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Posted (edited)

This RP is open and the OOC can be found: Here

The Kingdom of Seasons has returned. The prior rules known only in legend had been gone for many moons. Fate and Chronos had passed into the hourglass of time and mirror of fate. These elements now controlled the seasons of summer and fall as their owners once did along with the fates of all that walked and the timeline. Chronos and his wife Fate had passed into these object in order to preserve their kingdom in stasis from the wicked King Sombra. In their place, their children aspects of winter/death and potential/spring now ruled. Coming out of their hybernative state they took a few moons to get their bearings and then realized they must renew contact with the Princesses Celestia and Luna.

Thanos was taller than his sister. His coat a deep black and his cutiemark a set of crossed bones over an hourglass. His mane and tail were tinged with silver and purple and his eyes seemed to be a deep violet. He carried himself in a dignified but slightly sad manner. He was often silent unless he had something of importance to say. His roles mean he always felt when things passed from one world to the next and that he had to attend to those that needed help. Coming into this role was difficult for him and part of what he sought to understand on this trip to Canterlot. 

Arete was a light hay color and looked perpetually like a filly in facial features due to her being an aspect of the spring and thus new life/potential. Her shorter then average height and slightness of feature was a source of sibling teasing that maddened her. Her cutiemark was a leaf inside of a loom. Her mane and tail were a light blue that matched her eyes.  She loved helping ponies reach their best self and it saddened her to see her brother struggle in his role. She hated leaving her home but she knew her brother needed to reconnect with the rest of Equestria and thus accompanied him on the journey. 

As their hooves touch down on the streets of Canterlot they appeared to make a rather large stir. They were unaware of how long had passed since their kingdom was in stasis to protect them. For they were under the impression that it was only a few years. They expected that they were known in the Kingdom and that they were expected to give an account to Celestia and Luna. But by the startled looks they were getting it appeared that it might have been much longer. The did not know how their kingdom had faded from memory or how their parents magic had kept their duties running this entire time. That was why the spell took them from this world. Too much magic went into it. 

Their maps appeared useless and Thanos was starting to cause ponies to back away from them as the more self-conscious he got the colder the air around him felt. There is nothing like the chill that the reaper of ponies can generate when he forgets to control his magic. He truly hoped that Luna could teach him how to be a gentle darkness like the good dreams the night could bring. His sister tried to create a feeling of hope and relax Thanos but even she was lost. She knew enough that the royal voice of command would only cause everypony to panic. So she spoke softly. 

" I am Princess Arete from the Kingdom of Seasons. We are looking to meet with Princesses Luna and Celestia. Is there anypony that can point us in their direction? " 

Edited by Jedishy
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Sweet Comfort was halfway down the street when she noticed the commotion and the gathering crowd. She didn't have much to do left - she closed up her office, her clients were doing well, her packing was finished, and the only thing left to do was to choose. Canterlot was a nice place to stay for a while, and the years she spent here were enjoyable, both for the city and the people in it, but the itch to travel, no, to move was getting harder and harder to ignore over these last months. She wasn't bored, anything but - but the world was big, and getting bigger, and there was so much to see that the thought of not experiencing more of it made her a little sad. Time and place - in a way, even if she stayed in the same place, time would still make it change, but stay there, and she wouldn't notice. She considered Griffonstone, Yakyakistan, maybe even just swing back to Port Seabiscuit. Unannounced, of course. She smirked to herself. It would only be fair payback to her parents, though she did hope she wouldn't walk in on some of the things they caught her in in her youth.

She gently pushed her way to the front of the crowd, her curiosity not so much getting the better of her but consisting most of it when public events were concerned, and looked at the two ponies in front of her. She could see they were uncomfortable, their body language radiating unease like... she never could find a word for it. Coming to a familiar home to find another family living there. Still, there was also the sense of self-control, the tensing kept in check.

She blinked, the other features snapping into focus. Horns, wings... they were alicorns. Well, that certainly helped explain the crowd, even if it did bring so many other delightful questions.

"...meet with Princesses Luna and Celestia. Is there anypony that can point us in their direction?"

And that would chalk up another one to the list. She imagined that everypony in Equestria would know where the two Princesses lived and ruled from. She wondered if they had memory loss, but that seemed... unlikely. They seemed ill at ease with one thing, not with all of them.

"That's easy, miss, " she said in a friendly voice, taking care to keep condescension out of her tone - in everyday life, it was all too easy to sound mocking instead of helpful, especially when somepony was feeling uneasy. "It's the palace right over here, " she pointed to the shining castle built into the cliffside. "Although you may need to make an appointment to see the Princesses?" At least I would've had to, she grumbled under her breath. She was still a little bitter about that.

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Blue Thorn paused from his labor when he felt a slightly cool gust reach the thin sheen of sweat collecting at his brow. His job was just about done. He was at the final stage: reassessment. Scanning the field of grass and assorted, aesthetic devices of passive presumption in stature for a hint of blemish or wear, his proficiency became self-evident. And so Thorn loosened his grip on his hedge trimmers, brought his spade-tipped tail to his forehead, whipped the sweat from it, and allowed himself a gentle smirk as his doubt was once more remanded. Or it would have been, had this superficially peculiar pony possessed any doubt in the first place. No, he had been proven time and again that his craft outclassed his expectations. This time was no different.

 

With his job completed, Thorn left to see his employer for payment. As he carefully traversed his latest masterpiece of a landscape to the shop of his employer, he faintly reviewed last night's dream. A single pony that wore his obvious age like a loose toupee, with apathy and an underlining hope that it wouldn't betray him. He sat amongst a hoard of misfit beasts who shared about as much in common with each other as Discord's patchwork pieces. all of them were bound to this ponies hoof with collars of equal variety. However, what was most striking to Thorn was the single pony amongst the beasts, bound not by a collar, but by a cage of feathers that wrapped around him and gripped him cruelly. The bound pony's primal scream shocked Thorn awake.

 

Now he stands in a mostly empty store with only one other pony who seemed to be in some kind of rush.

"Excuse me," Thorn interrupted as he saw that the pony was slightly overweight and had a very troubled look on his face, "but do you know where everyone ran off to?"

The pony looked up at Thorn as if he had shaken him from a deeply introspective moment and responded in a moderately deep voice that would probably sound saddened even if he were in higher spirits, "Ya, they went off to see the new alicorns. I've got enough surprises going on in my life to bother with that though."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Well, I would stay, but I've got to collect on my contract. You know how it is. Can't let them think they can get out of paying just because some royalty shows up."

 

The two shared a nod, and thorn passed back through the wooden door. His search bearly started before he spotted the crowd, and low and behold, a single head stood prominently above the others. His face had reminded him of the pony he meat earlier. Troubled and no doubt swimming in self-reflection.

 

Thorn weaved his way through, and instead of finding his employer, his found himself in the radius that the rest of the crowd was kind enough to provide for the two alicorns and the striking pegasus giving directions. He instinctively turned his head away and raised his tail to cover his face. He didn't want to draw their attention, not when he had a debt to collect, but unfortunately, his sudden action would draw the eye, and his peculiar cutiemark and tail would no doubt raise a share of curiosity his way.

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Arete smiled at the crowd. Her smile lit up the area like a sun ray and her warmth was visibly relaxing the ponies around them. Thanos knew that his sister would be a key part of this journey but until now he did not know why. He scuffed at the ground as he looked around them trying to avoid direct eye contact with anypony. He knew his gaze could unsettle some as he could often see the thread of their life if his or their emotions were high and of the right sort. 

Arete on the other hoof was so excited to be in Canterlot that her wings were fluttering slightly with he fidgeting. She could feel the cold tension of her brother and was pressing close attempting to relax him. Her focus had been scattered on trying to take in the new surroundings and relax the crowd. When suddenly she heard a friendly voice speak up and she turned to see a pegasus pony addressing her. She smiled gently as she listened and followed the pointed hoof to what was clearly a castle. Laughing at their missing the forest for the trees she pranced a little on the spot her giggle causing the area to warm and breeze to pick up. She was better at her duties than her brother but she still was apt to show emotion via magic. 

" Oh thank you so much. We have never been here ourselves at least not that we remember. Our parents might have brought us here as foals though. I am Arete and this is my brother Thanos. We are the co-rules of the Kingdom of Seasons. Our parents protected it from King Sombra by giving up their hold on life. However, we thought it was not very long that their spell held us in its sway. But it appears it might have been longer then we thought. We need to report to Princesses Luna and Celestia and renew our ties to Canterlot." 


Thanos looked up taking in all that his sister said. Considering their situation he flexed his wings and spoke firmly and of enough volume that the crowd could hear him but without yelling. His voice was deep and commanding and his gaze seemed to hold anypony he looked upon in place. He knew now that this was his first impression on the ponys of Equestria at large and he did not want to botch it. 

" I am Prince Thanos as my sister has mentioned. It appears our kingdom has been gone much longer then we expected. I do apologize for any disruption we have caused. I also want to apologize if my own magics have made any of you uncomfortable. My sister is better in her role then myself and I hope that my own need to learn has not caused any of you any trouble. I hope that we will be able to invite many of you to a reunification ceremony very soon. " 

He bowed to the crowd and waited to see how his little speech went. He could appear royal and commanding when he was of the mind to. But the reality was that Thanos just wanted to see people comfortable and to take care of those in need. 

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Posted (edited)

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A Kingdom of Seasons? An actual new kingdom? Well, that definitely cinched her decision on where to move next. Except... she had no idea where it might even be, or how to get to it and there was at least one pony here who definitely needed some help and encouragement. And if that pony needed a helpful and well-intentioned advisor and confidant, well, then...

No! She smacked herself internally. Bad Sweet Comfort!  No trying to influence history on Equestrian scale! Especially not after last time!

A moment and an equally internal eyeroll at herself later, she gave Thanos a gentle smile and slight bow. "No apologies are necessary, I assure you." She raised her hoof and gestured at the gathered ponies, around and behind her. "I am positive that you will find all ponies in Equestria to be as welcoming and friendly as you might possibly wish." As she turned her head away from Thanos to face the ponies to her sides, there was a slightly different expression on her face - one that said, with no words necessary, "or else". She wasn't imposing, she certainly wasn't powerful, but she knew well the power of a well-honed authoritarian glare. She trusted her fellow ponies with it, in all honesty, but crowds, sadly, weren't always very bright or as friendly as the ponies they composed them were.

Edited by Quinch

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Blue Thorn kept his gaze low as the alicorns made their announcement. Many ponies would be overjoyed to witness such a historically significant event, but Thorn was not many ponies. Thorn had a life and a good one at that. No amount of flare and cosmic promises could compare to his rewarding life as a simple groundskeeper. Let the kings and cabbages fight over who 'owns' the land. So long as there is grass on the earth and a person to see it, Thorn will have a purpose. So, oblivious to the stem of his apathy for authority, Thorn strode back into the crowd for his employer.

Thorn was lucky enough to find him with minimal hassle, "Sir, the job is done. The flora at the front of your shop will be a pleasant sight for your customers."

"Very good. I'll have your payment as soon as the alicorns leave. I don't want to miss a moment of this."

"Fine," Thorn said with a hint of exasperation, "just remember that it's a bad habit to delay your employee's payment. I'll wait for you at the shop."

"What's the rush? It's not like my money's going anywhere, and seeing the new alicorns could be a once in a lifetime opportunity."

The shopkeep was convincing enough, so Thorn silently decided to stay and see the royal siblings off.

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Arete and Thanos nodded and spoke almost in unison. 

" Thank you all for the kind welcome and help find our way to the castle. I am not sure if we need anypony to bring us there but it appears to be a fairly straight shot. If there is nothing else we need to know we shall head to the castle and attempt to figure out the particulars of what needs to be done for our kingdom. " 

The siblings smiled at the pegasus that pointed them in the right direction getting their bearings and smiling at the crowd they bow their goodbyes and headed down the streets of Canterlot towards the castle. The sights and sounds of such a large city were amazing to them. Their kingdom had always been sparsely populated at the castle that they had was nowhere near the size of the one before them. They had always been told that Canterlot and the royals sisters were vital friendships by their parents but this drove the point home. Their kingdom was dependant on these connections for trade and growth. Without it, their people could not live their lives to their fullest. 

Further, the Royals sisters were the greatest sources of knowledge on magic and how to rule that existed in the known world. Without their help, the young alicorns would have a lot of trouble getting on their hooves having missed out on vital training when their parents passed. This reunification was one not only of friendship but a deep need on their part. They knew what was on the table and could only hope that the sisters were as kind as the stories they were told made them out to be. 

As they reached the castle a guard spotted them and approached with a board look at first. But as he saw their wings and horns a look of shock crossed his face and he ran into the castle while a shift captain came out to entertain them while they waited. 

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Luna woke up early today, as early as a nocturnal being comfortably could, when she was hailed by one of her loyal Lunar Knights, "Princess Luna, two alicorns have arrived at the palace claiming to know you and your sister."

"Alicorns?!" Luna began in her royal we before she reminded herself that such language, though eloquent, was in the past, "Parden, we'll see them at once! You escort them to the throne room where my sister and I will meet them."

"They are already on their way my princess."

"Very good,"  Luna ended as the guard left and she followed after in a dominating stride.

 

Luna had a strong idea as to who could be at the gates. Her imprisonment wasn't very long after the fall of the Crystal Empire, so the memories of their neighboring Kingdom of Seasons weren't difficult to conjure. If she remembered correctly, Cronos and his wife sacrificed themselves to guard their kingdom against Sombra's influence. That left their children Thanos and Arete. She remembered them as mere children before she was banished, now it seems they have grown enough to start venturing out on their own. She couldn't imagine the turmoil the loss of their parents must be causing them. Her own imprisonment was isolated, with the envy and hatred of Nightmare Moon dominating her mind throughout her thousand-year sentence, but such pain was temporary, though it was very real at the time. Thanos and Arete experienced loss in it's purest and most horrendous form. Their childhood being cut so abruptly would echo throughout their lives. So Luna adopted a somber air to respect their loss even though she didn't know Chronos and his wife very well as they tended to keep to their own kingdom.

As Luna entered the throne room, she saw that her assumption was correct, there were Thanos and Arete, so grown up, "Thanos, Arete, I'm sorry for your loss, but it's still good to see you again after so long,"  Luna greeted with a bow as she made her way to her throne.

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Thanos and Arete entered the throne room accompanied by a few of the guards that had kept them entertained while the princess was notified. Both of their eyes grew wide at the sight of the sister. She was so regal and her presence so commanding. This castle was huge easily twice the size of the one they grew up in. They had vague memories of being here once or twice as foals but not much other than this. 

Thanos stepped slightly ahead of his sister his wings fluffed up and head held high. He grew close to the thrones stopping at the bottom step. He bowed deeply as his head lowered and wings spread wide. Speaking as they were trained when young, his voice booms but takes on the ethereal tinge of death as it always did when his magic bloomed forth. 

" Greeting fair Princess and Mistresses night! We are Thanos and Aretes come to renew ties to Canterlot and her rulers!

Aretes followed just behind her brother emulating his bow. However, her youngish muzzle scrunched up in discomfort at the royal voice of command. She was pretty sure things had changed and she did not get a feeling of formality as she walked these halls. She had a hunch that the sisters were far kinder and put less stock in formality then their foal sitters and teachers did growing up. Further none of the other formalities had been taken so it was a wise bet that they were expected to just be themselves. Rising from her bow she spoke softly with just a hint of sadness to her voice. 

" Thank you, Princess Luna, for your kind words. Our parents gave up everything to protect us and our kingdom. We can only hope to follow in their hoofprints and to lead our people back into the connections that once made us so strong. "

Thanos was always more formal and swifter to follow the rules then his sister. He looked at her sideways from his bow as if she had lost her mind. He kept his composure but his nostrils snorted ice hinting his annoyance with his sisters' informal ways. He rose slowly as if unsure how to proceed without the rules of formality to guide him. Looking up at the Princess he offered a small smile and waited to see how their mixed method of introduction played out. 

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Posted (edited)

Luna looked on as the two guests bowed neutral. Her look then turned to one of intrigue when she saw Aretes break the bow while Thanos held his. Luna noticed that both of their responses were born from the same place despite being intrinsically inverse. She had seen it all too often in the foals of whos dreams she walked; and these two were still foals at heart. Even something as trivial as a greeting was enough to give Luna a peek at their personalities. Right now she was seeing how these siblings dealt with uncertainty. Their approach was the same even if the results were different so that made two similarities so far. It was an important thing to recognize if these two were to rule a kingdom together. More to the point, Luna interpreted Aretes way as the simple way to ignore something; to pretend the events never existed just as she is pretending that they were never used to the customs of the old times. An easy thing to do for the apparent optimist that she assumed Aretes was.

However, Thanos didn't seem to have an easy time letting memories go, so he threw himself into customs and other mundane responsibilities to distract himself from his lack of preparation on the situation. This would be perfectly reasonable for the average pony, but that wasn't the case. They were rulers, and in a peaceful time at that. Connection and personality were pivotal in peaceful times to prevent unrest and apathy in the population. 

 

Luna then realized just how much her work had bled into her social life. Here she was diagnosing the two alicorn rulers of her neighboring country. Although that was a sure sign of a responsible pony, it was also the sign of a workaholic. It might not be the worst thing to be, but she would have to be more careful about it to ensure her relationship with her sister didn't suffer.

 

"Of course," Luna responded as she snapped out her introspection and back into the conversation, "your kingdom has always made for an excellent ally for both trade and general neighborliness. We would be happy to resume where we left off with your mother and father."

"Although," Luna paused and looked a little concerned, "I feel like there's something else that's troubling you. Your parents often came to us seeking counsel, so if our relationship is to be just as strong then I would ask that you do the same with us."

Edited by Loud Opinion

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The two siblings froze. Was their lack of knowledge about how to rule that apparent? Was it so clear to everypony that they had hardly been trained in much more than the history and other subjects a ruler might need before their parents had been lost to them? They had been trained in so many things but not how to actually rule. They had barely started to attend court functions when their world was turned on its head. So when they came out of stasis they did their best and had an understanding people. But the reality was they needed help. King Sombras attack had taken much of the advisory staff as well as their parents. So they had nowhere to turn. 

Worse was Thanos and his inability to accept his role. The turmoil he felt at that question caused magic to burst around him. The air turned chilly. His hooves frosted over and his eyes moved from a deep violet to a black so deep that it seemed like you looked into eternity itself. The most startling change, however, was the skull like markings that appeared on his face. He now looked every inch the grim reaper that he was. His visage would be terrifying if not for the pain etched into every inch of him. His voice no longer boomed with the royal we. But the ethereal quality of death returned as he showed the Princess of the night exactly what the Prince of death looked like. 

" Yes Princess there is something wrong. We have no idea what we are doing. We were just learning how to sit court when King Sombra attacked. We lost our parents, most of our advisors, and are basically clueless outside of the general education of royal children. Worse I hate what I am. I have to show up to help ponies pass from this world to the next. Not all mind you. Just as you do not attend every nightmare. But those that need me, I must attend to. do you know what its like to not just hold a ponies hoof as they pass, but to collect their spirit and send it on?! To bring on the chill of winter and death?! I do not want to be feared but how the hay can I not be?!

The last question came out with a note of painful pleading to it. These two young alicorns were just coming into their own and for one it was a blessing. For Thanos it was misery. He was clearly begging for the wisdom his parents might have given him. To lose your parents and gain a cutiemark while in magical stasis was a terrible thing and these two had been so overwhelmed with just trying to restore order before the left for Canterlot that they had not really come to terms with it. Arete softly brushed her brother with her wing as a gesture of comfort.  

She stepped forward her features despite being eternally youthful took on the weight of years. Her wings sagged and she looked up with barely restrained tears. Up until now the two of them had been rocks for their kingdoms sake. But here in this throne room before the wisdom of Luna she felt so young and silly. She felt as if she was a filly again being asked to give an account of her lessons to a teacher. Her voice quaked a little as she too opened up. 

" Princess we are doing our best to figure things out but we are hardly getting a handle on our parents.... loss. We came here hoping to seem like strong rulers taking our parent's hoofprints with ease. But we are just lost and scared. Our people need us and we had just barely started learning how to rule when we lost it all. My role comes easily for me. My magic helps ponies reach their potential and brings on the spring. Creating change and bloom feels great and comes naturally. My brothers' side of things is not so easy. In short, we need help and we need to figure things out. Worse we dont even know where to start."

The pair now sat feeling drained and having lost the excitement and newness of the travel. The weight of their task and fate seemed unbearable. But they knew they could not fail. They would just have to find a way to keep moving forward. 

Edited by Jedishy

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And just like that, the two unraveled before her. Luna noted that Aretes held fast even with a hint of falter, but Thanos' facade had fallen like a house of cards. This didn't surprise Luna. As the light that shines in the darkness, she had seen the same reaction time and time again. Maybe not as intense as Thanos' outburst; his cold magic and dark eye's reminded her of her cold and aloft jailer, the moon, while his wight bone markings reminded her of its underdeveloped surface; but some still were close Thanos' intensity as the dream realm can be a harrowing place to confront someone, even one as innocent as a foal. Luna briefly toyed with the idea of feigning surprise to help Thanos' self-esteem but dismissed it as decidedly counterproductive. This stallion needed guidance and a pony to put his faith in. Luna and her sister needed to be staunch in order to give that guidance.

 

Thankfully, Thanos had sounded very similar to herself shortly after she was freed from her prison and remembered how she dealt with it. Perhaps a similar situation was what was needed, but that would have to wait, ponies need to know that the old kingdom of seasons is not only real, but that it had returned. 

"Aretes, Thanos, my sister and I hear your pleas, and luckily, we have a plan to get you both on the road to being the rulers you've always been meant to be, but you must steel yourselves, for the people need to be formally introduced. Your people are familiar with our rule because they were around to see it, but you are alien to our people. This needed to be remedied if we are to help you. We will hold a ceremony to formally introduce the both of you to our kingdom. Aretes, you are inexperienced, but this is a simple thing to fix. We haven't needed our advisors for some time, so we will send them to your kingdom to aid you personally until you know how you wish to lead and how to act on those wishes. Thanos though, your situation is bordering on precarious due to the nature of your destiny, so I would ask that you stay here in Equestria where we can be most effective in helping you."

 

Luna watched their reactions as she finished, thankful that Celestia allowed her this time to shine while she worked in her own element.

Edited by Loud Opinion

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Thanos and Arete both perked up instantly. Introduction and ceremony were something they were drilled in since they were young. At last something familiar. They had sat through so many dignitary visits and dinner receptions that this made sense to them. Sure they might have to play a larger role now but they had seen their parents act in that capacity. They knew more or less what was expected and were coached on dealing with surprises. They had even hosted their own event not long before their period of stasis. Sure it was simply to induct a new advisor but it had gone well and they had been proud. 

Thanos shook himself a little returning to his normal form. He was not sure how embarrassed to be over his outburst. But for once he felt understood. He felt like he had hope for making sense of all of this. Their parents had been aloof always worried with larger views of things and this lead to a lack of guidance in real leadership. They were learning very swiftly that foal sitters and instructors were one thing. But the real tricks to leading had to be felt and learned by doing alongside others. Which they had sadly just started on before things went so poorly for them. He shook off the ice that had frosted over him and looked at Luna with the first true smile his sister had seen in ages. 

" Thank you for the help, Princess. We have tried to apply what we have learned. But not only did our gifts come into bloom during stasis but we had just barely started real training to take on royal responsibilities whenever everything got turned upside down. I am truly sorry for that outburst. Its just we have had to take on so much since our stasis ended and we have not had a moment to even really grasp our duties and gifts in private. All of that has been building for a while I guess.

The stallion looked sheepish for his moment of weakness but he felt hopeful and that he had someone who might just understand. His sister was a great confidant but she never really grasped how it could feel to be feared whenever you had to do your work. But somehow he felt that right here, right now he could find his place. Even if it would take a bit of time. They were lucky their parents had taught them well enough to seek help from those wiser in times of hardship. Arete smiled and was much more relaxed than her brother. She loved him and was always hopeful that it would all work out. 

" Thank you, Princess. I am sure that with your help we can manage to figure this all out. So how do we go about getting this all set up to introduce us to Canterlot? I mean I have heard of short notice before but this is going to have to be the fastest we have ever lent a hoof to such an event. " 

Her smile warmed the room and left even her brother feeling a bit better for it. Things seemed like they were looking up for the first time in a while for the pair. They now understood why their mother and father always told them if Celestia or Luna spoke they had best listen because there was always something to learn. 

Edited by Jedishy

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And there it was, the thing that kept Nightmare Moon at bay for so many years was shining forth through the two before her, the glimmer of hope. She let her smile broaden at that. She lived for moments like these, really. To see ponies being inspired like they could hold the world on their shoulders, made her believe she could too. "You remind me of myself when I was younger Thanos. If it's me you look up to, then I'm sure you won't have to look up for very long."

However, there was the matter of actually setting up the ceremony. Luna nearly rolled her eyes at that, but thankfully was able to stop herself. Her sister was always the better pony person with mingling and hosting and all manner of social planning. "I'll let my sister handle that," Luna said as her horn flared to message Celestia on the ceremony, and an apology for the short notice, as she stepped down from her throne to be at eye level with her guests, "I still have to introduce you to the advisors that will be helping you back home, and go over some of the destinations for Thanos."

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Celestia had sensed something was going on in the throne room but she was busy sending letters to delegates from YakYakistan and a few other places. She had figured if her sister needed anything she would be summoned. As she got the message a ripple of shock ran through her. She set aside her work and instantly set about sending messages to all the proper people to set up the ceremony swiftly. She was so engrossed in her work she did not even use magic to notify her sister. She sent a guard pony instead as she was too busy using her magic to contact or gather all that was needed on such short notice. 

Armored Flank rushed to the throne room careful to slow in the last hallway so as not to be out of breath. He approached the doors and despite the word of Celestia still could not believe what he saw. Two Alicorns stood before Princess Luna. An entirely new kingdom and two new rulers... his lifetime surely had to have seen the greatest explosion of magic since the first hearths warming. He slowly approached from the side and waited to be addressed. With him, he had a scroll written by Celestia among many other acts of magic as the room seemed to explode in motions and parchment out of nowhere

Dearest Luna,

I got your message and I am moving swiftly to get the ceremony in motion. I have so many ponies to contact but by the morning we shall have the needed supplies and ponies in place to host the ceremony and a small reception afterward. If it's not too much of an imposition of your time I would like to host the party later in the day so that we might both attend. I would also ask that you send my best to Thanos and Arete. I have a feeling Thanos will need your guidance more than mine sister. 
Love 

Celie  

 

Thanos and Arete bowed in thanks to Luna and nodded their agreement to the mentioned plan. They were excited to be doing something that they felt they could handle. When they first woke it felt like they had been asked to shoulder the world and to their credit, they had managed most of what needed doing without too many bumps. But it had taken so much out of them to put their own issues and grief on the sideline while trying to learn to do tasks they barely had a clue how to manage. In their excitement, they spoke one after the other sparking laughter at the first feelings of relief and silliness they had in a long time. 

Thanos

" Of course Princess. We will gladly follow your guidance in this matter. I really would like to get to know the ponies of Equestria. They seemed so friendly even to me as I landed not long ago. And there were so many happy looking towns along the way. We really cant thank you enough for the welcome and the help. I just hope we can return the kindness somehow. "

Arete

" Oh I have heard so much about what great parties and events the ponies of Canterlot can put on. I do hope we can freshen up before hoof. My mane is a fright from our not stop travel here....."

Arete trailed off a bit and blushed a little but then shook it off. Her request was perfectly natural and they had traveled all day to get there. 

" Um, Princess can you point me towards the little fillies room? I need to freshen up and get some water sooner then I expected.
 

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Luna let out a giggle of her own at the youthful display. It reminded her of why she liked working with foals. So full of energy and wonderment, they had a way of spreading that wonderment to her. "Go straight forward through those doors, and it should be the third door to the left, Ateres," Luna said, sensibly prioritizing restroom needs as the highest as she idly opened the scroll passed over to her.

As Aretes left, Luna took a moment to skim through the scroll before turning back to Thanos, "Looks like the party will be tomorrow evening. That does raise the question of sleeping arrangements. If you have no place to stay for the night, we can offer the guest bedroom we offer cadence when she visits and the spare one for you. Also, we are planning a tour for you after the reception if I forgot to mention it already. Would you like to plan for it today, tomorrow, or after the ceremony?"

"Oh, and before I forget, Celestia sends her regards."

Edited by Loud Opinion

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Arete rushed off in the direction she was pointed. Her speed making her a blur and causing her brothers main to fluff out as she blew past. She had always been the speedy one. As spring rushes in new life so did she speed about. Her brother on the otherhoof had almost unending endurance. Death was a slow march more often than not and as its embodiment Thanos rarely tired. The flight here had taken a lot out of Arete but Thanos faired far better. As he watched his sister go, Thanos, smiled softly. He cared deeply about her and would always try to keep her happy even if he had to fake a smile to not have her worry about him.

He turned to the Princess with a slightly more somber look. His muzzle wrinkled with concern. He did not want to come off as childish but he needed to sit down and speak with her before he departed and he did not want to involve any other pony in the matters he had at hoof. So he drew up his resolve and spoke softly but firmly. 

" Princess I have duties that would have kept me out of my kingdom even if we did not need you and Celestia help. And as it's not yet time for winter I think you can guess the duties I am speaking of. So before I head off I should like to sit and talk privately with you about that aspect of my work if you do not mind.  Oh, and me and my sister brought a few gifts from our kingdom that we should like to present to you both at the ceremony. We did not get as far as planning out a place to stay on the way here. So your offer of accommodations is most welcome. Truth be told we barely held it together to restore working order to the kingdom before rush off to seek you out. We were both were terrified at our parent's loss and only kept a brave face for our those we look after. As for the tour, I think we are both open to it happening this evening if you are ok with it. My sister if I know her will be to excitable to sleep and I am more of a night person myself. I rarely need to sleep more than a few hours.

Arete returned with a bounce in her step her mane much more in order and her muzzle lit up with a smile. Now that a plan was at hoof and she had refreshed herself she was excited to see the potential of these new relationships and a whole new world of ponies had in store. She was sure that things would blossom in the right directions and if now well she could lend and hoof and push it that way. So long as her brother wouldn't give up they could accomplish anything. 

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Luna raised a brow when Thanos mentioned that he would like to discuss things privately. She almost didn't catch the part about them bringing gifts in the light of Thanos' request. It was not in Luna's nature to keep things secret, rather she was diametrically opposed to such indirect methods. Many ponies got the wrong impression with her and her sister, so it was understandable for Thanos to assume Luna would take his request casually. Indeed, her dark aesthetic and actions as Nightmare Moon told a story of a mare drenched in obscurity and infamy, and her older sister was the spitting image of the honest noble. These ideas, however, were only surface level ones. Luna's entire destiny, the core of her being, was tied with the moon. The thing that shone light upon those that the sun couldn't reach. To unveil things that would otherwise remain a mystery. Even the assumptions about her sister weren't entirely true. Just as the sun itself can be deceptive, with a direct gaze being blinding, in turn making mirrors, a symbol of introspection, into a weapon, so to could she be mischievous. Thankfully, her sister is a benevolent mare, but even that doesn't stop her from playing the odd prank here and there.

 

What made it worse was the return of Aretes. What was she to make of this request? Did Thanos simply mean to discuss it in a less public room? If that was the case, then where? The castle didn't have an office. We liked to work from our rooms and every room except for our bedrooms had guards stationed within them for security reasons. Our free time was mostly spent in the gardens, but that was hardly privet. Maybe there was a place that was secret and socially appropriate in the castle, but Luna thought about it so rarely that nothing came to mind. Then there was a more concerning possibility. Could he mean to keep this from his sister? Luna shook her head both at the thought and to Thanos' request, "I'm afraid this room is as privet as it gets around here Thanos," Luna said, trying to remember Celestia's advice to remain agreeable, "I can instruct the guard to not let anyone through, but seeing how many emergencies we get these days there's a good chance that order will get ignored."

"Trust me when I say this Thanos, secrets are never worth the effort."

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Arete looked at her brother with concern. Was there something he was keeping from her? They rarely hid anything from each other. Well unless one counted having a crush or some other such silly thing. For him to want to talk privately about something it had to be important. If it was important she ought to have been the first to know. Her muzzle bunches into a frown and she walks so that she is to the side of both Luna and Thanos. 

" What is she talking about Thanos? What have you not told me? If its important enough for you to need advice on why would you not come to me? "

Thanos frowns and his ears flatten. He hated to worry his sister and he knew she would be upset by what he had to say. She always wanted him to be his best but he just could hardly stand his role let alone accept it. He was sure she would lecture him about how he could be great and all this other fluffy stuff when he needed to let it out first and then go from there. With a heavy sigh, he looked at Luna and then his sister. Concentrating he cast a bubble of silence around the three of them so as to not be overheard. 

" Well fine if I must speak openly then you must know there are five ponies that are due to pass from this world to the next within the next year. All that will need my help. I can always feel when this is about to happen and where it will happen. I can tell the timeframe and location just not the who until its much closer. They will pass in Appleoosa , Manehatten, Fillydelphia, Canterlot, and  Baltimare. The reason I wanted to not be overhead is knowing death is coming can cause a panic. Worse I did not want my sister to hear this next part. No offense Arete but you always try to make me feel better when sometimes being heard is what I need. The reality is that most ponies are terrified when I show up. At best I am sad when I go about my work. I've read about a happy death, a peaceful death and ponies accepting death gently. But I've no clue how to manage that. To do my job you have seen what I look like when my magic is in full sway. How can that not be terrifying?! 

 

Arete frowned a little and she started to get upset but then she sighed softly and realized her brother was right. Too often she wanted to fix things for him rather then listen to him and let it work itself out naturally. She knew what he could be if he just accepted his role. But no pony could make that happen. Not even her. 

" You are right big brother, I am sorry I have been pushing you so hard in that area. I think some pony other then me will have to help you accept who you are.

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Now Luna understood Thanos' request. Looking at his sisters face it became all too clear why Thanos would want to keep that skeleton inside its closet (No pun intended), but this was for the best. There was no way he could keep the details of his occupation under wraps for any meaningful amount of time. Better for her to know now then to be shattered years later. This made Luna even more grateful that Celestia allowed her to handle this. If it were her sister then who knows how this could have ended. Her sister was no pushover, but dealing with mortals for most of her rule gave her a bad habit of compromising when she shouldn't be. Even before the banishment, Luna could see Celestia getting complacent, letting things get out of hoof before swiftly resolving them.

Luna was a little taken back by Thanos' resurgence of doubt, making it evident that this would be far more challenging than her own reacclimation from Nightmare Moon. Perhaps the variety of ponies he meets will overcome the complications.

What surprised Luna was when Aretes actually apologized. The sincerity of the apology was the sure mark of maturity. This filly was going to make a fine ruler soon.

"I can't judge your destiny, Thanos, even if I wanted to," Luna said more somberly, not entirely satisfied with her own response, "We can begin planning the tour after the ceremony, but I am afraid my words have met the extent of their utility. Rarely is wisdom ever achieved through a single source."

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Thanos sighed clearly wanting direction. He reached into the saddlebag he was still wearing and started to pull a bit of paper and a quill from it. In a flash Aretes, demeanor went from kind and gentle to annoyed. She leaped forward and knocked the parchment to the ground. 

 

" No. No Thanos you need to knock that off. Stop writing down every bit of advise and quote from every pony you meet that is even a bit older or wiser. Stand on your own four hooves for once. Get your head out of law books and rules of decorum and actually THINK for ponys sake. Whenever you have had to problem solve you have done a great job but if given half the chance you will quote some long dead pony. Guess what big brother those wise ponies you quoted along the way you will have to reap them one day.  Then what? Will you look to ponies half your age for wisdom? When will you learn that the books and the quotes were fine for a while but you need to let them go?! I get it, mom and dad made you follow the rules like a soldier. But they are gone and we are here and you need to deal with that.

Thanos looked taken aback at his sisters' outburst. Never had she in their entire life stood against him like that. Never mind with so much frustration. He had always been expected to set the example. Follow the rules Thanos so your sister has an example, hold to the ceremony like a proper older brother Thanos your sister is watching you. For his entire life the rule book was his guide for he was to be hers. So he was good at the courts of law and at ceremonies. But if it came to settling disputes, handling emergencies that were not a battle or anything where he had to set the rules he tried to force the rules to fit. 

His sister on the other hoof was as wild as the spring breezes. She embraced her magic and willful spirit at a young age. Often going off on her own. Thanos, on the other hoof, knew how strong he was and feared it. She could make dozens of pebbles fly in intricate patterns. He could crush a bolder to dust with a thought. Freedom and Restraint. Life and Death. Forever two sides of a coin with love as the metal in the middle. He hung his head and wordlessly headed to the bedroom that was offered. He needed to think. 

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And just as soon as she had shown her maturity, Aretes unveiled the ugly truth of a young mind. Something Luna didn't like to dwell on, yet it made itself known to her all the same. One day or another, they impose their truth as the universal, making oddities seem threatening, no matter how benign they would otherwise seem. When one least expects it. They will lash out at said threats, and often with loved ones. Those they care the most about. Those they care enough to try fixing. 

At the start of Arete's outburst, Luna was tempted to laugh as it seemed like a playful jab that siblings often had for one another in their own charming way. The mood soured when Arete's shpeal got personal, and Luna thanked her lucky stars that she hadn't cracked. Luna wanted to scold the filly for not only for disrespecting her elders but also for imposing this foolish standard of self-reliance that often hurt more than it helped. However, Tartarus has no fury like a brothers scorn and it wasn't her place to lecture ponies on how to operate in their family, so she bit her tongue. Alas, her own fury was at a simmer, and she could not hide the fusion of indignation and disappointment on her face. Aretes might have a point, and maybe this is what Thanos needed to become a more reliable ruler, but they were the only family they had for one another. They couldn't look to their mother or father for emotional support anymore, and to betray someone's weakness in front of one of their idles. To announce someone else's insecurities so brazenly. Well, Luna would like to think in the countless years she was dealing with the practice, she would have a good idea where the line between tough love and cruelty was drawn, but the fact that she was getting so worked up over this was evident enough that we all had our breaking point, no matter the age, and no matter the environment.

"I'll meet you both just before the ceremony," Luna said coldly as she left for her room. It was all she could manage in such a precarious situation, but hopefully, Thanos would take it well. Even that hope was difficult to hold.

Edited by Loud Opinion

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Aretes looked on as both her brother and Luna left the throne room. She could barely hold back her tears. She knew she should have spoken in private and far more gently about the matter. But she was so tired of her brother holding back, waiting to see, leaning on others. He moved so slow it was maddening and he acted to timid he seemed like he was afraid to even speak. She knew his strength. She had seen him in action as children. Just as King Sombra attacked and panic set in. As their parents moved to confront the threat ponies were fleeing everywhere and the guard were trying to keep order. In a flash, her brother was there booming orders and moving ponies to safety. He was the one that marched her to her room and set about its magical protections. She had never seen power radiate from him like it before but in that moment no pony with an ounce of sense would have questioned him. In fact she had been the first to wake. She found him in the throne room frozen in the midst of giving some order or another. 

She headed to her offered room any lay down on with tears threatening to spill over. She wanted that brother back. The one that looked after her and lead her and everypony to safety that day. He had the command of royalty then. She knew what he could do. She could not make all the decisions alone. But so often his voice would speak out and tell her to wait. To hold on and think when things needed doing now. What the young Alicorn was failing to see is that his slow process often prevented mistakes from being made. His thoughtful nature and wide knowledge of procedure ensured jobs done right rather than quickly. They both needed to learn from each other if they were to make it. 

" Good night Thany please don't be too mad at me" she whispered to herself as she fell into a slumber. 

Thanos stalked his room his tail lashing back and forth and his breath frosting the air before him. He was livid at her outburst. Oh she was right and that made it worse but there were ways to do things. Decorum and procedure had their place but she could never see that. She would not or could not understand that sometimes rules had a reason. She would forget to plan out in what order to repair something and as a results crops would be scheduled to be planted before the irrigation system was in place to water them. Small things like that piled on to his frustration with her. But he knew she was younger and more carefree. He also knew she was clever thinking outside the box and saving their manes more than once. With a heavy snort he grabbed a bit of parchment and penned his sister a letter. 

Aretes, 

Listen I understand your point I do. But as with so many of our disagreements, you could have spoken to me privately. You could have waited to see why I do what I do. But you acted impulsively. Yes I know waiting on me can be maddening for you but so too is my trying to play catch up with your speed. We need to work as a team and that means talking rather than embarrassing each other. Lets set this to the side. We have much to do tomorrow and being upset at a minor gripe wont help it. Please make sure you have Celestias gift for the Ceremony tomorrow. I have the other two. 

Love 

Thanos

He signed it and frosted an image of them at play into the paper. A trick that always made her laugh as a filly. He sent it under her door with magic and then set about getting ready for tomorrow. He would likely be up before her but he knew there were many ponies to greet and much to get done. He was halfway through a writing a speech for the ceremony when he fell asleep at the desk in the room. 

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Princess Cadence watched her new crystal subjects from her new throne.  It was such a peaceful day.  So calm.  So peaceful.  So...very...boring!  Cadence nearly fell off her throne asleep from sheer boredom.  She sighed a long, deep sigh.

 

"Uh-oh, I know that sound."  Shining armor smiled, "what's the matter, sweetie?"

 

"I know it's wrong, but I thought finally getting my own kingdom would be more...exciting!"  Cadence admitted, "You would think the ponies would want to talk about the world outside Equestria, or to their new princess on the throne, but since Sombra has been defeated, more and more crystal ponies have chosen to leave to see the world for themselves, and those that have stayed are under this odd impression that they aren't allowed to speak to me.  If this keeps up, my first kingdom will be either empty or full of ponies that see me as too royal to make friends with, and I don't know what to do about It!  I get that they probably act that way tword me since that's what Sombra expected, but I am not him!"

 

"Wow...you really needed a rant."  Shinning whistled, before hugging his wife, "I know this is a bit of a transitition, believe me.  I am so not used to ponies bowing everywhere I go.  We need to give them time to adjust to us.  They at least seem happy to have you as their princess.  Maybe we could have a celebration for them coming out of their disappearance.  Something different from the Crystal fair, and they can see the way you will rule the city through your actions, and your beautiful heart!"

 

Cadence kissed Shinning Armor, "I love you!"  She smiled, her wheels in her mind set in motion when a pony guard rushed in to see her. 

 

"Princess, please forgive my interuption,"  the Crystal guard bowed low, "there is news that a neighboring kingdom has also returned like ours."

 

"Wait...another?!  How?!"

 

"From what I dug up, a crystal pony noticed it on their journey to see the world, your highness.  They went in, listening to the citizens.  Apparently, this city was also the target of King Sombra’s cruelty.  The crystal pony came back to tell us the news.  The ponies can recall the attack, which is better than we had when we came out.  Also, their rulers were banished with them."

 

"Rulers, you mean-"

"Yes, your grace.  There are two Alicorns that reside there...like Princess Celestia and Princess Luna.  They weren't in the city at the time though.  One of that kingdom's ponies said they wished to see the Princesses of Equestria."

 

Cadence sat with this new information for a bit, pacing as she thought, "Shining, sweety, I need you to stay here for the Crystal ponies.  I need to go see Tia and Luna.  I have so many questions. I want to know about their culture and what it was like back then.  With the Crystal ponys' memories still fuzzy on what h append, this is the best way to learn everything, and then I can help these ponies through what they've been through!"  Cadence jumped, "another kingdom, Shining! How exciting!"  She kissed him, running out.

 

Shinning smiled,  watching her, "Well, I will miss her, but I'm glad to see that smile again.  I was beginning to miss it."  He sighed, sitting on her throne, content.

 

Meanwhile, in Ponyville, a grey mare trotted along sadly.   She was not having a good day.  She had dropped mail in puddles, bumped into a very upset donkey, and destroyed part of his house, and worst of all, all of her muffins had fallen into the creek when she sat them on the bridge above.  Her stomach rumbled in protest of not having food.  She sighed, going back to the post office.  Once she got there, another pony came up, "Hey, Derpy! This letter came in for you!"  Derpy looked at the letter.  To any other pony, it would be just like any other colorful envelope, but the moment she noticed the royal blue, she gasped, snatching it away from the mail stallion, "thank you!" She yelled, rushing off to read it in a safe place.  

"Dearest Derpy," she read, her heart melting already with two words, "I miss you more than raxiliff misses it's second moon after it was destroyed by a meteor."  She stopped, noting that he went on about that sort, but scratched it out, smiling.  It was just like him to go on a tangent, "If this letter got to you when it was supposed to, then I have been gone a week or two...try a month of two, Doctor." She sighed, continuing, "I know you want me to come home, and I will soon.  I had to figure out the time space disruption, and I didn't want you hurt.  I hope you will forgive me.  I promise to take you to a beautiful planet the moment i get back." Derpy sighed, putting the letter up, "I just want you back safe, my sweet muffin!"

"Hey, Derpy, are you busy?" A mail mare asked.

"No."  She wiped away a tear, "What's up?"

"I have a date tonight, but a letter came in for Canterlot.  Could you please fly it there for me?"

"Sure." Derpy nodded, taking the letter.

"You're the best!"  The mare ran off.

Derpy went off tword the Canterlot express, "Hopefully today will get better." She murmured before getting on.

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The doors slowly opened as small white tipped hooves quickly made their way out of the train. Pushing through the heavy crowd at the station was a tiny unicorn, muzzle gripping a pair of scrolls and a few more floating after her, held by a hue of grey magic. On her back there was what seemed to be a very overweight saddlebag, stocked with even more paper and some shapes that looked like books.

"Foolish train and their foolish ponies." the foal like mare mumbled to herself, mouth still filled with paper scrolls.

She quickly ran down the stairs and onto the main road heading to the center of Canterlot. Looking up towards the sky, the sun was already setting behind the princesses's castle. Dammit! She was suppose to arrive way before sundown today, but the quality time with her grandfather had made her lose track of time all together. It was something she had been looking forward to for months now. Ever since she had arrived in Canterlot for the continuation of her studies, she had missed the aged greybeard. This was the only free time, which was previously nonexistent, she somehow managed to find to visit him and even then, half of her study materials were traveling along for the ride.

"Dear Luna, please forgive me." She cursed to herself. She had been late before, but not quite like this. Remembering the harsh talks she had received before, she swallowed down nervously as she made her way to the steps of the castle.

"I haven't seen them yet, have you?" "Nah I was station at the west side for most of today." "I heard the black one looked real grim." The pink mare arrived out of breath at the top the stairway when she overheard the two guards whispering to each other. She quickly took the scrolls out of her mouth and made an attempt of shoving them into her bag. She smiled at the guards who seemed to have noticed her struggle.

"I see you're on time again as always, Urania." One of the guards chuckled. "Princess Luna just left the throne room, shouldn't be too far." The other guard said as he quietly opened up the gate.

Urania blushed a little, bowing slightly in thanks but mostly out of shame. She then hastily made her way down the hallway where she spotted her space maned mentor.

"Princess!" She said, still out of breath as she made her way over. 

Edited by Pucksterv

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