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Open A New Kingdom

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Arete helped Derpy steady her brother as he cleared his throat and spoke more firmly. 

" No, no Princess Cadence it's not your fault. This was something that would have happened no matter what. It's very rare but if something could cause a mass movement of souls or impact the timeline greatly I get a flash of insight. My mother and father used to be the same way. My father would get the insight my mother could interpret it. We have not learned to do this quite so well yet. The one other time this has happened was right before Sombra attacked.

Arete looked at her brother clearly wanting to press him for answers now, but she knew better. It was clear that he was more tired then he should be. She could feel the shake in his muscles as she supported him. She could see the subtle signs around his eyes and muzzle that he was worn down. She knew he had carried them for a long while before they made the trip here. He had done all the heavy work while she acted as the diplomate where possible. She wondered if she leaned on her brothers inexhaustable energy too often? 

" Thany are you sure you are ok? You are hardly able to keep your hooves under you? I dont need to know the why or how, I just want to know if you can make it through today. "

Thanos closed his eyes and for a moment it seemed like the room grew lighter and the air colder. He seemed almost to whistle for a moment before standing up firmly. The shadows of the hall seemed to be softer and the air went from cold to warm. Thanos had long since learned to draw on the cold and dark to bolster himself until he could find more natural methods of perking up.

" Yes, little sister I will be fine. Maybe a light nap right before the ceremony is a good idea but it will all be ok. "

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"We are relieved to see that caution still has its place among us," Luna interrupted, "We should meet back at the dining room to discuss the tour over lunch."

Luna spoke with authority but was secretly very nervous about Thanos' nap. Though it may have seemed trivial, it was the last thing Luna wanted Thanos to be doing. It's not that Luna didn't want Thanos to rest, but him going to sleep now could be problematic. Luna had shut down the dream realm to limit the influence of that mischievous constellation. How could she explain away the lack of dreams without looking a little suspicious? Even if she were to decide to explain it to him, now would be the worst time; sleep deprivation and a pariah complex don't mix well in her experience.

As she followed this train of thought, it dawned on Luna the gravity of the situation. This situation could very well be the powder-cag of another nightmare moon incident. An underappreciated alicorn with unrealized power. This was beginning to sound all too familiar to Luna.

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Cadence nodded in agreement, about to answer when Arete spoke first.  A swirl of guilt consumed her as pony and princess alike had seemed more anxious about this than anything and she only meant it as a simple question.  Her ears lowered before Thanos started stumbling.  Worry encompassed him as she could see his breath, and eyes kept changing.  He spoke, and Cadences mind reeled with questions that she wanted to ask but was frightened to.  "Of course.  A rest could be what you need." Her mind went back to the odd experiance she and  Luna had with the dream relm.  Would a nap be safe with whatever Luna encountered?!  She wasn't sure.  "But maybe try some decebt food first.  I know when I am low on energy, a bit of food helps." Would that give Luna enough time to close the dream relm?  Cadence could only hope.

 

Derpy bit yer lip, perplexed.   She felt like there was sonwthing that Luna was neglecting to tell them.  She held that look in her eyes.  The same one the Doctor held when he was keeping secrets or lying.  Derpy had learned the subtleties of his lying face over the years they had spent together.  She wondered if Thanos noticed too.  She would have to ask him wheb they had a moment alone again.  "What time is Celestia supposed to address everypony again?"  Sue asked.

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Luna looked to Cadence in appreciation, impressed that she would not only have the foresight to see a nap as a problem but also had the initiative to interject. It was either that or some dumb luck. Maybe if Luna brought it up later, Cadence could answer that for her, but for now, she had to capitalize. It was too late to back down now. The dream realm was sealed, and Arete was here to make breaking the news to Thanos unthinkable.

"Well Thanos, there is no real replacement for sleep, but if you think you can handle it, then you're more than welcome to attend our lunch."

"Oh, that would be at this evening's ceremony," Luna said as she switched her focus back to Derpy, "Why do you ask?"

 

Meanwhile, in a Canterlot hotel, a mare of pure white woke up to her host: a green coated stallion with an aged face, and a gray mane to match. She had been technically awake before, but she never felt like it. Fatigue and a lazy mind both seemed incurable to the doctors she saw. When this stallion promised a cure of his own, she almost didn't believe him but then he said that two new rulers would emerge much like the new empire.

It seemed equally as outlandish, almost enough for her to throw away the mailing address he gave her, but a day later she saw two new alicorn dreamers dreaming. These grandeur themes were not unheard of, but the very structure of the dream was fundamentally different, completely unlike dreamers of this day and age. There were references to Crystal Empire culture so detailed that it would have been impossible for non-crystal pones to recreate, yet there they were in the dreams of non-crystal ponies. These were no doubt the ponies that Silver Tounge had mentioned. After this revelation, Limbo Dreams had rushed to Canterlot as soon as she could to see this stallion in person.

And on the first day of his treatment, she had already seen results.

"Oh, my," Limbo said with eye she never knew could be so wide, "Silver, it worked. I'm awake!"

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The siblings looked back and forth between the two elder alicorns. They were both sharp despite their comparative youth. Their eyes flickered questioningly for a moment with questions but Arete was the first to be distracted by her concern for her brother. She nudged him out of his own thoughts as he clearly had noted the tensions in the air and was the more likely of the two to push questions. As he felt the nudge he sighed as his stomach let out a mighty rumble. He knew that it was pointless to hide why he was weak and that food was likely the answer. 

" Princesses I can't deny that food is likely the answer here. Earlier Mrs. Derpy Hooves was worried about her friend who seems to be something of an inventor. So I used my magic to walk between what is, what was, and what will be and check on him. At the best of times, this is draining. But something in this castle made it like wading through syrup. I think the energy used needs a high-calorie meal to get me back on my hooves.

The princes head ducked a bit as his younger sister glared at him clearly upset at his flippant nature about his safety. She too well remembered the time he had gotten lost in such a state. It took their father intervention to pull him out and well dad was not around to save him if he made that mistake again. 

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Luna didn't like Thanos' trend of impulsive power use, but the casualty of his escapades would halt for a time, so Luna was grateful. Beyond this, her gambit of faining preference paid off. A dreamless nap alone might not have raised suspicion, but the combination with the fact that Luna was a notoriously bad lier --evident by her sister's testimony on several occasions-- would have certainly raised some red flags.

At the lunch table (which was really just a dining table that happened to exist at lunchtime), with the company of the rest of her guests, Luna's curiosity peaked in remembrance of what Thanos said about Derpies friend. "Well, now that Thanos' little energy crisis is being addressed, I'm curious about this friend of yours Derpy. Being resistant to an Alicorn's talents requires some extraordinary circumstances. If you don't mind talking about it of course."

'for you, my death resister.' Now that she thought about it, this friend of Derpy's could be a suspect. Resisting Thanos' powers does fall in line with the line Luna heard in the dream, but would that make this Derpy his accomplice. Luna did remember three presences, or was it four? Could Derpy have been one of them? It was awfully convenient that she would visit here around the same time as this incident and something about her did seem a little odd about Derpy. As if she was smarter than she was letting on. With this realization, Luna silently thanked every lucky star in the sky that she decided to keep this incident secret. If it turned out that this Derpy was working against Thanos then Luna wasn't sure how she would break it to him.

Luna would have to investigate, but first, she would need to isolate Derpy so Thanos wouldn't get suspicious. This would be tricky, but not impossible with a little help.

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As soon as the smell of food hit the room Thanos's stomach let out a mighty rumble. As he started to eat the food seemed to vanish almost as soon as it was put in front of him. Even with his decorum and following of standard dinner etiquette, the food was finished and a second plate brought forth in seconds. As he started to feel better Thanos felt his head clear. Taking a deep drink of cider he sighed. The edge was slowly disappearing from his hunger and he could finally felt as if he could stand without his hooves shaking under him. 

" Princess thank you for the meal suggestion. I really have been pushing too hard since we have awoken.I think we might wish to talk plans for the ceremony and get those issues settled and underway. But I must intrude on your hospitality a bit further first. I need a high-calorie content when I use my gifts this extensively so if there is anything that fits that bill that I could have that would be great.

Arete giggled a bit watching her brother down food like a black hole on steroids. She remembered the first time he used his powers he was found passed out in the castle storerooms having downed half the cakes and cheeses in the room. He had a stomach ache for a week and was grounded for twice that. She snorts a bit into her drink as she tries not to make a scene. 

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"I'm not that familiar with the menu yet," Luna said as she stood up, "but I'm sure the chef will know what to serve. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves while I'm gone."

After making her way to the kitchen, Luna stopped to collect her thoughts. 'Okay, someone is allied with a constellation, they are planning on doing something to counteract death and the male-pony is my best lead... Well, anything would sound crazy that tone.'

Resigned to simply accept the fact that she would have to investigate Derpy on her own, Luna called for the chef and asked according to Thanos' request.

"Hmmm... How about the Chocolate Frosted Peanut Butter Cake?"

"Wha- Tia said that I ate the last of it!"

The Chef cowered at the outburst as he was given a glimpse of the casual plotting of his monarchs.

"Nevermind, just find something else. Actually," Luna continued, "serve it at the ceremony later tonight. I'd like to see how my dear sister explains herself there."

Soon after Luna's departure, she returned to the table with good news. "Your request is being accommodated," Luna said and the aforementioned request came through the doorway as if to punctuate Luna's reassurance. Muffins, cakes, and other miscellanies breads and pastries with a common theme of peanut-butter on fine plates that were themselves wheeled in atop barrel-hight carts. "It may be a little early for dessert, but I think we can make a little exception this time."

Edited by Loud Opinion

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Thanos's eyes went wide. His stomach that he had thought sated snarled its approval at the sight of all of the food. With as much dignity as he could muster, he tucked into a bit of everything he could reach. Washing it all down with copious amounts of cider he was totally distracted having not eaten this well since the start of their travels to meet Celestia and Luna. Seeing her brother was zoned out Arete took it upon herself to initiate a bit of light conversation. 

" Princess what will the ceremony be like and what duties or expectations will there be for my brother and myself? I know that it is a simple affair but its still important to make a good showing of things so I want to ensure that we are all set prior to events getting started. " 

The young alicorn was at least well versed in following ceremony and ritual that much she was confident in. She wondered if the exchange of gifts should be public or if she should would be expected to give a speech of any sort. 

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"Absolutely," Luna agreed, "Well, the ceremony will begin with my sister and I formally accepting the two of you as those responsible for your respective season, allowing you jurisdiction to influence our nation with your seasonal influences and introducing you as the rulers of your kingdom. From there we allow the most influential ponies to settle any apprehension they may have by answering their questions"

"Celestia is the one setting it up, so I don't know who exactly will be approaching you two for questions. If I had to guess, I would wager you would definitely be meeting some gardeners and farmers. Their livelihood depends on the seasons after all, but that all depends on how much my sister has told them about you two in her invitation. If they don't know your rolls then some may not show up. However, I have faith in my sister to only say what is necessary for them to know. I myself am not so used to these affairs being so casual and interpersonal, but it's a change that I quite like."

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Thanos finally finished eating. He downed another glass of cider with a sigh and leaned back looking much better. His face was less stressed and the bounce appeared to be back in his stature. He listened for a while and silently contemplated what was said. He sat up straight and took a soft breath before speaking. 

" Princess maybe we can set up my trip to visit some of the farms in Equestria. That way even those that do not get the chance to make it can have a chance to speak to me. I dont want them left out of important matters just because they might not be able to make it to Canterlot. Anything that they say I can put in letters back to my sister while she manages our Kingdom.

Arete nodded with a smile. It was clear that they worked well when they divided things up and took charge without fear of making mistakes. The spark of good leaders were within them. They just had to trust in themselves and nurture it. 

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Lunch continued uneventfully as Luna appreciated Thanos' rejuvenation and the two siblings cooperation. Afterward, they all discussed the route for Thanos' tour with Luna volunteering to tag along. After everything was agreed upon it was early evening. Servants of uncountable variety were setting up all manner of preparation. The royals and guests may have a casual night ahead of them, but the same was so very rarely true for the preparators and what better way to cope than with roomer and gossip. Whispers with tails as tall as they were brief from the loquacious staff were shrouded by distance and subtlety, careful not to alarm anyone but each other.

"I heard Thanos worked with Nightmare Moon,"

"Why else would he spend so much time with Luna?"

"You don't think that's why he's here?"

"Did you see him freak out in the hallway?" 

"Don't remind me. I was not looking forward to cleaning up all that frost."

"Didn't his sister clean all that up? Such a good sister looking out for her brother. Oh, I hope you're wrong. The poor dear doesn't deserve that."

"She didn't mop the floor..."

"I'm serious," the one maid said just a little too loud before lowering her voice again, "I was in Ponyville when Nightmare Moon came. I sware he looked just like her."

"I don't like where this is going. How about we talk about something else... I know, how about that dreamy blond with the ring."

"You mean the loud one that still lives on his families money?"

"I heard he dates all over the place. Never a safe moment with that one."

"Come on, don't gossip like that. It's really mean."

The other two rolled their eyes and got back to work.

"What's wrong? Wait up," The third one said as she trotted after them.

"Are you two ready," Luna asked the two royal siblings as they got close to the room of the ceremony.

***

Meanwhile, Silver Tounge, Gold Dust, their respective Families, and Limbo Dreams all got ready to leave for the upcoming ceremony from their hotel rooms in Canterlot. While the two groups got organized and exchanged their general greeting, a solitary Blue Thorn tended to his personal garden.

"This, is happiness," he said to himself in admiration for the fruits of his toil. Even though he couldn't tell how big his household vegetables were, their leaves were vibrantly green. A perfect facade of bounty waiting to unveil itself to Thorn. "No grand catastrophe, no huge risks, just a nice, steady, unthreatening work that I'm best with. This is who I am and this is where I'm needed."

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As they moved toward the ceremony Arete and Thanos overheard bits and pieces of the gossip. Arete was always one to put more stock in such things and started to become annoyed. The air warmed and the electrical buzz of a spring storm started to gather. Thanos gently flicked his tail at her with a soft whiney. He knew his sister was fast to lose her cool if she was slighted and wanted to head off any issues. 
" Arey stop it right now or I would soak you I swear it. Dont let them get to you. I know how I can appear to some ponies that dont know me. Let it go. They will get to know us in time.

" Thany they have no right to speak about you like that. You would never hurt any pony that did not start a fight. "

" You know that. Not them. When something appears scary its easy to perceive it as scary. Besides what would your goal be to give them a real reason to be afraid? Cause a scene by lighting up the halls?

The conversation was short and between clenched teeth so as not to make a fuss. But it was clear that Arete was protective of her brother even if she was the younger one. With a sigh she let it go and shook her head annoyed. Sometimes she hated the cool logic of her big brother, other times it made him a great source of wisdom for her emotional side to lean on. As they approched the doors Thanos took a deep breath and focused himself. He was determined to make a dignified but kind first impression to the ponies of Equestria proper. 

" Yes Princess Luna. We are ready. " 

The pair spoke in unison with Arete giggling " Jinx " under her breath. 

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Granite Rose swiftly made his way to the exit of the train. He knew the ceremony for the new alicorns would begin soon, so he didn’t want to miss it. After all, he was the main flourist for it, so it would be rather awkward if he didn’t show.

Better be careful with these. Wouldn’t want them to wilt before the ceremony. I should probably water them again before i head to the ceremony. Granite thought to himself. Digging through his saddle bag, he fished out a water bottle with a flower label on it and began carefully watering each flower. He knew it would take some time since there were so many of them, but there were still a few minutes left before he had to leave.

Leave this place. Open your wounds. Let pain seep out. Granite’s hallucination, Thorns, said eerily. Thorns made creepy remarks to Granite constantly. He always seemed out for his blood, no matter the circumstance.

“Go away, Thorns. I’m not doing anything for you, especially here,” Granite said annoyed.

Suddenly, a mare behind him looked up, bewildered. She must have heard him. Granite quickly glanced away and resumed watering the flowers.

Always trying to embarrass me, aren’t you? Granite cursed to himself. 

Finishing up his task, he gathered his flowers together and headed for the ceremony.

 

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Sweet Comfort quickly peeked around the corner of the corridor leading to the hall the ceremony was going to take place. This whole adventure - or misadventure, time would certainly tell - of sneaking around the castle made her feel like she was in a mystery suspense novel. Sweet Comfort, mare of mystery, she thought to herself. She had trouble believing she actually managed to fast-talk her way past the palace guards, A-game or not. She'd asked around town about the newcomers and, with some... technical truths and personal charms and a bit of backtracking after a wrong turn or two found her way to the right part of the castle. With yet another guard in her way.

She took a few steps back, then trotted around the corner with confident grace, radiating that perfect balance of "I am exactly where I'm supposed to be" and "please, you wouldn't want to make little ol' me late, would you?" as she beelined for the door. Not the pony guarding it, though she gave him a friendly - and quite genuine - smile as she went and reached for the door.

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"Good," Luna said with slight relief, "Well, the ceremony hasn't started just yet. The decorations are still being placed but the rest of the room is ready. We can wait there if you like. Seeing the guests enter can help take the edge off."

 

Just outside the room, a mare was brasendly reaching for the door when its regally clad century stopped her hoof with his own. "The catering entrance is that way ma'am," he said while pointing down the left side of the fork in the hall and continued lazily, "Please bring some formal attire next time."

 

Further away from said room, the Silver family were approaching Canterlot Castle just ahead of a monochrome stallion going in the same direction with a transport of opulent flora in tow. Silver Touge, in his aged condition, straggled behind the rest of the Silvers while he pondered the stanza of his ethereal instructor. "I have the whispering bones, but what could that flexing spade be in reference to?"

"Not a lot of shovels move on their own in the real world," the sheeplike mare spoke up, breaking her attention from her surroundings to help Silver, "Maybe we should ask someone that uses shovels a lot. Oh, like a gardener!"

"Well, it couldn't hurt to ask."

"Maybe that sleep-walker behind us knows where to find one."

"Sleep-walker?" Silver Touge asked and craned his neck over his shoulder to see who she was talking about. "Limbo, that stallion is clearly awake."

"Then how come I can hear a nightmare right behind me, huh?"

"Limbo, I thought you said you couldn't listen in on dreams anymore. Besides, he's looking right at us. He's clearly not asleep."

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" Oh buck me sideways I forgot the....!

With a flash of purple light. a small snap like ice breaking and a gust of chilly wind Thanos vanished. A moment later and he appeared back in the same spot holding two crowns. Both Thanos and his sisters looked at them with a mixture of fear and sadness. They were the crowns worn by their parents and every other ruler of the Kingdom of seasons for as long as anypony could remember.  They had packed them but not worn them or even looked at them since they took them off of their parents' thrones. To wear the crowns made what they had survived a reality. It meant they were responsible for things now and that there was no getting their parents back. With shaking hooves Arete took her crown. It was a small gold affair with a gemstone in the shape of a loom and two blue gems to each side of the main. As it touched her head there was a subtle shimmer of light and the center gem had changed into a light yellow leaf matching her cutie mark. 

Thanos looked down at his own crown. White gold with a deep blue hourglass flanked by two white stones. He placed it upon his brow and again the center stone shimmers and shifts into a small set of crossed bones that match his deep purple in color. He looked bemused at the change in their crowns speaking in a subdued voice.

" I guess the crowns changing to match their rulers was one of those things that mom and dad always thought there would be time to share with us. I wonder how many other things along this road will be stuff that might have been passed on at some point?

 

Arete looked sad but drew in a breath and placed her hoof on the door in front of them. She pulled it open with a look of determination. Being the avatar of potential she knew right here and right now was the moment for them to start their own roads instead of walking their parents' path. There was nothing else to do but move forward. 

" Princess Luna I think we are ready to go in. Let's get settled and watch things get set up.

 

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On 2/2/2019 at 2:11 PM, Loud Opinion said:

Just outside the room, a mare was brasendly reaching for the door when its regally clad century stopped her hoof with his own. "The catering entrance is that way ma'am," he said while pointing down the left side of the fork in the hall and continued lazily, "Please bring some formal attire next time."

Sweet Comfort chuckled a little.

"What I bring to the table isn't food. I'm Sweet Comfort. I've been assigned to prince Thanos as an adjustment expert and advisor." She gave the guard a sweet smile. "Could you please let me through? I got turned around the castle a few times and I'd hate to have to explain why I was late for the most important assignment in my career." She added a small pout for good measure. "Or have it be the last assignment of my career, for that matter."

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Equestria. Home to some of the strangest and most self contradictory creatures on the planet. At least, that is how Caleo thought of them. Despite not being near the country for centuries, the scholarly dragon would often ponder the conundrum that nation brought to the world, as well as discussed it with his intellectual peers. From the deck of his charge's Airship, he could almost see the outline of the Castle of Canterlot. His slitted eyes expanded and contracted as they tried to see the land in the distance with more clarity, all the while his mind replaying the various thoughts and conversations he had partaken about this particular nation. One could not talk about world politics and not bring up Equestria in the conversation. Theirs was a presence that could not be readily ignored, even if they were not what most would consider malevolent.

On the one claw, the ponies held dominion over the life giving celestial bodies in the sky. They controlled the very weather and micromanaged nature itself within their borders. With their power they had tamed their world around them and turned it into an artificial paradise with their magic. Even how they decided on who they would become was decided by their affinity with magic, displaying their callings in life on their flanks. The so called "cutie marks." It was that kind of naming convention that lent itself to the contradiction. Despite this near divine power over the world itself, the ponies were actually a rather docile species. Sure there were their bad eggs and their occasional tyrants, but for the most part they've trended on being a peaceful species. Still, their power over the sun and moon was an intimidating proposition. The fact that such a crucial element of life was in the claws of one single nation, to use however they saw fit, was more than a little troubling for other countries around the world. Should one of their proverbial "bad eggs" acquire power over their country, that would spell disaster to every nation around the world, not just Equestria. 

In a way, the ponies were incredibly arrogant to even assume they had the right to control something so important as the celestial bodies. Yet that word wasn't quite right. Caleo had met many a pony in his life. Individually they were almost like children, painfully innocent and trusting to a fault. There were stories of traveling ponies becoming slaves all over the world. They were not military minded creatures usually, and they tended to lock up in fear when they were captured unless they were actually military trained. Yet it would be folly to assume they were weak because of this. Their power, when harnessed for combat, was absolutely indomitable. There are stories of great evils such as the tyrant Tirek, the Lord of Chaos Discord, and many others falling at the might of their princesses and their magical artifacts. Caleo had pondered more than once at the thought of ponies truly learning just how powerful they could be, and turning it against the rest of the world, would the other nations be able to stand up to them? It was hard to say. 

Caleo himself hailed from the Dragon Lands that resided within Equestrian Territory. However he shared very little in common with his brethren save for his appearance. His love for fine expensive clothes, literature, politics, and magical theory were things that the average dragon would never care to understand. There's was a brutish and barbaric civilization, nomadic and uncultured in how it handled itself. Unless he was mistaken, Dragon Lord Torch was still the leader of the Dragons. Although fair and level headed for a dragon, the massive beast was not one to deviate from tradition. He was not interested in bringing dragon culture to the modern age, in trade with other nations, or even founding a proper nation of his own with discernible borders.  He much like most of his kind were squandered in wasted potential, a thought that made Caleo's lip curl in disgust just by passing through his mind. The Darkly purple creature had grown disillusioned with his kind early in his youth, when he had discovered the joys of reading, like a "namby pamby pony" as they would put it. 

Still, the events that led him to this moment had made him into a Dragon he was. Though he had no desire to be anywhere near his homelands after all these years, there was a sense of pride in knowing how much he had out grown them. 

Caleo's thoughts were interrupted by his senses that were detecting someone attempting to sneak up on him. Abyssinian were quite sneaky and quiet, even for felines, and this particular one was no exception. However good the lithe little sneaks methods were however, it was utterly undone by his tell tale stifled giggle. The dragon could practically hear his charge's tail swish in the open air as he prepared his attack. Caleo sniffed slightly and cracked his neck casually as he continued to pretend he was unaware of his would be assailant. Now that he was aware of the feline, he could pick out every little move of the lad's body. He was practically purring with excitement. 

"GOT YOU!" 
Just as the yellow feline leaped at the dragon, the older male seemed to melt away in a puff of purple smoke. The bipedal cat's eyes contracted in surprise as he overshot his pounce, expecting to jump on top of the dragon, not through a smoke cloud that only looked like him. He let out a frightened noise as he went over the edge of the airship, vertigo hitting him hard as he looked down at the ocean below them. a powerful claw snatched him from the air by his pants however, holding him unceremoniously in the sky over the edge of the vessel. Caleo maintained his stately composure as he lifted the feline by his backside with no visible strain and plopped him back onto the deck of the ship. 

"What have I told you about giving away your position Kapi." The dragon intoned as he looked down at his charge. The young male was beet red with embarrassment, but he still had a playful grin on his face as he scratching himself behind the head, letting out an awkward laugh. Caleo had mastered the art of fire and smoke magic over the centuries of his life. He was highly adept at transporting objects and beings, including himself, through them. Creating such a decoy was child's play for the scholar, and in a sense that is exactly what it was being used for at the moment. Though Kapi was an adult in the technical sense, he still had much to go in the way of maturing mentally and emotionally. 

"Are we at Equestria yet, I wanna meet some ponies! I've never met one before. Are they as adorable as they say!?" 

"Focus Kapi, you are the designated ambassador of Abyssinia. I expect you to behave as such." 

"Why did they pick me anyway? I mean, isn't it kinda important and stuff? Wouldn't it be a better idea to send someone all serious and old like you instead?" He said that last part with a playful smirk on his face. Although he wanted to grin at that, Caleo kept his face composed and kept his gaze down at the feline level. 

"That is why I am accompanying you. To make sure you do not mess up. Now if our intel is correct the ponies should be having their own internal meeting right now between their various nations."

"I thought Equestria was just run by those Princesses?"


The dark purple dragon took his eyes from his charge to the land of Equestria again. This time, surprisingly, he was able to parse out where Princess Celestia was. He was rather shocked by this, but he soon found out why he could. She appeared to have a direct line of connection between herself and a Magic Dragon like himself. The connection seemed to make it so that whatever the dragon teleports with his magic goes directly to her. Even at this distance. far from the shores of Equestria, he could tell this bond had been there for awhile, and it had been made with a rather young dragon by his kinds standards. A servant perhaps? Regardless, it made his job a lot easier. 

He turned his attention to his Parrot captain and raised his voice, a bipedal bird of some years to her. 

"Captain, if you would keep this vessel stationed at about this distance, I should be able to transport myself and my charge to our designated location. I have tethered a spell to your person that will allow me to send myself and objects to your location regardless of where you are. I will keep you posted with updates. Please keep the ship on standby for further orders."

The captain saluted the dragon before squawking out orders to her crew, a mixture of Parrot and  Abyssinian, with some Minotaurs for the heavier labor. Kapi lept to his feet in excitement and perched himself on top of the larger males shoulders. He had always loved it when they teleported. It felt 'tingly' as the feline aptly put it. 

Caleo let out a snort, tendrils of smoke and purple fire quickly surrounding the both of them as they stood on the deck of the ship. It was an impressive sight to behold as the magical fire overtook the both of them and made their bodies vanish from the deck of the airship. 

________________________________________________________________________________

@Quinch @Jedishy @Loud Opinion @ExplosionMare

Even after 1000 years, there was nothing quite like a good slice of cake. There was something about their fluffy texture that just spoke to Celestia in an almost primal way. The almost sinful levels of sugar and chocolate was enough to make the Princess of the sun's eyes flutter beneath her eyelids in bliss. She knew she shouldn't indulge such eating habits too much. It would not do at all for the nations shining example of a pony to let herself go, but time and time again the call of the cake was far too tempting to resist. She had tried to kick the cursed things before, ban them from her castle and even talk her subjects into keeping the temptation away from her. To no avail however. Such tactics would only result in her regalness sneaking around her own kingdom, eventually getting caught red hoofed with her face stuffed with Redvelvet cake. 

Today she was enjoying a rich and dark concoction made specially for her by the talented Element of Laughter Pinkie Pie. She couldn't help but let out little noises of approval at the wonderful way the confection played in her mouth. She knew her way around a kitchen that was for sure. It was almost a blessing that Celestia never really got the hang of baking herself, else she really would have had a problem on her hooves. 

Her enjoyment was halted by a shift in the air, her senses detected something was coming to her via dragon magic. However it felt distinctly different than her subject Spikes. She had been familiar with his magic since he was a hatchling. They had shared a bond like no other shared with her, one that gave him direct access to wherever she was at any time. It was because of the little dragon that Celestia had forgone giving Twilight a messenger book to speak with her like she had with her previous student Sunset Shimmer. She had never suspected that another could use that connection other than the baby dragon, and yet it seemed that was exactly what was happening. 

Celestia's wings flared and guards became more alert than they had been a moment ago. The atmosphere of the lazy afternoon becoming tense. Who was this that was using that connection to come to her. What were they sending? Were they an enemy? She would need to find out how to secure this magic a bit better later. For now she had to deal with the ramifications of her oversight.

Soon the guards found out why their princess looked so serious. They at first only saw that she had visibly tensed up and had taken that as a cue to get themselves ready. The gardens hadn't looked any different, but no Equestrian would dare question Celestia's intuition. Almost all at once, purple smoke and flame erupted in a spiraling pillar several feet in front of the Princess, revealing a strange sight indeed. One was that of a Dragon, though like nothing Equestria had ever known. This one was wearing clearly expensive garments and carried himself on his hind legs with a sense of grace and nobility that was unmistakable. His whole aura demanded respect and attention. Perched atop of him however was a bipedal feline who's baring reminded the princess more of the Party Pony who had baked her her chocolate cake than somepony royal. The young looking feline's eyes seemed to sparkle with excitement at the sight of all the ponies around him. With an agile leap he dismounted from the finely dressed dragon and alighted onto the ground without so much as a sound of grass giving way. He was very light on his paws indeed. He was an Abyssinian, Celestia knew that much. She had met with their kind on a few occasions, though it had been a long while since her last conversation with their nation. 

"Greetings Everyon- I mean, Everypony!" The yellow feline said with a flourish and a bow, "My name is Kapi, and I come on behalf of 
Abyssinia with good tidings and cheer! I would like to speak to her magesty about bettering the relations between our two lands!" 

While Kapi bowed and spoke his rehearsed speech however, Celestia and the Dragon were staring only at each other. Though she made sure to listen to the feline with her ears, her mind was largely at work trying to parse out who this dragon was. His coloring was very similar to Spike, and it was clear he had something similar to Spike's abilities when it came to magic. She suspected he had far greater control however if his display of power was any indication. The dragon however remained entirely unreadable. His arms were kept neatly behind his back, and his wings remained folded as he calmly stared on and let his charge do the talking. Even though it was clear that the Abyssinian was in charge to a degree, if push came to shove the Dragon would be the one to take control of the situation. It was rather offputting for the Princess to see a Dragon so controlled and still. Her experience with them had been anything but, save for Spike himself who had been raised by ponies. 

"I would be happy to have you Ambassador Kapi. You came at the perfect time in fact." Though she was speaking to the feline, she never took her eyes off the dragon, something the regal drake did not object to at least visibly, ", You can attend a very special meeting and introduce yourself to my sister and our other leaders." 


She would need to speak to Luna about this. 

Edited by Buck Testa
touch up
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On 2/2/2019 at 4:11 PM, Loud Opinion said:

"Good," Luna said with slight relief, "Well, the ceremony hasn't started just yet. The decorations are still being placed but the rest of the room is ready. We can wait there if you like. Seeing the guests enter can help take the edge off."

 

Just outside the room, a mare was brasendly reaching for the door when its regally clad century stopped her hoof with his own. "The catering entrance is that way ma'am," he said while pointing down the left side of the fork in the hall and continued lazily, "Please bring some formal attire next time."

 

Further away from said room, the Silver family were approaching Canterlot Castle just ahead of a monochrome stallion going in the same direction with a transport of opulent flora in tow. Silver Touge, in his aged condition, straggled behind the rest of the Silvers while he pondered the stanza of his ethereal instructor. "I have the whispering bones, but what could that flexing spade be in reference to?"

"Not a lot of shovels move on their own in the real world," the sheeplike mare spoke up, breaking her attention from her surroundings to help Silver, "Maybe we should ask someone that uses shovels a lot. Oh, like a gardener!"

"Well, it couldn't hurt to ask."

"Maybe that sleep-walker behind us knows where to find one."

"Sleep-walker?" Silver Touge asked and craned his neck over his shoulder to see who she was talking about. "Limbo, that stallion is clearly awake."

"Then how come I can hear a nightmare right behind me, huh?"

"Limbo, I thought you said you couldn't listen in on dreams anymore. Besides, he's looking right at us. He's clearly not asleep."

Granite figited nervously. From what he could hear, the mare in front of him was talking about him. He overheard something about him being a sleepwalker, which made no sense given he was clearly wide awake.

Great. I’m barely here five minutes and already I’ve drawn unwanted attention twice. Wouldn’t be surprised if that mare in front of me already knows about my...condition. Not exactly what I’d call making a good first impression. 

Granite sighed to himself, knowing he might as well ease the mare’s mind a bit before he headed towards the ceremony. The last thing he wanted was anyone to think he’s a crazy pony.

“Uh, excuse me, miss? Hi, I’m Granite Rose. Sorry to worry you, I wasn’t sleepwalking. I’m just heading out to deliver some flowers.” 

Granite stood for a minute, waiting for a reply. After a while, he decided to carry on with his day. However, he was quickly interrupted by Thorns.

Ignore them. Head back. Release your pain. Blend it with red.

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@Jedishy, @Quinch, @Buck Testa

Luna looked on with understanding as the two siblings' crown shifted. The past was something Luna had a connection with here in her own kingdom. Not so much in the literal sense that Thanos could claim, but more of a metaphysical sense. The dream realm, when she wasn't pressured to keep it locked away, was something she could visit every night just like the time before her banishment. Her sister was there too. Even if it wasn't the same castle or if she wasn't surrounded by the same faces, the schedule was there and the methods for carrying out her duties were, for the most part, unchanged. Thanos and his sister didn't have such comforts of similarity. Even if Arete seemed to be taking it in stride, Luna had no doubt that none of this was or will be, easy for them.

"After you," Luna said as she opened the door to reveal a large room with a ceiling high enough to seem redundant. The room was bordered on all sides with a set of tables that left a comfortable amount of standing room in the center. The tables were bare and the walls bore no aesthetic besides the tall, low to the ground glass windows, the color of the stone of the walls, just as radiant as the throne room, and the opulent double doors that have yet to open.

Just as Luna said stepped out of the way, the doors on the other side of the room opened to reveal one of her sister's guard stampeding toward her with the appropriate urgency that one would stampede at. "Princess Luna, Celestia has urgent news! A visitor has appeared unannounced!"

Luna nodded to the guard and said to both Thanos and Arete, "I'll be right back." 

Just outside of that door was a confused guard speaking to a very confident Sweet Comfort with a raised brow, pointed down the hall again and parroted, "Catering is that way, ma'am".

@ExplosionMare

Further out still, Silver Touge and Limbo Dreams were interrupted by the pony in question correcting them. Limbo was a little stunned by being brought out of her wandering mindscape and being wrong about Granite. Silver meanwhile, looked on with a raised eyebrow and an otherwise flat face. "What?" Limbo asked in and extended inflection, reading the disappointment.

"Don't you know it's rude to talk about people behind their back?"

"But," Limbo shot back, confused by Silvers casual hypocrisy. He wasn't normally this contradictory, at least, that's not what Limbo has seen. "Weren't you doing the same thing? Also, he was behind our-"

Limbo had lowered her ears instinctively as a reflex from being confused so her ears were cupping over her horns. The origins of her abnormal horns were a mystery to most. Being born in Sombra's rain could have all sorts of malevolent effects on a foal or filly. Like the rest of Equestria though, physical abnormality like her's were rare, much less one with magical effects to them. The magical effect in question, dream gazing. Of course, she hadn't been able to look into someone else's dreams since she first woke up, but she would still hear whispers from dreaming minds. Just as she was about to finish her part of the conversation, she was interrupted by a malevolent whisper coming from her horns and into her ears. Someone was dreaming, and it wasn't a pleasant one by the sounds of it. The whisper could be felt on the front side of her horns more than the back, telling her that the dreamer was now in front of her.

"Good job, Miss Dreams," Silver said in a diligently low rasp, taking advantage of her pause, and taking extra care to not let anyone else hear him, "That's a good introduction. It may not look like it, but it will make him trust you more when you talk to him again."

"I don't see how being rude would help build trust," Limbo countered, letting her frustration be known, "I thought the real world was supposed to make sense!"

"When you talk to him again, he'll know you wanted to despite whatever it is you just heard. Who wouldn't trust someone willing to look past the skeletons in their closet? Now, let's pick up the pace. The other silvers won't appreciate us being tardy."

"But Silver," Limbo said wisely, "whatever that thing I heard was. I don't think it's a good idea to toy with it."

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Thanos felt the magic. He knew something was going on but if all the Alicorns in the castle rushed from the hall for the ceremony it could cause a panic. He nudged his sister and gave her a meaningful look. In a flash, she knew that he needed her to take attention away from him for a moment. She jaunted forward giggling melodiously her wings flared wide. Ponies across the hall looked up with slight gasps. It was rare for new Alicorns to show themselves and Arete was a sight to behold radiating the warmth of spring. 

With his sister holding the crowd Thanos swiftly spun the shadows and chilly spots in the room around him. Soon a sending slid away from him. The creature was made of ice and shadow but not sentient. It had only the orders given and in a blur, it sped from shadow to shadow out of sight of everypony to carry them out. It traced the steps of Luna short arriving in the gardens alongside Celestia. The creature was a mockish representation of Thanos and spoke in his voice unconcerned with any around it. 

" Princess I felt the tension and magic flow. I will maintain order and peace in the hall for the ceremony. You've only to send word if you need myself or my sister.

Having carried out its orders the shadows faded and the ice melted into a tiny puddle. Such sendings could only carry out a simple order but they were useful in their own way. With his task completed Thanos moved about the hall for the ceremony greeting ponies and smiling as best he could. He was slowing beginning to warm up to the citizens of Equestria proper and hoped that the tension he felt was nothing to be concerned over. 

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Quick to escape the questioning ponies, Granite shrugged Thorns off and headed towards the ceremony. The journey took about ten minutes with everything he had to carry. When he arrived, he was halted by a royal guard waiting outside.

“Hello, sir. I’m in charge of the royal garden. I’m here to plant some flowers before the ceremony starts,”

Granite pointed with his head towards the array of daisies, violets, and many other flowers he had behind him, along with a shovel, small rake, and a watering can.

The guard allowed him to pass and Granite headed outside towards the garden. He set down his supplies and began looking for places to dig. Satisfied with a location, he picked a spot towards the center left of the field and dug his shovel into it. Once finished, he gave himself a small satisfactory smile and began planting a few daisies into the ground.

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@ExplosionMare @Jedishy @Loud Opinion @Quinch

Kapi did not read the tension in the meeting at all. He was just happy to finally meet ponies in person. He stood very close to Celestia and looked up to her in awe. He was rather short for his kind, and he felt even more so next to the tall regal pony before him. He looked even more excited as a slightly smaller dark blue pony appeared with guards at her flank. They were all so interested to meet him! Clearly he was doing a great job as the ambassador! If he wasn't mistaken, he was pretty sure the other pony with that strange ethereal mane was Luna. He was positively brimming with excitement, and it translated to his twitching ears and tails as he looked at all the ponies around him.  

Celestia meanwhile was not pleased with how many things were happening at once. Her sister and her guards were coming towards them, Thanos had sent some kind of messenger spell to tell her he was aware of the situation, and the Dragon was still unreadable. Though she engaged the ambassador with pleasant talk, it was very clear that the creature was more like her little ponies than the dragon was.  He was innocent and carefree, and it was not an act that she could tell. Given her many years on the planet, she was quite adept at reading creatures. Without moving too much she glanced back at her sister and greeted her. 

"Luna. We have some new guests for our Party. Meet the ambassador of Abyssinia, Kapi and..." Celestia gestured a hoof to the mysterious dragon, prompting him to introduce himself. 

Caleo gave a courteous bow at the waist to Luna, keeping one arm behind his back while the other one was outstretched to the side in a sophisticated manner. It was strange the way the bipedal creature's mannerisms were so different than a pony,  but what the  gestures meant seemed almost intuitive  to  understand. In a small way, it almost reminded Celestia of Discord, as he also carried himself in a  bipedal fashion. 

"I am Caleo, Instructor and Guardian of the Ambassador. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Princess Celestia, Princess Luna." 

He was the model of formality. No hint of aggression or threat in his voice. Yet Celestia couldn't quite shake this feeling that he was someone to be on guard with. There was a quiet tension in his  aura, like he was wound up tight and ready to spring at a moments notice, yet entirely controlled at the same time. She also could glean that he was adept at reading magical auras, and he was gathering information about the both of the princesses with each second his discerning eyes looked upon their forms. He had not even blinked at the appearance of Thanos's messenger. If anything it was almost like he had seen that kind of spell before.

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

 

Meanwhile far away in the town of Ponyville, a small baby Dragon had felt something very odd happen. He didn't know how to put words to the feeling, but it was like Princess Celestia had ALMOST sent him a letter. His magical flame inside of him had reacted, however nothing came of it. Such a thing never happened to him before. He wasn't even sure if something did happen exactly. It could have just been a bad gem he ate earlier. Still, Spike felt like it might be a good  idea to tell Princess Celestia about it just in case something WAS happening. It was better to be safe than sorry as the saying goes.   

Edited by Buck Testa
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"Dost thy queer be satisfied?" Luna trailed off with her exasperation causing her to slip into her old dialect and briefly cradle her head in her hoof. The shade had spoken of a disruption in the flow of magic. Luna assumed that it was the dream intruder on the move again, then she turned her attention to where her sister was directing it.

Before her was a well-mannered, overly dressed beast of scale and cloth. Dragons were something to be feared in her time and avoided in this time, but this one broke the mold with a polite and articulate introduction. Undoubtedly uninvited, unconventional, and undisputably suspicious. Luna asked herself why he put so much effort to appear civilized in the most forgiving nation in Equestria? A vest or pair of pants was one thing, but this combination of articles seemed a bit much. How did it go? The stallion doth protest too much?

Luna thought that the two must be here for the ceremony so she straightened up and spoke more politely despite not liking this trend of masking her true feelings, "Sorry about that. It's been a long two days with the upcoming welcoming party. You're not the first couple of guests to give me a shock this week. I, uh- you don't seem hostile. Why not use the front door?"

 

Meanwhile, outside the Canterlot Castle, the Silver family were conversing with each other and the other early birds to the evening's proceedings. Silver Tounge though, was the exception. Instead of mingling with small talk, he plotted his next move while Limbo Dreams would endear herself to his family with her childlike wonderment and inquiry. Limbo will be the instrument to catch the interest of the unassuming dark grey gardener. It helped that the Gold family were suspected to arrive fashionably late, he could do without his loose ends coming back to tangle him up. Silver Tounge knew how he was going to set up his recruitment of the aforementioned gardener, but how to do it discreetly?

Edited by Loud Opinion
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