Blitz Boom

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@Blitz Boom

Thunder rubs the back of his neck "Yeah, I suppose it is just the way that my parents raised me" he'd chuckle a little and nod "I'm sure there are doctors or healers here that could easily use magic on my wing but..." he'd chuckle "Honestly I don't entirely trust them to use that magic on me" he says "how am I supposed to learn, if I can just have my broken wing reset? No, I'd rather be grounded for now, and learn that crashing into a cliff is not a good thing" he would say with a chuckle.

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@Blitz Boom

AURORA LIGHTS

"Meat is meat. I got fond of it over the years. No, I wouldn't mind taste testing whatever kind of meat you manage to cook up. A shame you can't taste it, though, but desserts are always nice," Aurora giggled. She kept pace with him as they walked through the desert and idly munched on the jerky she got given. "It's salty, yeah, but it doesn't detract from the taste. It ... what am I trying to say? It gives it more punch? But tone it down next time a tad? Maybe? I don't know what goes into these things."

@Blitz Boom

KARMIC FATE & ATZY

"Through the middle one then," Karmic breathed out to prepare herself and walked forward, in front of Enzo so he wouldn't lose sight of her.

'There are lots of diamonds down this path,' Atzy's voice echoed within Karmic's mind, causing her to glance at the walls. She did see the diamond gems all around where there were none before getting to the fork in the path.

"Hey, Enzo? Did we need diamonds for the egg? We found a whole bunch on the walls. Could just be a freak vein though," Karmic commented.

@Blitz Boom & @Widdershins

TWILIGHT SPARKLE

"For lack of a better word, it looks dumb," Twilight said in surprise and shock. She studied the way the pony hybrid walked and then promptly sat, and it doesn't look like it cared at all about them. "Besides, I'm not hurt. It was just a lot of plant sap," she added, her hoof going to her mane. She pulled away and strands of something slimy connected her hoof to her mane momentarily before it broke off as her hoof got further away. "From what I remember in my own encounter, Tatzlwurms attack on sight and are relentless. Or that could have just been Discord tampering with its behaviour. Either way, this creature is in no way a Tatzlwurm." She stayed where she was, behind Last but next to Cherish, who she turned her attention to now.

"Cherish, what are you able to do, exactly? Are you able to possess plant hybrids? Maybe this one knows on some kind of level where to find a Tatzlwurm," Twilight suggested to her ghostly friend.

@Widdershins

DAWN STREAK

"I offered! You could have just as easily said no and flew off! You'd probably be home by now!" Dawn yelled back at Kaltrops, suddenly acting defensive. Her face was knitted into an angry scowl at his mini tirade. She was angry at being left alone so much that she couldn't stop herself from saying the next thing. "Just stay here and keep me company forever!"

  • teacup 1

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(edited)

@Blitz Boom

The healer didn’t give a reply though she stopped just short of entering her hut and took in Omen’s words for what they were, wondering if Discord was hiding a much wiser side to him. The villagers knew of a creature that was the epitome of chaos, Discord fit that description, and yet Arenaria learns that perhaps there is more to him than what they know. What else is there to learn out there? A thought to ponder on while she worked. 

But on the other side of the gate, Lin caught the sight of the refraction playing around with Sen, who likewise humored the little creature by letting it nibble his ear. He even lifted a claw to entice it to seek another object to draw its interest like a cat playing with a length of string. An amusing sight to return to, putting the longma at ease and knowing that there is some progress made with the diamond chunk. Sen is just happy to find a diversion as the boredom was getting to him. 

Of course, Lin hadn’t neglected Omen’s question as she walked through the gate back to the cave. 

“Hopefully when this matter with Filigree is over, we’ll all be able to go back home and get some much deserved rest. There will be plenty of time for you to observe all you want. Just let me or Sen know when your head is cleared up and you're ready.”

“You’re back! I see you’ve brought a lot of things from back home.”

Lin placed down a few of the berries she plucked from the sanctuary near Shrimp, waiting to see if he would run towards them immediately. He probably wants to chow down on something that isn’t a gem but it is clear he is satisfied with his work on the diamond. Sen, however, looked at the strange ornament on Lin’s neck and noticed the writhing strands of hair still moving about despite being wrapped around the star sapphire jewel. It didn’t take much speculation to find out whose hair that was

“Omen? Did you have something to do with Lin’s strange necklace?” Sen asked, having a hint of genuine curiosity but sounding a little playful as well. 

Edited by EQ_Theta

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@Blitz Boom

At least the theatrical unicorn had one fan out there for all the effort she put into having a little flair in life.  At this point she'd have to actually attend a high society party when she got back just to get her fix in appreciation.  Oh well, only so much she could do.  One pony outside of Equestria Minty could find a friend in, not that Wisp wasn't an delight, but she was a work in progress.  Rising Dusk's choice of attire was practical, not fashionable.  A comfy hood for when it rained or snowed.  A hoofy pouch to keep useful items in and ready to access.  It was warm and cheap, which was a great thing for our dirty his work can get.  If he'd have known there'd be a swamp in his battle, a spar would have been brought in his saddle bag.  "I do own a formal hoodie," the detective rebuked.  Did hit help his case?  Nope.  But what can he say, he likes what he likes.

As much as exploring more of Harrowmark sounds exciting to see all the different types of magic, home was calling.  First stop: hayburger, second stop: shower, third stop: second shower, fourth stop: vacation.  Likely hood of any of that happening?  Low.  Sigh...  His ears flicked as a rumbled occurred.  The possible cause didn't match anything from the image of the celebration at the forefront of his memory.  The ponies in his company from Harrowmark already seemed ready like it was a daily occurrence.  Caramel seemed well informed of the detective's situation for just meeting the first time, and the purpose of Wisp as his attendant.  Not that he'd want to deny her of the normal duties in her day, he knew better at this point to say otherwise.  This might also be the first time he'd ever been threatened with by a spoon.  

The party seemed undisturbed by the rumbling and Rising had no problems trusting the town's own guards to do what they have for a long time.  Waving his hoof in farewell to the departing pegasus.

Minty on the other hoof, jumped up from her seat at the table at the invitation to see something new and perhaps something she'll never see in Equestria.  "Oh yes, a little side show does sound wonderful to partake in!" the larger mare excepted and elegantly trotted off after Caramel.  Rising gave a few long blinks, and there went his ride.  Does Minty need protected from Harrowmark or does Harrowmark need protecting from The Captain.  The thought made his brain hurt.

Left in the company of Wisp and Thistle, he turned his attention to them.  "Must be a culture shock for you after a few hundred years?" the detective inquired.  At least the areas of Harrowmark claimed as Twisted's territory were stunted in development, but even then so many things could have changed from when Thistle walked the streets.

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@Blitz Boom
Ruby acted like she was actively listening, but she didn't really care about anything Spicy said after her reasoning for a big house, not that she really cared about that either, though she still heard everything she said, and almost let out a sound matching her despise of the idea of a family when Spicy mentioned it, despise that she had been taught to have. "You didn't strike me as somepony who would care about family." she didn't know why she even continued the conversation, but well, what's done is done..

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Nada was bit surprised to learn about Serenade's trip, but she didn't think much about it, in fact, she appreciated the trust she was given through being left alone in the house.

"Coming." Nada said with her usual friendly tone when she heard Berry knocking, she then went to the door to let Berry in "Welcome, Serenade and the head-eater aren't here, they have gone to see Serenade's parents with someone." 

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@Rising Dusk

A formal hoodie? The dear stallion needed more dire help than Caramel had at first anticipated.

Smirking a little to herself at the thought, the mare shifted her attention towards her new companion instead. To her delight, Minty had indeed chosen to follow her on her little side adventure if you would, though depending on what were moving towards the town, they may be against something that could actually work up a sweat. She had her doubts though. The worst things from the swamp belonged to Twisted, and with him gone, some of them would fall apart, others likely just seize to function, without the link to his magic, and others still would suddenly be free and deal with things their own way. Hm, they might actually be dealing with one of the last group. She could hardly imagine what would go through the head of a creature that Twisted had corrupted, that suddenly became lucid again. Anger and insanity seemed like it would be sensible ways to deal with it honestly. *sigh* Poor things.

Oh well, one more reason to strike whatever down so that the spirit might be reborn as something more pleasant.

"Excellent. I'd hate to think you wouldn't be entertained here, after all the preparations you went through. I do hope it is something worth our time though. It would be utterly boring if it turned out to just be a minor annoyance, like a few risen or a couple of wicker creatures."

Wandering through the streets towards the sound, another rumbling would course through the ground, and make her question what exactly made this. It didn't sound as if there were more noise, and no towering creature had shown yet, so it were likely not something massive... What a peculiar situation this may end up being.

Getting to the area that seemed like the center of the disturbances, they wouldn't find much either. A cloaked figure at the edge of town, faced towards them with the face hidden were all. Whoever it were wouldn't be discernible at all beneath the elongated, droopy, muddied robes, and could be any sort of four legged creature, including a smaller diamond dog on all fours. It were more or less impossible to say unless you looked beneath the layers or heard a voice, as the pups tended to have some discernible tones to their voices compared to say, griffons or ponies, yet no matter if they got closer, neither sound, nor movement, were made by this one.

As any of them would get within a five meter radius, the creature would calmly scrape the ground once, at a spot around the size of a bit. If teleportation were attempted to try and get there instantly, they'd find that whoever cast it would move, but remain at a minimum five meter distance. It seemed as if this one were able to bend magic away from itself to some degree, but a good, physical contact way of dealing with this should function.

However, as the scraping happened, there would be far more things to worry about, as the source of the rumbling nearly exploded out of the ground in a surprise attack, revealing three dozen risen diamond dogs of varying sizes and levels of decay, though all of them highly mobile and moving with purpose. From the looks of it, they were reinforced by some sort of dark magic to empower the reanimation spell that went over them, yet, they shouldn't prove too much of a bother, as Caramel showed when she swung and impaled the one closest to her in the chest, with the sickle on her tail.

If Minty looked, and were not too preoccupied with the three who were attacking her, she'd find that as Caramel did this, a strange aura flowed from the risen, up her tail, and vanished somewhere underneath her apron. Though again, there were some degree of battling going on here that might stop her from focusing or caring about that. Especially as they saw another, rather large one rise from the dirt and stand tall and mighty above all of them, wearing olden armor and carrying a rusty, curved sword, that seemed like it would pummel more than slice whatever - or whoever - it hit. This were likely the pack leader.

"Well isn't this a lovely surprise? Let's have some fun now, shall we?"

Caramel had blades in her wing and some tools to use from, but she enjoyed being up close and personal right now, and with swift strikes would make use of her tail and a few blades from her wings, to make short work of those near her, once again absorbing something every time she shut the light off in their empty eyes. The pack leader though, appeared to hold some sort of magic, and used it to reanimate the fallen about fifteen seconds after one would fall. Obliterating the corpses, or taking the big one out, would likely be the best idea here.

All the while, the cloaked figure said and did nothing, though as one risen charged towards it, claws and knives on the ready, it would suddenly get pulverized without warning, within a meter of the creature. It seemed unsafe to try and interact with this one. At least for the risen.

In the other end of town, where this battle could not be seen or heard though, Thistle wrinkled her nose at the question that had been presented, and looked briefly around, before refocusing on the detective.

"𝕐𝕠𝕦 𝕨𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕓𝕖 𝕤𝕦𝕣𝕡𝕣𝕚𝕤𝕖𝕕 𝕙𝕠𝕨 𝕝𝕚𝕥𝕥𝕝𝕖 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕔𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕘𝕖𝕕 𝕚𝕟 𝕤𝕚𝕩 𝕙𝕦𝕟𝕕𝕣𝕖𝕕 𝕪𝕖𝕒𝕣𝕤. 𝕋𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘𝕤 𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕝𝕠𝕠𝕜𝕤 𝕒𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖 𝕥𝕠 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕪 𝕕𝕚𝕕 𝕚𝕟 𝕞𝕪 𝕕𝕒𝕪𝕤."

Thistle had been in this state longer than Twisted had been a tyrant, and though she had the occasional look at how things turned in the nearby areas, based mostly on what Twisted flaunted in his home, there had not been much in the sense of progress. Some tools changed, the metal and wood got smoother, and the clothing seemed a little less rough in it, yet overall, it all seemed the same.

"Other places like capitol might have changed, but the high priestess is right. Things haven't changed all that much. Twisted did not want it to."

The more things had progressed, the more chances that someone would find a way to use it against him in some sort of way, so Twisted had made sure that generation after generation understood that inventiveness were only acceptable when it came to improving what they did have to make it more functional to their work, but that he would not tolerate ground-breaking things like technology for example. The most high technological thing they had in Oaksbrook were a few water boilers, and that were mostly run by magic anyway.

Still, with his time gone, Bolt Singer should at least be happy. He always had so many ideas, and just no power to actually push any of them true. He were gonna have a field day trying out things once it had all settled down.

"I can hardly imagine how far ahead Equestria must be compared to us.  Oakbrook must look like it came from another time."

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@Moonlit

So many eyes, starring at her like she were a piece of freshly served meat... She had been lured into a trap.

A trap of Adorableness she bet!

"Hehe, you tricked me, well done. Who wants the first victory hug?"

She wasn't afraid. She had seen foals after all, and those - whilst they could be creepy, which the hair on the back of her neck certainly agreed with them being right now - didn't need her to whimper and scream, but lots of hugs and tasty treats. She could find some treats later, unless they thought she'd be it? Hehe, they'd find out it wasn't so easy getting hold of her if they tried. She were real fast, and in here, she had a bit of wriggle room to move around, though probably best to stay off the walls anyway, just in case.

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@Demencia

"Ah, the sort who wanna learn from his mistakes, eh? I can respect that. Frankly a healthy attitude to have, especially if you wanna be a tough lad later on."

So they had things to work with here it sounds like, but this one chose not to? Nice. She had several recruits who weren't even willing to take that lesson on their down time, and immediately went for the easy way on. This one though, he were hardening himself and trying to set himself some teachable lessons here. Pretty interesting one actually...

Tidal scratched her chin and gave him a once over, before cracking a smile and nodding to herself.

"Say, you ever considered being a guard? You have the sorta attitude to things that I could see getting you some ranks, if you learned the ropes."

She had recruited younger than this one honestly. For more menial things, as their families wanted them to have a good, disciplined attempt at fitting in somewhere important, yet didn't want them to get hurt. She couldn't tell how old this one were right off the bat of course, but y'know, even if he were a bit too young, or had no interest in ever being a guard, could it really hurt to ask? It wasn't a joke when she said she saw some potential in him, and it would be a darn shame to let it go to waste. Or to let it go to the other guard branches for that matter. Unless this one liked to bore himself to tears every day.

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@Sekel

"I think the meat issue's kinda like with treats or beverages. Some changeling can handle it, others can't, and the real unfortunate sods can only feed on love. That used to be my shtick, though I could drink at least. Would've been hard to get my business in motions otherwise, heh. Anyway, you got a deal. Next time I get the chance to make some jerky, I'll make sure a certain changeling's getting the first shot at it."

It could be practical really, so he knew exactly how much to use the next time, so it weren't really all that much of a bother. He just had to find a carcass first, or make one happen. Wouldn't be long before they went into the forest actually, and boars were pretty good for this... He might have to keep an eye out, just in case.

"And there ain't a lot going in. Just some hard work prepping the meat, then some spices and a bit of salt. Been tinkering with the thought of a marinade of sorts to give it a bit more zing, but I'm still missing a couple things. Mostly chili. I keep forgetting to get some of it whenever I'm near a market."

The open fields in front of them were spanning ever outward, with still a good deal until they actually hit the forest. Aurora best enjoy it whilst she could. Soon as they got into that part, they'd be in forest pretty much until they reached Thorax, from what he'd come to understand from the directions anyway. Might've been some exaggeration, but they'd see soon enough.

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@Sekel

"We need an unbroken piece, the size of a changeling egg."

Enco scratched into the ground the size he were referring to, which had about the same size as an ostrich egg.

"It can be carved from a larger one if need be, but I am assuming it must not be made of smaller ones, or clusters. imperfections tends to never bode well when you mess with magic. Especially that of a sacrificial nature."

Considering what they needed to gather, this were a spell of that particular school of magic, which would be a problem to many he'd assume. Pesky ponies were likely too good in their minds to acknowledge the need of certain extreme tactics at times, but what they didn't know weren't going to hurt them. Not unless they somehow made a grave error by trying to go through it using substandard materials, or taking chances with uncertain runework. Many a foolhardy sphinx had been laid low by a misplaced line or crooked rune, and he did not intent to be part of that statistic if it could be helped.

"I think it best if we collect as we are exiting. If something is indeed in here, we will need our paws to be free, so that we may fight or retreat."

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@Sekel @Widdershins

"I'll take your word for it your highness. I don't know your local wildlife enough."

She knew what sort bit and whatnot, and that the princess had to be protected from them, but apparently, this one were different? Looked the same to her, considering the episode before, yet the princesses word were law here. If she said that it wasn't dangerous and shouldn't be attacked, it were clear indicators that unless something new came from it, Last were to stand down. She still weren't sheathing her weapon unless explicitly told so though, just in case. There were a lot of bad things in this forest. Even if this one wasn't going to do something, something else might jump them and try.

As for Cherish, she gulped loudly as she heard the question from the princess. A sort of... Touchy subject this were, but one which it seemed like she needed to provide an answer for. Hopefully they wouldn't dig too much into things right now.

"I don't know. I've possessed a couple of stubborn or lost ponies now and again to try and get them out of the castle, before the other ghost could get to them, but I've never tried something like this. I guess... I can try, y-yes? Though I won't do full on possessions. It feels... Wrong. But I can go and look around this ones mind a bit. Perhaps something's there?"

She could mind alter or anything of the sort, but with the right sort of touch, she were able to sort of... Mind meld, if that made sense? She connected at least and had a chance to observe some things for up to ten minutes. After that, her energy would be exhausted. It was a pretty tiring process, and not one she were sure would work here. Still, she'd try.

Mentally preparing herself, she'd float forward and try to put her hooves inside the plant's head, and make the regular moves she used for this. Hopefully she'd find something in there that could help the princess. Y'know, provided this thing had a brain to interact with, and didn't have some sort of weird response/effect from this sort of connection.

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@EQ_Theta

"Yes. Your grandfather made it with my hair and a shiny rock. There is one for you too."

She lifted the jewelry of sorts towards Sen, hoping that he would like it, but curious to seeing his response. Gift giving were a strange thing, but this were normal to friends and family, yes? Lin hadn't complained at least, so that had to count for something. Unless it were a difference between male and female longma that weren't just based on shape and size? Ponies had differences there too, but Omen had long since just given up on trying to understand the social and cultural aspects of it. Especially as it always seemed to change. Their race were confusing enough as it were without having to draw those convoluted things into it.

"He had many words. I think he is a smart longma."

He had a lot of questions too, but Omen did learn things from seeing him work, and hearing him speak. It was much the same with Sen and Lin, just less, and not with as much impact out in the world at large more than likely. Still, he had a good head on his shoulders, just like his grandson and granddaughter had. That seemed like something she should comment on for a compliment, yes? Beings liked to be told that somepony near them were smart other places, so it was worth an attempt.

"He were coughing. Lin and him yelled about going to the healer. He did not want to, but she did. Zo won. He seemed very stubborn."

Meanwhile, Shrimp went as tall into the air and waved from side to side whilst chirping in greeting, but continued to play around with Sen right now, as he were in a pretty good, playful mood. Though now he had moved on to slither down his spine, aiming for the tail so that he could nibble on the tip there. They might want to get him a chew toy at some point to get something he could use his teeth on that didn't include them. preferably before they grew large enough to actually do damage.

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@Catpone Cerberus

"I'm not actively seeking, but y'know, if the right sorta stallion comes swinging into my life, I like to be prepared. Same reason I already have my prenup all ready in a drawer. I ain't signing on anypony to my life who can just up and leave, and think he'll grab half my stuff. He wants some? He gotta stick around and earn it."

Spicy were a poker player. She knew the sorta con games you could run, and getting hitched without one of those pieces of documents, were a real bad idea. Now, she might be willing to work out a plan where whoever it'd be would earn himself some dough in case they split, provided some terms and conditions were met, but that seemed like a third date sorta conversation.

"Anyway, let's bounce to the vault, then see if we can't scrounge up some food before we go off. Ain't smart to go celebrating on an empty stomach. Take my word for it, things can get weird."

Beyond some trophies and some minimum effort decorations like a couple of generic pictures and such, there really weren't a whole lot to look at in here, though one of them that depicted Spicy holding one of her trophies did stand out by being a bit bigger and better framed. Looked like one of her earliest, as this were some years back for sure, and she looked mighty proud. Though Ruby likely had more focus on this being fake, with gold and such somewhere behind it, and rightly so, soon as Spicy wandered into the wall, it showed to be an illusion hiding a large, several times reinforced steel door, with no discernible lock on it. Likely magically activated.

"Right, let's get the stuff here, then I'll open up. We good?"

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@Catpone Cerberus

"Guessing it's the zegasus. Serenade and her have been wandering 'round town for weeks now, and the doc are often here along with that weird lil' pet if theirs, even at night. Don't go telling on me, but I've sorta been thinking those two are... Y'know, a couple. That they're going to see her parents aren't exactly making me think that any less.

Now now, I ain't judging. Celestia knows the mare and dragon couple down the street's a whole lot weirder to look at sometimes. Just saying, I'm not entirely sure that they didn't go to meet up with Serenade's parents to announce it for 'em."

Well, she might judge a little bit now that she figured out that Serenade were a siren, but that were more along the lines of *Dude, how the fudge did that happen?*, than actually being appalled by the inter species relationship. The fact they were both females couldn't get her to care a single bit though. Her best foalhood friend were wandering that same line, and that guy were a real good character. Only one beyond her parents she still had contact with from her old life, and the only one who seemed to understand why she went away and switched her name to escape The Conspiracy's tight grasp. She really had to get his letter into the mailbox one of these days actually, now that she thought about it.

"Anyway, know where the cups are 'round here, so we can pour some of this stuff? It should be good, and I brought some home baked muffins too. If they ain't good, I'm gonna claim I got them from the bakery instead."

She pulled her tongue a little at that comment and smiled. Nada seemed to like a bit of a jest sometimes. Sure she'd be fine with this little thing.

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@Blitz Boom

Thunder smiles and nods "Once again, it's just how I was raised" he would say to her "How can you expect to learn if you are to always take the easy way out, right?" he 'd say then as she would ask him the question about interest in joining the guard, he beamed "Well actually, yes I am actually. It is actually the other reason I want to learn from my mistakes. I want to the best I can be, that way, I can be the best Guard I can be, if or when I get in"

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@Blitz Boom The seven foals slowly advance until they are in a line in front of Ziggy, they look up and...several pairs of eyes, all wide eyed. If Cuteness was weaponized, Ziggy just got hit with a Strategic Nuclear Weapon. Serenade was a young filly had been Cute, these seven was CUTE. She could probably see her life flashing before her eyes. 

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@Blitz Boom
Ruby just nodded to her usual manner, not having anything to say as response to Spicy, and though she could easily sense the treasure, and the heavy steel door, she didn't pay too much mind to it because it was to be expected, and because Spicy had already told her that she had a vault. She had for some time now wondered why magical creatures such as ponies would make vaults like this though, because there had to be spells out there that made it pointless, and if they magically enchant it to stop those spells, why bother with expensive and heavy vault, when you could just make a weaker thing as durable, hay, her wooden box was most likely as secure as this vault, if not more. But then again, she didn't really know that much about pony magic. 

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Nada listened curiously at Berry's take on Serenade and her friend or partner, but didn't say anything about it, and hummed amused at her little joke before replying "I actually don't know where the cups are, but my guess would be the kitchen." she hadn't yet visited the other rooms in the house so she didn't really know where was what.

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@Blitz Boom

“Stubborn old grandfather, wouldn’t let anyone tell him what to do… All we can do is be patient with him. And maybe avoid talking about his health unless it is very important.”

Sen took hold of the gift Omen held in front of him, a leg cuff with a distinct fire ruby nestled in the middle and held together with some claps and a lock of Omen’s hair. The way it moved on its own is eerie enough but he didn’t mind it so long as it didn’t tickle him. He is rather ticklish whenever Omen would try replicating one of his mannerisms but having it constantly affect him would become rather irritating over time. 

“It’s a perfect fit,” he said as the cuff was snugly fit around his upper right leg. A fine piece it is and its design had a mix of tribal cues with an otherworldly touch to it. Definitely something that would raise an eyebrow. “Many thanks, Omen!”

The longma took a long look, or rather ogling at it, and returned the gesture with a hug. Though it isn’t representative of the longma as a whole, Omen would pick up on the gesture that both him and Lin would have in common with ponies. Perhaps during their time in exile, they picked up their mannerisms to the point that they have more similarities with ponies than they do with their own kind. Sen smiled wide, grinning more like, touched by the though and a tinge impressed at the quality of craftsmanship. 

Meanwhile, it would seem Shrimp is very preoccupied with playing at the moment. "Here, Shrimp! Want a juicy berry? I've got a bunch for you!" Lin picked up the berry she laid out on the ground and attempted to follow the refraction, if only to entice it with the fruit. Maybe they could find something for their little friend on their next trip to Canterlot, on top of checking up on Rosa as well if he doesn’t come back later in the evening. 

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On 8/14/2019 at 5:34 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"Have you considered potentially lending your aid to the guards at any point? This talent of yours to heal is quite impressive, and could be sorely needed on the fields of battle, or even at their station in their main city itself. Or perhaps you seek to empower yourself further before taking on a more advanced role such as those? I have been far and wide, and met a variety of beings which may be able to offer some degree of assistance, if even in memory.

If I may be so bold as to offer my take on things here, have you ever been to Germane? The reason I ask is that once I were there, I met ponies of which most were earthen by birth, who worshiped nature, and were able to cast spells related to their practices. Healing tends to fall within the realms of nature and light primarily if I am not mistaken, so would it be out of the question to consider that perhaps they could help you elevate your substantially beneficial gift? As witches of nature - or Druids, as I recall them calling themselves - they do have a close connection with the wild too, and if not for the healing, perhaps they could further aid you in your quest for plant growth or cooking with all natural ingredients? I am not trying to force your hoof of course, but I do wish to share what knowledge my years have gained me with those who could make use of it. If for nothing else, then to be more informed of the lands beyond Equestria.

And Velvet, you needn't apologize for focusing the talk on you. The subject did touch upon a topic which you clearly think about often, and I know well that sometimes, the best ways to gain help in regards to what wanders in your mind, is to air it among others, and see if you can gain another perspective. You have no reason to apologize for being a normal, sensible being."

Velvet shuffled nervously, unsure how to react or respond to Brair's advice and suggestions. It seemed logical and sensible, but it was also, to Velvet, a daunting task. Even slightly overwhelming. "Still...It seems rude to draw the attention on me like that... Your suggestions are all very sensible and adventurous, but I'm not sure I'm the type to go adventuring like that. I mean, I'm a florist who likes to cook. Moving out here to Vanhoover was scary enough. I don't even know how I'd handle going to Germane or a battlefield. It's not that I don't want to... I'm just afraid. Of many things, and none of which I could pin down in a short amount of time."

He took a breath, trying to calm his nerves to better articulate himself before he panicked at the pressure and overload of potential new things. "It's just a lot to take in, and I'm not sure I see myself in those situations. There's better, braver ponies than me to go out and adventure..."

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@Demencia

Hah, so this one Did want to join the guards. Well well well, seemed like she had run into a nice little opportunity here to speak her crews case over the other guards then. Who would she be if she were to pass up such an opportunity?

"I don't see any reason why you wouldn't fit right into the guards. You're fit, have a good attitude to things, and you're friendly to the folks 'round you. That's a pretty good start I'd say."

Honestly, being friendly wasn't as big of a requirement as you might think. She had several guards (and knew of others in the other branches) who were about as good at handling a social interaction as a stray brick falling out of a wall, but it were fine. They just made sure those sorts didn't start kicking or yelling at random strangers, and everything were good. Of course, soon as they did, they'd get a reprimande that varied depending on what branch you were talking about and the severity of the incident, yet that were standard stuff, and this one didn't seem like it'd be an issue he'd have to face unless something went horribly wrong. But they had programs for that too, just in case. Active duty didn't always end pretty after all.

"Now, you might be thinking lil' ol me a tiny bit biased, but have you ever considered the Coastal Guard? Sure, you'd have to move some, and it isn't as cozy as what the Solar and Night guards do, but let's be real here: You don't wanna be a guard to stand around in a warm hallways all day, preparing for an attack that's probably gonna be years in between, right? You're a fresh sort. You need some active duty out in the sun, with the fresh breeze of the sea to keep you on top of your game.

Sure, we have ourselves some indoor work too. Paperwork, general guard duty for nuisances we have to jail up for a bit, that sort of thing. But those are regular stuff for all guards, with the difference here being that unless you like that sorta role, you don't have to stay in there. We have folks on rotation to keep it fair.

But, how about you tell me what sort of duty you're really aiming for. What's the biggest thing you want, that makes you wanna be a guard? And lemme just say right off the bat, that if it's fighting to protect Equestria, the Coastal Guard does far more than those up in the Canterlot. They might be busy protecting the princess, but do you know what kind of things gets up from the water or sailing in, wanting to make a mess of Equestria? I bet you don't, 'cause the Coastal Guards keep 'em locked in tight. It's pretty few things that gets past us, and we don't stop chasing 'em if  they do."

Sure, she were blowing her own horn a bit here, but she were making a sales pitch here. And she weren't lying. They really did keep a lot of bad things from entering the country from the ocean, as well as help those who got stranded or lost out there. It just wasn't reported on too much in land since 1. They were darn good at repelling things, so there were usually not a lot to talk of, and 2. The other branches tended to have a bit of a superiority complex when it came to them at times, and didn't want to throw some good words their way. The generals were fine, and a lot of the regular guards were too, but there were enough problem ones to either give the Coastal Guard a bad rep, ignored, or for them to claim it was the royal branches dealing with the bad things, instead of them. Man that last one got on her nerves.

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@Moonlit

Ziggy would squeak with pure glee as she saw the little ones line up and looking at her with those big, cute eyes. This were hardly a fair fight when she were aced off against such an overload of adorableness. It felt like her heart were about to explode and leak rainbows and candy.

"Eeeee, you're just too cute!"

Her own assault would be relentless. There would be hugs. Group hugs, nuzzling, and the dreaded, seven foal hug into the air with wings embracing them all. Oh what a sight to behold. What relentless adoration. Surely they were all lost after this, natures most tragic scene.

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@Catpone Cerberus

She gave it a few knocks just to make sure everything were still grand there, before turning towards her companion again.

"Alright, let's get moving then. I'll open up once we got the loot in here, and we'll sort you a good placement in there, alright? And while we're at it, how about you now tell me what your stance is on family. You ever thinking about settling down and having some of your own? Or what, you're more likely to eat 'em?"

She grinned as she wandered out, unaware of how close to the truth this little joke might actually be.

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@Catpone Cerberus

"Golly jeez, are you sure? I were about to go check the toaster."

Berry's voice were overly sarcastic as she said this, just to empathize that she were having a but of fun on behalf of what Nada had said, before putting down the stuff she had brought on the table, and went out towards the kitchen. Weren't few, the places where Serenade might keep cups, but after a bit of trial and error, she managed to find some large wooden ones that seemed good. Might be they were small bowls instead honestly, but they looked like the sort of thing a siren would drink from, considering those big heads of theirs. Couldn't be easy going into a normal cup like that.

"Bingo, found 'em. Or something that'll work like it at least."

She'd sit down, and pour up a glass of lemonade for Nada, and hoping that she had added enough sugar for the siren. She still weren't sure what exactly her taste buds were preferring right now, beyond fish of course, but that were a given.

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@EQ_Theta

Omen didn't think much on the hugs anymore, when it came to Sen and Lin. She considered it normal for the at this point, though perhaps once she got more views on the longma society as a whole, she would bite notice in how strange they actually were, compared to their peers, who weren't as touchy as these two. Neither had Sen been at first, when she met him near the old castle, but she were used to others wanting to keep her at a bit of a distance, so that hadn't seemed all that unusual.

It might be a crucial point of view to have if it ever came to the two species communicating, and attempting to get along though. Sen and Lin had been influenced some by pony society, and whilst much of it still seemed strange, they were the closest to a middle ground between the two kinds, and could provide some perspective to both parties when it came to varied aspects such as the longma culture, or pony behavior. It were likely not going to be anytime soon, but one day, these two may be called upon to help smooth out the small details between the species.

However, that were a theoretical future that Omen didn't even think about. She were more focused on trying to judge if her return hug were getting better, and if she could consider Sen to be happy. She would guess yes, which also meant that she had to look at his face and posture as he did that, to try and learn some more. She had seen him smile and such before of course - though not this wide, far as she recalled - but if she wanted to know the many ways happy beings looked like, so that she could identify that emotion and perhaps imitate it one day, she needed to observe as many instances as possible.

As such, she stood mostly in silence and just looked at him, before eventually uttering a small retort to his words.

"Are you welcome?

...You are welcome? I think that one is right."

As for Shrimp, he would indeed chase the offered fruit, getting up and barring his teeth before quickly slithering and lounging towards the berry, ready to chomp down and feast upon his treat. If she were to roll it around, or otherwise toy around with it, he'd happily keep the chase up and try his best to catch the berry.

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@EcstaticWind

"Perhaps there are, but how many of them have your gifts?

I am not trying to tell you what to think. The decision ultimately lies with you, but their knowledge could be vastly important to you, even if you did not chose to aid the guards. And do tell, as a florist, are you not wanting to see what other flowers you may be able to grow? To expand your repertoire with flowers that cannot even normally grow outside of their land, by using your special ability?

Or what of cooking? I know of many exotic plants and fruits that are dreadfully difficult to grow outside of their lands, but with a little care and proper application from you, that could change, and you would be able to make fully organic, unique food that would be hard to gain within Equestria from anywhere but the most high end establishments, who can afford to have those things shipped to them. And even then, they would not be able to compare with the freshness you would be able to offer, hmm?

The life of an adventurer can be... Difficult, I admit, yet where does it say you need to scrape through ancient ruins and seek out thrills? You could simply seek the knowledge you needed, and gain seeds of the things you wish to grow, along with experience from many varied styles of cooking. I wouldn't call that an adventurer as much as an explorer of sorts. Who knows? It may even help you to find your exact calling, if you were to see other aspects of the professions that you seek to pursue. Perspective can sometimes be a rather helpful tool for focusing your mind."

Briar loved adventurering, and experiencing the world for all that it had to offer, yet he could understand Velvet's hesitation. It were not an easy life, and unless you had a travel companion, it could be dreadfully lonely at times too, if you were to wander vast areas where no being of higher intellect resided. Not places he would have to travel though, as Velvet could simply stick to cities and such, whilst taking safe routes and public transportation to ensure that there were no unnecessary risks taken.

"Ah, and whilst I do remember it, you do not have to take part in any battlefield. I have wandered for many years now, and I can assure you that it is a perfectly viable option to hear the rumblings of war, and simply wander away from it. Even if you find yourself in it by surprise, escape is often an option regardless. Though I would still caution that perhaps travelling with one who knows of combat, or gaining some protective wards, can help just in case something unfortunate happens."

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@Galaxical Phoenix

*sigh* Well, it had been worth a try at least.

Cover Up wandered away from the school of friendship, and down towards the streets of Ponyville again.

He had hoped that when he got there, they could help him understand things better, and make him able to connect more to others and understand them, but after three hours there, the principal and him had both agreed that at the current stage in life he were in, the customs of the settler village he grew up in and Equestrians in general, were not impassable, yet he would learn far more from being out in the big world and experiencing things for himself, rather than trying to learn what being a friend were.

It were unfortunate, though understandable. The settlers from Harrowmark were less touchy feely than Equestrians were, and had a more standoff sort of attitude to things, as well as the ingrained paranoia against outsiders that came with their customs. After what happened in Ormenthal though, he had to go out and see things for himself, which meant that he had to try and get past his upbringing and figure out how to best integrate into society.

Yet as he wandered there with his paintbrush-like mane and tail, parchment yellow coat covered in tattoos representing a swirly pattern on his body and on every limb - including his head - a saddlebag on his left, a large melon-and-a-half sized inkwell on his right with a cork keeping it shut, and a large paintbrush around the length of himself - tail included - on his back, it were hard not to feel like an outsider. His scars however meant that he couldn't just wander around without said tattoos, and the tools of his trade had to be walked with, as it weren't like he could have them anywhere else, and he weren't going to throw them away. Especially not the brush, as it had been a gift, and weren't easily replaceable for the unicorn.

Even if his presence didn't attract too many stray eyes, it were hard for others not to, especially because of the tattoos, which were unusual enough in this area, but were really rare to see in excess on ponies, like it were with him. If only they knew what all of these were hiding, perhaps they'd understand, but he didn't know how to bring that sort up with just a large, random crowd. He felt exposed enough as it were without having to draw all of the attention on to himself.

*sigh* Sometimes, he wished he could just run into another one who stood out. One like that might be able to understand his predicament a bit more.

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@Blitz Boom

Thunder would stand and listen patiently to the Coastal Guard as she gave him the spiel and rundown of what her unit was all about. When she finished, he would smile "Well you certainly make a good point for your unit, and to be honest with you, I want to be a guard to protect ponies, whether that is taking down a threat to the land or just making sure a creature doesn't get too far from the forest..or sea" he'd say with a bit of a wink. 

After thinking on it a bit more, he'd smile "You know, the Coastal Guard does sound like a beat I could dance to" he'd say "why don't we walk and talk, you can tell me more about what it is you do, and I'll make my decision by the end of the day"

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@Blitz Boom The foals had a secret weapon, one that no Mare could withstand. It was spoken of, in hushed tones and side glances that not even the Princesses' could withstand it. It was the much feared Mane Chew. When Sunrise eventually comes across them, it's like a scene from a far flung battlefield. He nods sagely, picks them all up in his magic and carries them upstairs. "If you need anything, let me know I'll be in the Observatory."

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@Sekel 

  "Fine! I'll do that!" Kaltrop barks back in the mare's same tone, body language unchanging except for his excited, almost giddy pawing at the carpet with his claws. "The way you seem to greet others by leaping at them, looks like you could use a bodyguard!

  ...besides. I don't have a home. I have a territory." The drake mutters, his constant urge to clarify arising again.

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 Sekel Deej and the @Blitz Boom:

 Outwardly, the creature gave little much notice of Cherish's attempt at possession save for a violent shudder that would, in a pony be more akin to a flinch. Even when partway corporeal, the young ghost pony registered little on Razzle's primative sensory organs and nerves that would have been read as not much more noticeable than a stiff breeze or a large moth fluttering by.

 As to what counted for a brain... plants had little of those. According to most Magic Theory in the schools of regimented magic in Equestria, plants were as easily manipulated, ensorcelled & possessed  by magical means as any inanimate object would, but would show it much easier being counted, technically, among the living. Especially in a magic-rich world like Equestria; such wide range of plants gaining sentience wasn't unheard of.

 But in this case... well, the head wasn't the best place to aim. What Cherish would get is a vauge notion of what the things mind was like. Razzle Frazzum was fleshy throughout. Lopping off his bud-like head would probably just take a few months to regrow. His mind spanned his nervous system like a net over the body, concentrated more towards where the heart would be. Thoughts floated through very fuzzily, half-formed and half registered. Mostly they came through as sparse words: some about light, food and more predominately towards the surface larger but as equally blurry, the concept of Friend.

  Somewhere beyond that, buried beneath the other unfocused memories was some elongated form of its maker, that would alert Cherish that this creature was, indeed made by an outside, magical force. 

  • Excited 1

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@Blitz Boom
Ruby's kind didn't quite eat their partners or offspring, but it wasn't that far off, and it could happen, after all, there's no point wasting that much good meat. "I'm not a family mare." Ruby simply responded as she followed Spicy "Stallions are boring and foals are pain in the flank, there really isn't anything to gain there." that was the best she could put it while still sounding like a pony, there was so much more she had to say about the topic, but she had to limit herself for obvious reasons. 

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Nada could tell Berry was trying to be funny, but this time the humor didn't land, for a one simple reason, she didn't know what a toaster was. When Berry came back and declared she found what she was looking for, Nada smiled and waited her to pour the drinks, after which she tasted a bit "Okay now I feel just stupid, somehow I didn't realize..or remember, don't know which, that lemonade is lemon juice..." "...and speaking of not knowing something, what's a toaster? Your sarcasm fell bit flat because I don't know what that is." 

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(edited)

@Blitz Boom

Lin was amused by the display and wanted to play some more but held off on it, simply giving the berry over to Shrimp and pulling out a few more. She offered about four more pieces and laid them out before the refraction. Frankly, she knew that despite it looking like playtime, she would try to get the little creature in the habit of not associating meal time with playing. Of course, she would humor Shrimp just this once because he did a great job with the diamond chunk. 

Meanwhile, Sen listened to Omen’s reply towards his words of thanks. Admittedly, he spent some time fondling the cuff, putting it on and taking it off and admiring its design.

“The second one is right. You’re getting a hang of the language. Maybe Lin could speed up your lessons and get right to more advanced topics.”

“You know I can’t do that,” Lin replied. “Everyone needs to know the basics. It wouldn’t help Omen if we're skipping lessons.”

It is true every lesson had to build on top of the knowledge of the previous. That is the approach Lin wanted to go with. The last lesson had to be integrated into the next one. Vowels and consonants make up every word they spoke. Once words can be spoken, they had to be used in ways that make sense when grouped together, words making paragraphs and all of those making up ideas. 

The two just didn’t want to spoil the moment with talk of lessons and despite Sen slowly alleviating himself of boredom, Lin managed to have something with her that could speed it up. With all of the difficulties and trials of the last weeks culminating in Filigree’s escape, frustrations were still lingering with them. Now might be a good time to find some ways to let off some of that steam. Lin pulled out a wicker ball from her saddle bag and waved it in front of Sen and Omen.

“Remember this, Sen?”

“How could I forget? Omen, I think you’re going to love this! A wicker ball, a toy made of strong twigs bent into shape. Lin and I played with this when we were younger. You want to try it out?”

Lin picked up on Sen's question and tossed the ball towards Omen, though it would be reasonable to expect Shrimp also wanting to join in. Nothing is stopping the little refraction from playing with the ball after all. 

Edited by EQ_Theta
Fixed some spelling and grammar errors

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12 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

"Perhaps there are, but how many of them have your gifts?

I am not trying to tell you what to think. The decision ultimately lies with you, but their knowledge could be vastly important to you, even if you did not chose to aid the guards. And do tell, as a florist, are you not wanting to see what other flowers you may be able to grow? To expand your repertoire with flowers that cannot even normally grow outside of their land, by using your special ability?

Or what of cooking? I know of many exotic plants and fruits that are dreadfully difficult to grow outside of their lands, but with a little care and proper application from you, that could change, and you would be able to make fully organic, unique food that would be hard to gain within Equestria from anywhere but the most high end establishments, who can afford to have those things shipped to them. And even then, they would not be able to compare with the freshness you would be able to offer, hmm?

The life of an adventurer can be... Difficult, I admit, yet where does it say you need to scrape through ancient ruins and seek out thrills? You could simply seek the knowledge you needed, and gain seeds of the things you wish to grow, along with experience from many varied styles of cooking. I wouldn't call that an adventurer as much as an explorer of sorts. Who knows? It may even help you to find your exact calling, if you were to see other aspects of the professions that you seek to pursue. Perspective can sometimes be a rather helpful tool for focusing your mind."

Briar loved adventurering, and experiencing the world for all that it had to offer, yet he could understand Velvet's hesitation. It were not an easy life, and unless you had a travel companion, it could be dreadfully lonely at times too, if you were to wander vast areas where no being of higher intellect resided. Not places he would have to travel though, as Velvet could simply stick to cities and such, whilst taking safe routes and public transportation to ensure that there were no unnecessary risks taken.

"Ah, and whilst I do remember it, you do not have to take part in any battlefield. I have wandered for many years now, and I can assure you that it is a perfectly viable option to hear the rumblings of war, and simply wander away from it. Even if you find yourself in it by surprise, escape is often an option regardless. Though I would still caution that perhaps travelling with one who knows of combat, or gaining some protective wards, can help just in case something unfortunate happens."

 

"I guess...it wouldn't be such a bad idea to spend my vacation abroad. I don't know about going exploring or adventuring, but seeing somewhere new on a holiday might be nice. I really don't want to be rude and turn down your suggestions. It's just a big commitment that I'm not sure I'm ready for, though I wouldn't be able to tell when I am ready for it. Perhaps these gifts are wasted on me, a pony who can't decide his path and gets scared of going anywhere that isn't home, whether it's mine or my parents' home."

He was starting to feel bad, caught between being polite and his fear. Without a drive one way or another, he just wound up with an upset stomach and feeling like he was being ungrateful to a stranger who had no obligation to help him offering advice of his own free will. He'd have to face it sooner or later, a fact he accepted with a small amount of resignation.

"I'm sorry... I don't mean to be like this. I've just never done anything like that. I wish I was braver. That I could just leap at the chance to adventure."

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@Blitz Boom

A curious development from how she imagined this was going to happen.  First she thought she'd be rushing to the recuse of her detective that had been out of contact for a time, only to find him in the middle of a celebration in his honor for felling the dark wizard.  And now after enjoying herself a bit of the celebration, she was off to look into what was causing a bit of a rumble.  The other party goers didn't really seem to notice it at all, so she could only conclude that it was a normal occurrence around here.  

Now Minty was out doing a patrol with a pegasus she just met.  Oh how it was different to be out hunting monsters and dark creatures instead of other ponies stepping outside of the law.  She wondered if that was a bigger problem around here.  If Harrowmark had other outside sources to worry about that the need for police in the town itself was less needed.  Oh how different their lands were.  Upon reaching the area outside the town where the disturbances originated, they came upon a hooded figure.  "Oh how drab," the large unicorn commented in disgust on the dark hidden creatures choice of attire.  Always with the dark figures brooding under cloaks, even as Rarity attempts to bring capes back in her Spring collection.  In fact for Minty, this was now a battle in the name of fashion rather than whatever the being was doing to cause the ground to rumble.

"Halt you fashion disaster!  You are disturbing our cele~" The Captain started with her amplified voice, why did Princess Luna have to bring this back.  She didn't get to finished her declaration when the source of the rumbling appeared and zombie diamond dogs came bursting through the ground.  Oh how unsettling that was.  These kinds of things do not exist in Equestria, only hearing about such dark things in the most scary of horror books and plays.  Especially in varying levels of decay.  Pulling her hoof back over her chest before wrinkling her nose, "Eww" forgetting to drop her amplified voice, not able to hid her disgust.

As Caramel sprung into action without a pause, proving very competent in combat with that sickle in her tail.  Three of the zombie dogs encroached on the Manehatten pony.  Minty stomped her hoof on the ground with a loud metallic clang and upturned her snout at the dark creature.  "Hmph!  You aren't worth the stains on this dress," she snootily proclaimed.  Her horn glowed and three mint colored arcs of electricity licked off her body.  Whipping across the ground, carving deep furrows, until they snapped upwards vertically at the three assaulting her like a whip.  Splitting the three perfectly in half vertically.  The extreme heat of the energy cauterizing them along the way to save the dainty unicorn from the sight of any viscera. 

A big one appeared dressed in armor.  Minty's eyes glimmered with excitement as arcane energy crackled around her body, her magic ready to be released but having to be kept on a well trained leash.

Back at the celebration, Rising's eyes kept flicking in the direction Minty and Caramel walked off to.  Like a light haze over the horizon, the unicorn could see the very edges of a large gathering of arcane energies.  "There are still places in Equestria with an old time aesthetic.  But yes, the stagnation is evident.  Relations with Equestria might be quite daunting.  Caramel seems a bit more forward, so some signs of advancement are evident.  How will you help them advance Thistle?  I'm getting 'Run wild' isn't on the menu," he chuckled.  

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@Widdershins

DAWN STREAK

"Wh-what?" Dawn asked, her tone suddenly turning meek and stuttery in shock as she looked on at Kaltrops with a blush. Her eyes were wide and she was looking at him in a new light. She ignored what he said about a territory for the moment and instead, focused on the first half of what he said. "Y-Y-You're staying?"

@Widdershins & @Blitz Boom

TWILIGHT SPARKLE

"Well, there's definitely no Tatzlwurms about. I figured if there, we'd at least be attacked byu one by now," Twilight commented to no one in particular while Cherish went off and tried to possess the Tatzlpony. She turned and faced Last for a bit though. "What do you say? Should we ignore this if the possession doesn't work and try to find somewhere else to look for a Tatzlwurm flower?"

@Blitz Boom

KARMIC FATE & ATZY

A shudder went through Karmic's body as she gazed upon the changeling egg Enzo had scratched. She shook her head rapidly from side to side a couple of times with a small scream of pain before suddenly going limp. She lifted her head up to Enzo and her eyes were now green instead of the usual pale white.

"I didn't come from an egg. I don't know what I came from. The memories I have are not mine but somepony else's. That much is certain." Atzy said, having taken over Karmic's mind in a brief burst of strength. "I'm not doing anything to harm Karmic, it's just easier if I take control for the moment. She has no magic of her own, but if it does come to a fight, I should be able to help better than she can."

@Blitz Boom

AURORA LIGHTS

"Yes!" Aurora cheered at the prospect of being a meat taster and did a quick loop de loop in the air above Happy. She giggled as she came back down and gave the hybrid a broad grin. "Thank you so much! I had no idea this would even happen when I started out on this journey!"

  • Brohoof 1

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@Demencia

"Sounds grand. Alright, what sorta thing do you specifically wonder 'bout? Cause I could speak all day to cover things, and you might not even care about those sorta things one bit. Gimme some questions that you really burn with, and I'll give you the proper talking to."

Hah, this one were hooked already. Granted, she still had to actually reel him in the last bit of way, but she had an ace up her sleeve, just in case he wanted to actually see what they were all about with his own eyes. But eh, one step at a time here. She put it to him to ask the right sorta questions for him, so while they had a bit of a walk 'round the place, he'd have the chance to find out why the Coastal Guards were number 1.

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@Moonlit

Ziggy would be laying on the floor as Sunrise entered, seemingly in a sort of gleeful coma from the cuteness overload. Another tragic victim of the unrelenting assault of the local wildlife, left to warn others on the brutality of the merciless world they lived in.

Regardless of whatever or not she were dragged along when Sunrise moved the foals, she'd be out for a good fifteen minutes or so, before she suddenly started to shake her head and look around her, trying to get her bearings again. Would she escape the predators who had just brought her low again, or were they waiting for her, to land another devastating blow? If they weren't she'd get up and try to make her way outside again, to see if Serenade were alright. If they were, then Ziggy would be well distracted again for the time being.

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@Catpone Cerberus

"Eh, fair 'nough. Family life ain't for everypony."

Honestly it sounded somewhat boring that Ruby didn't want a prodigy or somepony in her life, then again... She had just said that Stallions were boring, not anything against mares. Might be she had just let out a little secret there, though hey, no judgement from Spicy. Whatever floated your boat, right?

Instead of speculating more on this for now, she went on with Ruby to get all their items, then get the gold to the vault, before finally opening it with a swipe of a card in her pocket over a seemingly bare section of the featureless door, and the clearly spoken word of *Jackpot*, which seemed to do the trick as it swung slowly open inwards. There were nothing special in here, just some valuables like gold, jewels, a statue, and a common wooden box with three chains wrapped around it.

"Alright, not really using the right corner for a lot these days, so let's call that your space and dumb your stuff there, alright?"

It wasn't a massive amount of things in here, as a good chunk of her actual bits were invested elsewhere or in actual banks, but a good, 100 grand or so were there, with one corner with things stabled neatly had about fifty or so. Marley's by the looks of it.

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus

"Oh right, forgot that you'd been out of the loop for a while.

A toaster's a little metal box that you put slices of bread in, and it makes them all crispy and warm. Really good if you want something with a little marmelade for example. That crunch really gives it a bit of extra zing."

Heh, guess she spoke a bit out of turn before there. Oh well, couldn't be perfect every time. She'd make mistakes like this, as she weren't used to dealing with creatures who were more or less ageless, and Nada here were special, since she had been absent for a whole bunch of development as she had gone into hiding. Sorta like Discord, but with less chocolate clouds and flying pigs.

To prove her point, she'd go find a toaster, then plug it in, find some bread, make a few slices, and show what she meant. She'd make sure to get a new bread out here the next time she came around, so Serenade wouldn't end up losing out of things here. Fair's fair, and the same went for the butter she also scooped up.

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@EQ_Theta

Shrimp were none the wiser about this being playtime or not. He simply went from one berry to the next, chomping down on them one by one with great delight. Perhaps later on he'd be able to think over this, and see the difference between when he were going to play, and when it were time to just eat, yet right now, it were all the same to him. it were good that Lin kept it in mind though. Refractions grew fast long as they had access to enough gems and greens - They'd even be able to see that he had grown about an inch since they had left too, if they were to look closely - and it would be better sooner, rather than later, to keep in mind that he learned the difference so that he didn't accidentally hurt somepony.

Meanwhile, while that went on, Omen observed Sen taking the cuffs on and off, unsure why he would do this, unless it somehow didn't sit right. Perhaps Zo hadn't made it properly to scale after all? Hmm, they might need to go back and have him fix that if it were. Might also be that Sen were trying to see what the old longma had talked about, with the ruby hiding some sort of surprise visage. Perhaps when he found it, he'd tell her how to see it too, as she were curious about what Zo had been referring to.

On 8/17/2019 at 6:11 PM, EQ_Theta said:

The second one is right. You’re getting a hang of the language. Maybe Lin could speed up your lessons and get right to more advanced topics.”

“You know I can’t do that,” Lin replied. “Everyone needs to know the basics. It wouldn’t help Omen if we're skipping lessons.”

"I do not know all of what the words mean. I hear others say things. Ponies mostly, and I try to use it. Sometimes it works. Other times somepony shouts."

The amount of times Omen had accidentally used some pretty foul language towards others after visiting countries and areas with more... Colorful ways of greeting one another, or saying thank you, were pretty substantial, and rarely did it go over well. The worst types of responses though, where when they would then retort with another word or phrase before leaving, taking on an aggressive stance, stomping, etc. She'd then incorporate that into her next encounter, and it just got out of hoof. Usually she knew that something had gone wrong when it came to attacks or throwing, as she knew those were not positive responses, and at that point, she'd start over the next time she ran into others.

Hay, with Sen, she had been closed to greeting him with something that essentially made comparisons between him and a certain part of a low rung swamp creature, but she had been distracted by seeing the curious creature for the first time, and just went with the most basic of introductions she knew to work.

On 8/17/2019 at 6:11 PM, EQ_Theta said:

Remember this, Sen?”

“How could I forget? Omen, I think you’re going to love this! A wicker ball, a toy made of strong twigs bent into shape. Lin and I played with this when we were younger. You want to try it out?”

When the ball were thrown towards Omen, a small gate opened in front of her, which took the ball, before closing again. A few seconds later, another gate would open just above Sen, and the ball would fall out of there for him to catch.

"Wicker ball? I have been in a strange place. Harrowmark. They had many things with wicker in the name. Strange creatures hunting others. Made them scream a lot. Is the ball going to do something too? Does it need fire?"

It were a pretty grim, dark place that country, and she hadn't returned since since it were just teeming with magic, and no trace of her master, so she hadn't had the interest in returning. Sure were a lot of creatures doing bad things there, that were for sure. And the diamond dogs and ponies living there were pretty harsh on them. Setting them on fire, cutting them down, all sorts of things. Wicker creatures looked like creatures made of gnarled wood, so maybe that was how they were supposed to do things there? Hmm... Perhaps something to go back and look on another day, though for now, she would just play along and ask questions about this ball, though her way of catching and throwing were perhaps a bit unorthodox.

As for Shrimp, he certainly did look up at the ball as it started to be thrown around, and followed it closely with his eyes, with a half eaten berry still in his small, clawed hands. Best scenario, he were going to chase it if one of them dropped it, and potentially run away with it. Worst case, he'd see it as prey or an enemy, and use his glittering fire on it. It could be beneficial for him to see the lot of them having fun with this, as to make him understand that this were just a toy. He might still steal it though, depending on how things went.

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

 

@Sekel @Widdershins

This were certainly a tough possession to go through. The mind of this thing were so basic, and spread throughout its massive frame. It would be essentially impossible for her to assert any sort of control over it, but perhaps she could find a pattern in how its mind worked, and find some sort of information, or emotions to work from, and she could perhaps understand it enough for them to connect with it.

Sifting through things, she would get a little more understanding of the creature, the more she started to find a kind of thought pattern in it's nervous system. It especially helped as she got closer to the regular area where a heart would be, which seemed to be where the highest concentration of these thoughts were situated.

The insight she managed to glean currently as she rummaged through Razzle's consciousness essentially, were rather positive. There were the understandable ones of food and light, which seemed to be two highly understandable main driving forces behind a creature like this, as a plant needed light, and something of this size and mobility likely needed to eat too. It would not have such a massive maw without a need to feast, right?  Likely meat were involved in its diet.

It made her own undead heart flicker in sadness when she ran into a rather familiar sensation too. It might be blurry and not perfectly easy to discern with a hundred percent accuracy, but she knew well the emotions connected with wanting to have friends. Loneliness were a terrible burden that ate at your being, and like most other creatures, this poor thing seemed to just want to have some creature in its life that would be its friend, and stop the loneliness. Though with the unfocused mind here, it were potentially possible that it had eaten some that would have been possible friends, like with how it had gone over with Twilight before. It seemed like the creature did not aim to harm her, considering this. Maybe. It were hard to tell for sure, but Cherish wanted to think the best.

As she dove in deeper though, her heart melting a little were replaced by a disturbed, blurry, and unfocused image of some sort of elongated being deep in the mind of this creature. It seemed... Unnatural, and likely not how it were supposed to look, so she'd guess it were just distorted, yet what were more important were that this likely meant that this creature had been created by some outside force. And right now, she could tell if it had once been a plant, or perhaps some sort of other creature like... Like a pony for example...

Urgh, the thought alone were making her feel a little queasy, and with the want to stop, but she had to dig deeper. See if she could find out what came before that other creature, a better view on said creator, and/or perhaps somewhere deep, deep down there, a link of some sort that she could use to actually communicate with Razzle.

While this went on, Rising were giving the ghost and plant a slightly puzzled look, but keeping her yap shut, as the princess were talking. You did not interrupt royalty unless it were important, and she had no good reason to say anything before she were actually asked her her opinion on something here. So soon as she were sure the princess had finished talking, she would reply to that, as requested.

"My advise, if nothing comes of this, would be to mark the area and then go look for a tatzelwurm for your ritual. Even if this creatures moves, it's large. It can be found again."

She couldn't imagine it were low rung on the food chain either, so they likely didn't have to worry about it being taken out while they were away, so they might as well focus on the task at hoof, soon as Cherish were done and reported her results. Plans might change then, if the princess willed it.

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

 

@Sekel

Enzo observed what happened to karmic, but did not interfere, as he had an inkling about what might be going on here. And sure enough, it were Atzy who had sprung to the forefront. It had to happen sooner or later, considering that this were an area that corresponded with memories that she owned, regardless of her being real or not, though this situation had not been the one he would have thought would trigger it, considering they had talked eggs before, with no response or violent takeover. Perhaps this place were amplifying things to some degree? He weren't sure, but it were possible.

As Atzy finished talking, he rose a paw and lifted her up himself. If she remained limp though, he just make sure her head stayed up, so that she could look him in the eyes as he responded.

"It doesn't matter if the memories are your own. We will need to make a fake egg to grant you a body of your own regardless of where you came from. And if those memories are from another, then it is now your task to get a body, and remember that whoever the first owner of these memories were, they are likely long dead. They belong to you now, and it is up to you what you will end up choosing to do with them."

He'd help her up on his back if she were still limp, and otherwise just stand and wait for Atzy or Karmic to regain composure.

"And if a battle is to ensue, you will stay out of my way and try to escape. Even untrained as I am, I am still far more capable than a pony who carries no magic. I may well survive an encounter."

A few depressing thoughts on how he would still be cut down like nothing, and that he'd fail to do anything worthwhile with his life came in, which caused Enzo to shake his head for a few seconds to try and clear them. This were not the time for him to fall into despair or get melancholic. He had to focus.

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

 

@Sekel

Happy chuckled and gave a broad grin back at Aurora. That mood of hers felt almost contagious in the moment, and he sure didn't mind. Some joy after a weird day were pretty welcome.

"Heh, I'll look forward to see if you can keep that smile going once you see the process in action."

She might have lived among griffons, but a whole load of creatures had issues seeing other beings getting butchered into the right sort of meat for a given meal or purpose. It were going to be interesting to see if she'd get squeamish, but eh, look at the bright side for now. They were still about a half hour from entering the woods again at this pace, and Aurora were smiling. Good to see her being in a good mood, especially after all the stuff that had been happening a'round her. It seemed like it had been pretty rough, and hoh boy, it weren't done being rough today at all, so she were gonna need this good mood to last while she could.

The forest weren't even his biggest concern, it were the meeting with Thorax. Onache had a real bad reputation, even among other changelings, so to go there on her behalf and say that she wished to have a truce and some real talk with him, as a newly reformed changeling? This were certainly gonna be testing how open-minded that one had gotten.

"So, looking forward to see the first of the reformed changelings? I've heard he's a pretty colorful lil' buggy that one."

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

 

@Rising Dusk

The cauterizing slice through the diamond dogs were highly effective, as it prevented them from being easily stitched together again with magic and sent back by the pack leader, which seemed to just infuriate it. Prior to that point, it had kept a rotting eye on Caramel mostly, and see what she were doing with the ones he kept trying to raise up again, just to be stabbed or cut, and drained once more. Yet this last action made the focus go entirely on Minty. If the excessive posturing, voice level, and bright attire hadn't already.

Whilst gazing at her, it would rise its empty paw, palm up, to show dark magic danced between the bony claws. The ones who had been cauterized suddenly broke apart and the parts rushed together to create an amalgamation of the varied parts put together to roughly the shape of another, large diamond dog. However, this one seemed to also be empowered by some further magic, as it would raise it's claws towards Minty and fire off a blast on concentrated dark magic. Y'know, if she hadn't just pulverized it at some point before it got fully assembled. Five seconds were a long time to work with, though she might be somewhat distracted by what the pack leader did with its other hand. Namely, swinging its dulled blade down towards her. if it hit her, sharp or not, she were done for. This thing were big, heavy, and swung in a curve with force. It were going to damage whatever it hit. All the while, four more diamond dogs were trying to flank her with their own claw strikes. It would have been more, but Caramel were starting to use her hidden blades to cut some down from a distance, and somehow retracting the blades with the same energy dancing on them back to her after they had struck the creatures down.

Whatever happened, Caramel would soon stand near Minty with three blades about the length of a flight feather shot out like arrows, hitting three diamond dogs in the chest, and returning with the aura dancing on the blades, mere moments before it were drawn to underneath her apron.

"Please, do the honors Minty. An honored guest such as you, deserves to enjoy the main course."

She seemed to wish to say more, but suddenly staggered backward, as a low hissing sound escaped her throat. Her eyes at this time, we settled on a new arrival. Three actually, though they were indistinguishable from one another.

They looked like ponies, though mostly skeletal, with dry skin hanging close to the bones. Their manes and tails hang grey and droopy towards the ground, as if they had just risen out of the water, and though no eyes resides in their eye sockets, pale flames danced within, clearly functioning as replacements for the eyes that once were.

The same pale flame seemed to dance around them too, with a few wisps here and there as they wandered on three legs on the outskirts of the current battlefield. One on each side, with the third slowly approaching from behind the pack leader. They didn't look too intimidating, and more as a kind of spirit infused risen of some sort, yet Caramel feared these creatures that wandered with no sound, where the other beings here were little more than fun distractions for her.

"H-Helhests! Minty, do Not go near them! Whatever happens, let them neither touch you, nor you them. And for the love of Viz'nay, do not attempt to attack them."

Caramel's voice, as well as stance, should clearly tell that she meant it when she warned against these Helhests. No word on what would happen if the slow moving equines touched you came out, but it could not be anything good. So far though, it didn't see as if they had much interest in attacking. More as if they were observing. Specifically, they were observering Minty and the pack leader. It seemed they had some kind of vested interest in a confrontation, and deemed the two of them the most interesting in that scenario.

It should be noted that the risen that were near the suddenly appearing helhests, did what they could to avoid them too, up to and including actually jumping into attacks from Caramel and Minty, rather than getting into contact.

Meanwhile, back with the others, Thistle gave Rising a strict look and a small nod, before glancing towards the citizens of this, the first of many towns that were to hear her words.

"𝕋𝕙𝕖𝕪 𝕨𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕓𝕖 𝕣𝕖𝕚𝕟𝕥𝕣𝕠𝕕𝕦𝕔𝕖𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕝𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕤𝕠 𝕝𝕠𝕟𝕘 𝕓𝕖𝕖𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕞 𝕕𝕖𝕟𝕚𝕖𝕕, 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕨𝕙𝕖𝕟 𝕀 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕔𝕙 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕤𝕖 𝕠𝕗 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕔𝕦𝕣𝕣𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕢𝕦𝕖𝕖𝕟, 𝕀 𝕨𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕥𝕒𝕜𝕖 𝕞𝕪 𝕣𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥𝕗𝕦𝕝 𝕡𝕝𝕒𝕔𝕖 𝕒𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕙𝕚𝕘𝕙 𝕡𝕣𝕚𝕖𝕤𝕥𝕖𝕤𝕤 𝕠𝕗 𝕍𝕚𝕫'𝕟𝕒𝕪, 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕘𝕦𝕚𝕕𝕖 𝕓𝕠𝕥𝕙 𝕙𝕖𝕣 𝕒𝕟𝕕 ℍ𝕒𝕣𝕣𝕠𝕨𝕞𝕒𝕣𝕜 𝕥𝕠𝕨𝕒𝕣𝕕𝕤 𝕡𝕣𝕠𝕤𝕡𝕖𝕣𝕚𝕥𝕪, 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕨𝕠𝕣𝕤𝕙𝕚𝕡. 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕞𝕠𝕣𝕖 𝕨𝕙𝕠 𝕨𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕡𝕣𝕒𝕚𝕤𝕖 𝕙𝕖𝕣 𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕖 𝕒𝕘𝕒𝕚𝕟, 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕤𝕥𝕣𝕠𝕟𝕘𝕖𝕣 𝕤𝕙𝕖 𝕨𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕓𝕖𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕖, 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕒𝕞𝕠𝕟𝕘 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕞𝕠𝕤𝕥 𝕕𝕖𝕧𝕠𝕥𝕖𝕕, 𝕀 𝕨𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕔𝕙𝕠𝕤𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕤𝕖 𝕨𝕙𝕠 𝕤𝕙𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕓𝕖𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕗𝕚𝕣𝕤𝕥 𝕡𝕣𝕚𝕖𝕤𝕥𝕤 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕡𝕣𝕚𝕖𝕤𝕥𝕖𝕤𝕤𝕖𝕤 𝕠𝕗 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕟𝕖𝕨 𝕒𝕘𝕖. 𝕋𝕙𝕖𝕪 𝕥𝕠𝕠 𝕤𝕙𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕘𝕚𝕧𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕞𝕤𝕖𝕝𝕧𝕖𝕤 𝕥𝕠 𝕍𝕚𝕫'𝕟𝕒𝕪, 𝕓𝕠𝕕𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕝.

ℙ𝕖𝕣𝕙𝕒𝕡𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕟, 𝕞𝕠𝕣𝕖 𝕨𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕓𝕖 𝕕𝕣𝕒𝕨𝕟 𝕥𝕠 𝕙𝕖𝕣 𝕨𝕒𝕚𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕖𝕞𝕓𝕣𝕒𝕔𝕖, 𝕨𝕙𝕖𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕚𝕣 𝕕𝕒𝕪𝕤 𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕒𝕥 𝕒𝕟 𝕖𝕟𝕕."

Thistle were very traditional, and her role in this whole puzzle, would be to give the words of the goddess herself to the ruler of Harrowmark, generation after generation. The light would remain through her actions, yet as for the ruling itself, it would not be something that were in her hooves to decide. She would be asked for guidance and help at times, she had no doubts about that, yet the final say would remain with the regent, as long as said regent did not make a decision that would harm Viz'nay's influence, despite being warned. It would be... Unfortunate, if one were to forget what happened when you ignored the reasonable wishes of a goddess.

Also, as Thistle could physically not leave this country, it put certain limits on her that an actual regent had to deal with, such as travelling to make connections with other country leaders. She could imagine they would be mighty surprised to suddenly hear from Harrowmark again after all these years.

"The queen is still our ruler Dusk, so she have to lead the way, and finally do the job that were essentially denied her. I'm sure that soon as she contacts others outside of Harrowmark, we will start to see and learn things that will be kind of trying, but we'll adapt. That's the Harrowmark way."

Sure, it were mainly meant as adapting to survive monsters and such, but the point still stood, and with the advancements in magical protection, technology, and the reemergence of the priesthood, Harrowmark might end up being the safest it had ever been, within a few years.

Wisp moved closer to Dusk and looked him in the eyes, meeting his gaze with a curious look in hers. Though if he averted his eyes from her for any reason, she'd take a step back and look down a little for a moment, slightly embarrassed at how things had gone.

"What is it like out there? How does the world look now, after all these years? Could you please tell m-Us, about it?"

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

 

@EcstaticWind

"You could chose to stay, and your gift would not be wasted. It would just be unexplored, if you will allow me the humorous phrasing.

Yet, If I may be so bold, I would suggest that more than anything, what you need is a travel companion to help you get past these worries of yours, and help push you forward. I know of a hoofful of adventurers and exploration seeking creatures within Equestria alone who could be of much help to you. I could put you into contact with one of them, and you could try and make arrangements for you both to go and learn things. Several of those I mention would love for an opportunity to see something new, and teach what skills they have learned to survive in the great big world.

I would offer myself, however Germane is still too far to travel for Brittle, and I could not bring myself to leave her again. Ah, but please, tell me, would it not be fascinating to go and see the world for just a little while, and expand upon your gifts? You may well never need to travel more than once, and yet in that one adventure, you would find skills that would enhance your abilities - and by extension your possibilities in your chosen professions - more than you could potentially imagine."

"I-It's i-important to l-learn things..."

Brittle chimed a little of her own, though her voice were still low and shaking. She too wished to try and encourage him to go and do something, instead of being run by his fears though. She knew how limiting it were to live a life like that, and she didn't want others to live with the sort of horrible view on the world as she had. It were a miserable existence to slog through.

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@Blitz Boom

Thunder smiled "Well you've already told me how much different the Coastal Guard is to the Royal and Night Guard, but how about this" he thinks for a moment "What is the worst you've had to come across? Land Sharks?" he would ask with a goofy grin.

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@Blitz Boom When Ziggy came around, she'd find herself in the guest bedroom, laying on the bed....with seven foals sleeping next to her, one has her wing in its mouth, another two with bits of her mane. They are all fast asleep.

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7 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

You could chose to stay, and your gift would not be wasted. It would just be unexplored, if you will allow me the humorous phrasing.

 Yet, If I may be so bold, I would suggest that more than anything, what you need is a travel companion to help you get past these worries of yours, and help push you forward. I know of a hoofful of adventurers and exploration seeking creatures within Equestria alone who could be of much help to you. I could put you into contact with one of them, and you could try and make arrangements for you both to go and learn things. Several of those I mention would love for an opportunity to see something new, and teach what skills they have learned to survive in the great big world.

I would offer myself, however Germane is still too far to travel for Brittle, and I could not bring myself to leave her again. Ah, but please, tell me, would it not be fascinating to go and see the world for just a little while, and expand upon your gifts? You may well never need to travel more than once, and yet in that one adventure, you would find skills that would enhance your abilities - and by extension your possibilities in your chosen professions - more than you could potentially imagine."

 "I-It's i-important to l-learn things..."

 Brittle chimed a little of her own, though her voice were still low and shaking. She too wished to try and encourage him to go and do something, instead of being run by his fears though. She knew how limiting it were to live a life like that, and she didn't want others to live with the sort of horrible view on the world as she had. It were a miserable existence to slog through.

 

Velvet took a breath to calm himself, his doubt and uncertainty clashing with his curiosity. It was enough when one was suggesting he adventure, but now both were. He almost shut down from what seemed to him like the pair unintentionally overwhelming him with all of this.

“I...I’m not sure. I‘m not an adventurer, so I can’t just say yes without hesitation, but I can’t say no, either, because it might help. But...I don’t know...I need more of a reason to go out so far. I can learn more about cooking, gardening and medicine here in Equestria if I wanted. But when you leave, I might never get this chance again. But I’m too afraid to take it...”

Velvet tried not to break down, but it was getting hard to hide how much this ate at him. How cornered he felt by such well-intended and heartfelt offers of assistance and broadening horizons, and how ashamed he felt that he hesitated and even seemed to push away the offered hoof out of fear.

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@Blitz Boom

The siblings grew quiet quickly, wondering how the conversation took a sharp turn from being lighthearted to burning things with wicker. Some creatures actually had rituals that included hunting others and… doing something that got the unlucky victims screaming? Might be that it had something to do with some willing, king-like fool who came to that Harrowmark place. One can only hope bees weren't involved.

“That’s horrible! What kind of…  No! I don’t want to know who does those things or why they do it.”

“Ugh, that’s… Let’s not talk about that anymore.” Sen added, not even noticing the gate appearing overhead or the wicker ball bounding off the top of his head. “This ball is something Lin and I played with when we were young. We’d try to see how many times we could bounce it without letting it touch the ground. Here, we’ll show you.”

The longma picked up the ball and tossed it up into the air, letting it bounce once on his head, another along his back, and a third on his claw before passing it along to Lin. She caught it with her left claw and bounced it along her back, then on her head before the ball got caught in one of her horn stumps. As far as both of them were concerned, that usually meant the end of the game and they would go at it again. Sometimes they’d volley the ball back and forth with each other, which they did. Lin didn’t give any warning and tossed the ball at Sen, who only noticed it at the last second and hit it right back. 

Before they knew it, the two were running around and laughing along. It seems like even in this brief moment, they relived a childhood memory long thought lost, a moment of respite that got them to remember simpler times when they didn’t have so much to worry about. Eventually, the back and forth passes lost momentum and the ball would land right by Shrimp and Omen’s feet. The longma siblings  gave each other high fives, realizing they still got it years after they’ve last played that game.

“Just like that. Want to give it a go? Might need a few tries to get it right but you can get the hang of it in time.”

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