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@Blitz Boom
"Fun is an overstatement." Ruby stated, nothing less than a good and satisfying fight, or a huge amount of destruction was fun "More pleasant time than I though I would have' would be a more accurate description, my apparent pleasantness is the side effect of alcohol." "In short, it hasn't been a total waste of time." "There was a bit of an annoyance in the start though, as this thing..." she pointed at the 
necklace(s) "...almost caused problems when we first arrived." 

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Nada had noticed Lotus's shrug, and was surprised she seemed to understand her, as she had assumed creatures just sensed if she was being hostile or not and reacted to that.

She was thoughtful for a second before responding "I don't see why not, I trust you when you say she's trustworthy, and I have nothing else to do since Berry won't appear until later and I really don't want to continue reading Equestrian history right now." she hoped her choice of words didn't sound like she didn't want to go, she needed to think about her wording a bit at some point.

 

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((OOC http://mlpforums.com/topic/110032-casual-stroll-an-introductionary-roleplay-around-ponyville-open-for-all/#entry3092621))   The crisp morning air went through the town of Ponyville as the day

@Shineling @EQ_Theta "Take your p-pet. It might h-help you through." It was all Clayton said before he went back to try and keep his friends from breaking down too much. But how could he underst

@The Resident Brony "We would have handled them ourselves. Or have you forgotten how we only put you as a front figure for the sake of the public? You did not control the guards, we did. What happen

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@Blitz Boom

The decision was mostly on Lin’s side and she might have mentioned that delivery wasn’t quite urgent in the slightest. The only thing that she was certain about was that she is going to have to do it sometime, probably soon, and that there were exotic ingredients for tea coming in for Amethyst. Since the leaves were dry to begin with, time wasn’t a big constraint and she could afford to wait a little longer before making the delivery, maybe even focus on what she was going to say if she had to speak during Rosa’s trial. 

But on the matter of the cider, Sen was just readying the pouch of bits he insisted on paying but considering they were on a schedule and Golden declined payment, he wouldn’t push the matter. They’d be stuck arguing if he did and there was more to do today. He followed and though there wasn’t a lot to see, 

“Golden, you and the rest of the family harvest all year round, right? I hope you don’t mind me asking but besides apples or corn, what else do you grow around here?”

19 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

 

Curiosity took over though, and made him slither over, and sniff at the gate, trying to gauge if there were something dangerous about it, before sticking his head and upper body though it, and finding that half of himself up in the air, whilst his bottom half were still on the ground. It were sort of weird to look down at, but then again, he were now looking down at many things, as if he were tall and strong. So he'd let out a tiny roar towards the ceiling, followed by a small ember around the height of a baby carrot, before he'd slide back out again and look up at Lin, expectantly. He were ready to catch the ball and send it through the gate again now, and potentially later on swoop through it to get up to her himself, though he were going to keep watch for the angle the ball came out at first, so he wouldn't miss.

 

Shrimp was a delight to watch, no doubt about it. Lin couldn’t contain her excitement for Shrimp exploring things on his own and by the looks of it, he seemed to catch on pretty quick about how gates worked and remarking on it in his own way. Not quite a large spectacle but it he is on to something when curiosity kicks in.

Lin knew what that look on his face is when he turns to her without the concerned chirping. Expectedly, she threw the ball up to the overhead gate and it would end up bouncing up and over towards the refraction. She was careful to go easy on the first few tosses until Shrimp gets the hang of what they’re doing now. 

“Here it comes, Shrimp!”

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@Blitz Boom

AURORA LIGHTS

Aurora wasn't sure what to say, watching the nanny hustle the little nymph she managed to cheer up somewhere behind Thorax. She didn't get long to look at where they went when she got elbowed by Happy and gave a start. Her gaze flew to Thorax and she gulped. "Um ... King ... Thorax. H-hello, I guess. My, um, name is Aurora. I'm not part of ... of any hive. I guess. Until um, Happy's hive here, we, well, ran into each other. What did ... what did the other- you, um, look like before the change?"

She couldn't stop herself and blurted out what she was thinking. She didn't know why, but she got a sense of intimidation from Thorax and the others despite the king's hopeful attitude to more reformations. The chitin over her face got flushed with colour in embarrassment and she quickly looked away and down to the ground to get away from his gaze.

@Blitz Boom

KARMIC FATE

"Whatever they are, it's made Atzy as quiet as a cowed dog," Karmic muttered, some kind of accent slipping through her voice. It sounded like a mixture of Appleloosan and a Trottinghamite but this showed how stressed she was at the situation. She looked up and around, spotting various yellow eyes, moving as they did. She shivered, not liking how it felt to have dozens of eyes on her. Her eyes glowed pure white for a brief second but it was enough to get a glimpse of the immediate future. "STOP WALKING!" Karmic panicked-shouted at Enzo, for in her second-long vision, she saw both of them tumbling down a sudden pit that was smack dab in the middle of the passageway just ahead of the pair. She heard hissing in response and warily looked up at the ceiling, noticing a pair of them looking straight at her while the others continued watching Enzo.

@Blitz Boom

TWILIGHT SPARKLE

"For this next ingredient," Twilight huffed, placing her saddlebags against the table in the library and went to the open book. She put her hoof on it, and went down the list poking her tongue out as she read through the list. "I've got most of them here in my personal stores. We just need two more ingredients. Something from Cherish to make sure the ritual is coded to her, and, well. I didn't the ritual would have something like this. A lock of hair from Marepunzel. Is she even real?"

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@Blitz Boom "His name is Blazewing, and he served with me in the Guard. He was there when I first found Serenade's egg, and he's been something like an Uncle to her." She smirks, "Spoils her rotten too, but that is the authority of an Uncle, to spoil their nieces rotten and let the parents deal with the fallout.Can't wait until he settles down, so I can spoil his chick."

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@Blitz Boom @Rainbows2424

Thunder, being the goofball he is, couldn't help but laugh at their joke on him "Haha, yeah that'd be the day, me dating two beautiful mares.." he'd then cover his muzzle "Uhm...well, if Zephyr would be there, it'd surely make him jealous" he chuckles awkwardly "And yep, I can't wait to be swimming with all the aquatic life that the coast has to offer..anyway, this way" he would say as he would begin to lead Shell towards his house, seeing as Azure was still quite happily nestled into his mane.

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@Catpone Cerberus

"Sounds like an overall positive experience then, though perhaps before I ask further, we should find a more quiet place to discuss things? I can imagine you do not wish to be snooped upon by a large group of strangers."

There were some spots where they'd be able to find privacy in the casino if they looked around enough, but otherwise, they might be better off going outside and wander to the side, away from the regular path. Of course, if Ruby were fine discussing this here, then all the more power to her, but Marley assumed that even high in spirits, she didn't want to blabber potentially risky information out where just anypony could hear it.

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@Catpone Cerberus

"Very well then Lotus, would you like a ride as we wander there?"

The bunny nodded and jumped up on Lyriel's back, making no more trouble as Lyriel would lead them through the seemingly confusing mess around her home, before exiting on the other side of the illusions and then having a more normal, easy to follow road through the regular forest.

It wouldn't be more than a few minutes before she'd arrive with them near a large cave, with an even larger boulder next to it, that seemed to be rolled in front of the entrance when the one inside were not there, or didn't wish to be disturbed. Something which were not the case now, and they'd be able to wander in and find a human-sized, faded-yellow dragon with purple dots here and there, spikes on her head and down the back of her neck sitting in a way that made it look like slick back hair. Her right arm were wrapped in gauze and resting in a sling around her chest, and she wore a set of clothing best described as an adventurers robe. She'd be reading a large book as they wandered closer, and turned around to look at them once she heard the hoofsteps of Lyriel. Though, her eyes seemed to rest solely on Nada, whom she gave a long, analytical glance.

"...Peculiar. A new friend of yours, Lyriel?"

"Yes. Perhaps you two could introduce yourself to one another?"

"Very well. My name is Nerzhei, and I am a dragon. Who and what are you?"

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

 

@EQ_Theta

"Just apples really. The corn's from the neighbors farms. Usually they stock it themselves, but there were a bit of an issue, so we rented them a silo.

During winter we take it easy and have some well deserved time off, after a long season of apple growing and harvesting, though we ain't lazying it off entirely. We tend to use the time to get our tools sorted, get some work done inside, and basically anything else to prepare for spring. We're just more laid back and relaxed about it."

After having walked a bit more, they'd stop at an apple tree, that seemingly were no different from the rest, yet regardless, Golden would start digging on the side of it facing west.

"We gotta have some time where we can ease up and enjoy the fruits of our labor, right? Been thinking about checking out those fancy new Frost Core apples though, and have a few planted during winter, just to see if it'd be worth our time. Can't hurt trying a new apple sort, even if it does sound mighty weird. But, family up far north send it, and I trust they ain't trying to pull one down over us."

Meanwhile, Shrimp would joyfully take part in bashing the ball back and forth, using his head, tail, and a few times, even pushing it with his small arms as best he could. It were tiring work, but it were hugely enjoyable, so he barely cared about this.

After a few dozen times though, he'd cling on to the ball as it went through, sure enough of the trajectory, and would let go of it once he had gotten through on the other side, and throw himself at Lin, aiming to grasp hold of her and give her a small, happy hug.

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@Sekel

"Welcome to my hive, Aurora. And to answer your question, I looked like this."

In a green flash, Thorax would change into the regular changeling drone form that he had before reforming, and somehow rising to the stage of a royal changeling. How that had happened, he still weren't sure about, but seeing as the others looked at him to lead them now, it were just a good thing. Changeling needed a hive leader to function in a group this large.

He'd revert to his reformed form soon again though, not liking this all that much. Reminded him of worse times.

"Guess it's my turn then, eh? Alright, this here's how I looked as a changeling."

Happy would change into his human changeling form, complete with cheese legs, sharp finger and the big, fluffy black wings on his back, which he still didn't get weren't membranous originally. Mixed DNA had been his best guess, though it didn't matter much. It made him more recognizable, and it sure seemed like Thorax and a few others had some inkling, as their eyes went wide, and in Thorax's case, he seemed to grow a little pale.

"And this here's now, after the reformation."

The size would be the same, but as Happy took his disguise off completely, he'd be more colorful, his wings would actually be membranous, and the fluff around his neck, chest and upper back, seemed to get even fluffier.

"H-Happy Hour?"

"Bingo. Which means that you also know who I'm here on behalf of."

The buzzing going around here between those who knew and didn't would get going, and Thorax looked nervously from side to side, trying to figure out what to do here, as more changelings started to let out scared sounds and take off, to either the caves beneath or one of the houses. Not e guards though, who though half of them were scared, made sure to cover all escape routes, and straight lines for their king, weapons drawn. They did not seem welcome all of a sudden.

"...I... What does she want?"

"On behalf of Queen Onache, newly reformed, former slaver queen of the wandering hive, I'm here to try and bury old hatches. She knows it might be a folly since her history ain't good, with you or many others, but she want to try and start an open debate and talk peace after her reformation. She figured it'd be less tense if she sent me, instead of showing herself."

Sure seemed pretty tense here, and Thorax still looked pretty nervous and unsure of things, but they hadn't been stabbed yet. So far so good, right?

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

 

@Sekel

Enzo halted instantly as he were told to do so, annoyed to be taking orders, but thinking there were a good reason. Which he soon after found out there were, as the floor ahead of them had a large hole in it. They could have probably made it back up from there without too many issues, but it weren't guaranteed, and honestly, it were best that they hadn't tried. It seems too dangerous to risk.

"You have my thanks. Seems like these little creatures are not above luring others into traps. Hmph, insufferable maggots."

He'd run the torch higher to get the creatures to shy away from that spot, though it were mostly pointless. They'd just shuffle and find another spot quickly, and he'd do were wasting time.

Instead, after this small action brought on by irritation, he'd summon thick strips of parchment that ran across the pit in multiple layers, sticking on like melted on each side, which after about ten layers, would make for solid enough *ground* for the sphinx to walk over. Quickly though, as the layer were not comfortable to walk on, nor secure in the long run.

"You see anything else happening in our immediate future, Karmic?"

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

 

@Sekel

"If the book is legit, she must have been."

"Y-Yes, but... Where do we even look for something like this?"

"I don't know. If the hair is needed for these sort of spells, perhaps somepony who knows about ghosts. Only guess I have.

Do you have the other thing?"

Cherish seemed baffled and unsure about the question for a moment, as she were going through thoughts about this whole thing, before it sort of clicked with her what the guard meant.

"Oh, right. I uhm... M-Maybe? There's something at the castle I've been keeping for so long I can't remember why or how I got it anymore. It just feels important to me for some reason."

They'd both look at the princess for answers on the Marepunzel hair though. That was going to be a real hassle, as it sounded like none of them had any idea where to find that sort of thing.

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

 

@Moonlit

"Serenade's sure been blessed with having so many good ponies in her life.Just think how bad it could've been if some meanie had found her instead."

Ziggy shivered a little at the thought. Serenade would've probably ended up being a big ol' meanie of a siren if that had happened. Thanks Celestia - or well, Harmony and Blazewing, technically - that she had gotten some positive role models in her life instead. Really did put into perspective the whole *Nurture versus nature* thing that had been so widely discussed in some of the classes she took back at school.

"Part of my courses, we had some classes that sorta spoke on this, and then it got into a big talk about nature and nurture. Some there said that some creatures were just born to be evil. That it were their nature, and that nothing could change that. Serenade and the little uhm... Fishlings? I dunno what kid sirens are called.

Anyway, they're pretty good evidence that it's more about nurture. They're getting some positive influence, so they're turning out really nice.

Hehe, I can't wait to meet another of those good influences. Blazewing is gonna get Such a big hug."

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

 

@Rainbows2424 @Dreadmare

"Well, you'd be dating a mummy and a breezie. I dunno if that's more or less impressive actually."

She weren't technically a mummy, but considering the only part of her that were visible beneath the armor and gauze were her right eye, Shell sure counted herself as being that at least in body, for the time being. Far as the doctor said, it'd still be like this for weeks, if not months, but eh, he had assured her that she'd make a complete recovery, so she'd be patient. Just annoying that she couldn't go into salt water like this. She missed wandering the underwater fields and swimming.

"And sharks can be totally defensive, but it gets real bad during mating season and after the little ones have been born, because of hormones and the general protective nature the sharks have in our area. Former guard called Chop Chop got hurt real bad because he got too careless during that time, and he still carries a lot of scars to this day, so I can tell you for sure that you need to respect the sharks, and give them privacy when they need it."

Shell would skip along on the clouds, looking around as they wandered closer and closer to the parents of Thunder, Zephyr, and Fluttershy. It were surely going to be an awe inspiring moment. Or really awkward, depending on how they reacted to his weird entourage.

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On 11/26/2019 at 3:01 PM, Blitz Boom said:

n the midst of everything, where the crown jewel of it all. A statue of a small, meditating dragon, made entirely out of a glistening, deep onyx crystal. If they knew their stuff, they could even identify that it were carved out by a single, large piece of Midnight Glory. A rare, valuable garnet gem that were hard enough to come by even in small pieces, so this were quite a find.

The unicorn paused rembering what was said about this aritifact from his uncels books "no...way...at this level of perservaction?!? this has to be the best intact one found!" he said. Zot made a simuler surpised note knowing what it was, then the metel construct looked around to find....

 

On 11/26/2019 at 3:01 PM, Blitz Boom said:

t were also the piece alluring them in with magic, as it had so many others. If touched by bare hooves or skin, it would turn them to gold, and have them dragged away to join the rest of the collection, yet they should be able to tell that something urging them to touch it, in a place like this, were a bad idea. Or that this were a curse. Either would be a good sign that they shouldn't tamper with it.

Seeing the golden statues the construct imidelty shot up in front of its masters gaze giving a warning note to the unicorn. 

"wait, whers the" the unicorn looked around themselves seing the statue wincing at his own near fatel idea. 

"aye grabbing it would reqire better gear and others" he winced "start recording we'll send the clips back to uncel hopefully we can get a team for a futre dive" the unicorn said. 

On 11/26/2019 at 3:01 PM, Blitz Boom said:

They'd be able to find something odd though, floating above the dragons horns though, with a simple levitation spell. A piece of a fractured, pale-blue glass disc.

"now this, this maybe less so risky to examine" The unicorn said, his horn glowing trying to match the levitaction spell around the disc.  

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@Blitz Boom

“I doubt you have such sour relations with your northern relatives that they’d try to mess with your harvest with a strange apple variety. If I am not mistaken, the Apple family is very tight-knit, more or less. There’s just one other thing I’ve been wondering about: zap apples. What makes them special? I’ve heard they’ve a very rare variety.”

Sen would patiently wait for the digging to finish, having nothing else to do for the time being. More than likely, he’d be expecting a  little box of mementos and other tiny implements hidden away under a tree. Unsuspecting and unlikely to be stumbled upon by accident. Whatever is in that box definitely holds a lot of value if it is kept away from prying eyes, even if that value doesn’t translate into a monetary equivalent. 

As for Lin, she continued passing the ball through the gates with varying levels of strength and at slightly different angles to mix things up with Shrimp. It was about to get monotonous until the refraction pushed the ball - and himself - into the gate and the longma found herself scrambling to catch the little creature instead of the ball. 

It didn’t seem to bother Shrimp in the least as he intentionally wanted this to happen, including giving the longma a hug. Lin’s shocked reaction and rapidly accelerated breathing eased into calm and collected as she returned the gesture, sitting down and cradling her little friend close. 

“Feeling daring today, are we?” Lin chuckled, nuzzling him. “I suppose this means we’re taking a break? Feeling thirsty?”

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@Blitz Boom

AURORA LIGHTS

Aurora wasn't sure of what to do with herself. She took a few deep breaths and a couple steps away from Happy. She glanced at Thorax and blinked a few times and cautiously changed the subject for a brief time while things were thought over. "Um, M-Mister Thorax? Y-You didn't look like, um, royalty. I think. Or did you? I don't really know what a royal changeling looks like."

@Blitz Boom

KARMIC FATE

"A fight," Karmic said immediately. Her eyes flashed white and she ducked, wincing at the screeching sound of one of the creatures lunging for her. It had missed when she ducked and slammed into the diamond wall next to them. "A big fight. Something tells me that since the trap didn't work, they're just going to fight us instead. We can't go back. You can't spread your wings and fly over the pit."

@Blitz Boom

TWILIGHT SPARKLE

"Marepunzel ..." Twilight muttered to herself, largely ignoring Last and Cherish. She looked at her vast library before taking off to grab a book. She pulled it out then flapped back down to the pair. In her hooves she held a fairy tale book but the mare on the cover looked like the Marepunzel from the story. "Possibly, we could find clues in the story itself?"

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@Blitz Boom Harmony smiles, a devilish gleam in her eyes, "I won't warn him...he'll never see it coming. And they are fry at this stage, when they become teenagers they are called Smolt. We talked with a ichthyologist at the local University, she had some weird ideas. Speaking of fry..." Harmony steps to one side, and Ziggy notices that two of younger ones are sitting in the doorway, crouched low...like a cat sizing up it's prey. The one on the left, a streak of silver in her brownish mane eye's shift from the muffins on the side to Ziggy then back again, as if she's thinking...Muffin or Cuddles? Muffin...Cuddles...

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@Blitz Boom
"Lead the way, you probably know where there are quiet places better than I do." Ruby simply responded, though she wondered what exactly Marley was going to ask that would have a answer regarding Ruby's true nature. As she followed Marley, Ruby spoke again "Did you know your boss has romantic interest towards the casino's owner?" she knew that he probably did know, but she felt that they would be less suspicious if they had a meaningless conversation going on.

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Nada was bit surprised that Nerzhei didn't seem to know what she was, but she didn't show it as she felt it would have been taken the wrong way by the dragon. "My name is Nadanna Adratina, but you can call me Nada, I'm a siren." "It's nice to meet you Nerzhei."  she didn't have any trouble pronouncing Nerzhei's name correctly, if that was something Nerzhei would care enough about to notice. (Nada can speak Dragonic)

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@Blitz Boom

Under the short notice, these little bits and bobs were the best he could do.  Short of having the assistance of Tussle or Black Jack from upstairs.  Lily seemed skilled enough to perform her spell though with what was provided though.  No need getting anypony else involved unless necessary.  Rising was more focused on his own little project at hoof folding the scarlet paper.  Not that he was in any need to watch the witch work.  Able to sense the magic she weaved onto the baubles, a unique sight to be sure considering she did so without a horn.  He'd seen this spell of course the last time she used it, but to be this up and close was a different story.

It wasn't before too long that Harrowmark was seeping into the O.M.I.'s basement, a feeling he wasn't expecting to have to be visiting so soon.  The wards in the basement should keep the others upstairs from sensing the darkness.  Luckily by the time Lily had locked onto the little town in question, Rising had finished with his paper project.  Producing an adorable paper bunny.  He wasn't completely sure how much of the room Lily was aware of while in the trance for her scry spell, but she'd be rather familiar with the little object that had foiled her previous attempt.  Ironic that it was now to be used in her defense in case any nasties of Harrowmark might want to try a little eye poking of their own.

Now to find that line of what might be considered 'interfering'.  Rising preferred to think of it as, guiding.  Casting his wisps out, they went to work mingling in with the scry spell Lily had weaved.  Never had he gotten the most firm answer in how much a spell caster was aware when Rising meddled with magic.  Most only noticing the outcome of the spell popping in their face or failing all together.  If he wasn't breaking a spell though, this was the other realm he lived on.  The blue unicorn worked best when another's magic was present, making him a most effective support pony.  "You'll see," the detective warned.  Wisps would straighten out a strand here, reinforce a thread there, refine a matrix a bit.  The vision in the bulb became more clear, the strain of maintaining the spell lessened, the signature it left above Oaksbrood became thinner.  But where he put most of his work was in the tapestry of the spell focused on the location.  Using the wisps to alter the focus to lock onto two very particular signatures.  One of Ms. Wisp and the other, the familiar spell markings of one high priestess.  A slightly more effective approach, if he did say so himself, than needing an item that belonged to the target.  Much better to just bypass such a thing and look specifically for something another pony can't duplicate, their magical signature.

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@Catpone Cerberus

It were not hard for Marley to find a quiet place, as just like Ruby guessed, he knew the town well enough. So he just led them outside, to the right, and down a small alley going to the side of the casino. It were only used for trash, and at this time of day, that were not going to be a concern. And even if it were, they'd just be quiet for a small amount of time, and let the cleaner finish their ob. It were unlikely that they'd care to ask questions, for their own safety's sake.

"Yes, I am well are of Diego, as well as... Most, of their history together."

Marley wrinkled his beak. He did not enjoy not knowing everything about his employer, but something about the way that Spicy told him to never dig into a certain time that she and Diego had been to a party that resulted in his father having to bail them out, made him certain that whilst he'd like to know, there were no way he were going to ask.

"I consider it a strange coupling of sorts, considering their personalities, but I find it inevitable that they will eventually be together. In fact, I have a bet going that Diego will ask her out as his mother dies, after the funeral. Spicy have 200 bits going on him doing it at the funeral itself."

A bit morbid perhaps, but there were not much love between Spicy and Diego's mother. Hay, even Diego himself did not like her all that much, but he were bound to her by stock, and a promise to his father that he'd be there for his mother when he himself no longer were. Marley could respect that kind of devotion to a dying stallions words, yet he too were awaiting the pleasant day when the old hag were gone. She were very rude towards Marley, even when he were on his best behavior.

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@Catpone Cerberus

"A siren? So far inland?"

Nerzhei's right eyebrow rose some, as she looked over Nada curiously. She had read of sirens somewhere, but it had been very brief and non-descriptive, so this were the first time she had actually gotten a good, physical representation. Though, in the Everfree Forest? Far inland in the country that defeated some of their strongest, if the legends were true? Of all places,s he'd think this were one of the last. Though, she supposed a desert area would be further stretched, but they had that too these days, so this forest should still not house one of them.

"Hmm, and your pronunciations sounds like you have some inkling of how to speak draconic. Considering how hostile water aligned dragons are to other ocean predators, I am surprised you'd know our tongue in any capacity."

She'd gently close her book, wrap it in a thick, cured leather hide next to it, rise up from her seat and use her free hand to dust the front of her robes off a little.

"Color me surprised, as well as impressed."

She'd give a small nod of her head as a greeting, not big on the whole *hugging* thing that the equines were so endeared towards.

"Welcome to my cave. Not the best accommodations, but it's private, and I like peace when I am going through my studies."

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@EQ_Theta

"What I wouldn't do for a satchel of Zap Apple seeds... Those things are incredible in jam, as well as cider. And special? Oh you betcha flank they are. Plant a seed, and a tree will sprout in no time. Pretty weird how there's a bunch of rituals to keeping the trees alive and the jam flowing right, along with the cider just being a right nightmare to get tapped, but it's all worth it from what I hear.

Sadly, only ones I know that have some of these, are Granny Smith's branch in Ponyville, that uses it for jam, and somepony called Ghastly Breeze, who sends some cider of this stuff out to a few members here and there every year. No return address, and the postal ponies for some reason can't remember where they picked it up from, so we have no idea where she lives. The letter I got last year just said that she were a family member from somewhere out west that hoped we'd enjoy the sample, and that she were sure that we'd meet one day.

Honestly I dunno what to think about her, but I guess she might just be shy or somet- Ah, here we go."

His shovel hit something hard and digging around it, it were revealed to be a crate around the size of Rosa's torso, high as his leg, and completely closed down, with no visible entry point in it. Clearly not something he wanted somepony to just get into out of nowhere.

"Like I promised ya, safe and sound."

"I see that. Thank you for holding on to this."

"Hey, a deal's a deal, right?"

Whilst all of this went in in the orchard, back at the cave, Shrimp happily took in his scratches and responded by playfully biting Lin's claws when they got over to him. Nothing hard or aggressive, like he had originally done with Sen, before he had gotten to know the longma better. Just some simple nibbles from a creature who couldn't exactly use long arms to go up and hug someone as a sign of affection.

As the question came up on him perhaps being thirsty though Shrimp would stop moving around, and look up towards Lin with a serious expression. Seconds would tick by, with him opening and closing his mouth, before he finally went ahead and tried to do something once more, that eh had failed at before.

"F...Fir... Firt-y... Firsty.?Shrimp firsty."

Weren't perfect, but he had upgraded his single word responses to things now with an attempt at a two word sentence. Granted, one of those words were just what he knew he himself were called, and the other were marginally, phonetically correct, but he weren't even a week old. Give the little guy a break.

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

 

@Sekel

Thorax blinked, unsure of what to do here. Both about the situation with the infamous human changeling that he knew belonged to Onache's hive, as well as the absurdity of the timing, regarding Aurora's question.

"It... I weren't? I don't know why I ended like this. We... What?"

"Bit light on words there, aintcha Thorax?"

The guards moved in closer, and Happy rose his clawed hands to try and signal them to slow down.

"Cool it guys. No need for all these hostilities, y'know?"

"No need for... Do you even Know who your queen are?"

Sounded like Thorax had found an emotion to ring a bell with. Slight anger. Not too unexpected honestly.

"Yeah, I know who she Were. A desperate queen using cruel tricks and enslavement to keep as many in her hive alive and fed as she could. I'm not excusing what she's done to you, or any others of our kind, nor the ponies, and neither is she. She made her choices for the sake of her hive, just like any ruler would, even if they weren't optimal."

The tone had gotten serious from Happy all of a sudden, along with his expression, which were less jovial, and more to the point tough.

"Ain't that right, Grit? Yeah, don't think I don't see you."

One of the guards, gritted his teeth and rose his spear slightly as he were confronted by the glare of Happy.

"You're not taking me back to her!"

"I'm not gonna. I'm asking you, hoof on heart, to tell the truth here: Cruel as her methods were, did she, or did she not, do it for the sake of the hive?"

A lot of eyes were on this former member of Onache's hive, as they awaited his answer, which begrudgingly, he'd give off, whilst looking away and lowering his spear again.

"...She said that we wouldn't starve that way..."

"And we never told her differently. So when she finally asked for the answer, this happened."

Happy pointed to himself, to indicate the process of reformation, before glancing back at Thorax.

"I'm not here to drag anyone back with me, nor to just think that everything should be forgiven. I'm here because my queen's eyes have been opened, and she wants to get in talks with the only other hive she knows of that're like we are now. You know yourself how much a lot of the originals hate our kind, Thorax. In her place, wouldn't you seek out allies too, among the only ones who might understand, even if they hated you?"

The king stood and bit his lip some, thinking this through for about a minute.

"...Lower your spears."

The guards looked at him, perplexed.

"He's right. Onache have done a lot of bad things, but we weren't innocent either, before we changed, and we've been given a second chance. I never would have thought that she of all changelings would be the one to embrace this, but if it's true, we should try and give her some leeway to explain herself, and hear what she's going to do now. If we could change, perhaps she can too."

Seemed like the worst tension were averted, but there'd still be some way to go here. Yet before that, Aurora would find herself with some time to interject something now, if she so wished to.

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

 

@Sekel

"That's why I walked across it."

Something fell from the ceiling and aimed at Enzo, which he effortlessly bashed away. Seemed like he were being assaulted by rocks now, were he? Well then, if gravity were what they wanted to fight, then he would gladly accommodate them.

"I may not know many spells, yet I can at least ensure that they can't come swooping down and take you away."

His eyes glowed brightly for a second, as he cast a spell that honestly, were the only one he knew how to do. A gravity spell of sorts, which would make flying or floating impossible within the vicinity, which tended to be a nice little tool to use against fliers such as pegasi, or large, flying predators. It were one of the reasons why it had been important to learn when he were a small kitten, yet with his capture, that and summoning parchment, were all that he did know. Not something they should hear though, he imagined.

Now, if they tried to swoop down, they'd fall flat towards the ground, like they were dragged down by strings, at which point Enzo would kick them away. Furthermore, he'd plant the torch in the ground and stand ready with his paws to strike at whoever got near.

Karmic might still he taken though, by a few low hanging creatures that could stay connected with the ceiling, and just about reach her, and if they did, they'd grasp her and quickly drag her further inside the cave. If not, then they'd see how long this fight would go on.

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

 

@Sekel

"Maybe? I guess... In every fairy tale, there's some truth?"

"If the tower is in all the stories, is that a start? How many large towers outside of towns does Equestria have?"

Granted, it were likely not standing anymore, if this part of the story were true, but there had to be some sort of historical records to go by on this, right? Couldn't just be a huge tower somewhere that had been torn down, and folks were just *Eh, guess it meant nothing*. That sort of apathy would be insane, though perhaps a storm had done something? This were the sort of thing for the princess to sort out and decide on what to do with. Last were just there to keep her safe, and follow orders, whilst Cherish were literally stuck to her presence, seeing as Twilight held a part of the old castle that she specter were bound to.

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

 

@Moonlit

Fry and Smolt? Eeee, such adorable names! Oh, if only there were a fry siren nearby to hug right now.

It seemed like the gods agreed that there were a need for them, for lo and behold: There were two of the little rascals, looking between Ziggy and the muffins, seemingly trying to decide on what to pounce on first. Well, they wouldn't be the ones to make the first move, that were sure, as Ziggy zoomed forward to get hold of them and get them into a big ol' snugglehug. Not too fast though. Couldn't have her accidentally make a mess of the kitchen by knocking things around.

The one with a streak of silver in her mane were the prime target, as she had been the one looking the most conflicted between warmth or treats, so she needed the most help on this, obviously. That meaning that she needed to have the decision made for her, and get hugged! Unless she's start to cry or something. Poor little thing might get surprised and not enjoy this, and she couldn't have the little fry feeling bad. Nuhuh. That were just wrong when it came to one of the cute little fries of the litter.

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

 

@cwhip9

The disc would get loose without any trouble, and no countermeasures seemed to go into action from taking it. It had either been seen as enough of a defense that the statue were there to lure in potential thieves, whatever defenses there had been were frozen over or eroded, or it just weren't all that important to whoever set it up. Though if that were the case, then why have it protected at all by the statue? Not like it mixed well with the aesthetics.

If they examined the disc further, they'd be able to see that if all parts of the whole were in equal sizes, they'd need three more to complete it. They were likely to be found in the other rooms, though what significance it may have when completed were impossible to say at this point. It might be nothing.

As for the rest of the treasure in the room, they were free to take anything, beyond the statues. Nothing else were cursed or anything of the matter, though if they needed to pack of gold and gems right now were up to the pair themselves. They may also just document this, take a few pieces to show that they were indeed from here, and then just stake a claim in their share once they got some helpers out here to clear it, at a later date.

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

 

@Rising Dusk

Lily were well aware of her surroundings, even if she were focused on the scrying spell itself. About fifty years ago, she had focused more on improving this in other ways, but eventually she had dabbled in it, as it were dangerous to scry and not be aware of went on around you, in case the town got attacked. This had proven to be fortunate after she had become an apprentice to Twisted, as he wanted her vision many places - hence why she had around ten baubles in her shed - and did not take kindly to being ignored.

What she were also aware of, were the meddling with her magic. It narrowed it and helped somewhat, granted, but it felt like someone were dragging her around by the hoof, just on a metaphysical stage. It made her frown, as it were frankly an uncomfortable feeling, as well as degrading, as it signalled that he did not think her good enough on her own. Just because he had gotten her that one time, this youngster thought he were the better magician... Noisy little foal who should respect his elders...

Grumbling as she were, it didn't matter. This were his house, and she hadn't a choice in the matter, so she didn't struggle against being lead on, and watched at the scry narrowed to follow the paths of two particular ponies. Path being the word, as the two in question were not within Oaksbrook at the time, but rather at the edge of town, which took a half minute or so to narrow down.

Why, if it had been Her that had full control of this, she could have said so from her overview, but nono. This youth knew better.

The two of them were in the same location, and didn't appear to take notice of the onlookers as they were loading up a large cart, seemingly dragged by the large diamond dog they had seen at the party. He were looking a bit under the weather, and winced as a piece of metal reflected some light into his eyes by accident, but when the call came from the High Priestess, he were bound to do as asked. Even if he'd prefer to just sleep off his hangover.

In front of him stood Thistle, who were seemingly saying something to him - they were too far away to make out what it were - but considering the gestures and light that came from her hoof as it were laid upon the diamond dog's head, it appeared to be a blessing, or protection spell. Whichever it were, it seemed to draw some pale lines across him that vanished shortly after, and left him looking quite a bit more perked up and ready to take on the world. Seems like the best cure for a hangover, included a centuries old worshiper of a death god. Might not be an easily accessible remedy though.

On the cart itself, seemed to be mostly essentials, with a few boxes being closed that'd give the brief glimpse of food and water within, as well as a third crate that were already closed, and as such its content were impossible to tell off. Same with the few bags laying around.

And speaking of laying around, they'd find that Sickle were there, lying down, with a glowing mark inscribed on her torso. She seemed to be unconscious, though the scry would still potentially wobble and become briefly erratic, if Rising weren't guiding it properly, as Lily became distressed seeing this.

"You better keep her safe, Blighteye, or I swear..."

The one in question - a grizzled, elder stallion with a magical spark matching the color of the mark on Sickle - would be hoisting the last box unto the cart, and then jump up on it. It appeared to be what he considered to be his seat. On his back, a crossbow and a quiver with a few dozen silver-tipped arrows were sitting comfortably, ready to be used. As were the serrated dagger in his belt, in case they were attacked.

In front of the cart, 

Sitting in the cart, holding Sickle's head and seemingly trying to comfort the unconscious mare, were Wisp. She didn't carry any weapons, as her magic were usually her only way of fighting, though in some regards, Chirpy could be seen as a kind of weapon. A bird his size were not harmless, and as could be seen by him nesting next to her, he weren't leaving her alone on this trip, so she'd have another layer of protection.

As the subject were on protection, the last member of their entourage would get into sight, waltzing towards the cart with a small box of assorted treats, as well as a smaller one with vials of varied kinds, and a large bag on her back, that were tightly closed and didn't show what it contained. It were likely that the others were best off not middling around in any of thee things, but as she jumped into the cart and placed herself near Wisp, trying to comfort the worried looking mare, it didn't appear as if she were going to leave them alone with these things. In fact, as her apron had apparently been replaced with a satchel down her left, and a painful looking, curved, ritualistic blade, that appeared as if cut out of a large tooth, she were clearly there to help with things. Though she were still wearing some clothes. Particularly, a crude, leather dress that appeared to have been stitched up and cut here and there to allow for more mobility. This too had colorful flowers adorning it here and there though, in the same, rough string that had been shown on her apron.

"Huh? Why would they bring Caramel Glaze with them? And since when did she start carrying those kinds of tools?"

Like last time, even if she spoke aloud, Lily appeared to be speaking to herself, more than to Rising.

Adjusting the scry to allow for some audio to come their way too - again, she weren't a beginner in this field, so she didn't have to rely on simply muzzle reading anymore - they'd not hear much besides the diamond dog whistling and getting readied to carry them along as Thistle seemingly intended to float besides him in silence, Blighteye sitting around saying nothing, Sickle letting out a peaceful snore that at least made it clear she wasn't pained, and then the last snipped of a chat between Wisp and Caramel.

"- is alright, and you know I'd never let her get hurt, hm?"

"I... I know, but it's just... I don't like seeing her like this..."

"None of us does dear, which is why it's better we get there sooner, rather than later. We are best off getting to Copperhagen within the day's travel the high priestess assumes it will take."

"𝔼𝕟𝕠𝕦𝕘𝕙. 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕥𝕠𝕨𝕟 𝕟𝕖𝕖𝕕𝕤 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕥𝕠 𝕙𝕖𝕒𝕣 𝕠𝕗 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤. 𝕎𝕖 𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕝𝕖𝕒𝕧𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕖𝕒𝕣𝕝𝕚𝕖𝕣 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕚𝕣 𝕜𝕟𝕠𝕨𝕝𝕖𝕕𝕘𝕖 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕒 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕤𝕠𝕟."

"Of course. We wouldn't want anyone that wasn't supposed to, know where we were going."

A slightly unnerving thing here were that Caramel were apparently not saying it to the ones she were with, but had looked up, directly at the scrying spell aimed at Wisp as she said this, and clearly muzzled off where they were going, and how long it would take. Even the last bit were said towards the ones scrying, with a smirk on her face.

It appeared that even cloaked, they had been found out, though Caramel did not appear to have any interest in working against them. If she knew it were Rising however, or if she assumed it were someone else that were gazing at them in secret, were impossible to say currently.

Edited by Blitz Boom
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@Blitz Boom With Silver's choice made for her, she squeeks as the prey hugs her. Now I just need a muffin and life will be complete she thins, nuzzling into the mare. Her sister smirks, hops on to Ziggy's back and uses it as a platform to snag a trio of muffins. She offers one to her sister, and one to Ziggy. 

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On 11/29/2019 at 8:23 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"...I h-haven't tried o-other berries."

The changeling pressed herself a little more against her warden, and cast her gaze towards the ground. She wished that she were able to answer these sorts of question, but her approach to figuring out what she could and couldn't eat were trial and error, and after the experience with the strawberries, she had just avoided berries of any kind. It felt safer that way.

Perhaps she had once been able to eat that, but she just couldn't remember it. Anything that happened before she became... This, were just gone. No matter how hard she tried, there were just an empty void, where memories of her young filly years were supposed to be.

Feeling how Brittle were nearly tugging at him, and how her words had halted before saying much else, Briar understood that she had mentally stepped back again, and required him to fill in for her. Poor thing wanted to answer these questions, and he knew she were trying, yet some answers were either out of her grasp, or just impossible for her to put in words right now.

Thankfully, he knew enough to answer in her place. Hopefully, Velvet would understand some of her predicament after he did so.

"What a changeling can eat, actually varies greatly. From what I understand, most drones can only sustain themselves on love, with a few fringe cases able to deal with it better, or just storing it before regurgitating it, in case they are pretending to eat whilst infiltrating, and doesn't want to feel the consequences of trying to keep the food down. Royal changelings apparently have the stomach for more than that, yet these sorts of things are generally found out by the hives themselves, either doing their upbringing as nymphs, or whilst doling out what roles the varied changelings should fill.

Brittle is a... Concerning case, however. She weren't born into this life, but were a convert. And one whose conversion weren't completed, before she were broken out of her pupa and taken by some unscrupulous ponies. It leaves her with certain issues, such as a current inability to control her transformations, and certain parts of her system being a mixed bag between pony and changeling. Her stomach is one of those, and when you combine it with her having no time being in a hive, it makes it impossible for her to know what she can and cannot digest in advance.

Perhaps it would be easier if you said what options there were, and we could hear if one of those are some she have tried? I feel this is not a place to experiment too much, as it would draw unneeded attention, or worse yet, harm Brittle."

Brittle's story were not a kind one, but it were the facts, and in this case, giving a brief overview on the situation would require those. Further details - like how he had been told she were extremely lucky to have survived being *hatched* prematurely - didn't seem poignant to this discussion, so he kept that to himself. There would be a time and a place for that, just not currently, nor presently.

 

"Well, they have raspberries, blueberries, cherries, blackberries, and mulberries. Mulberries in particular aren't super common around these parts, but they are quite sweet when they're fully ripe and they're related to raspberries. but look closer to blackberries. The tree is actually deciduous, so it sheds its leaves around Winter Wrap Up time and...oh, sorry. It's probably not that interesting to hear about the tree itself right now. But anyway, they're perfectly safe, but if you have an allergy to raspberries, it might be best to avoid them. Cherries are probably safest, so long as you don't mind the cherry pit in the middle. The pit being the seed of the cherry."

Velvet looked over the options, starting to think they'd be better off trying something else. "Hey, uh, do either of you have a chocolate allergy, perhaps? Cookie dough is always popular with the little fillies and colts."

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@Blitz Boom

AURORA LIGHTS

"Why is my mane colour different from yours in your original form?" Aurora found herself blurting out in the lull of the conversation. It's been on her mind since Happy had mentioned it and she couldn't get it out of her head.

@Blitz Boom

KARMIC FATE

Karmic gasped at seeing one of the creatures fly at her only to be stopped by the spell Enzo had cast. She shook her head and her eyes widened, watching a couple crawl over the ceiling.  Before she had time to shout, she was grabbed, an appendage over her muzzle, and promptly dragged further down the tunnel in a fit of waving arms and legs.

@Blitz Boom

TWILIGHT SPARKLE

"None that I'm aware of, unfortunately. And the Cutie Map shows all of Equestria. But maybe it could be retooled?" Twilight said in thought before racing our of the library. She trailed the book and Cherish's stick in her magic as she went through the halls.

Edited by Sekel
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@Blitz Boom

“Rituals, huh? That sounds about right. I’ve heard lots from plenty of ponies talking about zap apples and that’s pretty much the one thing they all have in common,” Sen commented, corroborating his little bit of knowledge gained from hearsay. But right now, it looks like they have what they came for. A trunk just short of matching Rosa’s proportions ought to hide a few things of note, probably big ones but whatever it is… it’s gonna have to wait until they have a moment to themselves. 

“So, uh, what’s the plan, Rosa? Take this back before heading off to the next stop?”

Lin, on the other hand, was having a pleasant moment watching Shrimp play around with her, nipping at her claws and even on her snout that one moment he got lucky. Maybe nuzzling will have to wait until he’s older but she still enjoyed his playful antics. Though it is abundantly clear Shrimp is a fast learner for someone so young. Already able to string two words together into a coherent message? That is an achievement on its own and the longma could not be anymore proud of what she’s seeing and hearing. 

“You are learning quick! Pretty soon you’ll be speaking full sentences like a natural!” 

The longma smiled as she poured out some water from her canister into an empty food ration container, bringing it close to the refraction. If her last attempt taught her anything, it’s that her little friend is capable of doing things on his own and so decided not to intervene this time and see what he’ll do. Words aren’t quite right so there’s still some work to do but for what it’s worth, Shrimp’s getting the idea. Pretty soon he and Omen will likely have language lessons together. Now that will be interesting. 

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@Blitz Boom
"I won't even pretend I understand anything about love but I'd say the two are like made for each other." Ruby said, it sounded like a joke but one could never be sure "Why hasn't Spicy done something to the mother?" "I mean, I get that ponies are too emotional to kill their love interest's mother but couldn't she 'accidentally' mention about the topic to someone who would do it." 

----------------------------------------------------
"I thank you for your hospitality." Nada said with a nod, she didn't know if Nerzhei cared about politeness, but she decided to be polite regardless.  "And though you didn't necessarily ask, the reason for me being this far inland is because I used to live with ponies before the banishment, and was forced to hide in the forest after it." 

 

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Marley chuckled a little at the suggestion brought forth by Ruby. It seemed like they had once again had the same thoughts on a topic that had a rather simple solution, as gruesome as it may seem, and it were rather amusing to think that she too thought the best way of dealing with this issue, were to remove it outright.

"I have suggested the same, yet much as she despises the old mare, Spicy claims that she promised Diego not to attempt anything like that. Besides, there'd be no point in her breaking her word and possibly have the relationship hampered by Diego finding out. The crone is old and needs support by several magical applications and helpers to even walk these days, and her behavior have garnered her enough enemies that are more resourceful and influential than Spicy.

As she so... Eloquently puts it *Karma is gonna fall on her like a hammer, and I'll be around to enjoy the view*. Normally I wouldn't think it to be anytime soon, yet I heard a little birdie sing that a favored subordinate of a certain individual were roughed up rather badly at the casino for allegedly counting cards, despite the lackey in question having no interest, nor ability to do so coherently. Diego made sure that the lackey in question were rushed to the hospital when he found out about the action, and the lack of evidence thereof, along with offering to cover the hospital bills. Actions which makes the lackey's boss thankful towards him, yet she is a vengeful soul, and his mother have gained a great deal of ire from her by putting her favorite in peril like this. Were I a betting griffon - which I can be, if the odds are favorable - I would give the crone a month left at most, depending on how much her security team actually cares to defend her, if it means their own life are at stake."

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus

"I didn't think it were any of my business. Though, as an exile, know that I can sympathize with your seclusion, and understand that this means your existence must be kept a secret, yes? What little I know of the siren sisters and Equestria doesn't paint a good picture of what they'd do if they got hold of you, and from personal experience, I find ponies to be reluctant to judge an individual at first, but rather the race. It's problematic for enemy races with no interest in crushing them, regardless of how easy it could be."

Nerzhei were a more eloquent and smart dragon than the average, but she were still a dragon, and had their forwardness embedded in her being. So whilst others - like Lyriel - might dance around the topic and guess for the best, the dragoness had no issue just flat out saying that bad things were probably going to happen if Nada were found out. What exactly she hadn't a clue about though. She barely knew of the sisters as it were, or of their fate, so for all she knew, a siren would be punished by being thrown in a tub of salt until they dried up. Likely not that exactly though, as ponies seemed too kind to go to such lengths.

"Fair is fair though I suppose, so know that I am here because I were surrounded by idiots, who couldn't handle someone being smarter than them, and who hated history. Can you imagine finding evidence of a lost civilisation, and then hear them order it all burned, just because it didn't align with their antiquated, racial hatred? Ludicrous."

If the words didn't spill the beans of the animosity she had towards her own kind, the bitter tone should speak volumes of it. Even if her exile were more of a blessing than a curse, as she were not interested in the simpletons where she came from in the slightest, it still stung, as did the general behavior towards her, and that sort of thing grew bitterness. At least it did with her.

"In any case, how does the two of you know one another? Did you eat one of Lyriel's favorite animals?"

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

 

@EQ_Theta

"Yes. Omen, would you kindly provide us with transportation?"

The mare in question looked at them, confused for a few moments before a light seemed to dimly flare up in her head.

"Okay. We go home then."

Opening a swirling gate, Golden jumped back in surprise at the sight of this sudden hole in the world, leading to some weird place with a whole lot more darkness, and... Were those eyes, moving through the shadows? What the hay?

"I uhm... I think this here's above my pay grade. You sure you're alright, Rosa?"

Golden looked concerned at Rosa, uncertain anymore if perhaps Omen were perhaps a danger, and he were too afraid to try and run off. A strange situation they wouldn't normally get into in this town, but he had heard that stuff like that happened in the capitol, Ponyville, and a few other hotbeds for weirdness, so he weren't ruling anything out per se.

The bat pony in question however, looked rather content and unafraid, as he started to push the box through the gate, and Omen began to sniff it, seemingly curious about what were in it.

"I ask myself that every day, but I think it is as good now as it will be."

Pushing it the last bit through, Rosa would follow, before turning around to look at the confused stallion.

"It's been good seeing you again Golden. I doubt I will be able to return anytime soon, but when one day I do, I hope to have more time to hear how things are going here." Thank you for keeping the crate safe."

"...No problem mate. Try and stay safe, alright? And it's been nice seeing you too, along with your friends. Make sure not to waste the c- ...Uuuhm..."

The unformed ones were starting to get to the opening and look outside, which meant that Golden were briefly faced with about a dozen unblinking eyes, seemingly embedded into shadowy slime, all starring at him. He honestly weren't sure whatever to be fascinated or scared out of his good coat about this.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far fa- Wait, wrong script.

Meanwhile, in a cave far far away, Shrimp would dive into the offered canister with water enthusiastically, though not as much as the previous time. As it stood, his thirst were not as great as it had been there, so he had less reason to be ravenous about it, and he even left a little left at the bottom after he had his fill with about 4/5'th of what had been presented to him.

After he were done, he'd shake his head to get the water out of his face scales, before looking up at Lin again. This time, he weren't pleading for an object, or something to take in though. Rather, it seemed like he were confused about something that had entered his mind, and looked to her for the answers once again.

"Ohme? Zhem?"

The two of them had been gone for a while now, and though he had a lot to work on, and then fun time afterwards, Shrimp now had enough of a lull in things to make him start to wonder where they were. He weren't used to especially Omen being away from him this long at a time, or at least not whilst he were awake. Not beyond those few days where she Lin and Sen had to watch over him, as she went out and eventually released Filigree by accident. He had been busy enough getting used to the strange house he had been in, finding some hiding places and just in general trying to get along better with Sen, that he had been able to stay occupied, though he too had some periods of just aimlessly floating around, chirping weakly as he looked for Omen.

He were less distraught now though, yet he were still curious were they were, and in his eyes, Lin knew everything, so she'd know where they were, and if they were okay, right?

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@Sekel

"Non-royal changelings doesn't normally have manes, but colors change based on the hive."

"Aye. The varied colors on our stomachs in your current form's pretty good at indicating who your hive leader is, and well, look between how I am, and Thorax's hive here. Color varies, and my queen and I got this big ol' fluff going on. Like a weird neck mane of sorts."

"So Onache have that too?"

"Yeah, I figure that's our hives sort of thing. And speaking of our hive... It sounds like you're willing to hear her out, so that's good, but what exactly's the plan."

"*sigh* I don't know. Onache isn't well liked for very good reasons, but we do need to try and be open-minded... I guess set up a meeting, somewhere neutral? So not here, not on her playing field either. *sigh* If my adviser were here, he'd know just how to handle this. But I suppose this is our own headache."

"Why not Ponyville? Open to Changelings now, and if I heard right, the princess there likely got plenty of ways to suppress what we can do after that invasion you folks went through. Even playing field for both sides, with the least judgmental of the princesses, who's one of your allies, so it ain't like you'd be at a disadvantage, even if we live near the town currently. And yeah, before you ask, she knows. So far she seems alright with it."

"...I'll have to think about it."

"Sure thing. Heh, would'ya look at that Aurora? Told you that this here wouldn't end all that badly. Well, probably not, anyway."

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@Sekel

"No!"

Enzo's yell roared through the cave, as the retreating shadows took their prize with them. The sphinx were too big of a risk for them to fight, but this little one were a perfect capture to take into the innermost layers of this system of caves.

Whilst Enzo would run and occasionally fight a stubborn gemling that got frisky, Karmic would be dragged left and right so many times and as such a speed that it's likely be near impossible for her to figure out where she were anymore.

Eventually, after about five minutes like this, she'd be dropped, and would find herself landing on a layer of smooth diamond, and bear witness to quite a strange sight.

To the sides, several changeling eggs were seen, watched over by slow moving gemling drones, who didn't care much about staying out of the soft glow that softly pulsated from the main attraction in the room. The better look on them, would reveal them to have sharper back hooves than their admittedly rough front ones, with small spikes and *hooks* on varied parts of their legs and bodies, which made it easier for them to crawl around and easily scale walls. They seemed best designed to crawl around like that, even if their pale wings made it clear that they could still fly.

As for the main attraction, that were in the center of this large room that ended soon after, with a massive, seemingly impassible wall of diamonds that came out of the back end of the cave. Said crystal appeared to be where the glow in the room came from, as even the parts sticking out of the walls gave this glow, and not just the changeling throne shown in the midst of the room, covered in a thick, impassable layer of diamond.

Sitting on that throne, seemingly frozen in place with closed eyes, were the last changeling queen that had ruled this hive. Above her, a bluer shade of diamond formed what appeared to be the head of an antilope of sorts, which were a shade of diamond that were also shown to engulf the queen sitting on her throne.

"...Pony..."

The feminine voice pulsated out of the diamond, and carried a slightly hollow ring to it. 

"Why are you here, with the guardian?"

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@Sekel

"What's a cutie map?"

It sounded rather special. Were it some sort of map that laid out everypony's cutie marks in Equestria? Quite a crazy tracking thing if that were the case. Just imagine how many you could find, just by figuring out what their mark were? Missing ponies would mostly not exist anymore, and criminals could be tracked down in a heartbeat.

...That sounded a little too ideal though. It were probably something less than this, and she'd just have to wait and see what it were until they hit the throne room. Unless the princess answered it beforehoof of course, though it might be one of those things better shown than told of.

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@EcstaticWind

"I think I am rather set in my choice. Brittle? What do you think? Chocolate is primarily made of sugar, milk, and cocoa beans, which you have had safe interactions with previously, yes?"

"I-I've eaten c-cookies with h-hops and h-honey..."

"That should contain the same ingredients then. It might be the safer option right now, and then we can go through some of the berry options one of the other days, when it seems calmer and there's less an issue if they have a negative effect."

Brittle nodded slowly, which even though Briar couldn't see it, he felt, considering she stood more or less leaned up against him completely, and he had gotten used to these sorts of ques from her at this point. It wouldn't work well if he didn't try at least, seeing as her verbal communication still needed quite a lot of work, and he were still getting used to seeing. Small steps with that meant that it'd likely be weeks, or even months before he could safely have them open all the time. And colt did he look forward to that day.

"Excellent. So I will have a random sirup option, and Brittle will try the cookie dough then. Unless there's additional ingredients in it, such as hazelnuts or soy? If not, then it seems the safest choice we could go by."

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@Moonlit

Hehe, smart fry that one. Using Ziggy's docile state after embracing and gleefully hugging the silver-streaked one, to then jump up and reach the muffins by making use of the tall zegasus as a ladder. Clever little things must be giving harmony a massive headache to keep up with sometimes.

Might not be the smartest time to have a muffin again already, buuut... Seeing as she were being offered, it didn't seem nice to be rude here and just push it away now, would it? So she might as well nom down. Unless Harmony had something to say about the muffin theft of course, though Ziggy had the sneaking suspicion that she had sort of counted on it happening. The mare seemed real clever like, and knew how these small fry were going about things, so surely she would've left things further out of reach if she didn't want anything nibbled at? Heh, guess they'd see soon enough, in case they'd get swatted with a wooden spoon or something.

"Hehe, you two are so adorable! Did you have fun at school?"

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@Blitz Boom They both nod, as Harmony 'shoos' them out and into the Solarium out back, she give's Ziggy a tray of muffins, one for each of the fry plus one. Silver munches on her Banana Mango muffin, "Uh huh. We learned numbers". 'Splotch', her sister looks like somebody has thrown paint at her, her coat is a mix of dark blue and maroon. "Ug, numbers" she rolls her eyes but munches on her Apple Pumpkin.

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@Sekel

 "Y-you don't have to! A strong dragon like I should be the one protecting you, after all! I'd be a laughingstock if I had to have a pony come to my defense!"

 Kaltrop fidgets his bronze-scaled paws, nervously alternating pawing the ground before him at the mare's insinuation. "I-! I wasn't g-going to pat you! Just... reassure you, is all! You seemed uneasy and noone should in their own den. One should be prideful in their strength, like us dragons!" The young drake gave an attempt at a stretch flex to try and show his admittedly thin frame from years eating small game that wouldn't have provided enough nourishment for a more competent dragon his age. His nervous pawing wordlessly asking the mare to make the first move in the reassuring pats he had awkwardly intoned.

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@Catpone Cerberus

 Kitten perched unaware to him between his head swaying to his continuing rigamarole, the small cat bats at Widdershins's perked, but floppy ears.
   Well now, that's the kind of theorhetical guesswork that goes into Chaos Magic. Letting the magic happen, rather than forcing an intent!

 Ponies do have a natural inclination to it here; I could even teach you some Chaos Magic myself! But I do think there'd be some Magical Lawmakers around here that'd take issue with more wild magics being about! That's the equal trade-off there, Chaos Magic is easier to learn & weild than most regular schools of Magic... it's just... A Lot, Harder to control!~

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@Widdershins

DAWN STREAK

"I have taken care of myself since I was a filly! I'll be the one to protect you, okay!?" Dawn yelled, her hoof stamping in front of her on the floor. She snorted and flicked her ears before letting out her breath. "If I was prideful in my strength ... you wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have let you into my home," she told him, and looked up from the ground at Kaltrops. "Don't get your scales in a bunch. You're a guest. The only one I've had since ever. We shouldn't really be yelling ... should we?"

@Blitz Boom

AURORA LIGHTS

"We're not clear of Thorax's very tiny village," Aurora said in confusion, and looked at Happy. "Things still have the potential to go badly. Very badly. Every changeling hear has clearly heard of Onache. I got no idea what she's like beyond that brief stint in the Everfree. I've got no idea of what any changeling is like because I've been isolated! Things going badly are still going to go badly unless we get out of this very tiny community!"

@Blitz Boom

KARMIC FATE & ATZY

Karmic slowly spun on the spot after being deposited and managed to hold back bile from being tossed from side to side so many times. She gasped and breathed in and out, her head lowered and her stance wide. She did eventually look up and her eyes widened, taking in the room.

"Wha..." She didn't get the word out and was interrupted from her sightseeing off the hauntingly beautiful cavern. Twirling around, Karmic was slightly confused at the voice and where it came from before spotting the glowing diamond at the apex of the room. She thought she saw a perfectly preserved changeling encased in diamond in a throne. "Um ... I ... What?" her eyes flashed a sickly green and she began shivering in place.

"Gemlings!? Here!? I thought they were a myth! Oh no, no, no, no this is bad!" Atzy shook her head and attempted to move but found herself rooted in place by fear. Karmic, now Atzy, her eyes had switched from a milky white edged with green to being full blown green with black specks within the colouration.

@Blitz Boom

TWILIGHT SPARKLE

"It's gonna be a lot better if I show you, Cherish," Twilight grinned. "You'll soon see what I'm talking about," she added as she galloped into the proper room. There were only a few things in the large room. Six thrones, all surrounding an empty round table. Twilight skidded to a halt and lit her horn. Her magic pulsed and a fully realised map of Equestria rose up out of the table.

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@Blitz Boom

“Rest easy, Golden; the eyes may look creepy but I assure you they’re harmless,” Sen slowly took one of Golden’s hooves and shook it just like when they first met. Though intentionally used as a greeting, the longma hoped this would also calm the earth pony’s nerves. It is understandable that the eyes peering from the pitch black gate would be nerve-wracking for those who see it for the first time, they aren’t capable of passing through to Equestria.

The same could possibly not be said for the image it is likely to leave in one’s head. That one will need several nights of good rest, hopefully without the use of Equestria’s equivalent of sleeping pills to help. Sen bowed once more after putting Golden’s hoof down and turned to the gate, ready to leave for the cave.

“Thank you once more, Golden Delicious, for your hospitality. I hope we’ll meet again some time.”

It wouldn’t be long for the group to move the trunk back to the cave where Lin and Shrimp were waiting. But on their end, it would appear that Shrimp might need some help with the concept of object permanence. Hearing the refraction ask about Omen and Sen was a first, catching Lin off guard but she knows the two of them, and Rosa, could handle themselves. It wasn’t like they went off to fight a monster or something.

“Don’t worry, Shrimp,” the longma crouched down to Shrimp’s level, wanting to rest a bit after their play time. “Omen and Sen are fine. They just went out to get some things with Rosa and they’ll be back soon.”

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@Blitz Boom
"Ponies make everything so unnecessarily complicated." Ruby muttered "But well, it isn't really any of my business, not that I really care either, I just find it stupid how it hasn't been dealt with already." as someone who's life goal was to take down her own mother, she didn't really see the problem Diego had with Spicy doing that to his mother, especially considering that it sounded like he didn't like her either based on what Spicy told.

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Nada just nodded to Nerzhei's first response, both to confirm her guess, and to show agreement, as their view on ponies seemed to match up pretty well. She also nodded in understanding when Nerzhei told her reasons for being here, and her expressions showed that she felt the same way as Nerzhei about the history burning. 

"Not quite, a phoenix acted hostile towards my friend's pet so I sang it to sleep, and after I put the bird back on a branch, Lyriel revealed herself."

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@Widdershins
The cat that had been sleeping on Cerberus's head had woken up and was watching the kitten doing its thing on top of Widdershins. "Yeah I have heard about that, from somewhere...at some point." Cerberus looked like he was trying to remember something, before shrugging "That aside, I don't think I would want to learn magic anyway, I wouldn't want to accidentally hurt my friends." "But at the same time, an infinite source of catnip could be useful." during him speaking, the drawing of the drawer Cerberus had taken out vanished when it went out of view for a second. 

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