Jedishy

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@ExplosionMare @Succubusted

"Oh, great, you do that, I think I had something to get to anyway," Limbo prattled as she went back to where she was with Tranquil, "See you at the Hilltop-Hotel. Ask for Silver Tongue".

When Limbo turned around she saw that the others were just a few steps away. She wondered why Tranquil was talking with the others without her. Silver seamed a little surprised which only made her wonder more.

Being on the outside of the group reminded her of her days as a silent observer in the dreams of others. Times of hardships where order was a mockery of what it is in the real world. Structures that seamed sound and had reasonable foundations would stay that way up until you got close enough. Walls and objects would disappear without rime or reason, as if all order was delegated by a senile stallion. Perfectly reasonable one moment, only to nonsensically forget and repeat patterns the next. Limbo, for a moment, felt the same unease she would always fell when entering someone else's dream.

 

@Jedishy

Luna was jostled out of lecturing her sister, something she never thought she would be able to do, by a mental message. She recognized Thanos, and headed the words. Distress coming from a stallion so stoic carried a lot of weight to Luna and she chastised herself for her lack of vigilance.

She couldn't just end the occasion so close to the crescendo, but Thanos and his sister were clearly at their limit.

"Sister, pardon me, but I must attend to our special guests."

Walking to the center of the room, Luna let out a voice she had been practicing seance last Nightmare Night. It was something of a middle ground between the Royal Canterlot Voice which was intended for open fields, emergencies, and sprawling amphitheaters, and a normal speaking voice. It echoed and was heavy in base, but the raw volume was dialed back to account for the smaller size of the area.

"Attention please!" Luna said before returning to a more standard speaking voice, "Our guests have come down with some fatigue, and will be retiring for the night. Please enjoy the rest of the evening, and if you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask me or my sister."

Luna then made her way to Thanos and his sister to make sure they get out of the crowded room smoothly.

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@Loud Opinion

Tranquil would smile a little and then when she saw that Limbo had finished with her friend, she'd call over to her and wave "Limbo, over here" she would say and when Limbo had rejoined the group, she would smile a little more "Did you get any information from your friend?" she would ask "Afraid I, myself haven't gotten very far, I could only think of either dragons or well, the fanciful imps or demons" she'd say with an awkward chuckle and sigh "I'm actually beginning to feel like I've almost just done all I can do for them" she would say, looking over to both Gold Dust and Silver Tongue "I will tag along as long as the others want me to, but I'm not even sure if I'm all that welcome anymore" she would say, "I do have my shop I need to tend to, lots of...reimagining I suppose you could say"

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@Succubusted

Limbo looked a little disappointed, but realized that it was only fair that Tranquil would have her own things to do. Limbo knew she would hate it if someone tried to keep her were she didn't feel needed, so she had to extend the same consideration to her.

"Of coarse," Limbo finally let out "Well, if you need me, or just want to hang out..."

Limbo paused. She didn't plan on going home soon with so many sights to see, but then how would friends stay in touch? "I actually don't know how we can stay in touch, so, I guess this could be that last time we see each-other, but I know I wouldn't want anyone keeping me from what I was passionate about."

Limbo Dreams didn't want to admit it, but it all seamed so sad. Silver was okay, and had an understanding of Limbo, Tranquil acted like a real friend to her. Maybe these grand scaling adventures weren't all they were cracked up to be if she didn't have anyone to share them with.

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@Loud Opinion

Tranquil nodded a little as she would listen to Limbo, she would then give her a big hug "Well, you can always write to me, or ask Silver if you could use his phone" she would smile as she then wrote down her address and phone number "If you're ever in the area again, just look me up at my shop, I'm usually not too busy to hang out with a friend" she would say before looking over at Gold and Silver "Well guys, I think I may have fulfilled my reasons for being here" she would say to them, "If you need me at any point, Limbo's got my address and number" she would say before giving Limbo another hug "Also Silver, I would appreciate it if you'd let her keep in touch, I'd hate to lose a good friend" she would say, giving Limbo one more hug before looking to the others "I do hope you two find the answer to the riddle and finally rid Gold of the curse" she would say, turning to leave.

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@Loud Opinion @ExplosionMare @Etch Daydream

Thanos was standing with a set of packed saddle bags across the train from his sister. The plan was that she would take the train back to the crystal empire and then a carriage from their to the kingdom of seasons. Two guard ponies stood by here one in armor of light reds and browns the other in deep black and blue. Thanos had assigned one of his personal guard to ensure she got back safely. The winter guard were much more stoic and often did the harsher work that the spring guard did not like. Arete preferred her guard to be a welcoming face of the capitol whereas Thanos's guards were the military might called on when things needed fixing. 

" I will miss you on this journey little sister. Please be safe and ensure you keep in touch. " 

The two alicorns hugged tightly clearly unsure of what the future brought but knowing they must do their duties. 

" Well Thany I would say the same but we both know you are the fighter. Please open your heart and make some friends you need it. " 

Both turned to Luna and Celestia bowing low. Taking a breath they spoke in unison 

" Thank you so much for your help. If it is ok we would like to write to you for guidance from time to time. Also we are sorry we did not get to present these gifts earlier.

" For princess Luna we offer a cloak enchanted so that you can be bodily protected when your mind enters the dream realm. It will create a bubble of necromantic and time magic leaving you unable to be touched by anypony unless you alter the spell to allow certain ponies through. 

For princess Celestia we offer a saddle bag set that is heated on one side and cold on the other. You can take snacks and keep them at optimal temperature during your day. With a simple word you can turn them off and use them as regular well made storage containers. "

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Once the mare walked away, Granite frantically looked around for a bathroom. He wasn’t sure if there was one nearby or if the castle even allowed him in one. It would be a strange thing to forbid ponies from using a bathroom, but this was a castle so Granite didn’t doubt there would be excessive security measures like that.

 

He started to feel a massive headache come on, his forehead pounding as if somepony was taking a hammer to it. Granite Rose clenched his teeth, hoping the pain would subside.

Forget the bathrooms! I’ll just go back outside and take it there! he cried to himself. Granite turned around and went back to the garden. He kept his head down and avoided any suspicious glares that could come his way.

By the time he headed outside, the world started to break down and disintegrate. Colors bled into each other and flowers faded away, one by one. As the world began to fall apart, Granite reached for his pill bottle and opened the lid. The pills became little pink blobs and the label on the bottle fused its words together as if they were magnetized. Cautiously, Granite took out one of the pink blobs and swallowed it. He washed it down with the dented metal that had become his watering can.

Slowly, the warped world had begun to put itself back together. Plants and fences reformed their distinct shapes and colors began to separate. The pink blobs turned back into pills and the label had untangled its words and set each carefully back into their place.

Thankful he was back to normal again, Granite headed inside for the ceremony, leaving his cart behind. Since the garden was rather empty aside from him, he felt safe leaving it there for the night.

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@Jedishy,

"Oh marvelous," Luna said with joy at the core of her tone, "Who knew such magics could be lost to us for so long?"

"My sister always had an appreciation for more serous gifts," Celestial said in kind, "Thank you both, but you shouldn't have. Luna told me about your parents. Impressing us should be the last thing on your minds."

"Regardless, we wish you well on your travels and wisdom in your ruler-ship."

With their good by's said, Celesta and Luna both bowed to show them that they saw their guests as equal peers despite their lack of experience.

@ExplosionMare,

Silver Tongue and Gold Dust were waiting in their luxury sweet at the Hilltop-Hotel along with Limbo Dreams. She had asked Silver Tongue what a cell-phone was only to get a raised eyebrow in return. Maybe an older stallion like Silver Tongue wasn't the person to ask about it, but Limbo had no way of knowing that without knowing what a phone was, let alone a cell-phone. That got Limbo a little frustrated that her friend could be so dismissive, but decided to look past that. Instead, she was looking forward to getting to know her new friend Granite. Gold Dust wasn't looking like much for conversation as he would spend a lot of time thinking and getting annoyed when someone interrupted him.

"Your friend is certainly taking his time," Silver Tongue said, breaking the silence with his raspy voice, "Are you sure you gave him the right directions."

"It's the Hilltop-Hotel," Gold Dust shot back a little annoyed, "how hard could it be to find?"

"Oh, I don't know," Limbo chimed worriedly, "I did tell him awfully quickly."

The three remained waiting for Granite in uncertain silence.

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@Loud Opinion

As Granite walked inside the castle, he felt as if he had forgotten something. He looked behind himself to make sure it wasn’t anything he needed to carry. He panicked for a moment before he realized his stuff was out back. However, he still felt like he forgot something. It didn’t occur to him until he was quite a few paces away from the back entrance.

“Oh, right! The quest thing!” he cried to no one in particular. He quickly raced towards the front of the castle to get to the hotel he was supposed to arrive at. He slowed his pace to avoid any suspicious glares, then headed outside.

Well, I guess I’m really doing this. I don’t want to be around her, but at least I already took my medication, Granite argued to himself. The quest, or whatever the mare wanted to call it, wouldn’t take up too much of his time. Thorns was stalled for a while, so even if Granite had to talk with the mare for a long time, it wouldn’t come with any risks. 

Feeling less frantic than he had before, Granite confidently strode to the hotel. Whatever the mission was that he would be sent on, he knew he could handle it.

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@Loud Opinion @ExplosionMare

The siblings gasped as they were bowed to. They could not believe that such important ponies were treating them as equals. They refrained from protesting as they knew it would be impolite. Instead they smiled warmly and tried to keep composure. 

" Princesses I will need to gather supplies before I head out on my journey across your Kingdom. In our haste to seek wisdom we left with little more then a blanket and what we could fit in our saddle bags. My sister will be heading back to care for the affairs of our kingdom. Oh wait a moment.

Thanos's horn flairs with magic as a dark onyx chunk floated out of his saddle bag. The chunk begin to spin in the magic field and it appears to be polishing to a mirror finish. Soon it splits into four perfectly round ovals.  His horn grows brighter and brighter as a second and then third over-flare of magic encases his body. The light shifts from deep purple to a ghostly blue and then the onyx gems are floated before the four Alicrons' present 

" These mirrors are all enchanted to be able to contact any of the set they are made from. You need only speak the ponies name you wish to speak to and their mirror will chime. You can answer it by touching it with your magic or speaking a pass phrase. To attune to the mirror just wrap it in your magic and speak the phrase you want as its password.  Now we can always contact each other. 

As I was saying I will need to gather supplies for my travels and potentially seek a few ponies aid along the way...


Thanos was clearly uncomfortable making what felt like demands of his " betters " 

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@ExplosionMare,

The trio were still waiting when a door chime broke the silence and brought with it a new level of tension to the already dubious alliance. The desire for this strangers cooperation had to be tempered. An excessive show of need might leave of concerns of alternator motives. The last thing they needed to do was scare off their only lead to, for some of them, was toward their life's work. All perfectly valid concerns. Concerns that were absent from Limbo's mind

"I'll get it," Limbo said as she opened their apartment door with an innocent smile, "Granite! You made it!".

 

@Jedishy,

"Well, did you have anypony in mind? I heard from one of the delegates that you visited a town before coming to Canterlot. Maybe you met someone nice?"

"In any case. We are willing to provide whatever supplies you feel are necessary."

Luna looked to the stone with bemusement. Another marvel from what she only assumed to be a once lost era. It was in that moment that Luna remembered her little pet project. She was looking into a dream-walker that wasn't herself. Such a thing was unheard of. She planned on observing her for a while before approaching her formally.

"Now that I think about it. There is a pony that might be worth bringing along. She's a crystal pony named Limbo Dreams. From what I've gathered, she's a gentle soul with a unique mind and could help you understand your purpose."

Luna focused magic through her horn, it's faint glow betraying the subtlety of her technique. In a short moment, Luna's magic reached out to Thanos' own. The two of them could soon see a trail of air glow with the same blue light and resonated with a soft hum. The trail was frozen and led across Canterlot, with all the civilians seemingly oblivious to it's prescience.

"This is your journey though, so the choice is yours, of course."

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@Loud Opinion Granite smiled sheepishly as he was greeted at the door. He trotted up the stairs a bit and said,

“Hello. I’m here for whatever it is I’m needed to do. It was something about Blue Thorn, right?”

His words felt awkward as they tumbled out of his mouth. His attempt to hold a small conversation was falling apart. It was still nerve wracking to talk to the mare, even after taking his pills. Now that he thought of it, Granite should probably learn her name already instead of referring to her as ‘the mare’. 

Nevertheless, he let himself in the hotel room to begin his work. He observed the group inside, noticing there were a fair amount of ponies in the room. This made him feel a little shy, but they all seemed decent enough to talk to. Granite Rose sharply inhaled, remembering he had to breathe. He shook it off and waited for further instructions from the group.

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@Loud Opinion @ExplosionMare

 

" Well Princess it would be best if we did a bit of shopping for our journeys . Plus it might let us get some knowledge of the culture of Equestria proper.

Thanos again took the lead as Arete stood scuffing her hoof against the ground. She knew she had to go back and rule the Kingdom but she had not been apart from her brother even one day in her entire life. It all seemed a lot scarier that they did not have their parents to turn to. She almost wanted to beg to rule from here in Canterlot alongside Princess Celestia. 

" Would I be able to room in the castle this evening as I get my supplies Princesses?

Thanos was so focused on his needs he was oblivious to his sisters discomfort and fear. His very nature made the end of anything comfortable with him. 

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@ExplosionMare,

Limbo seemed about ready to say something, but was cut off when Silver Tongue held up a hoof. Silver would have to make his first impression now if he hoped to get this younger stallion's trust. I can be easy to be seen as a silent observer if he wasn't careful. Such a perception can be oppressive to his a shallow-breathed guest. Better to make himself familiar sooner than latter.

"Yes," Silver Tongue said lazily, slowly, and deliberately. He let his breaths take priority over his words and hoped his guest would follow suit. "We expect that you can point-" Silver Tongue's stopped as his brow hardened. He quickly found a better way to phrase his proposition and continued, "Rather, We hope you can help us find this 'Blue Thorn' fellow."

Limbo, who seemed annoyed the whole time, let her expression soften and nodded when Silver got to the point. Gold Dust, however, who perked up at Granite's entrance, simply flopped back onto the bed while rubbing his temples with his hooves.

"I am Silver Tongue, you've already met Limbo Dreams, and the grouch behind me is Gold Dust," Silver continued with a smile. Gold Dust simply huffed in response. "We'll cover any expenses and, when we find Blue Thorn, you will be compensated for lost time."

 

@Jedishy,

Luna, for reasons beyond her perception, seemed far more concerned for Thanos' well being than Arete's. Thanos on one hoof reminded Luna a lot about herself, but Arete on the other hoof seemed to remind her more of her sister who's disposition made whatever troubles may be affecting them let important. With no reason to suspect something wrong, Luna's attention was on Thanos."I see no reason why not. When you are ready to set off, use the mirror and I will head over to the station to see you."

Luna Focuses her magic on her mirror and thinks for a moment on what phrase should activate it then says "Mirror Mirror by my side, show me who this message abides."

"Not a perfect rime, but it will have to do for now," Luna said with a giggle.

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@Loud Opinion

“H-hello, Gold Dust and Silver Tongue! Nice to meet you!” Granite said as politely as he could. He fidgeted with his hooves a bit to keep himself together. Now that he was introduced to a couple of new ponies, he wasn’t sure how Thorns would be able to handle it. Even after taking his prescription, Thorns always had the probability of showing up in what Thorns considered ‘extreme situations’, such as meeting more ponies he was very unlikely to trust.

Granite twitched his ears for a bit, seeing if he could pick up any audio cues from behind. On a rare occasion, Granite could sense Thorns coming before he began talking. It was like a sixth sense to him. If Granite sensed him, it was usually by hearing little noises equivalent to hooves shuffling on rocks. Sometimes he could ‘feel’ him as well, by the way the air felt; thick and rough, as if it were filled with particles. In extremely rare cases, he could smell Thorns. He smelled like tar and ashes. Granite was thankful Thorns didn’t have a permanent scent.

Not able to detect anything unusual, Granite decided to shift his focus back to Blue Thorn. He remembered seeing him once before, but it wasn’t recent enough to locate where he went. If he was clever, though, perhaps he could find a way to track him down. Even better, he could bring Blue Thorn to them. Granite tapped his chin thoughtfully as he laid out each plan in his head before he showcased them to the small group of ponies.

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@Loud Opinion

 

Winter and Arete hug. The younger of the pair has tears in her eyes. They had never been separated and her brother was always there to act as her backup if things get bad.

" Thany I'm nervous. You've always been the one to protect me if things go bad. Now I have to stand on my own...."

 

" Listen you got this. You have seen the potential of each of our choices. You know this is the best course of action. Plus I'm always a call away. " 

 

As the train pulled back from the station Thanos let out a sigh and turned back towards the princess. 

" Luna can you please look over her dreams. She is stronger then she knows. But she will need a guiding hoof to realize it. Oh and do you have suggestions on where I can get supplies for my trip? I've never traveled like this before so I'm a bit lost. " 

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@ExplosionMare,

Silver nodded in understanding. "Let us be swift! Gold, you are the most mobile of us, can you see when the next train to Hollow Shades leaves?"

Gold raised an eyebrow, he had already gotten up during Granite's explanation and was stunned by Silver's request "Uh, why Hollow Shades? Didn't he just say Thorn was in Fillydelphia?"

"Yes," Silver responded harshly before taking a calmer tone, "but the Hollow Shades are where my travels were leading me before this royal distraction brought me here. It's nearby so we should both be able to get what we want."

Gold simply sighed and rolled his eyes, "Of course you would find a way to make this all about you."

"Gold," Silver consoled, "This is about you. The Hollow Shades is said to be the epicenter of curse magic in Equestria. If there's a way to remove that ring, it'll be there."

"Sorry Granite," Limbo leaned in to whisper, "they've been at each other's throats seance they met. I really appreciate you going out of your way to help us. Silver's a great pony when you get to know him, but he's old so it's hard for him to understand younger ponies."

Eventually Gold left the room with a slam of the door, a sigh from Silver, and a wince from Limbo.

@Jedishy,

"Of course," Luna said with a subtle unease. How could she guide someone through dreams that aren't there? It wouldn't be long before the next night comes. She'd have to reopen the dream realm to avoid suspicion. Though she was more worried for Thanos than Arete. "She's in good hooves."

When Thanos asked about where he could get supplies, Luna felt a bit silly, "Right, you are new to traveling aren't you. You'll have to forgive me, I deal with well traveled delegates most of the time. Sometimes I forget what is or isn't intuitive."

Luna motioned to her left, "Down the west street is the market district. Feel free to take your time browsing and taking whatever you need and write down what you buy from where on this scroll so we can compensate the shop owners latter."

With that Luna conjured up a scroll and enchanted quill and levitated them toward Thanos "Take heart Thanos. The equestrian ponies are a forgetful lot, as all mortals are."

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@Loud Opinion

Granite frowned at the arguing ponies. He wanted to interject but could not find a place to interrupt. He soon gave up trying to stop Silver and Gold and just let them have at it, much to his disappointment. He let his mind wander a bit to keep himself distanced.

He wondered how his flowers were doing. They had to travel a long way with him and the flowers had needed extra care to make it through the trip. He hoped they were adjusted to their new home. Most importantly, he hoped they were going to get well taken care of by the next garden pony.

Granite was quickly pulled from his thoughts when Limbo whispered to him. Thankfully, Limbo had cut off the argument and the bickering had ceased. He appreciated the effort as any more conflict may have stirred up Thorns. However, the feeling of relief did not last long once Gold decided to leave and slam the door behind him. Granite’s ears flopped down reflexively at the slam that echoed through the halls.

If they’re going to continue arguing like that, how are we going to find Blue Thorn? We can’t find if if we can’t talk together Granite worried to himself.

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@Loud Opinion

 

Arete settled down on the train her thoughts melancholy. She knew that her brother was right but it still did not make it any less painful to be separated from him.

 

Thanos let out a low nicker of dismissal. With a shake of his head he dismissed the scroll. 

" I appreciate the officer Princess but we came prepared with a heafty supply of bits from the royal treasury. I am sure I can afford anything I need and we are able to supply more funds through the same dragon magic Princess Celestia uses to send scrolls. She was kind enough to teach the skill to parents a long time ago. And they taught us. " 

At the mention of his parents his eyes dart downward. His hoof scuffed the train platform unsure if he should wait to be dismissed. He was not used to actingn on an equal level yet with other royals 

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@ExplosionMare,

As Gold Dust exited the hotel --first stopping and fuming, then reflecting and sighing-- he noticed the world getting duller. The color was muted, neon red became rusty red and so on, but Gold couldn't bring himself to care. In truth, it was his own color that was fading as the curse tightened its grip on Gold Dust's destiny. Whatever had emboldened him before had left, and the ring was intent on making up for lost time. The party was over. There was no real reason to still be in Canterlot. Perhaps he would accept Mr. Crag's job offer, shady as it was. With a flap of his wings Gold was off again in the expansive blue sky.

Meanwhile, Silver Tongue hurried his old bones out the door. Somepony was going to have to check the train times. and he wasn't convinced it would be Gold.

@Jedishy,

"Right, well at least let me leave a map for you."

A pamphlet appeared in a flash of blue hue and bright white sparkles to hover over to Thanos. "However," Luna said only to be interrupted by her own yawn, "I am afraid I can not accompany you as a matter most urgent has come up." Luna gestured with her hoof, drawing the eye to the ponies going about their day behind her. All except for one elderly looking unicorn stallion of a gray mane and a green coat.

Where Luna's eyes were half-closed form the bustle of yesterday, this stallion was wide as a looking glass. Their was no mistaking the silent terror on Silver Tongue's face as he was in the presence of his sure-to-be reaper.

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