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Open Ambition for Ascension


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OOC

The address on the invitation was easy to find as it was the only house to show up on the road for some distance just barely cutting into the edge of the Everfree Forest. The long, tall building before you was made mostly of stone bricks. Each were perfectly flat and large enough to come up to a pony's neck, with only the thinnest layers of mortar as to not interrupt the aesthetic.

The outside walls would show off their impressive depth with a row of tall, arched windows being set so far inward that a pony could take comfortable shelter. These tall windows repeated along either side and took up about a quarter of the viable surface. So close were they, that if the glass was gone, then the walls would look like a series of pillars in an acropolis.

A lone tower connected on the right side, near the back. It only rose a single story over the rest of the building, but still stood comfortably above the treeline. The roof was a humble 'V' shape, only interrupted in the middle where the elevation rises like a fault-line.

The yard leading up to the structure encompassed the building generously with a short wall that seemed to indicate the end of the yard instead of acting as an actual barrier.

Based on the invitations, it looks like the first session wasn't quite ready yet. The night was though as the sun hovered over the Everfree's oddly cloudless horizon.

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Fuchsia considers, wishing the coffee in her hoof was something stronger  As Octavia was speaking about being a musician, the idea occurs to her that it could be song-based magic - she had heard of Si

OOC The address on the invitation was easy to find as it was the only house to show up on the road for some distance just barely cutting into the edge of the Everfree Forest. The long, tall build

@Loud Opinion Magnolia's eyes seemed to stare into his soul as if searching for the truth. Then she simply raised an eyebrow at such a...request. She stood there silently, and then seemed to march

(edited)

Trixie is not a very patient mare, but she is is smart (and powerful) and she knows that entering the tower before it is ready could lead to... unwanted repercussions, so in order to wait out the night without fear of chocolate rain, normal rain, hail or anything else that falls from the sky, she takes shelter under one of the many arched windows encompassing the building, using only what is on the ground around her to make a nice snug blanket for herself.

But wait... There's more, Trixie knows she is very close to the Everfree Forest, she also knows scary mythical creatures live in the Everfree Forest, like Manticores, Timber Wolves, Sea Serpents and even Cockatrice! These creatures could be easily disposed of but Trixie does not want to be  awoken whilst sleeping so in order to secure her resting location from these creatures that stalk the night she uses a magic barrier to block off the opening in the arched window, unbeknownst as to whether or not the barrier will stay after she falls asleep.

Edited by Derpy Pon-3
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(edited)

Starlight made her way off the train and stretched her hind legs. It was quite a long journey from her village to Ponyville. She had hoped she could travel to the Everfree Forest directly, but teleportation would look very suspicious if anypony back home saw it. If she was ever caught using better magic than her friends, then the whole point of this mission would be a waste.

I’m so glad my friends trust me while I’m gone. We wouldn’t want anypony thinking this little quest was to prove I was better than anypony else!  Starlight thought gleefully. She rested her hoof on her chin and let out a small, defiant smirk.

Smack!

“Get a hold of yourself, Starlight!” she cried, wincing from the pain her hoof brought to her face. “The only reason you’re here is to spread the message of perfect friendship! Becoming an alicorn won’t make you better than anypony else! It’ll just, uh...look impressive to other ponies?”

Starlight Glimmer let out a deep groan. Ascending into alicornhood did not help her case as much as she thought it would. 
How could she spread equality to other ponies if she did so by changing her status to a far superior one from her friends? What example would the Princess of Friendship be setting if she i wasn’t truly equal like everypony else?

My pitch is going to need a lot more planning Starlight realized grumpily.

Edited by ExplosionMare
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Ruby eyes surveyed the structure before her, gears whirring inside her head. The unicorn's long, slender tail twitched as she stared, silver hair catching glints of pale moonlight. Well, this was the place. Power laid in wait, for the pony ambitious enough to seize the opportunity. (That pony would be her, she was certain of it.) Her heart pounded with anticipation; even if she felt it safe enough to rest here, she would get no sleep tonight. Everything she dreamed of was here, right within her reach!

Silver Tongue took a few steps closer to the building, particularly curious of the tower. It wasn't time yet for the fateful meeting, but she couldn't help but wonder what was inside...

Her ears twitched up as she heard noise nearby - a voice? - and her already excited heartrate raised just a little more. She took only a moment to gather her wits, and turned to look. It shouldn't have been any surprise that other ponies might have come to try and take this chance from her. She carefully kept her tone level and calm as she called out to the night, with a voice gentle and deceptively sweet,

"Hello? Is anyone there?"

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@Derpy Pon-3,

Trixie's very sensible decision to cower rest on the structures exterior proved fruitful, or not -- depending on your perspective. Her ward both tinted and dimly illuminated the dark forest to her right. Whenever her eyes wandered to that woeful place the dim glow could only stretch so far into the silent dark. A few moths, as if to help Trixie distract herself, landed on her ward, rippling it as they made contact. As the seconds turned to minuets Trixie could hear a muffled conversation from within the building. A gentle mare and a slightly androgynous stallion by the inflection and pitch. Most was unintelligible. Perhaps there was a joke in there somewhere? The two stopped what they were saying to laugh. As they continued to speak the sound of hooves acceding stone stairs accompanied them.

@ReverieRiver,

The only response to Silver's question was a quick shuffling through the moonlit grass. Whatever she had noticed was unnaturally flighty and, invisible? Behind her was nothing but a large rock embedded in the ground to her left --a little smaller than a newborn foal-- and a puddle that was barely the size of a cauldron to her right. Aside from that all their was was a field of grass for miles, only broken by the dirt path cutting across. Could it have been a bird? The shuffling was too loud for any pigeon or blue jay --more like a black bear--, and sounded like it was moving through the grass instead of over it. As soon as it was gone, the feeling of being watched disappeared. As if one of the millions of stars dotting the sky shifted their gaze away from you and the sky seemed just a little less bright.

@ExplosionMare,

Meanwhile, while there was still sunlight in Ponyville a refined looking earthpony hesitantly approached Starlight with a raised eyebrow. "Excuse me, but are you alright? It's just that you were talking to yourself and I felt a little concerned". All around Starlight there seamed to be ponies giving her odd looks somewhere between concern, annoyance, and fear. The mare that approached had a purple bow around her neck to match her eyes. She appeared to be struggling with a large instrument's case on her back along with a generic case of luggage. Whatever the instrument was, it seemed like more than a one-pony-job.

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@Loud Opinion

Starlight smiled at the mare with the purple bow. She was delighted to meet another friend so soon. To answer the mare’s question, Starlight replied,

“Hello, I’m Starlight Glimmer. I am very pleased to meet you. It is so wonderful to meet new friends!”

Well, it was more like she dodged the question than answered it. Starlight would never point out another pony’s flaws, so why would she want somepony pointing out hers?

Starlight noticed the mare struggling with what looked like an odd shaped case and a more normal, rectangular one. Kindly, she told her,

“Please, allow me to help you with those,” Starlight used her magic to lift the cases from the mare’s back and place them beside herself. Once they got moving, she would carry them herself. Hopefully, the gesture would show that Starlight considered herself equal enough to do the same menial tasks other ponies did, not that she wanted to show off her strength.

“This burden you’ve been carrying must be small compared to the everlasting pain Cutie Marks and special talents have brought you. Such a shame you have been living in that world all your life. I came here to share the beautiful friendship we can create by being equal and one in the same. Please, come with me to my village and I can remove more burdens than the one on your back,” she offered. Starlight couldn’t help but drift off from all of the peace and happiness she was currently feeling. It gave her so much joy to spread her message to ponies in need.

As she came back into reality, Starlight had remembered she was to speak to a certain mare about becoming an alicorn. Was this the pony she was to speak to?

“Forgive my assumptions, but are you the pony I was supposed to meet? If you are that pony, you must know the true reason as to why I’m here,” Starlight inquired.

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@ExplosionMare,

The mare was charmed at first. A mare that was willing to lend a helping hoof never ceased to relieve her even in this quaint town full of helpful ponies. She was lucky to have been on the same train as this mare though regrettably unable to notice her.

"Charmed. You may call me Octavia."

However that charm did not seem to be meant to last. What could only be described as a premeditated speech painted her new companion in a whole new light. Her special talent a burden? Moving to a new village? It was all so... So exhausting to think about. Octavia brought a hoof to the side of her temple and huffed before regaining her composure. Just in time by the looks of it as Starlight regained her seances at about the same time.

Then she asked her a question, one that was difficult for her to answer. So, she decided to go to the brightest light she knew of: The old temple by the Everfree.

"Yes, you are right," Octavia said as she turned to their mutual destination, "Please, follow me..."

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@Loud Opinion

Silver found herself holding her breath as the unseen thing shifted and moved through the grass, ears swiveling as she followed the sounds of its movements. Careful, she reminded herself. It wouldn't do to come all this way only to get assaulted by some kind of creature from the nearby forest. She stayed still until the mystery had passed, and the night was quiet again. Tense muscles eased just slightly, and she released the breath she'd been holding. Only then did she light her horn, charging it with a pale aura to illuminate the immediate area. Not that it was needed, with the moon giving sufficient enough light, but - just in case there was something she wasn't seeing regardless.

"Hello?" she called out once more, with a touch of wariness now.

She waited. Something in the back of her mind vaguely chided her for getting distracted from the main reason she was here. But if there was someone - or something - here, then she wasn't going to allow herself to be caught off guard. If the coast was clear, well, then clearly it was just some wildlife scurrying about... nothing she needed to worry over. Slowly, she turned back towards the building. She had more important matters at hoof.

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@ExplosionMare,

Octavia continued to march on as the path before her thin. Her goal was in sight: The old temple on the hill. She couldn't for the life of her remember why she was heading there. 'Oh', she thought 'it was to show my new friend to her... something...'. Again her memory failed her. She was certain that her friend had already told her, but still, the details stopped short. It was probably during her speech somewhere. Maybe she would talk about it again when she got there. There's no reason to look foolish when you don't have to after all.

@ReverieRiver,

And there it was as ominous as ever at this time of night. The full moon was now fully visible as it was now over the structure and so cast its shadow over its own entrance. "This place gave me quite a scare the first time I saw it," Octavia broke the silence as they passed the stone border to the temple's hill and approached a jumpy looking mare, "It's still hard to imagine why anyone would willingly go about their day there.".

@Derpy Pon-3, @All,

A low pitched bell rang from the top of the tower and carried for miles across the grassy hills signifying the start of something. A promise? A threat? A warring? Probably the latter, as it was exactly on time for the invitations description. Alongside the bell, a bright pink light could be seen blazing out the top tower window implying that the bell was rang using magic. The light flicked as the ringing died down, revealing the heavy strain the spell was under. The windows began to glow gently as if the bell had brought the whole building to life.

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@Loud Opinion

Starlight beamed at finally being able to see the Everfree, but kept her emotions to herself so as not to flaunt her emotions. As she trotted, she carried the heaviest object she was carrying with her magic and the lightest one on her back. If she carried both of them with her magic, she may offend her new friend Octavia by showing off her magic. Despite the intense weight of the luggage, Starlight did her best to juggle the two items this way in order to remain helpful.

“Octavia, you are tremendously lucky that we met each other today. I would simply hate the idea of you going through the rest of your life without knowing the pleasure of releasing yourself from your Cutie Mark. Forgive me for the direct observation, but does your ‘special talent’ involve carrying these heavy bags everywhere you go? Fear not, my dear friend, because in my village, you will carry these bags no longer!” Starlight proudly monologued.

She wasn’t sure how much longer she could talk about the bags, but it was all she had to go on. She couldn’t ask for more without sounding rude. Whatever the case may be for Octavia, she would be saved eventually once Starlight is able to become the Princess of Equality. Not only her, but millions of other ponies across Equestria will be saved as well.

Starlight smiled blissfully as she trotted closer and closer towards the forest. She was mere hooves away from her destiny. Starlight let her mind drift with thoughts of many smiling ponies. In these thoughts, the smiling ponies were the friendliest and most modest ponies anypony could ever meet. They all appreciated each other and did not judge each other for their differences. They were truly happy in their new forever home. Starlight let out a long, content sigh as her heart warmed at the prospect of all the potential friends she was soon going to make.

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@Loud Opinion, @ExplosionMare

Silver took another moment to herself to calm her nerves as the bell tolled, breathing slowly. Now wasn't the time to let her emotions get away from her, no matter how thrilling the prospect of achieving her dreams was. That would only serve to cloud her judgement. And if there were other ponies to compete against - which, clearly there were, she noted as she heard the voices of others approaching - then she needed to keep a level head. More importantly, she needed to familiarize herself with the competition, if they were indeed here for the same reason as she.

She turned and put on her best smile, and just like that her unease seemed to have vanished. Wearing a friendly face, she found, was the best way to draw them in. Be approachable, amicable, build a rapport... then, if it came down to it, well. She wouldn't hesitate to do a little backstabbing.

Her ruby eyes glimmered as she looked over the pair, her gaze easily read as curiosity. "Oh, hello there! It looks like you're headed the same way as I," she remarked, nodding her head towards the tower - firmly tamping down a fresh surge of excitement, seeing it aglow the way it was now. Keep calm. Focus on the task. Her time would come soon. "Would either of you terribly mind if I tagged along?"

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@ReverieRiver

Starlight’s hooves hitched backwards as she heard a rather sudden voice. She covered up her near-trip gracefully by giving off a radiant smile and shaking her mane from side to side. Once she composed herself, Starlight turned to find yet another pony friend approaching her. Starlight’s smiler grew wider. She had only been out in the forest for ten minutes and she had already made two friends. As politely as she could, Starlight introduced herself. She began by saying,

“Hello, there! I’m Starlight Glimmer. It is so wonderful to meet another friend! I was just telling my new friend, Octavia, what a pleasant and fulfilling life she could live in my village.

She went on by explaining,

You see, in my village, we all accept each other as the same and make beautiful friendships through our sameness. We no longer suffer from the infliction of a Cutie Mark, a mark that has only caused other ponies to feel too special or too jealous. Without our Cutie Marks, we are free to live happily without being chained to our destinies!”

Looking at the mare, Starlight could see that she was plagued by feelings of supremacy and powerfulness. This pony believed she could be better than everypony else just because she has a ‘special’ mark on her flank. If only she knew the constant pain she was putting other ponies through every day. Perhaps, if this mare stuck around, Starlight could teach her a few lessons in humility.

“I would be absolutely pleased if you could join us. We would love to welcome you as our friend on our journey,” she told the mare. As her agreement was solidified, Starlight realized that not only would this mare benefit from her, she too could benefit from this mare. If Starlight could convince this pony and Octavia to join her cause, then she was yet another step closer to spreading her ultimate message.

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@ReverieRiver, @ExplosionMare,

Octavia's eye's were fixed on the temple. How she knew it was a temple or how to find it were questions that she probably already answered for herself at some point. More specifically, she gazed at the tower. That light made her feel a little nauseous for whatever reason, like she was falling and spinning into a familiar place; familiar for all the wrong reasons.Still she felt obligated to enter. There was urgent business to be done there. 'That must be why I'm here', she thought, 'To get to the bottom of whatever I'm forgetting about this place'. At the sound of another pony she snapped back to the present.

Tagging along. Yes, a crowd is safer than going alone, though she hoped it wasn't necessary. Better to make a good first impression in that case

She bowed, partially out of respect, and partially to help her find her stomach again. "Yes, I am Octavia. A pleasure."

When she looked up though, she found what she could only describe as a free spirit. Curious. Energetic. Friendly. Perhaps this place had not effected her in the same way. When she looked to her companion she saw a similar smile. It was probably best if she kept her feelings to herself in this case. Even if she could find the words for it, She doubted the others would believe her.

"I suppose all that's left is to head inside then," Octavia said uneasily.

@Derpy Pon-3,

With new light sources in abundance the moths scattered as if to invite Trixie out of her alcove. Several annoyed animals made their complainants heard and with them egging each-other on, it would doubtlessly be some time before things got quiet or dark enough for some proper rest. A quire could be hear behind her. Probably last minuet rehearsals. Though the chanting sounded strangely like instructions. Motion, vigor, an unseen beat is welling, like a silent drum.

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@ExplosionMare, @Loud Opinion

Silver greeted the two with a polite nod of her head as she introduced herself. "The pleasure's mine. I'm Silver Tongue." She then looked to Starlight, keeping a carefully schooled expression of mild interest as the other unicorn went through her spiel about 'beautiful friendships through sameness.' A misguided attempt at equality, she was sure. Not that equality was something she was interested in, anyway. Silver didn't wish for equality - she wanted control. But she didn't want to stir up any trouble this early on, didn't want to raise what would likely be a pointless dispute, so she simply acknowledged Starlight with another nod of her head.

All that's left is to head inside. "Right, then, let's go," she said, turning her gaze ahead to the temple once more. She didn't dare let on just how much she anticipated what was inside; to her credit, she was an excellent actress. Kept herself looking relatively calm despite it all. She had to be, she mused, if she wanted to use her abilities to their fullest extent. Which she did, and often. Sometimes a few white lies and a little acting was needed to get what she wanted.

And she wanted this. She wanted the power that she knew was waiting for her. She wanted it more than anything.

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  • 2 weeks later...
(edited)

@Loud Opinion @ReverieRiver

“I am so pleased that I can make this journey with new friends! Sharing an experience is one of the simplest ways we can all be in harmony together,” Starlight said, making it up as she went along. She didn’t really mean anything she said, knowing the promise would go to one pony and one pony alone. Nevertheless, she knew she had to keep a clean composure in order to be seen as the true friend she knew she could be.

When Octavia and Silver Tongue weren’t looking, she studied them cautiously to look for any signs that she would have to look out for later. There have been a few untrustworthy friends in the past that needed quite a bit of persuasion before they were able to step into the light. From what Starlight could tell, Octavia displayed little to no signs of suspicion. She was fatigued, sure, but that could only be the result of the mental and emotional pain she had carried around all her life. Silver Tongue, however, was a different matter. She held herself back, as to why Starlight was unsure. This mare, like Starlight had wagered before, had an uptight disposition that would keep her from opening up. The only way she could fix is to get Silver on her level.

“Silver Tongue, have you ever felt like somepony out there may be better than you? Have you ever thought that somepony out there may be smarter than you, or stronger than you, or even prettier than you? Isn’t it a shame that most ponies live life thinking they can always be better? If only they knew how hurtful being ‘the best’ could be...” she lamented to the mare. She put on a solemn face and waited for her response eagerly. She hoped that by striking a nerve, Silver’s hard expression would soften and her vulnerability would succumb to Starlight’s teachings.

Edited by ExplosionMare
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  • 3 weeks later...

@ExplosionMare, @Loud Opinion

Silver Tongue smiled, then turned her attention forward again as the small group proceeded, almost at the temple now. What Starlight said next made her pause, though, a hoof hovering midstep as an ear flicked towards the other mare. Silver looked at her, sincere confusion apparent in her expression. That was an interesting topic to bring up right now, and perhaps kind of personal depending on which pony you asked. She genuinely wasn't sure what Starlight was trying to get at, and that threw her if only for a moment or two. She contemplated Starlight's words carefully before she spoke.

"Well, of course I've felt like that before. Who hasn't?" she replied with a tilt of her head and a cautious smile. It's not exactly a falsity, either; there were times she's felt that someone was better than her, of course there were. Ponies stronger, more powerful, more charming than her... To become the "best" was a dream next to unachievable. But if she just had more power of her own, then, perhaps she could come close.

That might be the most sincere she'd been thus far, since meeting these two other ponies. She shook her head, shiny silver locks of mane shifting with each slight movement. "I'm not sure what you mean by that, honestly. Whoever out there is 'the best,' I'm sure they're living pretty well right about now."

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@ExplosionMare, @ReverieRiver,

The large, arched, wooden double door was solid with no clear locking mechanism. A simple latch kept the doors closed. One would think it would make more sense for it to be on the inside of the building than the outside. That is, unless this building had no intention of keeping anyone out. The screws keeping the latch attached were slightly rusted, implying that it was as old as the rest of the building.

Octavia looked up at the obstruction with unease. Beyond this door was a world of nightmare that she dare not allow herself to relive. How far could she go with her eyes closed? With any luck those dreams were only that, but below what she could see... What she was denying-- What she had to deny...

She pushed the doors open. Their would be time for questions at the end. Right now it was time to be the bravest pony she could be. At least she wasn't alone.

As the door opened, the creaking hinges echoed throughout the single room that must have taken up the entire building, With no room for an attic as the ceiling disappeared into the darkness. The walls were mostly bare with a table full of candles below each window.

The rest of the room was full of long rows of solid wooden benches that looked like they could fit hundreds of ponies. All the seats were facing the elevated doughnut-shaped table at the center of the room. This way, half of the attendees would see the back of whoever was speaking but the speaker could turn around to face them with the table still being between them and the attendees. The table slanted inward making it look more like an odd podium than a table.

The emptiness of the room only emphasized it's size and drew the eye toward a door on the left side that probably leads to the tower. If the host was ever going to show up, it would have to be from there.

"Well..." Octavia broke the silence with an echo, "The ceiling didn't look that tall from the outside."

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@ReverieRiver

Starlight knew she was getting close with her. In just a few short moments, she had already made this mare vulnerable. She had cracked her hard exterior. Now all she needed to do was break her interior, the soft spot that could easily be altered. With just a few more friendly conversations, she could convince Silver that equality is friendship.

Before she got that far, however, Starlight decided to really listen in on what the mare had to say. If Starlight was going to say anything back, it had to be thoughtful. After trotting a few more paces, Starlight replied,

“What ponies out there don’t realize is that there is no ‘best’. Ponies push themselves to be better, only to leave others—their friends—behind. I understand the feelings you have. I, too, have been subject to ponies thinking they were better than me. I wasted so much of my life thinking I was inferior, only to find out that I am no better or worse than anypony else. You, too, must realize that nopony out there is better than you, nor are you better than anypony. Accepting ourselves as the same is the only way we can truly be happy,”

Starlight was hesitant to reveal anything about herself at first, but she knew she had to appear vulnerable herself in order obtain vulnerability from Silver. As much as she hated speaking of the foal who abandoned her, she knew finding ways to relate to others would prove to other ponies that they really all were the same. Starlight could only hope what she said had meant something to the mare. As a final note, she mentioned,

 “In my village, we don’t judge each other by our pasts. We only look towards the present, and how we can be happier by just appreciating what we have now, ”

@Loud Opinion

Starlight stopped only to wait for Octavia to open up a wooden door. It was easily accessible, similar to all the doors in her village. The appearance of it was very familiar as well, only this door was larger and a little less simple than the ones back home. Starlight felt very relaxed, almost feeling right at home. The mare next to her, however, seemed very disconcerted. Perhaps, Starlight wondered, she is being reminded of her home as well. Perhaps her home wasn’t as pleasant, which is why she ventured here.

“This door reminds me of my little village. The place were everything is simple but always promising. I believe it reminds you of your hometown as well. Forgive me for prying, but perhaps your home isn’t quite as pleasant?” Starlight inquired.

As Starlight waited for the mare to speak, she was able to peer inside and see the many rows of benches placed in linear patterns. They were all in a perfect order, which was very pleasing to Starlight. However, similar to the door, the space inside was a lot larger than Starlight was accustomed to. It intimidated her at first, but she soon realized what the vast space could mean: more ponies to make friends with. While she was not certain if other ponies would be here, the prospect of hundreds of friends lined up in rows waiting for somepony to save them filled Starlight with joy.

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  • 4 months later...

@ReverieRiver @ExplosionMare,

A pleasant breeze wafted through the newly created draft and over Starlight. Once it passed over Starlight, like breath through a french-horn, it bent to lunge into Silver. Like a high-tide wave, it met Silver like a hurricane meets a spider. Her knees gave way; her lungs failed; the waking world had slipped through her grasp. Yet, her heart never skipped a beat; no drop, no strain, and no change in rhythm. As if life's constant demand for oxygen was more like a polite request.

Octavia put a hoof over her mouth in horror and retreated a few steps into the temple. 'I needed some distance from the shock' was how she reassured herself as she ignored the tugging at her mind to go to the round podium at the center. First the dreams of this place, and now one of us has collapsed. She meant to investigate this place, and it's already gone so wrong. Now, like a fool, she had stepped further inside. Now that she was inside, she could see a note taped to the wall by the door.

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@Loud Opinion @ReverieRiver

Starlight closed her eyes as a breeze wafted over her and enveloped her senses. She welcomed the blissful feeling as the wind whistled in her ears and pushed her long mane in side-to-side. It was as if the door was welcoming her with a polite gesture. Starlight could only interpret this as a sign that she was meant to be here. Her friendship was destined to spread all throughout Equestria. It was more than a dream—it was the tool that could save everypony from despair.

The breeze quickly passed over Starlight and moved on to Silver. However, unlike the gentle breeze she was greeted with, Silver was met with storm winds that were so strong that they knocked her into unconsciousness. Starlight gasped alongside Octavia as the mare collapsed violently on the ground. Immediately, Starlight bent down to help Silver awaken. She was about to ask Octavia for assistance, but she had already made her way into the temple. Starlight would have to teach Octavia about the importance of teamwork and togetherness later.

Starlight nudged Silver to try and make her wake up. She yelled her name a few times and even attempted to lift her, but nothing had worked. Starlight’s attempts were futile as the mare continued to lay limp. The mare would have to awaken on her own terms, which may take a significant amount of time. Since Starlight was unsure when Silver would wake, she grabbed her saddlebags and propped them underneath her head to act as a pillow. For now, she would just have to rest.

The room accepted me but not Silver. Maybe this is a sign. She wants the power of an Alicorn as well, but I am the true pony who is destined for that power. Equality must be spread in order for true harmony to be created Starlight thought as she deciphered the meaning of the breeze and the storm winds.

The room called to Starlight but it pushed Silver away because Silver desired something that was unobtainable. True power was not just received, it was also given. Starlight, unlike Silver, would share her power through her messages. If Silver continued on her selfish path, she would only hurt herself more. It was up to Starlight to teach her of the value of selflessness as soon as Silver regained consciousness. Starlight sat patiently and thought of all she would say to Silver once she regained consciousness.

Edited by ExplosionMare
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@ExplosionMare,

Octavia felt a tinge of guilt when she saw Starlight rush to Silver's aid. Despite their differences, she still didn't hesitate. It reminded her of the difference between the impersonal aristocrats in her home of Canterlot versus the homely kinship here in Ponyville. It's what made her want to stay; something she'd hoped would one day rub off on her, but the colder parts of her old culture wouldn't seem to still have a grip on her.

With a low head, she trotted over to Silver. When she stopped the thumping didn't. If anything, it only got more rapid. The train-wreck of a drum solo challenged Octavia's heart to match its tempo. Like her base, she worked best when tensions were high and sprung into action.

Showing off her earthpony strength Octavia hoisted Silver onto her back. "Be a dear and get the door, won't you?" was the only acknowledgment she gave as she charged back into the temple.

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@Loud Opinion

Octavia must have had a change of heart, because she decided to help the unconscious Silver after all. She lifted Silver on her back and rather quickly at that. Starlight was surprised Octavia had that much strength. Hopefully, she wouldn’t use it around others who were weaker than her.

Octavia made her way towards the temple, eager to get inside. Once she was near the door, she politely asked Starlight if she would get the door for her. Smiling, Starlight responded,

“Of course, friend,” she said. She used her magic to hold the door open for the earth pony to trot through.

Before she went through, Starlight had an excellent idea. If she offered to help lift Silver, she could demonstrate an act of teamwork to Octavia. Or, to be more precise, a second act of teamwork. Opening the door was already a demonstration of teamwork. There was nothing wrong with teaching another friendship lesson, though!

“Would you like me to help you lift Silver? It would be quicker if we both lifted her at once,” she offered.

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@ExplosionMare,

Octavia would have voiced her befuddlement had she the time, but the symphony of limbs against grass only drew closer. With a mighty buck, Octavia slammed the door behind her with its latch helpfully falling into its closed position.

With a sigh a relief Octavia let Silver and her cello fall to the floor. "Sorry to give you the cold shoulder, but didn't you hear the-" was as far as Octavia got before something crashed into the door. It was enough to knock a screw off the latch, but the violent thrashing quieted down to gentle tumbling as the thing on the other side wandered off.

Octavia, perhaps a bit too quick to trust the old door to keep them safe, let her heart settle down again with a sigh. "You said you were invited here? What could you possibly be hoping for from a place like this?" Octavia half shouted. Memory loss, her mysterious nightmares, and now that- what ever it was. The situation was beyond level heads and patient tones. "Why am I here?" Octavia asked softly, more to herself than Starlight.

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@Loud Opinion

“There is no need to apologize—” Starlight began before she was cut off by a loud banging noise.

Something or someone had crashed into the door Octavia had just locked. Starlight couldn’t remember seeing anypony behind them on her way in. The only reasoning behind this that Starlight could think of was that they were being followed. Instinctively, she hunched over in defense, preparing herself for an attack. After a while, whatever had been at the door had decided to leave rather than make any further attempts at getting in. She was glad nothing came through since it would be rude and disrespectful to have to fight in front of a friend.

Once the shock of the mysterious being behind the door had faded, Octavia had some inquiries for Starlight Glimmer. She turned and listened thoughtfully for a moment, studying the mare’s every word. Now seemed like the perfect opportunity to explain the purpose of her mission. Octavia had asked for an origin story, so it was only polite that Starlight gave her one.

“I want to share with other ponies how truly wonderful and harmonious living in sameness can be! The message had quickly spread in my village, but it is simply not enough to promote this type of friendship to only one place. As founder of my village, I took it upon myself to find a way to spread true friendship across all parts of Equestria. I found an old book that told me that coming to this exact location would provide anypony with the means to become an Alicorn. I will tell you, it is not power I seek. I do not aim to be superior to my friends. I need to become an Alicorn so I can become the Princess of Equality. Becoming princess is the fastest and most effective way to share our message,” she monologued proudly, but not too proudly to where she would sound conceited.

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@ExplosionMare,

Octavia listened to the speech with increasing levels of dread. She couldn't decide which was worse: Starlight's hypocrisy, that the same unicorn was in charge of a whole village and its well-being, that she intended to spread what Octavia could only assume to be mediocrity across all of Equestria, or that she would have to rely on this unicorn to find some answers and make it home in one piece. That final detail dawned on her. So she fixed her growing frown to a smile and an enthusiastic nod. With any luck, the unicorn would assume that Octavia had a sudden realization and ultimately agreed with her. Octavia could swallow her pride if it meant getting home safe. "A very..." she stopped for a second to chose a word, her refined demeanor allowing her to mask her cynicism with an understanding smile "brave idea."
Octavia, having been distracted from her despair, scanned the temple.

The single room they were in must have taken up the entire building, with no room for an attic as the ceiling disappeared into the darkness. The walls were bare aside from a table full of candles below each window.

The rest of the room was full of long rows of solid wood benches that looked like they could fit hundreds of ponies. Octavia recognized them as pews. All the seats were facing the elevated doughnut-shaped table at the center of the room. This way, half of the attendees would see the back of whoever was speaking, but the speaker could turn around to face them with the table still being between them and the attendees. The table slanted inward making it look more like an odd podium than a table.

The emptiness of the room only emphasized its size. It drew the eye toward a door on the left side that most likely lead to the tower. If the shepherd from her dreams would make an appearance, it would have to be from there.

She then remembered the note on the entrance wall and cantered over to read it.

Edited by Loud Opinion
added the mention for constancy
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