Chapter 1: Culling

Hekapoo raced from her bedroom to her living room where she left her dimensional scissors. She had overslept from the quick naps he wanted before the meeting started and felt pretty stupid for doing it in the first place. Grabbing her scissors she tore open a portal to the meeting room.

Great looks like I'm late to another meeting", Hekapoo said as she walked from her portal into the main hall meeting room.

"Alright now that everyone is here, we need to discuss the up and coming Song Day Festival for Star's introduction as the future Queen of Mewni. As you know our old songstral has grown a bit….well"

Moon looked over the old man just barely standing up in the corner of the room. His thin brown and gray hairs danced at the slightest draft in the room as he started rubbing his back.

"Dated lets say", she said concerned for the older man

"What! He's just as young as the day he first became the songstral I mean look at him!", Omnitraxus pointed at the old man who by this point was struggling to keep standing.

Realizing his legs were giving out, Moon walked the old man over to a chair at the table and helped him sit down.

"You could have sat at any time songstral" Moon stated worry about the man's health

"Thank you my Queen, but I didn't want to be rude"

"You'll have to forgive Omnitraxus, we're immortal so in his defense this "old man" as you put it is still a child much like yourself" Hekapoo slyly stated with a smile on her face. It had become a daily thing to take pot shots at Moon as it was something she had taken great satisfaction in bringing her down a peg.

Trying not to take offense to the comment Moon brushed it off and pulled up a parchment with different songstrals on them. Each one younger than the next but all showing promise with their respective expertise in an instrument.

"I've taken the liberty of asking the local Songtral School for their best graduates to find our new songstral. If you all could take a look at them and let me know what you think we can make a decision from there"

While she wasn't thrilled about doing dumb commision work especially picking something like this out Hekapoo enjoyed her job it gave her something to do. Especially since things tended to be pretty boring in her home dimension. While she was being sarcastic with Moon, it was true that the HIgh Magic Commission was old, like really really old. While the group itself hadn't been around more than 300 years, Omnitraxus Prime, Rhombulus, Reynaldo and herself had been around for more than 3 millenia. While they had been around pretty long even they didn't know how long Lekmet had been around let alone Glossaryck.

Being around for so long allowed you to see everything normal beings couldn't, it allowed you to experience everything there was to offer in life….well other than the one thing she had never actually experienced before. An experience she was about to get her first lesson in, a matter of the heart.

"OH, OH! This guy looks pretty good" Rhombulus said pointing at a parchment with a picture of a young man dressed in black. His hair was pulled over one half of his face as he drooped over a pitch black lute in his hand. The other side of his face stored a solemn look as what looked like black eyeliner ran down his face.

"It says he's a guitarist and a drummer"

Before anyone could say anything a single hoof landed on top of the parchment. To their surprise Lekmet had a serious look on his face.

"Baaah! BAAAAH!", he said shaking his head

"Oh, sorry about that chancellor I didn't know that was the same kid" Rhombulus said scratching his head.

"What did he say", Moon asked confused as to what was going on

"Lekmet said that kid was the one that kept summoning him with his music. He told him to stop but I guess he kept doing it so Lekmet has banned all his musical performances"

"Oh…."

The group sat in awkwardly until Moon broke the silence pointing at another parchment

"Well he looks promising...uhh….well I guess"

The parchment had a picture of a young man with orange hair staring creepily at the camera man with a lute in his hands. His lithe frame and green eyes gave him a very cereal killer vibe that made them all feel uncomfortable.

"Moon, I'll agree to this guy the day Toffee comes back from the dead" Hekapoo said completely deadpan

"I suppose you're right, he is a bit awkward to look at, but he comes highly recommended from the school. I don't suspect they would just send us anyone, I specifically asked for only the best of the best"

"Moon…"

"Yes, Hekapoo"

"Look at his special talents"

Moon took a look down toward the bottom of the parchment and saw where he had listed his special talent. The only word present was, 'Complaining'.

"Ok...so maybe we take lunch and come back to this"

"Sounds like a plan to me", Rhombulus said pushing back from the table and getting up to stretch

Hekapoo looked around the room watching all of her Commission mates doing their own things before they took off. Rhombulus got on the floor to do his usual 200 pushups before leaving the room. Lekmet was staring off into space while still seated at the table. She assumed seeing that kid that kept summoning him all last year must have brought back some traumatizing memories for him. It was probably best to let him work on getting over that in his own time, she never really could get a read on him anyway. For one he didn't say anything other than 'Bah' so understanding him was impossible. It was never really clear why Rhombulus could understand what he was saying since he was the youngest Commission member made. Maybe he was made specifically for that by Glossaryck?

Feeling nature calling she got up to go to the royal bathrooms. After some time she got to the bathroom sink and washed her hands. Looking at her reflection she was pretty proud of her look, she had a cute but still playful air about her. After drying her hands she glanced back at the mirror and noticed a strain of her hair was misplaced.

"Oh man, I hope I didn't look like this the whole meeting" she said softly to herself as she placed it back in her bun.

As she looked in the mirror a sudden warm feeling of fire washed over her as her heart started pounding. Losing her balance she fell to the bathroom floor as tears formed in her eyes.

"What the heck just happened" she said sharply looking around the room for attackers

Satisfied that there wasn't anyone in the room other than herself that could have possibly done anything to her she looked back in the mirror and tried to concentrate.

"Come on Hekapoo, get it together"

Turning the sink on and slapped water on her face as she stared at her reflection again. Trying to figure out what happened, she closed her eyes and went through her memories for the day.

Ok so today, I woke up late to the meeting and rushed over. We took a look at candidates for the Song Day Festival and Rhombulus suggested that weirdo.

Lets see, I also fell off a ledge and Marco broke his arm protecting me from the fall.

Then Moon suggested that other weirdo, what's with all the weirdos coming from the Songstral school!

"Yeah that's all that happened today..."

Hekapoo peered angrily into the mirror until a thought dawned on her. A sudden blush ran across her face as her heart started to race again. Her eyes got wider as she realized what happened. Marco risked his life for her clone and ended up getting severely hurt protecting her from that huge fall.

Trying to make sense of everything she tore open a portal back to her dimension. Arriving in her living room she plopped on her couch and tried to piece the new memories she had now.

Concentrating on Marco slowly she began to remember the series of events that lead to her nursing him back to health for six months. In that time they had grown pretty close. He relied on her and for the first time in her life she had actually relied on someone else too. They went out together everyday gathering what food they could and spent alot of time getting to know one another. Months had gone by and their relationship had only grown much deeper, it was pretty clear that he carried about her alot and from her new feelings she just got she cared way more about him too. The memory that stuck out the most was, during one of the nights they would take shifts sleeping. Marco thought she was fully asleep when he revealed he couldn't imagine a life without her in it. That all came to a sudden end when they were making pepper skin flakes and the spices caused Marco to sneeze out her flame. So what she was feeling this whole time was a deep sadness from being away from him.

"Wait no!" she screamed realizing that her new feelings would be replicated by all of her other clones. There was no way to hide her feelings, which only would make things get so much worse with each clone Marco would catch up to from here on out.

'What am I supposed to do now', she thought to herself as images of Marco faintly danced in her mind. These feelings while coming from a clone were still hers which meant she really couldn't deny that in that same situation she wouldn't have done the exact same thing. It was strange not even a few moments ago she was bored out of her mind with another mundane day and now all she could think of was Marco. Was he ok? Was he safe?

With these new feelings came another new emotion she had never known before, anxiety. While she could absorb the memories of clones she made, they had a life force of their own so there was no way for her to actively see what was going on with them. Not to mention with as many clones as she made it would have been an impossible strain to search for Marco through all of them.

But the part that hurt the most now was not knowing if he was alive or dead, suddenly this game she made wasn't so much fun anymore. It was eating alot of time and she wasn't having a good time anymore. Being an immortal time had no relevance to her but now she could feel every second she wasn't with him.

Thinking about the time she took a look at the clock on her wall to see she only had about five minutes left to get back from lunch.

Trying to steel herself before she went back, Hekapoo wiped the tears from her face and tried to push the thoughts of Marco to the back of her mind.

"Ok, girl you got this" she said tearing another portal back to the meeting room.

Upon entering she noted Rhombulus munching on some pizza he brought back with him from lunch, Lekmet had a half eaten metal can in front of him and Omnitraxus was in his glass ball as usual. Taking her seat back at the table she noticed something was severely off.

She didn't want to be there.

The job she did because it gave her something to do was suddenly not of any importance anymore. It was impossible to concentrate on the task at hand when in the back of her mind he was still missing.

"Ok, now that everyone is back from lunch we can hopefully figure out who we're going to pick for the Song Day Festival. I'm going to put a pin in the last parchment we looked at and see if anyone else catches our fancy." Moon said as she walked back into the room to take her seat.

Noticing something seemed a bit off, Moon looked at Hekapoo who had a sad expression on her face and stared off into the distance.

"Uuhhh...Hekapoo are you ok?" she asked

"HUH!?"

Now the center of attention everyone looked at Hekapoo like she had 3 heads, whatever was going on was affecting her way more than she originally thought.

"Yeah no I'm fine, just thinking about who to pick", she said with a fake unconvincing smile.

"Right….", Moon said with a look of concern on her face.

"Ok, so what about this guy", Omnitraxus bellowed, magically moving his parchment to the center of the table so everyone could see.

"It says he's very skilled with the lute, piano and percussion so he's like a one man army when it comes to music"

"Yeah but look at him", Rhombulus said pointing at his picture.

The young man had a full beard but only on his neck and for some reason didn't have a shirt or shoes on in the photograph.

"You think he normally walks around like that", Omnitraxus questioned

"If thats his graduation picture, probably" Moon said disappointed with a deadpan expression

"What I don't understand is why the school let him take a picture looking like that anyway. Unless his musically talents only come from him not wearing a shirt and shoes"

Moon, Rhombulus, Lekmet and Omnitraxus looked at the photograph with a new level of disgust that they didn't think about prior. Omnitraxus magically gathered all the copies of the parchment and set them on fire.

"We'll just pretend we lost those", he said going through the other candidates

"Not including the freshly burning parchments, we only have two graduates left and I can tell you the last one wearing a frog suit isn't really doing it for me".

"Baaaah!" Lekmet nodded

"Lekmet, said he looks like the type to steal quill ink from work"

Moon sighed and stroked her temples as she looked over at Hekapoo who was still in her catatonic state.

"Hekapoo….are you sure you're ok" she asked deeply concerned

"Yeah Moon, I'm fin…" as she was responding to Moon's inquiry, tears silently ran down her face. Silently pushing her chair back she tore open a portal and walked away.

The room fell to another incredibly awkward silence.

"THE HECK WAS THAT" Rhombulus said