Key Gear

Private Pony Mystery Theater: Exit Trixie, Stage Right.

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As Flow watched Key and Daylight cuddle each other, she thought "They look so happy together, they just look like...father and daughter," upon thinking that up, Flow's happy demeanor suddenly changed "..I'll never get cuddled by a parent..ever again..." She felt really bad about it, "Why was it only me that survived the accident? Why only me? Why can't I die too and be with them?....Why?" At that moment, a single stream of tears befell her left cheek before quickly wiping it away, hoping that nopony saw her "Sigh......C'mon girl...be strong...You know you can't cling to the past for long...They keep telling you that....Learn to forget and cherish the fact that your alive....I'm sure that my parents would've been happier if I lived on, which also reminds me...I've actually manged to escape death several times, including Trixie's dirty trick. Am I...lucky? Hmm," She thought.

 

She decided to give it another thought later, "Maybe another time, I'll just relax then maybe I'll talk to somepony about it," Afterwards Flow looked at Ambrosia, who is now wide awake, but strangely confused "What in Equestria happened to her? Why did Ambrosia just faint out of the blue like that?" was all she could think of, she wanted to talk to her, but at the same time she wanted to give her a chance to put her mind back together "I guess I should let her relax then, she also has someponies asking her stuff,"

 

@@Key Gear,

 

And now Flow had set her eyes on Key, who had admitted that she is a thief "Hmm..Come to think of it, she looks like one of those street ponies living in the alleyways of Manehattan, looks like it, I guess I'l ask her," She then made the move to do so, approaching her and starting "Uh...Hey there...In case you don't know...My name is Flow and I want to ask you, by any chance..did you come from Manehattan? I think I've seen you before," She quietly awaited her answer.

Edited by Narutardedscum
  • Brohoof 5

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For a moment, Lapis looked taken off guard. What in the world did Electrobolt mean by saying that Springer was found locked in a box? Who would do something like that? He shook his head trying to regain his composure. And what Springer had said about not remembering things definitely worried Lapis. He had been so focused on Dusky and the book, he hadn't given any of the other strange events all that much thought. Such as Trixie's and Springer's odd behaviors. But now that Asteria was here, he could be in two places at once. Therefore he could focus his attentions elsewhere and still gain information.

Electrobolt led Springer to an empty table, and Lapis followed after the two. He silently sat down opposite the older assistant conductor. Electrobolt excused himself, and the blue stallion took this opportunity to chat with the stallion. "Springer, you wondered about yesterday, correct? It is very odd that you forgot, especially with how you had done so much yesterday. You'd been acting strange, according to Ambrosia that is. She said that you were not exactly yourself. And you were exceptionally chummy. To the point of revulsion. Terribly sorry if that's normal. I'd rather like to have you know now though." he said dully.

"Also, you had said you had noticed Trixie's strange behavior, and had set up the magic show as a test. That you were watching for something. That you had a plan. Actually, Ambrosia and I were going to find you to ask about it." he reminded him hoping Springer's memory would come back. It was unlikely though, because something was definitely wrong with this whole situation. The Springer from yesterday may have been an impostor. The pony before him certainly gave off a different aura at least.

Electrobolt returned soon and explained to Springer about his activities as well. Then Magicon showed up almost an instance after the colt had finished. Magicon had thought his book had gone missing, yet it had not. It made Lapis think that the red stallion had feared that the book Lapis referred to was his book. But that was impossible. Or perhaps Lapis mistook Magicon's fears. Either way, it was time to sort out this little Springer mess, and Magicon and Springer were seen together yesterday. They seemed connected somehow. It was the unicorn's turn to speak, and Lapis waited patiently.




Asteria became even more worried. How could Ambrosia forget about what JUST happened? And then she responded to the blue unicorn. The haunted look in the mare's eyes made Asteria shiver. Why did she have to keep going on if it was causing her issues? She really should have seen a doctor by now. And yet, it was possible that either Ambrosia was too proud or thought the dreams were meaningless. Which of course were both terrible ways to think. Stubbornness led to problems, and sometimes not worrying was the worse thing a pony could do.

Ambrosia touched her ear and found a flower there. Asteria didn't remember seeing it earlier. It was unfortunate, but it was clear the flower was ruined. The filly blushed a little out of embarrassment. Dumping water on the lemon mare was the only way to wake her up though. No point in feeling bad about it. What's done was done. Soon, Ambrosia continued to explain her dreams, and it made Asteria more concerned. They sounded an awful lot like visions. But she held her tongue. She'd hate to have to tell this nice mare what these dreams might mean. Visions were rare anyway. What were the chances that anything meant anything?
 

Smiling nervously, she asked the purple filly. "Asteria... Did I... Did I faint? And... Could I see this notepad that you mentioned?"

"Yes, you fainted. You were reading the notes, and you became frantic and...." She hesitated. What if Ambrosia fainted again? What if she had a heart attack?! No, perhaps it was best Ambrosia never ever read though notes again. "Um, nevermind. Just rest, okay?" It would only serve to cause pain to Ambrosia. If she was having nightmares, why force her to relive them any further? She drew close to Ambrosia gave her a hug. "Friends don't let friends talk about bad stuff. It might upset them if they did. Maybe you should just forget. Never to think about the dreams again. Maybe they'll just disappear?"

She listened to the blue unicorn as he continued to ask questions. Asteria paid close attention. He seemed to know a bit about dreams. But pushing further would only make things worse. And that would be awful. "It's alright if you don't want to talk about it anymore Ambrosia." she said hopefully. She thought back to Lapis though. He'd want to know about the dream, so Asteria couldn't let Ambrosia forget. She was torn. In the end, she thought up an idea. If Ambrosia wanted, she could sleep a little, then talk further. That way, everyone wins, right?

But then Daylight gave the notepad to Ambrosia before Asteria could tell her about the idea. There was a definite choice now. Asteria couldn't do much else. If the lemon mare wanted to read the notes again, why stop her? "It's up to you Ambrosia. You could rest and read it later, read it now, or never read it and forget about it. Just do what your heart tells you to do, okay? No one else, just you." Asteria said letting go of the mare so she could decide without a filly hanging on to her.

Edited by Bari
  • Brohoof 6

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As Electrobolt helped Springer to a table, the pegasus reflected on the exchange that had just taken place. Thinking about both his own words and those of the other passengers, he became very aware that his own thoughts seemed disorganized, stumbling - possible evidence that his earlier confusion was not entirely gone. To put it mildly, he was concerned.

"I'll be right back," spoke up Electrobolt, before walking over to where the kitchen is. As soon as he entered, he could see plenty of fixed food ready to serve.

 

 

As odd as the feeling was, Springer felt a slight wave of fear wash over him when Electrobolt said that he would have to leave for few moments. He knew that it was completely and totally ridiculous, but, perhaps due to the family resemblance, he found Electrobolt's presence to be mildly reassuring. His concerns dissipated, however, when he saw that Electrobolt was heading to the kitchen. His heart leaped, because of all of the memories that he was sure that he was currently missing, it was not being able to remember when he had last eaten that troubled him the most. As he reflected on this, his thoughts were interrupted by the voice of another pony.

"Springer, you wondered about yesterday, correct? It is very odd that you forgot, especially with how you had done so much yesterday. You'd been acting strange, according to Ambrosia that is. She said that you were not exactly yourself. And you were exceptionally chummy. To the point of revulsion. Terribly sorry if that's normal. I'd rather like to have you know now though." he said dully.

Both of his eyebrows raised as he listened to what had to say. The behavior that Lapis was describing didn't sound like anything that even vaguely resembled him. Chummy to the point of revulsion? At the thought of himself behaving in such a way, Springer had to actually stifle a disbelieving laugh. There were many words that he would use to describe himself. Chummy was not one of them. In fact, his occasional "lack of personality" was one of his primary problems when dealing with Vim. The older pony was loud and personable, but Springer was typically reserved, particularly in unusual circumstances.

"Also, you had said you had noticed Trixie's strange behavior, and had set up the magic show as a test. That you were watching for something. That you had a plan. Actually, Ambrosia and I were going to find you to ask about it." he reminded him hoping Springer's memory would come back.

Now, Springer, himself, wondered about what exactly was meant by a "plan" and a "test". Which pony was being tested, first of all? If it was Trixie, then what was the point of it? Instead of resolving questions, this information had simply led to more of them. Just as he was about to facehoof in frustration, he smelled something tantalizing. It was food! Pancakes, in fact. Electrobolt really had been going to get everyone's breakfast ready. Despite his exhaustion, Springer ate relatively quickly, and with every mouth-watering bite, his thoughts grew clearer. He knew enough now to know one thing for certain. He had no idea what had happened yesterday, and the pony that had been going around purporting to be him was certainly an impostor.

"Um, I apologize if you were waiting for me, Springer. I thought it'd be a good idea to take care of the food for Ambrosia."

Thinking the apology unnecessary, Springer replied to placate the colt's concerns. "It's quite alright Electrobolt, I was actually just listening to Lapis recount some of yesterday's events and enjoying my food. There's no need to apologize, trust me." Springer smiled as he watched the colt enjoy his meal, but Electrobolt only allowed himself a single bite before he continued.

"Anyways... About what you were saying earlier. As you said, and as I said, I don't know why Magicon just ran off either. But about the magic show... It wasn't Trixie idea. If my memory is correct, it was your idea..."

Springer nodded at the revelation. Based on what he had heard from Lapis, it didn't surprise him that his doppelgänger had been the driving force behind the show. In fact, it actually made sense. Whoever had been "filling in for him" plainly had some type of agenda to fulfill. Most likely, they took any and every opportunity to create mischief.

"I believe you and Magicon were talking with each other yesterday, before Trixie sat at the table. And after some time, you suddenly announced to everypony that Trixie was going to put on a magic show in the parlor car. After that, you then rushed off to get things set up. And... If I'm not mistaken, you were calling Magicon 'buddy'." He then remembered that Springer also questioned where he was during the show. "Now, as for the magic show, and where you were... I can't exactly say much, being that I left the show after getting shocked by Trixie... But from what I remember, you were in the audience, watching the show."

While he was getting used to the stream of surprises and revelations, it still felt remarkably strange to be referred to as doing things that he had absolutely no memory of doing. He listened to the description of the events that led up to the magic show with a look of great interest. Even his remaining food was temporarily forgotten as he soaked in the information. It seemed odd, something definitely didn't seem right. Whoever his doppelgänger had been, they almost sounded like his complete opposite. Talking with passengers, making announcements, setting up a show for Trixie - everything that this other pony had done seems like it was complete opposite of what he would've done.

 

He cringed at the mention of the word 'buddy'. The over-usage of that particular word was a habit that he had worked hard to break when he was a young colt. He had originally picked up the trait from a friend of his in school, but his parents had strongly disapproved. Unfortunately, the behavior had stuck for some odd reason, and despite his parents disapproval, it took him just over a year to finally get out of the habit of referring to everypony as a 'buddy'. The fact that his doppelgänger had somehow possessed this horrible habit was both confusing and enlightening. It was also vaguely horrifying. The thought that his doppelgänger had subjected Magicon to that deplorable habit was completely humiliating to Springer.

He cleared his throat before speaking with a pleasant smile, “I’m so sorry to have run off like that. It was just that I thought this book of mine was stolen, but safely it wasn’t. But I want to keep it safe so I’m keeping it with me. Pay no attention to it. So, where were we? Springer, you wanted to know what happened yesterday, correct?”

As if on cue, the unicorn arrived. Distracted by the information that Electrobolt had just given him, Springer didn't notice the book immediately. Instead, his thoughts were focused on the word 'buddy'. He hastily apologized for the events of the previous day. "Magicon, I would like to give you my sincere and complete apologies because it seems that I... Ummm... Well, rather, a pony resembling me, behaved absolutely and completely deplorably on the previous..." Springer stopped talking, suddenly. He had finally noticed the book. "Well, that's a book, but it isn't the right one, I'm afraid. Where'd you get it from? Ummm... Well... Still... The book that I'm thinking of is a bit older and... It has certain traits. You wouldn't happen to have another book lying around somewhere, would you?" Springer was completely oblivious to the fact that Magicon had just explained the origins of his book.


"Yes, you fainted. You were reading the notes, and you became frantic and...." She hesitated. What if Ambrosia fainted again? What if she had a heart attack?! No, perhaps it was best Ambrosia never ever read though notes again. "Um, nevermind. Just rest, okay?" It would only serve to cause pain to Ambrosia. If she was having nightmares, why force her to relive them any further? She drew close to Ambrosia gave her a hug. "Friends don't let friends talk about bad stuff. It might upset them if they did. Maybe you should just forget. Never to think about the dreams again. Maybe they'll just disappear?"

As Asteria's voice trailed off, Ambrosia could clearly see that the filly was agitated. Noticing the younger pony's agitation caused Ambrosia to become more self-aware. She was drenched and confused, and she imagined that she must have looked like a completely different pony to Asteria. Clearly, she wasn't the same helpful train crew member that she had been earlier. Now, Ambrosia thought, she was just a very confused pony. As Asteria mentioned that she should just rest, instead of confronting the notes again, Ambrosia was inclined to agree. She really didn't feel up to par, and she imagined that her present condition was a disappointment to the filly. She placed the flower off to one side as she thought about her current situation.

 

However, just as that though entered her mind, Asteria hugged her, and the filly's words silenced Ambrosia's self-doubts. It wasn't that Asteria was disappointed with her, it was simply that the younger pony was concerned for her friend. Wordlessly, Ambrosia embraced the younger pony as well, and she could feel her eyes starting to moisten. She was touched, not only by the concern of the younger pony but also by the thought of friendship. Spending all of her time working on trains, traveling from town to town, Ambrosia never really had much time to make any friends. She had some ponies that she would visit in certain towns, but they weren't really friends, they were acquaintances.

 

Maybe she should just forget? The words, coming from Asteria, had carried more force with them in that one moment than they would have at any other. In truth, she was already starting to forget, but it was a conscious action. She pushed the thoughts of the dreams away from her, as she always did when she was troubled by them. Yet, even as she did so, they seemed to resist being pushed away, entirely. It seemed as though, this time, there was actually something different about them. They wouldn't disappear. Instead, even in the midst of that moment, they lingered, looming silently in her subconscious.

"It's alright if you don't want to talk about it anymore Ambrosia." she said hopefully. She thought back to Lapis though. He'd want to know about the dream, so Asteria couldn't let Ambrosia forget. She was torn. In the end, she thought up an idea. If Ambrosia wanted, she could sleep a little, then talk further. That way, everyone wins, right?

Distracted by the filly and reluctant to return to focusing solely on her dream and its meaning, Ambrosia ignored the blue unicorn's words. Asteria's words made more sense to her at that moment. Regardless of her troubles, she didn't have to talk about it at that very moment. Not if it was so horrifying that it had caused her to faint. Maybe it would be best if she could just ignore them, at least for a few moments so that she could regather her strength.

"Here you go Ambrosia." he said when he had neared her as he levitated it in front of her to either read or take hold of herself.

Ambrosia looked up, and there, right in front of her, was the notepad from earlier. In truth, she couldn't remember having read it. She wasn't certain of exactly what was on its pages, and she wasn't certain that it was the right time at the moment. Looking over at Daylight, Ambrosia wondered if he really thought that the best course of action was for her to read over the notepad again. Of course, that had been what she'd asked...

Asteria couldn't do much else. If the lemon mare wanted to read the notes again, why stop her? "It's up to you Ambrosia. You could rest and read it later, read it now, or never read it and forget about it. Just do what your heart tells you to do, okay? No one else, just you." Asteria said letting go of the mare so she could decide without a filly hanging on to her.

Thinking back to when she had first recovered, she could recall, vaguely, that she'd wanted to see the notepad. Well, now she had certainly seen it again... But, it didn't mean that she had to read it at that very moment. As Asteria released her, Ambrosia smiled awkwardly and spoke. "I... I think that I should probably read it later, for now... I really should just get some rest." Looking over at Daylight, she continued. "Daylight, I know that you're a detective, but... I hope you don't mind... I really just don't feel up to it right now."

 

As she announced her decision, it was as if a cloud lifted. Ambrosia took a deep breath and looked around the room. With some surprise, she noticed that Springer was in the room. However, he looked completely exhausted and he was out of uniform. She was certain that she had never seen Springer as disheveled as he appeared to be in that moment. She also noticed Electrobolt seated at the table. They were talking among themselves, along with Lapis and a mail pony, but just by listening at that moment, she was not able to discern what the conversation was about.

 

Seeing Electrobolt had caused her to dimly remember something, and Ambrosia glanced around the room in search of a blue filly. When her eyes settled on Key, she saw that the filly was speaking with a cream colored pegasus. A memory stole itself into her mind. Ambrosia could see herself now, the reaction that she had when, just before she fainted, she had realized that Key was a thief. It had been a strong reaction, and... Seeing it now, Ambrosia wasn't certain of what to make of it. The memory of the pony that she had been in that moment didn't seem to be quite like her, like how she thought of herself at least.

 

Reflecting on the incident, she felt that she owed the filly an apology... But, she also felt that she needed some clarification. She needed to do what she should have done from the beginning. She needed to listen. But, it wasn't her ears that tingled, it was her nose. Sniffing curiously, she smelled food that seemed vaguely familiar. Her eyes shot wide open as she realized that she had never put out the food that she had prepared earlier. In a moment, she was on her hooves. But, she quickly noticed that the plates had already been put out, most likely by the assistant conductor, which given Springer's condition, meant Electrobolt. Ambrosia blinked and blushed as she realized that she would also need to apologize to Electrobolt as well. She had been overly and unproductively harsh to the both him and his sister.

 

Clearing her throat to hide her embarrassment, she turned to look at Asteria. "Asteria, are you still hungry? Maybe we could eat and talk about something other than bad dreams..." She stopped and looked wistfully at the flower lying on the floor. "I wish that there was a way to bring this poor thing back, but... I'm a cook, not a gardener." Finally, she glanced over at Daylight and spoke awkwardly. "Ummm... Daylight, would you like to join me and Asteria for a late second breakfast?"


She watched Ambrosia carefully. She wanted to make sure that she would be ready if the conversation picked up where it had left off. However, instead of continuing, the mare honestly seemed completely confused. She was rambling about what she had read in the notebook. It seemed that it had some connection with a dream that she had seen... Key doubted it, and honestly, was certain that Ambrosia's memory and confusion were simply due to having fainted away immediately after reading the story. With that thought in mind, Key grew disinterested and looked elsewhere around the room.

She then made the move to do so, approaching her and starting "Uh...Hey there...In case you don't know...My name is Flow and I want to ask you, by any chance..did you come from Manehattan? I think I've seen you before," She quietly awaited her answer.

Key turned just in time to notice the cream colored pegasus that had exclaimed earlier now heading in her direction. On the inside, Key winced. She hated being embarrassed. As far as she was concerned, the moment was over... It had been a random thing that she really hadn't been able to keep under wraps. Now, she found herself wishing that she had. She didn't want to talk about it with this pegasus. The hug had been, but now it was done. As these thoughts drifted through her mind, on the outside, she maintained a pokerface and pretended that she hadn't noticed the pegasus's approach.

 

Her attempts at remaining nonchalant were ruined by the pegasus's words. Eager for the conversation to end before it started, Key spoke fast, only to end awkwardly as Flow mentioned Manehattan. "Yeah, hi Flow, I'm Key... Uh what?" Key turned to look directly at Flow and her eyes narrowed just slightly. Flow had possibly seen her in Manehattan? Key felt slightly nervous as she wondered exactly what Flow had seen her doing... Choosing her words carefully, Key responded. "Well, I'm originally from Manehattan, but I've spent most of my time in Canterlot recently... Maybe you saw me in Canterlot and not in Manehattan?"

 

 

(OOC: Hehehe. I'm saddened that it took me so long to get around to this. Things are about to be interesting, but it depends on what everyone does and says.)

 

  • Brohoof 6

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Dusky listened to the talented musician describe his background. He listened, and his eyes expressed his keen interest. When Marcato mentioned that he was en route to Los Pegasus for a festival, Dusky raised an eyebrow. The coincidence was astonishing. He waited until Marcato had finished speaking before inquiring further. "Los Pegasus? For a magic festival, perhaps? It's... Strangely coincidental... But, that is my current destination as well. In fact..." Dusky gestured towards the train behind them with a hoof. "This train, the train on which I am an engineer, is..."

 
His voice trailed off strangely, and for a few moments, he was silent. During the silence, his eyelids fell curiously, and he seemed as though he would fall asleep right where he stood. A flash of frustration crossed his sleepy face, and a tired voice droned on, continuing from where he had left off. "... heading towards that very location. Would you be interested in joining?" Calmly, Dusky smiled. "Hmmm... Forgive the interruption. It was not my intention to be disrespectful. I just happen to be allergic to certain types of flowers, horrible weeds... To my detriment, it seems as though they are remarkably common in this place."
Marcato looked at the pony puzzled as he seemed to doze off right in front of the musician. The unicorn seemed quite sleepy, and having mentioned being an engineer Marcato could only guess that he had been fairly busy. However when he mentioned that the train he engineered was heading to Los Pegasus, the blue earth pony's eyes opened a little wider.
 
"Really?" Marcato said with surprise, failing to hide his excitement. He looked around to see who else might be around, to make sure they hadn't noticed him blow his professional look. No matter how much he wanted to look professional, at his age it was difficult to maintain that sort of posture around everyone. He cleared his throat as he prepared to speak again. "Is that a fact! Well, that certainly is a stroke of luck!" He said to the pony before him. 

 

"Regardless... You say that business has been slow, and you need transit to this festival so that you may be able to share your talents and skills in music, yes? If so, then perhaps I can help you. I can gain your admittance onboard this train, if you are interested. However, prior to doing so, I would like to hear you play something else..." Dusky's dark eyes glistened. "Play music that you think would be more fitting to a pony such as myself... Something complex, perhaps? And... Tell me, friend... What is your name?"

The fact that this pony was offering him a free ride to the festival caught him completely off guard. When he mentioned wanting to hear another song, Marcato smiled and nodded. "Of course, I love when people enjoy my music, whether I wrote it myself or not." He pointed out. "I'll happily play another song, I'm glad that you like hearing me play."

 

Marcato turned back to his violin and picked it up, and stood tall once more. He paused a moment as his mind whirled through different songs. Looking at the pony and going over his responses before, Marcato picked out a song he thought the unicorn may like. Something complex... I know just the thing. The musician realized.

 

He began playing the highly originally named song "Concerto for 2 violins in D minor," or at least he played the one part of it, which was what he had learned in the past. He figured he wanted something a little more complicated and considering that this was a classical piece with a more fast paced feel, he felt that qualified as more complicated. He also assumed that if this pony liked Canon he would like other classical music.

 

As he made his way through the long four minute piece, he tried his best to make it sound as good as he could. The piece was difficult in many aspects as it was very confusing at times with some of the ways your were meant to play. Being the perfectionist he was, he wouldn't let a single issue slip by and tried as hard as he could to keep his notes at the absolute perfect pitch. (Naturally a difficult thing.) There was the occasional out of tune note, but he prayed that the listener would hardly notice.

 

As it drew to a close, Marcato let out a satisfied sigh and put his instrument down, and approached his 'audience.' "I hope you don't mind, that's not the best I've played that piece... It's always been a difficult one, but I enjoy it either way myself." Marcato suddenly realized he hadn't even introduced himself. "Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't even tell you my name!" He tapped his hoof on the ground in frustration with himself. "My name is Velox Psallebat Marcato, but, most ponies just call me Marcato for short." He explain.

  • Brohoof 6

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@@Key Gear,  

Berry glanced between Vim and Redheart methodically. He saw their immediate expressions were of great shock. This pleased him, because it reminded him that he was still capable of shocking ponies. "I am enjoying this train already." He thought this even as at least Vim's expression settled down to his usual self. He turned his attention to Vim, his grin smile fading into a relatively bored expression. Seeing Vim begin to calm down had a naturally calming effect on Berry. He felt the initial adrenaline rush of being caught quickly fade away. He nodded to Vim as he was bid a good morning. As Vim turned towards Redheart, who still looked shocked, Berry arched his right eyebrow ever so slightly at her. "I wonder what's wrong with her... surely she must know that if she's not careful, her face will become stuck that way." Berry's thoughts were drawn quickly to Vim's words, but his eyes stayed on Redheart. "The cat... is hers... I wonder how many she has."

 

 

"You know, you two shouldn't mind Berry. Appearing and disappearing without any warning is one of the things that he does. Hey, Berry, since you're here, I've got a question for you." Vim stopped to think about how to word his question, before continuing with as neutral a tone as he could manage. "You've seen and heard all this. Would you say that I should cancel this train's journey because there's a chance that Trixie may be on board?"

 

As Vim spoke, Berry tilted his head to the left. He always did this when he was thinking very hard. In truth, Berry found this very odd. Upon finishing, he only waited two seconds before giving his answer. His eyes had been on Redheart the entire time. 

"Well really I am confused... I am confused, because, it makes no sense. Think about it really..."

He began walking several paces towards Redheart. 

 

"Let me set a scenario. There is a dangerous pony suspected of being on a train. This pony can use magic, and something happens where suddenly this pony has... disappeared. Do you really want to stop the train to find out if the pony is gone? Is that a joke? If you throw a pony off a train are you really going to stop the train shortly after to allow the pony to catch up? By that logic... both of them really... your best bet is to go faster. Taking as few stops as possible and going as quickly as you can. Why would you stop... no no no you are being absurd, young pony. Let me tell you something. If this Trixie is no longer visible aboard  stopping the train isn't going to magically make her appear. So if she is gone than you take it as it is, because the alternative is assuming she isn't aboard and stopping will just give her an opportunity to get a bite to eat and board the train again. Do you understand how your worries make no sense? You confound me."

 

Berry finished and blinked several times. There was something else... he recalled that something else confused him. He waited several seconds, awkwardly staring directly at Redheart for 10 seconds. Finally he remembered.

 

"What is that cat doing here?"

  • Brohoof 5

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As Electrobolt was waiting for Springer to say his take on what he had said, the young colt looked around the room. As he observed the room, he noticed Ambrosia having returned to her hooves. He also noticed she looked over to Daylight, whom he believed was concerned for the mare. *Well, at least she's awake and seems to be doing better... That's a relief...* As he smiled lightly, he looked around the room a little more, before shaking his head and turning back to the table. Right now, he needed nourishment. One bite wouldn't hold him over, so he picked up his utensils and was about to take another bite...

 

He cleared his throat before speaking with a pleasant smile, “I’m so sorry to have run off like that. It was just that I thought this book of mine was stolen, but safely it wasn’t. But I want to keep it safe so I’m keeping it with me. Pay no attention to it. So, where were we? Springer, you wanted to know what happened yesterday, correct?”

 

...when Magicon cleared his throat, signaling his return. Putting his utensils down, he looked back to the unicorn, whom began speaking, saying that he thought it was his book that was stolen. Shaking his head, Electrobolt thought, *I don't quite think that's the right book, Magicon... Wait, book... Right... Springer had said something about a strange book... I wonder what it looks like, and whether or not it's the proper book...* As he turned his head back to Springer, he could tell the pegasus seemed to be thinking about something for a second. Then, he began to speak.

 

He hastily apologized for the events of the previous day. "Magicon, I would like to give you my sincere and complete apologies because it seems that I... Ummm... Well, rather, a pony resembling me, behaved absolutely and completely deplorably on the previous..." Springer stopped talking, suddenly. He had finally noticed the book. "Well, that's a book, but it isn't the right one, I'm afraid. Where'd you get it from? Ummm... Well... Still... The book that I'm thinking of is a bit older and... It has certain traits. You wouldn't happen to have another book lying around somewhere, would you?" Springer was completely oblivious to the fact that Magicon had just explained the origins of his book.

 

As Springer spoke, apologizing to Magicon, Electrobolt listened to his apology. As soon as the pegasus had stated something about a pony resembling him, the young colt closed his eyes. *That Springer that we saw yesterday... And the story that Springer had told us now, how the last memory he had was from before departure yesterday... Hmm...* However,  his thoughts were cut off as Springer then addresses the book that Springer brought with him. It was then that the pegasus stated the book he saw was a bit older and had certain traits. Now the young colt was curious.

 

If the book Springer is talking about the very book that Lapis had been talking about earlier, the one with the story, then perhaps Springer might know where it could be. But, there was always the chance that the book was something completely different. Still, there is a chance that the book Springer had seen is the same book that Dusky had told Lapis about, and was the book that belonged to Key. He needed to ask about the book. But first, he needed to think of what he should ask Springer, about what he knew of the book.

 

Closing his eyes for a little, he began to ponder on what would be a good question to bring up. The only thing that they knew about the book, however, was that it held the story of this guardian-turned-dragon and his desire to become a pony again. Thinking for a bit longer, he was curious if there was any mention of that dragon within the pages of the book. Opening his eyes, he looked back to Springer, before clearing his throat. "Um, Springer... So you've mentioned something about having seen an unusual book? If you don't mind, could you please tell me what was so unusual about it? And if you had looked at some of the pages, was there any mention of a dragon?"

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Further relief beset Magicon as neither Electrobolt nor Springer seemed surprised by his sudden reappearance. But both looked curiously at his book which he set down on the table as he sat beside Electrobolt. Lapis stood beside Springer and watched everything with observant and investigative eyes. It took several moments for Springer to respond to Magicon, but he did, with the sincerest of apologies.


 

He hastily apologized for the events of the previous day. "Magicon, I would like to give you my sincere and complete apologies because it seems that I... Ummm... Well, rather, a pony resembling me, behaved absolutely and completely deplorably on the previous..." Springer stopped talking, suddenly. He had finally noticed the book. "Well, that's a book, but it isn't the right one, I'm afraid. Where'd you get it from? Ummm... Well...Still... The book that I'm thinking of is a bit older and... It has certain traits. You wouldn't happen to have another book lying around somewhere, would you?"


 

Magicon looked between Springer and downward into his lap as the pony spoke. He had suspected that there was something quite amiss and the possibility of a false Springer had crossed his mind. It explained a lot and it made sense. The puzzle was beginning to form as to Springer and what happened to him. The questions that still plagued him were who did it and why did they do it?


Magicon paused a moment to take a deep breath before returning his gaze to Springer and spoke. “I suspected that, Springer. Though I hadn’t really known you yesterday, and I still don’t know you, the pony I met with helping me into my room wasn’t the same pony I had dinner with. Once these events were brought to my attention I began to piece together that those two ponies weren’t the same. Now we must find out who disguised themselves as you and why did they do it?
 

“Oh, by the way, Springer, I’m putting some of my trust in you that you are the real Springer. If you aren’t, well, let’s just say you don’t want to break my trust,” he glared malevolently at the pony with a somewhat foreboding voice. Suddenly, as if he was bipolar, Magicon’s voice rose in pitch and he smiled as he began to explain his book.


“Now the, as for the book, well I certainly hope it isn’t the right one. I’ve had this book since I’ve worked in Manehattan as the Curator for the Museum of Magical Artifacts. The text is old Equestrian and hasn’t been properly translated, so I’m working on translating it so its information can be shared and greater knowledge achieved throughout Equestria. And, I don’t have another book on me and I doubt the museum has any texts like the one described earlier, so I’m sorry, Springer, I can’t help you there.”
 

In truth, Magicon didn’t know if a book like that lay down in the vaults in the museum. When he became curator the museum was very much a façade: nice exhibits, but no research or exploration into the works. Magicon changed that be investigating as much as he could: contacting scholars, researchers, and opening the museum’s archives to help everypony gain more knowledge. Though he had catalogued many items, he had found no books that contained what was in Lapis’s notepad.


Yet Magicon was curious about the book. Ancient stories might be one thing, but he wondered about what other things were in the book. His book was centuries old, but if the other book was older Magicon wondered what stories it could tell about the history of Equestria and the knowledge it might contain. Any ancient text, no matter how small, provided a glimpse into the life of a historic Equestria, expanding knowledge and understanding of the country, to everypony’s benefit.
 

Summing up Magicon’s curiosity, Electrobolt asked Springer about the book. Further expanding on his questions Magicon asked, “Not to ask too much of you Springer, but if you saw the book, can you tell us anything you read or saw, anything at all? Even a description of the book would be immeasurably helpful here.”
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Smiling slightly, he replied. "It's good of you to join me, Arcanel. Umm... At the moment, yes, I do feel okay. I'm still tired, and my energy is lacking." Springer's smile faded into a vacant expression. "I should also get something to eat, I think, but... I can wait, for now."

As much as Arcanel had felt slightly relieved to find Springer okay, his worry did not diminish in a great scale. *Springer could use going to a spa or something. He clearly needs some relax time. But if he is like Vim in the duty sense... then that's gonna be pretty impossible.* He figured, remembering the determined expression that the green pegasus had put when he told everypony in the baggage car he was going to at least try and assist his replacement however he could. It was then that he heard Electrobolt's voice.

 

"Oh, um, it's alright, Arcanel. I'm sure you've already heard my name, but it's Electrobolt. Anyways..." 

Upon hearing the confirmation, the mailpony nodded. *Well, that's that. He was probably talking with Springer about something before I came in. Although...... Electrobolt was the one who almost got hug/tackled by Springer when he went crazy... yet, Electrobolt seems like he-... of course he might have met him before. Springer was already in this train.* He suddenly thought, finding it slightly strange how the green earth pony had gone talking with Springer as if they had met before. *Or... maybe they were talking about what happened before?* he wondered. However, before he could think of anything else, the other pony who was with them, the crimson unicorn, left in a hurry, looking very scared.

*Huh... that was weird but... I know that look. It's as if he had just remembered something very, very important. I hope it's nothing too big. He looked really scared. But... I wonder... what's his name? He left so quickly I couldn't even catch his name.* he pondered, hoping that whatever the unicorn had forgotten was not something extremely important, or rather, that he hadn't remembered it too late. He knew the feeling. Being somepony who was very forgetful, he could understand the feeling perfectly. *I don't even remember ALL the times I forgot taking the letter, or forgot to ask the direction or address... hell I did it recently when looking for the hospital... (sigh) good I learned to get better at the job. For he most part.* Arcanel recalled, having to avoid laughing or facehoofing by some of the memories that came in his direction. He was brought out of his daydreaming by Electrobolt who looked rather confused by the unicorn's departure, and he started saying something only to be interrupted by the bluish grey stallion that he had seen before, and who he hadn't realized was there before.

 

"What was all that about? And Springer, what happened to you? You look tired. Did you not go to sleep after the magic show? I'd have thought the assistant conductor would have had more sense than the engineer." He looked towards Electrobolt after addressing Springer. "What do you know about this, hm?" Lapis asked mildly. It seemed rather odd somepony like Magicon would just run off like that, and certainly Springer's condition was most unusual.

The moment the words escaped the stallion's mouth, the white pony felt somewhat angry. *Why would he point his hoof at him like that? I mean, he definitely looks like the type of being an intellectual pony, but I didn't expect him to be so... blunt. But, I feel like there's something I'm missing here... What magic show? And why does this pony think Electrobolt has the answers?* he wondered, still surprised by the pony's blunt interruption. There was something he had definintely missed, and he could only hope it could be clarified. *I better not say anything... at least not for now. If I see Springer is getting too pushed, then I'll stop the whole discussion. The less Springer is involved in something that might tire him, the better it will be for him right now.* He decided.

 

 

"Lapis, I think you should know that, about Springer... He had been locked up in one of Trixie's boxes, in the luggage car. We don't know how long he had been locked in there, though... As for Magicon... To be honest, I don't know why he was in a hurry..."

 

After Electrobolt spoke, he caught one particular thing. *Oh, so that unicorn's name is Magicon... nice, interesting name if you ask me! But still, Electrobolt is right on something. What DID Magicon suddenly remember that caused him to run off like that?* he pondered, not being able to guess anything that could make a pony run like that in these circumstances. *And also, I see that the earth pony is called Lapis... interesting name too... sounds like lapis lazuli... I wonder...* he started thinking, but before something else had entered his mind, Springer had started speaking again.

 

"I'm also not certain why Magicon ran off like that. Frankly, I thought that it was somewhat rude, if only because he prevented Electrobolt from finishing his statement to me."

The words of Springer had made some sense to Arcanel, but he disagreed slightly. *As much as I should slightly agree that Magicon could have been a bit more polite, he looked way too scared of whatever he just remembered that I honestly can't blame him.* The white mailpony thought, thinking back to the crimson stallion's frantic running.

 

"As for how long I was in Trixie's luggage... My last memory is from the prior day, before departure. I did not attend any magic show, and... Umm... I don't think that I could sleep, at least, not normally. But, please, I need answers, and nopony is helping me right now. When I entered this room, I was hungry for food, but now,

I'm hungry for information. I need to know... Who's idea was it to have a magic show? Trixie's? Where was I during this show? Why did Magicon just leave like that?" Springer's politeness had given way, unintentionally, to exasperation. 

The more Springer talked, the more he started getting more frantic, and the more Arcanel was feeling more worried and concerned about him. *What in the world is going on...? Did... did somepony actually transform into an impostor of Springer? Wha...? What in Equestria did I miss? But... more importantly... oh Springer...* he trailed off. The pegasus couldn't help but feel sorry for Springer, who was starting to look very desperate. *I wouldn't even know how to feel is I had apparently done stuff I KNEW I didn't, and yet they happened anyway, after being trapped in a box inside the train I was supposed to help assist in conducting... ouch...*

 

"I keep hearing ponies telling me of everything that I, supposedly did, on the previous day, but I did nothing. I'm certain that I did... Unless my memory is deceptive, and... Unless, perhaps I was doing things against my will? But... Why? How? Well, it would have to be through magic obviously... Yet, who... It... No... I need to..." Springer closed his eyes and, even through his exhaustion, stopped the spiral. "I need to take a seat, and get something to actually

feed myself with. Electrobolt, I apologize for refusing your earlier offer. If you would guide me to a table, I'd be most appreciative."

As soon as Springer finished talking, he inmediately went to assist Electrobolt in helping Springer to a table. The sole fact of what was going on for the poor pony had made Arcanel even more worried about him than before, and while he would have liked to say something reassuring to the green pegasus, he chose not to and simply help him out to get to the table alongside Electrobolt. *Dear Celestial Moon... I should try making sure Springer catches a small break. He needs one.* He decided, his concern for the tired pegasus starting to come up even more. He also realized that Lapis was following them too. *He seems surprised... geniuely surprised... as if what Springer said had completely broken all of his expectations... he'll probably be looking for answers. And I actually want them to, because I have no idea what's going on either.* Arcanel thought, as he helped Electrobolt lead Springer to the table.

 

 

When they reached the table, the green earth pony had excused himself and started going around setting up tables and looking for food. It was then he realized the pony had an interesting accessory. *That hat... wait a minute... Vim had said something about Springer helping the temporary replacement of his job. If Electrobolt has that hat, then he probably is it... wow... he must have really impressed Vim to let him take up. Then again, he trusted me, and Electrobolt seems quite confident.* He determined, still slightly shocked to see the green colt taking up the space of assistant conductor and doing it so well.

 

 

"Springer, you wondered about yesterday, correct? It is very odd that you forgot, especially with how you had done so much yesterday. You'd been acting strange, according to Ambrosia that is. She said that you were not exactly yourself. And you were exceptionally chummy. To the point of revulsion. Terribly sorry if that's normal. I'd rather like to have you know now though." he said dully.

 

It was then that Lapis' voice had interrupted his train of thought, and at the words and sentences that ended with Lapis hypothetically apologizing made Arcanel raise an eyebrow. *He doesn't pull any punches does he? Well, I can guess that's the way he is, but still... being so direct is something that typically would raise an eyebrow or two, myself included. Must be a fun guy to hang out with in jokes and stuff haha!* he pondered in amusement, as he imagined some of the ponies he knew from the orphanage meet Lapis. *Yeah... one or two might have punched him... probably not a good idea. Anyway, not-so-funny imagination aside, he seemed to be very confused about the whole Springer issue... I can only wonder why...*

 

 

"Also, you had said you had noticed Trixie's strange behavior, and had set up the magic show as a test. That you were watching for something. That you had a plan. Actually, Ambrosia and I were going to find you to ask about it."

 

*Hmm... who is this Trixie pony they're talking about? She's probably a magician they must have hired for the train or something like that. It probably was fun! But I wonder... why a test?* the white pegasus thought in confusion as he couldn't understand why would somepony suggest a magic show as a test.

 

At that moment, Electrobolt had showed up again with plates and food, letting out a "Thank you" in response, and started eating, calmly enjoying the food, also releasing a small giggle as he saw Springer quickly yet calmly as well eat his own food, but being grateful that the food was at least helping to make him look and feel better. As he seated, Electrobolt apologized to Springer because he might have made him wait, mentioned a pony named Ambrosia who he figured was the cook, and then talked about the magic show and Trixie again. *Wow... it seems as if the whole magic show event was something important... did something happen in it? But more importantly, we're helping Springer fit the whole timeline of whatever happened because this is still something very weird...* he wondered in confusion once more as he tried figuring out what had happened in the train before he was even there.

 

 

"I believe you and Magicon were talking with each other yesterday, before Trixie sat at the table. And after some time, you suddenly announced to everypony that Trixie was going to put on a magic show in the parlor car. After that, you then rushed off to get things set up. And... If I'm not mistaken, you were calling Magicon 'buddy'." He then remembered that Springer also questioned where he was during the show. "Now, as for the magic show, and where you were... I can't exactly say much, being that I left the show after getting shocked by Trixie... But from what I remember, you were in the audience, watching the show." After he had finished talking, his throat felt a little dry. Picking up his glass of water, he took a quick sip before setting the glass back down as he let all of this sink in for Springer.

 

After the small pause he made, Electrobolt continued explaining. And the more information the colt told, the more Arcanel's face turned into one of confusion. *Springer calling sompony buddy?... Nah, I honestly can't see him doing that. But also, Electrobolt got shocked by this Trixie? But.... why? Was it an accident?* were questions surrounding the mailpony's mind. As much as he tried tying the knots, he'd need to be told the entire ordeal if he wanted to know what went on. Suddenly, right after the green earth pony spoke however, Magicon had returned to the group, carrying a book with his magic alongside him. *I have the feeling that's the thing he suddenly remembered. It probably is very important to him.* he determined.

 

 

“I’m so sorry to have run off like that. It was just that I thought this book of mine was stolen, but safely it wasn’t. But I want to keep it safe so I’m keeping it with me. Pay no attention to it. So, where were we? Springer, you wanted to know what happened yesterday, correct?”

 

At the unicorn's words, the white pegasus nodded. *Ah, makes perfect sense for him to worry about something like that. But... the timing seemed too... random. Granted I have had the same feelings everywhere and everytime, but given all that seems to have been going on in this train... I can only wonder if this was also because of something else...* were the thoughts that entered Arcanel's mind. And he also realized that Magicon too would know about what happened yesterday to help enlighten Springer. He could only hope this could help.

 

 

"Magicon, I would like to give you my sincere and complete apologies because it seems that I... Ummm... Well, rather, a pony resembling me, behaved absolutely and completely deplorably on the previous..." Springer stopped talking, suddenly. He had finally noticed the book. "Well, that's a book, but it isn't the right one, I'm afraid. Where'd you get it from? Ummm... Well... Still... The book that I'm thinking of is a bit older and... It has certain traits. You wouldn't happen to have another book lying around somewhere, would you?"

 

At first, Arcanel made a smile as Springer started apologizing for what his impostor might have done or said to Magicon, as he figured it was something that was rather uncharacteristic for him to normally, and he'd rather not have that unaccountable. But the moment he took a pause and started saying things about Magicon's book, the white pony had got worried again. *Oh no... that sudden change of behavior... or well... subject in this case, especially when Magicon already explained... that probably means the book triggered something in his mind. But... what could it be, especially if he was trapped in the box for who knows how much?* he thought in distress, starting to raise his worries for the green stallion.

 

Once Magicon spoke again, Arcanel agreed with a nod. The ponies that were mentioned had seem completely different in Arcanel's mind *It's just too much. I couldn't see Springer doing nothing more than being professional at his job, so being so sudden and informal seems rather unlikely. Plus, Magicon's question are the million bits question. Why would somepony put Springer in a box?* he pondered, trying to find an answer to the question everypony in the group right now was probably wondering.

 

 

“Oh, by the way, Springer, I’m putting some of my trust in you that you are the real Springer. If you aren’t, well, let’s just say you don’t want to break my trust,”

 

“Now the, as for the book, well I certainly hope it isn’t the right one. I’ve had this book since I’ve worked in Manehattan as the Curator for the Museum of Magical Artifacts. The text is old Equestrian and hasn’t been properly translated, so I’m working on translating it so its information can be shared and greater knowledge achieved throughout Equestria. And, I don’t have another book on me and I doubt the museum has any texts like the one described earlier, so I’m sorry, Springer, I can’t help you there.”

 

 

The way the crimson unicorn had spoken the first words made a chill run through the mailpony's back. *Woah... that was... that was just creepy...* was all the pegasus could think of. However, as Magicon started talking about the book he carried, the demeanor had completely changed, which brought even more confusion to Arcanel. *Oooooookay... that was weird... even for me... I should probably not piss Magicon off. For my sake.* He quickly noted as he reminded himself never to bring the dark side of Magicon. However, the very subject of the book was starting to make him feel left out. *Why is this book so important? Or rather... how was the whole subject even brought up in the first place?* Arcanel wondered, his curiosity and confusion starting to rise to levels he could not keep in for much longer.

 

 

"Um, Springer... So you've mentioned something about having seen an unusual book? If you don't mind, could you please tell me what was so unusual about it? And if you had looked at some of the pages, was there any mention of a dragon?"

 

“Not to ask too much of you Springer, but if you saw the book, can you tell us anything you read or saw, anything at all? Even a description of the book would be immeasurably helpful here.”

 

As the words the two ponies spoke left their respective mouths, Arcanel had had enough. "Um... please excuse me for interrupting you but... could somepony please tell me what exactly am I missing here, and why is the book so important? I mean... right now we were trying to figure out about Mr. Springer's impostor, and then the book subject comes out. Is there something that happened with a book before in the train when hadn't joined yet? I'd really appreciate it if you could explain. And... not to want to break the whole conversation but...  Mr. Magicon, Electrobolt, Mr. Lapis... Mr. Springer just woke up after a very big ordeal with the whole trapped in a box issue. He can't even remember what happened during that. Maybe we shouldn't force him to remember right now." He spoke to the group, hoping that they would all agree to what he was saying even though he knew they were probably very intrigued, only to remember that Springer was right beside him, and turned to speak to him. "Um... Mr. Springer.... I know you really want to know what in the ever living world of Equestria happened with the whole impostor thing, and I'm also wondering if this book has anything to do with it or something else I just don't know about, but... I want to ask you if you feel okay enough to try and force your mind right now. The last thing I want to happen is for you to collapse from exhaustion again from all this." The mailpony finished, concern written all over his face. While he really wanted to know what was going on right now, he still remembered that Springer's current condition is first and foremost and he'd rather not risk that, even if it meant having to postpone finding out about the whole problem.

Edited by Arcanel
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"Well, I'm originally from Manehattan, but I've spent most of my time in Canterlot recently... Maybe you saw me in Canterlot and not in Manehattan?"

@@Key Gear,

 

Upon hearing Key confirming that she did come from Manehattan, Flow felt like she struck gold,"I knew it! She is one of those street ponies, I felt like I've seen her before, hmm.....or that could have been a doppelganger, oh well it won't really matter," Afterwards Flow giggled weakly and replied "Well, the thing is...I'm from Manehatten too! I felt like I've seen you around, but I guess you might be a look-a-like." She paused for a second then continued with a change in her tone of voice "You know, when I heard you admit that you were a thief by stealing food just to survive, I felt real sorry for you...I'm guessing that...maybe you've lost your parents...well, I've lost mine in an accident, I was there with them...and..and I wanted to die with them...somehow..I lived on...and then I was sent to an orphanage, and the caretakers keep telling me to embrace life because good things will happen eventually as you live on, it took time for me to understand, and when I did," Tears start streaming down her cheeks as she continues "I understood that living on without your parents is important. I was glad to have survived that disaster, but the pain of losing them still....still... haunts me."

 

Next, she hugs Key while crying "It's so hard being an orpha-ha-ha-haaaann....I'm glad that I wasn't the only one in this train......snivels"

Edited by Narutardedscum
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Daylight watched as Asteria let go of hugging Ambrosia to let her respond to him bringing the notepad over. Honestly... after hearing what Asteria had said he was doubting if he should have gone and got it for Ambrosia like he did but... she did ask for it after all...

 

Ambrosia smiled awkwardly and spoke. "I... I think that I should probably read it later, for now... I really should just get some rest." Looking over at Daylight, she continued. "Daylight, I know that you're a detective, but... I hope you don't mind... I really just don't feel up to it right now."

He was actuality surprised, and a little disappointed at her response but he completely understood. As much as he wanted to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible he couldn't force ponies to talk if they didn't want to as that wouldn't be right. Maybe except for if it was absolutely necessarily though but... it wasn't currently.

"That's completely understandable Ambrosia." He said as he nodded and smiled. She did look rather tired too so he couldn't blame her. Day then retracted the notepad from in front of Ambrosia and hovered it alongside him with his magic.

 

Day pondered what his next course of action should be. He saw Ambrosia look around the room, most likely to get her bearings on what was going on around her since she fainted. She looked... relaxed and calm. "I think it was best she decided not to read the notepad after all then. Who knows how she could have reacted considering the first time she looked at it... It's a good thing Asteria was able to talk her out of it. I must calm myself with the urgency of solving this case because luckily, there are still no deadlines which is a rare thing so I should probably relax a bit more myself and take my time." He thought, as he took a sigh of relief.

 

He then heard Ambrosia start to speak again, which made him focus his attention back on her. She first invited Asteria to breakfast, before she looked sadly at the ruined flower on the floor. Day followed her gaze... and his heart dropped to see it in such a state.

I wish that there was a way to bring this poor thing back, but... I'm a cook, not a gardener." Finally, she glanced over at Daylight and spoke awkwardly. "Ummm... Daylight, would you like to join me and Asteria for a late second breakfast?"

For a moment, he didn't respond, as he was too busy focusing on the flower thinking what could be done about it now. It was then that it registered in his head that she had spoken his name which got his attention.

"Oh, sorry Ambrosia I was... thinking..." He said looking at her while he spoke before turning to look back at the flower. It was then he got an idea. He wasn't a gardener either, nor did he know anypony who was and even if he did... he doubted they would be able to restore the flower to its former glory so logically... there was only one thing left to do...

Daylight looked back up at Ambrosia before speaking. "Yes, I would love to join you two for a late second breakfast" he said with a smile. "But... there is something I must quickly take care of first." if you two mares would excuse me..." He said, putting the notepad down on one of the empty tables then picking up the ruined flower on the floor with his magic and rushing out of the dining car back towards the entrance of the train.

 

He rushed passed 3 ponies in the baggage car as he exited the train as well as what he thought looked a lot like Dusky standing out on the platform as he exited the train. He didn't stop to acknowledge any of them as he didn't have the time, he was on a mission.

He rushed through the streets of Ponyville with the ruined flower trailing along with him trying to remember exactly which flower stall he had visited. It wasn't easy as there were a number of flower stalls and they all looked alike. Luckily, there was one distinguishing factor that told him which stall was the one he was looking for, and that was that it was the only one that was selling the flower he was looking for.

 

He ran up to the stall and skidded to a halt in front of it. The stall owner looked surprised to see him approach in such a fashion. Luckily, the owner still remembered him from earlier and after a lengthy explication of everything that had happened... the owner wilfully replaced his flower for no cost.

"I know exactly how you feel, just make sure you don't stuff it up this time!" The owner called out to Day as he smiled and thanked him before bolting off in the direction of the train.

 

Again, he passed a number of ponies as he got back on, but this time they were all just a blur to him as he was completely focused on what he had to do. He got to the door leading into the dining car and put his hoof on it to open it then stopped. He hadn't thought at all what he was going to do with the flower now that he had a replacement.

He started to feel stressed as he stood there, as his mind thought up of all the possible things he could do, ranging from the subtle, to the absurd. He then brought the flower in front of his face to look at it closely which he had been carrying the whole way with his magic. As he stared at the flower, his mind then cleared and only one thought remained. he was uncomfortable with it, just as he had been the first time, but that didn't stop him from acting upon it then so it sure as hell wouldn't stop him now either. He used his magic to once again, tie the flower around one of his ears, the same ear he had been wearing the previous flower in earlier, took a big breath, and opened the door and stepped into the dining car.

 

He wasn't sure exactly how long he had been gone as he didn't check the time but, he doubted it was for very long as nopony had hardly moved from where he remembered to be when he left. He walked over to Ambrosia and Asteria, who were still standing exactly where they had been when he left.

@Ambroisa, @@Bari

"Terribly sorry about that Sorry about that. Shall we all sit down to eat now?" he asked gesturing to one of the empty tables. He wondered if anypony, more specifically Ambrosia, had noticed the same looking flower that was once again around his ear.

Edited by Dave247
  • Brohoof 4

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Lapis watched curiously as Springer apologized. Perhaps he realized how annoying his behavior, or that of his duplicate as the case may be, had been. Even if it had not been him yesterday, apologizing was a respectable move. Within the space of a few moments, Lapis's entire perception of Springer had started to change. This Springer was a much more tolerable individual, maybe one who could have become a colleague of his if the circumstances were different.

At the description of the book, Lapis's ears perked up. It sounded as though the book Springer was referring to could be the book he was looking for. It would make sense of course. Dusky and Springer usually worked together, and they might have been friends, or Springer had stolen the book and pinned the blame on Trixie. He stopped himself. Why was he jumping to conclusions all of a sudden?

As the others were asking about the book, he thought he might as well give his input to add on to the others. "Springer, where did you get the book? And although this may seem out of the blue for you, what is your relationship with Dusky?" he asked levelly. Whatever the answers may be, it could put him on track. Springer could be just the pony he needed to find the book.

 

"Um... please excuse me for interrupting you but... could somepony please tell me what exactly am I missing here, and why is the book so important? I mean... right now we were trying to figure out about Mr. Springer's impostor, and then the book subject comes out. Is there something that happened with a book before in the train when hadn't joined yet? I'd really appreciate it if you could explain. And... not to want to break the whole conversation but... Mr. Magicon, Electrobolt, Mr. Lapis... Mr. Springer just woke up after a very big ordeal with the whole trapped in a box issue. He can't even remember what happened during that. Maybe we shouldn't force him to remember right now." He spoke to the group


Lapis turned to the mail pony. He had not learned his name yet, so it was first priority. "Um, I'm sorry but I don't think I caught your name. And as for your questions, I think I may easily explain. Actually, I may need to explain everything." he said with a mild sigh. He proceeded to explain about what had been going on aboard the train, starting with when he first met Ambrosia at dinner yesterday. "Yesterday had started like a normal day I suppose. I had been reading in my room when a knock came at my door. I do believe it was Springer, or whoever had looked like him. He had knocked on everyone's doors, as some of you may recall." Here he looked at Magicon and Electrobolt hoping they had experienced similar things.

"I arrived at the dining car mildly hungry. As I typically choose to sit by myself, I picked an empty table. Before long though, I acquired two table mates. Ambrosia and Flow." As he named them, he casually pointed at them in the dining car. "Soon, Trixie arrived and insulted the food. Since Ambrosia is the cook, she became upset. I felt concerned, so I followed after her when she fled. And where I found her, she told me about how the day before strange light could be seen underneath the door to Trixie's room. Wait, didn't you say you were unaware of who Trixie was, yes? She is a stage pony, a performer of simple magic tricks." he clarified.

"I became interested. Ambrosia had also said Trixie had been acting differently the day before as well. You can see my concern. And together, Ambrosia and I, went to investigate the problem. We had chosen to seek out Dusky first. It was Ambrosia's decision actually. I was okay with anything that would shed more light on things. When we made it to the engine car, where Dusky was supposed to be, all we found was Vim. He informed us Dusky was most likely sleeping in the caboose. Not a very good idea on the part of Dusky if I may say so myself." he said as he continued to recall the events.

"On our way back to the dining car and then on to the caboose, we encountered a green pegasus. He was zipping around and knocking on doors. It was certainly most peculiar. It was Springer's doppelganger. Ambrosia noted how the pegasus was different from the Springer she knew. And then Ambrosia proceeded to go into Trixie's room. I wasn't wholly against it, but then light poured out from under the door. She promptly stopped at my behest and we continued to our destination." He shivered as he remembered the eerie glow and how it seemed so vaguely familiar.

"When we arrived at the dining car, Springer's clone stopped us. He told us to come see the magic show. He was overjoyed with the idea of it. It made me ill to say the least. He also said he had been to the caboose and found no Dusky there. I reasoned it would be best to watch the show. And what a show it was." Lapis took a moment to catch his breath. There was still more to say, and he was only half way done.

He was brisk in his description of the magic show though. It was very unusual, but it wasn't all that important. Magicon could always go into detail about it if he wished. "And when the show was over, I spotted Dusky. He had seemed to appear out of nowhere. Not wanting to take my chances with the bubbly Springer, I went after the engineer. I took him back to my room and interviewed him. He told me a great deal, and I even took some notes. Somepony else must have them, so you'll have to read it later. He told me about a book, an old book. I do not think he was specific about it. After he concluded, I went to sleep. I woke up only after Ambrosia had found my assistant Asteria stowed away on the train. Otherwise, I may have slept a great deal longer. I arranged for a meeting with the other passengers, and here we are now I suppose." he concluded. He knew he must of missed a lot of important things, and the others would have to fill in the blanks. But then the notepad was beside Lapis, and he was a bit surprised. He looked back and saw Asteria wave at him. Whether it was coincidence or not, he now had his notes back. "Ah, here they are actually." he said passing them to the mail pony. "When you are finished, let Springer see them. What you are about to read was supposedly written in the margins of the book Dusky mentioned."




Asteria breathed a sigh of relief as Ambrosia chose to worry about the notes later. And with that decision, the mare somehow looked a million times better. Ambrosia asked her if she was still hungry, and to that question she gave an enthusiastic nod. "Of course I'm hungry! I'm always hungry..." she said a little embarrassed. Her stomach growled very lightly. She didn't have to eat now, but if Ambrosia wanted to have brunch, why stop her?

Daylight suddenly darted off though as he looked at the flower Asteria had inadvertently destroyed. It looked so pathetic on the ground. There was a light in the stallion's eyes, one of vague dismay. She started to feel bad again. She could have just removed the flower if she had seen it, then dumped ice cold water on Ambrosia. But he agreed to join them for a second breakfast. Before anyone could say another thing though, he excused himself and darted off. He left the notepad behind and Asteria quickly took it up with her magic. Since Ambrosia didn't need them anymore, might as well give them back to Lapis. She levitated them towards him, and he looked back at her perplexed. Giggling a little, she waved to him and turned back to Ambrosia.

"We won't be needing those right now. So, why don't you tell me about yourself? Where are you from? I'd love to know everything." she chirped cheerfully. It was now her goal to get Ambrosia's mind off of the nightmares and anything else distressing. A good friend was like that. And that's what Asteria wanted to be to the lemon mare.

Soon Daylight returned, this time with a similar flower tied to his ear. What it meant, Asteria was not sure. The stallion was an odd fellow. He was a detective, but not like she was used to. He was too soft perhaps. And he would most likely fumble if he became too serious. A nice pony, a good pony, one who could do his job. But not one who could affect a sense of strength. She liked him. He was just a pony, not someone to idolize. "I'm ready when you are Mr. Daylight. Are you ready to sit down Ambrosia?" she asked.
  • Brohoof 6

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As Berry spoke, several things happened. Nurse Redheart's facial expression went from being one of shock and confusion to simply being one of confusion. Dawn's cat became incredibly bored and began chasing imaginary mice around the room. Dawn, herself, looked completely stupefied. Vim struggled to keep the grin off his face. He had hoped that his old friend would be able to completely disarm the hostile medical pony, and his hopes were being delivered on in spades. Not only that, but this was one of the rare chances where he was actually able to understand exactly what Berry Nut was saying. It made perfect sense to Vim. Whatever Trixie was up to, it was highly unlikely that stopping the train would be the solution to the problem.

"Do you understand how your worries make no sense? You confound me."

Berry finished and blinked several times. There was something else... he recalled that something else confused him. He waited several seconds, awkwardly staring directly at Redheart for 10 seconds. Finally he remembered.

She didn't realize how her worries made no sense, and she didn't particularly care much that the older pony was confounded by her concern. The simple truth was that Redheart wasn't used to being spoken to in such a condescending manner, and she wanted to share this thought with both the conductor and his friend. She started to make a strong response, but became disoriented when she saw the unicorn staring at her in a rather strange way. It was decisively creepy, and she took a few steps back, restoring the distance that had been between them before the old unicorn had taken a few steps forward. She glanced over at Dawn, and saw that the younger pony seemed equally disturbed.

She then stole a quick glance at the conductor. Vim was standing there with what appeared, at first glance, to be a neutral expression. However, just the hint of a smile could be seen on his face. It was just enough of one for Redheart to know that he had expected this kind of answer. In her mind, she started to review the events that had just happened, and she immediately suspected that the odd and rather sudden appearance of the older pony had somehow been part of some type of plan to keep her from reporting the problems on the train to the station master. She was just about to act on the thought when Vim's friend spoke again.

"What is that cat doing here?"

Redheart blinked. The question seemed totally and completely random. She wasn't sure if the older pony was trying to change the topic, or if he was honestly confused about the presence of the cat. Either way, she knew exactly what she was going to say, and she began strongly. "I think that..." But, before she could get another word out, Dawn interrupted her excitedly. The blue mare bounced right up to the older pony without a care in the world and began to ramble out the answer to his question.

"Her name is Flo! She's a tabby cat, and she's my favorite! I have a lot of other cats though, and they're all my favorites. You should see them! I keep them in this really awesome box! Anyways, Flo's here because this morning I had the most incredible idea. I wanted to take her to the hospital! She wasn't sick though... But Flo likes feathers, so I figured that she'd like the feather pillows that they have in the hospital! And she did! I gave her a whole bunch of them in one of the empty rooms! You should've seen her dive into them! There were feathers all over the place!"

Completely oblivious to the look of horror on Nurse Redheart's face, Dawn continued after taking a deep breath. "Yeah, so... Then I did a bunch of helpful stuff in the hospital until this mail pony flew in, all confused and panicked and stuff, and he asked for help! See, that's how we got here. Flo liked his feathers, so she came along too! I like Flo because I like cats! THAT IS WHY SHE IS HERE! Do you like cats? Would you like to meet all of my cats!? I have a lot of them! Maybe you'd want to keep one? I bet you would! You look like a cat pony!!!"

When Dawn finished speaking, she was right in the older unicorn's face. She was smiling widely, and her eyes had an odd twinkle to them. Her cat was watching with what seemed to be amusement as it batted an imaginary ball of yarn about the floor. Vim and Redheart were both frozen with shock at the blue mare's outburst. Redheart had been particularly surprised to know about the fate of the pillows that had gone missing earlier that day. Vim was simply surprised that a unicorn with enough ability to restore Springer could seem to be so unbalanced. He hoped that Berry Nut was not scared away by the incident.


He began playing the highly originally named song "Concerto for 2 violins in D minor," or at least he played the one part of it, which was what he had learned in the past. He figured he wanted something a little more complicated and considering that this was a classical piece with a more fast paced feel, he felt that qualified as more complicated. He also assumed that if this pony liked Canon he would like other classical music.

Dusky closed his eyes and seemed to focus on the music, moving his head gently with the ebbs and flows of the violin's play. This was, indeed, a more complex piece of music; however, more than just the complexity the sound of the music brought back memories of times long past. As he listened to the music, it seemed familiar to him even though he had never heard this particular song played before.

Not questioning the familiarity, Dusky allowed the sensation to merely add to the experience. It was wonderful, completely wonderful. Within just moments, Dusky was blissfully enraptured by the sound of Marcato's playing. The fact that there was the occasional flaw in the rendition went completely unnoticed by him; he was too deeply shrouded in the thoughts and feelings connected to the music.

As it drew to a close, Marcato let out a satisfied sigh and put his instrument down, and approached his 'audience.' "I hope you don't mind, that's not the best I've played that piece... It's always been a difficult one, but I enjoy it either way myself."

When finally the music stopped, Dusky opened his eyes, and smiled, genuinely smiled. He had merely asked for another song to determine whether or not this musician would be worthy of a favor from him. He was not disappointed. Not only was this musician truly skilled, but Marcato did not allow his skill to cloud his vision. Dusky had, in fact, noticed no flaws, but he appreciated that the artisan was capable of self-critiquing. "The mark of a master is to always be aware of their own shortcomings..." Dusky's smile broadened imperceptibly.

"Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't even tell you my name!" He tapped his hoof on the ground in frustration with himself. "My name is Velox Psallebat Marcato, but, most ponies just call me Marcato for short." He explain.

As the musician gave his name, Dusky looked surprised. "Velox Psallebat Marcato." Dusky repeated the name slowly. It was a most unusual name for a modern pony to have. His look of surprise gave way to one of thinly veiled confusion. Almost wistfully, he responded. "Well, it is a great pleasure to meet you Marcato. If you don't mind my asking, could you tell me more about you? Your family for instance, where does it originate? I only ask because your name… It seems familiar to me, as if I've heard it or another like it before, in a different context. Please, don't feel compelled to answer if it's not in your interest to do so. I am simply curious, that is all..."


Magicon paused a moment to take a deep breath before returning his gaze to Springer and spoke. “I suspected that, Springer. Though I hadn’t really known you yesterday, and I still don’t know you, the pony I met with helping me into my room wasn’t the same pony I had dinner with. Once these events were brought to my attention I began to piece together that those two ponies weren’t the same. Now we must find out who disguised themselves as you and why did they do it?

Even as Magicon spoke, Springer found his own mind flooding with thoughts. Perhaps the obvious theory was not the correct theory, and perhaps things were more complicated than they seemed. Magicon was right, and his observations coincided with Springer's to some degree. However, Springer wasn't so certain that it would be a simple thing to find the pony that had taken his place. After all, without understanding the objective of this other pony, how would they ever hope to discover them?

“Oh, by the way, Springer, I’m putting some of my trust in you that you are the real Springer. If you aren’t, well, let’s just say you don’t want to break my trust,” he glared malevolently at the pony with a somewhat foreboding voice.

Magicon's sudden malevolence went unnoticed by Springer, and the words that were said were filed away in Springer's mind for future consideration. Distracted by his own thoughts, the pegasus simply smiled absently at Magicon and awaited the information that he was hoping that Magicon would provide - information about the book that the unicorn had rushed out to retrieve. Was it of importance? If not, then why did he retrieve it in so hurried a fashion? Mercifully, he didn't have much longer to wait until Magicon continued.

“Now the, as for the book, well I certainly hope it isn’t the right one. I’ve had this book since I’ve worked in Manehattan as the Curator for the Museum of Magical Artifacts. The text is old Equestrian and hasn’t been properly translated, so I’m working on translating it so its information can be shared and greater knowledge achieved throughout Equestria. And, I don’t have another book on me and I doubt the museum has any texts like the one described earlier, so I’m sorry, Springer, I can’t help you there.”

Springer was powerless to hide his own disappointment. He had hoped that the unicorn would be able to contribute something to the process of discovery, but in fact, it turned out that the unicorn's book was of absolutely no importance. It was a distraction, but it was an interesting distraction. If the book was really as unimportant as Magicon had seemed to suggest, then why had the unicorn panicked and ran back to retrieve it? Springer wasn't particularly skilled at reading ponies because it wasn't a skill that he never taken time to develop. Instead, he relied on facts and his own understanding of efficiency. So, he approached the problem from that angle.

When Magicon had left earlier, they had been right in the middle of a conversation similar to the one that was currently ongoing. Facts were being laid out and hypotheses were being formed. Why leave to grab something of no importance to either the facts or the hypotheses? Surely, Springer thought, no pony would be so random in such a situation of importance. He filed the observation away.

"Um, Springer... So you've mentioned something about having seen an unusual book? If you don't mind, could you please tell me what was so unusual about it? And if you had looked at some of the pages, was there any mention of a dragon?"

Summing up Magicon’s curiosity, Electrobolt asked Springer about the book. Further expanding on his questions Magicon asked, “Not to ask too much of you Springer, but if you saw the book, can you tell us anything you read or saw, anything at all? Even a description of the book would be immeasurably helpful here.”

"Springer, where did you get the book? And although this may seem out of the blue for you, what is your relationship with Dusky?"

Just briefly, Springer felt a wave of frustration wash over him when he realized that he had absolutely no solid description of the book to share. He had talked about a book that he, himself, could hardly even remember. Like a recollection from a half remembered dream, the book had haunted him, stirring in his subconscious thoughts. Now, as he desperately tried to remember more details, the thoughts proved more and more elusive to him. It seemed that the harder he tried, the further the memory slipped away. On the inside, his frustration grew. On the outside, a vacant, ill expression had appeared on his face.

"Um... Mr. Springer.... I know you really want to know what in the ever living world of Equestria happened with the whole impostor thing, and I'm also wondering if this book has anything to do with it or something else I just don't know about, but... I want to ask you if you feel okay enough to try and force your mind right now. The last thing I want to happen is for you to collapse from exhaustion again from all this."

His nervous thoughts subsided, and he nodded at Arcanel in silent, contemplative agreement. Arcanel was right, and his wisdom in this situation was inarguable. Springer would be of no use to anyone if he ended up collapsing out of exhaustion or overwhelmed by confusion. Besides, Springer reflected, the harder he had tried the more distant the memories had become. It was almost as if they were blocked off from him by some type of magic...

Springer blinked. Of course, those thoughts had to be hidden from him. Whoever had done this to him… It was highly unlikely that they had any intention of him being able to discover their identity. The observation was illuminating, and a strategy began to form. Even if he couldn't directly recall the details of the book, he could continue to approach the problem obliquely.

And as for your questions, I think I may easily explain. Actually, I may need to explain everything." he said with a mild sigh.

The explanation of the prior day's events was just as useful to Springer as it could have been for a pony that had not even been present. In fact, the more Springer listened the more that he realized that he honestly hadn't been present. He was certain that if he heard about events that he was associated with, then they would at least have some familiarity to him. However, nothing that Lapis said seemed to connect to him in any way. Nothing stirred his memories.

And then Ambrosia proceeded to go into Trixie's room. I wasn't wholly against it, but then light poured out from under the door. She promptly stopped at my behest and we continued to our destination.

He thanked Celestia that he had stopped eating earlier. Because, if he had been eating, he would have certainly choked. The description of the light sounded almost exactly like what he had seen on the night prior to the morning of the train's departure from Canterlot. An ominous feeling crept over Springer as Lapis continued speaking.

When we arrived at the dining car, Springer's clone stopped us. He told us to come see the magic show. He was overjoyed with the idea of it. It made me ill to say the least. He also said he had been to the caboose and found no Dusky there.

Springer felt ill too. He felt ill at ease because all of this was somehow associated with the strange light that he had seen earlier; he was confident of that. He also felt ill at the thought of himself being directly responsible for a magic show for Trixie… His illness increased when he suspected that there might have been a possibility that passengers were injured at this magic show…

There were dozens of questions on his mind, but still he listened attentively as Lapis briefly recounted his meeting with Dusky. His face betrayed his surprise at hearing about Dusky giving some type of interview. That really didn't fit with the Dusky that he knew… Dusky generally didn't have time for… Springer stopped the thought as he realized something... Lapis would be just the type of pony that would actually be able to elicit an interview from Dusky. The engineer didn't have time to waste on a normal pony, but Lapis, it seemed to Springer, was not normal. As Lapis continued talking, Springer filed away the observation for future use.

"Ah, here they are actually." he said passing them to the mail pony. "When you are finished, let Springer see them. What you are about to read was supposedly written in the margins of the book Dusky mentioned."

Springer glanced at the notepad as it was passed to Arcanel, but he felt absolutely no temptation to read it. Instead, he felt excitement… It was the same feeling that he had in the morning when it was time to make the daily report - a feeling of usefulness, a feeling of efficiency. He had so much to respond to that it would take him a few moments to contemplate the best strategy for doing so. He didn't want to waste any time by reading any of Dusky's weird rants, of which he'd already heard quite a few.

Instead, he went back over everything that had been said to him at the table so far. It was time to speak... He began to plan a way that he might be able to answer every question, shed light on every dark spot, and create the perfect situation so that he could gain more information. Urgently hoping to not be distracted, Springer motioned away from himself and towards Arcanel with a hoof. "Actually, that's alright Arcanel, I would rather not read those notes. What's written in the margins of the book is not nearly as important as understanding where the book fits within all of these... Distractions..." Springer returned to contemplating.

Springer closed his eyes and held his hooves up to his head as he though. Lost in the moment, his tiredness was all but forgotten. When his eyes opened, they were clear. The only remaining trace of his tiredness was his appearance, which was still ruffled, and his movements, which were visibly sluggish. Springer gestured slightly with his hooves while speaking. "Besides, we have a lot of things to review before the notes are of any importance to me. We have to go in order, the efficient order for solving the puzzle. Efficiency is important, without it... Well, without efficiency, I should have been left within the box."

As part of his plan for efficient communication, Springer had decided that answering answerable questions was probably the place to start. "My apologies for not answering earlier, but I was deep in thought and I was also waiting until everything of importance had been said. But now, there are a few questions that I would like to address…" Springer turned to Lapis. "You asked me where I had found the book. The answer is that I didn't. I'm positive that my own hooves were never allowed to touch it."

Springer paused for a moment before continuing. "You also asked me about my relationship with Dusky. Well, to be frank, I tolerate his presence. That's the nature of our relations with one another." Springer stopped and looked around the room. After satisfying himself that Dusky was not there, he continued. "I only checked just now, because I think it is rude to talk about other ponies behind their backs. If Dusky was here, I would go up to him and tell him these things to his face." He shrugged, but stopped short of the full motion, his shoulder felt stiff. "I've done it before, and we have an understanding on the matter."

"Dusky is arrogant, rude, and judgmental. Worst of all, he's inefficient. It takes him too many words to say what he means. Even then, he'll often say things with more than one meaning. He'll even say things with hundreds of meanings, talking in riddles." Springer's rosy red eyes glowed with frustration, and strangely, they looked rather like Vim's. "Frankly, I also think that he is a liar, but before every lie, he convinces himself that it's the truth. From all that, you can surely determine the nature of our relationship. I can work with him and we can get stuff done, but we both know where the other stands."

Still animated but stumbling somewhat, Springer continued, this time, addressing Magicon. "Now, Magicon, earlier... Umm... Yeah... Earlier, you had asked me about about the unusual book that I saw. Well, I know that the memory is in my head, but I am unable to recall any additional details at this time, unfortuna..." Springer cut off for a moment as a thought struck him, he continued awkwardly. "ately... Right, I'll come back to that. Well, actually... Ummm..." Springer's animation and confidence both faltered, and he seemed confused for a moment.

"Electrobolt... You know, now that I was on the verge of answering your question, I actually somewhat recall a dragon being mentioned. The strange thing is that I didn't recall this same thing when you originally asked. But, now, I can remember it... But only vaguely. I know that it has something to do with a book, yes. However, I'm not certain that... Well, I'm not certain that these books are the same. In fact, I recalled a library... A place that was filled with books. In fact, I... Ummm. It's the Canterlot Library? Well... This is odd... I've only been there once... I doubt I was there today..."

Springer stopped, shocked, and then looked down at his remaining food. Absently, he started eating. In silence, he sat with a contemplative look on his face as he finished off his meal. When he was done, he pushed his plate away, drank the remnants of his drink, and then continued speaking, strangely calmly. "Something is wrong with my memory. I don't think that its entirely mine. There was a calendar in the library that I just recalled. If it was to be believed, then that memory took place some time before this train was even actively commissioned into service. That, my friends, is the first piece of this puzzle, I'm certain, and I can tell you why I'm certain."

"Earlier, you described my 'clone' as using the word buddy a lot. Well... That is something that I used to do, quite a while back when I was a young colt. I don't do it anymore. The behavior was obnoxious, so I unlearned it. Now... What if... What if my clone and I shared memories, but only partially? Then... Maybe the transfer worked both ways... Which would mean that I would have memories from them and they would have memories from me... They would have had to have enough memories to be able to 'act' like me..." Springer stopped to recall Lapis's version of the prior day's events.

"When I was a young colt... I had actually liked magic quite a bit too. It was a silly thing, because pegasus ponies can't become magicians, but I was young. Maybe that explained the wild enthusiasm of the fake me. You know... I was also a good deal more 'bubbly' back in those days as well... But, being like that isn't very professional and certainly isn't efficient, so I unlearned that behavior as well. See... There is evidence to support my idea... This idea of shared memories... This evidence is, admittedly circumstantial... But... It is a beginning, isn't it?" Unable to restrain himself, Springer broke into a tired grin. After a morning of grasping at straws, he had finally made progress. His grin faded, quickly, though... As an earlier thought returned to haunt him.

Looking at Magicon, apologetically, he spoke. "Ah, I'm sorry Magicon... You said something of importance earlier... Tremendous importance... Ummm... But, I didn't answer it at that time, I was gathering information. Answering you then would have derailed the flow of conversation for others, which would have been... Highly inefficient. Now, though... You recall that you mentioned that you were placing your trust in me that I am the real Springer? I believe that you mentioned that I would not want to break your trust. Well... No, I would not want to break your trust, but... Perhaps I already have? And... Perhaps in several ways?"

Looking around the table slowly, Springer spoke deliberately. "If my copy used my memories to act, then I think that I am at least partially responsible for their actions. That is one way. If this copy and I exchanged memories and those memories enabled them to be me, then perhaps I have some limited ability to be them? Perhaps, I really am not the real Springer? That is another way." Springer took a deep breath, and his gaze returned to Magicon.

"There is one, last, possible way that I could have already betrayed you. Perhaps, I'm not the Real Springer at all? Perhaps I'm actually the fake? After all, I assume that my duplicate and I were exactly similar in appearance. Given that this is true, there is the possibility that... I am the fake. There is the possibility that the spell somehow divided and recombined memories between the spellcaster and Springer." Springer referred to himself in third person without awkwardness. "After this, what would be the difference between the two of them? Nothing. Whichever was the more powerful would put the other in a box and then go on about their business. Because the memories of both were mixed, then perhaps... The motivations were as well?"

Feeling suddenly tired, the pegasus looked down as he continued. "Who's to say that the real Springer didn't put on the magic show? He would have been powered by whatever thoughts and motivations that the spellcaster would have had. Perhaps the memories mixed in such a way that the real spellcaster became mixed in with Springer's better nature, while the real Springer was... Corrupted? Magicon... You see.. There's no real assurance that... I'm... Me... So, trusting that I am the real Springer may be premature at this point, I believe." As he concluded, Springer calmly reached up a hoof to wipe away a tear that had sneaked out of an eye. "Ah, sorry, I'm still tired... That's..." Springer cleared his throat, and he raised a neutral gaze to Magicon, and he calmly awaited a response. "That's all that I have at this point in time. I leave your actions from here up to your own discretion."


"Of course I'm hungry! I'm always hungry..." she said a little embarrassed. Her stomach growled very lightly. She didn't have to eat now, but if Ambrosia wanted to have brunch, why stop her?

Ambrosia laughed, and her laugh sounded almost exactly like the laugh that she had made when her strange dream had first started. Hearing the sound that she, herself, made, the memory of her dream came back, lingering in her thoughts, yet again. It caused her laugh to die out quite prematurely, quickly trailing off awkwardly at the end, like the softly discordant sound of a flute that was out of tune. She hoped that Asteria didn't notice, and she resigned herself to the malingering vision.

"Yes, I would love to join you two for a late second breakfast" he said with a smile. "But... there is something I must quickly take care of first." if you two mares would excuse me..." He said, putting the notepad down on one of the empty tables then picking up the ruined flower on the floor with his magic and rushing out of the dining car back towards the entrance of the train.

Her silent happiness at hearing that he would join them for breakfast became concern when he darted off. She didn't even notice that he had retrieved the damaged flower, because without mentioning it, she had been looking forward to speaking with him again. Her disappointment was palpable. As she wondered why Daylight had run off, Ambrosia looked over at Asteria. The filly was giving the notepad back to Lapis. Ambrosia breathed a sigh of relief.

"We won't be needing those right now. So, why don't you tell me about yourself? Where are you from? I'd love to know everything." she chirped cheerfully. It was now her goal to get Ambrosia's mind off of the nightmares and anything else distressing. A good friend was like that. And that's what Asteria wanted to be to the lemon mare.

Asteria's chirpy tone was a welcome thing to hear. With a warm smile, Ambrosia answered similarly cheerfully. As she spoke, the familiar local accent from her hometown became just slightly more perceptible in her speech. She always switched absentmindedly when speaking or thinking about home. "Well, there isn't really that much to tell, I think... But, I won't let that stop me from telling! I'm from Haysead Grove, it's a little place, smaller than Ponyville actually. It's not too far from Baltimare and right outside of Haysead Swamp. I left there a while back to become a cook."

As she spoke, her negative feelings from just a few moments earlier began to subside. She started talking faster. "I'd always loved cooking, so I actually went to Baltimare to train to become a chef. That was actually where I discovered my cutie mark. There was this one day when I'd been up kinda late the night before, so I was really sleepy. Well, the only reason I'd been up so late was because I knew that I had a pretty light day ahead of me, but it turned out that there was a bit of an emergency and one of the school's restaurants was short a chef."

Ambrosia caught her breath before continuing. "Well, the teacher thought that it'd make an interesting test for the class if the class took a shot at running the dinner service. Since I'd been so at cooking, she decided that I should be the head chef. I was so tired that I was super-scared of taking on the responsibility, but how could I say no? Well, it turns out that I was even better than I'd thought that I was. In fact, the meal was a super success."

She grinned with pride and the memory. "I actually cooked everything on time! Not a single meal was late, nothing was out of sorts, all of the customers left with smiles. I had pulled it off perfectly... Well, almost perfectly." Ambrosia looked sheepish. "I'm positive that I fell asleep at some point... I just know that there's a gap in my memory because, well... I'm really careful to keep track of supplies, and on that day, some were definitely used by me because the empty containers were in my area... But, I don't remember using them."

With a shrug, she continued. "Anyway, you know, the other students even said that it was just like I was cooking in my sleep, I seemed so peaceful and focused. Well, at the very end of the day when we'd just finished cleaning up the dishes, it was another student in the class that pointed it out... I'd picked up a cutie mark that day! Hah! It was great! And, I felt so well rested, that I actually stayed out pretty late that night too. You know, just a bit of a party..." She was just about to ask Asteria about herself, when Daylight returned.

"Terribly sorry about that Sorry about that. Shall we all sit down to eat now?" he asked gesturing to one of the empty tables. He wondered if anypony, more specifically Ambrosia, had noticed the same looking flower that was once again around his ear.

"I'm ready when you are Mr. Daylight. Are you ready to sit down Ambrosia?" she asked.

Ambrosia started to respond, but she stopped when she saw a rather peculiar thing. Daylight had a purple flower wrapped around his ear; it looked rather like the one that she had seen wrapped around her own ear when she had awakened from fainting earlier. His wasn't soggy, though. She wasn't sure if she should say anything. She didn't want to hurt his feelings, but to her, it didn't look very becoming on him, the purple just didn't seem to match well with his goldenrod fur. She did think that it would look much better if his fur was a slightly different shade - something more yellow.

Realizing that she was staring, Ambrosia cleared her throat and replied, "Sure!" She then took a seat at the table that Daylight had indicated. Wonderfully, Electrobolt had actually placed enough plates there for three of them, he had probably done so since her, Asteria, and a few others had been so close to this particular table. With another quick glance at Daylight's unusual flower, Ambrosia then spoke conversationally, mostly to Daylight but also to Asteria. "You know, I was actually just talking about the time that I found my cutie mark. What about y'all? Any interesting cutie mark stories to share?"


"Well, the thing is...I'm from Manehatten too! I felt like I've seen you around, but I guess you might be a look-a-like."

With an extremely nonchalant expression, Key quietly breathed a sigh of relief, and she was certain that she'd dodged an arrow with her mentioning of Canterlot. She nodded her head slightly as Flow mentioned the possibility of a look-a-like. As far as Key knew, it was possible, so she was hardly being deceitful. She'd seen ponies that looked vaguely like her before; of course, they were generally tidier in appearance. Satisfied that the awkward interlude had concluded, she was ready to walk away from the conversation, but the pegasus suddenly continued.

You know, when I heard you admit that you were a thief by stealing food just to survive, I felt real sorry for you...

Key's heart started beating faster. She picked up on the changed tone of voice immediately. She also picked up on the possible direction that the conversation was going. All of a sudden, Flow sounded an awful lot like some of the ponies that she'd had to deal with when she was looking for funding. Sympathy. Key didn't really mind others feeling sorry for her, it didn't hurt her. However, she'd grown tired of it during her time in Canterlot, because she couldn't take their sympathy, bank it, and make progress on her goal - finding her parents.

I'm guessing that...maybe you've lost your parents...well, I've lost mine in an accident, I was there with them...and..and I wanted to die with them...somehow..I lived on...

She caught her breath so fast that her throat stung for moment. The conversation had taken a highly irregular turn, and Key was caught completely and totally off-balance. She felt as though the world had suddenly jerked to the side by about a meter. Just a split second ago, Key had been drawing similarities between Flow and the ponies that she had hoped would provide the money for her to go to the Frozen North and find her parents. Now, she was hearing about the death of this pegasus pony's parents and how Flow, herself, had survived. Key didn't like hearing this... But, she didn't immediately know why.

Her surprise was completely masked by a face that was just as cooly dispassionate as before, but this was unintentional. In a normal conversation, Key would have adjusted this mask to show sympathy. She'd learned the talent when she was in Canterlot... Dealing with wealthier ponies, it was important to control what was on her face. Unfortunately, her lessons were failing at that present moment, she was startled frozen by the direction of the conversation. Without consciously knowing why, her mind seemed to be rebelling against Flow's words.

and then I was sent to an orphanage, and the caretakers keep telling me to embrace life because good things will happen eventually as you live on, it took time for me to understand, and when I did ," Tears start streaming down her cheeks as she continues "I understood that living on without your parents is important. I was glad to have survived that disaster, but the pain of losing them still....still... haunts me."

As Flow spoke about the orphanage and the words that they, the caretakers, had shared with her, Key's eyes twitched imperceptibly. It was the first real movement that she had shown since the tone of Flow's conversation had changed. When Flow began to cry, Key felt a strange combination of loathing and panic at what was to come. When the words finally came out, it was as if Key had been stabbed in an alley fight.

"Living on without your parents is important..." Time stood still when the words left Flow's mouth. In that moment, every fiber of Key's being wanted to scream out in defiance of each and every word and letter that made up the sentence. A feeling of ferocity accompanied the defiance, and she wanted to jump into the pegasus and let loose with a wild flurry of bucking and stomping for what she had said. To Key, there was nothing more important than finding her parents, finding them alive. They weren't dead, and she knew it. Nopony would tell her otherwise if they knew what was good for them.

Those were the thoughts that zipped through Key's mind, but not a single real action materialized. Instead, she stood there, her face and posture falling into a look of confusion melded with sadness. Inside her head, the thoughts of screaming rejection for Flow's words amplified themselves to a fever pitch. Then, they redoubled.

Next, she hugs Key while crying "It's so hard being an orpha-ha-ha-haaaann....I'm glad that I wasn't the only one in this train......snivels"

While she was normally quick to react to the sense of touch, the hug was so unexpected that it only further added to Key's shock. Through the shock, tears formed in Key's eyes, but they had a different origin. It wasn't the thought of having lost her parents that fueled them, it was her own fierce determination to find them that drove her tears. Recovering from her shock, Key was pure electric as she exhaled to thin out a bit, tucked her hooves tightly by her sides, and slipped nimbly and swiftly from Flow's hug. Then, backed away.

With her teeth clenched like a vice, her cerulean eyes blazing like a sea on fire, and a growl in her voice, Key responded slowly, softly as she struggled to control herself. "No. I am not an orphan. I'm sorry. I'm not like you. My parents are alive. And..." Key blinked as she took in the sight before her. The pegasus, with her face soaked in tears, looked piteous. Flow had meant no harm. Key swallowed, hard, and looked away. When she continued, the threatening growl was gone, replaced by an unnaturally disinterested voice. "I'm sorry for what happened to you and your parents, but... My situation is... A little different. It's special, unique. I... I'm going to find them, you see. Eventually."

Realizing that she was shaking visibly from the effort to control herself, Key sat down to tried to steady her nerves and to wait out the ill-timed adrenaline rush. Still looking away, she continued. "Maybe... You'd like to hear a bit more about me?"

  • Brohoof 7

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Alex watched the scene envelop around him.  He saw that the mare that had awoken and the events had subsided back to normal.  He then saw that the blue filly known as Key pounce onto the golden-rod unicorn known as Daylight for a hug.  The sight made it look like as if they were father and daughter.  Everything that was being exchanged in the room was tuned out for Alex as the sight of Daylight and Key brought memories of his life in the orphanage back in Fillydelphia.

 

He doesn't remember what his parents looked like or even know their names.  All that he had that reminded him that he did have parents was the silver star necklace he wore around his neck.  It held his name on the front of the star and on its back bore an inscription, "To our shining star".  Looking back down at it, he had feelings of sadness and anger in his heart.  He didn't understand why they left him there.  They didn't even leave a note explaining to him why they did.  Living in that orphanage wasn't easy for Alex since the big colts there treat the ones who wouldn't be able to stand to them fight back, so he had to protect them himself.  "And after what happened with Rain..."  Alex thought to himself.

 

He was brought out of these thoughts when he heard a conversation going on with the young Pegasus mare, Flow, and Key.  He heard that Flow was an orphan too, but he wasn't sure what orphanage it was.  He then saw that Key wasn't taking the tone of the conversation well, given her tone and stance.  He decided to try and deescalate the situation before something bad happens.

 

@@Key Gear,@,  

 

Alex moved towards Flow and Key and cleared his throat politely.  "Excuse me, ladies.  I don't mean to interrupt, but I was wondering if you were doing okay, Miss Key.  It didn't seem fair how they try to use your past on you like that.  We'll get this mess sorted."  Alex said to the blue filly kindly before turning to Flow.

 

"Ummm, Miss Flow.  Would it be alright if I spoke with you?"  Alex asked her politely.  He now officially stumbled into their conversation.  "I just hope I didn't invoke somepony's wrath..."  Alex thought to himself.

  • Brohoof 5

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When Key pulled back from her hug slowly, Flow did so too "Oh..I guess she didn't like it....probably because I hugged her too hard, oh no..."

 

@@Key Gear,

 

With her teeth clenched like a vice, her cerulean eyes blazing like a sea on fire, and a growl in her voice, Key responded slowly, softly as she struggled to control herself. "No. I am not an orphan. I'm sorry. I'm not like you. My parents are alive. And..." Key blinked as she took in the sight before her. The pegasus, with her face soaked in tears, looked piteous. Flow had meant no harm. Key swallowed, hard, and looked away. When she continued, the threatening growl was gone, replaced by an unnaturally disinterested voice. "I'm sorry for what happened to you and your parents, but... My situation is... A little different. It's special, unique. I... I'm going to find them, you see. Eventually."

When Key turned away, Flow felt worried, but when the blue filly said that her parents aren't dead but rather missing, she felt a little sense of relief, but nonetheless still felt bad for her "Oh......I'm sorry...sniff....I thought that.... they were gone like mine too...but...I hope you can find them....and I'm sorry for jumping into conclusions like that....I feel shameful for just hugging you out of the blue like that too. Um....I feel that I should make it up somehow...." She replied with a soft voice

 

Realizing that she was shaking visibly from the effort to control herself, Key sat down to tried to steady her nerves and to wait out the ill-timed adrenaline rush. Still looking away, she continued. "Maybe... You'd like to hear a bit more about me?"

When asked with that question, Flow answered "Um...sure...I guess that would make it fair..I mean I told you a glimpse of my past..okay, I'd love to know more about you, I guess I'll introduce myself again...my name is Flow...and you must be Key correct? It's very nice to meet you," At last, a smile returned to Flow's face, it wasn't long till another voice interrupted

 

Alex moved towards Flow and Key and cleared his throat politely. "Excuse me, ladies. I don't mean to interrupt, but I was wondering if you were doing okay, Miss Key. It didn't seem fair how they try to use your past on you like that. We'll get this mess sorted." Alex said to the blue filly kindly before turning to Flow.

 

"Ummm, Miss Flow. Would it be alright if I spoke with you?" Alex asked her politely. He now officially stumbled into their conversation. "I just hope I didn't invoke somepony's wrath..." Alex thought to himself.

@,

 

She turned around to see Alex approaching her "Ah...Alex! um....I was in the middle of something with Key, but um...maybe us three can talk together?" She asked, hoping that Key wouldn't mind "Great..What have I done...."

Edited by Narutardedscum
  • Brohoof 5

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As Flow spoke, Key continued to look away, but she turned her head just enough to be able to observe the pegasus out of the corner of her eye. Watching Flow, Key could see that she was right when she perceived that Flow had meant her no harm. Flow's demeanor and words were clearly conciliatory. It was obvious to Key that she had every reason to forgive Flow and move on. How could the pegasus have possibly known? Yet... A part of Key remained angry...

"Um...sure...I guess that would make it fair..I mean I told you a glimpse of my past..okay, I'd love to know more about you, I guess I'll introduce myself again...my name is Flow...and you must be Key correct? It's very nice to meet you," At last, a smile returned to Flow's face, it wasn't long till another voice interrupted

While she had made the offer to share information, now Key hesitated. The entire thing had been, really, nothing more than a misunderstanding. To Key, that included her offer. Still, Key listened to Flow with no visible reaction, and she continued to look away. She was confused, and she wasn't quite sure about how to approach the situation. She knew that she owed Flow some explanation or apology, but she couldn't find the willpower to do it. Interrupting the brief moment of silence, a polite voice suddenly cut into the situation.

"Excuse me, ladies. I don't mean to interrupt, but I was wondering if you were doing okay, Miss Key. It didn't seem fair how they try to use your past on you like that. We'll get this mess sorted."

Key recognized the voice as belonging to the pegasus that had spoken up for her earlier, when she had revealed her background as a thief. She didn't mind that he was now interrupting, and in fact, seeing him again actually reminded her of something. During that earlier exchange, Flow had been the other pony to speak up fairly early on her behalf. With a start, Key realized that she had nearly attacked a pony that had proved herself to be at least a potential ally.

Suddenly self-aware, Key felt surprised by the intensity of her own earlier reaction. She also felt surprised by the lingering bad feeling that she seemed to have. Her fight or flight response had already exhausted itself, but something was definitely remaining. It was a strange, heavy feeling in her heart. Coinciding with it, she felt somewhat lightheaded all of a sudden, and her face still reflected an odd confusion.

She turned around to see Alex approaching her "Ah...Alex! um....I was in the middle of something with Key, but um...maybe us three can talk together?" She asked, hoping that Key wouldn't mind...

The mention of her name, again, by Flow jarred Key out of her strange trance. She shook her head to clear some of the haze that seemed to have settled itself in her thoughts. She thought to herself that she needed to say something, anything, to somepony before she emerged from the situation looking even worse than she was certain that she already did. Not stopping to think about what she would say, Key rambled strangely.

"No, no... I don't mind... Not at all actually. Yeah, I'd like to talk, but... I don't know what about, really. I don't really like to talk that much... Errr... I mean..." Key stopped, shook her head again, and took a deep breath. Facing Flow, she continued, changing topics completely. "I'm sorry Flow. I don't think that you deserved my earlier reaction. After all, you couldn't have known about what happened to my parents. And... Well, I won't hold that against you." The feeling from earlier seemed to subside as she spoke, and Key tilted her head slightly to the side. The effort of speaking was causing the fog to clear faster.

Now, Key smiled. It was a small and somewhat impish smile, but it was genuine. "Look, just don't hug me again without some kind of warning. I don't like surprises. Particularly not the kind that involve getting temporarily restrained by some random pony. Your hug isn't a hug, it's like some kind of weapon." Her smile widened as she realized that she, in fact, did have something that she wanted to talk about. The best thing about it was that it had only the slimmest connection to her own past.

Awkwardly, she put forward the topic. "Hey... You know... If the three of us are going to talk, then... I've got something to talk about. Earlier today... When I said that I was a thief, both of you defended me. Why? And... Where are you two from and what do you do anyway?" Key tacked on the last part in the hopes that she could somehow steer the conversation back to the pegasus ponies. She fully intended to void her offer of sharing information with Flow and to get to a table by herself so that she could think about her own actions.

OOC: Don't let Key sidestep her offer to explain more about herself. She's trying to mask her own self-analysis at this point, and that probably wouldn't be good to let her get away with. Be nice, answer her questions... But for maximum interestingness, somepony should ask Key about herself in return. Poor Key. She doesn't realize that asking a question invites the same question to be asked back. Silly filly. :P

 

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Springer appeared to go through a mix of emotions as everypony around seemed to get as much information from him as possible and learn what they could from him. He looked tired and practically on the point of a mental breakdown, but he closed his eyes, took deep breaths, and managed to avoid such an incident.


He calmly rejected the notes the white pegasus had offered, and Magicon nodded. It might be too much on him, so it was best just to reject them before it caused any sort of damage. Magicon didn’t want a repeat of Ambrosia’s actions and though Springer wasn’t the type of pony to faint, he didn’t want to risk it with his tiredness.
 

As Springer began answering everypony’s questions Magicon watched with careful, yet calm observation. He kept a close eye on his book and on Springer, for his own sanity and for preventing further distrust between himself and Springer. Yet as Springer began speaking about Dusky Magicon couldn’t hide the displeasure from his face, which quickly morphed into surprise and finally into a smile as Springer had a very similar opinion to Magicon.

 

"Dusky is arrogant, rude, and judgmental. Worst of all, he's inefficient. It takes him too many words to say what he means. Even then, he'll often say things with more than one meaning. He'll even say things with hundreds of meanings, talking in riddles." Springer's rosy red eyes glowed with frustration, and strangely, they looked rather like Vim's. "Frankly, I also think that he is a liar, but before every lie, he convinces himself that it's the truth. From all that, you can surely determine the nature of our relationship. I can work with him and we can get stuff done, but we both know where the other stands."


 

Magicon couldn’t agree more. Dusky was untrustworthy and dangerous and Springer knew that. The question was did Dusky knew about Springer? Magicon assumed so. He knew Dusky was dishonest but he was smart and very cunning. He would know about Springer’s opinions of him. Magicon just wondered to what advantage that would serve him. But he didn’t have the time to dwell as he heard his name called.

 

"Now, Magicon, earlier... Umm... Yeah... Earlier, you had asked me about about the unusual book that I saw. Well, I know that the memory is in my head, but I am unable to recall any additional details at this time, unfortuna..." Springer cut off for a moment as a thought struck him, he continued awkwardly. "ately... Right, I'll come back to that. Well, actually... Ummm..."


 

Magicon raised his left eyebrow, skeptical and confused by Springer’s statement. It actually wasn’t about the statement; it was the way Springer presented it. He was fumbling, quite noticeably, and Magicon worried what was going through Springer’s mind as he tried to speak about the book he had come in contact with. As Magicon watched the pegasus continue to struggle with his memories, he felt he should stop him from going on, until he was ready. It was overwhelmingly apparent that Springer needed rest before his mind simply refused to cooperate with him.


Yet Springer did stop, with a shocked look, gorged down his food and drink, and stated,

"Something is wrong with my memory. I don't think that its entirely mine. There was a calendar in the library that I just recalled. If it was to be believed, then that memory took place some time before this train was even actively commissioned into service. That, my friends, is the first piece of this puzzle, I'm certain, and I can tell you why I'm certain."


 

As Springer’s speech became clearer it dawned on Magicon that he had the wrong hypothesis. There was no impostor of Springer, the Springer he saw last night was the same Springer he saw yesterday and the one today. It had all been one Springer, but he had been under the influence of some other pony. Magicon knew only magic could achieve such a transformation in personality. Thus only a unicorn could be the culprit. But who was responsible for the change and control and why would they do that?


Springer’s colthood seemed to suggest that the puppet-master knew Springer when he was a colt. Magicon suspected that whoever had met Springer as a colt must’ve either been close friends and had a terrible falling out or enemies from the start. Magicon wanted to point directly at Dusky, but he knew he didn’t have any evidence to support that and it would be wrong to jump to conclusions without all the facts. He needed more information from Springer, but instead he was receiving some information from him.
 

 

Looking at Magicon, apologetically, he spoke. "Ah, I'm sorry Magicon... You said something of importance earlier... Tremendous importance... Ummm... But, I didn't answer it at that time, I was gathering information. Answering you then would have derailed the flow of conversation for others, which would have been... Highly inefficient. Now, though... You recall that you mentioned that you were placing your trust in me that I am the real Springer? I believe that you mentioned that I would not want to break your trust. Well... No, I would not want to break your trust, but... Perhaps I already have? And... Perhaps in several ways?"


Looking around the table slowly, Springer spoke deliberately. "If my copy used my memories to act, then I think that I am at least partially responsible for their actions. That is one way. If this copy and I exchanged memories and those memories enabled them to be me, then perhaps I have some limited ability to be them? Perhaps, I really am not the real Springer? That is another way." Springer took a deep breath, and his gaze returned to Magicon."
 

There is one, last, possible way that I could have already betrayed you. Perhaps, I'm not the Real Springer at all? Perhaps I'm actually the fake? After all, I assume that my duplicate and I were exactly similar in appearance. Given that this is true, there is the possibility that... I am the fake. There is the possibility that the spell somehow divided and recombined memories between the spellcaster and Springer." Springer referred to himself in third person without awkwardness. "After this, what would be
the difference between the two of them? Nothing. Whichever was the more powerful would put the other in a box and then go on about their business. Because the memories of both were mixed, then perhaps... The motivations were as well?"

 

Feeling suddenly tired, the pegasus looked down as he continued. "Who's to say that the real Springer didn't put on the magic show? He would have been powered by whatever thoughts and motivations that the spellcaster would have had. Perhaps the memories mixed in such a way that the real spellcaster became mixed in with Springer's better nature, while the real Springer was... Corrupted? Magicon... You see.. There's no real assurance that... I'm... Me... So, trusting that I am the real Springer may be premature at this point, I believe." As he concluded, Springer calmly reached up a hoof to wipe away a tear that had sneaked out of an eye. "Ah, sorry, I'm still tired... That's..." Springer cleared his throat, and he raised a neutral gaze to Magicon, and he calmly awaited a response. "That's all that I have at this point in time. I leave your actions from here up to your own discretion."


As Magicon listened to Springer’s somewhat-philosophical, somewhat-practical hypothesis Magicon felt a mix of emotions. On one hoof he felt like a fool for so easily trusting Springer and being allowed to be manipulated like a toy. A growing fire burned in his belly from the betrayal. His breaths became more audible as he tried to contain his anger. Yet, on another hoof he felt sympathetic for Springer. He was the victim of some obviously powerful unicorn from his colthood and was just as confused by it as Magicon was. Silently agreeing to exercise reason over emotion Magicon spoke calmly to Springer.
 

“Springer…look, I guess…all I can really say is I’m sorry for you. You’ve been terribly victimized. My original hypothesis was incorrect but my new one is on the same lines and it’s far worse. You weren’t just knocked out and hidden and the imposter took your place, you were controlled, manipulated by somepony who knows you, at least from your colthood. They used a sort of memory manipulation to take control of you, bring out your past memories and habits, and use it to their advantage, all while your body was their puppet. Yet by doing such a move, they exposed themselves and their memories to manipulation. That’s how you have some memories that don’t quite make sense. They have retained some of your memories while you have retained some of theirs. You were a puppet to a very cruel puppet-master.


“You state that you have already betrayed my trust and I honestly don’t know what to say. I don’t even know if you have. I mean…I feel like a fool for just making assumptions about you, yet at the same time I can’t help but feel incredibly sorry for you. Maybe you have betrayed me, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’re being honest with me, maybe you’re not. But from what I observed just before and what I’ve seen on this journey is that this, you sitting here right now, this is the real you. Why do I assume this? I guess you can call it faith or trust. I have to trust something and somepony because if I don’t, I’ll be paranoid and go mad. I can’t have that, especially now, so I have to trust somepony and that’s you.
 

He leaned across the table with an outstretched hoof and raised Springer’s chin. With a compassionate smile he continued speaking calmly, but with more confidence to help the pegasus.


“But it’s more than that. It’s about you. You were the victim of a terrible and cruel plot that has yet to be uncovered. We have pieces of the puzzle but we need more to put them all together to make a coherent picture. So, if you can bear with me, maybe we can figure out who did this to you and why they did it, so that way justice can be done and you can strengthen yourself against in the future. So, if you don’t mind, Springer, I need you to dig deep into your memories and see if you can find anypony you either disliked or fell out with during your colthood when you had a different type of personality. See if you can find anypony that would know your colthood habits and would be willing to use them against you. If that pony is a unicorn, great, if not, that’s ok too. Let’s just see if we can find anypony.”
 

As Magicon finished he returned to his previous position, surprised by what he said. He was sounding like a father-figure, the pony who…Magicon shivered as he remembered all too well what had happened with his father. He didn’t dwell on it and returned his gaze to Springer and the others, awaiting their responses.

Edited by Magicon
  • Brohoof 6

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"No, no... I don't mind... Not at all actually. Yeah, I'd like to talk, but... I don't know what about, really. I don't really like to talk that much... Errr... I mean..." Key stopped, shook her head again, and took a deep breath. Facing Flow, she continued, changing topics completely. "I'm sorry Flow. I don't think that you deserved my earlier reaction. After all, you couldn't have known about what happened to my parents. And... Well, I won't hold that against you."

When Key told the two pegasus ponies that she didn't mind them talking to her, she felt relived, "It's okay, I shouldn't have jumped to that conclusion that your parents were dead, I apologize for that, I'm sorry... I didn't mean to hurt you like that." Replied Flow "Err...and I also thought that I was suffocating you through my hug...I'm sorry for that too,"

 

Now, Key smiled. It was a small and somewhat impish smile, but it was genuine. "Look, just don't hug me again without some kind of warning. I don't like surprises. Particularly not the kind that involve getting temporarily restrained by some random pony. Your hug isn't a hug, it's like some kind of weapon." Her smile widened as she realized that she, in fact, did have something that she wanted to talk about. The best thing about it was that it had only the slimmest connection to her own past.

She giggled a bit after hearing that, then she agreed with her "Uh yeah, I guess that what I did was sudden but scary...it really made me look like a predator.. my apologies again, I'm sorry for that...I should feel remorse for my actions, ehehe...sigh,"

 

"Hey... You know... If the three of us are going to talk, then... I've got something to talk about. Earlier today... When I said that I was a thief, both of you defended me. Why? And... Where are you two from and what do you do anyway?"

 

"Me? I'm from Manehattan, but I moved to Ponyville and I work as a preschool flying teacher for young pegasai." Flow said, taking a pause before continuing, "Oh yeah about the defending bit, um... the thing is that...Lapis...actually.. that jerk engineer named Dusky was accusing you of stealing his book, and Dusky is known to be a snob on what he says. Even though you admitted that you're a thief, you also clearly said that you did it to survive, which probably brought me to the conclusion that what you often steal is food! I don't even think a pony like you would go out of her way stealing a book like that. How did I thought of that? Well, I guess you can say it's just simple common sense. I believe that your the red herring...more like blue herring in this case, being accused of it but actually isn't the culprit. I know that you didn't do it, then again you claimed that the book he described was yours.. meh I think that it's his copy of the book that got stolen or something,"

 

She cleared her throat before coming to a conclusion "Ahem, I want help you get out of this mess in any way I can, you can call me your big sister if you want...well probably not ehehehe"

Edited by Narutardedscum
  • Brohoof 5

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Alex looked towards the two mares he was with.  There was the new Pegasus mare he met formally earlier on the train today known as Flow and then there was this new filly named Key who stands as accused of stealing something that doesn't belong to her here on this train.

 

 

She turned around to see Alex approaching her "Ah...Alex! um....I was in the middle of something with Key, but um...maybe us three can talk together?" She asked, hoping that Key wouldn't mind

 

Alex looked to her as she spoke to Alex.  Alex shrugged at Flow.  "Sure, if Key doesn't mind having a three pony conversation."   Alex commented to her before looking towards Key Gear.

"No, no... I don't mind... Not at all actually. Yeah, I'd like to talk, but... I don't know what about, really. I don't really like to talk that much... Errr... I mean..." Key stopped, shook her head again, and took a deep breath. Facing Flow, she continued, changing topics completely. "I'm sorry Flow. I don't think that you deserved my earlier reaction. After all, you couldn't have known about what happened to my parents. And... Well, I won't hold that against you." The feeling from earlier seemed to subside as she spoke, and Key tilted her head slightly to the side. The effort of speaking was causing the fog to clear faster. Now, Key smiled. It was a small and somewhat impish smile, but it was genuine. "Look, just don't hug me again without some kind of warning. I don't like surprises. Particularly not the kind that involve getting temporarily restrained by some random pony. Your hug isn't a hug, it's like some kind of weapon." Her smile widened as she realized that she, in fact, did have something that she wanted to talk about. The best thing about it was that it had only the slimmest connection to her own past. Awkwardly, she put forward the topic. "Hey... You know... If the three of us are going to talk, then... I've got something to talk about. Earlier today... When I said that I was a thief, both of you defended me. Why? And... Where are you two from and what do you do anyway?" Key tacked on the last part in the hopes that she could somehow steer the conversation back to the pegasus ponies.

 

Alex looked towards Key Gear as she spoke to Flow about her outburst.  He inwardly smiled, feeling glad that imminent disaster wasn't going to happen on the train.  He then heard her ask about several questions from them.

 

"Well, I can see when somepony isn't being treated fairly without any real evidence.  I may not know you, but I have been familiar with bullies...  That's why I helped you."  Alex said to Key before pausing.

 

"As for what I do, I'm a part of the Ponyville Weather Patrol.  I work among Rainbow Dash busting up thunderheads.  Where I come from is not my favorite subject...  I grew up in an orphanage down in Fillydelphia.  It was just me and a bunch of foals there, no siblings...  I've never seen my parents' faces in my life.  In the orphanage, I was somepony that steps in everytime somepony was being bullied or feeling sad.  When I turned sixteen, I got away from Fillydelphia and found Ponyville.  I saw Rainbow Dash and somewhere among our conversation, she wanted to see my moves and I busted up clouds in fourteen seconds.  Not as fast as hers, but fast enough to make the weather patrol.  Since then, I lived in Cloudsdale."  Alex said to Key Gear.   He never revealed too much about his life to anypony and strangely, it felt weird.

 

Alex looked to Key Gear.  "Ummm, what about you, Key?  Where are you from and what do you do, if you don't mind me asking?"  Alex asked the blue filly, awaiting her answer to his question.

  • Brohoof 5

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Lapis shrugged imperceptibly when Springer refused the notes. They were not exactly important to this current mystery. Perhaps the mail pony might see something he had missed, but it was unlikely. The very least it did was help him catch up to the present. The more minds he had working at these problems, the more likely it was it could be all figured out on time. And it seemed as though Springer was about to get them on track. What he said next could very well push this entire thing forward.

 

He closed his eyes for a minute, and Lapis feared the green pegasus had fallen asleep. But that his hooves were up by his head belied that notion. It seemed as though he were deep in thought, and when his eyes reopened, they were ablaze with clarity. He looked like a pony with a mission, and that mission was to get to the bottom of all this strangeness. As he spoke, Lapis felt the force of his words, even though they lacked real verbal force. Efficiency was what mattered to Springer, as much as knowledge did to Lapis. The blue pony felt his respect grow for the pegasus.

 

When his attention fell on Lapis, he straightened up. The information that was to pour from Springer needed his full attention. Though Springer had not touched the book, he still knew about it. And Springer had no love for Dusky, which was quite understandable. And Springer was truthful as well. He had told the unicorn of his dislike before. Lapis nodded carefully as Springer outlined the nature of their relationship. And as such, his theory about the two working together on anything of a mysterious nature evaporated. Once more Lapis shrugged to himself. Up and down theories go, until the right one is found.

 

But then Springer's confidence faltered. Lapis frowned. What happened to Springer's efficiency? It saddened Lapis that the pegasus could not keep up an exchange of information without stuttering. He tried his best to hide it though. And then Springer became sidetracked, now talking to Electrobolt instead of Magicon as he had been only moments before. What did a library have to do with anything? Lapis became displeased now. But he listened on.

 

Springer began to talk about his clone, and Lapis tried his best to piece together what any of it meant. Shared memories? Lapis knew little to nothing about magic, so he could not do much with the information. Lapis resigned himself to listen further, hoping some bit would be enough for him to latch on and make use. But Springer did nothing more than spout more complicated things that boggled Lapis's mind. Did it really matter who was who, as long as the information was true? Sure, nothing could prove it either way, but unless another Springer were to show up, what could any of them do?

 

Either way, it led to nothing Lapis could use. Surely Magicon could make sense of it though. Luckily, he was next to speak. And what he said was mildly surprising. Lapis had hoped the unicorn would jump right into explanation, but he first offered some sympathy. It was actually a good idea though. Ease the subject, calm them down, get them to like you. Not something that was Lapis's specialty. It was more of an Asteria thing. Lapis was glad to have Magicon here while Asteria was working the other half of this complex conspiracy of oddness.

 

Lapis listened idly now. He kept focused, but what Magicon said was not his field of ability. There was deductive reasoning involved, but to do it, one had to have had a good understanding of magic. Magicon was in control of things. He knew what he was doing here. He could strike through to the heart of things and work at the pony element of this issue. Lapis was left almost speechless. He really couldn't see what else there was to say. But perhaps there was one thing.

 

"Springer, are you sure you cannot remember more about the book? While your predicament is most unusual, there is not much I can do to get to the bottom of it. Unless of course your doppelgänger were to show up so that we may question them." Lapis said with even tones. But beneath it was a hint of humor. It was just unlikely things would fall into place like that. If the clone still existed, where were they now? In Springer's room? Getting breakfast in Ponyville? A thought struck him then. "Actually, I think we should try to find the fake Springer. Or whoever it is that is not the Springer before us. Maybe they are in his room?"

 


 

Ambrosia had seemed delighted as she spoke of her hometown, Haysead Grove. That wasn't too far from Forelock Grove! Perhaps it was destiny that they'd become friends. But she laughed silently. That would be absolutely silly. It was merely a happy coincidence. The negative emotions around Ambrosia had completely drained by the time she had finished her tale. Cooking seemed to make her so happy. The mare positively glowed with enthusiasm. It sort of disappointed Asteria when Daylight had returned.

 

As they all sat down at a table, Ambrosia had asked them about how they obtained their cutie marks. Asteria beamed a little. Her story was a fun one. "I'd like to go first if no one minds." she said politely before she began. "I grew up in a small town by the name of Forelock Grove, which isn't that far north of Haysead Grove actually. There, I played and had fun like most little ponies do. But I had the tendency to keep to myself and make plans. I'm a creative pony, if I may say so myself. I figured out a way to maximize the time in a day so that one could do the most and have the most fun. But after I finished, I had no idea what to do with myself. I played with my friends, and used my schedule and all, but still life felt lacking. My mother is a skilled unicorn, and she taught me all kinds of magic, and that didn't feel like my calling either. Then one day, I discovered my love of writing. I wrote beautiful stories and poems, and everyone loved them. That was when this quill appeared."

 

She thought it over. "It actually wasn't that great of a story. My life had been pretty boring before Lapis had showed up. If I had told you about one of my adventures, then maybe it could have been a good story. But Ambrosia wanted to know about my cutie mark. And it just happened naturally almost. No effort on my part. Not a one. I had received an excellent education from my mother at least. She came from Canterlot, seeking a simple life. She has a way with magic like I said. And my father is an earth pony, so I guess the genetics from my mother that passed on to me are a little diluted. But either way, I'm pretty good with shield spells and levitation." she concluded thoughtfully. She would have to visit her parents later. They probably missed her. And they liked to hear about all her adventures. Although, she suspected that they thought her tales of adventure were fictional. Best leave it that way though. It would be silly to worry them.

Edited by Bari
  • Brohoof 7

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In truth, he wasn't quite sure how Magicon would respond. Springer also wasn't even sure that it even mattered. After all, if he wasn't himself, then what hope did he possibly have of being able to solve the problems that now afflicted him. Springer carefully considered what could possibly be the correct course of action, given that he was somepony else. He would definitely have to ask Vim to accept his resignation. Without proper certification, it simply wasn't right for him to be an assistant conductor. The thought terrified him, and Springer slumped in his seat. Mercifully, he didn't have much time to dwell on it before Magicon began to speak.
 
After expressing his sympathy, Magicon began to outline a most intriguing theory for how Springer could have possibly ended up in his present state. Springer chronicled everything that he heard, but he didn't think much about it at that point in time. Instead, he continued to study the table in front of him. In fact, he sat in a seeming trance until Magicon mentioned the word "trust". At the mention of this word, Springer glanced up, without moving his head. 
 
When he saw Magicon reaching out towards him, Springer didn't quite know what to expect, the gesture seemed strange to him. When Magicon lifted his head with a hoof, Springer fully saw the compassionate smile on the unicorn's face. He was surprised. In his mind, Springer tried to recall the last time that anyone had ever shown him any kindness. Forgetting about his misplaced memories, for a moment, he was oblivious to some of the images that flowed through his head, which were plainly not his own. Instead, he focused on the realization that, in fact, he hadn't been shown much kindness in his time. Springer now listened to Magicon with greater enthusiasm. 
 

So, if you don’t mind, Springer, I need you to dig deep into your memories and see if you can find anypony you either disliked or fell out with during your colthood when you had a different type of personality. See if you can find anypony that would know your colthood habits and would be willing to use them against you. If that pony is a unicorn, great, if not, that’s ok too. Let’s just see if we can find anypony.

 
 
Springer blinked. Instinctively, he felt as though Magicon's request would likely prove ineffective. His desire to ensure efficiency whispered against the idea of searching his memories fruitlessly. However, his sense of decency and his respect for Magicon compelled him to at least try. So, he closed his eyes and tried to dig through his memories. He found that there were quite a few gaps, and it felt rather like he was working his way through a maze. In addition to that, there was something that seemed a bit strange, even within the context of his current situation. After a few moments, he opened his eyes again and shook his head.
 
"Well, unfortunately, as far as I can remember at this moment... Ummm... I didn't have many friends or enemies when I was a colt. I was... Well... I was rather boring. There was something that I remember though… But I think it's one of those memories that's locked off, somehow… You wouldn't happen to have any spells that you could use to help someone remember things, would you? Maybe it might counteract the fog that's in my mind right now. Ummm... It may not be safe though, maybe we should ask a medical pony first... Maybe the one that saved me? Hmmm..."
 

"Springer, are you sure you cannot remember more about the book? While your predicament is most unusual, there is not much I can do to get to the bottom of it. Unless of course your doppelgänger were to show up so that we may question them."

 
 
Regarding the comment as one that was completely in earnest, Springer nodded his head and replied seriously. "Yes, that might be useful indeed. But, what questions would we ask?"
 

"Actually, I think we should try to find the fake Springer. Or whoever it is that is not the Springer before us. Maybe they are in his room?"

 
 
Springer's eyes shot wide open, and his thoughts were clearer than they had been since he was revived. His ears twitched at the thought of what Lapis had just said. "The fake me? In my room!? Unacceptable! The monster!" Springer blurted out with something resembling a sort of tired fury. With a shaky start, Springer tried to leap to his hooves from his place at the table. Instead, he ended up falling into a heap on the floor. He was only there for a moment though. With an awkward flailing of wings and hooves, he was back up in just a second.
 
@
 
Back on his hooves, Springer curtly rattled off a fast series of questions to Electrobolt. "Electrobolt. Do you know anything about the status of the train crew rooms? Has anyone gone into my room?" Behind the curtness, it was easily evident that Springer was shaken by the thought of anypony venturing into his room. As he continued talking, his agitation was plainly evident. "I... I think that we should check it at once! If there *is* another Springer there, they need to be removed! They should be handed over to the authorities in Ponyville immediately! Oh, blast it... Come on!" Springer started shakily making his way out of the dining car and towards room 17.
 

 

"Me? I'm from Manehattan, but I moved to Ponyville and I work as a preschool flying teacher for young pegasai."

 
 
Moving away from Manehattan to live in Ponyville? Key wondered what had prompted the decision to move, and she made a note to ask Flow more about her reasoning and how hard the adjustment had been. Key allowed her thoughts to wonder. Electrobolt lived in Ponyville. She couldn't very well return to Manehattan without her brother, and it didn't seem right, to Key, to ask Electrobolt to move back with her, leaving the family that he had known for so long behind. Key allowed herself a wistful thought, how nice it would be if she had a mother and father just for a bit... Until she found her real ones, of course... She shook her head and left the daydream just in time to catch the latter half of Flow's response.
 

which probably brought me to the conclusion that what you often steal is food! I don't even think a pony like you would go out of her way stealing a book like that. How did I thought of that? Well, I guess you can say it's just simple common sense. I believe that your the red herring...more like blue herring in this case, being accused of it but actually isn't the culprit. I know that you didn't do it, then again you claimed that the book he described was yours.. meh I think that it's his copy of the book that got stolen or something,"

 
 
With a wince, Key nodded. She couldn't believe that she had missed the earlier part of Flow's response. She hoped she hadn't looked too ridiculous, staring out into space as Flow had been talking. She was thankful when it seemed that she had zoned back in just in time to hear the more important portion. She thought about what Flow had said, and to her, the words just seemed to make sense. In fact, they made so much sense that Key found herself wondering if, perhaps, Dusky had made the accusation with the intent that it be recognized as what it was, a flimsy attempt to distract. A simple thought floated through her head. But, why?
 

She cleared her throat before coming to a conclusion "Ahem, I want help you get out of this mess in any way I can, you can call me your big sister if you want...well probably not ehehehe"

 
 
Flow's words had cut in just as Key was ready to go into another daydream. She peered at the pegasus strangely for a moment with a blank expression and a curious twinkle in her eyes, an almost crazy sparkle. Then, as though nothing had happened, she smiled shook her head. "No, not a big sister, I think..." Key trailed off, but her smile broadened.
 

"Well, I can see when somepony isn't being treated fairly without any real evidence.  I may not know you, but I have been familiar with bullies...  That's why I helped you."  Alex said to Key before pausing.

 
 
Alex's response was refreshing in its simplicity. He had basically gone with his gut. Key could actually appreciate that, but she wondered what his motivation had been. Just stepping in to defend another pony without having any reason to do so... That didn't make much sense to her.
 

"As for what I do, I'm a part of the Ponyville Weather Patrol.  I work among Rainbow Dash busting up thunderheads.  Where I come from is not my favorite subject...  I grew up in an orphanage down in Fillydelphia.  It was just me and a bunch of foals there, no siblings...  I've never seen my parents' faces in my life.

 
 
Key was familiar with the practice of controlling the weather. That was about the extent of what she knew about what Alex did for a living. Key had no idea who Rainbow Dash was, and she knew nothing about the Ponyville Weather Patrol, other than the obvious - they were in Ponyville and they controlled the weather. At the mention of an orphanage, though, Key's eyes narrowed. Two orphans? Both Flow and Alex had similar stories. Did it mean anything, or was it merely coincidental? A crazy thought from earlier came back to her… But, she ignored it temporarily... She needed more information.
 

I've never seen my parents' faces in my life.  In the orphanage, I was somepony that steps in everytime somepony was being bullied or feeling sad.  When I turned sixteen, I got away from Fillydelphia and found Ponyville.  I saw Rainbow Dash and somewhere among our conversation, she wanted to see my moves and I busted up clouds in fourteen seconds.  Not as fast as hers, but fast enough to make the weather patrol.  Since then, I lived in Cloudsdale."

 
 
Never having seen one's parents seemed like an impossibly cruel thing to Key Gear, she found herself feeling bad for Alex. When she heard about Alex's habit of defending others against bullies, Key nodded. Of course… That explained why he has stepped in to help her. Not because he had anything to gain, but because it was a force of habit - to take the side of the ones that are outnumbered and in trouble. It was an admirable trait. Admirable, Key thought, and potentially useful.
 
At the mention of Rainbow Dash again. Key's curiosity surged. Who was this pony?
 

Alex looked to Key Gear.  "Ummm, what about you, Key?  Where are you from and what do you do, if you don't mind me asking?"  Alex asked the blue filly, awaiting her answer to his question.

 
 
As Alex started his sentence, addressed towards her, Key could feel herself becoming tense. However, when he actually asked specific questions, she relaxed. These were easy things for her to answer, and in fact, she was happy that someone had finally asked her. She glanced, apologetically, at Flow as she answered, hoping that the pegasus would let her off the hook for the shifty way that she had answered Flow's similar question, earlier on. Clearing her throat, Key then spoke clearly but still somewhat hesitantly.
 
"Well, I'm from Manehattan, originally, and... When I was there, I worked as a pony that fixes things, all kinds of things... Ponies would come to me with different types of machines, locks, and sometimes really weird things to repair or do something else with... I built things too, including some really amazing things... Well. At least, I thought that they were. Anyways, I've actually been in Canterlot recently. I've been trying to gather funding for an expedition. I want to... Well, I want to lead an expedition." 
 
She had carefully and consciously decided to not bring up the Frozen North. Instead, she choose the moment to steer the conversation back to Alex. "Hey, Alex, you mentioned somepony named 'Rainbow Dash'? Who are they anyway? I mean... The way you mention her name, she sounds famous or something, but really... What does she do? Is she really famous?"
  • Brohoof 6

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At first when he had returned, he noticed strange looks from both Ambrosia and Asteria most likely due to the flower. He wasn't sure what he was going to do with it now that they had both seen it so he would just have to wait for the right moment. When Asteria asked if he were ready, he nodded in reply and the three of them all proceeded to sit down on the nearby table. Food had already been served including coffee, which delighted him. Not wanting to rudely start eating he looked up at Ambrosia and noticed she was looking at him strangely again, before she started to speak. “It must really be perplexing her, maybe she knows something about it...” he thought.

 

Ambrosia then spoke conversationally, mostly to Daylight but also to Asteria. "You know, I was actually just talking about the time that I found my cutie mark. What about y'all? Any interesting cutie mark stories to share?"

“This is the perfect opportunity to bring it up.” He thought. He was about to speak when Asteria bet him to it and as it would be impolite to interrupt her he instead started to eat the food in front of him while he listened carefully.
As Asteria had said herself it was a rather simple and peaceful story but that didn't stop it from being good in his opinion. It intrigued him however though why she would leave such a life behind to accompany Lapis. “If what she said was true about her “adventures”, then she and lapis must of gotten up to some pretty interesting things for her not to return there...” he thought, as he took a sip of his coffee.

Ah he put his cup down he noticed the two of them were no looking at him which meant it was now his turn to share.
“Oh, yes, well as for me I used to live in Ponyville when I was a colt and would do favours for the townsfolk to be rewarded in return. That isn't why I did it though, I seemed to have a knack for finding things that were lost and being very truthful but I was just glad that I was doing something useful in my life as I wasn't getting anywhere in school.
It happened one night I was out searching for a thief that had stolen something from a friend the night before. I had reason to believe he might strike again that night so I was just walking around trying to watch out for anything. I heard the sound of glass breaking, and rushed over to find a broken window with a shadowy figure running off in the distance. I tried to follow him but... I lost track of him. It was rather dark and at that point my magic was still mostly undeveloped.”

He stopped to take another sip of his coffee before continuing.
“It was then that I felt my horn tingle and with a bright flash of light which temporarily blinded me for a few seconds. When my eyes recovered the surrounding area was now brightly lit up from a constant glowing from my horn. Up until that point I was unable to sustain a light spell for more than a few seconds without tiring myself out too much so it was a big accomplishment for me.
Now that I could see clearly, I noticed that there was a slight blood trail left on the ground where I was standing which must of been from when the thief cut himself on the glass. I quickly followed it and at the end found a young colt curled up behind some crates nursing his hoof which had a cut on it as well as also carrying the stolen item.”

“Naturally, I took pity on him.” He said shrugging. ”He was just scared of me and what I would do to him now that I caught him but I was too kind hearted to not care about what he may have been though. I was starting to feel tired however from having to maintain the light spell but I knew I couldn't force him to come with me so I had to make him trust me somehow. As I looked at his wound, I felt my horn tingle again so taking a gamble I touched my horn to his cut, and to both of our amazement it was healed. The colt was now happy and trusted me to escorted him back home as long as I promised not to tell his parents as long as he swore never to steal again and fix the window he broke. The last I heard of him was that he wanted to become a window repair pony as he enjoyed fixing the one he broke so much.” He said stopping to take another sip of his coffee.

“I was extremely tired that night as I had never used that much magic before so I went straight home to bed. It wasn't until the next morning when I was returning the stolen item that they pointed out to me I now had my cutie mark. I was so ecstatic that it didn't even bother me when all they gave me as payment was a flower... one just like this one actually...” he said as he took the flower off that was tied to his ear and thoughtfully looked at it as he held it in one hoof.

“Because I was so happy that I got my cutie mark, I tied the flower around my ear just like this one treasuring it as a memento of that day... until my parents mentioned how stupid I looked wearing it and took it off me. I was rather upset at first, but eventually I forgot about it... until I spotted one that looked just like it while out on my walk with Magicon.”

He sighed and looked down at the table before continuing to speak. “I guess I just wanted to try and relive that moment I had as a colt again but when i got back on the train... I finally realized what my parents meant when they took it off me originally. I became very embarrassed of how I must look so I had to get rid of it... which is how it ended up on you Ambrosia. It was I who put it there while you were unconscious.” He said looking up at her apprehensively.

“Then, when I realised that it had been ruined by the water being poured on you, which was from my recommendation too... it hurt, so I went and got it replaced. I’m not sure why though...” he said looking up the the ceiling thoughtfully. “You would think If I had only wanted to get rid of it then my goal would have been accomplished but... there’s something about this flower now that I look at it...” he said looking back down at the flower again. “That reminds me of you... and your mane more specifically. It’s the same colour but also, if I’m not mistaken this is a Ambrosia flower Ambrosia so, I’d like you to have it.” he said looking back up at her with a warm smile as he stretched out his hoof with the flower on it.

  • Brohoof 5

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"No, not a big sister, I think..." Key trailed off, but her smile broadened.

Flow giggled at Key's response "Okay, I guess that makes us friends then! Alright!" She smiled with her eyes closed "Well, that went better than what I had expected, for a while she seemed like a dangerous one at one time, then now she's all friendly..strange..oh well all that matters is that we're friends....right? Uhh....hopefully,"

"As for what I do, I'm a part of the Ponyville Weather Patrol. I work among Rainbow Dash busting up thunderheads. Where I come from is not my favorite subject... I grew up in an orphanage down in Fillydelphia. It was just me and a bunch of foals there, no siblings... I've never seen my parents' faces in my life. In the orphanage, I was somepony that steps in everytime somepony was being bullied or feeling sad. When I turned sixteen, I got away from Fillydelphia and found Ponyville. I saw Rainbow Dash and somewhere among our conversation, she wanted to see my moves and I busted up clouds in fourteen seconds. Not as fast as hers, but fast enough to make the weather patrol. Since then, I lived in Cloudsdale."

"Woah, you've never actually seen your parents? That's harsh...and sad.." Flow said before several seconds of silence, but soon quelled it by switching to another topic "But clearing clouds in fourteen seconds....that's sick! And the minute you told me you worked with her, I was amazed!" Flow Exclaimed "Let me tell you that Rainbow Dash inspired me to cling on to life, she's actually the one that inspired me to be like her too!"

 

When Alex asked Key on where she came from and what she did, it tempted Flow into wanting to learn about her past "That would make it fair, after I told Key mine, sure I'd love to learn more about her," she thought.

"Well, I'm from Manehattan, originally, and... When I was there, I worked as a pony that fixes things, all kinds of things... Ponies would come to me with different types of machines, locks, and sometimes really weird things to repair or do something else with... I built things too, including some really amazing things... Well. At least, I thought that they were. Anyways, I've actually been in Canterlot recently. I've been trying to gather funding for an expedition. I want to... Well, I want to lead an expedition."

"Oooh! That's pretty cool! Judging by your cutie mark!" She complemented "I think I can easily see why she has a knack for fixing stuff, it probably has to do with her survival skills...I guess? Hmm...I guess I can think about that later," She thought, carefully not talking about Key's life as a street pony for fear that it would make Key feel uncomfortable again. "So you say you want to lead an expedition, that's guts for somepony that young, awesome!"

"Hey, Alex, you mentioned somepony named 'Rainbow Dash'? Who are they anyway? I mean... The way you mention her name, she sounds famous or something, but really... What does she do? Is she really famous?"

She cuts into the conversation and began "You don't know Rainbow Dash? She's like the most awesome pony out there in Equestria, famed for her Sonic Rainboom! What makes her really famous is that she's the Element of Loyalty!"

Edited by Flow by Naru
  • Brohoof 6

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After Electrobolt had asked Springer about the book, Magicon then decided to ask his own questions about the book. Lapis, himself, was wondering about the book too. But then, Arcanel questioned them about whether this was the best course of action to take, before asking about what all had gone on as he was left out of the loop. At that moment, Lapis began to explain everything to him as best as possible. Although he was familiar with some of what the scholar had said, he still heard a few new things. *A mysterious light... Dusky appearing out of nowhere... What could this mean?* he mused in his mind.

 

Afterwards, Asteria had approached Lapis, giving him the notes to which he then gave to Arcanel, in case he or Springer wanted to read them. However, Springer then spoke, saying that he didn't need to read the notes, before continuing to speak, saying that he didn't see the book and that it wasn't his to touch. At this, Electrobolt had a look of confusion pasted on his face. *What does he mean by that...?* he mused, completely stumped. A little later though, he then began to describe his stance with Dusky, which he could understand. Right now, he isn't really liking Dusky, especially with what had happened earlier.

 

Electrobolt took this time to continue eating as Springer continued to talk, responding to Magicon before getting distracted, as if remembering something else. As soon as he said he'd get back to Magicon, Springer looked over to Electro and began to speak to him. Not wanting to be rude, or miss anything, he stopped eating to take in the words he had to say. In response to his own question, Springer stated that he did see mention of a dragon in the book, and also said that he recalled seeing it in the Canterlot Library, which he had only been to once before in his life.

 

This was very strange... If Springer saw that book before, yet hadn't been to the library recently, then how would he have known about it? This was getting very confusing. As Springer continued to speak, Electrobolt closed his eyes and put his hooves to his forehead, thinking hard on what had been said. *So Springer claims to have seen the book before, at Canterlot Library, yet he said he had only been there once in his life... Assuming that this one time was when he was a young colt, then... How would he have recalled that all clearly? Not to mention... If this book belonged to Key... Why would it be in a library?*

 

As his thoughts began to drift away, he then heard Springer say something about possibly having already broken Magicon's trust before beginning to list the possibilities of how he did so. One of these possibilities was that it was his doppelganger, which he then expanded on that perhaps it was possible that this imposter had borrowed some of his memories, replacing them with some of theirs, which also explained how Springer knew about his "buddy" ordeal in the past. But still, all this was confusing him. However, Springer then went on to say that he was possibly not the real Springer.

 

At this remark, Electrobolt looked at Springer with that of confusion. *How can you not be certain of that?* he thought. *If you WERE the fake Springer, wouldn't you be trying to make claim that you ARE the real Springer? Plus, having been locked in that box, Trixie's box... Those two things make me think he isn't a fake...* It was around the time he finished his thoughts that Magicon spoke up, trying to comfort the assistant conductor. Fortunately, it seemed as though the unicorn's words went through, as Springer seemed to be calming down now.

 


Just at that moment, though, Lapis spoke up once more, suggesting that perhaps they should try and find the doppelganger and question them. Perhaps this would be a good idea, or perhaps it would be a dead end and lead to nothing more than a wild goose chase. Regardless, Springer thought it was a good idea before wondering what they would ask him. Lapis then brought up the suggestion that perhaps the phony was in Springer's room. Upon hearing this, Springer's eyes shot open, most likely due to the idea that his room was being inhabited by his doppelganger.

 

 

"The fake me? In my room!? Unacceptable! The monster!" Springer blurted out with something resembling a sort of tired fury. With a shaky start, Springer tried to leap to his hooves from his place at the table. Instead, he ended up falling into a heap on the floor. He was only there for a moment though. With an awkward flailing of wings and hooves, he was back up in just a second.

 
Back on his hooves, Springer curtly rattled off a fast series of questions to Electrobolt. "Electrobolt. Do you know anything about the status of the train crew rooms? Has anyone gone into my room?" Behind the curtness, it was easily evident that Springer was shaken by the thought of anypony venturing into his room. As he continued talking, his agitation was plainly evident. "I... I think that we should check it at once! If there *is* another Springer there, they need to be removed! They should be handed over to the authorities in Ponyville immediately! Oh, blast it... Come on!" Springer started shakily making his way out of the dining car and towards room 17.

 

As soon as Springer spoke out, he jumped out of his seat and tried to get on his hooves, but instead fell to the floor. A while later though, he eventually made it back to his hooves before asking Electrobolt about the rooms of the crew members. At this, he responded, "I'm sorry, Springer, but I didn't check inside your room. But I didn't see anypony going in or out of your room..." However, Springer then started to speak, saying that if there was somepony in his room, they'd need to be removed and given to the authorities before starting to move back to his room. "Wait for me, Springer!" he spoke out before hurrying to Springer's side and offering himself to be used to stabilize the assistant conductor.

  • Brohoof 5

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As the musician gave his name, Dusky looked surprised. "Velox Psallebat Marcato." Dusky repeated the name slowly. It was a most unusual name for a modern pony to have. His look of surprise gave way to one of thinly veiled confusion. Almost wistfully, he responded. "Well, it is a great pleasure to meet you Marcato. If you don't mind my asking, could you tell me more about you? Your family for instance, where does it originate? I only ask because your name… It seems familiar to me, as if I've heard it or another like it before, in a different context. Please, don't feel compelled to answer if it's not in your interest to do so. I am simply curious, that is all..."

 

"Likewise it's nice to meet another pony with a liking to classical music as I do. They seem to be... rare as of recently." Marcato commented, thinking back to the many debates he used to get into. 

 

As the unicorn asked for more information regarding Marcato's background, the musicians eyes opened a little wider. It was not often that he was asked about details regarding himself. Marcato smiled, as he was coming to like this curious pony before him more and more. "Well that would be a long story... but since you've been so friendly I don't see why I shouldn't oblige!" He said with a nod.

 

He paused a moment, thinking where to start. There certainly was a lot of important information, but he didn't want to bore the already rather tired looking unicorn. Finally he figured he'd be best off starting right where he suggested, his family. The fact he seemed to recognize the name surprised Marcato, but he thought nothing of it and went on.

 

"I was born in Vanhoover, out towards the west. That was where almost my entire family lived, and naturally I stuck around until I grew older." He began. "I had always loved music, ever since I was young. I started playing the piano at a young age, without lessons. I didn't really care for them, so I never took them. I just played music I had heard around, often from the radio that I liked, or video games that I watched my brother play."

 

"There's really a lot of different stories that split off in my life... so I apologize if any of this is difficult to follow." Marcato warned. "When I first went to pre-school, the most I remember is that things never went very smoothly. I didn't get along well with the other kids around me, and I think it was for that reason that my parents decided to homeschool me."

 

"I began grade one at home, and I did all my work in the comfort of my own room, without having to worry about other kids around me. This didn't turn out for the best later, as once I hit grade 4 we decided I should try real school. Because I had never learned how to deal with emotions and such I had an incredibly difficult time at school, being a common target for ponies that found amusement out of making others cry or experience hatred at its finest. In short school was a living nightmare for me when I was there."

 

"I ended up leaving after Grade 5 because I simply couldn't take it anymore. I wanted to forget it all and move on and never worry about all that again. However my parents, bless them, didn't want to stop there. They wanted to get to the bottom of the problem..." Marcato stopped a moment to make sure he wasn't boring the unicorn. Yet the pony still seemed keenly interested, so he kept right on.

 

"They got to the bottom of it and we discovered... what the issue was." Marcato stopped himself. He wasn't entirely keen on sharing the details of his disorder with this pony that was a near stranger to him, regardless of how much alike they were in musical tastes. "We managed to find a semi-fix for it and I got along moving forward."

 

"Now it was around this time that I found one person who was very keen on music, who introduced me to a way of writing music. I had always liked making up my own tunes on the piano my parents had in our house, so the prospect of writing full songs had me blown away. Naturally I went straight to it, and began writing songs."

"Oh, and that was also when I first picked up a violin. I had always loved the instrument, and when I was around 12 my parents decided to enroll me in Violin lessons. I took right to it, and I found it easy to tune the notes despite the bothersome playing style of a Violin compared to other instruments. I've been playing ever since." 

 

"Anyways, that was the most significant start of my musical interests. From there it steadily expanded and my skill level grew to a point of playing what you just heard, and writing fully orchestrated pieces for a job. It's difficult as a career, but I enjoy it and that's what matters."

 

"I went back to school in grade 9 after finding the solution to my previous issues, and with some effort I managed to push my way through. The ponies around me still caused trouble, but I knew how to counteract it."

 

Marcato suddenly realized how he had practically told his life story to the pony in front of him and cleared his throat. "Ah... sorry. I, sometimes get a little carried away when I'm telling people things. I do hope I haven't bored you too much!"

 

Marcato decided to cut ahead to more details about himself personally. "As you know I love music, and always have really. However, I heavily dislike the modern music and all that... noise... it involves. I also tend to make friends out of others who agree with my thoughts on things. (Don't we all?)" He commented.

 

"I now make music and play violin for people who pay me to do so, often involving symphonies and live instruments. I love doing it and love advancing in my skill level. It doesn't pay much but, it keeps me going. I'm hoping if I can keep some publicity going I can eventually become more successful." Marcato finished.

 

He let out a sigh and resisted the urge to shake his head in frustration at his own rambling. "Ah, is there anything else you would like to know...?" He asked, trying to sound as confident as he could. He didn't want to ruin his chances of getting on this train.

  • Brohoof 6

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As Alex started his sentence, addressed towards her, Key could feel herself becoming tense. However, when he actually asked specific questions, she relaxed. These were easy things for her to answer, and in fact, she was happy that someone had finally asked her. She glanced, apologetically, at Flow as she answered, hoping that the pegasus would let her off the hook for the shifty way that she had answered Flow's similar question, earlier on. Clearing her throat, Key then spoke clearly but still somewhat hesitantly.   "Well, I'm from Manehattan, originally, and... When I was there, I worked as a pony that fixes things, all kinds of things... Ponies would come to me with different types of machines, locks, and sometimes really weird things to repair or do something else with... I built things too, including some really amazing things... Well. At least, I thought that they were. Anyways, I've actually been in Canterlot recently. I've been trying to gather funding for an expedition. I want to... Well, I want to lead an expedition."    She had carefully and consciously decided to not bring up the Frozen North. Instead, she choose the moment to steer the conversation back to Alex. "Hey, Alex, you mentioned somepony named 'Rainbow Dash'? Who are they anyway? I mean... The way you mention her name, she sounds famous or something, but really... What does she do? Is she really famous?"

 

Alex listened to her life story as she went.  He had already heard from her that she was an orphan herself at some point in her foalhood and that she was looking for her parents.  "Looking for her parents...  Must've been nice to be able to know them at first."  Alex thought to himself, knowing that he doesn't even know what his own parents looked like.  The only thing that reminded him that he had parents was the silver star necklace that he wore on a chain around his neck, bearing his name on the front of the star and the inscription on the back.  He would think of trying to find his parents, but he thinks of how they don't even come to see his hoofball games when he was a little older playing for the Fillydelphia  Eagles.  He knew that he would feel angry to his parents as he would want to know why he was left in the orphanage when he was only just a small foal.

 

"Hmmm, a repair pony of sorts?  That's a really handy skill, Key.  That explains your Cutie Mark very well."  Alex commented to Key Gear.  Upon hearing about how she wanted to raise funds for an expedition, he raised an eyebrow at her.  "An expedition?  By yourself?  That's pretty gutsy."  Alex said to her, slightly amazed at the notion.  He wondered if she really needed help on progressing on her expedition.  She then asked about who Rainbow Dash was.  He was about to explain until...

 

 

She cuts into the conversation and began "You don't know Rainbow Dash? She's like the most awesome pony out there in Equestria, famed for her Sonic Rainboom! What makes her really famous is that she's the Element of Loyalty!"

 

Alex listened to her as she spoke.  When she was finished, he picked up on it.  "Yeah, what she said.  She's also a winner for the best Young Flyer when she saved a competitor from falling to her death using the same Sonic Rainboom.  She also made it into the Wonderbolts Academy.  I'm really jealous of her.  I really want to be in the Academy myself one day."  Alex said to Key Gear. 

  • Brohoof 6

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