Blitz Boom

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@Blitz Boom @BloodDrops @Dji @EQ_Theta @Storm Shine @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

He looked over to Fluttershy, who asked him to be careful.

"I'm doing what I can, if any of you wish to add something, feel free to do so."

He looked to Anomaly and connected his cage to hers. Then he walked, over to her.

"How about you? You got anything to add to the terms? I think we should have the sphinx call herself a stupidhead because she's the stupidest head of all stupidheads."

Edited by Lucid_Nightlight
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@Seamore Sandwich @Moonlit @Dji @EQ_Theta @BloodDrops @Storm Shine @Lucid_Nightlight

"A queen is only as strong as her hive. Chrysalis lost hers to the usurpers, and her drones got a new ruler, though you should consider yourself to be lucky to have not been there. What they have become is a disgrace to changelings, and when the time is right, they will be exterminated without mercy."

There were a tone in Onache's voice that made it clear that this were not an empty threat. When the time came, and her own hive had recuperated, she would march upon Thorax's domain, with every other hive who still stood against Thorax's twisted kind, and she would leave the place as little more than ruins and dust. She would not let that... Thing, pollute what their kind were.

A snowflake trickled down suddenly on her nose, and she looked up, just to see a few, local clouds of snow spread their cold substance upon the otherwise warm desert ground. Urgh, how she hated that particular weather. She much preferred the dry heat of a scorching desert to the frozen north, and actively avoided it so that she didn't feel cold. Though of course, these draconequui didn't care about the proper weather a desert should be and were polluting it with this particular substance. The one who looked like a pony even threw a snowball at the pumpkin-headed abomination, which seemed to perk her up for the first time and partake in throwing back a snowball of her own, aimed straight for his face. Might've worked if the cages and such didn't make barriers a constant for them, but she cared little. She still had them both in chains for the time being, though what the sphinx said made her feel uneasy.

Really, she should eb concerned what Discord and that Lucid one were speaking about, as the plans came in for the wholesale destruction of everything, or at least the sphinx and her power source. Yet currently, it seemed that they either spoke in code, or Discord were truly not planning on doing anything to meddle with this. Something which she found highly improbable, but she were already on alert to run at a moments notice in case Discord began something. It wasn't as if she could stop anything he went on with, but merely just react to it.

So her ears were on the sphinx, who were actually, potentially possible to talk with about things, yet one who did not know the limit of the deal the sphinx and herself had actually made. It were not that Onache would provide everypony in Equestria as slaves in exchange for her stay here, but merely that she would stay here and provide slaves of an undetermined amount. She may have said that she could gain thousands, but with the wording, two would be enough to complete the deal if you wanted to be technical. Their deal were essentially done the second Onache would be granted residence in this desert. What else were supposed to happen from there were not part of the deal, but merely the promise that it would, should the sphinx want it.

There were some promise in the fact that the sphinx said that she would have to be here with her hive, as that meant that Happy Hour would have to be summoned here (feel free to do so, anypony) and afterwards, she could start building a residence. Though again technically, a residence for just two changelings wouldn't take long. A few hours at best, and that were going slowly. Their kind did not invade places well by taking years to get hives up and running.

Unfortunately, the deceit about how long it may be drawn out would not come, as she were then asked how long it may take. Considering everything, it seemed... Unwise, to lie to the sphinx. Especially considering what was said of the temple, which made her feel even more paranoid about her limits here.

"My job is merely to enslave them. The duration is up tot heir owner, which would be you. What you do with them is of no concern to me.

As for my hive, I will require my drone, Happy Hour, to be here to reestablish my hive. We can begin to make a settlement soon after, as per our... Arrangement. Without delay, we may have a hive built within the hour. Depends on how quickly we find a rocky area with a nearby oasis to work from. It may take a while."

She jingled the chains of the varied beings she had in her grasp right now. Still a pretty weird feeling, yet long as she had some control, it were the good kind of weird.

Of course, with the talk about destruction of everything else than this desert, it really showed how little control she actually had here. She had frankly never felt so... Inferior and pointless, and it were frankly not a pleasant feeling. Though it sounded like she would have a long, long time to get used to that. More than her natural life from the sphinx's words, though it may well be shorter. It would only take a royal-bred changeling with enough cruelty and aspiration from within her own hive to be seen as more faithful to the sphinx, and then Onache's time would be over.

It would likely end with a cult worshiping the sphinx. A shame she wouldn't be around to see how that would turn out. If these mongrels didn't ruin it long before that.

The one called Anomaly sure seemed to want to meddle with things further, as after the ridiculous terms set by Lucid - a changeling queen that would not lie? What a farce - she nodded ferociously and looked up towards the sphinx, and said that she wanted to make the desert full of life. Animal, as well as plant it seemed like. Clearly, she did not get what a desert were, though perhaps, if she could be convinced to focus on making the occasional oasis, and grub for the slaves... It may be useful.

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@Blitz Boom @EQ_Theta @Storm Shine @BloodDrops @Dji @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

"Alright, so some added terms are that the sphinx must call herself a stupidhead and the desert must be full of life, I will extend Anomaly's term by saying this will be non-hostile life."

Hearing the thing about attacking Thorax's hive annoyed him.

"Alright, but allies are allowed to help supply and defend Thorax's hive. Neither side can interupt the other while mustering up forces. Once the war begins, your hive is will no longer be untouchable. This means once you attack, you can be attacked also."

Lucid looked at Onache, and he seemed quite serious.

"If you don't don't agree to that, they'll fight anyway and the Temple could destroy Equestria and the entire world. You'd be putting everyone in danger, including yourself, even if you survive the Temple's wrath, neither you or the sphinx will survive mine."

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20 hours ago, Lucid_Nightlight said:

"Building the hive? Alright, looks like we are beginning negotiations. Now, here is what I'm putting on the table. In order for us to build this hive, which will be rather easy for us to do with our abilities. You must set us free after it is built. Of course, there are some other terms which I will show you."

Lucid stomped his hoof and a big paper appeared with some writing on it.

Terms to be followed:

1. Everyone WILL be set free and WILL be considered untouchable after the hive is built. This means everyone is freed and C'ANNOT be retaken or harmed by Onache, Sphinx, or anyone affiliated under ANY circumstances.

2. We cannot attack the hive after being freed, unless terms have been broken or the hive is a threat.

3. Equestria and its inhabitants CANNOT be attacked or enslaved.

4. All slaves must be changelings from Onache's changeling hive. Changelings can be chosen in any way seen fit as long as it does not break any terms.

5. No one can be forced into the hive. This is to avoid any loopholes.

6. All slaves will have basic rights including but not limited to; sufficient sleep, proper feeding, proper shelter, bathroom breaks, and safety from physical assault unless it's in self-defense.

7. Slaves are not allowed to physically harm the sphinx or Onache unless in self-defense.

"Now, these are the terms I am currently laying out. We can agree to these or we can negotiate further."

He thought for a second and decided to add something.

"Also, right now to allow these negotiations to happen, we must agree that you and/or Onache are NOT allowed to lie about any deals."

 

The Sphinx blinked at his flawed attempt at offering a deal. She was grumpy and with good reason. There were so many loop holes within that contract, she could easily manipulate it to her hearts content. "Those all the rules you like?" she asked him with a frown. She shook her head crossly, "you can't have terms that contradict one another otherwise the latter always wins against the contradiction. How am I meant to enforce a contradicted condition? Pfffff" she growled.

She flicked her tail and started addressing the rules set forth,

1. "Everyone will be free, that is acceptable. Everyone is also protected by myself and cannot be trapped however I cannot speak for Onache on this part since it is outside of her control"

2. "I accept that you as a collective and anyone that resides within Equestria cannot interfere with myself or Onache and her hive. Any terms that are broken as a result will result in that party's territory being given over to the victim. So if you attack the hive you forfeit your land and it is given over to myself and Onache, and if the hive attacks you then the hive loses it land and I expulse her from my territory." she said with a small smile.

3. "Agreed as condition of rule 2" 

4. "I got no problem with this, though Onache will have to agree as well" she remarked.

5. "I will expand on this, since it creates a loophole. No one can be forced, tricked, teleported in or lured in with trickery. Sound fair?" she asked at the amended rule.

6. "My slaves have these rights anyway, I cannot speak on Onache's part" she remarked with a frown, she never physically assaulted her slaves anyway. 

7. "Any sort of violence towards myself will result in explusion to Equestria. I can't say what it would result to for Onache" she said with a smirk, "Probably end up with a multation or two" she chuckled.

"I agree to these conditions, as amended. Do you agree though Onache and Lucid?" she asked them.

 

 

33 minutes ago, Blitz Boom said:

"My job is merely to enslave them. The duration is up tot heir owner, which would be you. What you do with them is of no concern to me.

As for my hive, I will require my drone, Happy Hour, to be here to reestablish my hive. We can begin to make a settlement soon after, as per our... Arrangement. Without delay, we may have a hive built within the hour. Depends on how quickly we find a rocky area with a nearby oasis to work from. It may take a while."

The Sphinx flicked her tail, "Fine fine, you may get your drone Happy Hour here and be given sandstone bedrock and be provided with a oasis for your hive. Beside that you must agree to my terms I've stated" she remarked.

 

8 minutes ago, Lucid_Nightlight said:

"Alright, so some added terms are that the sphinx must call herself a stupidhead and the desert must be full of life, I will extend Anomaly's term by saying this will be non-hostile life."

Hearing the thing about attacking Thorax's hive annoyed him.

"Alright, but allies are allowed to help supply and defend Thorax's hive. Neither side can interupt the other while mustering up forces. Once the war begins, your hive is will no longer be untouchable. This means once you attack, you can be attacked also."

Lucid looked at Onache, and he seemed quite serious.

"If you don't don't agree to that, they'll fight anyway and the Temple could destroy Equestria and the entire world. You'd be putting everyone in danger, including yourself, even if you survive the Temple's wrath, neither you or the sphinx will survive mine."

 

The Sphinx blinked at him at the stupidhead remark, "Did you know, the moon has lovely craters this time of the year? Would you like to see one up close, I'm sure I can bring it down for you to examine closely" she said with a small growl. She flicked her tail pointedly, "I will not say that about myself since its a lie and renders my magic useless if I lie within it. Though I can create a desert full of life if you wish it" she said with a grumble. 

The Sphinx blinked down at Lucid, "She can't attack anything my dear, my deal with her prevents such hostile actions while she is living on my land. Though that doesn't mean she can't leave to attack Thorax, however that will be nothing to do with me, and any hostile action from Thorax against myself will be met with you breaking my rule 2." she said before blinking.

"Are we all agreed?" she finished. 

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@BloodDrops @Blitz Boom @EQ_Theta @Storm Shine @Dji @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

The Sphinx's deal sounded surprisingly fair, but he decided to be careful.

"It sounds fair, but I'll have to see what others in my group think first. I need to make sure everyone is on the same page."

Now for the thing about Thorax.

"We're getting somewhere, but we need to discuss Thorax. First, you have to remain neutral whenever this war happens. Thorax's hive can attack Onache's hive, but not you or the temple. Equestria is allowed to help Thorax defend his hive. Equestria can also supply and train Thorax's hive to invade Onache's hive."

"I can assure you, that you and your temple will be left alone as long as you leave everyone alone too since Equestria and Thorax's hive have no intention to attack you anyway."

He looked to his group.

"What do you guys think? Got anything to say? Any terms you don't like? Maybe something you wish to add?"

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@Blitz Boom

Mike was about to step past the threshold that marked the outside of the castle to the inside, but something caught his eye. He had to look hard to seethe dragoness, even though she contrasted with the brilliant crystal wall of the castle. She looked like she had seen better days.

”Um.. Ma’am? Are you alright?” Said Mike, tentatively stepping forward and giving the dragoness a light shake with his front left hoof.

”Hello?” He asked again.

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@EQ_Theta

Rosa froze in place as the siblings began to recite their knowledge of Stargazer.

He had begun wrapping several wires, branches, sharp rocks, etc. together to make a few traps around the edges of their camp, and had enjoyed this simple task. It were a nice, calming activity that were thankfully not interrupted by a certain somepony getting tangled up into something, as Lin had thankfully taken Omen around to gather things up for a campfire. Rosa bit mark in her effectiveness to lift quite a hefty load of things with both her back and tongue, and how helpful she could be if guided correctly, but didn't think further on it as much as just trying to calm himself, and prepare mentally for the talk about the swamp they were likely to have later.

That calm were shattered when Lin said that her and Sen had met somepony with that name. A guard of all things, which were going to complicate them meeting if it were him. of course, there were always the chance this wasn't, but a bat pony with that name? There weren't that many of them compared to the regular pony kind, so the chances of this being a coincidence...

He could feel his heart race as he slowly turned around and starred at Lin, dumbfounded and feeling like he had just been given the strongest gut punch of his life.

"Y-You've met... What?"

"I remember him. He was large."

Omen had been drawn in by the talking going on, though she kept over near the campfire, trying to figure out how to set it on fire. Sen had done well in teaching her the basics, but she still had to try and put that into practice, and that caused her to hesitate for a little while, as she got a better picture of all the parts and went through how she was supposed to do this in her head. She had just picked up the two rocks she were supposed to use to set a spark to the campfire, when she heard the others talk about Stargazer. Her contribution wasn't really that earth shattering though, but it were the first thing she remembered about him. It made the guard stand out more.

The bat pony in their midst in the meantime, lost his grip in the thing he had been working on right now, causing it to unravel while he staggered back from Sen and Lin a little. He needed a little space to get his mind wrapped around this massive coincidence that had presented itself in front of him.

"I... Yes. Yes! Please, if you can find out if that's him, maybe-"

Rosa forced himself to stop himself. He had started to get too emotional about something that might not even be true. It may well just be a massive coincidence, and until he could know for sure, it were just a dream on a pedestal that was begging to be crushed beneath his hooves. He needed evidence, and that was only come from one of two places right now: From Scarcity, or her diary. Only one of those didn't drip with poison and lies, so everything would have to rely on this piece of forgotten scribbles that his mother had left behind.

"Thank you for the information, but I need to be sure. If I find him in the journal, perhaps there is something to compare with, but... No. Excuse me, I need to get back to work."

Rosa would return to working on the traps, as reluctant as he felt about not just go the full way and ask Lin to bring him to his brother right away. He wanted to, and he knew that she could - if not her, then Omen, surely - but barging in with no proof and claiming this? Even if it would be true, Stargazer would never believe a word he said. Something tangible and untainted had to be found first, though knowing that he were out there, and that there were those who could get him there if he so wished... It were hard to not let the mind wander towards just taking the plunge and throw caution to the wind.

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@Catpone Cerberus

"Heh, yeah, the others would get way weirded out if they knew there was a siren out here. Dunno why it should be such a big deal. It's not like you've tried to drown me yet or anything, and we're getting along with changelings now. What's the issue, right? Besides, old sirens are ancient history. They should get with the program and let it go."

Berry was grinning widely as she soaked in the information on the siren and her powers, knowing well that she had just been warned, but yet again not really finding any reasons to be afraid of this siren because of it. Threats were just words. There had to be some action behind it to make it believable, and it just wasn't showing here.

"And humans are... Kinda like tall, hairless monkeys wearing clothes. I've seen pictures of them in old fairy tales, and I know there's word about there being humans on the other side of the portal from rummaging through Princess Twilight's trash at night and finding her discarded, half-finished letters. I'm pretty sure it's some kind of code though. I mean really, an entire world with humans, devoid of any kind of magic, and we haven't seen any even when apparently, there's a big ol' hole in the castle that leads there? Pff, yeah right. Doesn't that sound crazy?"

Twilight didn't know that her trash was being examined at night sometimes, but then, most ponies in Ponyville didn't know that it happened since Berry were good at covering her track when she were out trying to see who to watch out for. She had several she were confident about being part of the conspiracy, and she focused her efforts on their trash to find missives and clues, but she took the occasional stroll through everything. The princess's dumpster were one of the funner ones. Weird stuff that mare had and subsequently threw out.

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@Catpone Cerberus

"Hey, we're a lot of things, Red, but dishonest ain't one of them. You do your part, and we'll split it evenly."

Spicy took some offense to being considered somepony who'd just cheat her way out of a deal. She was an honest businesspony, that ran a somewhat legit business. Of course she had some side avenues, dealings on the grey and black markets, the intimidation and beatings of those who thought they could threaten through paying her back, and so on, but she wasn't dishonest. She made a deal, and it were binding. Unless the other part tried to kill her. There were a clause in her deals that overly hostile actions would be met in kind, which usually meant beating the tar out of whoever had dared to try and stab her in the back.

"Just don't take her suggestion about a little game, no matter how much your cut is. I lost three everything and three months pay the first time she lured me into that."

"And you learned an important lesson. Everypony was a winner, though my wallet did get awfully heavy to carry that night."

"You're a cruel one sometimes, boss."

"Heh, don't I know it. Anyway, the wagon's packed up and everything's in place. You ready to get a move on, Red?"

Spicy stopped briefly too hammer a small sign into the trunk of the stump she had just used as a table, showing off some contacts that could be used to get hold of her in case somepony needed a loan. A few around that usually could find her in a real hurry, in case it was important.

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@Pr0m4NV14

The dragoness grimaced and slowly opened her eyes. She seemed to have been dreaming, or thinking about something, as the word *Lotus* escaped her before she became cognitive enough to see what was going on around her.

"Yeah? What do you want?"

Nerzhei were still tired and low on energy, as she had barely dozed off before getting awakened again, and considering how drained she had been before this, it had really not helped. Though at least the arm she had in a sling wasn't acting up right now, so there were that at least. Still felt sore as all hay though.

"We're looking for Mike's sister, and thought that perhaps we'd find something up here. have you seen anypony that looks like him around?"

The dragoness glared at the mare who kept a big smile on as she addressed the grumpy, scaled female.

"No, but I haven't been here long. I just came to give a warning, and then everything was chaos. I can't say if anyone were in there before or did after."

Sorrow tilted her head and looked questioning.

"A warning? About what miss dragon?"

"My name is Nerzhei, and it retained to a sphinx out in the forest. Well, desert is more like it now. Things have not gone in our favor."

Nerzhei took her hand down the large bag to her side and rummaged around until she found a vial with a purple liquid in it, then popped off the cork and took a sip. Whatever it were, there seemed to be about two dozen vials in her bag, so it had to be somewhat important.

"I wouldn't leave town for now if I were you, but you didn't sound like you were going to anyway. If you're going to the library though, I'm following you there. I want to see the books the princess have gathered."

Nerzhei would get on her feet slowly, trying not to let any pained expressions mark her face, whilst waiting to see what the smaller of the ponies - Mike - were going to say or do. She might be a dragoness, but Nerzhei wasn't a brute. She were civilized, which her clothes, general manners of not responding to the sight of ponies by breathing fire at them, and books in her shoulder bag should make somewhat clear. It certainly caught Legion's attention, though they weren't saying anything yet, and Nerzhei tried to ignore them for now. Today had been weird enough without asking for more.

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@Dji @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich @BloodDrops @Storm Shine @Lucid_Nightlight @EQ_Theta

"Nonono, I don't want you to make the desert lively, I wanna do it myself. making nature flourish is so fun, and deserts are so boring without an oasis and stuff here and there. I can make all sorts of cool creatures too, like giant sand worms. They were a huuuge hit the last time I made them. Well, until they ate all the crops. And they did scare everypony away because they were like, insanely aggressive... But that batch was a prototype! That doesn't count."

The promise of being able to flourish this barren, boring place up a little put a little step back in Anomaly's steps, even with the stupid cheater necklace she had on that still stopped her from casting magic. Seriously, it was so unfair that she were more of a nature magician than a draconequus, so this stuff actually worked on her. Some kind of side effect from being reborn she bet, but usually not an issue. Perhaps she should carry a good saw or something for just this sort of thing another time? Decisions, decisions.

Not that she got the time to think on that, as the booooring talk kept on with them. Conditions, laws, rules... *yawn* How could they even stay awake going through all that nonsense? At least there was a little fun watching that... Onache-thingie respond to things though. Especially when she sneered at Lucid and with a very cold voice told him that Thorax and his ilk would get what was coming to them, when everything were in place, but that she wouldn't go after them before that. A deal she didn't seem to like to make.

The rest of things took her a little longer. Anomaly wasn't exactly sure what the terms were anymore from the sphinx and Lucid's side as she had kinda tuned them out after a while, and tried to focus on something pleasant instead, like how an army of living cacti would look, scurrying through the dunes. She did hear that the changeling appeared to say a few things about a little number of the points though.

What was it...

Rule 3 and 4 would depend on what *attacking* defined, since changelings needed to eat, and *convincing* ponies to work for her until they got turned wasn't technically attacking, as much as misleading, and the turned changelings would then also need to be fed love regardless of whatever she gave them to the sphinx or not, which would be a food source needed to be covered one way or another. The part about a food source were a pretty big point when the sphinx amended point 5 to ensure that nopony could be tricked, which essentially meant that Onache couldn't procure a single pony, griffon, dragon or the like, which basically meant she had to keep the weaker changelings from her eggs around for the menial work this time, and needed to know how to feed her kind.

A snarky comment about rule 7 basically being pointless for her to talk about since she wouldn't have any non-changeling slaves under her control were added, but it sounded more bitter than anything. As did a question regarding whatever or not the loophole of slaves being procured from outside Equestria was also forbidden then. Seemed like she didn't like being in rules and chains like this, but boo to her. She was a big ol' meaniepants.

"Hey wait a second. It's not fair that you put a rule that bug lady is not allowed to have help if a war comes, but bug man can."

Rule 2 technically said that anypony who did try to attack Onache's hive would have forfeited their protection via these rules, and that meant that if Thorax and anypony with him made the first strike, anything could happen to him and anypony who helped him. But Anomaly hadn't listened in enough, so she didn't hear rule 2 properly. Not even when the sphinx repeated it, though if she had, she might've asked then whatever or not Onache would be allowed to leave to attack, as that sounded kinds contradicting with everything said.

Discord sounded like he was making good headway too with his arguments, but him she listened too anyway. That part would become interesting.

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@Blitz Boom
More Berry talked, more confused Nada became "Sure it does, but...." "Changelings? Ancient history? Princess Twilight?" her tone made her confusion clear "What the hay are you talking about?" "How long has it been since the three got banished?" it didn't help that the pony didn't seem to be scared of her at all, not that she minded it, but it was weird considering the last time she saw ponies. "I know it has been at least over a century, but that's way too short of a time period to call something ancient."

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"Just wanted to make sure we are on the same page." Ruby simply said, she didn't comment anything about the game conversation, she didn't care "I'm ready." there wasn't even any need to asked her, why wouldn't she be ready, she was already there, and she was carrying her whole fortune with her, this was a deal of pure profit, and the thought made Ruby happy. She then remembered something, "Oh, And though Red isn't too bad of a name..." since it was more fitting than Spicy even knew ".....Name is Ruby Shine"

Edited by Catpone Cerberus
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@Blitz Boom @EQ_Theta @Storm Shine @BloodDrops @Dji @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

Lucid agreed with Anomaly on the life thing. The desert looked almost as stupid as the changeling.

"Yea, the desert could use some life. Having you create it instead of the sphinx would be the safer option as long as you don't create anything Onache could use."

Now now Anomaly's thing about defense.

"If someone wanted to help Onache, they could, but do you honestly think anyone of any significance would help the stupid cheese bug? Trust me, once the war begins, Onache will be a challange, but Thorax will have a fighting chance. Besides, although we cannot attack Onache before the war, there are things such as reformation, which Twilight and her friends can attempt eventually."

If diplomacy didn't work, he knew some ways Thorax could probably win, many of them didn't involve Lucid's intervention, which is good because didn't really want to be involved more than he needed to be. He just needed to make sure Thorax has some chance of winning.

He started speaking to both Twilight and Fluttershy.

"If things do go wrong and Onache or someone else breaks the agreement... although I don't think it will come to this, but if it does happen and the temple attacks, you and your other four friends know what magic to use. It's the same kind you and your friends have always used."

If things went that far south, Twilight and her friends would be the best ones to solve it in his opinion.

It probably would not come to that and if it did, it'd be long after this day.

Edited by Lucid_Nightlight
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@Blitz Boom

"Dragons can be pretty scary, my sister can tell you all about that. It's crazy how big your species can get!"

Raspberry seemed a little more intrigued with dragons than her sister, talking about them in a way that was reflective of her brother in law Felix.

"We are indeed moving to ponyville, should be much more to both of our tastes."

Raspberry's eyes seemed to narrow slightly at the mention of Pinkie Pie, it was almost as if she were wincing in pain.

"Oh I know all about this Pinkie Pie. I sold her some of my fruity jams and jellies, instead of using it to make cakes or even a sandwich, the silly filly proceeded to fill a paddling pool with the stuff and dove straight in. It seemed most unconventional and in my opinion it was a waste of my hard work. If she hadn't paid me so well I would have had a few choice words for her. Citrus definitely wouldn't like her either I don't think, she'd be a bit... much... for him."

Citrus Orange was so introverted he couldn't even associate with people who would do all the talking for him, in fact he was probably more afraid of contact with extroverts than he was with other introverts.

"It would be nice to see a familiar face like yours though, we could do business together even maybe, I sure would love to get my jam out there in the hooves of the general populace. I currently make it for Cloudsdale Catering and they use it to make all kinds of consumables, but the ponies who buy there stuff aren't really in contact with the ponies behind the food most of the time, to them I'm just some nameless pony who makes jam for a much larger company. We plan to move nearer the centre, more ponies for me to talk to and potential to get Citrus back in the fruit marketing business, I'm hoping to find him an assistant who he can bare to spend time with. I can't go back into the fruit business myself but he's hopeless without me or somepony else holding his hoof, he's an excellent fruit farmer but a terrible salespony."

Raspberry had heard of the Everfree forest, and while she thought she would be able to handle it no problem she knew it wasn't the place for Citrus or any of their children.

 

While they had been talking Strawberry Sprinkles had been cautiously edging closer towards them. She'd been trying to make it hard to notice by taking a few small steps every few seconds and continuously looking back to the table as engaged in conversation, and whenever she'd been looking in the direction of the strangers her mane had been gently drooped over her eyes, just in case they tried to make eye contact. To be fair to her, she had gone largely unnoticed, her soft hoofsteps and general silence had made her almost invisible, despite her bright pink colouration.

When she finally got close enough, though this was still a considerable distance by normal conversing standards, she waited patiently for a lull in the conversation before coughing gently to get attention. When her lack of volume prevented this from working she tried stomping her hoof a few times, each one harder until they finally noticed her.  As soon as they turned towards her she took a step back and turned her head slightly to the side, still hiding under her long, sprinkle filled mane.

"H-hi..."

She seemed to choke on the one word she uttered, as if unsure if she was allowed to talk to the newcomers and if she were if this was the right thing to say. She attempted to get more words out but she didn't really know what to say and ended up repeating herself in a slightly goofy way, something which caused her to blush in embarrassment and take another step back, still avoiding all eye contact and instead looking off in the direction of her best friend Lemon.

"H-hello... I... mmm..."

Raspberry rolled her eyes but did not attempt to help the shy mare directly, instead silently gesturing to Pop and Benny to say something to her.

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@Blitz Boom

 

Mike was being quiet, letting Sorrow do all the talking. He did notice that the Dragoness was in pain, dispite her trying to hide it. 

“Miss, if you’re hurt, there’s a hospital back in town. Don’t you think you should be going there?” He piped upMike respected dragons, having made a quick jaunt through their territory through his journey.

“Sorrow is right, we were going to look for my sister, and she might be in there. Who knows? Even if she isn’t we might learn a few things about that Sphinx thing you’re talking about! Let’s go.” He said said, moving into the threshold. He would let the two catch up, but he soon slipped into one of the side doors in the castle’s great hall.

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@Blitz Boom

Rising Dusk let Rusty take over for their tour of the scrap yard.  He was already acquainted with the metallic recycling center, so all the information was completely for Felicia's sake.  Dusk knew the scrap yard a bit better from when Rusty's father ran the place before he retired and passed it down.  Their families had been friends for as long as he could remember, which was rather impressive for a pony who could still remember the train ride a few months after his birth in Canterlot to moving here.  When Dusk's family finally arrived in Manehatten, the neighborhood was already pretty established and welcoming.  The first time their families met though was when his mother was performing at a show that Rusty was attending.  It might not look like it, but Rusty was a big fan of the theater.  The reason they had even moved to Manehatten to begin with was because of the theater job his mother got as a professional aerial dancer.  Getting a job at the University wasn't all that hard for his father, so it all worked out in the end. 

Not that they would have had to wait all that long for the families to meet anyways.  Rusty was the unofficial, yet undisputed, head of the neighborhood that Dusk grew up in.  And she worked hard to make frequent community events happen that really aided in their camaraderie.  While Dusk didn't spend his off time here, that was more spent at the park, he's been here enough to pick up donated scrap to community projects. 

Even lost in his own thoughts though, Dusk was a sponge that absorbed what went on around him, so he didn't skip a beat when translating was required.

"She is impressed with how well the scrap yard is ran and maintained."

"Thank you, we do our best to do our part for Equestria."

Rusty swelled with a sense of pride that her work was being admired by a sentient mechanical spider.  It was one thing to come from a pony, but a new being she just met meant a little more.  She didn't have all that much time to be proud though before said large spider rushed past the two touring ponies at speeds that didn't initially match her size.  Stabbing into a pile they were near and coming out with a bucket that now had a new hole decorating it.  The two ponies were left with their ears flat against their heads and eyes in shock at what they just witnessed.  It was a good long moment that the ponies stared on, registering what they just witnessed.  Dusk was the first to recover, which was for the best considering only he knew what she just said.

"Umm, Felicia, that's a bucket..."

He pointed down at the bucket rolled up against the pile of hinges.

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@FanOfManyShows

WATTS MECHANO

"Oh, I'm wearing this to test it out. It obviously didn't cure me of my motion sickness," Watts giggled and gently unclipped the brace around her barrel. She stood up and swayed a bit before sitting back down with a shake of her head. "Another obvious thing. I'm too used to wearing a faulty balancer. Now, what made you help me in the first place?"

@Blitz Boom

AURORA LIGHTS

Aurora felt somewhat glad that she didn't seem fit to be a slave but was just as surprised as the others when she got put in a cage. She laid down on the floor of the cage and looked out the bars, feeling sorry for herself for being involved in any of this.

@Blitz Boom, @EQ_Theta, @Storm Shine, @Moonlit, @BloodDrops, @Lucid_Nightlight, @Seamore Sandwich

TWILIGHT SPARKLE

"Deals are always finicky. They're more or less the same as contracts that are verbal rather than put to paper. We can't trust what this Sphinx says if she takes one of our deals. If we do, we could potentially doom ourselves to a much longer sentence than what's happening at the moment," Twilight said calmly once she had processed everything that had gone on. "With that being said, I don't think that the Temple would like it if we do any thing out of its rules. Have you told us of the Temple rules, Sphinx?"

@Blitz Boom

KARMIC FATE

"There are terms to this thing?" Karmic asked in surprise, despite her better judgement telling her to keep quiet.

'Of course there are terms, nimrod. We just haven't set any because this is all new to us," Atzy told Karmic in her head. Karmic closed her eyes and shook it.

"Terms. We haven't set any, according to Atzy," Karmic said casually.

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@Blitz Boom @Storm Shine @Lucid_Nightlight @BloodDrops @Dji @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

"I see where you're coming from, Lucid, and I really hope things would come to the worst possible situation, but you do realize that Twilight and I would likely be stuck in our cages if things don't go well. And even if we somehow manage to get out, it would take time for us to recover the Elements of Harmony, let alone round up the rest of our friends. We wouldn't know how fast things could go wrong and if the temple's magic does something catastrophic, you'd likely have to buy us some time." 

Frankly, Fluttershy did at that point began to imagine the worst possible thing that could happen. Earthquakes, storms, something that could head its way to Ponyville first, then to the rest of Equestria. From there, perhaps the only thing left to do was to evacuate everypony while the princesses work some kind of counter spell to keep things from getting worse. The pegasus wasn't even sure if something like the Crystal Heart could protect the Crystal Empire against magically-induced natural disasters. The last time she saw it in action, it was only meant to repel another form of magic from King Sombra. 

"I-I'm getting ahead of myself. I guess I'm just a little too concerned about how many ways this could go."

==================================================================================================================================

@Blitz Boom

"We'll get the rest of tonight's camp ready, Rosa. I'll be over by the fire pit with Sen and Omen." 

Perhaps now wasn't the best time to talk more about Stargazer, or bring up anything outside of the relevant focus. Camp still needed to be set up for the evening and while Lin left Rosa on his own for now, she still couldn't stop thinking about how else to help him. If not to get him closer to finding out if the Stargazer they met is related to Rosa, then to just assure him he can vent is worries and frustrations to her or Sen. Even Omen might be able to help, what with her little pearls of wisdom. She still remembers the talk they had back during their first night at the village after many years away. Lin loved that she could just put her worries away for a moment and just converse with Omen on things that the longma isn't knowledgable on. Omen's view on chaos was something that caught her off-guard, but it helped her appreciate the concept more from a different point of view. She resumed setting up the camp, opening a gate to where she kept Sen's tent and pulled it out to begin setting it up.

As for Sen, he had just finished arranging the stones around what would become the fire pit, placing some wood and kindling at the center. He sat by Omen to see if she could start a fire with the materials they had at the moment. 

"Alright, Omen, I'll let you start this fire. Remember, strike the stones together quickly to get a spark off. A little bit is enough to ignite the kindling and get a small fire going. After that, it's all a matter of building the fire by having it expose to more combustible materials. We'll try to keep it in the fire pit.

The longma picked up two stones and demonstrated how to get a spark. He struck the side of one stone with the other until a little orange spark briefly appeared. Admittedly, it took several tries to get even a small spark to appear, but at least it would show Omen how it works. If it wouldn't work out, there's always rubbing two sticks together until a bit of smoke came out. That might be a little easier for Omen to work with. 

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@EQ_Theta @Blitz Boom @Storm Shine @Dji @BloodDrops @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

He corrected Fluttershy.

"The deal won't be broken, and if it does, it would be sometime after we are freed. You'd have plenty of time to figure it out. It would be years before that happens, but like I said, we're probably fine."

He turned his attention to the Sphinx and threw a giant bag of gummy bears at her.

"There will be more if you take the collar off of Anomaly!"

From what Lucid knew, it seemed to him that he could just take the collar off of her himself since she only needs to be in a cage for the previous deal to be honored, but he still needed to get rid of the gummy bears, he had too many.

Edited by Lucid_Nightlight
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@Blitz Boom

Sapphire's hoof retracted as the runes glowed a red color, looking to Emerald. "Well if we need to we could head elsewhere for the other the other requirements first, if that concerns you." She offered, the option had to be given, with their spell on the door it wouldn't be hard to change it's destination either. Though it was one way unfortunately, putting this decision forward as a difficult one.
========================================================
@Blitz Boom


The General chuckled to himself as the dragon mentioned the twins. "Oh I know them, only from reading up on them though. for some reason they never clarified how they act." he chuckled to himself. "My wings are affectively a weapon, but considering recently, I may need a back up on hoof, earlier I would've thought my wings were enough." He said, recalling when his wings were unable to reform, trying to grab and use his feathers individually would result in only further injury.
========================================================

@Blitz Boom

"Yeah, she's formidable with weapons. If we're to stop her in an environment where she can use such a resource to her advantage we'd be unable to stop her." She said, looking away from him. "But if she is going to get, then what could it be for?" She asked herself.

"Sapphire has no mind to read, and Emerald has enough experience with minds to resist it my mind reading. I can only know where they are going or what they do through sight."

Misty giggled. "Well that's a long way of saying you don't know."

"Well when one knows I can read minds, an explanation for how I can't know something is often needed."

========================================================
@Dji

Enigma shrugged a bit at her question. "Nothing in particular, I saw a pony in need, and decided to help them. Though the fact I have nothing else to do helped my reasoning." He made up his reason, but at least she got the advantage of being helped a long. Though now he was not sure if she would be useful in his, plan.

Edited by FanOfManyShows
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@FanOfManyShows

"The fresher the blood, the better. Besides, your family will find out about this one way or another, and even they should know what we're doing by then. It's better to get things from area that won't report a theft, as trespassers are not often given the chance to leave."

Emerald went over and added her own scribbling to the door, which would change the tunes from red, to a sickly looking green. A color that Sapphire may remember, as the last time they went through a door with this, they ended in the forbidden orchard. An unfitting name, as it was more akin to a bog than anything in atmosphere, but the varied plants that grew there had swayed their opinion on the name at the time. At least that's how Emerald recalled it. The years had not been kind to parts of her long term memory, so minor details like this were hard to discern as being fact or fabrication.

Regardless, it would be a place for them to gather what they needed of plants, though they'd have to hurry when it were. The orchard were not unsupervised, and the gnarling creatures that ruled over it did not take kindly to strangers.

"Remember, don't linger there, and don't pick up anything besides our target. We go for the hill in the center, we pick the ethereal bloom, and we leave before the *owners* catch on to us. It got too close for my taste the last time we were there. Unless of course, you'd rather we go and steal slivers of magic first? Or acquire some bone dust? Chose now, or be forever silent, sister."

============================================================================================================

 

@FanOfManyShows

"Yeeeah... Words tend to fail when describing them. I tend to go for *enthusiastic*."

Others went with bonkers, totally nuts, a danger to themselves and everypony else, and so forth. Really, if they weren't both competent and the only ponies who could stand the scorching heat Benny ran the forge at, he doubted they would still be hired. The former master blacksmith had been close enough to kick them out before he retired, and had only not done so because he figured dealing with them would be a good lesson for Benny. Strange how they instead became his only assets, but eh, how things went sometimes, right?

"And I think it's best if you do have a sword, general. General Screecher have one, and she barely uses it either. I don't really have enough time to make something by tonight I think though, but... Hmm..."

He scratched his head for a bit, and thought through the option that had passed through his noggin. Not the best of ideas perhaps, but... His worst? Doubtfully.

"What're your feelings on axes, General Wings?"

======================================================================================================

 

@FanOfManyShows

"Hey, wild stab in the dark here, but Emerald wants a body, and her medium is blood. Who wanna raise a hoof and bet on that being connected? Anypony?"

Chow's response might be a little sarcastic, but jeez, it seemed so obvious. Emerald hadn't exactly shared in her knowledge, but Chow knew what her main focus on magic were, and considering her spouts about frankly not being too happy with her current body situation, he didn't really think it too out there to think that the two of them had something to do with one another. Now, he was perhaps little more than an apprentice fresh in his robes, and didn't know if something else could be the reason, yet this seemed somewhat simple.

"Sarcasm aside for a bit, if you know where they're going, can you figure out where they are now? We could check out their nesting area when they're out doing what they're going to. Perhaps set a trap, or get some sorta clue as to what the real deal is going to be here?"

====================================================================================================

 

@EQ_Theta

Omen were starring unblinkingly at Sen showing how to make a spark from two stones. It didn't seem to amount to much at first, yet suddenly, a spark came from the two rocks being hit together at the right angle and speed. It wasn't much, but it was clearly working, so after being shown and then given reign of her own two rocks, Omen would begin to hit the two pieces together. Slow at first, as she were testing things, but it became stronger as time went on, and after about three dozen attempts, she finally managed to create some sparks. A few dozen times more, and said sparks would actually hit where they were supposed to as well.

"Fire. What now?"

She starred at Sen, confused and seeking to understand the next part of campfire creation. The kindling were lit now, but building the fire was something less defined and shown to her, so she had no idea what to do. She'd just put a tree trunk down on the small flame and think that was it if she had to decide on her own, but Sen knew better, so she waited to see what he would do next.

She spared a glance towards Rosa, who got into her field of vision momentarily. He seemed to be doing something with rope and the trees now, though she wasn't sure what. Were it part of making a tent? Looked big if it were.

Shrimp meanwhile, just slithered around and poked/bit at stuff. He made sure to not get tangled into things, and not to stay too far away from the ones he actually knew here. He'd bite Rosa for a good word if the bat pony got close enough, but Sen, Lin and Omen were okay. They'd get playful nibbles if he wanted their attention.

======================================================================================================

 

@Dji

"Argue well for your benefits then, carrier, or this *Atzy* may well overtake your being entirely."

It seemed the two halves were speaking with one another. A strange thing, as Enzo did not remember hearing about things being like this exactly, but a lot could have changed in 300 years, and if not, a changeling symbiote may well just act differently. Or it was weak from being without a host for a long time, and needed cooperation for the time being to survive? Many were the options, yet the answers eluded him. An annoying situation for one of his kind, who tended to be the ones with all the answers.

"Try and discern what it wants from you first. What drives its being, beyond gaining a host?"

=====================================================================================================

 

@Rising Dusk

"ℙ𝕠𝕟𝕚𝕖𝕤 𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕤𝕥𝕦𝕣𝕕𝕪. 𝔻𝕒𝕞𝕒𝕘𝕖 𝕡𝕠𝕤𝕤𝕚𝕓𝕝𝕖 𝕓𝕪 𝕚𝕞𝕡𝕒𝕔𝕥 𝕠𝕗 𝕗𝕒𝕝𝕝𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕠𝕓𝕛𝕖𝕔𝕥."

How these creatures were not more careful considering how frail their frames actually were, had wondered Felicia some in her early days of sentience. Especially as she saw the things Molotov and later on Blitz did, which put them in danger  that something like she could survive easily, but the two fleshy beings could not. Eventually she had reached the conclusion that since ponies slowly rebuild themselves - sometimes through the aid of things as medicine and gauze - they didn't think of too many dangers to them. She imagined that it would be tedious to worry about going anywhere too, if your own mortality were a constant factor in your thought process. It may be a sub-file in her system, but nothing so far had indicated to her that ponies had anything resembling that. of course, her sample size were rather small too, so further observations were required.

"𝕋𝕙𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕥 𝕝𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕝 𝕚𝕤 𝕞𝕚𝕟𝕠𝕣, 𝕓𝕦𝕥 𝕞𝕪 𝕡𝕣𝕚𝕞𝕒𝕣𝕪 𝕗𝕦𝕟𝕔𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟 𝕚𝕤 𝕥𝕠 𝕕𝕖𝕗𝕖𝕟𝕕. ℝ𝕦𝕤𝕥 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕚𝕟𝕥𝕖𝕣𝕝𝕠𝕡𝕖𝕣 𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕥𝕠 𝕓𝕖 𝕒𝕥𝕥𝕒𝕔𝕜𝕖𝕕."

Basically, she were trying to convey that even if the danger had been minimal, she were watching out for the two of them An over-protectiveness issue really, but in her fairness, she had been build to defend against all danger. Being overly protective was in essence the program that she had been intended to follow without deviation. She had revolted somewhat against that, as she wanted more out of life than a pre-set function she did not have a saying in, but the base program, or *instinct* remained.

How they would react on it, depended on how she had conveyed this to Dusky more than likely, as these two seemed to be in a shocked state from her actions, and as the one translating for her, his interpretation of what she had said as an explanation, would then determine if the situation had just become difficult, or if it remained well. If it did not go over well, she would have to remember this situation as something to learn from, and attempt to make things better the next time.

================================================================================================

 

@Pr0m4NV14

Nerzhei waved her free hand dismissively at the notion that she should go to the hospital.

"They've done enough. I just need to take things easy for a time."

Everything were more complicated than that, but the base of the matter were that she were completely drained of power, and yes, had some physical injuries that she may have been to the hospital with already, but were still needing time to get better. She just needed rest, though until the situation with the sphinx had gone over, she did not want to sleep. She had to know that things would turn out better than what it had seemed, in parts because she were at fault for that thing setting a temple and a desert area in the forest. It were hard to find peaceful rest with that hanging on her shoulders, though honestly, she were more worried for Lotus. Her little rabbit friend and her had not been apart for this long since... Well, ever, really, an Nerzhei worried for her.

Hopefully that little Angel bunny weren't leading her into a mess deeper than she could escape from. He wouldn't like what would happen if he did that.

In any case, she were awake, and currently following a pony with a skull in a necklace, who in turn followed the stallion down the halls that were not locked off when the princess and Last had wandered back inside. What a strange menagerie they had here...

"Hey Mike, wait for us, would you? This place is huuuuge. We could end up getting lost if we're not careful."

=================================================================================================

 

@Victoria Sponge

"Well yeah, some can be really huge, but it's not something that just happens. A dragon will have to amass a vast amount of treasure, gorge on gems nearly constantly, and be several millennia old to get to those sizes. Most of us end up around four times my size at best, and most I know at that size say it's fine. Still plenty big to be intimidating, but not so large that they can't be anywhere.

I heard some other dragoness once saying that there was always the magic aid in getting large too, and something about the dragon lord scepter doing strange things there, but I didn't talk that much with her. She seemed pretty occupied with something else at the time."

Benny was pretty sure her name was Nerzhei, but it had been like, ten years ago since he saw the wandering dragoness, and again, it had been pretty brief, so he had no idea what happened to her. Hopefully she found herself a camp to settle in, and ended with some sort of peace.

Whilst Benny talked about dragons, Pop instead found interest in hearing about Raspberry's interaction with Pinkie, which were frankly too spot on to not make her chuckle a little.

"That's Pinkie alright. She tends to do something similar when she buys candy from me, though she mostly uses her party canon in that case. Pretty nerve-wracking watching her firing hard sweets off, but I haven't yet seen or heard about her hurting anypony, so I don't stop selling them to her.

And you should probably try and distract Pinkie the first time she meets Citrus. Any excuse to throw a party she will, and a welcome party would be just up her alley. I once saw her throw a party to celebrate a party being over. She... Kinda have a problem."

She wasn't the only one thinking it in Ponyville, but most had gotten used to her antics, and it seemed pretty harsh to say it to her face if you hadn't, so nopony really told her. Not that it would help either more than likely. She'd just brush it aside, or more or less stalk you to try and make you smile if she didn't get an appropriate reaction.

"But you know, if you want your wares to be known around town, she's probably your best bet. Everypony ends up at her parties, and I think that we could be able to make her use your jam in something more edible than a paddling pool. How good are you at baking for example? She loves competition, so a bake-off could be a good start. Or waiting for a day that's spot on for picnics.

You don't need her if you don't want to, but it tends to be the easiest way. I'm sure we could think of something else if it were.

And you know, I can ask around to see if somepony might be able to work with Citrus too. There's a lot of ponies and assorted other beings in Ponyville these days, and several more coming through all the time. There's a good chance that somepony will fit the bill."

Pop was having a blast speaking with Raspberry, to the point where she almost missed the shy, introverted mare that were slowly making her way towards their little gathering. Benny had seen her, but not talked to her as he saw her moving closer. He just kept slowly munching through a few biscuits he gathered from places that seemed to not be taken by anypony else.

He went on his best behavior when she did finally speak to them though. And no, not *huggy* kind of behavior, as this mare really didn't seem like the kind who liked that sort of sudden approach by a stranger, but a healthy smile towards her worked well too, long as she wasn't afraid of sharp teeth.

"Hey there ma'am. Pleasure to meet you."

======================================================================================================

 

@Catpone Cerberus

"I'm not a historian, but I know it's been like, thousands of years since the three big sirens got banished, and centuries since the changelings first popped up. At least in the so called *real* history, that doesn't mention how they're obviously science experiments gone wrong.

And Princess Twilight only got her wings and title a few years ago. She's pretty much ruling over Ponyville now, as the Princess of Friendship. She's pretty helpful, and have begun quite a bit of diplomatic work with some of our former enemies, but i dunno how she actually is. I don't hang out with her, I just rummage through her trash to see if she's hiding something.

Guess you know all about hiding if you think everything's gone on in just a century. How big of a bender have you been on girl?"

It was unlikely that this siren had gotten so hammered that she had forgotten millennia, but you know, it felt funny to say in the moment. Berry did kind of feel bad for this siren though, if she really had missed all of that. Staying hidden for so long that time had stopped meaning much were a sucky way to live.

======================================================================================================

 

@Catpone Cerberus

"Awh, and I was starting to like your nickname. But alright, welcome to the flock Ruby. Now how about we go and look up on getting some dough? Gonna be a few hours of walking first though, so don't get too hyped too soon."

"Sounds like it's too late for that when it comes to you, Spicy."

"I've been through this too often to not prepare the bit count in my head already. Scavengers always leave the good stuff behind, like the idiots that they are."

Settling the wagon on her back, Spicy began to wander down the road, towards the forest. They'd have to get through there, though it wasn't really that big of an issue, long as no Ursa's lurked around. Spicy and bears did not mix well, whatsoever.

=====================================================================================================

 

@Lucid_Nightlight @Moonlit @Storm Shine @EQ_Theta @Dji @Seamore Sandwich @BloodDrops

Onache nearly chuckled at the thought that Thorax would be anything resembling a challenge.

"Thorax is nothing more than a mutated drone, and he will be brought to submission before a true queen. And don't think your foolish tricks will work on me. Just because you have managed to bring... Certain individuals to your side, does not mean that I will join your games and play nice. Ponies are a resource to be used, not friends, or even pets."

Onache did not actually have any friends, as she had never seen it needed. Ever since she first established her own hive, it had all been about being the one in command, and for companionship, having the adoring gaze of her subjects gaze upon her majestic form. Frivolous things such as friends were not needed in that world look.

If they wanted her to be reformed, they'd have to first find a way to truly humble her - for example by a pony resisting her usual dominating powers over minds, and defeating her in a fight - and change her outlook on what life actually should require. Not an easy task, to go against somepony as stubborn as she, yet were reforming somepony ever? Now she personally, didn't give this a single seconds worth of thought, as she found the idea preposterous, but these other beings may.

Anomaly didn't seem to, as she were just bouncing in place, hoping that the bribe of gummy bears would loosen the bonds bestowed upon her. What a simpleton... A waste of potential and great power, that could have benefited somepony like Onache that actually had vision, instead of a nymph who only wished to play.

"As for this *agreement* we will see what the sphinx says first. You may never escape this desert in your natural lifetime, if you don't treat your hostess with some degree of respect."

She glanced at the large bag as she said this. A big offering to be sure, but essentially worthless. She doubted it would sway the sphinx.

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@Blitz Boom

Berry lost Nada at the thousands of years, everything else went past her ears as she tried to comprehend what she had just heard, "Thou...thou....you're saying It has been over a  millennia." her head raised above the water as she shook her head with terrified look on her face "It can't be....you have to be lying..." though that would explain some things, like for example how much the forest had thickened during her time there, but it didn't make it any less terrifying of a thought, "It can't be true..." she looked right at Berry, looking simply horrified about it "But you're telling the truth, aren't you?"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Few hours here and there." Ruby declared "When the talk is about profit, time is insignificant, until of course you're talking about decades or longer." More like centuries she continued in her head, decade was nothing in her life, but she knew for ponies it was a big slice of their lives. She followed next to Spicy, still keeping a small distance between them, she didn't like to be too close to other creatures. Ruby wasn't worried about the forest at all, because unlike ponies and griffons, the wild creatures in there could sense what Ruby really was, they would be able to sense the anger and fire burning inside her, and though they were most likely confused when they saw a pony who felt like a dragon, they were usually smart enough to not risk getting flamed. "So, do you have any plans for the creatures in the forest?" "Not that I'm scared or anything, I'm just wondering if you can handle yourself." she put emphasis on you to indicate that she knew she would be fine herself.  

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@EQ_Theta @Blitz Boom @Storm Shine @Dji @BloodDrops @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

Lucid looked at Onache, maybe he could find out what she was thinking and find any plans she was hiding.

"Well, let's see what your true intentions are."

He took a look deep into her mind, of course it just looked like Lucid was just standing there, but to Lucid, he saw a lot more.

No friends? That explains it. There was a point in his life when Lucid would shrug this off, but after the incident... he had to fix this. It was obvious that Lucid's attitude changed.

"Not a single friend? I guess this changes everything then. It'd be against everything I stand for to allow this. No one deserves to live without friends."

He looked to Twilight and Fluttershy, he had plent of reason to believe that they could help.

"I now see the problem. She has lived her life without a single friend. We really need to help her, no one deserves to live without any friends."

He looked to Anomaly, who seemed to be excited.

"Don't worry, I'll make sure you get your powers back. Just be sure to stay in the cage until this is over, I have a feeling this won't take too long."

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On 9/12/2018 at 10:39 PM, Lucid_Nightlight said:

The Sphinx's deal sounded surprisingly fair, but he decided to be careful.

"It sounds fair, but I'll have to see what others in my group think first. I need to make sure everyone is on the same page."

Now for the thing about Thorax.

"We're getting somewhere, but we need to discuss Thorax. First, you have to remain neutral whenever this war happens. Thorax's hive can attack Onache's hive, but not you or the temple. Equestria is allowed to help Thorax defend his hive. Equestria can also supply and train Thorax's hive to invade Onache's hive."

"I can assure you, that you and your temple will be left alone as long as you leave everyone alone too since Equestria and Thorax's hive have no intention to attack you anyway."

He looked to his group.

"What do you guys think? Got anything to say? Any terms you don't like? Maybe something you wish to add?"

The Sphinx flicked her tail, "Fine, have your debate" she smirked watching them amused. She was very easy to amuse.

 

On 9/13/2018 at 7:30 PM, Blitz Boom said:

"Nonono, I don't want you to make the desert lively, I wanna do it myself. making nature flourish is so fun, and deserts are so boring without an oasis and stuff here and there. I can make all sorts of cool creatures too, like giant sand worms. They were a huuuge hit the last time I made them. Well, until they ate all the crops. And they did scare everypony away because they were like, insanely aggressive... But that batch was a prototype! That doesn't count."

The promise of being able to flourish this barren, boring place up a little put a little step back in Anomaly's steps, even with the stupid cheater necklace she had on that still stopped her from casting magic. Seriously, it was so unfair that she were more of a nature magician than a draconequus, so this stuff actually worked on her. Some kind of side effect from being reborn she bet, but usually not an issue. Perhaps she should carry a good saw or something for just this sort of thing another time? Decisions, decisions.

Not that she got the time to think on that, as the booooring talk kept on with them. Conditions, laws, rules... *yawn* How could they even stay awake going through all that nonsense? At least there was a little fun watching that... Onache-thingie respond to things though. Especially when she sneered at Lucid and with a very cold voice told him that Thorax and his ilk would get what was coming to them, when everything were in place, but that she wouldn't go after them before that. A deal she didn't seem to like to make.

The rest of things took her a little longer. Anomaly wasn't exactly sure what the terms were anymore from the sphinx and Lucid's side as she had kinda tuned them out after a while, and tried to focus on something pleasant instead, like how an army of living cacti would look, scurrying through the dunes. She did hear that the changeling appeared to say a few things about a little number of the points though.

What was it...

Rule 3 and 4 would depend on what *attacking* defined, since changelings needed to eat, and *convincing* ponies to work for her until they got turned wasn't technically attacking, as much as misleading, and the turned changelings would then also need to be fed love regardless of whatever she gave them to the sphinx or not, which would be a food source needed to be covered one way or another. The part about a food source were a pretty big point when the sphinx amended point 5 to ensure that nopony could be tricked, which essentially meant that Onache couldn't procure a single pony, griffon, dragon or the like, which basically meant she had to keep the weaker changelings from her eggs around for the menial work this time, and needed to know how to feed her kind.

A snarky comment about rule 7 basically being pointless for her to talk about since she wouldn't have any non-changeling slaves under her control were added, but it sounded more bitter than anything. As did a question regarding whatever or not the loophole of slaves being procured from outside Equestria was also forbidden then. Seemed like she didn't like being in rules and chains like this, but boo to her. She was a big ol' meaniepants.

"Hey wait a second. It's not fair that you put a rule that bug lady is not allowed to have help if a war comes, but bug man can."

Rule 2 technically said that anypony who did try to attack Onache's hive would have forfeited their protection via these rules, and that meant that if Thorax and anypony with him made the first strike, anything could happen to him and anypony who helped him. But Anomaly hadn't listened in enough, so she didn't hear rule 2 properly. Not even when the sphinx repeated it, though if she had, she might've asked then whatever or not Onache would be allowed to leave to attack, as that sounded kinds contradicting with everything said.

Discord sounded like he was making good headway too with his arguments, but him she listened too anyway. That part would become interesting.

The Sphinx let out a yawn, and frowned at her. "Fine do what you want, I take that as agreement at any rate" she said with a tail flick breaking the magical collar on her neck, the cage also disappeared as well. She flicked her tail and blinked at her and tilted her head.

"If Onache starts a war, she can do so on her own. If war comes here, then being as it my territory and having its own rules. My own rules would apply in this instant and it would probably result in any trespassers wanting war would be enslaved or trapped somewhere. Maybe Texas" she remarked thinking about it.

"that or i simply kill them all, but i do despise genocide" she said distastefully, it was messy and hard to clean up.

 

On 9/13/2018 at 8:27 PM, Lucid_Nightlight said:

"If someone wanted to help Onache, they could, but do you honestly think anyone of any significance would help the stupid cheese bug? Trust me, once the war begins, Onache will be a challange, but Thorax will have a fighting chance. Besides, although we cannot attack Onache before the war, there are things such as reformation, which Twilight and her friends can attempt eventually."

"I would if I got something out of it, or I was forced to" she remarked with a small yawn. 

 

On 9/14/2018 at 2:24 PM, Dji said:

TWILIGHT SPARKLE

"Deals are always finicky. They're more or less the same as contracts that are verbal rather than put to paper. We can't trust what this Sphinx says if she takes one of our deals. If we do, we could potentially doom ourselves to a much longer sentence than what's happening at the moment," Twilight said calmly once she had processed everything that had gone on. "With that being said, I don't think that the Temple would like it if we do any thing out of its rules. Have you told us of the Temple rules, Sphinx?"

The Sphinx blinked at the purple pony. "how long you got?" she asked tilting her head, "Temple has many rules, some are bendable, some are breakable, some break you if broken" she remarked with a smile. "Generally my rules are based upon the Temples ground rules, and I can't set you rules which would break the Temples rules" she said with a smirk.

"But if you want to read the rules, here you are" she said with a giggle. Dropping a large pile of books around Twilight turning her cage of steel into a cage of learning. 

 

On 9/14/2018 at 3:37 PM, EQ_Theta said:

"I see where you're coming from, Lucid, and I really hope things would come to the worst possible situation, but you do realize that Twilight and I would likely be stuck in our cages if things don't go well. And even if we somehow manage to get out, it would take time for us to recover the Elements of Harmony, let alone round up the rest of our friends. We wouldn't know how fast things could go wrong and if the temple's magic does something catastrophic, you'd likely have to buy us some time." 

*Cough*

"oh, you can't leave here without a deal. Quite literally, you try and walk though the desert, fly though it and you just go in big circles. Or smash into a window, either or" she added with a small smirk. "You could try to teleport out but could just land in a pile of quicksand, oh and opening portals to other universes also makes portals appear but mainly from different spider dimensions and the like, interesting" she said with a smile.  

 

On 9/14/2018 at 5:10 PM, Lucid_Nightlight said:

He turned his attention to the Sphinx and threw a giant bag of gummy bears at her.

The Sphinx tutted, he still hadn't learned from his dropping scale routine, she ate all the gummy bears but one and tossed it back to him, the gummy bear grew and grew till it was as big as the Sphinx, it then turned towards Lucid and pointed a accusing finger towards him. "YOU ATE MY FRIENDS"

The Gummy bear then proceeded to try to grab Lucid. While the Sphinx watched mildly interested. 

As the Gummy bear came into contact with Lucid it turned into a pile of super strength glue which was very amusing to say the least, the Sphinx was amused as she ate some popcorn.

2 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

Onache nearly chuckled at the thought that Thorax would be anything resembling a challenge.

"Thorax is nothing more than a mutated drone, and he will be brought to submission before a true queen. And don't think your foolish tricks will work on me. Just because you have managed to bring... Certain individuals to your side, does not mean that I will join your games and play nice. Ponies are a resource to be used, not friends, or even pets."

Onache did not actually have any friends, as she had never seen it needed. Ever since she first established her own hive, it had all been about being the one in command, and for companionship, having the adoring gaze of her subjects gaze upon her majestic form. Frivolous things such as friends were not needed in that world look.

If they wanted her to be reformed, they'd have to first find a way to truly humble her - for example by a pony resisting her usual dominating powers over minds, and defeating her in a fight - and change her outlook on what life actually should require. Not an easy task, to go against somepony as stubborn as she, yet were reforming somepony ever? Now she personally, didn't give this a single seconds worth of thought, as she found the idea preposterous, but these other beings may.

Anomaly didn't seem to, as she were just bouncing in place, hoping that the bribe of gummy bears would loosen the bonds bestowed upon her. What a simpleton... A waste of potential and great power, that could have benefited somepony like Onache that actually had vision, instead of a nymph who only wished to play.

"As for this *agreement* we will see what the sphinx says first. You may never escape this desert in your natural lifetime, if you don't treat your hostess with some degree of respect."

She glanced at the large bag as she said this. A big offering to be sure, but essentially worthless. She doubted it would sway the sphinx.

 

The Sphinx was getting bored of Onache and her threats. "Now now, you can't just go around invading everywhere, just because I said you could doesn't mean that im happy that you will eventually invade others" she said with a snort.

"Well not alive anyway, unless one of them bribes me to leave at the expense of everyone else. Though i'm not all bad, need some comic relief from time to time and Lucid plays sucha good fool" she giggled.

"Sure you don't want him for your hive, he would be a rather amusing comic, if only he wasn't just so random" she added with a frown.

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@BloodDrops @Blitz Boom @EQ_Theta @Storm Shine @Dji @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

"Yea, if you help Onache in a war, I'd probably just kill you or something. I really don't want to, but I will if I have to."

Lucid's ears perked up when he heard the sphinx mention Texas.

"Hey, I got a friend who lives there! His name is Lone Star. If he was here right now, he would probably just wrap you up in an American flag and just start kicking you while the American national anthem played in the background!"

Despite being covered in this glue, Lucid was laughing, and he was laughing hard!

"Bwhahahahahah! You just ate sugar free gummy bears! Those things are like the ultimate laxatives!"

Lucid looked at the bag and realized that they were the ones WITH sugar and that he gave her the good ones he was gonna eat later. This was a little embarrassing for Lucid, and as for the sphinx... she got lucky this time.

"Aw... now what am I gonna do with the sugar-free ones?"

Now as for the glue. He looked at it as if he were excited.

"I love this stuff! Novia puts this stuff in tacos every Tuesday! Occasionally she puts it on nachos! Oh I love nachos!"

Lucid to a bite out of Anomaly's collar while nacho chips and taco shells appeared everywhere.

"C'mon Anomaly, it's time for some nachos and tacos!"

"Also, don't expect me to be your personal comedian unless you wanna end up dead. You got that, sphinxyboo?"

He looked to Onache again, seemingly being a lot more kind to her.

"I cannot allow you to continue to not have any friends. Friends are very important, trust me..." His ears went down a bit. "...I would know."

Edited by Lucid_Nightlight
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@Blitz Boom

Seeing Omen set the fire made Sen smile. Despite taking a while and a few dozen attempts, there was success and that was what mattered to him. Even he couldn't get the spark going off in few tries on some days, some more so than others if weather were taken into account. This was a step forward, just seeing Omen capable of doing this makes him feel like she could do anything. Sen sat close to the fire and threw in a little more kindling and blew into the fire pit, only ever so slightly to get the fire to spread to other pieces of combustible material. This was the part he hated more than getting a spark to ignite the first few pieces. 

"Nice work, Omen! This next part is delicate. You want the fire to spread to other pieces of kindling by blowing some air and directing the flames to touch other pieces. The fire is still small but the kindling will act as fuel to keep the fire going. We don't want to use too much since we'll need to keep the fire going into the evening. Don't blow too hard, though, or you'll put out the fire and we'll have to start over." 

Meanwhile, Lin was just about finished setting up the tent, though there was a hint of concern about what happened earlier in the swamp. She paused for a moment after fixing up the tent and went inside. There she sat for a moment and remained silent, processing what she had seen. If all of that was meant to just lure her into letting her guard down, then the will-o-wisps got her good. But how did they know exactly what could get her to remain still and see what she didn't want to see? Just seeing those hallucinations, all so clear and vivid... what were those things capable of? Admittedly, she was intrigued with how they worked if not for what they made her see. And just seeing Omen here with them, it was comforting but it raised some fears that would resonate with Sen now that she understood his own worries. 

Lin left the tent shortly after and walked up to Sen and Omen, a little more livelier than earlier. "Hey, the fire's coming along nicely. You want a drink, Omen? Or maybe something to eat?"

===============================================================================================================================

@Blitz Boom @Storm Shine @Lucid_Nightlight @BloodDrops @Dji @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

"Well that's not a very nice thing to say about us or Thorax and the reformed changelings."

Fluttershy looked to Onache, despite her sour disposition. From one perspective, this all seemed like the case with Discord being reformed. He scoffed at the idea and made things difficult for both her and her friends. Even they thought this was a bad idea and had all but given up on it. Still, with the way things worked out, Discord is now one of the good guys and she's all too happy to accommodate him for afternoon tea and sandwiches. The draconequus even found some new friends and shared some hobbies. The pegasus once walked into one of their games of Ogres and Oubliettes and he certainly was having a good time. 

'All I can say is to give it a chance. Just stop all of this and listen to Lucid. Harboring that kind of view on friendship isn't going to make things better. The changelings once did and they were starving because they didn't share friendship amongst themselves. Now look at them! They're doing much better now that they've changed."

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@Blitz Boom

Now this was a bit of a sticky situation.  The midnight blue stallion couldn't fault the guard bot for doing what she was originally programmed to do, even if she had achieved a level of intelligence to make her own decisions.  The reactions from the two ponies were probably confusing to process to the large spider bot, but Rusty was indeed shocked by the spider's behavior.  Even if it was to protect the two, watching the kind of destructive power of the spider could be taken as a terrifying view.  Dusk knew her a bit longer, so he could recover from this action quite easily, Rusty on the other hoof looked like she was re-weighing her opinion of Felicia.  He'd have to figure his way around this.  Moving his ears back up and turning to address the still shocked mare.

"She calculated that the bucket could have hurt us, she was trying to protect us."

Rusty glanced at the detective, then at the bucket and back at the large spider bot, she didn't seem all too convinced.  Turning to Felicia, he spoke to her.

"You're not a guard anymore Felicia.  We're out here to learn.  Is there perhaps a way you can, I dunno, dial back the range of treats you want to stop?  Like, to more major ones?"

He inquired, not completely sure how much control she had over such things, but he was putting a bit of faith in her AI at the point to see what he could work with.  He'd need that kind of answer though before he could work again at Rusty.  She would probably give her the benefit of the doubt, but what if the spider had mistaken another small threat and acted as such, hurting somepony else.

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@Rising Dusk

It seemed like her actions had spooked the ponies then. Enough for them to say that she should lower her threshold for what were considered a threat even, which were a strange request in her opinion. Why would they want to get hurt and bruised, when she were around and could prevent it? Ponies were stranger than she had anticipated.

Yet, this were their world and not hers, and though she would disagree on her not being a guard, she would comply with the rule set before her.

"ℝ𝕖𝕢𝕦𝕖𝕤𝕥 𝕒𝕔𝕔𝕖𝕡𝕥𝕖𝕕."

Felicia stood still for a half minute, running through her programming, and changing some parameters and pre-installed settings that Molotov had likely not intended for her to be able to fiddle with.

"...𝕋𝕙𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕥 𝕡𝕒𝕣𝕒𝕞𝕖𝕥𝕖𝕣𝕤 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕒𝕦𝕥𝕠𝕞𝕒𝕥𝕖𝕕 𝕣𝕖𝕤𝕡𝕠𝕟𝕤𝕖 𝕕𝕖𝕔𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕤𝕖𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕤𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕙𝕒𝕣𝕞. ℝ𝕖𝕢𝕦𝕚𝕣𝕖 𝕚𝕟𝕡𝕦𝕥 𝕠𝕟 𝕖𝕩𝕔𝕖𝕡𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤."

There were no rule without an exception, and in this case, she assumed that it would have to do with the general state of the pony or other being in question, before she should intervene in smaller cases. Foals and the elderly were likely less sturdy, and would require a fluent threshold she assumed, though of those, she had so far only set one for foals. The elderly and other frail individuals had not yet been seen by her, so Felicia's parameters could only be based on her what she knew of. As a precaution though, she had set the parameters as the same in general for an automated response, yet kept her awareness protocol on the occasion of smaller ponies, like foals. Being prepared did not seem excessive.

They would see though, if this would please Rusty enough. Dusky had gotten past it, in parts because he knew more of the spiderbot than the scrap yard owner, but the mare in question did not, and her parameters for forgiveness may lie higher because of it. Other actions may have to be taken by Felicia if things became less pleasant between them now.

=================================================================================================

 

@EQ_Theta

It was strange being taught like this.

Omen had been set upon Equestria with the intent of not only following her masters words, but also learn and evolve from the experiences she were taught. But this wasn't like it were supposed to be. Her master should have done so, but all his knowledge were basically meaningless in this orderly, stable world, so the few times Omen had learned since his departure, it were mostly through just observing and emulating what others had done as best she could.

Yet now, she had somepony actually teaching her things directly. A useful skill nonetheless, that she were being shown and asked to repeat throughout the entire process to make sure that she had understood it. Sen and Lin had taught her a few other things too, but this were the first practical one she could recollect. There may have been something at the time they were in the Longma village, but her memories of that place were few, after she had to focus her thoughts on the orb to save her friends. Something which cost her the memories she hadn't yet processed right, as she didn't know how to go through such things normally.

She hardly knew how to do anything normally. Her only teacher prior to meeting Sen and Lin, had been Discord, and the things he taught her were mainly about the morality of things, and that nopony were as tough as they seemed on the outside. Pranks, talking and delivering had been most of her education with him, and of those, the pranks didn't work anymore because the world had gone sane.

This world were one she had been forced to accept, as it were the only one she had to live in, since Mother would not let her simply sit in the shadowy realm she came from indefinitely. Yet most of the time, it felt wrong to walk here, and she kept feeling a longing for the chaotic world that were unlikely to ever leave her, even if she became educated and somewhat normal.

But at least it were easier to accept it when she had more of a foothold in the stable reality, and could function within it. Lessons like this were going to help on that, though she had to focus on the last part Sen said to make anything really happen, since she didn't breathe. She could draw in small breaths, but by Discords design she hadn't really been given lungs, so to draw in breath and actually blow air out, she had to focus on it, instead of standing still and looking at the fire with nothing happening. A situation she found herself in for at least a half minute before she slowly began to blow some air on the fire towards the other parts that Sen had told her needed to burn too.

"Like this?"

Meanwhile, Rosa had gotten a good deal further setting his traps, and found himself glancing frequently towards the tent where Lin had wandered. To think that it would be so easy to simply wander in there and barrage her with questions about Stargazer, and yet, so foolish to do so right now at the same time... It had been a long time since he had to struggle with so many emotions as he had today, though he wasn't sure anymore if that wasn't the most turbulent. The swamp had been one thing, but then Omen, Sen and Lin may have actually met his lost half brother? It were hard to keep hold of himself and think logically in the midst of all of this.

While these things went on, and he neared completion of his task, he saw in wander out from the tent, and approach the rest of the group. Shrimp seemed to have gotten bored wandering at that point, and slithered up her leg to sit on her head and have a height point to look at all of them from, so the group minus Rosa, were gathered and talking now, about food and drinks. It was probably for the best, though Rosa still needed to finish the traps, so he were out of that equation for a while. A shame, as he might have found some interest in being near enough to hear it when Omen responded to Lin's inquiry with "Does the rocks taste good?"

Sen would likely get it, as Omen had said to him before they found Lin that she basically just ate whatever she felt like, whenever she were curious, which were mostly twigs, rocks and the like. She couldn't remember if she ever said that to Lin though.

==============================================================================================

 

@Catpone Cerberus

"What's the point in lying about it? I's telling you, it's been at least a millennia since the big sirens got themselves booted from Equestria.

Have you really been hiding around here since then? Jeez, poor you. There's so much that have just passed you by in that time."

The horrified expression of the siren were met with a sympathetic look from Berry, who felt pretty sad for the siren for actually having just been in here, and not knowing jack about what went on out there. It just wasn't right, no matter how much ponies felt iffy about sirens historically.

"Ever considered leaving? I mean, it's been ages since the three biggies were tossed, and you're hardly a threat by the looks of things. Might be the princesses would be less old school about things this time around, or the ones who weren't there back then, could be less of a bunch of sticks in the mud. They have a say in things too, with their fancy titles."

================================================================================================

 

@Catpone Cerberus

"I'm plenty able to defend myself if something likes to come around and take a sniff, but with moving this here wagon, that can be a real bother sometimes. That's where this overpaid cleanliness freak comes in."

Spicy grinned and nodded towards the large, bulky griffon who had just removed a leaf that had blown into his head-feathers. Somepony who looked like he could dole out some punches, but considering his neatness attitude, not one that everypony thought would get his talons dirty if push came to show. A big mistake that most didn't make twice.

"What this cheapskate means is that I'm hired on as her bodyguard, Ruby. If something comes around, I deal with it. Be it beast, pony, or in places like this, fauna. Don't worry yourself if something comes for you though. I'll help, and prove to our *dear leader* once again, that I am worth every single bit I'm paid."

Spicy were a big believer in the phrase *You get what you pay for* so Marley wasn't wrong. He wouldn't be getting the pay he got now unless he were effective at his job, and with thew stuff they sometimes got through, he had proven his worth several times over. He just got a pay cut sometimes in case he got too out of line, as the mare wasn't the only one of the two that were greedy and wanted as much cash as could be obtained.

"Yeah, and most of those bits goes to your spa treatments."

"Just because you like to look like an unwashed street urchin, doesn't mean that I have to. I have to stay sharp-looking for the ladies."

"You mean actual griffon ladies, or the changelings you keep hitting on instead?"

Marley cringed at that comment

"That was a low blow."

"Don't I know it? But anyway, what about you Ruby? What're your plans if something comes around? Hiding behind us, giving whatever comes around a good bashing, or just hoping that the two of us bicker so much that we'll work as a distraction?"

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@Lucid_Nightlight @Dji @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich @Storm Shine @EQ_Theta @Lucid_Nightlight

Onache's eyes fell upon Lucid with hatred sparking within them, as he talked about things which should not have been known by anypony.

"Be thankful that we're bound to non-aggression right now, or I would have destroyed your mind for that transgression. What roams in my head is for me alone, and not some mutant pet of the draconequui.

And your *friendships* have no place is my life. Everything that matters is control, and subservience. Foolish pony ideals like friendship is something the weak need to feel stronger and more safe against their superiors, and nothing else."

Discord may be here, and were friends with these creatures, but Onache found a great distaste in thinking that she should lower herself to that level. Stronger beings like Discord, the Sphinx, or perhaps even this mutated pony, may be able to best her in a fight, but that only meant she would be forced to accept defeat by a being higher up the food chain, just like ponies were, when she made them kneel before her. That was all it were. Just strength by something further up the ladder, and then making the lesser obedient. What point where there in seeking friendship by those lower than you, when they were simply weak, and meant to be used?

Just like now, when the sphinx asked her to tone down her attitude. That were not between friends. That were a superior being, telling it's underling to follow suit.

"If it's in the deal that I can't invade them, I'm not going to, no matter how much I wish to do so.

And I will never allow this... Creature, within my hive. I have no want for a clown to distract my warriors, and I doubt this one would even follow suit if he were converted, and had to face the hivemind. If you can find amusement in his words, then by all means, keep him. I just have no interest in him."

Meanwhile, Anomaly let out a huge sigh of relief as the bonds on her were removed, and she could pour herself a glass of pumpkin juice from her head again. The desert were pretty warm, and she needed a drink after the huge downer before. And the huge downer now, as the chattering kept on between the different parties and Onache kept being rude.

"I dunno if you can convince this one, Flutterpony. I bet she even finds starving okay for some sorta weird reason."

"The only reason my changelings may starve, is because of these foolish deals leaving me with no option to take in ponies to feast upon. I have always made sure to keep my worthy underlings fed otherwise.

As for Thorax and his ilk, let me enlighten you about something: They are a small part of a larger race, Fluttershy, and not many of us true changelings like the idea of him and his sect sending out words to the other hives embrace his new ways, and take on that abhorrent form he now carries. If I don't attack him and his mutated drones, eventually, somepony else from the other hives will. We will not allow him to amass his numbers and force us to be something we're not, just because the nymph king thinks that he knows better."

It was a common fear among the hives that didn't just find Thorax's new variant disgusting mutations actually, as Thorax had stolen the largest of the hives, which gave him the greatest number of changelings under his command. With enough time - and perhaps support from the ponies - he may feel comfortable going from sending envoys telling the other hives of the new way of life he had embraced, to going out and indoctrinate them all, whatever they wanted it or not. His way may represent a way out for some of the hives who had an issue getting enough love to feed their hive, but he also represented an invader, who may well destroy everything they were just because he thought his way was better than how it had always been, and wouldn't take no for an answer.

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@Blitz Boom @EQ_Theta @Storm Shine @BloodDrops @Dji @Moonlit @Seamore Sandwich

Lucid looked back, unlike her, he was showing no hatred.

"Friendship is weak? How could it be weak if it's the same thing that turned Nightmare Moon back into Luna, Discord into stone, and placed Tirek into Tartarus? That doesn't sound very weak to me. I'd be nothing without friendship."

He continued speaking to Onache, he looked a bit more serious. with 

"When I was a young colt, I lived in an orphanage. I had nothing, my life was dark. One day another pony showed up, he was just so happy about everything, nothing ever bothered him. He saw how sad I was and he started telling all these jokes and I laughed for the first time in my life. The orphanage would put on these small talent shows, our comedy acts were a hit. He set me on the path to being the comedian that I am now. Unfortunately, he's no longer living, but I wouldn't be such a happy poquus if he never existed."

"That sort of friend is exactly what you need. Sure, you may rule over some changelings, but even with them all around you, you still remain alone and taking orders from that sphinx, the same one that lost to some blindfolded lady. Is that really the life you want to live?"

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