Scribblegroove

private When hearts grow cold. Chapter one: Shadows fall

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(edited)

@PonyOfWar @Convergence

Salve never thought he'd see one in his lifetime. He heard stories of one living near Ponyville but never had the chance to leave the Crystal Empire to confirm what he's been hearing about them. The same goes with the rhyming though he knows about never associating the actions of an individual to be the same for every individual in a species. Many ponies don't speak in sentences that omit the singular pronoun referring to the one talking but Salve hasn't found anypony expressing their discontentment with him speaking in such a strange manner. By no means is it esoteric but Salve simply found it preferable to the conventional manner. He first examined Dancer from head to hoof before extending one of his own hooves to greet him.

"Zebra. Interesting sight; always wanted to meet one after hearing about them from rumors. Very little known about them but based on anatomical structure, physiology should be similar to ponies. Will look after you when injured as is a doctor's task and responsibility. Hopefully am not off-putting if this is first time meeting ponies. Noticed Crowley mentioned you are a warrior. Previously experienced being in battle though would personally prefer to be away from it. Rest assured will not be a burden."

Having a zebra on the team will be an interesting idea and it will give Salve a chance to learn about them. Maybe he might write and publish a book about them when he could spare the time, possibly with Dancer as a co-author. Anyone could beat him to it but it is better to focus on the task he will be provided soon. Everyone gathered seemed to have found their own groups for the moment but what comes later on is anyone's guess. For now, helping Dancer integrate into the group will do. 

The unicorn turned to War and was curious about his knowledge on the zebras, namely with "Zebra blade." A title? A group? Salve assumed asking about this directly to the zebra might be intruding given how much knowledge he lacks on proper decorum but asking War was a safer option. "Curious about designation. Mention of 'zebra blade' piqued interest. What is it?"  

Edited by EQ_Theta
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@EQ_Theta @Convergence

War was silent while the doctor took to continuing the introduction with that quick witted speech of his. He had unsurprisingly never met a Zebra and seemed very interested. Luckily their last teammate was a Zebra and thus very pony like. If a Dragon or something had come through that door he thought patching them up would be a real challenge. Then again he didn't know what Salves range of expertise was yet, maybe he could fix up a dragon? 

Either way War was surprised by how he was brought back into the conversation. A question about Zebra culture directed at him rather then the Zebra, maybe Salve was just more comfortable with War for the time being. He would try to answer without it being awkward, "It's a term for a Zebra warrior. They are trained from birth to fight other Zebra blades in one on one combat over the lands little resources for their tribe." 

It was going to be very interesting having one here. War really hoped they would all get a long more so the ponies not use to Zebras, the culture tended to be a lot harsher then Equestia's because ponies hardly ever had to fight to eat each day. Hopefully no one would step on each other's hooves. Right now with as little as every pony had spoken it was hard to tell. Everyone seemed more eager to learn what this was about and less concerned with conversation. Crowley had prodded a few into conversation that wasn't already so things were living up a little. 

 

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@Golbez@Scribblegroove

 

Mirror could feel herself blushing behind her mask, she didn't deserve that much credit. Not for lying to Cherry at least. Mirror shook her head agreeing with Logic, "No...this isn't something she should be a part of." she said as she handed the letter to Logic. The showmare took a moment to tug the right side of her cloak back over her foreleg and closer to the center of her torso while Logic compared their letters. After Logic was done, she wrapped the letter in the faint purple glow of her magic. "Okay." she responded.

As the two mares approached Crowley, Mirror breathed in deeply and then let out a quick sigh. This would be difficult. he knew too much about her already while she knew absolutely nothing about him. She hadn't even heard of the organization he was a part of. The letter she had recieved had been waiting for her at her home in Manehattan. She couldn't tell if it was just a fluke that it had been waiting for her at home just as she finished her latest tour or if that had been a stroke of luck.

Mirror floated the invitation in front of the stallion without shoving it into his face, though that was a tempting thought. Being rude wouldn't do, Crowly had her at a vast disadvantage. For now she would play her part. "I'm sure they will." Mirror agreed, she put effort into making sure she sounded as netural as possible. Any weakness in her exxpression was hidden by her mask. She frowned at Crowley's subtle insult to Cherry Logic, but she didn't jump to defend the shorter mare.

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Nova continued to watch and observe, silently taking in as much as he could from the conversations going on around him, his ears twitching as he listened. He caught wind of the bright red Pegasus in armor and the Unicorn doctor talking of the Changeling invasion into Canterlot. Nova admittedly knew little about the Changelings or the invasion, as he was still deep in training at the Academy when it had occurred and hadn't bothered to attend the wedding celebrations that day, but what he had heard was... unsettling to say the least.

His bright gold eyes moved over to the Unicorn with the mask. He hadn't paid her much attention at first, but now that he was a bit closer he could see that she was a bit... strange? Like him she seemed distant; glancing around as if trying to get a better understanding of the others, but keeping as much of her attention as possible to the green Unicorn with whom she seemed to be most familiar with. With her ornate mask that hid much of her face and a long, eye-catching travel cloak, she looked like some sort of wandering showpony, and the way she shifted and appeared uncomfortable with her surroundings only further exasperated Nova's desire to know what in Celestia's name most of these ponies were doing here! The letter had quite clearly stated their mission was to hunt down cunning and dangerous master criminals, individuals who had so far caused all kinds of chaos across most of Equestria with their actions, and were now in possession of what sounded like a very powerful artefact to boot. So far, this didn't look at all to him like the kind of group that should assembled for such a task. Performers, Traders, Students...? What possible situations could require their presence?

@Convergence

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the courtyard doors being swung open again, and he turned to see that they were to be joined by yet another. At first, Nova saw the newcomer as an Earth Pony, having the muscular complexion that was typical of their species, but as he approached, he was shocked to discover that this newest arrival wasn't even a pony at all. A Zebra...? he thought in amazement. An unexpected surprise. Zebras were a rare find in Equestria, and Nova himself had never personally encountered one, even during all his time traveling with the Wonderbolts. He had heard those few that did visit Equestria mostly kept to themselves and weren't overly interested in mingling with Equestrian citizens or their way of life. They were an isolated species, and very different from anything Nova was used to. He kept his eyes fixed on him, as the Zebra stepped forward and presented himself to Crowley. An impressive yet exotic looking sword was sheathed on his left shoulder, and the young Wonderbolt was at least slightly relieved to see someone whom looked to have come prepared. The idea of having to resort to physical violence didn't sit so well with him, Nova much preferred to let his abilities do the talking, but given the potential risks of their mission, it may have been a necessary precaution.

@PonyOfWar @EQ_Theta @SilverHeart @Lil' Lovebug @Golbez @PathfinderCS @Scribblegroove

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the red, armor-clad Pegasus seemed the most interested in their newest companion and quickly engaged him in conversation, which prompted Nova to realize that most of the group had now formed individual clumps and were mingling, creating a scene as if this were just a casual get-together in the park. He supposed that shouldn't have struck him too odd given the general makeup of the ponies present, but he was beginning to grow weary of their idleness and actual purpose for being here. He took a few steps forward, moving himself closer to the group, and took a deep breath:

"So." he said at last, breaking his silence with a voice loud enough to be heard by everyone present. "Quite the ragtag group we seem to have assembled here, Crowley. I wondered for a moment if I hadn't gone and wandered into the wrong courtyard by mistake?" he glanced around at the rest of the group with a dry expression, then continued: "Ah well... I suppose proper introductions are in order. My name is Nova. Nova Nightstar." He said emphatically. "Perhaps you've heard of me? If not I wouldn't worry. You'll see all you need to know by the time this mission is over, and I can assure you all that by then it's a name you won't soon forget." Nova almost glared at the others as he spoke the last few words, as if trying to forcefully implant the message into their minds, then just as suddenly returned to his calm demeanor. "But, I realize that for now it would appear we are to be... 'teammates'". Nova said the word with leaking reluctance, as Spitfire's voice echoed in his mind. "So I think it would only be to our benefit that we each introduce ourselves properly, no? Would hardly do well to have to work together with total strangers after all. How about it?" He looked around as if expecting somepony to step forward.

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(edited)

@@PonyOfWar @@Convergence

"Interesting. Will want to learn more about this when time permits. Prefer to go through introductions at this moment; establish goodwill and trust first before sating curiosity." 

One-on-one conflict to settle disputes was a strange idea but given the cultural difference between Dancer's and his own backgrounds, he would simply judge based on how foreign the idea was. As much as Salve sees himself as a professional in his own field, he thought about his younger days when he could pursue different studies that weren't related to his preferred field. 

@Dark Horse

Nova's arrival broke the doctor from his train of thought. Mindsets and behavior such as that exhibited by Nova was similar to the military mavericks Salve previously treated, many of whom he saw again and again in his tent back when he worked in Canterlot. It's a familiar sight but one Salve was tired of seeing; camaraderie and trust formed the basis of most of his own training within the armed forces with each member looking out for each other. It would be a miracle to see anyone haughty enough to believe they can go an entire mission and see success, remaining static. Salve doesn't see much point in arguing his case and letting events play out to see if this gathering of individuals will turn sour as time passes by. There's no way he'd turn down a chance to work on behalf of the princesses but the first of many challenges has already presented itself.

"Pride or showboating? Excessive of either presents dangers to self and group. Will watch out for dangers resulting from this. My involvement in group, my responsibility for health and safety of everyone involved. Will not allow mistrust of one another to jeopardize the team and our task."

Salve stood his ground and replied, the sound of his voice mixed with confidence with disappointment. He knows the Wonderbolts are defined by their skill but them working as a team serves to highlight the necessity of cooperating, a similarity with working with soldiers. Though he hopes situations like these  would be sparse, he readied himself should this exchange quickly go south. He didn't learn to use a quarterstaff in conjunction with a personal magic shield for nothing. It might get in the way of doing his actual job but serving in the military gave him the chance to learn how to defend himself. 

"Doctor Salus Veta. Understandable that idling in the garden achieves little but will use this moment to diffuse tensions and uncertainty while waiting for princesses or Crowley to brief us on respective tasks. No point making enemies or fostering distrust among ourselves before work begins." 

Edited by EQ_Theta
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@Scribblegroove

Logic Bomb raised her eyebrow at Crowley, not liking the tone of his voice as he brushed her little complaint aside as if it were nothing, the nerve. She was very tempted to let him have it right there and then, but she had more than a enough sense to realise starting an argument with a guard...in the middle of Canterlot Castle...would not have been a wise thing to at all, instead opting to hold her tongue, but she would at least allow her disapproval be know as she lightly exhaled through her nose as she frowned at him as he turned his attention to Mirror.

Typical one-track minded soldiers, While Logic would have been willing to be more understanding with the occurring predicament, the fact that that Guards pony dismissed her concerns without a second thought...although nopony could tell from the outside...she was positively livid. Logic wasn't a teacher at just any decent local school found in mostly any town in Equestria, she was a teacher at "Canterlot University". Most dedicated students consider going to such a school to be an honour, to study and learn within the same institute where some of the greatest minds were shaped and molded, to Logic it was her dream job...yes it was stressful and tiresome...but she wouldn't have it any other way. However, none of that apparently didn't seem all that important to this pony standing in front of her.

Logic was angry, but kept her composure as Crowley handed back their invitations...and then he suggested why she was offered a job in research. Now to most ponies that might not be so bad, for a pony to explore new theories and methods in the ways of science and magic that might prove beneficial, but to Logic...a pony who was right at home with cold hard facts...that was a true insult, to be dubbed down to a pony who works with only partial assumptions...estimates....half-guesses! It made her skin crawl, to work along side so called "specialists" whose only method of working was stating, "Let's see what happens when we put X in Y!"

"Hmph!!" Logic tore her head away dramatically from Crowley just as he was turning his attention to yet another new comer. The nerve, she would definitely be having words with the princesses about this behaviour, preferably Celestia, she did use to teach at the University herself after all, yes...she would understand, being dragged away from a key moment in a vast numbers of students education only to be degraded in this manner, then she would see that...was that a Zebra!?

@Convergence 

Logic had dared herself to peek in the corner of her eye at Crowley only to end up double taking at the well built Zebra standing amongst Cowley and the Red coated, armour clad stallion. Curiously raising an eyebrow she was beginning to realise the benefits of this adventure already. Very little was known about Zebra culture despite the rare occasion where one showed up, and even rarer when one decided to settle down within Equestria. Pony scholars have tried before to learn  and make documents about Zebras, but were rarely successful, the only thing they could successfully dictate was that tribes were rather territorial...and that was only discovered after they were violently chased away. 

This was a golden opportunity if Logic ever saw one, she could learn and write a book with this Zebra being the co-author whenever she could spare the time, not that she minded of course, she had a gut feeling this adventure was obviously going to be rather stressful at times so have something to pre-occupy herself when appropriate was most welcomed. Besides, as far as Logic was concerned there wasn't anypony else here more capable.

@PonyOfWar  @EQ_Theta  @SilverHeart  @Lil' Lovebug  @PathfinderCS  

Logic's day-dreaming was promptly interrupted as another came forward and addressed the entire group, Logic groaned and placed a hoof to her temple, she quickly dictated from his attitude and manner of speech that he was very likely an overly confidant show-boater. This didn't really surprise Logic that there would be at least one cocky so-and-so in the group, she had dealt with the odd pony intentially disturbing her classes before and not having the patience for that kind of behaviour became quite familiar with how to deal with that sort of behaviour, she made a mental note to be wary of this one.

But his words had some truth in them, it wouldn't be a bad idea for everypony here to each introduce themselves properly. After the pony she learnt was Doctor Salus Veta introduced himself, she took a step forward, cleared her throat and took her turn, "My name is Professor Logic Bomb...I teach history and mathematics at the Canterlot University...buuuuut I'm well versed in other topics," The mare smiled sheepishly, trying not look like she was boasting,"I'll.....admit I'm not entirely sure what I can do to help but my wealth of knowledge is yours if you need it." She glanced up at Mirror Image standing beside her and there and then made a decision, "......and this is my close friend, Mirror Image, " she lifted a hoof up to point at the lean mare,"....she's a travelling magician who works along side my older sister...they're quite close so we're quite close too," she smiled up at Mirror, hoping she didn't mind having being introduced for her.

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@Scribblegroove

As Dancer handed the letter to the pegasus, his eyes widened slightly when he mentioned The Mother. A name he has not heard often in Equestria, to hear a stranger in this land mention Her was shocking at the least. But not nearly as surprising as when the pegasus introduced himself as Crowley. That name. Him mentioning The Mother left a bad taste on Dancer’s tongue. But he had a long time to prepare for this, and he was ready. Strange, Crowley was nothing like how Dancer pictured him.

Dancer did not show a hint of his distaste. Instead, he expressionlessly stared into Crowley’s eyes. Dancer listened, but didn’t register what Crowley was saying, giving him only a slight nod after the pegasus finished speaking.

@PonyOfWar@EQ_Theta

Turning around to look at the red stallion that Crowley pointed to, Dancer saw a large, hardened looking Pegasus. He looked strong, but lacked the posture of a Blade. As War introduced himself, it dawned on Dancer that he appeared completely comfortable meeting a Zebra. Strange, Dancer was not used to that. Nodding at the respect War showed for him, Dancer responded, “fate has lead us down a strange path, has it not?”

The pony standing next to War had a far more familiar introduction. When meeting Dancer, most ponies appeared to be either very cautious or very excited to meet Dancer. Salve was definitely the latter. Dancer stared blankly at Salve while he introduced himself. Not understanding his technical language and not having the patience at the moment to discern the meanings of his complex language. Something about how Zebras are similar to Ponies, Dancer definitely didn’t think so, and that Salve was a doctor. Dancer had heard about doctors, they train to heal others, but aren’t born with the gift.  Dancer felt a pang of sympathy, in a land without Soothsayers, somepony must try to fulfill their roles, an impossible task. Not wanting to offend the doctor, Dancer refrained from stating that he does not plan to get injured and if he does he surely does not want anyone but a soothsayer working his wounds.  Instead, he simply stated, “I have heard the rumours to. They hold little truth.”

When Salve turned to War to whisper a question to other stallion, Dancer turned away with a slight smirk on his face. This was something he was used to. Either to talk about how strange Dancer himself is or to ask each other a question that they are for some reason too afraid to ask. Walking away from the group, he retreated into his own thoughts. Until out of the corner of his eye, he saw Crowley doing the same. The only other one that had secluded himself was Crowley. That would not do. Dancer would be different. Had to be different: his death would mean something.

Turning back to War and Salve, he forced a small smile onto his lips. The smile was small and awkward, clearly Dancer was not used displaying this gesture. Nodding at War, “if your really are a true warrior, that is something I would like to see. We should practice before our journey begins. Perhaps I could teach you some skills from my homeland.” Turning to Salve, “The same for you Salus Veta. But perhaps a story over a hearth would be more enlightening for you.”

@Dark Horse

Hearing a loud, condescending introduction, Dancer inhaled sharply, then returned to his regular demeaner. “A foal that thinks he can best a Khan.” Turning around to face the source of the outbreak, “wait.” Approaching the purple Pegasus, he gazed into his eyes. Speaking softly, without judgement in his voice, “yes. The teammates that you will respect. That you will treat as your equal, right?”

      

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@Convergence

The Zebra seemed polite enough, though he didn't introduce himself so War was still at a lack of what to properly call him and just 'Zebra' really wouldn't do. He seems familiar with how ponies generally responded to him and didn't seem to mind the Doctor asking War his questions, not really offended or uncomfortable by the look. Perhaps it was War's familiarity with Zebras at work but he didn't see a reasons for ponies to get so worked up.

He was a little intrigued by the Zebras proposition to spar. Teach him something, War enjoyed learning a lot and thought there was always more to learn, he had fought many Zebra's but didn't mind the opportunity. He seemed interested in the fact War was an actual Warrior which was rare for ponies admittedly. To Zebra's ponies must seem the weaker race and they were right for the most part, many ponies couldn't fight their way out of a box and even the hard working ones lived pretty cushy life styles. Even our guard was embarrassing from time to time but honestly they truly just lacked the practice of real conflict and it showed. Equestria was to peaceful to have many harden ponies while nearly every Zebra was the opposite. A consistent struggle built them tough and it showed. 

War however considered himself an exception, his talent was combat. And the guard was in no way equal to the military forces. The only reason so many ponies could live plush comfortable lives was because the percentage of ponies that left to defend the country and voluntarily lived lives equivalent to, if not worse, then a lot of less fortunate races. And that's were War fell, "Certainly, wouldn't miss the opportunity."

@Dark Horse

His gaze followed the Zebra's as the purple Pegasus who had been so quiet up till this point finally spoke and he had a lot to say. He came off pretty pretentious but it was nothing War couldn't handle, he had a member of his own unit this Nova pony reminded him a lot of. 

War hadn't heard of him but living out side of the country made it hard to keep up with celebrities and when you are in the trenches of a war zone that's the last thing you think about. He really didn't need to worry about ponies forgettig him, his attitude during this introduction would burn him into their memories just fine. 

He spit out the word 'teammates' just like Disaster from his own unit. He was a bit of a showboater and thought highly of himself and his skills. Usually believing he could handle anything and everything on his own. This Nova seemed no different, well if he could indeed back up what he was saying War wouldn't have a problem with him but the second his behavior puts any of these ponies lives at risk they would have words. He would keep his eye on that one. 

@EQ_Theta @Golbez @Lil' Lovebug @PathfinderCS @SilverHeart

At least his last statements made since, he had attempted to introduce himself to everyone as soon as they showed themselves but they didn't seem to notice so he guessed he would again. Before that it seemed even if War didn't yet have anything to say or chastise this Stallion for some of the other ponies were more offended by his ego then War was. 

Salve jump right into telling the pony off, which he didn't blame him. He was speaking the truth, if any of them got hurt it was his job to help. Of course it was now War's, and he assumed, the Zebra's job to keep any pony from getting hurt to begin with. War wouldn't pretend he wasn't prepared to get hurt, he would block any of them with his body if he really needed to. 

The doctor did follow through and introduced himself. Then the green unicorn followed after, apparently a professor of the capitals prestigious university. That was a noble occupation War could respect and though she paused seeming shy, he didn't feel like she was trying to show off like their new purple friend. No, she was just truthfully sharing her occupation. Her blue costume wearing friend seemed the real shy one of the pair and let her friend Logic, introduce her. Her job explained the outfit, while it might not be a occupation as glamorous as others present War imagined it took tenacity to be a magician in a world already full of magic. That was a great quality and if she got up nerve to speak to the group herself he would like to here more.

What the Zebra had to say to the purple Pegasus was the most Interesting. He really put him on the spot and he hoped that pony would think before opening his muzzle, he could make a lot of enemies with his next few words and they didn't have time for infighting. 

War step forward to reintroduce himself to the party. "I am called War, captain of the Equestrian Special Operations unit. It's an honor to serve our country along side each of you, I am sure all our talents will serve each other well."

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((OOC: Sorry for mentioning everyone, for some reason my enter key stopped working as I was writing the mentions. After several attempts I've given up. trying Also sorry if I didn't include a responbse to everything, I was running short on time to write this.))

@All @Convergence @Golbez @Scribblegroove @PonyOfWar @Dark Horse @everyone else.

 

Mirror glanced towards the purple stallion as he so arrogantly introduced himself. There were many ponies like him in show business. Loud, selfish, arrogant, and prideful. Sometimes they could actually back up all their talk. It was still too early to see whether Nova was one of those few. Only time would tell. The only real response she gave him was a simple roll of her eyes before turning her attention back to Logic and Crowley.

 

Another Stallion stepped forward. itThe light blue unicorn was short, almost as short as Cherry. He announced himself as Salus Veta, a doctor. The way he spoke was certainly...unique to say the least.  Mirror couldn't tell if he was speaking to Nova or narrating his thoughts out loud. He certainly wasn't cowardly, he openly challenged Nova, a stallion that was easily his physical better. Mirror's attention was now firmly fixed on Nova, Salus, and the other ponies near them.

 

The next pony to introduce herself was Logic, whom she already knew fairly well. She wasn't paying much attention to Logic;s introduction and instead was looking around at the other ponies that hadn't introduced themselves yet. Her gaze drifted to the Zebra Warrior. Mirror had had the privilege of meeting several Zebras in her travels, they were still an exotic race to her, but she did enjoy hearing about their culture. Mirror smiled softly and nodded slightly at Dancer. All the other Zebras she had met so far had been mares, this was her first time meeting a Stallion and he certainly didn't disa- Mirror's thoughts were interrupted when she heard Logic speak her name. It took her a moment of listening to realize that Logic was giving her introduction for her. Mirror bowed slightly at the end of her introduction, she would have actually given it herself, if there was time, she could give it after everypony had introduced themselves.

 

The final pony to introduce himself so far was a large red stallion. It was short and to the point. The fact that he was the Captain of a Special Forces unit didn't sit well with Mirror. Mirror's lips pulled back into grim line, she hoped that he would be the only member of the military.
 

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@PonyOfWar  @Golbez @EQ_Theta  @SilverHeart  @Lil' Lovebug  @PathfinderCS  @Convergence

"Very good.." Crowley said, adressing to everyone there, happy that introductions had been taken care of. "I've sent word to the castle that you've all arrived. I think we can head in any moment now." And sure enough, mere moments after he spoke the words, the sound of fluttering wings could be heard. Fergus, his hawk, came flying down towards Crowley over their heads to land on Crowley's back. In turn, the pegasus reached to the tube on the birds' back and took out the small note inside. In the meantime, the bird proceeded to clean it's feathers with it's beak on Crowley's back, seeming effortlessly keeping it's balance despite it's constantly moving footing. "Right then." Crowley announced, once he looked up from the note. "The princesses will see you now. Follow me." The gate was opened by a pair of guards, and as they passed through it, it was closed behind them. Once they were inside, an escort of four palace guards joined them, beckoning the group to follow.

As they moved through the halls leading to the royal throneroom, the stunning insides of the palace revealed themselves. Stained glass, high ceilings, marble pillars. It was truly a artistic piece of architecture. The light of day shimmered through the windows, leaving no corner of the building in the dark. Barely any candles or lights had been lit since the sunlight was efficiently spread across the entire building, as if the architect wanted to complement the power of Celestia's sun in the palace.

@Golbez @SilverHeart

As they walked, Crowley took a moment to speak with Logic and Mirror again, falling into stride beside them. He first turned to logic. At first, it seemed like he was going to apologise for his transgressions earlier, but instead he did quite the opposite. "I truly mean it. Teaching students is a noble goal but there could be much greater things in store for the likes of you." He said, absolutely straight faced. "You should speak to Vrael this afternoon, I believe he is available. A very interesting intellectual, and could get you caught up on his teams' research efforts. I think you'll find them much more exciting than the basic principles you endure to teach your students." He then turned to Mirror image. "Same could be said for you, Miss Image. A shame to waste your talents on entertainment... You should speak with Vrael as well, he might be able to tell you something about that mask of yours." He stated, fully aware that Logic could hear every word he said. He then quickly removed himself from their vincinity, leaving them to their own thoughts.

 

When they finally reached the large doors to the throneroom, Crowley stopped and turned around to face the guests. "I must inform you, due to the circumstances the princesses have decided to drop any form of formality usually associated with a royal visit. I would tell you to show respect regardless, and not take their genorisity as naïvety." It was a warning of sorts. Some of these ponies would've probably expected something a bit more... official, or organised. He'd been inside the throne room assisting the princesses with the situation, and it had been all but organised. Finally, they entered the throne room.

 

"There you are!" A strong, warm voice, clearly that of Celestia, sounded through the room. The princess of the sun and moon were waiting for the arrivals, not on top of their thrones at the end of the room, but standing in the middle of it. Between them and the grand door there was a table, with a few chairs around it, including two large ones to fit for the princesses. "We are so honored and thankful that you have decided to come, my brave subjects." She continued. A gentle smile adorned her face as she welcomed them. Her sister, Luna, had a more serious look on her face. She remained silent, but nodded to show her respect.

 

"Please, sit down with us. We have much to discuss..." Celestia urged them, proceeding to take her seat as well. Crowley moved forward to stand beside Celestia, refusing to sit down. Subtly Celestia raised a brow at him, but seemed not to mind, apparently amused with Crowley's stubbornness, untouched by his regal and authorative personality. On the table were loads of documents. Maps, files and lists, as well as a lot of notes. It seemed like there had been planning and scheming going on here not too long ago, and not in a very orderly fashion. Crowley bowed himself over the maps, scuttling through the papers trying to find the right documents.

 

"While Crowley fetches the information concerning your mission, you can ask us any questions that haven't been answered yet." Luna said with her much deeper tone of voice as Celestia handed Crowley a folder with loose notes, chuckling softly at Crowley's haste and grumpiness. Crowley could be heard mumbling softly about 'organisation' and 'complete mess' as he frantically went through all the papers spread across the table. Luna gestured towards the seats across of her side of the table. Celestia also resumed a more serious position, ignoring the occasional muttering from Crowley, prepared to answer any questions that they could possibly ask.

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(edited)

@Scribblegroove

Standing in the presence of the princesses outside of formal gatherings is considered an honor, at least to Salve. The decor and the furnishings, everything about the castle speaks volumes about just how different this place is from the world outside. Being in the castle and looking outwards changes perception. Admittedly, it makes Salve feel high and mighty just to walk in those halls but Salve remembers the letter and what this meeting is all about. A stolen object possibly worth more than simply money has caught the princesses' attention and gathered a colorful group to investigate it. Still, Salve believed there were more capable and appropriate groups or individuals who could've been picked for this task. Local law enforcement or a dedicated agency whose job it is to tackle cases like this sounded like better picks. Given what isn't said, the unicorn thinks there is more to the robbery than simply breaking and entering. Star Swirl's reputation as a powerful and renowned unicorn only adds more curiosity with Salve no closer to guessing why. He knows of him but all of his knowledge on Star Swirl is more or less basic. Scholars will likely know more about him but it wasn't his area of expertise. 

And that leads to the root of his curiosity: the princesses could've picked anyone to look into this robbery and yet he and the others present were chosen. That has been a source of doubt on his part but it was reasonable for him to believe either a proper department would've been assigned or if bringing a ragtag group together to find out more about the robbery, there might be other individuals more exceptional than himself. His past already proved there is some shortcoming that wouldn't look good on an evaluation report and there are doctors who have cleaner, more desirable track records than his own. Nobody ever talks about a nearly disastrous triage, a proof of poor judgment on the practitioner's part and yet he's here instead of a more capable doctor. That thought bothered him but now that the princesses opened the floor to questions, Salve remained standing and slowly stepped forward. He looked to both Celestia and Luna and spoke.

"Unsure if speaking for all present but why pick us? Doctor, soldier, professor, athlete... why choose individuals specializing in various fields and professions when more capable agencies and departments are better suited to tackle investigation?" 

Edited by EQ_Theta

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The pony's attention was pulled away from every pony else when their current host said the princess were ready. This was a big moment for War and he really needed to focus on not embarrassing himself. He trotted along with the others taking in the sights of the inner castle and throne room.

The hall felt warm and inviting but also powerful, he relished in the feeling walking this hall left with him. He focused on the stained glass windows as they passed, liking the warmth of the suns rays on his back they cast inside. Each window told a story, stories War was familiar with.  A lot were y about the elements of harmony and the deeds they had accomplished, it was stories like these that really helped ponies out on the battlefield. People in the army recited them often to lift other ponies spirits, it was nice seeing them captured so elegantly in the royal palace.

The red pegasis remained silent but nodded at what the host was saying. This was to be informal but that didn't mean anypony should act with disrespect. So far everypony seemed...okay, surly everypony would be on their best behavior face to face with royalty. These were ponies who could have them exiled or worse, hopefully they kept that in mind. 

Once the doors opened his ears perked at the sound of Celestia's voice, it was so warm and inviting. He felt his heart start to race and his legs trembled as he had to remind himself not to bow. apparently. Which felt completely wrong. He couldn't help but stare at them a little flushed as they spoke, he was almost to excited about the encounter he had to remind himself to focus on what they were actually saying. When the princesses ask them to sit, War's gaze looked at the table and took in the chaos of information they had laying about. They would finally learn more about what was actually happening.

Before he could take his seat, their talkative doctor had a question. War still didn't at this moment, not any he didn't expect to get answered in the brief. He was still thinking of this like one of his missions and typically questions were withheld until the end. Still the question Salve asked was a interesting one, something War didn't think to ask. He had complete faith in his rulers and his country, if the princesses thought this rag tag team was better then, say his own unit, then he would trust them. Still it might be interesting to hear their explanation. 

 

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