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Blitz Boom

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@Blitz Boom@StrawberryMilk Simp
Since it was more thinking out loud than a genuine question, Sear didn't comment on the responses regarding the topic of cleaning, she did nod slightly in acknowledgement to said responses, but that was about it. She didn't say anything regarding the rest of what Light said either, mostly because the topic of power and such wasn't really something she wanted to get into, she didn't like to think about it, and it was more a topic for the two otherworldly kobolds anyway.

However, the kobolds said nothing either, and instead, Trox seemed to be focused on something, and Sheska was focused on her brother; what was it that he was so focused on? the door, more specifically, something he saw as the cleaner left the building, and to check if he saw correctly in the brief window of time he had a view outside, he got up and walked to said door, opening it slightly to look outside. He was acting casual while doing this, not wanting to attract too much attention in case it was nothing. 

Sheska seemed as if she was going to say something to Trox, but she stayed silent as she overheard the interaction between the kitsune, and then gave an asking look towards her brother, to which he responded with a nod, and said something in kobold language, but while the words were a mystery, the utter despise in those words was obvious. It was like a switch had been flipped in their brain, the two kobolds went dead serious, and were seething with such deep-rooted hatred, that it was almost visible in the air. 

Sheska looked at Sear "Keep Chega inside." the next words she almost growled "The snake has slithered out of its hiding place." she then, in what probably seemed like an odd decision, left the crossbow and the sword on the ground, and Trox did the same with the shield, leaving it behind. At this point, anything said to the kobolds went to deaf ears, as they stepped out of the door, grabbed some of the metal 'grenades' that Trox had made, that they had been carrying around this whole time, threw them in the air, and blasted them with magic.

This caused the balls of metal to break into countless, small, sharp pieces of metal, that all flew forward at high speed. They repeated this for all of the 'grenades', before taking off charging in the same direction. 

What was it that they attacked with such force? A small distance away, straight forward from the tavern, there was a figure, a hooded, robed figure the size of a kobold, just standing there, the hood didn't match the robe however, as while the robe itself was a regular robe you could buy from nearest clothing store, the hood was blue and decorated in a shape of a cobra's head. 

The individual did not move at all, even when the countless sharp metal pieces hit them, they clearly did hit, as they cut the robe full of holes, yet whoever the newcomer was, was not fazed by this at all, in fact, they didn't move until when Sheska and Trox reached them, at which point the figure grabbed both of them from full speed, stopping them instantly, which was quite a feat, considering that they were the same size; This assumed kobold, had just stopped two creatures of the same size, coming at them full-speed, without as much as needing to re-balance, it was like Sheska and Trox had hit a wall. 

This wasn't the end though, as Sheska and Trox were still trying to slash the individual with their claws, and may have succeeded, as the figure tossed the two away, not hard, but hard enough to knock air out of their lungs...or maybe that happened when they were grabbed, since running full-speed to a sudden stop didn't feel too good. 

This all happened in matter of seconds after the twins left the building.


There was one more aspect to the newcomer that would make itself obvious if the others tried to do anything, they had very powerful anti-magic, not only was magic seemingly non-existent where they stood, but no spell or other attempt to magically affect them would work, as no magic would target them, or stick to them, it didn't matter if you knew their exact location, no magic could find them. Less targeted magic, like a regular offensive blasts of magic, would be able to go towards them, but would never reach them, as just before hitting them, the magic would disappear. Any potential attempts at magical attacks, would be reacted at with the same lack of reaction as the 'grenades' were.

-----------------------------
Ruby didn't comment on Leviathan's theory, yet, and instead let out a short hum that was combination of acknowledgement and thinking. "It's not like our travel time matters since we will most likely be there before Spicy anyway, but it's you who stopped moving, so it's entirely up to you to start walking again." Ruby would move if Leviathan moved, and Charir followed them, but after they had started moving, Ruby would speak again, while moving. 

"I thought about it, and I came up with a theory of my own." one could be confused what she was talking about, since there had been a moment of silence and a change of topic in between, but she gave the context in the next sentence "If we go with the assumption that I have something similar to Charir." "I don't believe it's 'arcane' that I am more towards, as I assume that with that, you mean the magic I use actively, and that magic, I know for a fact, is species wide, it's just matter of education." "So I thought it through." "Charir absorbs electricity, and radiates electricity." "I radiated heat." "And then I realized something." 

"My scales don't heat up, I could sit in the hottest dragon-fire for hours, yet when I get out, my scales aren't hot." "You cannot feel my body heat through them, and one of the few non-dragons that has touched them, mentioned that they felt slightly cooler than scales I had dropped." "Now, I know that our kind is very temperature resistant, immune even, our scales are great insulators, but I don't actually know if they are this effective for everyone, I have no way to test that." "So what if, again, assuming I share something with Charir, I absorb heat?" 

"That of course does bring the question, where does it go? I have never before let heat out like that as far as I know, but I do think that I would have overheated long time ago if I would have been constantly absorbing and storing more and more heat." 
 

 

 

 

 

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 @EQ_Theta

9 hours ago, EQ_Theta said:

“I suppose this means we all go into that tunnel together, though something about it seems off. The creature said ‘your kind,’ like it was talking about more than just the three of us. Not sure if there is more to it than that, but we should be more careful. There’s no telling if it wants to show us something beyond personal memories.”

“I don’t know what else it could possibly show, but please be careful, everyone. Maybe it wants to sway you with things only it knows.”

"I would be surprised if it didn't show us something, that were not intended to cause strife, or scandal. Why else show such a path?"

Frankly if it weren't intending on trying to manipulate them, and feed them lies, why even bother doing what it had thus far? It had seemingly put in some work here, so why then just essentially surrender, at the first hurdle? It made no sense, compared to the more likely option of it trying to manipulate them instead. Perhaps try and weaken Sen's resolve, so it could attempt to return and infect him afterwards? They would see, though she for one would remain alert, and untrusting of what were to come. Doing otherwise, were a fools errand.

"Maybe it is something about the longma? It said things earlier. Made it sound like it knew them."

"Hmm, a possibility that shouldn't be discounted. Still, do not take everything at face value. Things are rarely as simple as they may appear."

Things did certainly turn out simple enough for the start,. They entered a path that were not filled with twists and turns, but had a reasonable path forward. One easy to follow. What then were the plans from this entity?

20 hours ago, EQ_Theta said:

The longma… so stupid and short-sighted. Brother should’ve let me be, and that forest should’ve burned to the ground. And when I’m done, let them wallow in the suffering of their own creation because I am long past caring for them… 

Where do I even begin with Omen? Too naive for her own good. She’s not going to survive, not unless I teach her. Mother didn’t give her enough to get by, and Discord was useless. Or maybe it was Mother who made the mistake of not teaching Omen enough of the right things. All this falls to me then, and I’ll start with the first lesson: exacting revenge. 

Aaah, there it were. An attempt to sow discord between them, by either presenting false thoughts, or inner thoughts. It were probably the latter, if she were to guess. Thoughts that most had, at one time or another, but few actually acted upon. Taken out of context, it would seem worse than it were too, and the truth of it, could end up giving it a veil of authenticity. A ruse that you shouldn't fall for, but she wanted to see how the others would react to this, and how affected this might make them. She suspected the longma though, would be the more effected. Something told her Omen were incapable of caring enough, and Sen seemed emotional to her.

*Lin* as it were, seemed the first to be flustered however, clearly affected by this sharing of inner thoughts. Not a big surprise there. The entity had likely wished for her to be weakened too, so she'd be less effective in helping them, as it would try and turn them against one another. What would come of it, as she staggered towards a response though, trying to avoid things being as harsh as they appeared? They'd get to see soon, with Elder Zhao observing the group, to see what were to be learned from this. Understanding their dynamic could end up being helpful for her.

20 hours ago, EQ_Theta said:

“I didn’t… There’s no way I would teach you to get revenge on those who did you wrong. You have a good heart, Omen, and I don’t want to take that away from you. Please, you have to believe me!”

Omen bounced in place, on Elder Zhao's back. Looking towards *Lin* with the same curious stare, as she had for most things in her life.

"Mother did not teach us many things, and Master Discord failed to teach me enough. I do need to learn, but I can not learn vengeance. Why would I? I do not hate anyone. I do not even understand how to."

That were the crux. Even if Mother had not forbidden them to cause harm, Omen simply weren't able to hate anyone, or hold a grudge, so what vengeance were there for her to take? What were she gonna do, chase after Filigree again? She were gone, and Omen stopped caring. The huntsmaster's apprentice? She did not want him hurting her friends, so she had given him a promise of what would happen, if he tried again. That were it. She did not have it in her to be violent and dangerous, nor anyone she would want this to be done to.

"You both know this, and what Mother tells us, about hurting others. So you know not to try. I believe you, Lin."

Elder Zhao nodded slightly. This were a good response. It seemed that there were more issues with Omen than she had at first thought, as it sounded like she were having issues understanding states of emotion. But she were still approaching this with the logic of a child. In this case, likely the better, as it were a very simple, uncomplicated viewpoint, that just looked at the barebones things that she knew, with her added trust and naivety.

One could hope Sen would be rational about this, but they'd see. He should realize that inner thoughts like this, weren't something to judge a being's character on.

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

 

 

@Rising Dusk

On 2023-11-15 at 3:10 AM, Rising Dusk said:

"Compliments to Her Majesty.  It may have required little effort, but her magic is quite potent and regal for such a quick casting,"

"Mother have had much training in her time, to prepare her for things worse than this. There is ever a chance of danger as a royal, and much as our knights do their best, some things may yet slip through. It is best if we are able to defend ourselves, if such a time comes, lest we are at the mercy of unknown forces."

On 2023-11-15 at 3:10 AM, Rising Dusk said:

And just like that, Dawn, Grace and Star had returned.  Somehow Star had ended up on his back and was letting out his jovial laughter.  "Just because there is no gravity there, doesn't mean it's time to go 'swimming' off into the void," the daughter scolded the father.  Their mother had defaulted to her position of fluttering above the ground.  Rarely were the parents taken to That Place, but it wasn't unknown to them.

"All is well?" the mare inquired.  Rising nodded simply.  "Wonderful!  Let us press on,"

"Aah my friends, it is good to have your back. As I told Rising, I would like to extend my apology for the lackluster, yet sudden attack on us.. It must have come as somewhat of a shock. And might I add, your reflexes in ensuring your family were brought out of harms way, were most impressive, Dawn. Mother had not even vanquished them yet, before you all three were as dew in the sunlight.

And yes, things should be quite fine now. And we are just about to get to the main avenue. I hope that what you see, will be worth the wait."

On 2023-11-15 at 3:10 AM, Rising Dusk said:

The family greeted the Stone Matron in turn to their meeting.  Rising gazed around at the other present statues and those yet to be revealed.  He was going to be among them now, a hero of Harrowmark.  That, was really starting to sink in for the detective.  This was all on the Queen's command, but Rising could at least offer his small part, "Ready."

"Excellent. Let us begin then. Starting with this statue that you can see clearly from here. This is Mind Crawler, the Night Ender.

Near 700 years in the past, a grim presence had hit thousands in our country, trapping them in sleep. At the time, Mind Crawler were but a small scale rogue, who had the gift of wandering in dreams, and used it to get information. But when the call came, he dove deep into the dreamscape, and fought the entity, from dream to dream, until he finally emerged victorious. A grueling task, none had expected from him, but he were rightly honored for his deeds. At the end of his ceremony though, he suddenly fell asleep at the table, and never woke up again. They believe the task proved too much in the end."

She'd lead them on, and towards another statue. The rest were covered, but she had been wanting to reveal them too, so this were as good a chance as any.

Pulling the cloth from the next, it would show as a mare. Old and gnarled, she sat with a cane in front of her, upon which her front hooves rested. Hooves showing deformed skin marks, much like the left side of the mare's wrinkled old face, that rested upon those hooves. Her surroundings showing plant life and small critters.

"Oak Sap, the Great-Heart.

Where do one even start with her deeds? A good alchemist that saved many lives in your youth, she became the one ensuring the creation of many orphanages and sick homes, during the plague of 1300 years past. Coordinator of the tasks to have a cure found, and handling what to do with the victims, as well as those yet safe. Even as she felt the plague upon her own skin, and her eyes withered, she never stopped. In the end she made a cure, that saved the country, and ensured it given to all who were still alive. And in the end, it was her wish that she'd be shown not with the ill, but among the nature that gave her strength and comfort.

I should also say, if you don't knew, that all statues are made exactly in a 1 to 4 scale. Keep that in mind, when we get to the next one."

The next one would be uncovered, standing behind the rest, to stop it from overshadowing everything.

It were an absolutely monstrously big diamond dog. Keeping scales in mind, he were still two heads taller than the captain, and far burlier. The muscles on the unkempt fur and bushy mane going from the base of his tail - which ended in a bulbous lump, lined with spiky hair -, up his back, his head, and then up to his forehead. His expression showing a ferocity in the wide grinning face, matching the spark in his eyes, challenging others to face him. He wore tattered pants and small trinkets pierced into his battle-marked hide, but beyond that nothing else. Though in his meaty right paw, he held a large sack, whilst in the other were a jagged anchor on a chain, that he seemed to hold as if it were a weapon. His whole stance, as he stood upon a rock with planks splintered across it, being that of one welcoming a battle.

"Grothar Hammertail, Leviathan's End.

1500 years past, he were the undisputed strongest being in Harrowmark. Feared for his sheer strength and ferocity, he were mostly shunned. But when the Leviathan Fleet set their sight upon Harrowmark, he rushed in as they sacked the castle, and tore through their ranks, then followed them to their fleet, tearing an anchor from their main host, and demolished every ship that didn't manage to get over the horizon. After, he returned to the throne room, covered in wounds and blood, dragging an immense hoard of treasure with him, and presented it to the queen, along with the head of their captain.

He is the only diamond dog hero, but even now he is highly revered by their kin, and those who can track their lineage to him, or are nearing his size, live with high expectations to them. The few who doesn't die from overconfidence."

Grothar could have used Rising as a tooth pick, and likely would've. He were not calm and focused like Gertrude. He were every bit the beast that he looked.

Next would show to be at first looking like a miniscule stallion, but looking closer, it'd prove to be a teenaged colt. Covered in bruises and scars, including a large gash over his throat, he looked tired, yet smiling, with a serene light glowing around his pale form.

"Lullaby Feasting, the Remembered.

A sad tale a thousand years past, of a colt with big plans to be something, sacrificed by his own family. In his last moment, he prayed to Suusha for salvation, that he would save him, so that he wouldn't be forgotten. When he rose, with his full sanity left, his spirit would wander the land for near a century, connecting with many different undead, to try and give them justice, and peace. A lot were brought to light for horrendous acts because of him, or had family know what happened to their lost ones.

In the end, he got his wish. He would be given a statue for how many he helped, including in the royal family, and would be ensured to be remembered forever. His fear of being forgotten abated, he saw the end of his ceremony, before fading out with a smile on his face, and passing on in peace."

The next would be a stallion. A typical farmer, he stood with a hoe and a scythe. His clothes were mundane and there were nothing overly special about him, as he stood with fallen wheat chiseled in the stone around him.

"Wheat Wacker the Unfortunate. His story is vast and needs you to read the tale to believe it, but from mundane beginnings as a simple farmer in Pine Heights, he got the blame from stealing an ox, and through many misadventures, close calls, and events going against his best wishes, he ended up a folk hero, and the last hero before Rising came to power, a little over six centuries ago. It's said that throughout it all, he kept saying he just wanted to go back to his farm, and that he wasn't a hero, and that when he eventually got home, he found out his field had been burned, to make room for a statue in his honor. His story really shows why he's called The Unfortunate."

(there are 4 more, but I think it is time for the main event, so glossing past them)

"And then at last, the main attraction. One which the High Priestess influenced, I might add."

The queen would hold a small speech first, proclaiming this a new, important day to remember, in their storied country's legends, and so on, and so forth.

The crowd went silent, as they saw the beginning of the statue being revealed, and then, the cloth got torn off entirely, revealing their newest hero. The ninth in their long line.

It were Rising, but not wearing the fancy clothes he did now. It were him in the hoodie he had fought in, very detailed. Including some stains from the muck of the swamp. He stood as he had during the fight against Twisted, with wisps floating around him.  Magic were used to make the stone wisps float around, along with one wisp, given moth wings. Rising's face would show a defiant calculated look. Something of one in control, knowing what he were doing, even in the midst of an intense battle. Which were represented by the stone bones scattered around his hooves. Behind, a distant sun marked the background, rising high in the heavens.

The crowd would go wild, cheering loudly, as they saw the statue that like the rest, had wards, and were covered in preserving magic. Yet this was new, and showed the one that had come from far away, to save them from a tyrant that had lived longer than he had any right to.

"I present to you: Rising Dusk, the Tyrant's Bane."

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus@StrawberryMilk Simp

The kitsune were not wanting to put themselves into danger. They assumed something wrong were about to happen, based on the reaction that the two had. Their best bet, being the figure that they had mentioned. Their relative, who had also come to this world, who they said might come for them.

They didn't say anything as the kobolds went outside. This was their fight after all. Why get in the danger zone? And yet, they'd still follow, poking their heads out of the door to see what were happening, as they were far too curious to be able to simply let this be, even if they would stay in here, where it seemed safe.

Not that they'd have time to do anything anyway. The siblings went in on attacking this one right off the bat, using strange devices they hadn't seen before, that shot right into their target, not even fazing it. Nor did it when they charged, and were just instantly caught. Their attacks seemed to have been anticipated in the few seconds it had taken for them to open the door. This were not someone that you wanted to get on the bad side, that much were certain.

They'd also finally get a better idea of what exactly were wrong with this one. They couldn't place it at first, but just felt something were wrong. Seeing things relatively closer though, it became apparent that this one had anti-magic. Either a low range aura, or some sort of item that did it. Whatever the case, the natural flow of magic, repelled from her entirely, disrupting the flow. It were subtle, but on high alert, they could both tell that something were off like that, albeit subtly.

That said, they did want to run a test, just to make sure. Well, Hachi did, as he'd send a magical bubble slowly towards the hooded kobold. An utterly harmless bubble, around the size of an apple. The sort of thing kitsune learned to cast when they were first discovering they could cast spells, as to teach them fundamentals in a safe manner. Beyond it not popping naturally, and going with direction, albeit lazily, it were no different from a real bubble. Zhing would whisper to him about his actions being dumb, but frankly she were curious too, and this wasn't hostile, right? It was just a bubble. it were probably safe. Safer than it were for Sheska and Trox at least. Hopefully they'd be okay out there.

As for the locals seeing this? They were running off, and that would soon enough alert the guards that something were going on. Including Stargazer, who's groan loudly, and lean up against a wall, muttering *Why me?*, whilst his daughter looked at him funny.

Shark didn't notice any of it. She had gotten into a mood where she either stood and nibbled Light's ear lovingly, or if he had gone to see what were happening too, were sniffing various dried spots on the nearby vacant table, to try and figure out what it were.

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus

Leviathan would've gone walking, once she were told it were up to her to decide when they walked. She figured Ruby would, but that was a minor miscommunication issue, that were sorted by turning about on her heels, and starting to walk. It had been a nice, eventful break, but they had to get going alright, lest they ended up getting rooted in place.

Weren't long after when Ruby started talking though, interrupting the sound of birds chirping away in the forest. Leviathan kept walking, as she listened in, and what things she did hear. Okay it were somewhat minute, but it did present some alternative ideas as to what were going on, and how to handle it. A bit of banter to get closer to the truth of the matter were just good and helpful, with Ruby likely being more right, as she knew how her own magic worked, at least to some extend. Leviathan were still trying to figure that part out, as their magic seemed to work rather differently from her own.

"Hmm... Dragons in general are at least some degree of heat resistant, and fire aligned dragons of my variety, are especially resilient. They're the only ones who can use lava pools as hot tubs. But even then, they're scales are not cooler, they're warmer, and retains heat for longer, so they don't feel a chill. Having cooler scales, and being able to withstand a lot of heat? That ain't been something I've heard of before. Might be there's something to your theory.

It's peculiar though still, yeah? Absorbing heat and electricity is useful, but at the same time, Charir did make a spark, and you did radiate heat, like you said. There's an active component to your magic, and I just don't think it's as limited as just absorbing and radiating. There's outta be something more to it. Though I do think there's something about what you said. Where the heat you take goes, same as Charir and electricity.

I've seen ponies meddle with all sorts of things in my time, and more recent ones I've run into, includes constructions they use, that gets powered on by certain things. Like towers that gets hit with lightning, and then turn that into power to run a larger machine, or gems and cable, that absorbs sunlight, and makes it into raw energy. Maybe what you're experiencing, is kind of like that, y'know? The heat and electricity empowers you, stores up energy within. Probably some inner limit that you can't get past, to avoid overheating as it were. So if this were the right idea, you'd currently be filled with energy, but lacking a proper outlet to really make use of it.

It's a tricky thing. I'm used to my own sort's approach. Not all of my variety of dragon are born with enough magic to actively use it, and those who do have the talent, often squander it. Yet even then, we're all elemental in nature, and use magic in the same way as most magic users. With a source that have a certain amount of energy to use from, that can be used if you do it proper, and need time to recharge.

What you're having seems like some kind of elemental magic still, but not working in ways I'm familiar with. It's mighty weird, and I dunno what to make of it. I certainly wanna figure out how it works though, because I feel confident that there's a hidden potential in what you got. Some way for you to refine and harness your energy proper, and figuring out the ins and outs enough to use it in battle.

Hopefully we'll figure it out in time."

She'd halt briefly, as a small flock of phoenixes flew high above them, passing their path with naught a care in the world. She really liked these birds to be honest. Smarter than they seemed, and seeing how most predators abhorred fire, they rarely had things to worry about. Not from wildlife anyway. Others wanted them for various things. Like experiments, or to force them as pets, due to their beautiful visage. She also knew that young dragons and foals alike that she knew of, would sometimes follow them, to try and catch a feather they preened. Beautiful, warm, and very soft, they were nice little, inexpensive collection pieces for younglings.

"I dunno if what you say about the kinda magic you're using right now, being species wide. Maybe for your sort. I've never... Okay, strike that. I've never seen another dragon do exactly like you do. I forgot about Ancalagon... That guy is massive. I mean, utterly monstrous. In his full form, he could trample the entirety of Ponyville, in one stomp. But he does use some sort of magic to change his size. Maybe it's something similar to that... I never really thought about that before actually. Huh."

That gave her some food for thoughts, as they wandered on, making good speed towards the temple they were headed forth. A target of profit and adventure, it were going to be a fun time once they inevitably got there.

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3 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

Shark didn't notice any of it. She had gotten into a mood where she either stood and nibbled Light's ear lovingly, or if he had gone to see what were happening too, were sniffing various dried spots on the nearby vacant table, to try and figure out what it were.

Light was a bit distracted as usual and could not react properly due to Shark.

He would be wary and try to defend Shark and the Kitsune. But it seems the actions of the kitsune to him was not wise.

 

" hey! What're you doing!?" He scolded the kitsune.

"Whos that! Whats going on?" He asked the sibling kobolts.

"Shark! Lets be diligent... We have no idea what we are up against."

( and why is the required characters longer again!?...)

 @Blitz Boom @Catpone Cerberus

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@Blitz Boom

On 2023-11-19 at 7:58 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"I would be surprised if it didn't show us something, that were not intended to cause strife, or scandal. Why else show such a path?"

Frankly if it weren't intending on trying to manipulate them, and feed them lies, why even bother doing what it had thus far? It had seemingly put in some work here, so why then just essentially surrender, at the first hurdle? It made no sense, compared to the more likely option of it trying to manipulate them instead. Perhaps try and weaken Sen's resolve, so it could attempt to return and infect him afterwards? They would see, though she for one would remain alert, and untrusting of what were to come. Doing otherwise, were a fools errand.

"Maybe it is something about the longma? It said things earlier. Made it sound like it knew them."

"Hmm, a possibility that shouldn't be discounted. Still, do not take everything at face value. Things are rarely as simple as they may appear."

“If that creature in the distance knows about the longma, it’ll have to do a very good job convincing us to accept something we don’t know about. Then again, it could be lying to get us to lower our guard, but I find it unlikely that it knows something.”

Sen wasn’t quite ready to stake his beliefs on the claim that their adversary was lying to get them to listen to it, but there was no telling what it was capable of doing. Perhaps it may not be trying to convince him, but it only wants to make him more susceptible to its own suggestions. There was no telling what it was doing now or whether it was learning from the longma’s interactions with everyone present. What was happening now wasn’t too elaborate, but the simplicity of events was enough of a start to see what the hostile entity intended to do.

The sound of inner thoughts, there was no doubt about it. Sen was aware of some of those thoughts, as Lin already disclosed it once in the past. Her grievances with the longma were already given, and this was her motivation for seeking out Malvernis and his dark powers through an old grimoire. Much of her current predicament could be traced back to this, though hearing about her thoughts on Mother and Discord was surprising, especially because Lin overtly treated them with fondness of varying degrees. 

On 2023-11-19 at 7:58 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"Mother did not teach us many things, and Master Discord failed to teach me enough. I do need to learn, but I can not learn vengeance. Why would I? I do not hate anyone. I do not even understand how to."

That were the crux. Even if Mother had not forbidden them to cause harm, Omen simply weren't able to hate anyone, or hold a grudge, so what vengeance were there for her to take? What were she gonna do, chase after Filigree again? She were gone, and Omen stopped caring. The huntsmaster's apprentice? She did not want him hurting her friends, so she had given him a promise of what would happen, if he tried again. That were it. She did not have it in her to be violent and dangerous, nor anyone she would want this to be done to.

"You both know this, and what Mother tells us, about hurting others. So you know not to try. I believe you, Lin."

Elder Zhao nodded slightly. This were a good response. It seemed that there were more issues with Omen than she had at first thought, as it sounded like she were having issues understanding states of emotion. But she were still approaching this with the logic of a child. In this case, likely the better, as it were a very simple, uncomplicated viewpoint, that just looked at the barebones things that she knew, with her added trust and naivety.

One could hope Sen would be rational about this, but they'd see. He should realize that inner thoughts like this, weren't something to judge a being's character on.

“I don’t doubt that your words, Omen; Mother made herself clear about it. Regardless of how she saw Mother, Discord, and the longma, these are our sister’s inner thoughts, and she didn’t act on them. I believe her, too.”

“Lin” relaxed, exhaling and releasing some tension built up from her panic. It seemed evident that her siblings’ confidence and bond were strong to get them to take her side over the entity exploiting her own thoughts. However, it wasn’t done with them just yet. Moving down the corridor further, eventually let to the place’s walls shifting into a cave lined with crystals. It all appeared normal at first until even the gems crept like some kind of unnatural creature. A nook in the wall showed what looked like Sen and Lin arguing with each other, along with their outbursts.

...Your rash thinking could've affected the parasitic crystals, maybe making Omen's unresponsive state permanent!

You don't know that! I did it because it could turn out worse if we did nothing!

Did nothing?! I'm the one going in there because your innate healing factor could be a potential hazard! You nearly trapped me in there!

Sen paused as he saw this unfolding, aware of the event in question and the argument. Lin’s words stung, but he knew it was true. There was silence for a moment, the vision fading from view until Lin’s inner voice continued. There was more to dread, especially if the entity was learning about how best to lower their trust in each other. 

Brother couldn’t help himself… Always has to do something. Maybe he should’ve stayed behind in the village. Same with Omen. Wouldn’t have been in that situation if she just stayed put. Spirits, I’m surrounded by stupidity, even from those closest to me. They’re not going to get things done on their own; it’ll only make things worse for me and for others. He couldn’t even trust Omen to defend herself. What kind of brother is he, always making it about himself? He’s a danger to Omen, to me, and others…

Those words stung, and Sen couldn’t believe what he was hearing. It was different having already been made aware of something unsavory from Lin’s thoughts and hearing something for the first time. “Lin” couldn’t look at her brother and sister straight in the eyes, trying to shy away from those words projected from her inner thoughts. Those last few words were something to ponder on. Though Omen and Sen had a conversation about putting trust in each other’s capabilities, it still left room for them to wonder if Sen could keep his word. The look on “Lin’s” face said a lot despite her silence, hinting at some kind of truth and regret behind what they were hearing. As for Sen, he had to stop and distance himself, certain that what he was hearing was the entity toying with him. It was the part where it was all wrapped up in Lin's inner thoughts that made it difficult to filter out and continue onward. To him, Omen had an advantage here, as she wouldn't let those words get to her.

“Is this true, Lin? Is this what you think of Omen and me?”

Tensions rose once more, and Lin couldn't get an answer out. She only looked to Omen and Sen, afraid that what she said could make things worse, and she was scared of how they'd think of her right now.

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@Blitz Boom@StrawberryMilk Simp
Hachi's test went either unnoticed, or purposely ignored, as the hooded kobold didn't as much as look at the bubble, Sheska and Trox did momentarily glance at it, as being in high alert state, something moving at the edge of their vision got their attention, but they too ignored it, as it slowly but surely got close to the kobold, and disappeared, it didn't pop, it wasn't even actively dispelled, rather, the magic keeping it together just went away.

What came to the reaction of the locals, and later the guards arriving, the three kobolds ignored all that, Sheska and Trox due to being taken over by their anger and hatred towards the new arrival, an emotional state that was very obvious even without seeing their face, as after getting up from being tossed back, the postures they took were very aggressive, bodies positioned ready to attack, and fingers positioned for optimal clawing, a notable contrast to their usual, defensive approach demeanor. And the stranger, they again paid no mind to anything, the ponies around them? less than air, somehow, this hooded kobold, who was barely taller than average mare, with only the end of their orange snout visible, seemed like they looked down on everyone around them. 

Though there was something else visible too, be it only for those who could see the back of the kobold, as the tip of their tail was slightly visible from under the robe, a tail, which was metal gray, and had a blade attached to it. 

What came to Light's question, the siblings ignored him for previously stated reasons, however, he wasn't left without an answer, as Chega answered instead "I assume this one would be Sheez, the kobold they told us about earlier." "The living ancestor, or as is more relevant in this situation, the traitor." the way she said 'traitor', was uncharacteristically cold, almost as if saying the word itself was unpleasant to her.

Speaking of Chega, she and Sear hadn't moved from the table, instead, Sear had just gotten up, and was now standing between the door and Chega, hand hovering above her axe, eyes locked towards the stranger, this wasn't their business, but she would be ready to make it her business if necessary. 

If Shark at any point realized what was happening, there was one more odd thing about the stranger that the others would most likely not be able to notice, the smell, or more specifically, the lack of it, as among the various smells of the outside, there was no smells that could directly be assumed to belong to the stranger, so if she had a scent, it was so weak that it lost to even the ground's smell. What could be connected to her though, was a faint smell of blood, because as the dust settled, half-literally, one could begin to put pieces together on what exactly happened. 

Trox's metal arm's fingers had extended beyond the normal reach of a finger, though they were moving currently back to the normal state, and the hooded kobold moved to wipe her cheek with a finger, before looking at said finger, Trox had managed to get past the kobold's nonchalant defense, and had scratched her face. 

After that, there was silence, it was very tense silence, but silence none the less, as the two angry kobolds stared at the third one, nobody moved, nobody said anything, but the tension was indescribable, the only question was, who would be the one to break it? It was the stranger, as after looking at her finger for a moment, she spoke "Good to see you've fully recovered." her voice was as unfazed as she had seemed, other than that, there was not much to note in her voice, it was that of a female kobold, be it bit unfeeling sounding, and while she sounded like she had more years behind her than Sheska for example, it was lot younger sounding that one would probably expect from someone who has been allegedly alive for generations. 

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

"I also don't believe that things are limited to mere absorbing and radiating, however, I lack the proper knowledge to make any educated guesses on how exactly it works, so for now I focused on trying to explain what I see."  Ruby stated, she wasn't really sure if the whole thing was even its own thing, or if it was just weird interaction between their natural magic and whatever magic came from outside their kind.

"Your idea does sound reasonable to me, I need to think things through more before agreeing with it, but the idea of the potentially absorbed energy being limited, or even taking part in keeping us going is not unreasonable. It could also explain some of my own personal experiences, however, it is a discussion that Charir should also partake in, as only one individual is not a good sample size." that discussion however, would probably need to wait, as it would be challenging to have while they had other things to focus on, besides, it was probably good to let Charir to think things through first too, as he could have ideas that neither of the older dragons thought about. 

Ruby observed the phoenixes with her usual, seeming lack of interest, Charir however, having not seen them before, looked at them with curious awe, he had seen birds on fire before, but never a bird seemingly made of fire. That however was as far as his reaction went, he didn't do anything specific, nor did he ask Ruby about them, because he hadn't really learned to care about specifics in animal, to him they were just cool looking birds, and that's as far as his interests went. 

"I feel that I should specify, that when I say 'species wide', I mean my kind." Ruby specified "I'm not fully aware how you use these terms, but to me, while we are all dragons, I wouldn't call us the same species, as we are clearly different kinds of dragons, evolved in different areas separated from each other." "I'm not even certain if our kinds could reproduce together, as nobody has tried, for obvious reasons."  yet her neighbor was a hybrid between a dragon and a pony, which rose too many questions to list. 

 

 

 

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@EQ_Theta

On 2023-11-20 at 1:43 PM, EQ_Theta said:

...Your rash thinking could've affected the parasitic crystals, maybe making Omen's unresponsive state permanent!

You don't know that! I did it because it could turn out worse if we did nothing!

Did nothing?! I'm the one going in there because your innate healing factor could be a potential hazard! You nearly trapped me in there!

Sen paused as he saw this unfolding, aware of the event in question and the argument. Lin’s words stung, but he knew it was true. There was silence for a moment, the vision fading from view until Lin’s inner voice continued. There was more to dread, especially if the entity was learning about how best to lower their trust in each other. 

Brother couldn’t help himself… Always has to do something. Maybe he should’ve stayed behind in the village. Same with Omen. Wouldn’t have been in that situation if she just stayed put. Spirits, I’m surrounded by stupidity, even from those closest to me. They’re not going to get things done on their own; it’ll only make things worse for me and for others. He couldn’t even trust Omen to defend herself. What kind of brother is he, always making it about himself? He’s a danger to Omen, to me, and others…

It appeared that this were the tactic of their invading parasite. Assaulting them with Lin's inner thoughts, some taken out of context, to try and sow discord between them. Ridiculously amateurish honestly, and at first, it hadn't seemed to do a whole lot, as Sen had confirmed that he believed in Lin, just as Omen did. But the cracks were beginning to show now, that much were clear. Sen were affected by what he heard now. A little at first, but all it would take, were that first little bit, to begin to expand the crack. She may need to intervene, if things did not get better on it's own. To what extend, would depend on the gap that the parasite would be able to split between the siblings.

She did learn a little more that weren't just inner thoughts though, it seemed. An argument between them, which is what led to the thoughts that came after. Omen - much as expected by her at this point - simply observed, with complete indifference½. Same happened to what were said after. To her, nothing she would see or hear, would make her go against Lin. Not even Lin's own words. Primarily because she didn't have thew capacity to care, and she were loyal to a fault. But also, it were partially due to her agreeing. She did foolish things, that many others would not. It were why she constantly observed, and tried to learn from others like her, or Sen. Because they seemed to understand such things more, and as such, she might learn by their example, so she wouldn't repeat her mistakes.

She could however, say if she agreed, or disagreed with something Lin were thinking. It did not mean she were suddenly hating Lin, and did not want to speak with her. It were just observations, and what she thought. She were certain things would correct themselves again.

On 2023-11-20 at 1:43 PM, EQ_Theta said:

“Is this true, Lin? Is this what you think of Omen and me?”

Tensions rose once more, and Lin couldn't get an answer out. She only looked to Omen and Sen, afraid that what she said could make things worse, and she was scared of how they'd think of her right now.

"Let us not put anyone on a pedestal, young man.

There is a reason why ones inner thoughts, are kept in private. It is honesty, brutal and unfiltered, and it is very few, who have not had negative ones of others. Even those you care for the most, as many spiteful thoughts, come from passion. As you can see here, frustration over a disagreement between you, that left you with heated minds. The worst one can think, tends to rise in those times. You wish not to know what I thought, the first time I saw you. Yet like Lin, it remains as thoughts. Moments in time, when one think one thing, yet do not act upon it.

Ask yourself, if the sister you know, acts like this? Does she remorselessly belittle you, and take nothing you say to herself?"

"No. Sister listens, even if she do not agree with what we say.

I do not think she is right here though. Sen does not make everything about himself. He just wants to help. Just like she does."

Elder Zhao would nod, and stayed in place. This were more the line of thought she wanted. Calm and collected, that were not confrontational. Yet Omen were a peculiar creature, and as such, the more emotional Sen, could not be expected to work from the same baseline. It were rather obvious he cared deeply for his sister, and as such, her inner thoughts hit him that much harder.

"Look past what rummages in her inner sanctum, and don't let it break your bond. Whatever grievances you might have, is best left for when she is at her whole again, and you can speak in earnest to one another."

If things escalated, she may need to take more control over things, as she needed Sen to stay the course, and not break so easily to an outside influence, who yearned to see them fall into disarray. It would be far easier to handle them, if there were not some sort of harmony, or cooperation in general going between them, and she could not let this fall into the abyss, because of their mistakes. Even if she had to take more drastic measures to ensure that, though she'd prefer not to. This were supposed to be helpful, as well as educational, and the more she influenced things, the less educational it would be.

"Besides, if she fully stood by such thoughts, she would not feel fear, or regret. Nor I imagine, would you, if she saw what you thought on your end, in the moment in time we were presented with."

With that, she would begin to slowly move onwards, taking some degree of charge, but doing it more to indicate further, that it were time to move on. They would get nothing from arguing. That were for them to do in the regular world, when they both had their bearings.

Least neither could say she didn't warn them at least. She had said that they'd be confronted with some dark secrets, and here they were. Unfiltered, deep thoughts, never meant to be heard by another soul. They'd likely need some time to progress that, once this were done, but that would depend on them. Thus far though, she were getting... Disappointed, in the bond Sen and Lin had. She had thought it stronger than it seemed, though she'd be happy to be proven wrong.

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus @StrawberryMilk Simp

On 2023-11-19 at 4:10 AM, StrawberryMilk Simp said:

" hey! What're you doing!?" He scolded the kitsune.

"They said Sheez wouldn't do anything, unless we were a threat. A bubble isn't a threat."

"Yeah. We're just testing a theory. Something is wrong with her."

"It's like there's no magic around her at all."

8 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

Hachi's test went either unnoticed, or purposely ignored, as the hooded kobold didn't as much as look at the bubble, Sheska and Trox did momentarily glance at it, as being in high alert state, something moving at the edge of their vision got their attention, but they too ignored it, as it slowly but surely got close to the kobold, and disappeared, it didn't pop, it wasn't even actively dispelled, rather, the magic keeping it together just went away.

"Yep, that definitely wasn't normal."

"Anti-magic. We'll be staying in here."

"Faaaar away from her."

Sure they had some physical power to work with, but from what they heard, and now saw, that were not going to do a thing. And if magic didn't work, the best they could do were to stay away from the danger, until it passed. This seemed more of a family matter anyway. Best they didn't get involved in it, beyond just watching it from afar.

On 2023-11-19 at 4:10 AM, StrawberryMilk Simp said:

"Shark! Lets be diligent... We have no idea what we are up against."

8 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

If Shark at any point realized what was happening, there was one more odd thing about the stranger that the others would most likely not be able to notice, the smell, or more specifically, the lack of it, as among the various smells of the outside, there was no smells that could directly be assumed to belong to the stranger, so if she had a scent, it was so weak that it lost to even the ground's smell. What could be connected to her though, was a faint smell of blood, because as the dust settled, half-literally, one could begin to put pieces together on what exactly happened. 

"Danger?"

Shark would go over to the door, and look out, trying to gauge what were happening. It seemed her new friends were.. Hugging? Fighting? It were hard to say from here. It smelled... Familiar though. Something wafting on the wind, ever so faintly, that made her lick around her lips.

"Shark smell blood."

She couldn't say who the blood belonged to though. She didn't know the taste or smell of theirs yet, but it seemed like they were all standing so.. Maybe one cut themselves? She needed to get closer to see.

So unless someone stopped her, and managed to somehow hold her back, she'd casually walk out of the inn, and wander towards the kobolds, sniffing the air along the way, as the feint, yet unmistakable smell of unfamiliar blood hit her nostrils. Like, she knew this was blood, but it wasn't a kind she had smelled exactly before. Blood had some nuance to it. Though she preferred fish blood. It had a nice, tangy taste to it, that she were nice and familiar with.

9 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

After that, there was silence, it was very tense silence, but silence none the less, as the two angry kobolds stared at the third one, nobody moved, nobody said anything, but the tension was indescribable, the only question was, who would be the one to break it? It was the stranger, as after looking at her finger for a moment, she spoke "Good to see you've fully recovered." her voice was as unfazed as she had seemed, other than that, there was not much to note in her voice, it was that of a female kobold, be it bit unfeeling sounding, and while she sounded like she had more years behind her than Sheska for example, it was lot younger sounding that one would probably expect from someone who has been allegedly alive for generations. 

There would be some guards who had shown, but Stargazer would signal them to hold back, and not engage currently. He had enough of an idea about who this were, to understand that if they engaged, they would have problems here. Besides, whilst they had caused a commotion, none of them had technically caused harm yet. At best, he could try and arrest them for disturbing the peace, but that was about it. And considering the warning he had gotten earlier, he believed it best not to try to be forceful. He had a daughter who'd be devastated if he end up getting killed, from not listening to warnings.

Still, he'd try to address her all the same. Frankly the entire group of three, at a safe distance, with his stance telling that he were wary of them. A slightly defensive stance as it were, showing that he were aware that she were dangerous.

"If you want to fight, would you please move it outside of town, before you end up hurting innocent civilians?"

It was but a request, as something more forceful sounded as if it didn't have a high chance to work, but he only had so much sway here. If this matter could not be resolved amicably, and fast, he worried some of his fellow guards might try something. Regardless of his warnings. There were not many of them here after all, so it were not in their favor, if what he had gleamed from the warnings given to him, were any indication.

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus

"That's why I say variation. It talks of us both being dragons, but from different genomes as it were. As for procreating... I dunno. If there's dragon and pony hybrids, why not from two dragon variations? We're both still dragons, even if removed by a fair long distance and some evolution. Much closer than that mix at least, you outta agree on that at least, yeah?"

Honestly, she hadn't thought of that, but like, if Charir for instance, became a better dragon than those before him, he might be able to procreate with a nice, frisky fire aligned dragon of her own sort. Ruby and her were likely not gonna have luck though. She didn't like the cannibalistic sorts, and Ruby were likely to think everyone she'd run into a wimp, and gnaw their heads off like a praying mantis.

Charir were still young and impressionable. He had a fair enough chance to find one of any sort, and then they'd see. It'd likely just be speculation before that anyway. All she could say, were that their kind could get along, and be good friends. Honestly her best friend, if she were to judge by how she felt. Didn't feel like just any regular friend.

Their travels would take them onwards, past the regular wildlife that wanted to be anywhere near them, which were not a lot. A fair bit wanted to stay away, as per usual. At least that slowed them down less, so they could actually get somewhere. Shouldn't be all that long now, until they got to the temple, and could actually start to get to the bottom of this madness.

"Aaah, we have gotten into a lot of *ifs and maybe's* topics. Magic, procreation- A lot of interesting things to chatter about, but it just lacks any sort of concrete evidence to go by anything. Something tells me we'll find some answers before we know it though. Life's full of strange surprised, and honestly, I don't think this job is gonna take that long, after we actually show up. Rummage a cursed tomb, avoid the worst effects, and nick everything not nailed down. If we're lucky, we even get to torch some zombies. That outta kill a few seconds.

I'm hoping we'll find some kind of great hat there. Tombs have all sorts of weird stuff in them, and stuff standing out, makes for great souvenirs. Plenty of shinies to pick from for you treasure hunters though, I'm sure. Either in raw coin, or some sort of fancy thing, that one can sell to the right buyer."

(they will arrive next post)

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51 minutes ago, Blitz Boom said:

Shark would go over to the door, and look out, trying to gauge what were happening. It seemed her new friends were.. Hugging? Fighting? It were hard to say from here. It smelled... Familiar though. Something wafting on the wind, ever so faintly, that made her lick around her lips.

"Shark smell blood."

Light would gently pull her back in.

" sweetie...we stay safe for now. Please guard the kitsunes."

He looked once more and still a stand off.

He begins to draw a large circle on the ground and some runes on it.

" I'm calling for back up." Light is attempting to summon Kali. A dear old friend... The new ruler of Chaos.

" you better answer..."

 

52 minutes ago, Blitz Boom said:

you want to fight, would you please move it outside of town, before you end up hurting innocent civilians?"

".... what is he even trying to achieve here?" Light questioned the guard's actions.

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@Blitz Boom @StrawberryMilk Simp
"I don't do collateral damage, if someone gets hurt, it's no accident." Sheez stated, it was clearly a response to Stargazer, yet she didn't as much as look into his direction "And this is not business you want to get involved in, your weapons and magic tricks are useless, and the lives of your kind hold no meaning to me." she then spoke louder "This includes you in the tavern too, drawing your summoning circles!" she turned her head towards Stargazer, her red eyes looking into his, her eyes were cold and hostile, and mirrored her words, she did not see Stargazer as equal, or even as not important, she hated him for what he was, he was to her less than worthless.  "I have no interest in going after your worthless little town, but if any of you, or any other wannabe heroes..." she nodded her head towards the tavern "... try something stupid, I'll enjoy every second." 

Before she got another word out, Trox jumped soundlessly at her, though, unsurprisingly, she again caught him like it was nothing, same with Sheska, though this time when Trox tried to get to her face, there was some kind of unseen barrier protecting it "And don't worry about these two, I can handle them, it's just bit of family drama." it would have been comical, how she was holding on the twins one arm each, if it wasn't for the fact that everything about her screamed danger "We are not family!" Trox hissed at her, with Sheska adding "You don't deserve to call yourself a kobold."   in their futile struggle, they managed to tug on the shredded robe a bit, which caused Sheez to do...something, it wasn't clear what, as it happened under the robe, but there was a quick orange flash, and the robe caught on fire, burning away unnaturally fast and clean, leaving only the hood, and revealing her appearance

Everything but her head and left arm were some kind of metal, and even the latter was mostly covered in metal, her horns, which had been hidden by some kind of invisibility until now, were also metal. She also had four arms instead of two, and on her waist, several odd weapons were attached by unclear means. 

"Please, what would your mother think if..." "Don't poison her memory with your tongue!" "She'd cut your head off!"  

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

"I never said it's impossible, I said I'm not certain if it is possible, there's a difference." "Dragon and pony hybrids go beyond my own knowledge, but my guess would be that both being highly magical has something to do with it, because it certainly is not natural biology." "I'm yet to see hybrids of my own kind, if you don't count my kind itself, so I don't know much about the possibilities there." "We aren't exactly kind to outsiders, and we barely bother with our own kind, so you won't find any of us looking for family outside homelands any time soon."  As their way of 'motherly love' showed, Ruby's kind wasn't exactly the most offspring focused creatures, she might have mentioned it before, but it was to them more a chore than anything, a natural process that was better to get out of the way than postpone for 'the right moments'.

And Charir, he was too busy thinking about magic to think such things, besides, he was only halfway to full maturity, so it would be a while until his natural instincts woke up to that whole thing. 

"If you only limit topics to things you know, you'll be stuck in one place. Willingness to ponder new things is what broke me out of my old life after all." Ruby concluded "It's also a good way to get one's mind out of other things, like the fact that I still feel bit off about this whole thing." When it looked like they were getting close, Ruby sharpened her senses to sense around, including the extra sense for treasure, just in case.



 

 

 

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

@Blitz Boom @StrawberryMilk Simp
"I don't do collateral damage, if someone gets hurt, it's no accident." Sheez stated, it was clearly a response to Stargazer, yet she didn't as much as look into his direction "And this is not business you want to get involved in, your weapons and magic tricks are useless, and the lives of your kind hold no meaning to me." she then spoke louder "This includes you in the tavern too, drawing your summoning circles!" she turned her head towards Stargazer, her red eyes looking into his, her eyes were cold and hostile, and mirrored her words, she did not see Stargazer as equal, or even as not important, she hated him for what he was, he was to her less than worthless.  "I have no interest in going after your worthless little town, but if any of you, or any other wannabe heroes..." she nodded her head towards the tavern "... try something stupid, I'll enjoy every second." 

Before she got another word out, Trox jumped soundlessly at her, though, unsurprisingly, she again caught him like it was nothing, same with Sheska, though this time when Trox tried to get to her face, there was some kind of unseen barrier protecting it "And don't worry about these two, I can handle them, it's just bit of family drama." it would have been comical, how she was holding on the twins one arm each, if it wasn't for the fact that everything about her screamed danger "We are not family!" Trox hissed at her, with Sheska adding "You don't deserve to call yourself a kobold."   in their futile struggle, they managed to tug on the shredded robe a bit, which caused Sheez to do...something, it wasn't clear what, as it happened under the robe, but there was a quick orange flash, and the robe caught on fire, burning away unnaturally fast and clean, leaving only the hood, and revealing her appearance

Everything but her head and left arm were some kind of metal, and even the latter was mostly covered in metal, her horns, which had been hidden by some kind of invisibility until now, were also metal. She also had four arms instead of two, and on her waist, several odd weapons were attached by unclear means. 

"Please, what would your mother think if..." "Don't poison her memory with your tongue!" "She'd cut your head off!"  

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

"I never said it's impossible, I said I'm not certain if it is possible, there's a difference." "Dragon and pony hybrids go beyond my own knowledge, but my guess would be that both being highly magical has something to do with it, because it certainly is not natural biology." "I'm yet to see hybrids of my own kind, if you don't count my kind itself, so I don't know much about the possibilities there." "We aren't exactly kind to outsiders, and we barely bother with our own kind, so you won't find any of us looking for family outside homelands any time soon."  As their way of 'motherly love' showed, Ruby's kind wasn't exactly the most offspring focused creatures, she might have mentioned it before, but it was to them more a chore than anything, a natural process that was better to get out of the way than postpone for 'the right moments'.

And Charir, he was too busy thinking about magic to think such things, besides, he was only halfway to full maturity, so it would be a while until his natural instincts woke up to that whole thing. 

"If you only limit topics to things you know, you'll be stuck in one place. Willingness to ponder new things is what broke me out of my old life after all." Ruby concluded "It's also a good way to get one's mind out of other things, like the fact that I still feel bit off about this whole thing." When it looked like they were getting close, Ruby sharpened her senses to sense around, including the extra sense for treasure, just in case.



 

 

 

 

 

".... oh crap it already started."

He activated his cutie mark and made himself extremely light. Practically one with the wind.

He dashed towards Sheez and assaulted her at the back.

Whatever contact he makes he would make it heavy.

And beneath her a dark portal would open up and dark Chaotic chains would try to pierce through Sheez's arm where she holds the kobolt.

The material has properties that absorb non changeling magic.

" took your sweet time Kali..." 

But no reply was given back to Light.

"!?"

It seems that kali did not appear.

@Catpone Cerberus @Blitz Boom

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10 hours ago, StrawberryMilk Simp said:

".... oh crap it already started."

He activated his cutie mark and made himself extremely light. Practically one with the wind.

He dashed towards Sheez and assaulted her at the back.

Whatever contact he makes he would make it heavy.

And beneath her a dark portal would open up and dark Chaotic chains would try to pierce through Sheez's arm where she holds the kobolt.

The material has properties that absorb non changeling magic.

" took your sweet time Kali..." 

But no reply was given back to Light.

"!?"

It seems that kali did not appear.

@Catpone Cerberus @Blitz Boom

Sheez let out an audible sigh as she, again, tossed the kobold twins back, then, unnaturally fast, turned around, taking Light's hit to the chest, unfazed, though, if he had made himself heavy enough, she would move slightly backwards due to the ground moving from the weight, but she herself, didn't change position in any way, and her counter attack? hitting down with enough force to break bones, so how badly he got hurt from his little trick, was really up to how quickly Light got away.

For the portal, she grabbed with one of her arms, a weapon that at first looked like a sword missing its blade, but as her hand touched the handle, a black blade, darker than darkness, with faint red glow around it, appeared, and she used said blade to cut through the chains, or well, cut was incorrect, it was more like it consumed the part it touched, before they reached her, then hitting the blade at the ground, and pulling it across the portal, closing it. "Cute" 

"I guess I didn't make myself clear enough." she again spoke louder "I am Sheez, the now resigned commander of the most effective pony-elimination unit in the two empires." "For longer than your lifetimes, I've trained, prepared, and build myself for single purpose, hunting equines, unicorns, changelings, kirin, alicorns...doesn't matter." "That has included preparing for your annoying little magic tricks." "Which the little foxes in that building warned you about, if you would have listened." "I am not only using anti-magic, as you call it, I am source of it, and it's bit more powerful than those little chains of your." "This here blade, is made of absence, a weaponized void if you may, perfect for cutting through magic of all kinds."

"I however, am not here to hunt, I'm here to meet my very ungrateful grandniece and -nephew, but, if you keep bothering me like this, I'll happily get rid of all you pony scum, have I made myself clear now?" 

"Stay out of this Light, you won't win!" Trox shouted "Besides, this is personal!" 

 

Edited by Catpone Cerberus
replaced grandchildren with more accurate terms
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@Blitz Boom

On 2023-11-23 at 4:20 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"Let us not put anyone on a pedestal, young man.

There is a reason why ones inner thoughts, are kept in private. It is honesty, brutal and unfiltered, and it is very few, who have not had negative ones of others. Even those you care for the most, as many spiteful thoughts, come from passion. As you can see here, frustration over a disagreement between you, that left you with heated minds. The worst one can think, tends to rise in those times. You wish not to know what I thought, the first time I saw you. Yet like Lin, it remains as thoughts. Moments in time, when one think one thing, yet do not act upon it.

Ask yourself, if the sister you know, acts like this? Does she remorselessly belittle you, and take nothing you say to herself?"

“I… No. Lin’s smart to keep these thoughts to herself. I don’t agree with her choices or her words, but what she said… They’re not something I haven’t told myself.”

“If that’s true, then… If you would let me explain, I-”

“Don’t. If what we heard is how you feel… if that’s what you think, I can’t stop you from having those thoughts. Let's leave it at that for now, and we'll talk about it when we are in the clear.”

*sigh* “All right. I hope I can clear this up.” "Lin" looked to the Ki'Nathar, somewhat relieved though still heavy with remorse, “You too, Omen. I... feel I should explain myself to you. I owe you that much.”

Though true in a sense, shrugging off “Lin” wasn’t something she expected, especially from her brother. His demeanor hinted at understanding, but something about also showed vulnerability. She thought her bond with him was capable of weathering any kind of challenge, but now some cracks have begun to show. It seemed even now they were being tested, but “Lin” accepted that they’d need time to process this on their own. Meanwhile, Sen knew Lin had restraint, and she could easily become unfiltered in airing her honest thoughts. He had to believe that the sister that was in their midst was still the same, even when something was trying to drive a wedge between them. Right now, the longma genuinely envied Omen and her perspectives on the matter. As for the other elephant in the room, if the creature that took over Lin’s mind was observing them, it might to the conclusion that its efforts led to mixed success. However, this wasn’t the truth it hoped to show; it had its fun toying and learning from everyone present, but it had to get into what it really wanted to do now.

The tunnels and walls expanded into a larger room, though the path remained linear. What was absent in an empty and barren tunnel gave way to the sounds of distant screaming, maddening disembodied sounds echoing through the shadowy path. The siblings caught on to this, wondering what they were now in and where the sounds came from. Each step forward was cautious, and eventually, they were in a much larger room lined with cells on either side. One look inside the locked rooms did their eyes catch something they didn’t expect to find. 

 

“Are these longma?”

“They look deformed! It’s like someone just rounded them up and locked them away. And look at their necks!”

“Metal collars. What’s going on here?”

Inside was the unmistakable sight of longma, some clutching their heads in pain while others were attempting to hide their disfigurement. Their sunken eyes and disheveled looks hinted at neglect, especially for those who appeared to have come out looking aged and wrinkly. The one thing that stood out was how they came out chimeric, a mish-mash of different creatures that didn't fit together, and that mismatch translated to physical pain. Further ahead, there was a row of much larger tubes with amorphous creatures suspended. It all seemed disconnected until what appeared to be another longma-looking creature emerged, disfigured and struggling to crawl. The sound of pained breathing echoed into the chamber until it simply dropped to the ground and awaited what came next for it.

Another failure, just like the last few batches. As difficult as it may be to find, harmonizing traits of various creatures is of the utmost importance. Prepare a new batch of samples for the next round of experiments. The perfect creature will be made real; this one is but a template for something much more grand. And when that’s done, they’ll be put to good use.

The voice that spoke was not of Lin’s inner thoughts anymore, and neither was it in her voice. It was much deeper, though the reverberations and inflections made it sound like something much different was at work. Whatever they were in now was much different, and the creature at the center of the mindscape wanted them to see something completely new. They’d be free to explore the room, and it seemed like whatever spoke wasn’t physically present, though its handiwork was more than tangible, as if inviting everyone to investigate. 

“I don’t like the look of this place, and I’m afraid of what connects this to the longma, if it does. Omen? Elder Zhao? I don’t know about you, but this could be what the creature meant by what it said earlier, right? A truth ‘our kind’ were denying.”

“There’s no way this is it. The longma are not denying anything. What could we even get out of knowing this?”

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@EQ_Theta

6 hours ago, EQ_Theta said:

“I… No. Lin’s smart to keep these thoughts to herself. I don’t agree with her choices or her words, but what she said… They’re not something I haven’t told myself.”

“If that’s true, then… If you would let me explain, I-”

“Don’t. If what we heard is how you feel… if that’s what you think, I can’t stop you from having those thoughts. Let's leave it at that for now, and we'll talk about it when we are in the clear.”

*sigh* “All right. I hope I can clear this up.” "Lin" looked to the Ki'Nathar, somewhat relieved though still heavy with remorse, “You too, Omen. I... feel I should explain myself to you. I owe you that much.”

Much better. A small smile even showed on Elder Zhao's face, as she wandered on, though her back were turned to them at that point. Later on, she would commend Sen for actually listening, and accepting that whilst Lin's inner thoughts affected him, this were not the time, nor place to address them. Lin too, seemed to take things as well as one could, under these circumstances. Agreeing to wait until later, and then setting up that she wanted to have that difficult conversation later.

That said, if either of them ended up starting to yell, she'd knock them both out, and place them in a maze. A little time to think about things, until they cooled down as it were. Though she doubted it would get heated enough to lead to her needing to get too involved. And she suspected they'd simply go and have the chat in private, and already now, she had half the mind to simply shield herself from view, and just listen in regardless. It were perhaps not respecting their privacy, but heated yelling were also not respecting the locals. They might think it were her and Elder Gao having another heated argument of their own, and they had sworn that it would not go to that again.

Granted, mostly that ended up the case because they shielded themselves up enough to keep sound cut off from going too far, and not because they stopped arguing, but that were besides the point.

"I do not understand, why you would owe me anything. But if you want to explain later, I will listen."

Omen would state her small part, and then just be on her way, along with the elder once more. Though she were thinking now. Mostly about how she might owe Lin. From what she understood of the expression, it meant that Lin had given her something, and Omen now had to return it, or repay her in some way. But what had she gotten, or borrowed? She could think of a few things, but she had to go through them in her head, and try to understand if that were perhaps what she meant.

Her focus wouldn't be on it long though, as the path started to lead towards mad sounds, and screaming. It were hard to keep focus on anything else than that, and once they came closer, what were seen were even more distracting, and relegated the thoughts she had before, to the back of her mind for the time being. This seemed more important to keep focus on.

8 hours ago, EQ_Theta said:

“I don’t like the look of this place, and I’m afraid of what connects this to the longma, if it does. Omen? Elder Zhao? I don’t know about you, but this could be what the creature meant by what it said earlier, right? A truth ‘our kind’ were denying.”

“There’s no way this is it. The longma are not denying anything. What could we even get out of knowing this?”

"If we take this at face value, then perhaps to shake you to your core, in preparation for something else to come. Something it will use to try and sway you to doubt your position in this. Perhaps even join up with it. Or it might well just weaken your minds, before trying to assault you again.

In either case, I can't say how much of this is the truth, but in every lie, lies a grain of truth, as the saying goes. Try to look around, and attempt to find a few grains as it were.

Keep in mind the option too, that this might be an implanted memory that belongs to the entity itself. If so, keep close attention to what might be in here. It could be of higher importance than you might think."

"....The longma were created?"

Omen heard and saw things here, that led her to a rather simple conclusion. Were it true? That were harder to say, but at least surface level, that seemed to be a possibility.

"It is a possibility. Why, do you have thoughts of that?"

"Just that it is strange to see. I did not think they were like me, or the creatures Master Discord sometimes made. Though he just snapped his fingers. This is worse, yes?"

"If true, then yes. This is quite abhorrent."

She'd let Omen down from her back, whilst she went and saw if there were a desk or something, were some paperwork might be found. Might even be in a crate, of stuck to a cell or something. She were interested in the tubes too, but they'd get to that later.

Meanwhile, Omen would bounce over to the nearest longma, that weren't just clutching their head. She did not know if they even realized they were there, but she'd look, and try to contact one. See what they had to say.

"Hello. I am Omen. Who are you?"

If that did not work, she'd bounce around, and just try to see if something strange were to be found at her perspective level.

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus @StrawberryMilk Simp

9 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

"I don't do collateral damage, if someone gets hurt, it's no accident." Sheez stated, it was clearly a response to Stargazer, yet she didn't as much as look into his direction "And this is not business you want to get involved in, your weapons and magic tricks are useless, and the lives of your kind hold no meaning to me." she then spoke louder "This includes you in the tavern too, drawing your summoning circles!" she turned her head towards Stargazer, her red eyes looking into his, her eyes were cold and hostile, and mirrored her words, she did not see Stargazer as equal, or even as not important, she hated him for what he was, he was to her less than worthless.  "I have no interest in going after your worthless little town, but if any of you, or any other wannabe heroes..." she nodded her head towards the tavern "... try something stupid, I'll enjoy every second." 

Stargazer kept observing the fight going on, keeping a calm look, and taking a step back, just to show that he were complying, and not trying something. Heck, he wasn't even armed. Stargazer's only weapon, were his medal belt, that if he needed a weapon for something, tended to use to swing and hit others with. One of his medals were even a little loose, so if he swung right, and snapped it back, he could make it fly off, as if he had used a sling to fire a rock at great speed. He'd knocked out a fair few criminals with that trick in his time.

He had gotten several that mentioned to him how odd they found how little he seemed to care for his honors, but in his mind, the medals were sturdy, and hit hard. Plus, nopony expected to be hit with them. It were an effective, hidden weapon. General Screecher gave him a funny look at first too, but as she had put the last medal on his belt herself, she had commented that she looked forward to hearing who the first one would be, that he'd have hit with it.

"Ma'am, I'm not here to fight, or play a hero. I'm just trying to keep the civilians safe."

Civilians that were rushing off, afraid of this one now. Even more so soon after, as her appearance would end up being revealed more in full. A disturbing sight for quite a few, and combined with her words, would just start more of a panic.

Another guard - one of those who had been teaching at the school - would step forward, just for Stargazer to command him to stand down, and work on containing the panic, before something would end up happening. It were clear to him, that the best chance the lot of them had, would be to try and keep the street clear, and ensure everypony got into shelter, in a manner that did not startle Sheez. Ponyville had gotten through several things in a row now, without a loss of life. This should not be the point where that changed.

9 hours ago, StrawberryMilk Simp said:

".... oh crap it already started."

He activated his cutie mark and made himself extremely light. Practically one with the wind.

He dashed towards Sheez and assaulted her at the back.

Whatever contact he makes he would make it heavy.

And beneath her a dark portal would open up and dark Chaotic chains would try to pierce through Sheez's arm where she holds the kobolt.

The material has properties that absorb non changeling magic.

" took your sweet time Kali..." 

But no reply was given back to Light.

"!?"

It seems that kali did not appear.

6 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

"I guess I didn't make myself clear enough." she again spoke louder "I am Sheez, the now resigned commander of the most effective pony-elimination unit in the two empires." "For longer than your lifetimes, I've trained, prepared, and build myself for single purpose, hunting equines, unicorns, changelings, kirin, alicorns...doesn't matter." "That has included preparing for your annoying little magic tricks." "Which the little foxes in that building warned you about, if you would have listened." "I am not only using anti-magic, as you call it, I am source of it, and it's bit more powerful than those little chains of your." "This here blade, is made of absence, a weaponized void if you may, perfect for cutting through magic of all kinds."

"I however, am not here to hunt, I'm here to meet my very ungrateful grandchildren, but, if you keep bothering me like this, I'll happily get rid of all you pony scum, have I made myself clear now?" 

"Stay out of this Light, you won't win!" Trox shouted "Besides, this is personal!" 

Stargazer's eyes shot lightning at Light, for his attack. It hadn't caused Sheez to go wider yet, but as were shown, he were right in being cautious, and trust both what he had heard, and his instinct about this one. She were dangerous, and as such, keeping her from being annoyed enough to level the town, were a priority. A feeble attack like that were foolhardy and could cost a lot of lives. Light's own included.

"Assembled guards! Keep the streets clear, and return everypony to shelters. That's a direct order!"

Though Stargazer didn't have much of a proper rank, he had seniority, and a commanding presence when he wanted to. And that were something he had to make use of now, to try and keep any equine involvement from interfering here. It were a pointless fight, and one that were best not started. And frankly, if he had the chance, he'd toss a chain on Light, and roll him up in a cell for a few hours, under medical observation, but he didn't dare approaching, and would instead work with the other guards, to get everypony out of sight.

Meanwhile, the kitsune would be trying - and ultimately failing - in holding Shark back. She had seen Light getting hurt, and had tried going out after him. The twins had used magic to hold her back, but she were straining against it, and when they heard themselves mentioned by Sheez, they'd lose focus. Not for long, but it were enough for Shark to get lose, and fly as fast as she could, straight towards Light, teeth barred and growling, with deep hatred in her eyes. She'd tear off Sheez's face and have it for lunch! Later. After she had saved her mate. Light had to be taken away from the weird, dangerous predator.

 

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus

"Oh certainly. Thinking too much inside of the box, just won't get you too far. I've met many a narrow-minded dullard that could do well with expanding their horizons, and thinking in new ways, but it's like talking to a brick wall sometimes. I for one welcome new perspectives, and learning something new and interesting. We dragons live way too long to not expand our minds in my opinion. What's the point in living tens of thousands of years, if you're just gonna stick with the same basic knowledge forever? The same sights, the same ideas, the same sky- Bah, life's too long for that. The world's full of wondrous stuff, and things just begging to be nicked.

Unless it's in an area with a sphinx. I'm not competing over treasure with one of them. Never again. Those things are crazy."

It had just been a young adult at that, and that feline tall-order, had locked her in a stalemate fight for hours, that ended with her diving into a driver, going to the sea, and staying in said sea for 4 months. She were not afraid of that one. The ones older and stronger however? Yes, yes she was. Because she wasn't suicidal, and if even a tenth of what she heard the elder sphinx could do were true, she wanted no part in being anywhere near them. A solid 300 kilometer distance from the supposed place in Saddle Arabia's most distant region, where their capitol were, were also a given for her. She didn't want to become some novelty on a leash for those creatures.

"*sigh* As for breeding? From what you've told me, better chance that an outside gets eaten, than mated with, if they near your shores. I didn't expect there to have been any sort of attempt at mixing. Though who knows? Maybe Charir will someday find himself a nice fire or earth aligned dragon, and we'll see what happens. It'll be magical. Just like the link you guess causes dragonpony hybrids, which is as good a guess as any. I ain't a scientist. I dunno the finer details of biology like that, so magic might well be it. Not my cup of tea personally though. I don't like ponies in that way. Nor do most dragons I've run into.

Oh well, not too important any way, yeah? And would you look at that, I think our target is getting closer."

It certainly would. Albeit overgrown with foliage, to a point where you could barely see any stone anymore, sure enough, there were a pyramid in the distance. Large and ominous, one could wonder how it escaped general notice, if it wasn't because how far off general civilization they were right now. Not even a proper road anywhere near them, and with how it looked, it probably just struck folks as foliage for a long time. Or they knew it were cursed, and stayed away for so long they forgot about it. Either or worked.

The entry point they were going for, were at the base on the left side from their current position. Should be around minotaur sized, so plenty of room for them as they were, except for Ruby in her dragon form. At least at the entrance. Who knew? Maybe it were larger on the inside. They'd get to see in a matter of minutes now. And judging by the lack of other trails, before Spicy too, but they had expected as much.

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@Blitz Boom

On 2023-11-26 at 7:28 AM, Blitz Boom said:

 

"I do not understand, why you would owe me anything. But if you want to explain later, I will listen."

Omen would state her small part, and then just be on her way, along with the elder once more. Though she were thinking now. Mostly about how she might owe Lin. From what she understood of the expression, it meant that Lin had given her something, and Omen now had to return it, or repay her in some way. But what had she gotten, or borrowed? She could think of a few things, but she had to go through them in her head, and try to understand if that were perhaps what she meant.

“I have plenty to be thankful for, now that my memories of our adventures are returning. Knowing that something is revealing my inner thoughts, trying to make us doubt or turn us against each other… I can’t help but feel that there is truth in what you are hearing. I am responsible for them, and it’s only right that I should reassure you of who I am, even if the truth could hurt.”

Lin wasn’t happy that she was in this predicament, being put on the spot like this. However, hearing Sen and Omen voicing their understanding and willingness to listen softened that pain. She was content with that, and though she would have to explain herself, the conversation that would ensue may not turn out so bad. She would reach out one claw and place it on Omen, her way of reassuring her that this is truly her as opposed to the entity making her sound worse. Her being in bad form didn’t appear to be bothersome in the slightest.

For what he felt, Sen simply accepted what her sister had to say. Despite the stinging he felt in his chest, the reassurance in Lin’s words was enough to get him to see that the entity airing her deepest thoughts couldn’t get him to turn on her. After all, he couldn’t find it in himself to fight her over words spoken in silence, and his approach to restoring her memories didn’t waver. They’d be restored to the way it should be, warts and all. If things were to get heated, it would need to be in a controlled environment, not here and not when they still had work to do. Sadly, this moment of reassuring comfort didn’t last long, not when disturbing sights and sounds drew their attention to another matter. 

On 2023-11-26 at 7:28 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"If we take this at face value, then perhaps to shake you to your core, in preparation for something else to come. Something it will use to try and sway you to doubt your position in this. Perhaps even join up with it. Or it might well just weaken your minds, before trying to assault you again.

In either case, I can't say how much of this is the truth, but in every lie, lies a grain of truth, as the saying goes. Try to look around, and attempt to find a few grains as it were.

Keep in mind the option too, that this might be an implanted memory that belongs to the entity itself. If so, keep close attention to what might be in here. It could be of higher importance than you might think."

"....The longma were created?"

Omen heard and saw things here, that led her to a rather simple conclusion. Were it true? That were harder to say, but at least surface level, that seemed to be a possibility.

"It is a possibility. Why, do you have thoughts of that?"

"Just that it is strange to see. I did not think they were like me, or the creatures Master Discord sometimes made. Though he just snapped his fingers. This is worse, yes?"

"If true, then yes. This is quite abhorrent."

“If there is truth behind this, I’m not sure I want to know. Unfortunately, we have to see what this all means. A perfect creature to be put to work? If this is what I think it means…”

“The longma were not only created, but they were also enslaved. That can’t be right, can it?”

The siblings looked around the room, and then within each cell. Sights of improperly formed creatures howling in pain, some having no drive but to await what came next, nearly broke them. What could they possibly say that could make this better? The dingy laboratory, primitive as it may be, only offered hints at what could be the longma’s origin. Steel and stone in an equal measure made up the equipment in the room, while magic seemed to be the means that brought traits of different creatures together to create what would be a longma. 

On 2023-11-26 at 7:28 AM, Blitz Boom said:

Meanwhile, Omen would bounce over to the nearest longma, that weren't just clutching their head. She did not know if they even realized they were there, but she'd look, and try to contact one. See what they had to say.

"Hello. I am Omen. Who are you?"

If that did not work, she'd bounce around, and just try to see if something strange were to be found at her perspective level.

With Omen moving toward a captive, speaking to one didn’t seem to elicit any response. Frankly, it didn’t even appear aware that there were others outside of the cell. However, it eventually muttered a response, not quite addressing or acknowledging Omen’s presence, but it was close enough to what the Ki’Nathar asked that it drew Sen and Lin to listen. 

“Imperfect… failure…. Useless to master and tank-mother. Can only wait… for the darkness, for there are no more commands.”

Sen studied the creature’s words, likely channeling what he knew of how Lin operated in the waking world. If she were the one listening, she’d try picking apart the words to see what could be gleaned from it. And here, the use of the word ‘master’ was interesting, if not disturbing. “Lin” also noticed this, and didn’t like the ideas coming into her mind. There was more at work here in this place, but Sen would stay close while looking around. The equipment in the area was seemingly advanced for something that could have happened long in the past.

“I shudder to think of the kinds of things expected of them from their master if they are deemed useless. It doesn’t seem to see us, but let’s try asking it something else. Who is your master?”

“Broken things… wanting lost glory. The voice of tank-mother says so.” 

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@EQ_Theta

On 2023-11-27 at 3:56 PM, EQ_Theta said:

Lin wasn’t happy that she was in this predicament, being put on the spot like this. However, hearing Sen and Omen voicing their understanding and willingness to listen softened that pain. She was content with that, and though she would have to explain herself, the conversation that would ensue may not turn out so bad. She would reach out one claw and place it on Omen, her way of reassuring her that this is truly her as opposed to the entity making her sound worse. Her being in bad form didn’t appear to be bothersome in the slightest.

Omen would feel like ordinary yarn. Not even warm to the touch, her odd form were basically what you saw, at face value. At least on the outside, though it were doubtful inside were any different. Omen were a simplistic creature, and this form fit that rather well. Straight forward, odd, and a bit of a tangled mess, that were somehow still functional.

As Omen were bouncing in this form though, she might get the sensation of using Omen as a basketball in some fashion. Were Omen able to understand joy, she would likely have found that idea humorous, considering her master used to do odd things like playing ball with ponies, back in the olden days.

On 2023-11-27 at 3:56 PM, EQ_Theta said:

“If there is truth behind this, I’m not sure I want to know. Unfortunately, we have to see what this all means. A perfect creature to be put to work? If this is what I think it means…”

“The longma were not only created, but they were also enslaved. That can’t be right, can it?”

The siblings looked around the room, and then within each cell. Sights of improperly formed creatures howling in pain, some having no drive but to await what came next, nearly broke them. What could they possibly say that could make this better? The dingy laboratory, primitive as it may be, only offered hints at what could be the longma’s origin. Steel and stone in an equal measure made up the equipment in the room, while magic seemed to be the means that brought traits of different creatures together to create what would be a longma. 

"Created to serve... The longma and Ki'nathar are not as different as I thought."

"Is that so? You were made to serve?"

"Yes. Master Discord fell upon our home, and we flocked to him. We felt his power. Knew he had magic. And only with magic can we become whole. In exchange for form, and a new home, we serve, until we are ready to live ourselves."

"Hmm, interesting. And I can see some parallels. Though this does not seem even remotely voluntary, and I doubt the servitude would simply end at any point, barring death. Still, using magic to make a creature, who's purpose is to serve... There is something to ponder."

She would need to ask more things of Omen some time, if not her mother had time anytime soon. It sounded as if her race had some interesting properties, and were codependent on other species for their improvement. Perhaps kind of like a parasite, that required another to evolve past their base form? An interesting thought, though it made her wonder how much were offered by the *host* as it were. Were the magic replenished? Were they ultimately permanently weakened? Questions to keep in mind for when she had a chance to meet Mother. It seemed like things that were worth knowing the answers to. Not that she were judging, merely curious about how things worked.

As for paperwork, it didn't seem there were anything to find. This were a primitive looking place, and appeared to mostly be a holding cell for failed experiments. The important paperwork would be elsewhere, if they existed at all. Though considering the amount of trial and error, she'd be surprised if there were no paperwork involved. one had to track what had already been done, and the results thereof, to get anywhere. Not that she supported this sort of thing, of course. It were barbaric and revolting.

On 2023-11-27 at 3:56 PM, EQ_Theta said:

“I shudder to think of the kinds of things expected of them from their master if they are deemed useless. It doesn’t seem to see us, but let’s try asking it something else. Who is your master?”

“Broken things… wanting lost glory. The voice of tank-mother says so.” 

"Tank-Mother, and master..."

The similarities kept piling up, between the longma and her own kin. Made her wonder really, if perhaps something like this, had been part of the creation of the Ki'nathar too? Mother did not want them asking about how they were made. Said it were not important, and to be good children. They listened, though they also forgot, and thus, every now and again, one would ask. Even among the older siblings, that had been told more times than they were aware.

Still, Omen did not believe Mother had done what Tank-Mother did here. Mother did not wish for them to be in service to her. She loved them, and wanted them to have good lives, that she could not give them by herself. Tank-Mother sounded like she just wanted some to do as they were told.

"..:Tank-Mother made them for the master? Who is Tank-Mother?"

She weren't certain if the broken experiment here were aware of them, and answering in strange ways, or if he were just speaking to himself. So she'd try, and see if there were answers to be found here, that would help them understand better. Because all she understood now, is that it looked like her kind, and the Longma, were of the same idea, but taken in different directions.

Elder Zhao were more skeptical if this were true, but she would play along, and remain interested in finding answers here. It may be an ugly truth, that the entity wanted for the siblings to see. Or it were designed to mess with them, by feeding them lies. It were yet hard to tell.

"I believe that would be the one running this lab. Their *Creator*, as it were. I assume they call her Tank-Mother, because she cultivates them in those odd tanks over there."

She also felt certain of something else, but did not want to bring it up yet, because she wanted to see if Sen and Lin would realize it themselves. The fact that the likely reason for them to be shown this, were to in the long run, convince them that the entity were doing right, in simply making sure that the servants would return to what they were meant to be, and nothing more. Obedient lackeys, there to fulfill the every whim of some other entity. Potentially this *Master*. Perhaps a whole slew of them. Either way, it were likely that albeit futile, it would attempt to show that they had a simple purpose in life, and that it were their fate to return to it.

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@Blitz Boom

Dawn was never shy to accept a well placed compliment.  Nothing like the stroke to her ego from the lips of royalty.  Not even to the extent of the prince extending basic diplomatic politeness.  Dawn knew she was good, but still never tired of hearing it from others.  The mare thanked the prince for his compliments at her speedy retreat with her parents.  It was of course quite hoofy to have a magic danger radar leading the way that she could wordlessly communicate with.  She wasn't present for what the queen performed her own act, but she nodded her own approval to her majesty's might.

The introductions began.  Introductions to large immortalized statues that stood the test of time of Harrowmark.  Impressive in that own right to survive Twisted putting his hoof to the throat of the land.  These, were mighty figures to be presented to not just the family, but in a way being presented to the ponies and diamond dogs of Harrowmark once again.  Each one same with their own stories, tied in more detail to their titles that lasted through the ages.  The family followed along the lines as each statue was presented.  The statues themselves were presented as great works of art, decorated with details that only served to amply their stories and deeds.  Their characters were made clear for all to see who bothered to take the time to examine them.  A perfect presentation, even outsiders like the family could see their lives and what they meant to Harrowmark.  Visitors that would soon be traveling from Equestria would appreciate the ease of cultural knowledge.

On to the main event.  What all the celebrations, at least for the first night, were leading up to.  The queen gave a speech.  Rising listened, but his attention was on the final statue covered in a large cloth.  Cloth that he didn't need to wait long before it was removed.  Thistle sure had a lot of influence on this piece alright.  Rising had a gifted memory, but he couldn't see outside of himself to provide this kind of detail.  A smirk crossed his lips, he could feel Dawn's annoyance creep into their connection.  The detective was going to be immortalized for his grand heroics, the uniting of two distant lands in who knew how long.  All in his hoodie.  Dawn's Bane more like it.  

"Ho ho ho.  Quite the motif..." the father admired.  The sun backdrop was a nice touch, for one coming from Equestria.  Rising walked around the statue while the crowd cheered.  Noticing the wisp that had turned into a moth.  An effective way to represent the white wisp through a display of stone.  The stone maiden did wonderful work.  Rising was particularly interested in the eyes and face.  Thistle had a good eye. 

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@Blitz Boom

On 2023-11-30 at 6:19 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"..:Tank-Mother made them for the master? Who is Tank-Mother?"

She weren't certain if the broken experiment here were aware of them, and answering in strange ways, or if he were just speaking to himself. So she'd try, and see if there were answers to be found here, that would help them understand better. Because all she understood now, is that it looked like her kind, and the Longma, were of the same idea, but taken in different directions.

Elder Zhao were more skeptical if this were true, but she would play along, and remain interested in finding answers here. It may be an ugly truth, that the entity wanted for the siblings to see. Or it were designed to mess with them, by feeding them lies. It were yet hard to tell.

"I believe that would be the one running this lab. Their *Creator*, as it were. I assume they call her Tank-Mother, because she cultivates them in those odd tanks over there."

Sen paused to ponder on who this “Tank-mother” was, but she may have had some ideas brewing in her head. There was no telling what the true nature of these creatures could be, but from what everyone was gathering so far, it wasn’t anything comforting. Knowing these creatures were attempting to create some kind of perfect specimen, one could question where their samples were coming from and how they were using them for their experiments. None of this made sense so far, but every little bit adds to the story, and finding out about this “tank-mother” should give them more to work with. 

Lin approached the caged longma specimen, still unable to notice or acknowledge them but capable of answering just the same. It was better than nothing, and she hoped it could continue providing answers.

“You mentioned a ‘tank-mother.’ Who is she, and have you seen what she looks like?” 

“The voice… tells us what we must know. Tank-mother… gives knowledge; we take what we learned… use them as master sees fit. Tank-mother is the voice, and after that, we serve master and follow their commands. It is as she says.” 

“Hmm… so it seems we are dealing with someone imparting knowledge to the created longma before they are released from their tanks. But if they are learning before they get out, that could mean they are being made fully grown. That doesn’t explain how the longma we know can have children. Maybe we are dealing with a different group?”

“We can’t be certain, but we should try looking elsewhere. Let’s see what that other creature over there is doing. It could have some information we are missing.”

Sen drew attention to the other side of the room, now seemingly appearing bigger. The other creature he mentioned was present, though featureless; it would be difficult to ascertain what it may be, though if the earlier instance of a fragmented quadruped with pieces of its body floating mid-air hinted at something, then the two were connected here. Their general body shape and fragmentations were identical, likely pointing at one’s similarity or connection with the other. The familiar sight of a glowing horn marking the use of magic came into view as it manipulated the tanks, opening it to reveal three fully grown longma emerging as the liquids from inside the tanks drained away. 

“…A new batch completed. Let’s hope this one turned out better.” The fractured creature approached and examined the new creations, looking over them with deep intent, likely having a keen eye for details. Its attention was drawn to the third, noticing imperfections in its wings and lankier body There was no doubt to its imperfections despite the differences being only minor, but it was as it was in the eyes of the fractured creature. *sigh* “A shame this one’s imperfect, but it will need to be disposed of. The other two can be put to work as hunters and laborers. Now go.”

“As you command, Master. For your glory and the coming empire.”

At once, two of the newly created longma left, the images dissipating into shadowy wisps, while the one remained in the area and walked to the cells. It stayed put in its prison, simply left to wait until something was to happen to it. Sen didn’t want to know more, and it was clear his anger was building up, while Lin could only stay quiet and keep her shock to herself. Beyond the room was another hallway, dimly lit by torches sporting cold flames. The way forward was made present through the path walked by the two longma, though knowing how the mindscape worked, it may not even lead to where the two disappeared to. It was their only path out now, as even the path they used earlier was no longer present or visible.

“I can’t stomach this. There’s nothing wrong with him! And they’re treated like tools to be used and thrown away? I’ve seen more than enough!”

“Omen, Elder Zhao, do you want to stay a little longer and see what else we can gather? To be honest, I'm disturbed by what we just saw, but all I can tell from here is that this might be what awaits the longma if that creature had its way.” 

Edited by EQ_Theta
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@Blitz Boom@StrawberryMilk Simp

After being done with Light, Sheez put the weapon back down to her waist, and the blade disappeared, as it attached itself to her again "So many things different, yet so many the same." she didn't show any obvious reaction to Shark, before she got close, at which point she sidestepped, letting Shark zoom past her, she had no interest in Light, in fact, she didn't even bother making sure if she had even hit him, thus she couldn't care less what happened to him now "So many of you want to hurt me, for the sole reason of what I am, yet only one of you is justified, for now." "Alas, that is the one thing we share with equines, the distrust of the other, no amount of princesses of friendship will change that." she seemed to like her own voice.

"You seem surprised, young foxes." she stated, however, unlike everything else up to this point the voice wasn't coming just from her, but also from something unseen, in the tavern "You think I couldn't see you, hear you?" the next sentence changed source again, this time coming from behind Stargazer "My perception is far outside what you'd think." the rest came from only her again "Nothing happens without my knowledge." 

Trox cut in at this point, "She has drones directly linked to her systems, think a hivemind of eyes!" Sheez turned to look at the two kobolds again "Indeed, speaking of which, it was rude of you to destroy one of them, they aren't as easy to replace here." "Good" Then, yet again, the two kobolds moved to attack, however, this time they didn't get far, as Sheez for the first time moved forward herself, moving from between the two, and as she passed them, her hands moved to both of their necks, and she put some kind of metal collars on both of them, they seemed like relatively normal prison collars, but at least based on their reaction, which was them standing in place and cursing Sheez, the collars seemed to somehow stop them from attacking Sheez, because while they could move, as evidenced by them turning towards her again, they stayed put otherwise. "Enough you two, I applaud you for getting me off guard, but it's time to calm down, I'm here to talk, not fight." as she said 'off guard' she again pulled her finger across the cut that Trox had managed to make. 

If Shark attacked during this, she would get the least attention from anyone at this point, as regardless of the directions she came from, she'd be met with two hands but nothing else, the first hand would take her attack, as in, she'd be allowed to bite down on it as much as she wanted, though she'd find that her teeth were unable to do anything to the metal, followed by second hand, that would grab her, forcibly pull her off, and toss her away like she was a crumbled piece of paper, there would be no comments from Sheez, or even a glance towards her, if Light had been a mild annoyance, Shark was less than an inconvenience, which ultimately worked for her own good, as it meant that Sheez had so little care towards her that she didn't bother even hurting her.  

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

"I only hope that whatever Charir's future will be, it will be his own, without influence from our mother or me." Ruby concluded "For our way of life will not bring him happiness, and unlike myself, he has a chance to change." she of course had her own thoughts on things, and she assumed he'd be like her, not really interested in that stuff in that way, however, she acknowledged that she didn't actually know that much about the male-side of her kind outside things you could figure out from a body. 

As they arrived, Ruby looked around, still keeping her senses sharp, and trying to sense if there was lot of treasure somewhere in the pyramid "Told you there was no reason to hurry, Spicy isn't here yet." Charir then suddenly said something, it was directed at Ruby, and Ruby gave a short answer, which, if she remembered what she had been taught, Leviathan would be able to understand as equivalent to 'I agree' before speaking to Leviathan again "I still don't like this, and Charir seems to agree, we are the last creatures to fall for stories, but we don't trust this." 

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@EQ_Theta

On 2023-12-01 at 4:16 PM, EQ_Theta said:

“You mentioned a ‘tank-mother.’ Who is she, and have you seen what she looks like?” 

“The voice… tells us what we must know. Tank-mother… gives knowledge; we take what we learned… use them as master sees fit. Tank-mother is the voice, and after that, we serve master and follow their commands. It is as she says.” 

“Hmm… so it seems we are dealing with someone imparting knowledge to the created longma before they are released from their tanks. But if they are learning before they get out, that could mean they are being made fully grown. That doesn’t explain how the longma we know can have children. Maybe we are dealing with a different group?”

“We can’t be certain, but we should try looking elsewhere. Let’s see what that other creature over there is doing. It could have some information we are missing.”

"They're also imperfect, and I can imagine this takes a lot of energy and resources. Besides wanting the longma to be made in a certain way, it would make things much easier for the future, were you simply able to have the servants breed conventionally after that, and replenish their numbers with less of all of this. Which I can imagine, might cause some trouble too, in the long run, if some of the systems went down. Or it might be it simply takes too long.

Plainly speaking, it makes sense if you think that they look upon the longma as toys now, and cattle as they are adjusted to their preferences."

It were not a nice thought. That she accepted, but it were one with some degree of merit to it. This whole thing seemed like it were prone to taking a long time, whilst costing in effort and resources. If the longma became more needed, than just as an occasional thing, why not make it simpler to reproduce them? They would raise them to be subservient regardless, and even at a young age, they could be made to perform tasks. Might even be seen as a pet by some.

Of course, such hubris had been seen before, and it tended to end the same way: The servants would eventually rise up, and in unity, would cast off their chains, and bring their captors low, forcing through change. or they'd manage to flee, and get far, far away from those who had held them captive.

And then of course, sometimes the oppressor were too powerful, and they'd be beaten and broken. The cycle usually repeated every now and again after that though, with various results. As she knew it, very few lasted in the end though. Probably only the sphinx, and they had moved to treat their servants with somewhat kindness. They were still second class, and were required to do as asked, but it were forbidden to eat them, and they'd have their own quarters that were modest, yet livable. They understood that whilst yes, they were strong enough to keep the ponies down, it were less of a hassle to just treat them moderately well, and thus make the thought of rebellion less enticing. It also looked better in their town, to not have the old slums that they used to have them in.

Not that she had ever seen the sphinx capitol. She heard stories, but if ever she stepped paw in that place, she knew well she were never leaving again. Someone like her, were too much of a novelty to just be let go. One with valuable lessons, that they might be able to use to their advantage.

"As for learning them specifics, it could explain the entity to some extend. Have one implant the right memories, and the longma would require next to no education time, and would be more docile. If this scenario is true, it may well be that we're currently dealing with a memory implanter from this *Tank-Mother*."

On 2023-12-01 at 4:16 PM, EQ_Theta said:

Sen drew attention to the other side of the room, now seemingly appearing bigger. The other creature he mentioned was present, though featureless; it would be difficult to ascertain what it may be, though if the earlier instance of a fragmented quadruped with pieces of its body floating mid-air hinted at something, then the two were connected here. Their general body shape and fragmentations were identical, likely pointing at one’s similarity or connection with the other. The familiar sight of a glowing horn marking the use of magic came into view as it manipulated the tanks, opening it to reveal three fully grown longma emerging as the liquids from inside the tanks drained away. 

“…A new batch completed. Let’s hope this one turned out better.” The fractured creature approached and examined the new creations, looking over them with deep intent, likely having a keen eye for details. Its attention was drawn to the third, noticing imperfections in its wings and lankier body There was no doubt to its imperfections despite the differences being only minor, but it was as it was in the eyes of the fractured creature. *sigh* “A shame this one’s imperfect, but it will need to be disposed of. The other two can be put to work as hunters and laborers. Now go.”

“As you command, Master. For your glory and the coming empire.”

At once, two of the newly created longma left, the images dissipating into shadowy wisps, while the one remained in the area and walked to the cells. It stayed put in its prison, simply left to wait until something was to happen to it. Sen didn’t want to know more, and it was clear his anger was building up, while Lin could only stay quiet and keep her shock to herself. Beyond the room was another hallway, dimly lit by torches sporting cold flames. The way forward was made present through the path walked by the two longma, though knowing how the mindscape worked, it may not even lead to where the two disappeared to. It was their only path out now, as even the path they used earlier was no longer present or visible.

“I can’t stomach this. There’s nothing wrong with him! And they’re treated like tools to be used and thrown away? I’ve seen more than enough!”

“Omen, Elder Zhao, do you want to stay a little longer and see what else we can gather? To be honest, I'm disturbed by what we just saw, but all I can tell from here is that this might be what awaits the longma if that creature had its way.” 

"Hunter? The longma have hunters now. Strange."

This had been one thing that did wonder Omen honestly. Why were they called hunters, when they did not hunt for meat? Why not guards? Or protectors, or something similar? This made it seem as if they were called that, because part of them still remembered the title being given to them, many generations ago. A tradition that had passed on, with an origin shrouded in mist. That were a strange thought, as were it what this odd one, that she couldn't really make out what were. She saw a glowing horn, but was that a pony? Many things had horns. Some of them could glow. Not all walked on all fours, but then again, she also didn't know which ones were still left, and if maybe this were not just how Tank-Mother looked like. She had seen many strange creatures, in Master Discord's time, so she could believe this to be the actual form.

"Tank-Mother looks special."

"Probably not her actual form. I can imagine her true visage have been obscured. Even among purely magical forms, this would be impractical."

Sure, she were currently a fox made of paint essentially, but this were not the physical world either. Different rules worked in the mindscape, and this were more practical for her, for various reasons. Much better than her physical form at least. Sure it were less fluffy and cozy, but it also weren't slowed down by age. The inevitable march of time sadly, did not leave one stronger, lest you were for instance a dragon. She might get wiser and her magic better, but her body would feel the passage of time. A good thing her mind stayed sharp, or this would become more troubling with age too.

Zhao would go and put a paw on Sen's shoulder. If he tried to lash out at her in anger, he'd find that his claws would be grabbed, in a grip that he could not wriggle out of, until he seemed to have calmed down. If that were the case, she'd speak after he had cooled down. If not, then now, after having given him a pat on the shoulder. The preferable outcome, as she wouldn't have to waste time with the obviously angry young longma, bashing out after her. It wouldn't work out for him, and it sowed discourse.

"You must control your temper. What you see may sicken you. it may make you angry. But longma to it, are seemingly no more, if not less than cattle. Do not give it the satisfaction of dancing by its design, and lose your focus. Think and act with rational.

What we have here is either a forgery, or a way to learn more. We move in, and see what there is shown. Together, I might add."

She'd have knelt down, and grabbed hold in Omen, as she were preparing to bounce down the hallways already. She wanted to know what were there, unconcerned by the potential dangers and threats on the way to it.

"You see they are compelled to follow orders. Why? What happens to those being moved? What of those deemed faulty, in some fashion? These are things of importance. Besides, there is no other path to wander. If you did not notice, the one we walked in on, have closed behind us. Thus there is naught to do but to move forward."

And so, she would take the charge, and wander calmly towards the path, ignoring what happened around her, lest something special suddenly happened.

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

 

@Rising Dusk

"Glad I am to hear that it's received well. Would be nice with a few words from the model himself though.

I'm sure you expected him to be depicted in this getup, but we honor our heroes, by showing them as the heroes they were, with some alterations as needed. I were ready to have you showcased in somewhat more raggedly clothes than you wear now, and a more stoic stance. Yet as the spiritual advisor of Harrowmark, High Priest Thistle's words carry much weight, and she were insistent that you stood as she saw you, in the midst of combat. We both agreed on the surrounding motif though. It seemed fitting, all things considered.

Granted, she also said she were present, but high priests and priestesses, as well as members of the royal family, are not allowed to be part of these statues. Those of import there, have their own places where they are immortalized.

In any case, I do hope it lives up to expectations?"

She'd lift an eyebrow and look at Rising, waiting for a response. Though another would come not many minutes after, as Thistle would swoop in over the audience, and land softly upon the stage.

"𝕀𝕥 𝕤𝕖𝕖𝕞𝕤 𝕀 𝕨𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕝𝕒𝕥𝕖 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕣𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕒𝕝. 𝕀𝕥 𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕟𝕕𝕤 𝕨𝕖𝕝𝕝, 𝕊𝕥𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕄𝕒𝕥𝕣𝕠𝕟. 𝕐𝕠𝕦 𝕓𝕣𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕙𝕠𝕟𝕠𝕣 𝕥𝕠 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕔𝕣𝕒𝕗𝕥."

The matron would bow before Thistle in response, before uttering a word. She may joke around the prince, but this were different. The high priestess, should be treated with proper respect. Necrotic enjoyed a certain level of casual behavior, thus she teased him a little, yet one had to remember who they were at times. Thistle were still new to them. Gone for so long, that none likely still remembered her in great details. They had to go by what they saw now, and to most, she were but the stoic voice of Viz'nay. They'd treat her with the same level of respect, as her rank deserved.

"Fully am I glad you like it, High Priestess. It warms an old heart to hear it lives up to the standards, that you expected."

"𝔸𝕟𝕕 𝕡𝕣𝕒𝕚𝕤𝕖 𝕀 𝕕𝕠 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕘𝕚𝕧𝕖 𝕝𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥𝕝𝕪. 𝕐𝕖𝕥 𝕚𝕥 𝕚𝕤 𝕨𝕖𝕝𝕝 𝕖𝕒𝕣𝕟𝕖𝕕."

She'd turn around, to face the crowd, and would wander over to stand next to Queen Magenta. For the audience, even though the high priestess were taller, and were impossible to miss, as she shone with the glow of the goddess, the magnitude of Queen magenta's aura of authority were yet unmistakable. The High Priestess were a figure of great importance, yet there were but one queen, and together they represented the future that had been held at arm's length from them, for several generations.

"A show of foreign strength. I think it represents you well."

The voice would come from the side, as Lothar would come into view, having been followed by two knights thus far. They were armored up fully, so one couldn't see their faces, but they were likely nervous, to have escorted the diamond dog through the various paths in the castle that they had, to get him here, as unseen as could be. Yet they would halt now, and let him wander on, the crowd letting out a gasp and muttered words of confusion, as they saw the undead rot farmer, shovel clacking on the surface beneath him, as he wandered with it as if it were a mage's staff, taking his place calmly to the other side of Queen Magenta.

The queen were not showing it, but she were somewhat confused at this. Yet she trusted Thistle had led him here with reason, and thus would let them talk. And that they would, beginning on what would become a long speech, about the need for unity, if they were to rise from the ashes, and bring balance back to their country.

"I... Did not foresee this happening."

 

"Neither did your mother.

Oho, but I know your mother. She will catch on, and speak her mind well, so none would think she were caught off guard. Aaah, but still... Hmhm, yes. Sir Dusk? We have shown you our gratitude much already, and I know many would like to continue to do so, until long after the stars rose. But you must be exhausted, and this would prove an ideal distraction for you to return home, and find a modicum of peace, yes?"

"Are you certain, father? Mother may have wanted to bring him forth during the speech."

"Oh, don't you worry. We have him here now, standing tall and proud where he belongs. I'm certain that will suffice."

Hayworth would chuckle, and nod towards the statue. He'd cover for them as it were, so that Rising and his family, had the chance to return home.

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus @StrawberryMilk Simp

10 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

After being done with Light, Sheez put the weapon back down to her waist, and the blade disappeared, as it attached itself to her again "So many things different, yet so many the same." she didn't show any obvious reaction to Shark, before she got close, at which point she sidestepped, letting Shark zoom past her, she had no interest in Light, in fact, she didn't even bother making sure if she had even hit him, thus she couldn't care less what happened to him now "So many of you want to hurt me, for the sole reason of what I am, yet only one of you is justified, for now." "Alas, that is the one thing we share with equines, the distrust of the other, no amount of princesses of friendship will change that." she seemed to like her own voice.

Shark would just grab Light, and either fly him out, or drag him away. Depended on his weight at the time. Long as she got him away from this one, that were the important thing, because this one were clearly dangerous. Small one, who were a big predator. She had to get her mate away from her.

10 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

"You seem surprised, young foxes." she stated, however, unlike everything else up to this point the voice wasn't coming just from her, but also from something unseen, in the tavern "You think I couldn't see you, hear you?" the next sentence changed source again, this time coming from behind Stargazer "My perception is far outside what you'd think." the rest came from only her again "Nothing happens without my knowledge." 

Trox cut in at this point, "She has drones directly linked to her systems, think a hivemind of eyes!" Sheez turned to look at the two kobolds again "Indeed, speaking of which, it was rude of you to destroy one of them, they aren't as easy to replace here." "Good"

Hachi and Zhing were properly spooked as they suddenly not only saw the robotic kobold look straight at them, but also heard her voice, as if she were somewhere in the tavern. It moved after, but at that point, they had already acted instinctively, by jumping up, rolling into themselves, and vanish from sight.

In actuality, they were still there, holding close together under the nearest table, and shivering a bit. Sure the Oni had been scary, but this were different. This one were smart, had vision in many places, and could potentially just be wherever too. All whilst being impervious to magic. This were not someone they could fight, even if they wanted to. And with every passing second, they wanted to do so even less. So they were hiding, as any young kitsune knew were important to do, when faced with an overwhelming foe. Were it cowardly? Yes, but it were a survival instinct that were deeply ingrained in them. And rationally speaking - though they weren't thinking about that right now - it were likely the smart option too, since it made it clear to Sheez that they were not going to even try to fight her. They weren't going to become issues for her.

Stargazer tenses briefly, expecting him to be hit as he heard the voice, as his back were currently turned, but nothing more than the voice came. So he continued to work on getting the worried populace inside their homes, or the homes of someone else that were closer that had room. Ideally into the bunkers too, that the princesses new guard had insisted were build, after they had to rebuild last time. Excessive many had said, and yet they'd had great usage of them thrice now, within the last week. It were annoying when somepony like that were right, but he had to admit it came in hoofy.

10 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

If Shark attacked during this, she would get the least attention from anyone at this point, as regardless of the directions she came from, she'd be met with two hands but nothing else, the first hand would take her attack, as in, she'd be allowed to bite down on it as much as she wanted, though she'd find that her teeth were unable to do anything to the metal, followed by second hand, that would grab her, forcibly pull her off, and toss her away like she was a crumbled piece of paper, there would be no comments from Sheez, or even a glance towards her, if Light had been a mild annoyance, Shark was less than an inconvenience, which ultimately worked for her own good, as it meant that Sheez had so little care towards her that she didn't bother even hurting her.  

Shark were not currently attacking, but she would be some distance away, in front of Light if possible, with her muscular tail wrapped protectively around him. Not so it were squeezing the life from him, but he'd definitely be able to feel her having a good grip on him.

Her teeth were barred towards Sheez, and her eyes narrowed. Stance showing that she too were a predator, and to not get near, or she'd bite. She did not understand what all this robotics and stuff were, so she didn't know that she couldn't bite through it. All she knew, were that this one had hurt her mate, and she would defend him if she tried to again.

"Grrrr. Shark keep mate safe from not-friend. Is great hunter! Will bite if danger."

She'd bite the air a few times. It should be obvious that she wasn't a normal pony. But then again, she were flesh and blood, and a primitive sounding one at that. She were about as dangerous to Sheez as an acorn probably. If not less.

She also hadn't a clue what were going on here, or what the kobolds were talking about. Shark just wanted to keep her mate safe, and that were about as far as she thought on this matter. Might be she had higher intelligence now, but she still didn't understand much of the world around her. And Sheez came from another world entirely. Wasn't a chance that she'd grasp much of that at all.

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus

10 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

"I only hope that whatever Charir's future will be, it will be his own, without influence from our mother or me." Ruby concluded "For our way of life will not bring him happiness, and unlike myself, he has a chance to change." she of course had her own thoughts on things, and she assumed he'd be like her, not really interested in that stuff in that way, however, she acknowledged that she didn't actually know that much about the male-side of her kind outside things you could figure out from a body. 

"Awh, so nice to see you care for him.

Don't you worry though. If I have a say in it, he's gonna be taught some good things, and learn that there's a big world out here with some nice young dragonesses, who'd be thrilled having a buff little bundle of muscles running around, that knows how to hunt. Seriously, we eat a fair bit of gems, so some are lazy about that, and never learn to go for prey proper. Real hunter types? Hugely popular with some dragons. Especially the fire aligned ones. Water ones too, but they're a bit clingy and I don't think him being able to electrocute them, is gonna be looked well upon. Fire dragons are a passionate bunch. Anger, love, excitement, thrill of the hunt- Whatever the rest of us feels, they feel at least twice as much. He'd have a blast.

Then again, maybe an earth aligned one would work too. They're stubborn as can be, but they appreciate strength, and tend to be level headed. I just think one that can help him open up will be nice."

She really were fawning over him like he were her own whelp, weren't she? She should feel bad... Aaawh, but how could she, when she could see his cute little face right there? Poor lad had a harsh break on life thus far, but she were gonna make sure that wouldn't last, yep. He were gonna grow up nice and strong, with an appreciation for life, and those in it. And then he'd eat some of them, but that were just the way of life for predators sometimes.

For a brief moment, she imagined him older, yet not overly much bigger than now, sitting next to a few small whelps, teaching them how to use their fire breath properly. She almost felt like vomiting a rainbow from joy at that one, but she kept it in it seemed, for no color drooled from her mouth in excessive amounts. Although she had made it look like she vomited rainbows a few times. They were weather phenomenon, so she could manipulate things a bit, and then just make it look like it came from her. Complete smoke and mirror act, but the confusion she saw on the face of others at times? Utterly priceless.

Okay, there were that one rainbow, in the Silver Valley... She still had no idea how that thing had broken into shards, that plunged into the valley itself, but it were quite the sight. Not that she'd ever go there. Sure the locals got wood and such from it, but that place were cursed. You stayed there for too long, and you'd turn into a tree they said. And it had some really aggressive dryads in it too. What dryads did in the Dragon Lands? Heck if she knew, nor any of the others she had talked to, but they apparently were useful, even if aggressive, so they didn't torch the lot.

10 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

As they arrived, Ruby looked around, still keeping her senses sharp, and trying to sense if there was lot of treasure somewhere in the pyramid "Told you there was no reason to hurry, Spicy isn't here yet." Charir then suddenly said something, it was directed at Ruby, and Ruby gave a short answer, which, if she remembered what she had been taught, Leviathan would be able to understand as equivalent to 'I agree' before speaking to Leviathan again "I still don't like this, and Charir seems to agree, we are the last creatures to fall for stories, but we don't trust this." 

Leviathan weren't entirely sure, but... Okay, Charir had either said that he agreed, or that he shredded. First one made more sense, so it were probably that.

...What? It were a new language for her. She needed time to process it properly, before she understood things more fluently.

"Oh pish posh, it's probably fine."

Leviathan would whistle as she moved towards the entrance, and poked her head in, letting out a flame. It caught a few torches on the wall on fire, though even before that more dim light, the fire wouldn't reveal anything really. Just a hallway. Nothing shambling around it, no slime oozing down the walls, no teeth, no javelins, nothing.

Some hoofsteps in the dirt were there, indicating a pair had gone through semi-recently, compared to others, so likely a week or so ago. Could be less, could be more. Either way, didn't matter, and it seemed the road were clear.

Well, at least in there. As she were looking in, something would rustle in the bushes to the side. Leviathan would pull her head back out, and narrow her eyes, expecting something to pop out... Aaand it were just a squirrel. Who promptly ran the other way, after seeing who were here. Bit anticlimactic honestly.

"See? Everything is fine. At least here at the entrance.

So, wanna see how far in we'll have to go, before things goes haywire?"

She'd grin widely, looking forward to this little adventure.

As for Ruby's treasure tracker, she'd be able to feel some things, scattered around. Not in huge amounts, but there were some jewelry to be found. Likely rare stones in necklaces and trinkets etc. So there'd be some nice shinies to chase after. One weren't far from the entrance in fact, hidden behind one of the walls potentially.

Edited by Blitz Boom
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@Blitz Boom @Catpone Cerberus

 

(...... wth!?.... why wasnt i getting updates!? Im so late in the game!? I have so many interactions waiting damn it!?)

{Well damn... I guess i have to play along}

4 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

Grrrr. Shark keep mate safe from not-friend. Is great hunter! Will bite if danger."

She'd bite the air a few times. It should be obvious that she wasn't a normal pony. But then again, she were flesh and blood, and a primitive sounding one at that. She were about as dangerous to Sheez as an acorn probably. If not less.

She also hadn't a clue what were going on here, or what the kobolds were talking about. Shark just wanted to keep her mate safe, and that were about as far as she thought on this matter. Might be she had higher intelligence now, but she still didn't understand much of the world around her. And Sheez came from another world entirely. Wasn't a chance that she'd grasp much of that at all.

Light may have been an annoyance but he was able to let the witch let go of the twins.

He would later wake up being protected by his loved one, Shark.

He'd quickly stand up and prepared himself into position.

" I'm sorry Shark. I didn't know that id end up like that... I've been careless.

Whats the situation? Is everyone alright?" He panicked as he got knocked out from the fight and might have caused trouble for everyone to his carelessness.

 

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@Blitz Boom

On 2023-12-04 at 6:39 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"They're also imperfect, and I can imagine this takes a lot of energy and resources. Besides wanting the longma to be made in a certain way, it would make things much easier for the future, were you simply able to have the servants breed conventionally after that, and replenish their numbers with less of all of this. Which I can imagine, might cause some trouble too, in the long run, if some of the systems went down. Or it might be it simply takes too long.

Plainly speaking, it makes sense if you think that they look upon the longma as toys now, and cattle as they are adjusted to their preferences."

It were not a nice thought. That she accepted, but it were one with some degree of merit to it. This whole thing seemed like it were prone to taking a long time, whilst costing in effort and resources. If the longma became more needed, than just as an occasional thing, why not make it simpler to reproduce them? They would raise them to be subservient regardless, and even at a young age, they could be made to perform tasks. Might even be seen as a pet by some.

“That’s not a nice thought, but if that’s how we turned out…. Dragon traits on a pony body? And the longma already having hunters? They made us that way, made us look like that. If anything, they may have given us our draconic traits to hunt down their enemies. It’s like they wanted it like this from the start. Then that means none of this is natural, and we are just someone else’s playthings. If they didn’t have their way, then we weren’t… meant…”

The next thing in “Lin’s” mind gave her pause, perhaps wondering if all of this was leading toward some kind of revelation that shattered any faith in what was real. The entity showing them this could be playing with them, weakening their resolve to make them give up. The chances of that felt slim at first, but now? Maybe they were starting to succumb, lose their strength, or possibly even question themselves. After all, what was there to be gained by this knowledge? 

Sen, for all of his anger, felt he was starting to slip as well. What felt like a strong start was now leading to pauses and lapses in his drive to help Lin. He’d still try however he could to power through to the end, but his grip on what he knew and what he was learning was just too conflicting to reconcile; compounded by a torrent of different emotions hitting him all at once, and it was sapping him. As for this “tank-mother” and implanting memories into them, they don’t have any recollection of any experience like this, but one could surmise that all this was just a ploy to gaslight the longma siblings into accepting a reality that may not even be real. 

On 2023-12-04 at 6:39 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"You must control your temper. What you see may sicken you. it may make you angry. But longma to it, are seemingly no more, if not less than cattle. Do not give it the satisfaction of dancing by its design, and lose your focus. Think and act with rational.

What we have here is either a forgery, or a way to learn more. We move in, and see what there is shown. Together, I might add."

She'd have knelt down, and grabbed hold in Omen, as she were preparing to bounce down the hallways already. She wanted to know what were there, unconcerned by the potential dangers and threats on the way to it.

"You see they are compelled to follow orders. Why? What happens to those being moved? What of those deemed faulty, in some fashion? These are things of importance. Besides, there is no other path to wander. If you did not notice, the one we walked in on, have closed behind us. Thus there is naught to do but to move forward."

“I… You’re right. I don’t like any of this, and I might go so far as to say that maybe all of this is a lie meant to weaken us, but you’re right. We’re better than this; if we can’t fight this thing head-on, pushing forward is what we can do next.”

“I am with you, brother. We all are. With any luck, we may just see the end of this path if we keep pushing.”

“Lin” smiled at what she heard, nodding and proceeding forward. She’d stand by her brother and help him move, always ready to pause and proceed at his pace. She may be shaken at what she’s seeing, but if her form of rebellion is to see this matter to the end, she’d stand by her allies now. Even Zhao’s claw on his shoulder was a reassuring gesture, and the longma felt some of his strength rebuilding within him. It was a good feeling, one that could galvanize his resolve when it was wavering. As for the entity inhabiting this place, it would continue its attempts to question and weaken them, though it is convinced of its truth as the only thing that must be accepted, and it’ll pull out some old memories to hammer it home.

The path forward stretched in a seemingly endless path, lit only by cold flames lining the walls. Even the goings-on in the room behind them was no longer audible. There were only echoes along their walk, but it was certainly the voice of the fractured being they saw earlier. 

…The samples gathered from various specimens will be of excellent use. The physical shape of an earth pony, the flight capabilities of a pegasus, the magical catalyst of a unicorn, and the physicality of a minotaur combined with the ferocity of a dragon will make for an ideal base. Within the creature’s cognitive center will be a specialized organ that will register a unique control signal, magically induced or otherwise….

…There won’t be any chance of rebellion or insubordination when obeying is all they’ll know. And if necessary, this will make it easy to control them. It is as the saying goes… ‘the mind can resist control on the body, but when it is the mind that is controlled, the body naturally follows.’ There won’t be a need to rely on others, as these creatures will always need a master, and they’ll know their place out there as long as someone has the reins… 

The siblings remembered this from their time as thralls, though Omen might have had this memory expunged or forgotten. Sen could feel his anger welling up inside, but he took Elder Zhao’s words to heart and kept himself from making any rash decisions. It was clear these echoes were now pulling from personal memories, and it was all the more tempting to lash out and fight. 

As for “Lin,” her struggles with maintaining a cool head were slowly wavering, but she appeared to fare better than her brother. However, even the echoes of the entity may be ringing true, as she sped up her walk until she was in front of the group, immediately proceeding to look ahead and see what appeared to be another room. At the same time, she began hearing more whispers within her head, another message being passed on to her while greeted with another familiar sight. However, a few more crystals jutted from the ground, one for each corner of the room, with only one visibly glowing.

“Look! Another one of those crystals from earlier; might be another memory to restore. The voice from earlier also spoke again. It said it is impressed that we have made it this far, but it advised us to reconsider our goal of altering memories. The truth may be more painful if we pursue it, and we may regret doing so, but it also says that living a comfortable lie would be better. My guess is it might have something to do with this?”

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@Blitz Boom

"It is truly an honor, Stone Matron.  Stunning," the few words from the model came.  What words were there really to be had?  The detective knew it was coming, the statue, but what it were couldn't, shouldn't have anypony prepared.  Equestria's tradition was to immortalize their heroes in the stain glass windows of Canterlot Castle.  Rising had seen them before, stunning in their own right, but never imagined at the time there would be a place for him.  A safe city was more than enough for this stallion.  Here he was though, in a land not his own, receiving such honors.  "What of the skulls?" Grace inquired as she examined her son's stone visage.  Star rubbed his chin, "Hm, Harrowmark perhaps.  And the Sun could be Equestria," the father mused.  Analyzing every facet of this statue was already forming as a side hobby, likely to be turned into a topic in his classes.  Rising already knew he'd be recreating this statue, in a different medium, for his father when they returned home.  "I also battled some skeletons," Rising offered off hoof.  Grace skipped a wing beat at that comment.  "Rather surreal to see a moment frozen in time, from an outside perspective."

Their examination of the statue was put to pause with the arrival of another of the land's powerful figures.  Thistle had finally pulled herself away from hidden halls to join at the climax of this evening's celebrations.  Her praise was given to the Stone Matron, but the family were not addressed.  Thistle didn't even speak to the Queen when joining her on the edge of the balcony for the crowd to see.  Rising felt their next guest before he spoke.  The familiar necrotic magics that radiated off the being the family met earlier.  The Rot Farmer returned and his appearance stirred the crowd below in a reverse of the made Rising's statue reveal had caused.

How long has it been since these three figures have stood together?  The light, the dark, the royalty.  Harrowmark was coming back together.  Grace looked ready to leave and wasn't going to argue over the fact.  Dawn and Star looked less certain about departing ways into the shadows.  "This is Harrowmark's time now.  His Highness has the right of it," Rising nodded in agreement with Queen's consort.  Dawn tsked, "The party must end I suppose.  Our next visits will be quite different in tone.  By Celetia's will, the next we meet might in fact be Necrotic's visit to our land instead," Dawn smiled, coming to terms with their departure.  "Ho ho ho, quite right quite right.  We have the other side of things to attend to, but our visit this night has been truly wonderous.  Ho ho ho," Star's eyes twinkled in delight.  "I do believe we have travelers to collect before departing?" Grace reminded the group.

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@EQ_Theta

On 2023-12-05 at 3:45 PM, EQ_Theta said:

“That’s not a nice thought, but if that’s how we turned out…. Dragon traits on a pony body? And the longma already having hunters? They made us that way, made us look like that. If anything, they may have given us our draconic traits to hunt down their enemies. It’s like they wanted it like this from the start. Then that means none of this is natural, and we are just someone else’s playthings. If they didn’t have their way, then we weren’t… meant…”

Elder Zhao would clear her throat, and look towards Lin. Even though her face were drawn on lines in the air, the feeling of a disapproving glare would be rather unmistakable.

"Young lady, what have we talked about here? This might not be the truth. It is a one sided perspective you are given, from an unknown entity. And even if it is truth, I will not hear you wander down that path. Giving in to its perspective, is a path to failure."

Though there were more that she could say, she wanted to see if a few words, may bring her back from wandering down the path she had just listened to. It would become more bothersome to clear her mind, if she gave in to the perspective, and she had no intention of making this mission harder than it needed to be.

From a certain standpoint, she could understand the temptation. Giving in, meant you didn't need to be responsible, and fight against it. You would just have to bow your neck, and obey. A perspective that one part claimed were natural, but it were also one who wanted her, and her kin, to obey the rules of what seemed like some long dead creatures. What point would there be in such an endeavor? None, in her perspective, but it were not herself who needed to be convinced. It were Lin, and to an extend Sen.

Omen were by all accounts a servant in her own right, but she were comfortable with that, and were still seemingly allowed freedom. And that were the key word here: Freedom. The way this entity presented things, there would be no freedom. There would simply be obedience, and she would suspect, indoctrination of others of her kin, until all availably ones, were swayed under the same oppressive will.

The barbarity of some cultures, to revel in doing such things... It were frankly revolting.

On 2023-12-05 at 3:45 PM, EQ_Theta said:

“I… You’re right. I don’t like any of this, and I might go so far as to say that maybe all of this is a lie meant to weaken us, but you’re right. We’re better than this; if we can’t fight this thing head-on, pushing forward is what we can do next.”

“I am with you, brother. We all are. With any luck, we may just see the end of this path if we keep pushing.”

"Good. Resolve. Stick with that, and do not blindly accept what you are presented. Nor fall to corruption. If you do, you will lose that freedom, that every race is entitled to, and more will likely fall along the path. I have seen things such as this spread before, and it never bodes well.

SO remain steadfast, and remember well, that even if you think there is truth to what you see. Even if all of this, holds not a single lie. The servants rose against their masters, and gained freedom. And in freedom, lies everything. DO not toss that away, merely because someone claims that they have the right to decide for you."

"Like when we found Master Discord. He wanted me to come back and serve him, but I said no. Master looked at me strangely, but he accepted it."

"Not overly surprising. Discord is ever a creature of chaos, and much as chaos seems bad for most, it stands for several good things. Prime amongst them, being the belief in free will. He could not rightfully be a creature of chaos, and give you no freedom. This entity is different. Lesser than that."

The kitsune got along well with Discord and his ilk due to that belief in free will, and their shared tendency for trickery. It were one reason why seeing something creatures this... Obedient and orderly down to the very thoughts in their heads. It were despicable.

On 2023-12-05 at 3:45 PM, EQ_Theta said:

The siblings remembered this from their time as thralls, though Omen might have had this memory expunged or forgotten. Sen could feel his anger welling up inside, but he took Elder Zhao’s words to heart and kept himself from making any rash decisions. It was clear these echoes were now pulling from personal memories, and it was all the more tempting to lash out and fight. 

As for “Lin,” her struggles with maintaining a cool head were slowly wavering, but she appeared to fare better than her brother. However, even the echoes of the entity may be ringing true, as she sped up her walk until she was in front of the group, immediately proceeding to look ahead and see what appeared to be another room. At the same time, she began hearing more whispers within her head, another message being passed on to her while greeted with another familiar sight. However, a few more crystals jutted from the ground, one for each corner of the room, with only one visibly glowing.

“Look! Another one of those crystals from earlier; might be another memory to restore. The voice from earlier also spoke again. It said it is impressed that we have made it this far, but it advised us to reconsider our goal of altering memories. The truth may be more painful if we pursue it, and we may regret doing so, but it also says that living a comfortable lie would be better. My guess is it might have something to do with this?”

"I would advise that you let Omen have the first gaze. This seems possible to be a trap, and you are currently not as calm and collected as could be. She is generally unaffected, and does not have any subtle triggers, as you may have.

I will not stop you from joining in, but that is my perspective. Let her have a look first, and see what memory it is, before you take the chance."

"I could do that."

Omen would not, without Sen and Lin agreeing on it, but if it were, she had no issue going over and licking the crystal, to see what were the case. But it could also be something they did as a unit. If the longma did, Elder Zhao would at least too, because she thought she might be needed to add some extra layers of protection here. She did not trust this setting, nor what might come of this. It seemed too... Clean, as one might put it. That they'd find a crystal here, right after it attempts to mess with their idea of self. Were she to caution a guess, this memory would be reflective of either their kin, and indicating they were sheep without a shepherd, or remind them of some time where they just did as they were told, and made it seem more natural and appealing. Could also be this were related to the trigger, and it would try to forcefully commandeer both of them if they touched it. Not that she would allow it to, but it may well try.

Truth be told, she did hope this whole thing were soon over. She did not let it control her, but this situation they now stood in, with the medical lab, the experiments, failures and slaves- It were revolting, on a substantial level.

No creatures should be in chains, and be made to bow their heads. Physical or metaphorical ones, it did not matter. They were all allowed to live free, and this went against that most fundamental of facts.

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

 

@Rising Dusk

13 hours ago, Rising Dusk said:

"It is truly an honor, Stone Matron.  Stunning," the few words from the model came.  What words were there really to be had?  The detective knew it was coming, the statue, but what it were couldn't, shouldn't have anypony prepared.  Equestria's tradition was to immortalize their heroes in the stain glass windows of Canterlot Castle.  Rising had seen them before, stunning in their own right, but never imagined at the time there would be a place for him.  A safe city was more than enough for this stallion.  Here he was though, in a land not his own, receiving such honors.  "What of the skulls?" Grace inquired as she examined her son's stone visage.  Star rubbed his chin, "Hm, Harrowmark perhaps.  And the Sun could be Equestria," the father mused.  Analyzing every facet of this statue was already forming as a side hobby, likely to be turned into a topic in his classes.  Rising already knew he'd be recreating this statue, in a different medium, for his father when they returned home.  "I also battled some skeletons,"

His first words did not hit her much. It were nice to know that he liked it, but she would admit to have hoped for more. Something about how he thought of the details for instance. If it were accurate enough, if it evoked memories of his battle, if the sun were a good motif- There were much she had hoped to hear, yet had not come. A shame, yet what mattered were that he liked it, and did not question the accuracy. Had to mean that it were correct, or close enough that he did not notice anything worth mentioning. She would count that as being worthy of the pedestal the statue now stood upon.

Yet she did not need to wait long, for some more feedback to things. And this she could answer well.

"You are not far from being correct, that it represents Harrowmark in some way. But specifically, it represents his victory over Twisted, who were a harbinger of much pointless death. I considered adding gears to represent that further, but I did not want to honor his memory with as much as a nod. His deeds will be noted in books, and we can learn from his grotesque example that way. This way, it simply shows that you conquered death. The details will be immortalized in our books, and taught in our schools."

Long, long after Rising would be but mulch in the dirt, his memory would live on here, in Harrowmark. His example and story, would become part of their tales and legends, to the point where is ever his great great great great grandfoals came to this town, they'd find not only this statue, but lore that would tell them the great tale of their ancestor.

There would be historians who'd want to have a chat with him someday, to get more details of his expanded life, but there were much to handle now as it were. That sort of thing would come in the future. At the earliest months from now likely, unless he approached them, wanting to talk before. But the matron at least, assumed that he'd be taking a long overdue break at home, after his trials and large scale celebration. It were potentially something he'd need a little time to really take in.

15 hours ago, Rising Dusk said:

How long has it been since these three figures have stood together?  The light, the dark, the royalty.  Harrowmark was coming back together.  Grace looked ready to leave and wasn't going to argue over the fact.  Dawn and Star looked less certain about departing ways into the shadows.  "This is Harrowmark's time now.  His Highness has the right of it," Rising nodded in agreement with Queen's consort.  Dawn tsked, "The party must end I suppose.  Our next visits will be quite different in tone.  By Celetia's will, the next we meet might in fact be Necrotic's visit to our land instead," Dawn smiled, coming to terms with their departure.  "Ho ho ho, quite right quite right.  We have the other side of things to attend to, but our visit this night has been truly wonderous.  Ho ho ho," Star's eyes twinkled in delight.  "I do believe we have travelers to collect before departing?" Grace reminded the group.

"Yes you have indeed. They will be waiting near the portal room. There should be a nice, stable connection to get you back home safely.

Fare well for now, and once more, thank you for all that you have done for us, Sir Dusk. If ever you need the assistance of Harrowmark, you need only ask.

Oh, but don't let an old prince take all your time. Necrotic? Be a good boy and show them to the portal room, yes?"

"I will father. I will be back, once they have been sent home safely."

"Very good, very good. 'til next we meet then."

prince Hayworth would give a deep bow towards their guests, and then turn to take his place behind his wife, unseen by the public eye. He knew that it brought her some comfort, when she knew that he were there, having her back. If she needed it or not, whatever small comfort he could offer her, he would. As he ever had, he were there for his love, 'til death and beyond.

Necrotic meanwhile, would lead them out of there, and down the gnarled, yet short way to the portal room. He would say something though, before they would reach it.

"If I may? Sir Dusk? We have prepared something earlier, that I'd wish for you to bring with you."

He would pull out a scroll from the inside of his jacket, and hoof it towards the knight. It were thick, and bore the seal of the Harrowish royal house upon the wax that sealed it shut.

"Mother prepared a parchment that she wanted for me to give to you. A message for your princesses, offering our gratitude for the assistance, as well as inviting them to a formal meeting between our nations, held upon Equestrian soil. I cannot say for certain what is written within, but Mother told me that the near future shall be busy for her, and as such, she wants for me to speak as the face of Harrowmark.

It is a responsibility I will not take lightly. I assure you, and your princesses of that."

He would not say it out loud, but he suspected that his mother wanted him to represent Harrowmark more, because she were well aware of her own hard exterior, and wanted to show Equestria a warmer, kinder face. One that fit their own better, and Necrotic were that. Besides, as the future ruler, it were likely best that he got well acquainted with their foreign friends, for the years to come. He could see the logic in such a path.

It would not be long after that, that they would reach the portal room door. Outside of it, were their companions, their saddlebags as they were when last they were seen, and then three heavy looking crates nearby. The luggage that Caramel were speaking off earlier likely. The pony in question, currently talking with a knight, giving him something. In return, he were giving her a small box of skulls. Rats and birds seemingly, completely clean from flesh.

She'd bite notice in them and wave, with a smile on her face. Behind her, stood Will-O next to the crates, petting her bird.

"Oh. H-Hi. I uh, thought you'd still be some time."

"Oh, I'm sure they have fulfilled their obligations well.

I will be with you in a moment. Now then, as I were saying, take it at sunrise, for three days, then bury the rest. It should sort you out well."

"Understood. Thank you again."

"Oh likewise. I have good need of these."

The knight would wander off afterwards, with something beneath his armor. Something with a bit of necromantic, arcane, and nature magic to it. Not in large amounts though.

"With that sorted then. Hello to you all. Had a good time, I take it?"

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus @Evil Pink One

"Fluffy ones in place. Special ones hunt more special one, and Shark fine. Will keep safe."

She sniffed the air, smelling the blood ever closer now, making her nostrils flare.

"She bleed. No friend blood."

As in, far as she could tell, no ponies were currently bleeding. Or it were out of her range to smell. She did rely somewhat on the wind wafting it along after all, and more and more ponies got out of their immediate area, as more time passed. Somepony might have gotten nicked on a table or something further away, or not in their direction of wind, and she'd be none the wiser. But at least right now, only blood she could smell, came from the direction of Sheez, so she assumed it were hers. She hadn't smelled kobold blood before, so she wasn't exactly sure. Kobolds were not something you usually found out in the middle of the ocean.

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@Blitz Boom@Evil Pink One

"Anyone else?" Sheez asked nobody in particular, loud enough to be heard over the two younger kobolds cursing her, though only indication that it was cursing at this point, was the way the two kobolds said things, as they had in their rage fallen back on their native language, which only the other kobolds understood. After not getting attacked for a long enough moment, Sheez would address the two kobolds and start speaking to them, in their native language, though it was less a conversation, and more a shouting match, and it went full on argument soon enough.

Sheska was the loudest of the three, screaming and hissing with full force at the metallic kobold, and would have most likely, if it hadn't been for the odd collars, launched at Sheez like a feral animal, it was really a surprise of its own that she didn't lose her voice or pass out from it. Trox meanwhile, while not exactly calm either, was more shouting than screaming, as his words carried more of the hatred and contempt over rage, though he wasn't hiding his anger either. And Sheez, while she kept the unnervingly neutral tone of voice she spoke with, also had to increase volume to get any words in.

All in all, even without understanding a word that was said, one could gather that this was far from civilized, mature conversation, and was closer to an argument between family members that really should stay in the home, the main difference being, that this was clearly about something lot more serious than petty family drama, as the animosity was very real and very apparent. Things slowed down, as Trox said something that made the two other kobolds go quiet, after which he started laying into Sheez, but he wasn't shouting anymore, and rather, was speaking slowly and calmly, however, his voice was shaking with anger, he looked like he wanted to explode, and his words were heavy with emotion.

As he spoke, he very slowly moved towards Sheez, every step, every word, was heavier than the previous, and his accusatory tone slowly changed to a questioning one, it all culminating to him standing right in front of Sheez, looking her directly in the eyes and asking something quietly, shaking, and sounding more pained than angry. Whatever he said, not only seemed to make Sheska's anger fade to be replaced with concern, but also seemed to hit something in Sheez too, as the kobold took a step back and for the first time looked genuinely bothered, if not remorseful. 

This was followed by silence, the three kobolds all stood still, until a sound broke said silence, as a familiar guard landed not too far, looking around for a bit before greeting Stargazer "You're still alive, good, means I'm not too late." he had gotten new armor, no longer wearing the Solar guards' set which looked silly on his part-metal body, and instead wearing a custom design combining things from all the various sections of the royal guard. "Sorry for the delay, I had to get some backup." two other individuals landed, dragons, robed like Sheez had been, though one of them had his hood down, revealing him to be a red male dragon, while the other was purposely positioning themselves to hide their identity. however, these were not a new sight for everyone, as they were the two dragons that had left the Tavern when the group had arrived there the last time. "I'll explain later, but I'll be taking the command over this situation, you and rest of the town guard focus on keeping the civilians away." 

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

"It's not entirely selfless caring" Ruby responded half-jokingly "I know how I feel about my own mother, so I don't want to give Charir reason to think about me like that, it would be inconvenient to have him hunt me down hundred years from now." she didn't have much to say on the topic of romance, because even ignoring all the previously mentioned, she simply didn't know enough to have an opinion, she never cared about such things, so she never looked into it, she also believed that if one was to find a partner, it would have to happen naturally, outside the mating season.  "Though, I do admit, I wish to see him happy, if not for anything else than to spite my mother." 

Charir did his own investigations near the entrance, sniffing the hoofsteps to try and figure out their age, and after the squirrel incident, he smelled the bush and surrounding area in case there was some reason the small animal had left the bush instead of staying in there hiding, he wasn't familiar with squirrels, so he didn't know what was normal behavior for them. 

"Somebody should stay outside, both to make sure the exit stays clear, and to be here in case Spicy appears."  Ruby pointed out "I can be that somebody if you insist on going in, just, don't get yourself killed." the entrance was uncomfortably tight for her real form, and in this form she was physically lot less capable, so she didn't really want to risk getting herself in danger before Spicy's arrival, because at least then she had someone to use as bait in the worst case scenario.  

She made a mental note of what she could sense, hoofsteps combined with things being scattered around, they weren't the first ones here, so either those things were missed for reason or another, or there was some reason for them to be left behind, like being worthless compared to whatever used to be there. 

Charir meanwhile, while wary, didn't have anything against Leviathan's suggestion, even if he didn't know she even said it, as he was sniffing the air inside, and until he was stopped by somebody, would slowly but surely step in to investigate. 

 






 

 

 

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@Blitz Boom

On 2023-12-08 at 8:05 AM, Blitz Boom said:

 

Elder Zhao would clear her throat, and look towards Lin. Even though her face were drawn on lines in the air, the feeling of a disapproving glare would be rather unmistakable.

"Young lady, what have we talked about here? This might not be the truth. It is a one sided perspective you are given, from an unknown entity. And even if it is truth, I will not hear you wander down that path. Giving in to its perspective, is a path to failure."

Though there were more that she could say, she wanted to see if a few words, may bring her back from wandering down the path she had just listened to. It would become more bothersome to clear her mind, if she gave in to the perspective, and she had no intention of making this mission harder than it needed to be.

“Lin” paused and nodded after giving the matter some more thought. She wasn’t sure of what to believe anymore, but the certainty and conviction in Elder Zhao’s voice were enough to let her avoid going down the path of despair. Perhaps that is what the entity wants from them; then again, even that wasn’t set in stone, and only it knows its intentions. For now, it seemed content to let them wallow with doubt, but it wouldn’t settle for that. It showed them something about being in control of their thoughts. Maybe this was the first step. 

Sen had some inkling of what was going on, and he kept his thoughts on the matter to himself. Unfortunately, all that was just something to keep them from going after some key memories. The entity was content to let them meander with other memories first, then give them pause or doubts about restoring something important. After all, why would it mention something about painful truths and reconsidering altering memories? That was what bothered the longma most, and he hoped this was all just bluffing. 

Somehow, the thought of having Discord in mind was oddly comforting, but the siblings didn’t have that comfort. Still, having Omen give her perspective on relevant matters was reassuring all the same. That, and Elder Zhao being here means they can find their resolve and steadfast belief that they can overcome this uncertainty. 

“All right, Elder Zhao. Whatever this entity is telling us, it won’t win us over.”

“And the sooner we can finish what we set out to do here, the better it’ll be for all of us. I don’t think I want to stick around with this... thing messing around with Lin’s mind.”

On 2023-12-08 at 8:05 AM, Blitz Boom said:

"I would advise that you let Omen have the first gaze. This seems possible to be a trap, and you are currently not as calm and collected as could be. She is generally unaffected, and does not have any subtle triggers, as you may have.

I will not stop you from joining in, but that is my perspective. Let her have a look first, and see what memory it is, before you take the chance."

"I could do that."

The siblings looked at each other and relented. They would prefer to be directly involved in this matter, but they also understood Elder Zhao’s concern for their mental state at the moment. Omen wasn’t affected, and it was more than evident that her perspective gave her a clear head, the right kind of mindset needed to continue where they can’t. The decision was unanimous despite their reservations. “Lin” sighed, looked to the Ki'Nathar, and nodded in approval of Elder Zhao’s suggestion.

“Omen, go ahead. We put our trust in you.”

“However, if something goes wrong or if you’re unsure about what to do, please let us know. We’ll help you out however we can.”

Licking the glowing crystal was something the siblings expected to do something that would let them advance a little bit. Unfortunately, peering into, whatever form that took, didn’t do anything. There was no vision or memory to view, and there was certainly no effect that appeared to take them out of the present. Despite how all of this looked like something they had done previously, this one felt like a dud or a dead end. At least, it might appear that way until one were to examine the bases where the crystals were positioned. 

Each one affixed at the four corners of the room was situated on what appeared to be a rotating platform, and the central crystal had four rusted handles around it, all held by a circular, brass barrier. The same could not be said for the four other crystals, but it seemed that the central crystal could be moved. Rotations along its axis meant that the glowing crystal’s light would hit a wall in the room, or it could be made to bounce off the other crystals. A close examination of the far wall opposite the group also shows a flat, reflective, silver surface that was unassuming at first glance. However, it could be one piece of a much larger puzzle that was present in the room, allowing Omen to view the memory, as they have come to expect. 

Unfortunately, even the siblings have come to suspect that this may be just as much of a test for them as a learning opportunity for the entity. After all, speaking to “Lin“ and her relaying its messages to the rest of the group made it sound like it was observing their progress.

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@EQ_Theta

7 hours ago, EQ_Theta said:

“Omen, go ahead. We put our trust in you.”

“However, if something goes wrong or if you’re unsure about what to do, please let us know. We’ll help you out however we can.”

Omen would lick the crystal, and then... Nothing. Her vision were as it had been all along, like if she had licked but a simple tree once again.

So she would do it again. And again. Continuing her task, whilst the others were left to try and figure out why this did not work, as it had the others times, that they had encountered the crystals.

7 hours ago, EQ_Theta said:

Licking the glowing crystal was something the siblings expected to do something that would let them advance a little bit. Unfortunately, peering into, whatever form that took, didn’t do anything. There was no vision or memory to view, and there was certainly no effect that appeared to take them out of the present. Despite how all of this looked like something they had done previously, this one felt like a dud or a dead end. At least, it might appear that way until one were to examine the bases where the crystals were positioned. 

Each one affixed at the four corners of the room was situated on what appeared to be a rotating platform, and the central crystal had four rusted handles around it, all held by a circular, brass barrier. The same could not be said for the four other crystals, but it seemed that the central crystal could be moved. Rotations along its axis meant that the glowing crystal’s light would hit a wall in the room, or it could be made to bounce off the other crystals. A close examination of the far wall opposite the group also shows a flat, reflective, silver surface that was unassuming at first glance. However, it could be one piece of a much larger puzzle that was present in the room, allowing Omen to view the memory, as they have come to expect. 

Unfortunately, even the siblings have come to suspect that this may be just as much of a test for them as a learning opportunity for the entity. After all, speaking to “Lin“ and her relaying its messages to the rest of the group made it sound like it was observing their progress.

Elder Zhao would examine, seeing that the crystal were either a fake, or were currently inert. Casting her glance to what else it were connecting with appeared to indicate however, that this were more complicated than so. It were not empty per se, but it were not activated in a way where they could touch it.

Her paw would stand calmly in the air, and point between the crystals int he corner, the reflective surfaces, then back to the middle. A few times, little after little, as she mapped out what the pattern she could begin to see were about.

"Hm. Reminds me of my time as a kit. Elder Maro liked to keep his abode shining with natural light, and so he installed mirrors all around, in particular angles. When the light hit the one at the entrance, it would reflect and travel around, giving a well lit room.

This builds upon the same idea. We will need to have the light of this one, bounce off of other surfaces, which will include the side crystals. When all of them are hit, I think that we will see what we are meant to."

She'd go towards the middle crystal, though not close enough to touch anything, and then look outwards, towards the other crystals afterwards. Her brain once again working, as she saw this familiar little game. Were the situation different, she may well have described this as delightful, and the exercise invoking a degree of both fondness, and nostalgia.

Things here however, were not nice, or kind enough to evoke such things in her. It just wrought some degree of familiarity to the proceedings, that might help give some level of expertise. Though of course, she had seen something set in place. This may well be broken up into several parts, where they had to turn the angle of some of the other reflective surfaces, to make it work proper. A mind puzzle as it were. Somewhat quaint she supposed, but they should see how things will go.

"Yes. It appears that this one is the only one that is meant to be moved. Try to turn it, and angle it carefully towards one of the crystals. We will need to ascertain the precise angle on this, but we will have to see a proof of concept first.

Move it slowly. I will keep a close eye on how things will reflect, and see if a pattern emerges."

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus @Evil Pink One

3 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

This was followed by silence, the three kobolds all stood still, until a sound broke said silence, as a familiar guard landed not too far, looking around for a bit before greeting Stargazer "You're still alive, good, means I'm not too late." he had gotten new armor, no longer wearing the Solar guards' set which looked silly on his part-metal body, and instead wearing a custom design combining things from all the various sections of the royal guard. "Sorry for the delay, I had to get some backup." two other individuals landed, dragons, robed like Sheez had been, though one of them had his hood down, revealing him to be a red male dragon, while the other was purposely positioning themselves to hide their identity. however, these were not a new sight for everyone, as they were the two dragons that had left the Tavern when the group had arrived there the last time. "I'll explain later, but I'll be taking the command over this situation, you and rest of the town guard focus on keeping the civilians away." 

He were fortunate that Stargazer were a bat pony, and thus heard the arrival of the guard before he started talking, If not, he might have missed the first part of what he said, busy as he were directing the other, regular guards that had visited the town. If they managed to get through this, the first order of business for him, once the princess had returned home, were to bring up the urgency for her to have her own guard. This town needed proper protection. More than a single bat pony, and whomever might be visiting were able.

"I were already handling the proper security of the townsfolks, but by all means, handle things here. You seem to know more of this than we do.

But thread carefully. She have been clear that long as we stay out of her business, she isn't going to hurt the townsfolks. So if you provoke her to the point where she starts hurting the citizenry, I will have you court-martialed."

It wasn't the nicest thing to say, and later on when he were not stressed and worried, he'd probably come around and apologize. But right now, he were overworked, tired, and stressed, so he had a little shorter of a tolerance line. Especially from somepony who might actually try to apprehend Sheez, which might well spell disaster for the whole town.

His focus would remain on this, just as Shark's would be on Growling, and keep herself between Light and the kobolds. She hadn't a single clue what they were yapping about, so she just kept her distance, and did hers to protect her mate, even though she were seemingly completely ignored. To her, long as Sheez was not getting closer to her, she were doing good in keeping her at bay. That she had no influence on that, were not something she registered.

The kitsune meanwhile, keep hiding under the table. They wanted no part in this, and didn't know what were happening outside anymore.

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

 

@Catpone Cerberus

7 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

"It's not entirely selfless caring" Ruby responded half-jokingly "I know how I feel about my own mother, so I don't want to give Charir reason to think about me like that, it would be inconvenient to have him hunt me down hundred years from now." she didn't have much to say on the topic of romance, because even ignoring all the previously mentioned, she simply didn't know enough to have an opinion, she never cared about such things, so she never looked into it, she also believed that if one was to find a partner, it would have to happen naturally, outside the mating season.  "Though, I do admit, I wish to see him happy, if not for anything else than to spite my mother." 

"Spite, sisterly love- Whatever gets the job done, and helps change things for the better. The fact that it also stops things like you two fighting to the death is a great bonus on top of it. It'd be a pointless loss of life. Tragic too, since I like both of you, and I don't wanna see either of you die.

And you can be sure I'll try to do my part, in making sure you'll both be happy too. Lives full of joy, excitement, and new experiences for millennia to come. It's gonna be a riot."

They saw things from different perspectives, and she knew it well. But it came with the way they were raised, and really highlighted some key differences, that culture could do. Like Charir and Ruby, came from a place where you were strong, or you were dead. Family, love, joy- Laughably useless notions, that just made you weak, and deserving of nothing.

Leviathan meanwhile, had grown up in a diamond dog colony. She had been raised with the importance of the flock, playfulness, and being an opportunist. Even when she had sought out her mother, and learned more of her proper, draconic origins and culture, it really wasn't all that different. Just usually involved less trading, and more punching and fire.

Were this the easiest thing to match? Heck no, but anything worth doing, usually tended to involve some elbow grease to make the gears turn. And frankly, she considered Charir and Ruby to be close friends by now. Ruby closer, and Charir more like a young whelp whom she couldn't help but admire like a mother. Point were that she believed the two of them to be worth every effort she could offer. Including going to the hellscape of a place, that they called home. Somewhere she'd otherwise not have gone within five hundred miles of, as she wasn't suicidal.

8 hours ago, Catpone Cerberus said:

"Somebody should stay outside, both to make sure the exit stays clear, and to be here in case Spicy appears."  Ruby pointed out "I can be that somebody if you insist on going in, just, don't get yourself killed." the entrance was uncomfortably tight for her real form, and in this form she was physically lot less capable, so she didn't really want to risk getting herself in danger before Spicy's arrival, because at least then she had someone to use as bait in the worst case scenario.

"Fine, we'll go start this, and then you can join up when you're done waiting for her. It'll be a fun time for Charir and I to have a bit of bonding time then.

See ya soon, alright?"

She'd grin at Ruby, then signal Charir to follow her further inside.

First bit were as they saw from the outside, but they wouldn't have to go that far, before they saw the first bit of oddity. A doorway, where water flowed around the edges, and in bowls attached to the wall, via minor canals that went down the wall, and up the the ceiling, where they'd keep going elsewhere.

The oddity were that the water not only were slightly glowing, in a light blue, but also that it were flowing upwards. It were utterly harmless to touch, or even drink, but it were somewhat odd. Nothing majorly, but enough to come to her attention. Made her stop up and put a shard of ice in the stream, just to see if she were right, and sure enough, it flowed upwards.

"Huh. Now that ain't something you see every day."

Going over to look the door over again, she'd see the above the frame of the open pathway, there were two masks. A sad looking one, and a smiling one. Sorta like the theater, though these were more wooden, and had elongated noses. Could be kitsune, if you knew absolutely nothing about them. Folks tended to assume long snouts like that, were them. But this didn't match their aesthetics. No, this were deer related, which definitely were fascinating. She had been around for around a millennia, and yet, this were one of the first times she had been in an old, forgotten deer temple. Usually the deer that actually made these - which were few, as they preferred village life - used them more or less for good. Unless they were forced to move, or it fell apart by itself. In which case it would be destroyed, or left as the ruin it had become. But this place were near pristine. A solid washing on the outside, and it'd be good for the taking.

Must be some heavy curses that were in this place, if they stayed far from it.

Poking her head into the next room, and lifting the torch, she'd finally see something new, which made her grin with excitement, and wave Charir over. In the next room, wandering around seemingly aimlessly, were a deer skeleton. It'd move on, into the adjourning room, if they didn't bring attention to themselves, but it were a pretty fun sight. At least in Leviathan's eyes. After all, it were just one, single animated skeleton. This weren't exactly a grave danger.

As for outside? The bushed would shake again near Ruby, but it were no squirrel that poked through this time. Instead, it were three deer skeleton. A patrol perhaps? They seemed wholly uninterested in her, and were aiming for the doorway. She could just let them pass. Or she could try and stomp them. What's the worst that could happen?

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