.
  435.  
  436. _-_-_-_-_-_
  437.  
  438. >The three of you move at a quick, if reasonable pace.
  439. >The picture could have been taken by Argent if she wasn't using the entirety of her magic to keep Glados from charging you.
  440. >Speaking of-
  441. >"Curse you and your father. Curse your mother and kin. Give me that picture or I shall-"
  442. "Hello, ladies!"
  443. >The pair of guardsmares , an earth pony and a pegasus, watches your group pull up, mostly keeping their eyes on Glados who looked like a dog trying to break its chain.
  444. >One of the mares raises a hoof to point at her.
  445. >"Sir, is she-"
  446. "She's just being a grump. I'm taking her to Mal and Mort for a visit to hopefully change that."
  447. >Both guards snicker as Argent looses her grip, allowing Glados to charge-
  448. >Directly into the kitchen doors.
  449. >You smile and begin to follow before Argent speaks up.
  450. >"D-do you mean Malicious Intent, sir."
  451. >You nod and hold open the door for her.
  452. "And Mortal Coil. C'mon, they're nice and they even made you lunch today."
  453. >"I pack my lunch, sir."
  454. "Well then they'll make you a snack. Now let's go."
  455. >Argent makes a small whining sound in her throat as the pegasus pulls a trumpet out from under her wing and starts to play Taps.
  456. >The whining grows louder as you follow Argent into the kitchen to find Glados in the center of the room, her eyes locked on a standing black coffin.
  457. >"Anonymous, I know not what evil lies in here, but it would be for the best if you left."
  458. >Aaaww.
  459. >She cares about you.
  460. >"S-s-sir, I agree with her assessment. It would be best if we left."
  461. >You pat Argent on the head and give her a warm smile.
  462. "You'll be-"
  463. >"Not you, guard. I need fodder."
  464. >Argent starts whining again as you frown at Glados.
  465. >You open your mouth to say something just as all hell breaks loose.
  466. >The coffin door blows off its hinges before shadow given form begins to bubble outwards.
  467. >It's not even a full second before a full layer coats the entire kitchen and begins to swirl around the three of you.
  468. >A dark chuckling rolls through the room as you suddenly remember why most ponies stay away from here.
  469. >"Oh, what do we have here? Two foals lost from home who need somepony to...teach them. That horn ring on the big one will be a problem, but this little gray mare should be fun to play with for awhile."
  470. >Basic seems to kick in just in time as Argent locks down whatever spell she was about to shoot off.
  471. >"Good, locking your door when something comes knocking. This one is adequate. Now let's see-"
  472. >"MALICIOUS!"
  473. >The swirling darkness is instantly gone, replaced by a taller than average unicorn mare with a soft green coat and a bone white mane.
  474. >Her cutie mark was a dagger with a drop of liquid dripping off the tip of it and her eyes were hollow save for a dull green light.
  475. >Despite her somewhat imposing appearance, however, she looked absolutely terrified.
  476. >"M-Mortal, sweetie. I thought you were asleep."
  477. >Mortal Coil was a not so living, breathing unicorn skeleton who, despite no longer having a face or any flesh whatsoever, looked furious.
  478. >His eyes matched Mals, although they would flicker occasionally due to anger as he marched up to her.
  479. >"What did I tell you about harrassing guests?"
  480. >"But they-"
  481. >"'But they' nothing. This is why you're sleeping in the kitchen coffin. Do you want to extend your stay?"
  482. >Mal looks between the two other ponies before shaking her head.
  483. >"No."
  484. >"Then what do you need to do?"
  485. >Mal does an angry little stomping with her hooves before turning back to face the other two mares.
  486. >"I'm...a little sorry. Ow ow OW! I'm sorry and I mean it!"
  487. >Mort releases Mal from the tortorous cheek pulling before turning to address you.
  488. >"Hello, Anon. What do we-"
  489. >His horn lights up as he tugs at Mals cheek again, making her fuss.
  490. >"Owe the pleasure?"
  491. >You smile and step over to Mort, crouching down beside him and holding the picture out.
  492. >Argent probably wasn't going to try anything with Mal here but Glados-
  493. >"Oh no you don't! Give me-"
  494. >She yelps as a jumble of bones reach out from under a cabinet and start to drag her under.
  495. >"Ah! Foul necromancy is too wicked for even me!"
  496. >Mort chuckles.
  497. >"Fowel necromancy? I don't think there's any chicken bones in there."
  498. >You chuckle yourself before turning to Mal, whose horn was lit up as she watched Glados struggle with the bones.
  499. "She's still getting used to things so can you, you know, be nice to her?"
  500. >She thinks it over for a moment before shrugging.
  501. >More bones fly from various spots in the room, attaching themselves to the bundle around Glados' legs before tying her to the ceiling.
  502. >"Release me, necromancer! Let us do battle like proper mares."
  503. >"Didn't you just say you couldn't handle my magic?"
  504. >Glados blinks and looks at the bundle of bones encircling her ankles as she slowly spins.
  505. >"Well...I'm bigger."
  506. >Mal laughs before trotting over to you and Mort.
  507. >"Okay, what did this fool do?"
  508. >"Do not show them the picture!"
  509. >You smile and do it anyways.
  510. >Despite his lack of lips, you swear you can see Mort smiling.
  511. >"Aaaww, look at them. Is this her first hug?"
  512. "Not counting the tackles from Argent when she tried to wander off, yes."
  513. >Mal looks over to the guard in question, who was standing at attention against the door.
  514. >"Argent? Argent Aegis? Didn't you just get out of basic?"
  515. >"Ma'am, yes ma'am!"
  516. >You look up to the guard.
  517. "Wait, I thought you said you saw other ponies get hurt through carelessness."
  518. >Mal snorts.
  519. >"Of course she did. She was in basic."
  520. >Mort swats at her leg, and is simply waved off.
  521. >"Your job is to cook, mine is to teach."
  522. >She grows a wicked scowl as she turns back to the now shaking guardsmare.
  523. >"Are you cold, private? Do you need your blankie?"
  524. >"Ma'am, no ma'am!"
  525. >"Then why are you shaking, private?!"
  526. >"I'm just so happy to serve her royal highness, ma'am!"
  527. >Mal taps a hoof and looks between you and Mort.
  528. >"Private, what did you see hear?"
  529. >"Nothing of note, ma'am!"
  530. >"By Celestia, you're not as dumb as you look."
  531. >You chuckle and go back to the picture.
  532. "She's been really enjoying he-"
  533. >"Excuse me, one moment. I am in dire need of context."
  534. >You frown at the slowly spinning Glados.
  535. "This is Mal and Mort."
  536. >"I do not know those ponies and still need context."
  537. "But...I introduced you to them."
  538. >"I do not bother with my lessers."
  539. >Mort busts out laughing at that.
  540. >"Ohoho, she's just like you were, Mal! All 'rule the world' and 'I'm the best'. Oh, I bet she even has some kind of fancy shrine to herself."
  541. "That's kind of my fault. I wanted to keep her happy so I told her that we could use a popcorn machine as a subtle shrine to her."
  542. >Mort laughs again and slaps a bony hoof against the ground.
  543. >"That's actually kind of funny. I wish I had thought of something like that when Mal started to go down that route."
  544. >"I am annoyed, upside down, and still in need of context."
  545. >You nod and point to the two ponies next to you.
  546. "Mal was an advisor for a miltary battalion when Equestria first formed."
  547. >Mort nods.
  548. >"And she always had a side that I chose to believe was just eccentric instead of...this."
  549. >Mal frowns but continues the story.
  550. >"We were trying to stabilize the new found nation as well as integrate the three tribes. We needed to show that ponies could work in harmony and...we did. But things went sour when I asked for a change of course for the troops. We were headed out to stop riots in what is now Phillydelphia, but there were bandits near where Mort was and..."
  551. >She looks at Mort who simply lays a leg across her back.
  552. >"Well, I guess you can figure out what happened with that."
  553. >"It really rattled her bones when I died."
  554. >"Mort!"
  555. >Mort starts to laugh again as Mal rolls her eyes before continuing.
  556. >"I swore I would burn Equestria to the ground, kill Clestia and Luna, but when I raised Mort...When I heard his voice again after spending so much time practicing necromancy on those who killed him...I broke. The two of us ran to a hidden corner of Equestria and lived together until we were found and subsequently 'contained'. I wasn't happy with it at first, but I got a job as something akin to a drill sergeant where I get to use necromancy while I yell at recruits so they're more familiar with the evils they'll be facing."
  557. >Mort gives her a tight hug before looking up at Glados.
  558. >"And I cook for everypony. It's a lot of work, but it's nice to see somepony enjoy my cooking."
  559. >"Oh, here it comes."
  560. >"Especially since I'll never get foals of my own."
  561. >"Mort-"
  562. >"Oh, don't get me wrong. I appreciate you avenging me, but did you really have to spend that long torturing the souls of those who killed me? I wasn't even skin and bones by the time you got me up. I was just bone."
  563. >"Mortal please-"
  564. >"I'd say I had a bone to pick with you, but you were the one picking the bones."
  565. >"..."
  566. >"My bones. Up from the grave."
  567. >"..."
  568. >"Get it?"
  569. >"I'm going back to bed."
  570. >"Oh, don't be like that. Mal-"
  571. >You tune the couple out as Glados drops from the ceiling in a pile of limbs and bones.
  572. >Her head pops up to watch Mal slam herself into the coffin, Mort immediately banging on it and calling for his wife.
  573. >Glados watches for a moment before shaking her head.
  574. >She rises upwards and stands on top of the pile of bones.
  575. >"Why are they allowed magic and not me?"
  576. >You simply shrug.
  577. "Well, I don't want to be rude, but they're nice whereas you...kind of aren't."
  578. >She looks between you and the undead couple.
  579. >Mal was poking her head out of the coffin and offering to raise a foal from the dead so they could adopt it.
  580. >Glados shakes her head and begins to head towards the door.
  581. >"If those two are nice, then I'll keep the horn ring."
  582.  
  583. _-_-_-_-_-_
  584.  
  585. >You finish putting on the filter.
  586. >It was kind of like those strips that people put over their nose to keep their nasal passages open.
  587. >The difference here is that it emitted a small barrier that worked like a gas mask.
  588. >You look down at yourself to make sure your suit was sealed.
  589. >Seeing that it was, you look over to your little entourage.
  590. >Argent was ready to go, but seemingly apprehensive as she faced the oversized vault door that could easily have a bus drive through it when open.
  591. >Actually if she just got out of training she wouldn't know much of what was in this place.
  592. >Wonder why they assigned a newbie to Glados.
  593. >Either Argent is an exceptional recruit or someone up top thinks Glados doesn't need much guarding.
  594. >Speaking of-
  595. >The grumpy guss shuffles over in her own hazmat suit, wriggling her nose under her own strip as she does so.
  596. >"Why exactly am I in this thing?"
  597. "Because we're going to see Marshmallow."
  598. >You can see her mouth the name to herself for a second.
  599. >"I'm sorry. Who?"
  600. "Well her name is actually Marshland, but I like to call her Marshmallow."
  601. >Before she can reply, the vault keeper calls out.
  602. >"OPENING THE GATE! MARES, READY!"
  603. >You turn back to watch as the small battallion takes position.
  604. >There were earth ponies forming a shield wall, unicorns lining up in small bunkers against each wall, and pegasi zipping around in the air.
  605. >You watch for a second longer before turning back to the slowly opening door, which revealed a rather sizable room with another door on the other side.
  606. >Glados immediately shakes her head.
  607. >"I don't get a choice in whether or not I go, do I?"
  608. >You rub the back of your head as a silver glow envelopes her.
  609. >"Hey! Put me down!"
  610. >Argent ignores her as she marches towards the open door.
  611. >"Guidelines dictate that a vault should never be left open unless loading or unloading an object or specimen. By standing here, we are increasing the risk of a breach."
  612. >You can't help but smile as Glados whips around in Argents magical grasp.
  613. >"Well you don't need to-"
  614. >CLUNK
  615. >She stops as the door slams shut behind her, the sound of metal sliding around it coming almost immediately after.
  616. >"Well, I guess I have no choice now. You may as well put me down, peasant."
  617. >She looks over at Argent as the shifting metal sounds move to the other door.
  618. >"Did you not hear me? I said put me down you deaf foal."
  619. >You pat Argent on the back as the door starts to shift open.
  620. "She's actually pretty nice once you get used to her."
  621. >Argent grumbles but thankfully puts Glados down gently.
  622. >You nod and direct the two towards the open door, where a thick swamp land waited.
  623. >Glados blinks and looks between the trees, the pathways made of their iterwoven roots, and the murky water beneath.
  624. >"Are we on the surface? We have to be, all of this couldn't have grown without the sun."
  625. >You chuckle and walk forward, gesturing for the pair to follow.
  626. "Marshmallow did this and we're actually pretty deep underground."
  627. >Once both of your boots make contact with the root-made walkway, a series of blue lights flicker on in the trees to direct you.
  628. "So while you two are in here, there's one thing you absolutely can't do."
  629. >Glados trots up to your side and starts to look around.
  630. >"And what is that?"
  631. "Don't look in the water."
  632. >"...Why did you bring me in here?"
  633. "Because I'm taking care of you."
  634. >"Can I get somepony sane to take care of me?"
  635. "Glados, do you think there's anyone sane around here?"
  636. >"Hm. Fair point."
  637. >Argent tries to put a hoof up as she continues to walk on the other three.
  638. >"I would say that I'm sane, sir."
  639. >You stop for a moment and nod.
  640. "Yeah. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders."
  641. >No need to tell her that they require a little crazy in the psych part of the exam.
  642. >The three of you pass through the bulk of the trees, coming upon a massive weeping willow that seemed to be the source of everything in the room.
  643. "You two should sit on the path while I go up and say hi."
  644. >You can see Argent nod as Glados slows down a bit.
  645. >"Are you going to talk to a tree?"
  646. "No, Marshland is a pony."
  647. >The three of you walk through the veil of leaves and see Marshland smiling excitedly at you.
  648. >She was sitting on the only bit of dirt in the entire room and leaning against the massive tree.
  649. >Before you can do anything, Glados points at her and speaks.
  650. >"This bloated, rotten carcass is the reason for all that security?"
  651. >That was mean.
  652. >Sure Marshmallow didn't have all her skin or mane and kind of looked like a waterlogged corpse, but you shouldn't say that to her face.
  653. >Despite the insult, Marshland just laughs.
  654. >"They're not the security."
  655. >The tree behind her groans and you can hear the splashing noise of something moving around in the water.
  656. >"They're just backup."
  657. >You roll your eyes and gesture towards the various walkways.
  658. "She likes to be dramatic sometimes, but she's right. There's a dozen or so vaults inside this one that have some very dangerous stuff that aren't happy about being here. It just so happens that Marshmallow is able to keep them in check."
  659. >The mare in question scrunches up.
  660. >"Don't call me that in front of other ponies."
  661. >You roll your eyes and hop off the walkway into the water below.
  662. "Oh please. If I can't call you Marshmallow then I can't hug you."
  663. >"That is entirely unfair. I'm stuck to this tree and have too little social interaction as it is."
  664. "Well then let me call you Marshmallow."
  665. >You step up to the mare, a smile on your face and a scowl on hers.
  666. >"Can we settle on Marshy?"
  667. >You bend down, wrapping your arms around her neck and giving her a light squeeze.
  668. >You had to make sure not to stick a finger into an open wound and the gas mask thing wasn't doing much for the putrid smell, but you knew no one else could stand being this close to her.
  669. "Marshy is fine with me."
  670. >She sighs and leans into the hug.
  671. >"It's good to see you again."
  672. >"This is disgusting."
  673. >The two of you turn to look at Glados.
  674. >"You're hugging a rotting corpse, Anonymous. Just think how many maggots she has inside her."
  675. >Marshy chuckles.
  676. >"Oh you want some maggots, do you?"
  677. >The water starts to churn and bubble in front of the two mares.
  678. >"Well how about I give you some?"
  679. >Glados tries to run as Argent lights up her horn and slams down a shield.
  680. >This results in Glados bouncing off the shield and back into Argent.
  681. >The two start to squabble as you turn back to Marshy.
  682. "You know, ponies would be more likely to interact you if you didn't mess with them like that."
  683. >"Yeah, you're probably right."
  684. >A monstrous worm reaches up out of the water and slams down next to the two mares, who take that as their cue to run.
  685. >"But where's the fun in that?"
  686.  
  687. _-_-_-_-_-_
  688.  
  689. >Today was productive.
  690. >Kind of.
  691. >You really needed to do more paper work, but you needed to get Glados used to her new life.
  692. >Plus, the only thing you really had to deal with today were notes on Doc and you had a check in with him tomorrow.
  693. >Argent opens the door to your office and doesn't get so much as a nod as Glados trots through.
  694. >The guard looks expectantly at you as you crouch down next to her.
  695. "Hey, do you mind if Glados and I have a moment alone?"
  696. >She takes a quick look at Glados, who was already on her couch, before returning to you.
  697. >"Technically I'm supposed to-"
  698. "I know, I know. Never let her leave your sight and all that, but I'd really appreciate it if I could just talk with her for a bit."
  699. >She purses her lips.
  700. >"Well-"
  701. "I only need five minutes."
  702. >Her resolve crumbles even further as she nods.
  703. >"Yes, sir. Any longer though, and I'll have to come in."
  704. >You nod and pat her on the back.
  705. "Thanks, Argent. I'll come get you when we're done."
  706. >She nods, taking position by the door as you enter.
  707. >You close the door behind you and walk over to your desk as you look at Glados.
  708. "So how was your day?"
  709. >She groans and rolls over to face you as you sit down.
  710. >"It was...something. I have a body now, which is wonderful in so many ways, but was it really necessary to drag me around everywhere?"
  711. "Pfft. I've been dragging you around this whole complex for months now."
  712. >"Yes, but I have legs now."
  713. >You chuckle and lean forward in your seat.
  714. "So what did you think of the others? Mal, Mort, and Marshy I mean."
  715. >She rolls her eyes and groans again.
  716. >"The undead couple were...something. What exactly was Marshalnd supposed to be? Is she attached to the tree or-"
  717. "Marshy is basically nature incarnate. Life, death, regrowth, all of that fall under her realm and it has supposedly been that way for millenia."
  718. >Glados scrunches up.
  719. >"If she had such power, she could leave anytime she wishes."
  720. "Yup. She actually wasn't captured, but came here willingly because there were a couple of things locked up in here that she wanted to make sure stayed that way."
  721. >"So she...what? She sits in that vault, keeping other horrors in theirs? What does she get out of it?"
  722. >You lean back in your chair and answer honestly.
  723. "Friends."
  724. >Glados laughs.
  725. >"Ohoho, that is a good one! Tell me another joke."
  726. "I'm not joking, Glados."
  727. >"What does she actually want? Does she need flesh for that rotten swamp of hers or does she-"
  728. "How long have you been around?"
  729. >She jerks from the sudden change of direction but starts to think.
  730. >"I...don't know. I told you that, didn't I?"
  731. >You nod.
  732. "Part of the reason she's here is that there are ponies and other things here that have been around for centuries or even longer. She is now in the company of those like her. Immortals."
  733. >She shifts around on the couch, seeming to grow uneasy.
  734. >"Well she may be daft, but that doesn't mean I have to stay here forever."
  735. "You don't, but how many others will live as long as you? Do you really just want to go from town to town without making any meaningful connections?"
  736. >She shifts around a bit more on the couch, not liking the turn this conversation has taken.
  737. >"I-I could make you immortal."
  738. "You can try, but that doesn't mean you /will/. Magic is a little funny around me and any attempt at making me immortal could backfire horribly."
  739. >You get up and walk over to Glados, putting a hand on her side once you're close enough.
  740. "There are a lot of strange, weird, and fun people around here that will be around for a very long time. I want you to make friends with them so that when I'm gone, you'll still have someone to be with."
  741. >"You speak as if you're going to die tomorrow. Y-you're not going to die tomorrow, right?"
  742. "No, but...I'll only be here so long, Glados. I want you to make some friends before I go."
  743. >She shifts around, placing her muzzle on your right shoulder and a wing over the other.
  744. >"You are a fool beyond measure, but I do not wish to lose you."
  745. "Well there's no need to worry too much about it now just...try to make some friends, okay? You need them."
  746. >She puffs air out of her snout before nodding.
  747. >"I promise to try."
  748. >You smile and run a hand through her mane.
  749. "That's all I can ask of you."
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