Key Gear

Private Pony Mystery Theater: Exit Trixie, Stage Right.

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It had been quite some time since he had felt nearly so cheerful as he did at that one moment. A slight smile graced his normally stoic expression. His eyes betrayed only a hint of his characteristic exhaustion, and they seemed alight with an unusual amount of activity. Dusky took a sip of his coffee. As he heard the sound of the first guest beginning to approach, he thought to himself that this was truly going to be the perfect day.

 

@Scootacool, Approaching Dusky, Magicon asked, “I see you wrote this letter. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

Dusky replied amiably. "Why, good morning Magicon. The pleasure, as it were, is owed to a rather unfortunate event. Yesterday, at some point, the train suffered a water leak. The damage was not catastrophic, but we are temporarily stopped here in Ponyville for some repairs. I am led to believe by the station master that the train will be underway within just a few hours. As the train's engineer, I have taken it upon myself to personally reassure passengers that all is well."

 

Dusky took another sip of his coffee and turned his head to see another passenger arriving. This passenger was the young cream colored pegasus. Dusky quickly went through the passenger list in his mind. There were, as far as he knew, only two pegasus ponies on the train. There was a strong likelihood that this mare was the pegasus that Lapis spoke of, the one that had been thrown into Trixie's portal.

 

As soon as she got her "ideal breakfast" on her plate along with a cup of coffee, she quickly sat at the first table she sees and quickly digged in "MMM...This is so good! Ambrosia's the best!" The great taste of her meal was more than enough to leave a smile on her face.

 

Dusky raised an eyebrow as the newly arrived pegasus dove into her meal with enthusiasm and a smile on her face. Now, Dusky, himself, smiled. He was rather proud of his abilities as a chef, particularly of his own ability to impart a pleasant taste to food without being reduced to using sugar. As far as he was concerned, everything that Ambrosia cooked had too much of the stuff in it.

 

Still smiling, Dusky addressed the young pegasus. "Good morning, my friend. I don't believe that we've met. I am Dusky Coal, the train's engineer. It is my dubious pleasure to be able to inform you that the train is delayed due to needing repairs. However, this is not a cause for alarm, the repairs will be completed swiftly." Dusky tilted his head slightly to one side. "I'm happy to see that you are enjoying your meal. It actually took me some time to prepare all of this food. If I may ask you... What is your name? And... Perhaps you might wish to join me at this central table?"

 

"Good morning Magicon. I hope you rested well after yesterday's... performance." He said his smile fading slightly for a second before tuning to Dusky. "I assume you must be Dusky, Good morning to you too", he said in the same friendly and smiling way way. He then looked down at the table in front of them. "Is that coffee? May I have some?"

 

Dusky turned quickly at the sound of Daylight's voice. His smile didn't waver. In fact, he positively beamed. "Good morning Daylight! Yes, please, have some coffee." With a flourish, Dusky rose from the table to pour Daylight a glass of coffee. While he was doing this, he talked. "I was just telling the other passengers that the train has had a small problem that necessitated a relatively short stop in Ponyville for essential repairs." Dusky carried the glass over to the table and placed it in an unoccupied spot. "Please, join me for some breakfast and conversation."

 

Addressing all of the passengers gathered in the dining car, Dusky spoke. "You know, I did hear some things about yesterday's... Performance. Unfortunately, the details were rather sparse. Would any of you be so kind as to inform me of your own perspective on yesterday's events?"

 

 

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"Ah ha ehhrmphr. Hello Vim, old friend. What ~are~ you doing here in the middle of nowhere? Some people call it ponyville though, I'm not to picky."

 

Vim's face went through a quick succession of expressions. The first was disbelief. To think that a friend that he hadn't seen in so many long years was now standing right before him at an unscheduled train stop, it was a strange coincidence. His next expression was concern. Berry looked... Rather worn down, even for his age. His final expression was a massive grin. Once a good friend, always a good friend.

 

Vim and Berry Nut had become friends when they were both in school together. From the moment Vim saw him, Vim had found Berry Nut to be a rather curious unicorn. Unlike nearly all of the other unicorns in class, Berry never seemed to use magic for anything trivial. Berry preferred to do things as though he was an earth pony. This had earned Vim's enduring respect. Vim had wasted no time in making friends with the rather eccentric unicorn.

 

In school, they made for a rather interesting contrast. Vim was always the most well behaved, organized, studious, and hard working pony in every class, but he lacked imagination and sometimes struggled with complex subjects. Berry was always the student that seemed to be daydreaming and not paying attention in classes, but Berry was, in fact, a genius. Berry's grades had been just about flawless.

 

Outside of the classroom, the contrast seemed to become even more extreme. Vim was jovial, charismatic, and loud. He would also respond extremely aggressively when challenged, and his reputation as a fiery pony earned him the nickname "Manticore". Berry, on the other hoof, was rather dour, reserved, and silent. When challenged, Berry would bottle up his frustration and use it to focus his mind even more.

 

As time went on, both ponies became even greater friends. When Vim would run into a problem figuring something out, Berry would always be willing to patiently explain it to him - no matter how much time it took. When the other ponies in the school would tease Berry, Vim would stand up for his friend. To Vim, Berry's eccentricities didn't matter. He was Vim's friend and nothing else was important. There was one time, only once, when another young pony had shoved Berry Nut while Vim was nearby. The resulting brawl was talked about for years after the incident, and nopony ever tried something like that again.

 

The two ponies both shared a love of efficiency. However, the way that they went about being efficient was different. Vim could always figure out a way to improve a system by learning and then rigorously following the rules. Not only this, but he was a born leader. His willingness to work harder and to put in longer hours than any other student made him the natural pick for group leader in any activity. Berry Nut was different. Instead of following the rules, he would always ignore the rules, look at the problem, and figure out the best way to solve it based purely on logic and observation. Berry was also something of a loner.

 

Both ponies had a strong thirst for adventure. At an early age, Vim had become somewhat obsessed with the railways. He would study the trains, the train routes, the history of train travel in Equestria. He would often imagine how it would be like to be a train conductor, to journey across Equestria meeting ponies and hearing the most amazing stories. Berry Nut craved adventure as much as Vim did, but he preferred to imagine adventures to even farther and more remote places.

 

When they both graduated from school, they went their separate ways. Berry went off in pursuit of wild, far off adventures. Vim went off in pursuit of his dream of becoming a conductor. Vim hadn't seen his friend since the end of the last day of classes. Now, here he was.

 

Vim wandered up to Berry Nut and spoke while grinning broadly. "Berry! Hah! You blue devil! What are you doing out here in Ponyville!? You moved back?! When did you move back!? Hey, how's life been? Did you go on those adventures? You've got to tell me everything, old friend." Vim looked back at his train. "As for me, I guess you can see what I've been up to. Hah! After you've told me everything, I'm gonna tell you about this train..."

 

 

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

 

 

Key Gear had slept a dreamless sleep, and now her eyes stubbornly refused to open. She was awake, but she felt like she had just gone to sleep. Her drowsy mind was only dimly aware of everything that had happened on the previous day. It was as though she was awakening in phases. She was conscious, but the restoration of her senses and memory were delayed.

 

Some minutes passed before her senses began to awaken. But, when they did, Key realized that her hooves seemed to be wrapped around something that was solid yet soft and fairly warm. Key thought, with some hesitation, that this seemed to be a rather strange pillow. Her eyes slowly flickered open, and her vision was filled with green. It was not only her favorite color, but the specific shade that she loved the most - a comforting, vibrant shade of green.

 

Key squeaked with glee and gave her wonderful green pillow a tight squeeze, but then she realized something disconcerting. Her pillow seemed to be moving with a fairly steady rhythm, as though it was breathing. Then, almost immediately, she realized something even more disconcerting. Her pillow seemed to have her in its grasp as well, and it was bigger than she was. Key's eyes shot wide open. With a yelp, she shook out of her pillow's grasp, tried to stand to her hooves, and ended up tumbling out of the bed. She hit the floor upside down with a dull thud.

 

Key was now totally and completely awake, awake and wired. As soon as she hit the floor, she silently rolled over and quickly slunk to a different location than the one that she had fallen from. Cautiously, she then peeked just barely above the surface of the bed, so that she could get a better view of her living pillow. Key blinked. It was Electrobolt.

 

Her memories of the previous day came rushing back to her. Key was completely chagrined. "Uhhh... Good morning Electrobolt... Sooo... Bro... Pleasant dreams?" Key grinned awkwardly and stood up normally.

 

 

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Ambrosia groaned. She had gone to bed much later than she normally would have, but her internal clock had triggered and she was now awake anyway. Outside her window, she could see that the terrain had stopped moving, and she couldn't hear the telltale sounds of the train in motion. Vaguely, she recalled the planned stop in Ponyville. She stared dreamily into space for a few moments before she shook her head violently to jar herself awake. She was running late for fixing breakfast.

 

Ambrosia rolled out of her bed and onto her hooves. In just a few minutes, she had straightened out her appearance and was standing in the hall. She took a look around and, almost immediately, she noticed a strange letter that seemed to be positioned at just the right distance form her door to catch her attention. She blinked and then grabbed the letter.

 

"To the resident of room 15..." Ambrosia read the letter out loud before she stopped. The thought of Dusky cooking breakfast and speaking with passengers seemed unreal to her. Wondering if she was still dreaming, she wandered to the dining car. When she opened the door, she immediately saw Dusky distracted, speaking with passengers while drinking coffee.

 

"What." Ambrosia could hardly believe her eyes. She quietly wandered over to the kitchen, splashed some cold water on her face and then dried it off with a dish towel. She had felt the water quite plainly, so she figured that it wasn't a dream, Dusky was cooking food and entertaining passengers. She took one incredulous look at him, and then shook her head softly. She would take a trot around the station.

 

Ambrosia trotted towards the baggage car.

 

 

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Inside the baggage car, a soft knocking sound could be heard coming from one of the boxes.

  • Brohoof 7

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Yesterday, Canterlot Train Station
 
Asteria had never left. Last week, when they had tried to purchase their tickets, and Lapis could only buy one, she knew what she had to do. Being the clever filly that she was, she had formulated a plan in her head. When the opportunity opened up, she'd sneak on board the train and stow away somewhere. And today, she watched from a safe distance for her chance. She didn't want to miss out on a trip to Los Pegasus.
 
On a bench, her mentor sat reading, completely oblivious to her presence. He seemed so enthralled with his book, she could probably sit down next to him and he'd never be the wiser. But she wouldn't risk it either way. All the other ponies seemed occupied or distracted as well. It made her wonder about them. So focused on their little worlds, never seeing the whole picture. It was kind of sad in truth. But she let it go. Not everyone was like her. 
 
A pony by the entrance suddenly gave the all call to get on board. That was a bit odd since she'd seen at least two ponies get on already. Were they supposed to get on whenever, or only when told to? Did they even show their tickets? It seemed like the staff might very well be incompetent. She watched as Lapis boarded the train and giggled softly. He had no idea she was here! It was so very delightful to see him unaware of her clever little plan.
 
It was a bit comical. These ponies all seemed so silly. Couldn't they just get on a train quietly and orderly? But despite the mild commotion caused by the passengers boarding the train, it still wasn't enough for her to slip on board. She continued to watch for an opening. If only she had an invisibility spell, then she could be on the train by now.
 
And lucky for her, the conductor had gone aboard, as well as the green pegasus too. She waited, thinking either of them would come back immediately, or that the train would leave without her. But neither of them came back and the train hadn't started moving just yet. Taking the opportunity, she dashed onto the train. She looked around, somewhat perplexed. This appeared to be the baggage car, but there was nothing but boxes in here. And that was only on one side of the car. The other side seemed to be empty.
 
Her plan was to hide until they were so far along, they couldn't kick her off. Or at the very least, once Lapis got settled in, she'd go find him. That part of the plan was a little fuzzy. But it didn't matter, she was on the train. She poked a few boxes and found that one of them was empty. She climbed inside and nuzzled her saddlebag. Inside it was a few snacks, a book, and some writing supplies. She munched on a cookie for a moment before yawning lightly and falling asleep.
 



 
Hours Later
 
When Asteria woke up, she could feel that the train was in motion. She had been woken up by the sound of somepony rummaging through the boxes. Briefly, she became very fearful. What if they found her? She peered out from the hoof-hold on the side of the box facing the mystery pony. It was the green pegasus who had let those two ponies on early. By the look of him, he seemed to be enjoying this too much. It didn't make any sense. Surely he was doing some sort of task for the conductor. Or something. And yet, he looked to be in love with the task itself. She shook her head dismissively and went back to sleep.
 


 
Today, Morning
 
Asteria woke up again, this time to a soft thumping. She didn't know what it was, but it bothered her. At this point, it was time to leave the baggage car anyway. So she gave the sound only the barest of thought. But then she heard soft hoofsteps coming her way. Taking a deep breath, she popped out of the box carefully. The pony who had been walking to the baggage car was a mare, one she'd hadn't seen at the train station. Her lemon coat and purple mane reminded Asteria of food. Her stomach grumbled loudly. Quickly, she checked her bag only to find the food destroyed. Perhaps it had not been a very good idea to sleep with her saddlebag on. It didn't matter now though.
 
Suddenly, something dawned on her. The train wasn't moving. It couldn't have been that long a time. How could she have slept the entire trip? No, clearly they were either picking up more passengers, or making repairs. Either way, it meant that kicking her off the train would be very easy. But were they that heartless to throw a poor little filly like herself off a train? Even if technically, she could teleport home if they did, they didn't know that. It would be cruel all the same. Not wanting to waste anymore time, she hopped out of the box and went right up to the mystery mare. She smelt of food, and vaguely of other things.
 
"Um, hey there ma'am, I'm lost ya see. My name is Asteria. You wouldn't happen to know a pony by the name of Lapis Lazuli?" she said sweetly. Whether or not the mare knew Lapis, she could probably get her to help her find him. She just needed to be cute and charming. That was what usually worked anyhow. Sometimes it was a useful trait to be an adorable filly. But she heard the soft thumping again and had to mention it. "Do you hear that? What do you think it is?" she asked looking around confused. Who or what could be making that noise?
  • Brohoof 6

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As Electrobolt was slumbering in the morning, he was softly breathing while still hugging Key. He would have normally been up by now, yet since last night had him up later than normal, he wound up staying fast asleep. Yet as he slept, he felt a little sort of tightening on him. He was confused, but his mind didn't exactly register it as anything important, so he didn't wake up. Then, he felt something wiggling around in his hooves. Again, his mind decided to just ignore it and let the young colt sleep peacefully.

 

However, once this thing had gotten out of Electrobolt's grasp and wound up making a thump in the room, his ears perked up. This time, his brain finally decided to register this as his eyes slowly began to open. As soon as his eyes were open, he began to stretch his legs out before flopping his body around, before looking back as he saw Key Gear, sitting on the floor of his room. *Wait... Why is Key Gear in my roo--- Oh yeah...* he thought, finally recalling what happened last night, how she was spooked from the events that had transpired that night.

 

"Uhhh... Good morning Electrobolt... Sooo... Bro... Pleasant dreams?" Key grinned awkwardly and stood up normally.

 

"Um... Morning, Key..." he responded back to the filly. Although he had called Key his sis last night, he was still slightly not used to being called brother or bro. "Um, yeah... I had pleasant dreams this time. What about you...?" As he waited for a response, the young colt began to think back to yesterday. When he had boarded the train, things were rather uneventful. The only hint of excitement he had encountered was when the conductor had just about lost it when he was casually trotting back to his room.

 

Then came dinner, which was when he had talked with Key, and then Daylight. It was during this moment that Electro found out that Key had something stolen from her, and that she had a brother. Little did the young colt know that, at that moment, he was her brother. After that, though, was the show. However, as he began to think about the show, his mind brought one thing to his attention. When he noticed Key Gear and how pretty she looked with her mane all proper, he had felt his heart beating.

 

At that moment, the train's cook had stepped in and then implied that they seemed to be getting rather romantic. Suddenly, Electrobolt's mind went into overdrive, as he processed that implication along with what had happened last night. As he recalled last night and this implication, his eyes shot open. If the cook did find out, she would flip out. He then looked towards the door, a worried expression on his face, before his attention was brought back to his sister.

  • Brohoof 5

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While Flow enjoys her gourmet breakfast, she basked in the taste of her buttered eggs lightly sprinkled with pepper, it's taste was nostalgic, it brought her back to her childhood in Manehatten where she enjoyed eating them a lot whenever the cafeteria in her orphanage offered it. She enjoyed it so much that she would ask for seconds. The pancakes are another favorite of the young pegasus, she especially loves it with maple syrup, but rubbing it with butter also works with her when the syrup isn't available. And then there's the hash brown, it is one of Flow's favorite fried foods to munch on, she also loves eating at least one for breakfast. Finally comes the cup of coffee, she usually prefers it with cream, however she also likes it just plain black because she thought that it was the way stallions always drink coffee, also she thought that it would toughen her spirit a bit.

 

Flow was lost in the world of her enjoyment, so much that it scared her when somepony greeted her

 

@,

 

"Good morning, my friend. I don't believe that we've met. I am Dusky Coal, the train's engineer. It is my dubious pleasure to be able to inform you that the train is delayed due to needing repairs. However, this is not a cause for alarm, the repairs will be completed swiftly." He spoke

 

"Eeek!" She screeched at first, the little scare managed to take some bits of feathers out of her too, but once she saw her face she calmed down easily "Oh..um...ehehehe...my bad...uh yeah, so your Dusky Coal huh, er...my name's Flow and you say that the train needs some repairs huh, ah I see why we stopped here" she said

 

"I'm happy to see that you are enjoying your meal. It actually took me some time to prepare all of this food. If I may ask you... What is your name? And... Perhaps you might wish to join me at this central table?" Dusky asked

 

"You're the one that made all these food? Wow, your really good at cooking! Perhaps even better than Ambrosia herself!" She giggled before continuing "So your asking me to join you at your table? Oh, Okay! I'd love too!" Flow moved to Dusky's table afterwards.

Edited by Narutardedscum
  • Brohoof 4

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The sun was coming out in the outskirts of Ponyville. The grass slowly became clearer, and the tress started looking more lively. Everything seemed to be coming to life as the celestial body that was controled by Princess Celestia slowly came out. Meanwhile, a white pegasus was flying across the landscape.
 
"Phew... I'm finally about to reach Ponyville. It feels as if I had been flying for days. Although that may be me getting older. But if I say that when I'm just 27, then I better start doing some exercise other than just mail delivery!" the pegasus laughed. The pony was a single mailcolt named Arcanel, who was currently flying to Ponyville for a delivery he had to make.
 
"I still can't believe I'm making these deliveries. And it will be pretty exciting to finally go to other cities!" the pegasus beamed in joy and excitement before calming down and sighing. "Don't get so excited yet Arcy. First things first, to deliver this letter to Ponyville and then to Los Pegasus. I can go sightseeing afterwards. Still, this wasn't exactly what I was expecting when I got called." He pondered as he recalled the moment he had got the call from his boss the day before.
 
 

 

Yesterday. Vanhoover's Post Office
 
An old pegasus with a dark green coat and black mane was sitting in his chair, waiting in front of his desk. Archive filers covered most of the space within the office, some having papers threatening to come out from their placements in the drawers. And behind was a window that provided the light to the room. And on his desk, just a small lamp and a quill with an ink bottle close by were placed. This was the office of Fast Post, the boss of the Vanhoover's Post Office for more than 30 years.
 
Suddenly, his ears twitched as the sound of the knock of a door came up"Come in." he said. As his permission came out, the door was slowly opened and a white pegasus started coming in. *Good. Arc is here* he thought in relief.
 
"Um...hello Mr. Post. Did you call for me?" the pegasus asked in a somewhat confused manner.

 

"Yes I did Arcanel. I know I don't normally personally call anyone, but this was an special occasion I decided if you knew from my own voice." The stallion said in a calm voice. This brought even more confusion to Arcanel's mind. There rarely is a special occasion in the post office, and even if there are, he wouldn't be called for them, despite having several years under his wings, because for the most part, almost every other pony working in the post office was more veteran than he was. So why would his boss call him for a special occasion? After a small pause to let the information sink in, the dark green pegasus continued talking. "Recently, we just got two letters that correspond to ponies outside Vanhoover. We don't normally get letters that need to go so far away from here, but we just got these two, and they needed to be delivered by tomorrow. The reason I called you, is that I want you to go and deliver them, if you are willing of course." he finished. The moment Fast Post had finished speaking, all the gears inside Arcanel's mind started turning.

 

"...Wha...?" he babbled, unable to say anything else more coherent and dropping his jaw. *Is he serious?!* he thought in disbelief. He had never been called out for any post deliveries outside Vanhoover, because they rarely got them and Mr. Post could always get somepony better than him to go and get them, and most of the times, he felt he wouldn't have been able to accomplish them anyway. So he only answered with the only thoughts he could form at that point. "But...Mr. Post...forgive me for asking but...why me? Wouldn't it be better if someone else who's more used to them did them?" he asked, trying to see the logic of it. While he was confident in his abilities to deliver mail by this point in time, and that itself had taken quite some time, he always thought somepony else better than him should do it. The post office leader was quick to answer.

 

"Heh...I know that we have more veteran ponies than you Arcanel, however, I have decided to let you have your first deliveries to outside. Think of it as a test. The places you need to deliver are Ponyville, and Los Pegasus, which are cities pretty far away from here. And I also know that you're prety tough to throw off even through a storm. So, the question I'm asking you is, do you think you can do it? If you don't want to, I can ask somepony else, don't worry. But you need to decide now, because the letters are to be delivered, like I said, tomorrow. And you know how I am about punctuality." The old stallion replied, knowing the reaction that his employee would have. He had always liked Arcanel since he came over here, and saw the enthusiasm that the colt had back when he first applied some 8, 9 years ago. A simple delivery was his test, and for all the worse things that he could have, a storm was what he got. And yet, he overcame it, got his cutie mark, and delivered in time. He wasn't about to let such a determinated and responsible pony go. *Let's see if we can up the ante to him*

 

Meanwhile, Arcanel had his jaw dropped even more than before. His mind was in complete ecstasy. *Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh, oh Celestia!* was all he was able to think. He was going to cities outside Vanhoover! Which means to places he has never been as well! This couldn't be better for him. But the white pegasus also knew that Fast Post was VERY keen on punctuality, as would be expected from a pony his age and with so much time working in the post office. *Okay... this is it. Just like that time when I first applied for the job. With any luck, I'll be able to prove myself again.* While this probably wouldn't have been that much of a deal for many, Arcanel usually got excited at doing new things, he had always wanted to visit other cities, and he was able to prove himself to his boss. He had made his decision, despite some lingering doubts in his mind.

 

"I will do it Mr. Post. I will make the deliveries. You can count on me!" Arcanel cheered in determination to his boss, lifting his right hoof to make a salute. This put a smile on his boss, but only for a small time and went to his normal, serious face again. "Very well. I'm glad you acepted. You know where to find the letters for you. Good luck." he said, wishing well to his mail deliverer, who in turn responded with a "Yes sir" and promptly exited the office. And so the green dark pony was left alone once more to his own thoughts.

 

"I hope he can do it without troubles." Was all the pegasus could say before returning to his duties. Knowing the story that Arcanel had gone through, he had become slightly attached to the young stallion. He could only wish that nothing happened to him.

 

 

 

Later in the same building.

 

"Okay, am I ready?" Arcanel said to himself in the small zone of the post office he called his home, thanks to the generosity of his boss, who was impressed by his first day and decided to let him live in there, so long as he promised to be clean and organized, and always did a great job at his deliveries, which he had accomplished so far. He had already gone to get the letters, which had earned a smile and small praise from some of his co-workers, to which he had simply returned with a small sheepish reply. Despite being an important job, he always felt slightly modest when getting even the smallest of praise, even though he had known most of the mailponies for years now. "Ugh, enough pondering! Come on Arc! Letters first, worries later!" he said, lightly hitting his head with his hoof as if to shake the thoughts inside his mind. "Okay...I got food and water enough for at least the one-day travel to both cities. Now to look at the map and see where is each city." he said, having a determined look in his face, and going to look at the Equestria map in the wall that is mandatory for every mailpony. However, when he looked at where Ponyville and Los Pegasus were, his eyes opened wide, and his jaw dropped for the second time that day.

 

"... Oh... my... Celestia... okay... so it's not exactly close from here... and I'll probably have to leave in the night... well... wings, body, don't you dare fail me now." He said, looking to his wings and body and looking determined, despite gulping the moment he saw the distance. But he wasn't going to let down his boss. Oh no. May Celestia and Luna turn him to stone before he lets that happen. And so, after much mental preparation and slow breaths, he head out for what would be one long travel, and that he knew this would also be the first time he would have to leave in the night to make it in time to his destination.

 

 

 

Back to the present

 

Arcanel only shaked his head. "Come on Arcanel. Focus. You need to be focused if you want to do this. Plus, you're almost there." the white pegasus reminded himself. He always had a habit of talking to himself and thinking out loud, and while it had brought some embarrasing moments in the post office when he didn't realize he was alone, it was always useful when trying to cheer himself up. After a few more minutes of flying, he finally reached Ponyville, and landed so he could rest his wings. "Okay guys. We made it. You deserve some rest." He told his wings, or as he called them sometimes, his trusty companions. Even on his first day on the job, he had always thanked his wings for hanging in there, despite some situations he had encountered through his job. Despite what anypony may believe, being the mailpony is more dangerous than it sounds when you happen to have the bad luck of a not-so-nice receiver, or a storm comes your way. And nopony in the post office wanted to break the punctuality that is known of the Vanhoover's Post Office, partically thanks to the leadership and firm hoof of Fast Post.

 

After taking out the letter and asking some ponies about the directions, he had managed to take the letter to its rightful pony, a letter delivered to the local mailpony, Derpy Hooves, and got his thanks and even hugs for his job well done. While his shyness somewhat kicked in after receiving a hug from a complete stranger, he still smiled and as always, told the mare the motto of the post office. "You can always trust the mailponies of Vanhoover. We will deliver in time, and never later" it recited. He was glad the motto was actually pretty good and rhymed, as sometimes they can be way too cheesy in his mind. But despite the happiness for a job well done, he found a problem. Two actually. Although it was the morning, and he could totally reach Los Pegasus today if he went out now, he doubted he could get out now. It had been a long travel from Vanhoover and Ponyville and his wings were quite tired. And whenever your wings are tired, you NEVER force them, let alone if you have to make a long travel again. Every mailpony learns this to heart when joining. The job is always first, but you never sacrifice your body to do it, unless you have no choice. His other problem was of a different kind and came after checking his small brown saddlebag every mailpony has to keep the letters and packages.

 

"Wait... I only brought THIS many bits?... Ugh.. me and my obvious distractions at home..." he said, in complete disbelief and facehoofing. Bringing little money when doing long distances is a BAD idea, and it's nothing more than a matter of common sense. But as a mailpony, flying without supplies for the way to slowly use them as he flies is another bad point. He could use the money to buy himself some breakfast and and fly without supplies, which is bad because flying such long distances tend to tire one out very fast, very quick, especially if you don't have a lot of stamina like himself, agility aside, or he could use the money to buy supplies for the trip and eat while flying, which is a bad idea since the balance of food and water really is sensitive matter while flying so you don't get any stomach problems or such while in the middle of the flight. "Now what in Equestria am I supposed to do?" he asked to no one, trying to figure out what to do to travel without having any problems during it. Maybe if he had some sort of transport...

 

That's when he saw the train that was stopped not far away from him. *A train... but it may not go to Las Pegasus... well, right now that's my best choice in this moment, and I better ask now before it gets even more late.* He decided, hoping to Celestia and Luna that the train would be able to let him in, and that it went to Los Pegasus.

 

@,@@Something Interesting,

 

As he got closer to the train, he saw two ponies standing close to it. One was an orange stallion that looked stronger than his age probably would imply, and a blue stallion standing right in front of him. They both seemed to be quite happy to talk to each other. Arcanel could only sigh. "Well, I can only hope that I don't bother too much..." the white pony said in dismay. His shyness was going to kick in and would want to hide in his dark brown mane, but he needed the information as fast as possible, so he slowly approached the ponies.

 

"Um... excuse me... I'm sorry to interrupt but, do any of you know where the conductor of this train is? I need to speak with him fast." he said, trying to sound as less desperate as possible, and not completely achieving. He could only hope that everything would go okay, but also, that these stallions had an idea of where the conductor of this train was. One of them at least seemed to come from the train at the most least, so what's the worst that could happen?

Edited by Arcanel
  • Brohoof 6

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Berry blinked lazily at him. Wow it had been sometime since he had seen Vim. Had it really been that long? He wished suddenly that he looked less like a burning wreck, and more like his librarian self. "To late for that now... what can I do to show him I've still got it..."

"Berry! Hah! You blue devil! What are you doing out here in Ponyville!? You moved back?! When did you move back!? Hey, how's life been? Did you go on those adventures? You've got to tell me everything, old friend." Vim looked back at his train. "As for me, I guess you can see what I've been up to. Hah! After you've told me everything, I'm gonna tell you about this train..." 

 

Berry's eyes widened slightly at the barrage of questions. He wasn't sure why he was surprised, but it was probably due to the fact that Berry hadn't been ready to actually talk to anyone. Certainly not someone who he used to hold in such high esteem. A pony with guts, determination, and a never-say-die attitude. Berry glanced at the ground for a moment as he recalled that to some degree, he used to have those things too. "By the stars, what happened?" When Berry looked back up at Vim, remembering the days when he might have been like this pony. 

 

Berry smiled at the term "Blue Devil", that wasn't the first time he was referred to. He took it as a complement, as he recalled in his dice days that's the term people used almost everytime he won a game. That lucky blue devil. That's what they called him in the days that he actually did things that truly were exciting.

 

"I moved here some time ago, but I can barely remember when at this point. Life has been... well, life? That's a strange thing, since I couldn't tell you how life has been. It's not precisely a living thing, I can't feed or pet it. I'm sure wherever it is that it's healthy. Since I'm still alive by it's token of goodwill. Everything is a bit much. I just decided to retire here, after many journeys adventures and quests I discovered that old age. Though that hasn't seemed to stop you my old friend. Tell me, what is this train doing here?"

 

 

@Arcanel

 

Berry turns his head to the new pony, a sense of irritation growing. Not for anything the innocent pony said or did, but for the simple fact that he was there while Berry was to tired to think of anything terribly kind or clever to reply to the pony. "Why would he want to speak to a train conductor? That means that he must have known that this train would stop here, otherwise he wouldn't have made the trip here. How curious." Berry's gaze betrayed his curiosity as he observed this pony. It overcame his irritation, so his smile faded only slightly. 

Edited by Something Interesting
  • Brohoof 5

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@@Dave247,

 

Magicon gave a small smile and nod at Daylight, remembering the unicorn and the other ponies he was with. He hadn’t really gotten to know Daylight, other than the fact that he was a detective helping Key find a magical artifact that Magicon would love to get his hooves on. He wondered if they had any luck, but he realized now was neither the time nor place for it with Dusky being right there. He just couldn’t ask him with the engineer right there; it might provoke his curiosity.

 

@,

 

Turning back to Dusky Magicon was surprised by his report on the damage of the engine. ‘Well, that’s a shame. But what can you do?’ he thought. He didn’t get much time as another pony entered the conversation. Magicon instantly recognized her and the memory that was associated with her. Trixie’s monstrous activity to her had forced Magicon to come to her rescue and barely managed. He had exhausted himself, but from her appearance it looked like she was fine. He didn’t know how Trixie fared, but frankly he didn’t care an ounce.

 

Magicon wanted to put it behind him, but he wasn’t afforded the chance because Dusky asked about the events and wanted to know the details. Magicon turned the side and gritted his teeth. ‘I really don’t want to tell him, but he’s the engineer. He should know, even if I don’t want to tell it.’

 

He sighed and turned back to Dusky and reluctantly began his story. “Well, Dusky…it was…err…oh, how does one say? Difficult, I guess. I didn’t like Trixie to begin with, partially because I’m not a big fan of show music, but when I felt she needed to be challenged. Frankly her show annoyed me and I felt it was time somepony put her in her place. When she threw this young filly, well, I guess Flow now that I know your name, into the portal, I was shocked and had to rescue for her. It suddenly wasn’t about hurting Trixie, but helping Flow. I had to act and did my best to rescue her. As anypony there will tell you, it was so exhausting. I collapsed afterwards. So, yeah, that’s what happened.”

  • Brohoof 4

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"You're the one that made all these food? Wow, your really good at cooking! Perhaps even better than Ambrosia herself!" She giggled before continuing "So your asking me to join you at your table? Oh, Okay! I'd love too!" Flow moved to Dusky's table afterwards.

"Better than Ambrosia herself..." Dusky chewed on the words in his mind as if they were a delightful treat. He savored every bit of them. Dusky had often argued about the finer points of seasoning and spices with Ambrosia, and he had long thought that his own cooking was superior. Now, finally, he was hearing confirmation of this from another source. As Flow relocated to Dusky's table, he positively beamed at the compliment. He was so absorbed by the compliment that he didn't even react to her giggling, a sound that would have normally caused him to cringe.

Magicon wanted to put it behind him, but he wasn’t afforded the chance because Dusky asked about the events and wanted to know the details. Magicon turned the side and gritted his teeth. ‘I really don’t want to tell him, but he’s the engineer. He should know, even if I don’t want to tell it.’

Dusky caught the gesture. His eyes flickered for just one brief moment. He frowned. He needed to know about the events yesterday in the parlor. That entire situation was really the only thing that he felt as though he was completely unaware of, and it concerned him. Lapis had provided precious, few details about what had happened. Dusky wanted to know more. When Magicon finally began to speak, Dusky resumed his pleasant smile. "Finally." He thought.

He sighed and turned back to Dusky and reluctantly began his story. “Well, Dusky…it was…err…oh, how does one say? Difficult, I guess. I didn’t like Trixie to begin with, partially because I’m not a big fan of show magic, but when I felt she needed to be challenged. Frankly her show annoyed me and I felt it was time somepony put her in her place. When she threw this young filly, well, I guess Flow now that I know your name, into the portal, I was shocked and had to rescue for her. It suddenly wasn’t about hurting Trixie, but helping Flow. I had to act and did my best to rescue her. As anypony there will tell you, it was so exhausting. I collapsed afterwards. So, yeah, that’s what happened.”

Dusky listened intently to every word while sipping on his coffee. After Magicon wrapped up his story, Dusky spoke calmly. "Hmmm... Magicon, thank you for sharing this event with me. As a member of this train crew, I give you my sincerest apologies that this disaster occurred. If it is any consolation, you should be pleased to know that I am quite certain there will be no further incidences involving Trixie on this train. I can tell that this event grates your nerves horribly, so I will not press you for further details. I would, however, like to comment on a point that you raise, however indadvertedly."

 

Dusky tilted his head to the side, just slightly, before continuing. "You say that it wasn't about Trixie, but rather... It was about helping Flow. I am, personally, not sure that this is the case. You speak as though you can effortlessly disentangle both motivations from each other... However, is this something that can really be done? You mean to tell me that you never, at any point while rescuing Flow, thought about the look on Trixie's face when she realized that you were her equivalent? Please, do not feel compelled to respond. I believe that I already know the answer. Consciously, your motivation was to save Flow, but... Unconsciously, your motivation was something more... Instinctual. You wished to rise to the challenge, hmmm?"

 

Turning to Flow, Dusky now addressed the pegasus. "And Flow... So you are the pegasus that was cast into the portal by the errant Trixie. Perhaps you would not mind if I ask you some slight questions? This place on the other side of the portal... How long were you there? Did you... See anything interesting? And... Finally... You look like you are a strong flyer, so... How was it that Trixie was able to do what she did? Were you taken by surprise? If so... Then that was not very sporting of Trixie, I should think."

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

Ambrosia figured that she had slept for only two or three hours. As she made her way to the baggage car, her eyes drooped just slightly and she yawned. "So this is how Dusky feels all of the time..." She thought. This was going to be a long day. She just hoped that she didn't fall asleep in the middle of doing something important.

 

Ambrosia shuddered. She remembered the time that she had fallen asleep while working in the kitchen one morning. Almost as soon as she had fallen asleep, right there on the kitchen floor, a dream had begun that had carried on right where she had left off. In her dream, she had taken the food out of the stove and served a wonderful meal. In reality, outside of her dream, the food had been burning. She had only awakened because a customer had shaken her awake when they smelled smoke, but even though she had been awake, Ambrosia had been totally confused. At that time, she couldn't figure out what was a dream and what was reality - the burning food or the wonderful meal.

 

The memory worried her because that was not the only time that she had fallen asleep only to segue seamlessly into a dream that continued right where she had left off when awake. To Ambrosia, not being able to easily find the dividing line between dreams and reality was something that constantly worried her. It was a strange weakness that didn't fit in well with her own conception of herself as a sensible, normal pony.

 

Suddenly Ambrosia stopped in her tracks. Over her years as a chef, she had developed a keen sense of smell. Now, she could, clearly, smell something and it definitely wasn't something that Dusky cooked... She sniffed. She was certain that she could smell cookies, and the smell seemed to be coming from the area where Trixie's boxes were stored. Ambrosia was just about to investigate the scent when something completely unexpected happened.

"Um, hey there ma'am, I'm lost ya see. My name is Asteria. You wouldn't happen to know a pony by the name of Lapis Lazuli?" she said sweetly.

The filly had just seemingly materialized out of the area where Trixie's boxes were contained. Ambrosia stopped, gaped, and stared. For just a moment, due to the combination of sleepiness and surprise, her vision blurred. Her mind was frozen by one question. Was this a dream? Had she fallen asleep while on the way here? Ambrosia shook her head to focus her tired mind, and then she surveyed the filly that now stood in front of her.

 

The filly seemed to be roughly the same age as Key Gear, but she was a unicorn. Something resembling crumbs could be seen on her soft purple fur. Ambrosia's nose told her that they were probably cookie crumbs. Ambrosia figured that she must have been hiding in or around one of Trixie's boxes and was probably a stowaway, emerging now because she had run out of food or become bored.

 

"A stowaway... On Vim's train..." Dream or not, Ambrosia realized instantly if the conductor found out about this, then the filly would be in serious trouble. "Asteria..." Ambrosia started to respond, to answer that she did know Lapis, and to ask the filly what she was doing on the train. However, Ambrosia trailed off as soon as she said the filly's name. This name was familiar to her. Some memories from the previous day came back to her.

I, along with my assistant Asteria, who did not come with me on this trip, travel around studying Equestria. We mostly explore ruins or research topics. Does history interest either of you?" he asked, trying not to sound boring.
"Asteria and I had to quickly evacuated the area." Lapis chuckled softly at the embarrassing memory.
I had Asteria levitate it to me for further inspection. But upon touching it with my hoof, it began to emanate a soft light.

Ambrosia's eyes shot wide open. This was not just a stowaway. This filly was Asteria, Lapis's trusted research assistant and the pony that he had taken with him on so many adventures. Ambrosia could hardly believe it. This filly seemed so remarkably cute and innocent. To think that this young filly had seen a dragon and had seen the horrible torture device that Lapis had described... Ambrosia could hardly believe it.

But she heard the soft thumping again and had to mention it. "Do you hear that? What do you think it is?" she asked looking around confused. Who or what could be making that noise?

Ambrosia listened carefully, and she definitely could hear the very dim sound of something... Something that seemed to be knocking softly from within one of Trixie's containers. Slowly and warily, she peered at Trixie's containers. She remembered the darkness that she had seen in Trixie's room, the strange light that she had seen under Trixie's door, and the unusual magic show. Ambrosia looked over at Asteria, and again, she noticed that the filly seemed blissfully innocent. Ambrosia was reminded of herself when she was younger.

 

Ambrosia took a deep breath and did her best to look serious and reassuring. Trixie was dangerous, and she was not about to put Asteria's safety at risk to look into something that could be a trap. Ambrosia was strongly repulsed by the thought of this filly being hurt or injured in any way. It wasn't worth the risk. "I'm sure the sound is nothing to worry about. I bet that it's probably a mouse or some other type of small animal that came aboard the train. Why, it could even be a bird or something that flew onboard just now, here in Ponyville. Hold on a moment, dear." Ambrosia trotted over to the filly and brushed off some crumbs with her hooves.

 

"There now, that's much better." Ambrosia smiled and continued conversationally. "Yes, I know Lapis. In fact, he's talked to me about you and told me just a bit about some of the adventures that y'all have gone on." Looking directly into the filly's eyes, Ambrosia recognized the telltale signs of a hungry young pony. "Why... How long have you been in there, you poor thing?" Ambrosia's tiredness was now forgotten. This filly needed food! Thinking quickly, she didn't want to subject Asteria to Dusky's cooking, so she decided to go to a local place that she knew about. Getting out of the train's narrow hall would also decrease the risk of either Vim or Springer discovering the stowaway.

 

"You know what, I was just on my way to get something to eat out in the town. Why don't you come along? We can talk along the way!" Ambrosia ushered Asteria towards the train's exit. She stopped before venturing out though so that she could make sure that they wouldn't be seen. Ambrosia peeked outside. She could clearly see Vim, but he was distracted by talking to a pegasus and a rather glum looking unicorn.

 

Ambrosia felt relieved. They had a clear path to get to the place that she had in mind, and they would soon be away from the foreboding knocking sound. With all of the skill of an experienced foalsitter, she silently herded Asteria as she made her way to the restaurant. Soon, they were safely out of range of Vim, and she ventured a question. "Asteria, don't worry, I'm not going to get you in any trouble, and I'll make sure that you can get in touch with Lapis. I do have to know, though, why did you sneak onboard the train? Is there an emergency or something else?"

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

"I moved here some time ago, but I can barely remember when at this point. Life has been... well, life? That's a strange thing, since I couldn't tell you how life has been. It's not precisely a living thing, I can't feed or pet it. I'm sure wherever it is that it's healthy. Since I'm still alive by it's token of goodwill. Everything is a bit much. I just decided to retire here, after many journeys adventures and quests I discovered that old age. Though that hasn't seemed to stop you my old friend. Tell me, what is this train doing here?"

Despite his weathered appearance, Berry Nut was still the same meandering speaker that he had always been. Over their time spent in school, Vim had learned how to decipher Berry's strange way of talking, and he replied without skipping a beat. "I'm happy to hear that you're not doing too badly, old friend, but I think that you aren't as old as you think you are. Remember, age is just a number, it doesn't hold you back by itself."

 

Vim laughed heartily. "This train is here because we sprang a water leak. I spoke with my engineer about it this morning. We both went out and took a look at the damage. He said it was probably some type of structural flaw. I'm not an engineer, but it looked like that to me as well. The metal in a small area had somehow twisted and torn. I've never quite seen something like it before. This is a new train though, so you know how that goes. Well, anyway, that is why we had to make this unscheduled stop in Ponyville, now if I'd..." Just then, Vim was interrupted.

"Um... excuse me... I'm sorry to interrupt but, do any of you know where the conductor of this train is? I need to speak with him fast." he said, trying to sound as less desperate as possible, and not completely achieving. He could only hope that everything would go okay, but also, that these stallions had an idea of where the conductor of this train was. One of them at least seemed to come from the train at the most least, so what's the worst that could happen?

Vim turned to look at this new arrival. Instantly, he recognized the brown mailpony saddlebag, and he also recognized the familiar, rushed demeanor of a desperate mailpony. Internally, he groaned. If there was one thing that Vim couldn't stand, it was when the mailponies insisted on using his train as a dumping ground for mail that they weren't efficient enough to deliver themselves. His train was a passenger train. He would accept passengers not packages.

 

Vim still had unpleasant memories from a time when he had, as a much younger pony, been a conductor on the crowded passenger route between Canterlot and Manehattan. He had agreed to assist the mailponies for a number of weeks by allowing them to use some of his passenger train's baggage space for mail. The result had been a disaster. Letters and packages had been crammed into every nook and cranny. To add to his annoyance, mailponies hadn't even accompanied the parcels, so it had been up to his train crew to keep an eye on them.

 

Still, Vim decided to humor this mailpony. "I'm the conductor of this train. Now, what is it, exactly, that I can do for you?" Vim raised an eyebrow. "And where is the rest of your mail? Or, are you working on an express route?"

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

"Um... Morning, Key..." he responded back to the filly. Although he had called Key his sis last night, he was still slightly not used to being called brother or bro. "Um, yeah... I had pleasant dreams this time. What about you...?"

Key took a moment to think about that. In general, she never seemed to have any dreams. The nightmare that she had suffered through on the previous night was one of the rare exceptions to the rule. She responded by rambling at Electrobolt. "Well, I dunno. I guess I did. I mean, I didn't really have any dreams. But, I think that no dreams is more pleasant than a nightmare, and, maybe, no dreams could be a type of dream too? So yeah... I had pleasant dreams." Key yawned, and noticed that Electrobolt seemed to be distracted by something.

He then looked towards the door, a worried expression on his face, before his attention was brought back to his sister.

He had looked at the door with such a worried expression that Key herself became slightly worried, but she didn't know why. In her confusion, Key glanced at the door, herself. As far as she could figure, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Key turned back to look at Electrobolt with a perplexed expression on her face. "Ummm... Bolt... What is it about the door?" Key trotted over to the door to take a closer look. "I mean, it looks normal to me." She knocked on it with a hoof. "Hmph. Decorative, but not as solid as you would think though. I bet a big enough stallion could walk straight through one of these."

 

She inspected the lock on the door and noticed that it seemed to be slightly simpler than the one that had been installed on Trixie's room. With a silent chuckle, Key figured that she could pick this lock just as easily as she could use a room key. That was when, with a start, she thought about something - her lock pick set. Key checked her hind leg for her set but it wasn't there. She thought back to the previous day... Key frowned as she realized that the last time she had used her set was when they had been in Trixie's room, and she couldn't remember putting it back into place after breaking the lock on the box.

 

"Oh buck, where is it..." In her agitation, Key spoke out loud. Back in Trixie's room, she had fainted at the end of the ordeal. There was no way that she would have been able to put her set back then, either... She couldn't remember anything between her time in Trixie's room and waking up from her nightmare. She couldn't remember making the trip back to her own room and back into her own bed. "Wait... Bolt... So... Daylight saved us, but I fainted... How did I get back to my room?!"

 

Now, it was Key's turn to look worried. She turned to Electrobolt with her eyes wide. "Bolt! Did you or Daylight carry me back after I was out cold yesterday? Eh, that doesn't matter. Just forget it. I just need to know something really important. Did you pick up my lock pick set? Some of those things are almost irreplaceable.... If you didn't pick them up, then maybe Daylight has them. Either way, we would need to go back... Back to Trixie's room..." Key was wired. If the room door was locked or Daylight had picked up her set, then they would have a problem.

  • Brohoof 6

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Dusky responded to him in  very cheerful way. "My, something must of made him extremely happy..." he thought. When Dusky placed the coffee at a empty place at the table Daylight thanked him and sat down. He was about to take a sip of the coffee when he heard a screech coming from the other table which distracted him. It was the unfortunate pegasus who got tossed into the portal by Trixie yesterday. Day listened carefully to what she said and how her name was Flow before she herself moved to the table that the rest of them were sitting around. He was intrigued that she didn't appear effected in any way from yesterday events. "Either she doesn't remember at the moment or doesn't care and is more concerned about eating." He said quietly to himself raising his glass readying to take a sip of his coffee.

 

He then looked to Magicon who had just simply smiled and nodded at Daylight and said nothing. He would have liked to have had a discussion with Magicon as he was sure Magicon would want the same but he knew that they both knew now was not the time or place. Magicon then turned to Dusky and began to respond to his question.

 

As he spoke, Daylight stayed silent, listening to what was said. It was clear to him that Magicon was being selective about what and how he relayed yesterday events as it was not something he enjoyed talking about. Raising his glass to his lips, he stopped and lowered it when he heard Dusky's reply.

 

Dusky started out as being respectful to Magicon, but then started to give his view on what Magicon motivation would be which to him, wasn't being respectful at all. Daylight was intrigued by what Dusky had said because it was clear he had put a fair bit of thought into responding but what confused Day the most was why Dusky would say such a thing or more so even care. As intrigued as he was He still found it rather insulting to Magicon how Dusky could imply something like he did in front of other ponies no less. He frowned and took a sip of his coffee, and practically gagged on it."Mprgh!" was the only sound he could make. It was the most bitter thing he had ever tasted. "Dusky must have not put any sugar in it... who on earth drinks coffee without any sugar!?" He thought as he levitated the bowl of sugar that head been left out to where he was sitting and put a very generous couple of teaspoons of sugar in, before taking another sip. The sweetness was like a blessing to his mouth and tongue. He wouldn't normally make his coffee this sweet but he needed something to get the bitter taste out of his mouth.

 

Instead of just levitating the sugar back, Daylight got up out of his seat to put it back so he could get himself some food to eat as well. He returned to his seat with some nourishing food and began to eat, still pondering over what Dusky had said.

 

There was also what he had said to Flow. He had asked her a number of questions all relating the time she spent in the Frozen North. This sort of line of questioning made Day think that there was something Dusky desperately wanted to know, or was concerned about. So far, everything Dusky had said seemed strange to him and with no idea with what his motivations could be, it concerned him. He would need to learn a little more about Dusky to try and understand.

 

@Dusky

"if you don't mind me asking Dusky..." He began slowly and as neutrally as possible. "Is there something you are trying to prove by putting Magicon on the spot and provoking him like that? I feel it wasn't very respectful you pointing out his possible flaws in front of us like that." As he could feel the emotions in him begin to rise, he tried his best to keep a neutral expression. If worst came to worst he would excuse himself if needed so to not make a scene. "Also, you seem rather interested in the ordeal Flow was put through as those were merely no standard questions. What is it really about yesterday's events do you want to know about?" He then went back to eating his food waiting for a reply.

Edited by Dave247
  • Brohoof 5

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When Electrobolt had heard Key say that she didn't really dream, he was confused. Yet his expression of worry remained plastered on his face. He then noticed his sister looking over to the door, wondering why he was looking at it, before speaking up about the door's appearance. Even though she didn't quite understand the gravity of the issue that he realized, he felt it was perhaps for the best. Then, Key approached the door as he began to inspect it, a little curious about it's appearance. After she inspected it for a little longer, she then spoke up after realizing something.

 

"Oh buck, where is it..." In her agitation, Key spoke out loud. Back in Trixie's room, she had fainted at the end of the ordeal. There was no way that she would have been able to put her set back then, either... She couldn't remember anything between her time in Trixie's room and waking up from her nightmare. She couldn't remember making the trip back to her own room and back into her own bed. "Wait... Bolt... So... Daylight saved us, but I fainted... How did I get back to my room?!"


Now, it was Key's turn to look worried. She turned to Electrobolt with her eyes wide. "Bolt! Did you or Daylight carry me back after I was out cold yesterday? Eh, that doesn't matter. Just forget it. I just need to know something really important. Did you pick up my lock pick set? Some of those things are almost irreplaceable.... If you didn't pick them up, then maybe Daylight has them. Either way, we would need to go back... Back to Trixie's room..." Key was wired. If the room door was locked or Daylight had picked up her set, then they would have a problem.

 

Although the filly's use of language would be a cause of concern for the young colt, Electrobolt simply moved the thought to the back of his head when Key began to wonder how she got back to her room. And then the mention of her lock pick set caused him to open his eyes wide once more. He had completely forgotten about them when he carried Key back to her room! If Trixie found them in her room, or if Daylight picked them up, then things would turn rather problematic.

 

"Um... Heh..." Electrobolt began, giving off a forced cough. "Um, about that... I kinda forgot to pick them up... My mind was focused on you at the moment, so I carried you back to your room... The lock pick set, I didn't think about..." He then looked down to the ground, before looking around his room. Surely there could be something here they might be able to use... Just then, his eyes locked onto the table, where his saddlebag was sitting. As he got off the bed, he then realized the train was not moving. As he looked outside, he saw they were in Ponyville.

 

As he looked back to the saddlebag, an idea formed in his head. "Hmm... Key, I think I have a plan..." he muttered loud enough for the filly to hear. "It seems we're stopped in Ponyville now, and they have this baked goods place called Sugarcube Corner. They sell all kinds of goodies, such as cupcakes, cookies, and candy. Anyways, I have a bag of bits in my saddlebag, so I could go and get some cookies, maybe some other goodies. Before that, though, I would be making a stop to Trixie's room. If all goes well, and Trixie doesn't notice, I should be able to sneak your lock picks into my saddlebag, below the bag of bits." He then stopped for a moment to catch his breath before adding, "Well... To be honest, it's kind of a work in progress..."

  • Brohoof 6

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@@Magicon,

 

Flow was busy enjoying her breakfast till she saw a red unicorn having a conversation with Dusky, it didn't take long for her to immediately recognize him as the one that rescued her from the frozen north. She was really grateful for his effort, and when she overheard their talking, it surprised her that they were talking about what he did the other day during Trixie's fiasco show at the parlor car. Flow smiled "I guess I should thank him again, now that he can hear me,"

 

As soon as they were done, she made her move "Um....Thank you for saving me, I'm grateful for what you did, thanks," she said softly, "I don't know how it might have been if I had died, also I haven't heard your name yet, my name's Flow by the way,"

 

@,

 

Next, Dusky asked her "So you are the pegasus that was cast into the portal by the errant Trixie. Perhaps you would not mind if I ask you some slight questions? This place on the other side of the portal... How long were you there? Did you... See anything interesting? And... Finally... You look like you are a strong flyer, so... How was it that Trixie was able to do what she did? Were you taken by surprise? If so... Then that was not very sporting of Trixie, I should think."

 

At first, it made her feel uncomfortable because she didn't want to remember the harsh ordeal she had gone though, but soon she answered, "Um, that place on the other side.....It was...cold...freezing...and unbearable, it was some freezing place, I was there for about...five minutes. She threw me into the portal by levitating me into it, I stood no chance for her magic, it just was too strong for me and yes she took me by surprise," She took a sip of her coffee before asking Dusky, "Is that all?" referring to his questions.

Edited by Narutardedscum
  • Brohoof 4

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Despite being, for the most part, able to control his shyness, moments like this always made Arcanel want to crawl into his long brown mane and just stay there buried within. Regardless, he had a job to do, and that was much more important than anything else right now.

 

 

Berry turns his head to the new pony, a sense of irritation growing. Not for anything the innocent pony said or did, but for the simple fact that he was there while Berry was to tired to think of anything terribly kind or clever to reply to the pony. "Why would he want to speak to a train conductor? That means that he must have known that this train would stop here, otherwise he wouldn't have made the trip here. How curious." Berry's gaze betrayed his curiosity as he observed this pony. It overcame his irritation, so his smile faded only slightly. 

 

 

When he looked at the blue unicorn, he saw a pony who seemed very tired and needed some good sleep. But also that the smile almost didn't fade at all, and was looking at him as if trying to watch his every move. Arcanel wasn't exactly paranoid, but there was something about that blue pony that unnerved him. *O-kay... I would have expected anything, even anger. Curiosity and a never fading smile... um... eh heh heh... wait, what am I saying? I don't even know this pony!* he said, started to berate himself for having such thoughts about a pony who he hadn't even met. But before he could dwell further on it, another voice reached his ears.

 

 

Still, Vim decided to humor this mailpony. "I'm the conductor of this train. Now, what is it, exactly, that I can do for you?" Vim raised an eyebrow. "And where is the rest of your mail? Or, are you working on an express route?"

 

 

 

At that moment, Arcanel turned his head to look at the orange stallion and saw somepony who he could have sworn looked unamused for something else other than him interrupting his conversation. But that aside, he stayed with the first words from the earth pony.

 

 

"I'm the conductor of this train.

 

 

*Oh great, so not only I interrupted what seemed like a good conversation, but I also happened to interrupt the very conductor of the train, who is probably really busy, and is just catching a break. Real smooth Arcanel. REAL smooth.* He chastised himself, avoiding facehoofing just so he wouldn't show it in front of the other ponies. However, he decided to present himself and at least look somewhat professional if he wanted any hopes of getting in the train.

 

"Um...first of all, good morning sir, and again, very sorry to interrupt you. My name is Arcanel and, as you probably saw, I'm a mailpony. The reason I was looking for you was so you, if you didn't mind, could tell me if this train was headed to Los Pegasus, and if it was going to reach that city today. You see, I need a letter to be delivered today to a pony in that same city, and I don't think I have enough money to get supplies or breakfast for the trip left, and I also don't know if I have enough stamina for the trip, or else I would have already started flying. If both questions are a positive answer, um, if it's not much trouble, would I be able to get in? I'll pay with what little money I brought with me, thanks to my carelessness, if you don't have any tickets left. But I really need to get there. If both answers are a negative, then that's okay, I'll try to figure it out myself." He explained, trying to make it as long and understandable as possible. He at least wanted to present himself as a nice professional mailpony if he was going to get a no for an answer. Last thing he needed was to be a rookie and just fall down in a jumble of nervousness. No, he had grown past that...for the most part. However, he then remembered the other question the conductor had asked.

 

 

"And where is the rest of your mail? Or, are you working on an express route?"

 

 

If anything, this caught him off guard, especially because the conductor seemed slightly surprised. This was the first time somepony had asked him where was the rest of his mail. But then he thought about it, and wondered if this conductor had dealt with other mailponies with much more mail than him, which wouldn't be something absolutely new. *That's probably it. I don't usually carry that much mail anyway, even though Vanhoover is a big city. I guess that's the advantage of having several mailponies instead of just a few.* He figured out. So he decided to further explain that answer.

 

"As for your other question, I'm not exactly on an express route. Today I was tasked with just two letters. One to Ponyville, which is why I'm here, and the other to Los Pegasus, which is why I'm asking about the train. The reason they are just two is because I come all the way from Vanhoover, and in there, we rarely get letters that go outside Vanhoover. These two letters were received yesterday and needed to be delivered today. I left Vanhoover last night and just got here a few minutes ago, but as much as I thought I was prepared and in a moment of distraction of mine, I forgot to bring more money. Money that serves for travelling supplies, breakfast, lunch, etc. And without it, while I could get either, no supplies for the trip is not a good idea, and not having eaten or drunk enough water before flying is also not a good idea. I really wouldn't be asking for help if I didn't need it, but I don't really have much choices right now." Arcanel explained once more. He didn't feel this was the moment to say that this was his first mail delivering abroad, his excitement aside, as everything seemed to be falling down, and all he could think about was the face of Fast Post being utterly disappointed. *Celestiadammit... I can't be having this much trouble...not today!* he cursed. But he then remembered he was in front of two ponies, and thought better than starting another of his mind guilt trips. *Calm down Arcy... now is not the time.* After he had gathered together his mind, and calmed down, he resumed his questions into a single sentence.

 

"So... the bottomline is... if this train goes to Los Pegasus and reaches that city today, would you mind if I was able to ride it to there and deliver the letter?" he asked. While he thought he shouldn't repeat what he had said before, he had done another one of his long explanations that he tends to do whenever he's somewhat frustated and desperate, aside from the fact that he's very honest when explaining himself, sometimes more than he probably should be. *I really need to get that controled. I can't do long explanations each time this happens!* he reminded himself. He had had plenty of time to control his emotions, which weren't exactly the most silent, but he still couldn't help himself sometimes. Right now, Arcanel could only hope the conductor would give a positive answer.

Edited by Arcanel
  • Brohoof 8

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The mare seemed out of it. Asteria wondered if she had gotten enough sleep. She herself felt very rested and could probably take on the world. Why would this mare have been up late? She watched doe-eyed and contemplative. She hoped the lemon earth pony would be able to help her.

As she began to respond, the mare seemed to get caught up in a memory or something. Perhaps she was delusional and was now having a hallucination. Or maybe it was her name, Asteria, that had triggered something. It was likely that she knew Lapis, and him being the pony that he was, entertained this mare tales of his adventures. He loved to do that, and he of course had to have mentioned her. How could he not? Asteria was always the one to save the silly stallion when things went wrong.
 
After she had mentioned the noise, the lemon mare tilted her head in the direction of the thumping. And the response Asteria received, while logical and quite reasonable, sounded dismissive. The mare was clearly worried about her and wanted to pretend the noise was nothing at all. She mentally shrugged. She'd have to find out later, perhaps with somepony else to run for help or something.

And then she realized the mare spoke in a strange way. It was both familiar and motherly. It was familiar because it sounded a bit like the folks back home in Forelock Grove. The accent with a tad off though, so she must have been from a village nearby. And the motherly part sort of made her feel safe. Despite her innocent outlook on life, she was always a little wary of strangers. A few times in the past others had taken advantage of her. She'd been tricked into helping a shady character or two, and Lapis had told her to try to be more suspicious of other ponies. But this one seemed nice enough, so she thought nothing more of it.

When the mare brushed the crumbs off of her, the gentle touch felt nice. She was reminded of her own mother, Starry Blaze. Of course, her mother was a unicorn, and was night-sky purple. Despite that, the two weren't too different.
 

"There now, that's much better." Ambrosia smiled and continued conversationally. "Yes, I know Lapis. In fact, he's talked to me about you and told me just a bit about some of the adventures that y'all have gone on." Looking directly into the filly's eyes, Ambrosia recognized the telltale signs of a hungry young pony. "Why... How long have you been in there, you poor thing?"

 
Asteria immediately brightened up. She knew Lapis! All she had to do was point her in the right direction, and she would be on her way. Then she would wake him up, or perhaps tackle him if he was awake already, and then he'd be so happy to see her again, and then they could go to Los Pegasus together! Nothing stood in her way now. She had already done the hard part of stowing away on board the train. She waited patiently for the mare to tell her where to find her mentor and friend.
 

"You know what, I was just on my way to get something to eat out in the town. Why don't you come along? We can talk along the way!"


Asteria nearly flopped on her face when she heard that the mare would be taking her somewhere to eat instead of immediately bringing her to Lapis. But before she could say that she'd rather go find Lapis, the lemon earth pony practically shoved her out of the train after briefly looking outside. She was clearly worried about something. *I guess I can forgive her roughness.* Asteria thought. This mare was sleep deprived and somewhat on edge. Asteria began to think about the ramifications of her stowing away on board the train. *The conductor will probably be mad. He had looked like an unfun kind of pony.*
 
As the pony ushered her forward, she gazed back to see the conductor talking with another aged pony, and a rather nervous looking pegasus. She giggled to herself. It looked like she and her temporary guardian would slip away unnoticed. Her stomach grumbled again, so she focused on their destination.
 

"Asteria, don't worry, I'm not going to get you in any trouble, and I'll make sure that you can get in touch with Lapis. I do have to know, though, why did you sneak on board the train? Is there an emergency or something else?"

 
She was relieved to hear that this mare was not going to get her in trouble, and was in fact going to get her to Lapis. All she had to do was enjoy a little breakfast and perhaps answer a few questions. Asteria thought it over in her head. Why had she sneaked aboard the train anyway? And then a new thought occurred to her. Who in the world was this pony? "Okay, I'll answer your questions, but you have to answer some of my own too. You never did tell me your name. And do you work on the train? You seem a bit serious for a passenger, and you smell like food. Are you the cook?" she said as she trotted next to the older pony so she could walk without having to be pushed. She never like being directed in where to go by force, no matter how gentle.
 
"And as to your questions, ummm." She tilted her head to the side as she resumed the train of thought she had left behind when the new thought had occurred to her. "I guess I got on the train because I didn't want Lapis to go alone. Plus, I've always wanted to see Los Pegasus. Most of our adventures were on the east coast or close to it, and sometimes rarely in central Equestria. So this was to be something new for the both of us. I didn't want to miss out. Why would you think there was an emergency? Are you trying to come up with an excuse to tell the conductor?"
 
She said all this with sincerity and honesty. Even though it sounded silly, it was the absolute truth. She just wanted to see the world and have fun. And Lapis was the pony to help her do that. Sure, he wanted to learn about the world, but their goals weren't all too different. It was why she had gone with him when he had first come to Forelock Grove. And now she really wanted to get back to him. He was like a brother to her. A little too serious sometimes, but he was more interesting than her friends back home. The restaurant came into view, and Asteria happily trotted ahead of the mare.

  • Brohoof 6

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"Um... Heh..." Electrobolt began, giving off a forced cough. "Um, about that... I kinda forgot to pick them up... My mind was focused on you at the moment, so I carried you back to your room... The lock pick set, I didn't think about..."

Key listened carefully as Electrobolt spoke. The fact that he didn't pick up her set meant that it was probably right where she had left it, unless Trixie had recovered it. This was exactly what she didn't want to hear, but she contained her disappointment. Somehow, the thought that Electrobolt had been more focused on her than on her lock picking tools was comforting enough to outweigh her irritation. Key wasn't used to this type of pony. Electrobolt was strangely caring.

 

Even before he had learned that she was his sister, he had already been focused on her safety. He could have just as easily have left her there, alone. After all, she was the one that had dragged him into the whole mess to begin with. Then, there was the other thing. Her lock-picking skills hadn't even been on his mind when he had carried her out. If they had been, then he would have definitely remembered to grab her set. He had cared about her but not for her skills as a thief or even because they were related. Key wondered... Why? She would have to ask him later.

 

Her eyes followed his gaze to the table.

 

As he looked back to the saddlebag, an idea formed in his head. "Hmm... Key, I think I have a plan..." he muttered loud enough for the filly to hear. "It seems we're stopped in Ponyville now, and they have this baked goods place called Sugarcube Corner. They sell all kinds of goodies, such as cupcakes, cookies, and candy. Anyways, I have a bag of bits in my saddlebag, so I could go and get some cookies, maybe some other goodies. Before that, though, I would be making a stop to Trixie's room. If all goes well, and Trixie doesn't notice, I should be able to sneak your lock picks into my saddlebag, below the bag of bits." He then stopped for a moment to catch his breath before adding, "Well... To be honest, it's kind of a work in progress..."

Key looked contemplative as Electrobolt started talking. However, the moment he mentioned this place called "Sugarcube Corner" and its delicious confections, her contemplative look gave way to a look of starry-eyed wonder. Key Gear liked sweet things. She liked them a lot. She tried to think critically when Electrobolt described stopping by Trixie's room to retrieve her set, but her mind was too distracted to analyze anything at that point. Besides, the gist of his plan sounded just fine to her. She wouldn't have to do anything, Bolt would go, get her set, and bring back cookies. Key realized that she was grinning crazily. With a cough, she wiped the grin from her face and replaced it with a serious expression with only a hint of a smile.

 

She thought back to the most important part of his plan, going to Trixie's room. She didn't want it to seem as though she hadn't been paying attention to what Bolt had said, so she responded seriously and tried to think. "Ok. I mean... I don't really see a problem with this plan. The worst thing that could happen is that Trixie is in her room and the door is locked. But... If she's at breakfast, then maybe she would leave the door unlocked. And, even if she didn't, you could probably pick up some toothpicks from the place you're going. I bet I could pick the lock with those and get to my set, if I have to. So yeah, your plan is perfect."

 

Key hesitated before continuing. The truth was that, if Electrobolt was going to take care of everything, then she wasn't really interested in going along with him. Key hated going places if it wasn't necessary. Right then, she much preferred the thought of either sleeping in or eating breakfast. As far as she was concerned, she had done enough running around on the previous day. When she finally continued speaking, she couldn't help herself, she sounded vaguely hopeful. "Wait, so... For this plan, you could just go now, right? You don't really need me to go with you? Because... If you don't, then I'm totally going to go get something to eat. I'm starving."

 

She was about to mention the possibility that she would go back to sleep as well, but Key decided against it. She didn't really want Bolt to think that she was lazy, so she said something else. "I could also ask around, and maybe I could find out something about what happened to us last night in Trixie's room. I bet that we aren't the only ponies to run into something weird in or around that room."

 

Key stopped for a few moments and looked deeply contemplative, even troubled. Finally she sighed and spoke. "Bolt... Now, we have a different problem but, to me, it's just as serious, and I'm a bit worried. This Sugarcube Corner. They have cupcakes, cookies, and candy? Well... Which one do I want? I can't figure it out. I mean... I could go with you, but... Uhhh..." Key shrugged. "It would be redundant, you know? An inefficient use of resources. It would be better for us to split up, so I can ask questions while you get my sweets... Uhhh... I mean... While you get my set. See, that's important. And... So are cookies. I want some cookies. Could you get me some cookies? Please?!" Key was smiling absentmindedly and her eyes twinkled crazily.

 

 

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

 
"Um, that place on the other side.....It was...cold...freezing...and unbearable, it was some freezing place, I was there for about...five minutes. She threw me into the portal by levitating me into it, I stood no chance for her magic, it just was too strong for me and yes she took me by surprise," She took a sip of her coffee before asking Dusky, "Is that all?" referring to his questions.

Dusky nodded. This was all what he had expected to hear. In fact, he would have been just fine had Flow never spoken at all. As with Magicon's questions, he wasn't necessarily interested in the answers themselves. Instead, he was more interested in the ponies providing the answers - their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. He was studying them.

 

"Mprgh!" was the only sound he could make. It was the most bitter thing he had ever tasted. "Dusky must have not put any sugar in it... who on earth drinks coffee without any sugar!?" He thought as he levitated the bowl of sugar that head been left out to where he was sitting and put a very generous couple of teaspoons of sugar in, before taking another sip.

Dusky's ears twitched at the sound of Daylight gagging on his coffee. As the detective added the sugar into his drink, Dusky looked on with disapproval. To ruin the flavor of coffee with so much sweetness was, to Dusky, beyond a travesty. He took another sip of his own coffee and he savored the delicate bitterness. It tasted just fine to him. Dusky sighed.

 

 

"if you don't mind me asking Dusky..." He began slowly and as neutrally as possible. "Is there something you are trying to prove by putting Magicon on the spot and provoking him like that? I feel it wasn't very respectful you pointing out his possible flaws in front of us like that." As he could feel the emotions in him begin to rise, he tried his best to keep a neutral expression. If worst came to worst he would excuse himself if needed so to not make a scene. "Also, you seem rather interested in the ordeal Flow was put through as those were merely no standard questions. What is it really about yesterday's events do you want to know about?" He then went back to eating his food waiting for a reply.

As Daylight spoke, Dusky's smile, perfectly natural, was completely unwavering. Far from being annoyed by the questions, it actually seemed as though Dusky enjoyed hearing them. The shadowy pony licked his lips, and his smile grew broader while he listened to Daylight. When Daylight finally finished speaking, Dusky picked up his coffee and took a long sip of it while leaning back. He said nothing. As seconds became minutes, Dusky continued to savor his coffee.

 

Finally, he spoke. "Daylight. Hmmm... If you don't mind my noting... I couldn't help but notice your reaction to the coffee that I poured you, and... Of course, I saw that you added sugar to your coffee." Dusky shook his head disapprovingly. "Daylight, coffee is a drink that is best enjoyed for what it is. It is a beautiful drink. It is dark, bitter, and yet... With a certain mystery. I think that, truthfully, the mystery begins with the aroma. The aroma seems to float up from the liquid, and then it just seems to dance, so delicately, around the nose. You smell it, yes... And, from the smell, you reach certain conclusions. You have certain expectations as to the taste. Bitterness is probably not one of them, at least not initially."

 

Dusky inhaled the smell of his coffee and then continued talking. "But then, of course, when you smell coffee, you want to taste it. The smell is alluring, and it hints at a certain softness. Then, with your eyes, you see the liquid itself... It looks so wonderfully dark, enticing. You know that you want to take a sip, so, of course, that is what you do. However, the taste is... Probably not what you were expecting. As I said, it is bitter... Oh so bitter. And that... That is really where the mystery comes in. There is a gap between the smell and the taste. Your senses... They seem to, perhaps, lie to you. Or do they merely disagree? Ah well... Regardless... Now, what do you do?"

 

Dusky took another sip and frowned thoughtfully. "Well, you could do one of three things, I think. You could explore the mystery, attempting to discover the truth and the reason for why your senses seemed to betray you. You could reconcile the smell of the coffee with its taste. Uncover the truth. As an alternative, you could simply embrace the mystery, drinking your coffee, as I do, without concern for such trivial matters that distract from the beauty of the drink. As a final possibility, you could do what you just did and pour sugar into it, simply giving up on the mystery entirely. Just trotting off into Daylight."

 

Dusky shook his head, again. "It is your choice, of course. However which way that you choose to drink your coffee is fine with me. I merely prepared this breakfast. I even put the sugar there as well - an escape route for those that are unwilling to follow me into flavorful glory. You know, I didn't have to do that. I could have hidden the sugar. I can't stand the stuff myself, but I can respect those that flee into its sanctuary of sweetness, unwilling to embrace the true flavor of mystery - bitterness."

 

Dusky smiled. "Now, in answer to your questions... I have nothing to prove. I am merely an observer, seeking knowledge and diligently learning what I can. I think... That this is what you are as well? As for what I would like to know about yesterday's events... Well, I do not really want to know anything, but I am happy with whatever knowledge I am fortunate enough to be given. Like you, I seek an understanding of things. Perhaps we could work together to understand things? I am, after all, the train's engineer. My position requires a certain methodology of thought that might prove useful to you."

 

 

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

 
"Um...first of all, good morning sir, and again, very sorry to interrupt you. My name is Arcanel and, as you probably saw, I'm a mailpony. The reason I was looking for you was so you, if you didn't mind, could tell me if this train was headed to Los Pegasus, and if it was going to reach that city today. You see, I need a letter to be delivered today to a pony in that same city, and I don't think I have enough money to get supplies or breakfast for the trip left, and I also don't know if I have enough stamina for the trip, or else I would have already started flying. If both questions are a positive answer, um, if it's not much trouble, would I be able to get in? I'll pay with what little money I brought with me, thanks to my carelessness, if you don't have any tickets left. But I really need to get there. If both answers are a negative, then that's okay, I'll try to figure it out myself."

Vim appreciated the way that the mailpony went straight to the point first before continuing to provide detail. Vim disliked it, always, when the details came first and he had to wait through an endless sea of talk before he heard what was needed or wanted from him. This mailpony was respectful. He was also, clearly, not a member of the local branch. If Arcanel was a member of the local branch, he should have already heard all about the Los Pegasus Express and its journey. Ponyville was close enough to Canterlot that news tended to travel fast between the two cities. Vim waited for the pegasus to answer his other questions and examined him as though he was a strict schoolteacher and the mailpony was his student.

 

"As for your other question, I'm not exactly on an express route. Today I was tasked with just two letters. One to Ponyville, which is why I'm here, and the other to Los Pegasus, which is why I'm asking about the train. The reason they are just two is because I come all the way from Vanhoover, and in there, we rarely get letters that go outside Vanhoover. These two letters were received yesterday and needed to be delivered today. I left Vanhoover last night and just got here a few minutes ago, but as much as I thought I was prepared and in a moment of distraction of mine, I forgot to bring more money. Money that serves for travelling supplies, breakfast, lunch, etc. And without it, while I could get either, no supplies for the trip is not a good idea, and not having eaten or drunk enough water before flying is also not a good idea. I really wouldn't be asking for help if I didn't need it, but I don't really have much choices right now."

Vim didn't miss a single detail in the mailpony's extensive response. This pony had come all the way from Vanhoover... Had made the journey overnight... To deliver just one of two letters in Ponyville. Vim's eyebrows raised in admiration of such diligence. To make the journey from Vanhoover to Ponyville overnight was not a trivial accomplishment. However, to intend to make the journey from Ponyville to Los Pegasus without taking a day or so to recover. Now, that took grit, and Vim had a strong appreciation for such dedication to duty.

 

The fact that the pegasus had run into trouble with supplies was also indicative for Vim. A seasoned mailpony that was used to such long-range travel would never have made the journey without sufficient supplies and preparation. Yet, a sloppy mailpony could possibly have made such a mistake regardless of how much experience they had. As far as Vim was concerned, it made no sense for a pony that had shown such dedication to duty to be sloppy, so this left only one possibility. Arcanel was probably a diligent mailpony that was simply not very experienced with long range mail delivery.

 

Vim felt a growing feeling of familiarity. There was something about this whole experience that seemed eerily familiar to him. He thought about Arcanel. Arcanel was a younger pony working in an organization that demanded accountability, rising to the challenge of a task that was, perhaps, significantly above what he had done before. Now, here he was, in over his head and asking assistance from an older pony. Vim remembered something. He remembered the time when he, as an assistant conductor, had found himself suddenly promoted to the position of a conductor and given the challenge of his first long-range passenger train route.

 

It had been Vim's first major assignment and he had dived into it with rather more energy than prudence. He had known the rules inside and out, and he had mastered all of the proper procedures. However, none of that had done anything to fully prepare him for the challenge. He had been fortunate though. On the first journey of that train, there had been a passenger onboard, an elderly, retired conductor. The older pony had helped Vim when he had needed it most. Now, Vim was in the position of being able to return the favor by helping another young pony that was on his way up in the world.

 

 

"So... the bottomline is... if this train goes to Los Pegasus and reaches that city today, would you mind if I was able to ride it to there and deliver the letter?" he asked.

Vim looked away to hide a small smile. When he turned back, his expression was, again, stony serious. "From what you've told me. You do have a problem. You need to get that letter to its destination, but you definitely wouldn't be able to make it in your present state. Here's the thing though. This train doesn't reach Los Pegasus until tomorrow. But... You would certainly have an easier time reaching your destination if you came aboard this train and rode with us to get you closer to where you needed to go. That way you wouldn't need to worry about supplies. You could leave at just a bit past the halfway point and fly the rest of the way. I can have our engineer pick up the pace a bit to make sure that we get you close enough so that you could still hit your deadline."

 

Vim cleared his throat. "As far as the expense goes. Don't worry about it. Save your bits. I usually have a few passengers leave the train on unplanned stops like these, so we probably have a spare room somewhere on board. I'll just have my assistant conductor do a sweep of the rooms and see what is available. In the meantime, you should feel free to head on board for breakfast... That is if you are alright with this plan. So, what do you think?"

 

 

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

 
"Okay, I'll answer your questions, but you have to answer some of my own too. You never did tell me your name. And do you work on the train? You seem a bit serious for a passenger, and you smell like food. Are you the cook?" she said as she trotted next to the older pony so she could walk without having to be pushed. She never like being directed in where to go by force, no matter how gentle.

Ambrosia felt chagrined. She really hadn't done a fair job of explaining herself to the filly. She had been so concerned about being caught by another member of the train crew that she had managed to be unintentionally guarded about herself. Still, she was happy that the filly had somehow managed to trust her anyway. She was also happy that Asteria hadn't minded being herded out of the train. Normally, Ambrosia was never so brusque, even with the young ponies, but this had been something of an emergency. As Asteria continued to talk, Ambrosia formed the answers to the filly's questions.

 

"And as to your questions, ummm." She tilted her head to the side as she resumed the train of thought she had left behind when the new thought had occurred to her. "I guess I got on the train because I didn't want Lapis to go alone. Plus, I've always wanted to see Los Pegasus. Most of our adventures were on the east coast or close to it, and sometimes rarely in central Equestria. So this was to be something new for the both of us. I didn't want to miss out. Why would you think there was an emergency? Are you trying to come up with an excuse to tell the conductor?"

Ambrosia listened carefully to the filly's answers, and she smiled at the last question. Asteria was an astute and discerning young pony. Now, Ambrosia wanted to answer the questions that she had been asked. She had no intentions of leaving Asteria in the dark. In fact, she intended to tell the filly everything. Asteria had trusted her when she had really not given the filly much reason to do so. Ambrosia believed that a pony that trusted quickly was probably trustworthy themselves. In fact, she was certain that it was their own ability to be trusted and relied on that made them so willing to extend this trust to others.

 

Ambrosia spoke as a friend would. "Asteria, my name is Ambrosia, and I am the train's cook. I'm pretty sorry that I didn't tell you this any earlier, but I was in such a terrible rush to get out of the hall. I wanted to get you off of the train before either the conductor or the assistant conductor came by. Vim, he's the conductor. Springer's the assistant conductor. They are good ponies but... They aren't very friendly when they are doing their jobs, and part of their jobs is to keep stowaways off the train." Ambrosia sighed. "If I wasn't so tired right now, then I might have been able to win an argument with them. But... I didn't get much sleep last night, so I'm just a bit out of sorts right now. I just didn't want you to get thrown off the train, and I didn't want a big scene to occur either."

 

She stopped for a moment and then continued thoughtfully. "Now, I did ask you those questions because I am looking for something to tell the conductor. I'm not looking to give any excuses though. I just want to be able to explain to him your reasons for being on the train and how those reasons fit with the rules of the railways. Then you will not only be able to stay on the train, but you'd be an official passenger with a room and everything. I think that, working together, we can make it happen."

 

They had now arrived at the restaurant. Ambrosia took a seat and beckoned Asteria to join her. When a waiter arrived, Ambrosia ordered without needing to take a look at the menu. She ordered a glass of coffee and some hay - a simple breakfast. She also took a few moments to dictate, in elaborate detail, the exact manner that she wanted the coffee to be prepared. The waiter, a rather patient pony, showed absolutely no signs of annoyance. When Ambrosia finished, the waiter went over to take Asteria's order.

 

Ambrosia continued speaking where she had left off, seemingly thinking out loud. "I had asked if it was an emergency, because that is the easiest explanation to give. If it isn't true though, then we can't use it. There's another thing we can say though. I think that it may be just as straightforward, and it is definitely true. You didn't want Lapis to go alone, and he's told me about how you saved him that one time. You aren't just a student of his. You are more like an apprentice in some ways. This trip wasn't just a vacation. From what you've told me, it was to be another type of adventure - something that you didn't want to miss out on because... You want to learn... Yup, I think I've got it." Ambrosia smiled broadly.

 

Despite her sleepiness, she had figured out something that would probably work on both Vim and Springer. But, now, something else was on her mind. "Asteria, there is something that you should know if you are going to join Lapis on this train though..." She trailed off and waited for the waiter to leave and for some other ponies that were talking nearby to find a table.

  • Brohoof 7

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As Magicon finished his account he took a deep breath, allowing himself to calm down. But it didn’t last long, for Dusky asked quite a question for Magicon. He had thought it would be the end of it, but this event was turning out to be a bad bit and just kept turning up, much to Magicon’s unhappiness and discomfort.

 

"You say that it wasn't about Trixie, but rather... It was about helping Flow. I am, personally, not sure that this is the case. You speak as though you can effortlessly disentangle both motivations from each other... However, is this something that can really be done? You mean to tell me that you never, at any point while rescuing Flow, thought about the look on Trixie's face when she realized that you were her equivalent? Please, do not feel compelled to respond. I believe that I already know the answer. Consciously, your motivation was to save Flow, but... Unconsciously, your motivation was something more... Instinctual. You wished to rise to the challenge, hmmm?"

 

Magicon clenched his teeth and looked to the side, avoiding Dusky’s intense gaze. He knew what Dusky wanted to hear and he knew the answer himself. He remembered what had compelled him to challenge Trixie in the first place. Her violation of magical norms and conventions had angered him and her arrogance was astounding to boot. He had wanted to see the look on her face when he did challenge her, but he was never afforded the chance because of the teleportation spell. He had collapsed and barely had enough strength to open his eyes. He had wanted to upstage her and he had done so, by rescuing Flow. But he didn’t want to admit to Dusky. He didn’t want to tell the engineer his own personal feelings, especially when Dusky had practically nailed them on the head.

 

He looked at Daylight, his eyes pleading for some assistance. Luckily, Dusky took the chance and said,

"if you don't mind me asking Dusky..." He began slowly and as neutrally as possible. "Is there something you are trying to prove by putting Magicon on the spot and provoking him like that? I feel it wasn't very respectful you pointing out his possible flaws in front of us like that." As he could feel the emotions in him begin to rise, he tried his best to keep a neutral expression. If worst came to worst he would excuse himself if needed so to not make a scene. "Also, you seem rather interested in the ordeal Flow was put through as those were merely no standard questions. What is it really about yesterday's events do you want to know about?" He then went back to eating his food waiting for a reply.

 

Magicon let out a sigh of relief and silently thanked Daylight for his actions. It might just allow him to get away with his own personal secrets. Maybe Daylight was a pony worth trusting after all. As he relieved himself thanks to Daylight he turned his attention to Flow who described her horror in the Frozen North.

Magicon had only experienced a glimmer of it when he opened the portal but he didn’t want to return. It must’ve been terrible for her. He had tried as fast as he could to rescue her and he had managed to so, but it took so much out of him. Magicon wondered how much magic had returned to him since last night, but he knew now wasn’t the time nor place to find out.

 

@,

Turning to Flow Magicon quietly replied, “Hi, Flow. My name’s Magicon. As for your experience in the Frozen North, I am just glad you are safe. I was just doing my duty as a good unicorn,” making a quick glance at Dusky, hoping that he heard that last sentence.

@, @@Dave247

But Dusky no longer seemed interested in Magicon as he turned to Daylight and began this elaborate monologue about coffee and other nonsensical stuff. Magicon raised an eyebrow and questioned whether Dusky was “all there” in his head. Magicon never liked ponies who did fluffy nonsense and Dusky was certainly turning about to be one of those ponies.

 

He turned to Daylight and whispered, “Have any idea what the heck this pony is going about?”

  • Brohoof 5

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Asteria slowed down to listen when the mare spoke up again. She hoped she'd get the answers she wanted. Sometimes adults chose to ignore her questions, or even lie to her. They'd probably claim it was for her own good, but the fact that they'd withhold something from her drove her nuts. But the answers she received were sufficient.
 

"Asteria, my name is Ambrosia, and I am the train's cook. I'm pretty sorry that I didn't tell you this any earlier, but I was in such a terrible rush to get out of the hall. I wanted to get you off of the train before either the conductor or the assistant conductor came by. Vim, he's the conductor. Springer's the assistant conductor. They are good ponies but... They aren't very friendly when they are doing their jobs, and part of their jobs is to keep stowaways off the train." Ambrosia sighed. "If I wasn't so tired right now, then I might have been able to win an argument with them. But... I didn't get much sleep last night, so I'm just a bit out of sorts right now. I just didn't want you to get thrown off the train, and I didn't want a big scene to occur either."

 
So the conductor's name was Vim. It was a bland name to be honest. And that green pegasus had to have been the assistant conductor, Springer. She thought over what Ambrosia had said. Ambrosia, what a tasty sounding name. So what she thought had been true. This pony could be trusted if she wanted to protect her. Asteria worried about Ambrosia though. She seemed so nice, but the fact that she was tired, and that she was putting so much effort into helping her, made Asteria feel bad. But it was what the mare wanted, and it would have been rude to begrudge her the right to do what she wanted.
 

"Now, I did ask you those questions because I am looking for something to tell the conductor. I'm not looking to give any excuses though. I just want to be able to explain to him your reasons for being on the train and how those reasons fit with the rules of the railways. Then you will not only be able to stay on the train, but you'd be an official passenger with a room and everything. I think that, working together, we can make it happen."


The prospect of being an official passenger excited Asteria. Then they couldn't throw her off! And Ambrosia was going to make that happen. It had been a bit rash of her to just jump onto the train. In truth, she hadn't really thought it through. But if Ambrosia could find a loophole or something, then it didn't matter that she'd stowed away on board a train with a vague plan in mind. If was as if this simple cook could magically make everything better.
 
Once at the restaurant, the little filly happily took her seat at a table with Ambrosia. She'd been to much fancier places, many of them actually indoors. But the outdoor set up was nice. Much less formal than the other ones. She felt that she could just relax and just be herself. Unlike Lapis, Asteria never liked to be prim or proper. Beyond politeness, she just wanted to enjoy her food at her own pace, without having to mind any table manner. She wasn't a slob of course, but she hated to eat things delicately.

After Ambrosia had finished her order, which Asteria found to be a little too detailed, Asteria made her order. "I'd like pancakes with strawberry syrup, an apple, and a tall glass of milk." she said enthusiastically. After finishing her order, Asteria realized that Ambrosia had been speaking.
 

"I had asked if it was an emergency, because that is the easiest explanation to give. If it isn't true though, then we can't use it. There's another thing we can say though. I think that it may be just as straightforward, and it is definitely true. You didn't want Lapis to go alone, and he's told me about how you saved him that one time. You aren't just a student of his. You are more like an apprentice in some ways. This trip wasn't just a vacation. From what you've told me, it was to be another type of adventure - something that you didn't want to miss out on because... You want to learn... Yup, I think I've got it."

 
Asteria didn't see what Ambrosia meant. How could there be a reasonable excuse? She milled over what the mare had said. What she said was certainly true, but what did it mean for her? At the very least, Lapis could convince the conductor, but Ambrosia probably knew more about the other members of the staff. She sighed a little. Perhaps sneaking onto the train had been a terrible idea.
 

"Asteria, there is something that you should know if you are going to join Lapis on this train though..." She trailed off and waited for the waiter to leave and for some other ponies that were talking nearby to find a table.


Asteria waited expectantly, but the answer never came. She looked around and saw that there were other ponies nearby. But soon, they had gone off to their own tables. The waiter as well had gone off to deliver their orders. So there should have been nothing to stop Ambrosia from continuing. But Asteria felt she had to say something to be sure.
 
"Uh, mom," she began, but quickly cut off when she had realized her mistake. This mare was so much like her mother, that for a moment there, she had forgotten who she was talking to. Blushing fiercely, and trying not to look at Ambrosia, she continued a bit embarrassed. "Er, sorry. I meant Ambrosia. What was it you were going to say? If it is about someone overhearing, nopony is nearby anymore." As the heat on her face started to fade a little, she looked back up at Ambrosia shyly.

Edited by Berry Pie
  • Brohoof 5

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After he finished explaining his plan to Key, he took note of her reactions. Surprisingly, when he looked at her eyes, they seemed to be sparkling with excitement. Perhaps this plan was perfect in her eyes? Or maybe she had something else in her mind and was showing the excitement about that other thing? Well, whatever the reason, he was still going to go through with the idea unless Key had some other say in what should be done. And as if she had been waiting for him to think those words, Key Gear spoke up.

 

"Ok. I mean... I don't really see a problem with this plan. The worst thing that could happen is that Trixie is in her room and the door is locked. But... If she's at breakfast, then maybe she would leave the door unlocked. And, even if she didn't, you could probably pick up some toothpicks from the place you're going. I bet I could pick the lock with those and get to my set, if I have to. So yeah, your plan is perfect."

 

When Electrobolt heard these words, he nodded. This all made sense to him, but even if the door was locked, then he would knock on the door and hope Trixie wouldn't zap him again. And if Trixie was at breakfast, then it wouldn't be too difficult to get in. However, the one thing that worried him more than Trixie was that a random passerby might see him entering Trixie's room, rummaging around for something. He would be afraid that they might get the wrong idea, that he would be stealing from the showpony. He didn't want to risk that chance. So he would have to make sure it was done at the right moment.

 

"Wait, so... For this plan, you could just go now, right? You don't really need me to go with you? Because... If you don't, then I'm totally going to go get something to eat. I'm starving."

She was about to mention the possibility that she would go back to sleep as well, but Key decided against it. She didn't really want Bolt to think that she was lazy, so she said something else. "I could also ask around, and maybe I could find out something about what happened to us last night in Trixie's room. I bet that we aren't the only ponies to run into something weird in or around that room."

 

When Key mentioned this, he was slightly confused. Why would Key ask around about this kind of stuff? If she mentions something about Trixie's room, then others might get the wrong idea. He hoped that wouldn't be the case, but there was always the possibility. Regardless, he nodded, as he didn't want to leave his sister waiting for him, not having anything to eat. However, the next thing to come out of her mouth had made the young colt want to fall flat on his face.

 

Key stopped for a few moments and looked deeply contemplative, even troubled. Finally she sighed and spoke. "Bolt... Now, we have a different problem but, to me, it's just as serious, and I'm a bit worried. This Sugarcube Corner. They have cupcakes, cookies, and candy? Well... Which one do I want? I can't figure it out. I mean... I could go with you, but... Uhhh..." Key shrugged. "It would be redundant, you know? An inefficient use of resources. It would be better for us to split up, so I can ask questions while you get my sweets... Uhhh... I mean... While you get my set. See, that's important. And... So are cookies. I want some cookies. Could you get me some cookies? Please?!" Key was smiling absentmindedly and her eyes twinkled crazily.

 

As soon as Key spoke about a different problem, and how she was worried, Electrobolt began to look a bit concerned. However, as soon as she brought up Sugarcube Corner and their treats, he sighed. Right now, he wanted to facehoof, but he kept his willpower strong and resisted the urge. As he listened to Key's rambling, before hearing that she decided on cookies, he noticed the twinkling in her eyes had returned. *That must have been what was running through her mind earlier...* he thought, groaning internally. Shaking his head, he said, "Alright, Key... I'll be back with your set and cookies."

 

After putting his saddlebag on, he approached the door and opened it, before stopping as he noticed a strange letter right outside his door. "Huh...? What's this?" he asked nopony in particular. Picking up the envelope and opening it up, he then pulled out a card. "To the resident of room 10..." he started, before continuing to read the card. After he finished reading, he blinked. Apparently, he had been invited to join somepony named Dusky Coal for breakfast. Shaking his head, he sat the invitation down on his table. "Um, you go on ahead, Key. I'll be there in a bit."

 

With that, he then left his room and went out the door on his left, to the second passenger car. As he looked to his right, the strangest sight laid in front of him. The door was left wide open. Curiosity on his face, he peeked inside before looking around the hall. Making sure nopony was around, he entered Trixie's room and began to look around for Key's lock pick set. Thankfully for him, it didn't take too long as he noticed the small pouch on the floor, matching Key's coat color. Being quick, he opened his saddlebag, pulled his bag of bits out, and popped the lock pick set inside quickly.

 

Afterwards, he placed his bag of bits back inside before turning around and quickly leaving Trixie's room, leaving it open. If her door was open for some reason and she wasn't inside, perhaps one of the workers went in to do something. Sighing, he then continued to the front of the train, before leaving as he started on his way towards Sugarcube Corner. As he moved quickly, not wanting to miss breakfast himself, he noticed the conductor talking to two other ponies, one of which was a white pegasus wearing a mail satchel while the other was a dark-blue unicorn who seemed to be around the same age as the conductor. He was wondering what they were talking about, but shook it off as he returned to the task at hoof: hurrying to Sugarcube Corner.

  • Brohoof 6

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Berry Nut kept his eyes glued to Arcanel, blinking lazily every few minutes as if it wasn't the first thing on his mind. In fact, it wasn't even close. From what Berry gathered, this was a mail pony who was doing... something interesting. He stared at Arcanel with a blank look, tilting his head more and more until by the time he caught himself his head was totally leans to the right. "That is amazing... look at his lips move, you'd almost think it was the common tongue. I wonder what language it is... maybe mail ponies nowadays have their own." Berry Nut thought this even as Vim was replying, he could barely follow their conversation. His brain seemed to just want to shut it out. It was focusing on something else. Something deep down in him was trying to say something important to him. A message, perhaps it can be interpretted. As Arcanel was speaking to Vim, Berry Nut began a deep introspective analysis of the signals he was feeling. "Berry what are we getting here? Well Berry it seems to be... wait, you've got to hear this it's incredible." He listened to himself think, if such a thing were remotely possible, he could swear to any that asked that he was hearing himself think. Not that he'd ever say that to someone. "I'm getting a gurgling noise, it sounds like a monster Berry! Take a listen for yourself." At that moment Berry could hear it. Feel it as well, his insides seemed to be moving around, taking a position before releasing a gurgled moan of anguish. Suddenly Berry realized an epiphany that stopped his thoughts quickly. It was his stomach, and he hadn't eaten anything for a while. He remembered the tea. 

 

He glanced around as the mail pony talked. "There must be a way out of here. I wish I knew what that... Arcanel, was babbling about. What Celestia needs to do to criminals is put them in a room stuck with this pony for at least three months. That will not only make them not go back to their criminal ways, but undoubtedly their minds would be sucked dry of imagination as well. So they couldn't even conceive of..." He stopped his train of thought, noting the door to the train. He saw out of the corner of his eye a green pony trotting off the train. After a few seconds, seeing the pony leave, he felt no curiosity to who he was or what he was doing leaving the train. He only saw... the door. 

 

Berry got up, and began walking slowly to the door. He was hungry and was certain that there was food inside. "Or a reasonable facsimile anyway." He didn't allow the thought to deter him, he took several steps forward. Suddenly the door seemed so much further away. The thought occurred to him that the train was moving again, so he quickened his pace. A slightly worried expression forming on his face. Berry didn't know why he thought the train would suddenly leave without it's conductor, but for all he knew maybe there was some wise pony stealing it from under Vim's very nose. Berry suddenly frowned and willed himself to stop being absurd. In that moment, the train door was practically right in front of him. He stopped abruptly, just short of smashing into it. He let out a breath slowly with a deep sigh before letting himself in, and casually glancing around. "The dining car is typically closer to the caboose in these sorts of passenger trains. I'll just pop in, grab some food, and leave. I'm sure good Vim wouldn't mind." He began making his way through the train, barely conscious of anything besides the idea that food was near.

 

When he entered the dining car, he looked around. There were some ponies sitting at a table, but he didn't really care. His stomach was making it painfully obvious why he was there. He was glaring by this time, looking around, suddenly his eyes zeroed in on the food at their tables, and followed to where it must have come from. With an odd swiftness for one so old, he moved to where the food was, he was probably where he shouldn't be, but for the moment, rules just weren't something important to him. He searched for a glass to pour himself some coffee, and took the liberty of grabbing the pot for himself with a rather wistful smirk. As if he'd found the key to a treasure chest. He silently hoped that no one would notice.

  • Brohoof 6

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After making his long explanations, Arcanel caught a bit of breath. He hadn't realized how much he had talked nor how concentrated he was. *Woah... lost a bit of my mind there... gotta stop doing that or else it might get me into trouble.* He thought, not wanting to let his mind almost lose consciousness like it sometimes does. But before he could think of anything else, he took a look at the conductor's face to see his reaction. And said earth pony had his face turned to a side, and Arcanel could have sworn he was smiling. However, the conductor turned back with a stern face before being able to confirm it.

 

Vim looked away to hide a small smile. When he turned back, his expression was, again, stony serious. "From what you've told me. You do have a problem. You need to get that letter to its destination, but you definitely wouldn't be able to make it in your present state. Here's the thing though. This train doesn't reach Los Pegasus until tomorrow. But... You would certainly have an easier time reaching your destination if you came aboard this train and rode with us to get you closer to where you needed to go. That way you wouldn't need to worry about supplies. You could leave at just a bit past the halfway point and fly the rest of the way. I can have our engineer pick up the pace a bit to make sure that we get you close enough so that you could still hit your deadline."

 

The white pegasus went from happiness, to sadness, to happiness again, to sadness again. He was happy, because the train was, in the end, going to Los Pegasus. But he then got sad because it wasn't going to reach the city until tomorrow. He got happy again when the conductor had proposed a way for him to at least get to Los Pegasus fast enough. But he got sad once more because the way the conductor also proposed it would have to bother the engineer, and he felt he was ALREADY bothering them enough. *Argh... I'm already bothering the conductor enough, but now I also have to bother the engineer?* he internally sighed, lamenting the situation that had happened because of his fault. *I really don't want to do it. But... I don't really have much of a choice. I wouldn't be asking for help in the first place if it weren't for my own distractions.* The mailpony continued on berating himself. However, before he could continue with his train of thought, the conductor spoke once more.

 

As far as the expense goes. Don't worry about it. Save your bits. I usually have a few passengers leave the train on unplanned stops like these, so we probably have a spare room somewhere on board. I'll just have my assistant conductor do a sweep of the rooms and see what is available. In the meantime, you should feel free to head on board for breakfast... That is if you are alright with this plan. So, what do you think?

 

"Um..." Was all the white pony could say in the first instance. He hadn't expected the conductor to be so nice to him. Which made him feel even more bad. *Wow... I wasn't really expecting any of that. (Sigh) What do I do...?* he pondered. On the one hoof, he was going to miss his deadline by probably far longer if he didn't go on the train, and maybe even fail to complete the trip itself. But on the other hoof, he didn't want to bother the members of his train because of his forgetfulness and distracted mind. But, he also didn't want to disappoint Mr. Post. No. He could not let that happen in the slightest. *Well... as much as I hate doing this... I'll take the offer. But I'll try to help out as much as I can. That's the least I could do.* Arcanel decided, determined to not let the conductor's generosity go unrewarded. He'd rather go to Tartarus before not helping out if he was able to.

 

"Well... I don't like the idea of bothering you because of my fault... but my choices are far and between. That said, I'll accept your offer and I thank you very much for it Mr. Conductor." The pegasus said, bowing his head in sigh of appreciation. "However, if there's anything at all that I can do to help, please let me know and I'll do my best. I don't want to go without helping out if I know that I can  do something about it in these circumstances." He clarified to the conductor, trying to make sure that he was going to help out if he could. "But again, thank you very much for taking me inside your train to let me get to my destiny, and I'm very sorry for bothering you. I'll make sure to be a good passenger." Arcanel assured the conductor.  He was going to make certain that the earth pony wouldn't regret his choice. After agreeing in the end with the conductor however, he had one question left. "Um, by the way, what is your name? I don't think I've heard you mentioning it and I'd rather not call you "Mr. Conductor" all the time." the white pony said, slightly laughing at his sentence. While he was waiting for the conductor to respond, he saw that the other pony who was talking with the conductor had disappeared. *Huh...I wonder where he went? I hope my interruption didn't make him mad and go away." Was all the mailpony could think of.

  • Brohoof 7

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"Uh, mom," she began, but quickly cut off when she had realized her mistake. This mare was so much like her mother, that for a moment there, she had forgotten who she was talking to. Blushing fiercely, and trying not to look at Ambrosia, she continued a bit embarrassed.  

 

Ambrosia's eyes widened and she stopped breathing for just a moment. Asteria's simple mistake, calling her mother, had jarred her out of her exhaustion. Asteria was so innocent and hopeful that, instinctively, Ambrosia adored the filly. At that moment, she wanted nothing more than to scoop the Asteria up in her hooves, to take her to the train station, and to send her home to safety. When she caught her breath, she found herself at a loss for words. 

 

She had been on the verge of telling Asteria everything that had transpired with Trixie aboard the train. But now, she felt a pang of guilt. The thought flashed in her mind. What self-respecting mother would allow her foal to venture into a situation that could possibly be dangerous?  She was happy that Asteria had looked away for just a moment. She didn't want the filly to see her own wavering eyes.

 

"Er, sorry. I meant Ambrosia. What was it you were going to say? If it is about someone overhearing, nopony is nearby anymore." As the heat on her face started to fade a little, she looked back up at Ambrosia shyly.

 

She cleared her throat and looked around. The actions had the advantage of giving her a few more moments to think. Intrinsically, she knew that she couldn't delay her answer anymore. Asteria's trust would not be given to a pony that was not truthful, and Ambrosia was nothing if not truthful. She decided that she would be completely honest with the filly. As much as she felt that she needed to ensure Asteria's safety, she knew that Asteria was not her foal and that the young pony had already seen many adventures. 

 

Ambrosia took a deep breath and then she dove into describing everything that had transpired - the strange light in the train car,  the light that had appeared under the room door, and the disastrous magic show. Ambrosia only stopped momentarily when the waiter appeared to bring them both their food. She paid the waiter with some bits from a small pouch, and then she continued talking. Now, she told Asteria things that not even Lapis was aware of. Ambrosia told her about the strange darkness in Trixie's room and how Detective Daylight had dispersed it with a powerful blast of light.

 

Ambrosia stopped to sip on her coffee and awaited Asteria's reaction. It was perfect, not too bitter but not too sweet. She found herself hoping that the filly would not be overwhelmed by all of the information. From what she had seen so far, Asteria seemed to be a remarkably astute young pony. 

 

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


 

Shaking his head, he said, "Alright, Key... I'll be back with your set and cookies."
 

 

Key's brain was filled with the thought of the taste of nice, freshly baked cookies. Her absentminded smile morphed into an absentminded grin. Her eyes kept twinkling. She rambled while following Electrobolt to his saddlebag and then to the door. "Cookies! Cookies! Uhhh... I mean... Yeah... Thanks Bolt! Look, I don't really care about the flavors, but some variety would be nice. I like chocolate chips though. Actually, I like them a lot. Sugar cookies too... Those. Are. Sooooo. Good. They even taste good when you dig them out of the trash. When they're fresh they taste even better."

 

After putting his saddlebag on, he approached the door and opened it, before stopping as he noticed a strange letter right outside his door. "Huh...? What's this?" he asked nopony in particular. Picking up the envelope and opening it up, he then pulled out a card. "To the resident of room 10..." he started, before continuing to read the card. After he finished reading, he blinked. Apparently, he had been invited to join somepony named Dusky Coal for breakfast. Shaking his head, he sat the invitation down on his table. "Um, you go on ahead, Key. I'll be there in a bit."
 

 

Key stopped talking as soon as Electrobolt had opened the door. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the envelope on the floor. Even when Electrobolt had picked up the envelope and began reading, Key's eyes remained glued to where it had been on the floor. The position of the envelope had been remarkably odd. Rather than being immediately in front of the door, it had been placed at some distance. To Key, it didn't make any sense.

 

It was almost as though somepony had slid the letter under the door from the inside of the room and it had travelled some distance before stopping. However, that made no sense either. Key carefully thought about the letter's resting place. That was when the realization hit her. The distance was just about perfect for somepony to notice it if they had stepped out of the room and looked around. If it had been immediately in front of the door, then a pony stepping outside of their room would probably have missed it. This explanation made sense to her, but she was still troubled. Key's smile faded slightly. Something was wrong.

 

When Electrobolt turned around to place the letter on his table, Key restored her smile. She didn't want him to know that something was bothering her. Especially not something so silly as the position of the letter on the floor. Key had been nearly completely absorbed with the strange position of the letters, so she didn't fully catch what the latter had said. When Bolt told her to go on ahead, she didn't know what he was referring to, so she replied as best as she could. "Ok, bro, I'll see you there." As Electrobolt left, she looked after him for a few moments. While doing so, she saw another letter. This one was in front of her own room door. 

 

Key trotted out into the hallway and stood in front of her room door as though she had just walked out. First, she looked up, then she looked around. The envelope was just visible in her peripheral vision. Now, she stepped away from the door and examined the position of the door and the letter from a distance - they were exactly parallel to each other. Key blinked. An engineer couldn't have picked a more precise position. "What in Equestria..." She muttered under her breath, but she stopped. She had seen something like this before, but she hadn't noticed...

 

Her mind went back, searching her memories, to the very beginning of this adventure. The anonymous note that she had received. She had seen the letter after stepping into her own hotel room and setting down her saddlebags down right next to the door. The anonymous note had been positioned just right for her to notice it after entering her room. If it had been in another position, then it could have been swept aside when she swung the room door open. Instead, she had been able to open her door, enter the room, and set her saddlebags down before turning to see the letter right there, parallel to the door at a safe distance. Key's eyes opened wide. Just like somepony had arranged these letters on the train with some thought, so too had her anonymous note been arranged - with carefully thought out precision.

 

She left her own letter undisturbed on the floor, she needed it to stay in place. She sprinted to Electrobolt's table and frantically read the letter. "Breakfast with Dusky Coal, the train's engineer." Key spoke out loud, and her thoughts began to spin. She stared at the letter. The hoofwriting was not nearly the same as the jagged script that had been on the anonymous note, but she needed to see the anonymous note again to make sure. She had sent that to Detective Daylight. Feeling increasingly tense, Key made her way to Daylight's room, which was next to Electrobolt's, and she hammered on the door. 

 

After a few moments with no signs of activity, Key kicked at the ground. She figured that Daylight was probably at breakfast. She had so many questions. She needed to know who had placed the invitations. She wanted to compare the anonymous note with the invitation. She wondered if Daylight had even brought the note. Key sighed, loudly, then she shut Electrobolt's door and ventured into the dining car. 

 

When she arrived in the dining car, she was surprised to see that the cook was nowhere to be found. She also immediately saw Daylight. He was sitting at a table with three other ponies. One of them was Magicon, and he looked decisively uncomfortable. Another one was a pegasus that she had seen among the other passengers before. The last one was a unicorn that looked, to Key, like the anti-Daylight. His coat was dark, and his demeanor seemed cold. If Key could have placed a bet right there, she would've put every bit to her name that the shadowy unicorn was Dusky Coal. 

 

Key tried her best to be nonchalant. She fixed a plate of food and took a table near the side of the room - behind Dusky. She nearly gagged on her first bite of the food, it was completely lacking in any kind of sweetness whatsoever. She could eat almost anything though, so she sat in silence, intently observing the ponies at Daylight's table.

 

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


 

"Well... I don't like the idea of bothering you because of my fault... but my choices are far and between. That said, I'll accept your offer and I thank you very much for it Mr. Conductor." The pegasus said, bowing his head in sigh of appreciation. "However, if there's anything at all that I can do to help, please let me know and I'll do my best. I don't want to go without helping out if I know that I can  do something about it in these circumstances." He clarified to the conductor, trying to make sure that he was going to help out if he could. "But again, thank you very much for taking me inside your train to let me get to my destiny, and I'm very sorry for bothering you. I'll make sure to be a good passenger."
 

 

Vim nodded, and... This time... He smiled without even bothering to hide it. In fact, he grinned. This pegasus, he had passed the test. Vim spoke with his normal good natured loudness. "It's good that you don't like to be a bother, that just means that you're a respectful pony. Trust me, though. It's no trouble, and... You may yet have the opportunity to help. A smart, diligent, respectful pony is always helpful. It will be a pleasure to have you on board. I'm sure that you will be a good passenger. Just don't apologize anymore. It honestly isn't a burden. I don't do anything that I don't want to do."

 

"Um, by the way, what is your name? I don't think I've heard you mentioning it and I'd rather not call you "Mr. Conductor" all the time." the white pony said, slightly laughing at his sentence.
 

 

Vim boomed with laughter. "Hah! My real name is Vim. Feel free to call me Mr. Conductor whenever you want, though. Mr. Conductor? I don't know, I think it has a nice ring to it! Hey, Berry, what do you think?" Vim turned to his friend, but Berry Nut was gone. Vim blinked. "Eh... Right... Well, ok then." Apologetically, Vim turned back to Arcanel. "I'm sorry about that. He just has this weird habit of wandering off sometimes." A look of sadness flashed across Vim's face for just an instant before his genial manner was restored. 

 

Vim spoke to the mailpony. "Arcanel, maybe you'd like to join me? My engineer is having a bit of a breakfast on board the train. That's probably where we can find the assistant conductor. He'd be able to find you a room." Vim trotted towards the train. When he entered the baggage car, he spoke again. "Welcome aboard, Arcanel! I think it's official now."

 

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


 

"I was just doing my duty as a good unicorn,” making a quick glance at Dusky, hoping that he heard that last sentence.
 

 

Dusky hadn't missed the aside. However, he had wanted to put some distance between it and his response. He wanted time to think. All throughout his response to Daylight, Dusky had been thinking, meditating on what he would say. Now, he sat in silence for a few moments, looking at the table, contemplating his next course of action. His gaze only flickered once, briefly, when Key Gear entered the room.

 

After a few more moments, he looked up and spoke to Daylight conversationally, as though he was just continuing from where he had left off. "You know, I was just thinking... Thinking about what it means to be good. I've always found it to be so funny. Ponies everywhere practically fall over each other to stamp the label of goodness on themselves. But... Have they any clue of what 'good' actually is? Oh... I doubt it."

 

Dusky sighed. "By definition, 'good' means that something is 'above-average' or 'right', yes? So... If I was to describe a good pony..." Dusky made a quick glance at Magicon. "If I was to describe a good pony, then it would be a pony that is... Above-average or... A pony that is right? Well, let us consider what it means to be right? Hmmm? I think that when most ponies use this word... They mean something that is morally good. But... Now... We're right back to where we began."

 

Dusky shook his head and laughed silently, when he continued speaking his eyes seemed as though they were alight from the inside. "It's a circular definition. Do you know why? I'll tell you why. It's simple, oh so simple. The definition is meaningless. You see... There is really no such thing as good. Think about it. Good, bad... Both of these words are mere constructs designed by Equestrian society to uphold one set of ideas while pushing down another. It is a distraction, a distraction from the truth, which is that there is no good and no bad. Only strength. The strong... They define what is accepted as right, what is called good."

 

He licked his lips and then continued with a strange fervor. "This, all of this, is the reason that we have a society where ponies are still under threat from dragons, manticores, timberwolves, and all manner of other primitives. You see, it is the strong that define what is good and what is bad. And... What have they decided? They've decided that the good thing, the right thing is to protect the weak... To help those that fail miserably in helping themselves. To be guardians of those that are too worthless to guard themselves... Now, this drags us all down..."

 

An icy smile appeared on Dusky's face. "I would like... To propose a hypothetical. Let us say that there was a magic show that had gone terribly wrong. A pegasus had been caught off-guard and thrown into a portal. A 'good' unicorn stepped in to save this pegasus. This unicorn. They succeeded. The pegasus was saved." Dusky frowned. "The unicorn was the strong. The unicorn saved the pegasus. The pegasus was weak. Now... What was the result of this? Now, they are both weak. The unicorn is tired, weakened by the force of exertion. The pegasus always was weak, nothing much changed there."

 

Dusky's smile returned. "Now, take this hypothetical and apply it to the whole of Equestria. See? The very fabric of civilization is in danger. As the strong make ever greater sacrifices to save the weak in the name of 'good', they are merely becoming weak themselves - wasting away in the pursuit of some misguided sympathy for those that deserve none. Of course... An exercise of strength that incidentally results in saving another... Now... That is acceptable, but... Good for its own sake is merely a mistaken attempt to grab a hold of societal approval. Approval that will, of course, mostly come from the weak that need saving. Or... At least... This is my viewpoint. I'm open to others, assuming that they are explained well." Dusky held out his hooves as a gesture of his openness.
  • Brohoof 7

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While he continued walking towards town and Sugarcube Corner, he continued to think about the three ponies he had seen. The conductor looked as if he knew them and were having a friendly conversation with them, while the unicorn remained silent. The pegasus, however, he had no clue about. Recalling that he had a mail satchel, he pondered whether he was in urgent need of transportation to Las Pegasus or not. But even then, he could have just simply flown down. Unless his wings were worn out, he wouldn't need to take a train.

 

Clearing his head of these thoughts for now, he resumed his path to Sugarcube Corner. After a few minutes, he had arrived at the doors that were the entrance to this bakery filled with delicious goods. "Mmm... Every time, they always have something good inside..." he mindlessly mumbled with a smile on his face. After taking in the scent of the sweets a second time, he let out a content sigh as he opened the doors and stepped inside.

 

After another minute, the young colt walked out the doors again, his saddlebag filled with two bags of cookies and another bag that was filled with candy, some sweet and some sour. The cookies in the first bag were sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chip, and snickerdoodles, while the second bag was the same except it had no sugar cookies. His bag of bits now lightened up a bit, he started to walk back to the train station, before looking at the sky. Judging from the position of the sun, he assumed that not much time passed.

 

Looking around the area for a bit, he decided, "Hmm... Maybe I should look around for a bit... See if much has changed over the past few days. Plus, I haven't visited the park in a while..." Feeling as if he had plenty of time, he started heading towards Ponyville Park, casually walking by the area. Looking at the lone tree in the middle, he smiled softly as he remembered how he loved to nap there with the sun high in the sky. When the sun was just in the right position, he would feel the rays of the sun streaming down onto his coat, giving him soothing warmth.

 

As he smiled at the thought, he continued on his tour through Ponyville. From what he had seen, nothing had changed over the course of the past few days. Sighing, he began to head back towards the train station when he passed by one of the restaurants. As he looked over, he had a curious expression on his face as he noticed the cook from the train. And it seemed as if she was talking to this little filly whom he never saw before. Although he was curious about what the cook was doing, he decided to leave the two be. Besides, he didn't want to interrupt the cook and the cute-looking filly's discussions.

 

After a few more minutes, he returned to the train station, seeing the train and the white mailpony was still there. However, the dark-blue unicorn and the conductor weren't around to be seen right now. Although he was curious, he shook it off and entered the train... In which he then bumped into the conductor. "Oof... Oh, um... Sorry, sir..." he uttered apologetically, looking at the brown earth pony. "I, uh... I wasn't watching where I was going, I guess, heheh..."

 

However, not long after that, his ears jumped up as he thought he could hear something thumping. "What in Equestria is making that noise...?" he muttered barely loud enough for anypony around him to hear. He then looked around the room, wondering where the noise was coming from. After looking around for a little longer, he eventually stopped in front of one of Trixie's boxes. This box looked different from the others, not to mention it was the only one with a lock.

 

When he leaned closer to the box, he could clearly hear the noise. Curious, he inspected the lock. It seemed rather weak, but he didn't want to break it off, at least, not unless the conductor didn't mind. Looking back to the conducter, Electro spoke up, "Um... There seems to be something in this box here, but it's locked... That's pretty odd, considering how this is the only box that's locked, wouldn't you think so...?" Looking back at the lock, he added, "The lock doesn't even look sturdy... I bet if I hit it, the lock would fall off..."

 

His curiosity taking over, he turned around, facing away from the box. Looking over to Vim, he said, "You might wanna back up... Who knows what might be in this box..." Then, with a sigh, he looked in front of him, before shooting his hindlegs up as the impact knocked the lock off. He then quickly turned around, ready to defend himself and the two other ponies should a monster emerge from the box.

Edited by Electrobolt
  • Brohoof 6

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Asteria listened, eyes wide with interest, to Ambrosia's account of the strange doings aboard the train. She was mildly surprised to say the least. She had honestly thought it had been a normal, boring train ride for Lapis. And now she found out he had been having fun exploring a mystery without her. What was most odd was that almost all the events had happened during the course of a single day, all while she had been asleep. She was a little cross with him, but she forgave him almost immediately. He probably had no idea that something weird was going to happen during the trip anyway.

 

Ambrosia paused, and Asteria thought it was the end of the story. But then she realized the waiter had returned with their food. She ate much of it rather quickly. She loved to just eat without stopping. The faster it was in her, the better. One pony walking by, a green earth pony, stared at her briefly, but went back to his own business after a mere second. She shrugged and kept eating. Once back on the train, she'd aid Lapis in his quest to uncover the mystery aboard the train. But as quickly as she had stopped, Ambrosia resumed speaking.

 

The darkness worried her just as much as the other things. But she had been so hungry, she had barely given it her full attention. Now, belly full, she thought it all over. It sounded vaguely like things she'd seen before. Odd unicorns typically made their home in abandoned ruins, and they certainly didn't like explorers coming into their hideouts. The magic they used was always so different, especially from normal unicorns. And of course other ponies, and even different creatures made their homes in the out of the way places. Also, unusual artifacts with strange powers had been uncovered as well by the scholarly duo.

 

So she was no stranger to the words Ambrosia spoke. For a very brief moment, Asteria's eyes lost their youthful glimmer. What she had seen in her travels had made her just the slightest bit fearful. But never one to be sad or scared for longer then necessary, quickly returned to her normal cheerfulness.

 

"Wow, that all sounds so amazing. And you weren't scared at all? Me, I would have been a little frightened. But Lapis would have been there, so I know he would have reassured me. And this detective guy sounds tough, as well as Magicon too. I'd like to meet them later and ask them about their experiences. You could arrange that, right?" she asked with a twinge of wonder in her voice. Even though she felt a little nervous on the inside, she knew it would all work out in the end. With Lapis along with those unicorn stallions, surely they could get to the bottom of things.

  • Brohoof 6

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Vim nodded, and... This time... He smiled without even bothering to hide it. In fact, he grinned. This pegasus, he had passed the test. Vim spoke with his normal good natured loudness. "It's good that you don't like to be a bother, that just means that you're a respectful pony. Trust me, though. It's no trouble, and... You may yet have the opportunity to help. A smart, diligent, respectful pony is always helpful. It will be a pleasure to have you on board. I'm sure that you will be a good passenger. Just don't apologize anymore. It honestly isn't a burden. I don't do anything that I don't want to do."

 

 

When Arcanel had concentrated on the earth pony again after his small wondering over where the the unicorn went, the only thing he saw and heard was a big smile and a huge change of demeanor. *Woah... it's like he went from stern and stony to happy-go-lucky and loud in ten seconds flat. That's kind of... surprising, to say the least.* The pegasus thought in small disbelief. When he had first met the conductor, he saw a pony who probably didn't show this side of him a lot, if he had been completely honest. And yet here he was, with himself apparently triggering the orange pony's current mood. And if that wasn't enough, some of his words had made the mailpony blush slightly. *Smart, diligent and respectful? Um... I know I want to be those but... I didn't expect to hear them out of an almost total stranger like that... wow...* Arcanel was wanting to just thank him and bury himself in his mane once more. But he was at least happy that the conductor had accepted him and that he had thought well of him. That made him more happy than most would think.

 

 

Vim boomed with laughter. "Hah! My real name is Vim. Feel free to call me Mr. Conductor whenever you want, though. Mr. Conductor? I don't know, I think it has a nice ring to it! Hey, Berry, what do you think?"

 

 

The white pony had recoiled his head a bit from the laughter, but just smiled nonetheless. Now he at least knew that the conductor's name was Vim. *Huh... interesting name... I had never heard of it before...* He pondered as he tried to recall if he had heard such name before, only to come empty-hoofed. However, he also realized how the conductor had gone to look at what probably was his friend, only, as Arcanel had seen before, to find nopony.

 

 

Vim turned to his friend, but Berry Nut was gone. Vim blinked. "Eh... Right... Well, ok then."

 

 

Arcanel felt particularly bad, as he thought he was the cause Vim's friend had left, which he now realized was called Berry. *(Sigh) It's probably my fault that he went away. Probably got bored and left. But why would he leave unannounced?* he thought, as he found it odd that a friend would leave without at least saying so.

 

 

Apologetically, Vim turned back to Arcanel. "I'm sorry about that. He just has this weird habit of wandering off sometimes." A look of sadness flashed across Vim's face for just an instant before his genial manner was restored. 

 

 

This caught the white pegasus off guard. *So... he just randomly distracts himself and goes elsewhere?... Well... sounds like something I would do on occasion...* he thought, as he recalled a few times he had spaced out and needing to be yelled to be brought back. He also could have sworn he saw a small sad face on the conductor, but wasn't able to confirm it either. And before he got the chance to say that there was no problem, Vim spoke again.

 

 

Vim spoke to the mailpony. "Arcanel, maybe you'd like to join me? My engineer is having a bit of a breakfast on board the train. That's probably where we can find the assistant conductor. He'd be able to find you a room."

 

 

Hearing the first words made the mailpony smile in joy. "Oh... um... sure! That would be lovely, thank you very much!" he said, trying not to show how overjoyed he really was. The fact he had made such a good impression on Vim had really made his day after his predicament a few minutes ago. And now he was getting invited to breakfast? *This is too good to be true... but, might as well enjoy it... aaaand I am a bit hungry* he admitted as his stomach made a small growl. He also wanted to help the conductor out if he could, but before he could speak with him again, he saw that the conductor had already trotted off to the train.

 

 

"Welcome aboard, Arcanel! I think it's official now."

 

 

As much as it surprised him, Arcanel only let out a small laugh and followed the conductor to the train, slightly blushing as he did so. *Haha! I guess I was wrong about the conductor. He looks as filled with joy as I am. That's great!* he thought in happiness. He wanted to thank once more the conductor but he seemed to have disappeared already in the train. That's when he saw a green pony with a blue mane go to the train and bump into Vim. This made the white pony chuckle. *Watch out kid.* Was all he could think of. It was somewhat weird to say that to others when normally it was him who received the phrase. "Woah... never thought I'd be thinking those words myself... I'm really getting old." Arcanel thought out loud as he laughed. he had recovered his normal attitude after the great positive response and support from the conductor and everything seemed to be going great again. "Heh... who would have known..." He said in disbelief. A few minutes ago he was panicking all over the place. Now, it's like his problems went away with one swoop. "With any luck that will last." Was the last thing the white pony said before finishing to catch up to the conductor in the train.

 

@@Electrobolt,@

 

After he reached the train and entered the car, he looked around to take in the sights... only to see Vim and the same green earth pony from before in front of something... and the latter in a fighting position. This took Arcanel by surprise. *I wonder what happened...* he thought, trying to figure out why would the green pony be in a fighting position. So he got closer to them and asked out loud. "Umm... is something going on here?" The white mailpony, his face a big question mark.

Edited by Arcanel
  • Brohoof 7

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Dusky sighed. "By definition, 'good' means that something is 'above-average' or 'right', yes? So... If I was to describe a good pony..." Dusky made a quick glance at Magicon. "If I was to describe a good pony, then it would be a pony that is... Above-average or... A pony that is right? Well, let us consider what it means to be right? Hmmm? I think that when most ponies use this word... They mean something that is morally good. But... Now... We're right back to where we began."

 

The conversation was quickly turning sour for Magicon. The more Dusky talked, the more Magicon just wanted to leave. We would’ve banged his head against a wall or a table if he were just alone with Dusky. Daylight wasn’t offering much help and Magicon seemed powerless to shut the unicorn up.

 

Worse still was that he saw Dusky grow increasingly insulting of Magicon and his methods. His face changed and he glared at the unicorn, silently ordering to shut up and stop insulting him. Yet Dusky seemed obliviously to Magicon’s glares as he continued talking and deliberately insulting the unicorn.

 

@,

When Dusky proposed the hypothetical situation about the pegasus and the unicorn Magicon instantly knew that it was about him and Flow. His blood curdled as the engineer kept talking about how Magicon had made himself weaker just to save an already weak pegasus. Magicon’s patience was practically gone and he had no desire to share his own opinions. Heck, he would take opposite and extreme ones just to try and upset Dusky, for the sake of upsetting Dusky. But he felt insulted and would no longer tolerate any of his nonsense.

 

When Dusky finally finished, Magicon, attempting to hide his anger behind his politeness, stated, “Well, Dusky, you’ve certainly made your point. But I must be heading back to my room. Thank you for the invitation.”

 

Magicon turned around and left them behind, fuming, he just wanted to get to Los Pegasus now more than ever.

  • Brohoof 5

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"Magicon huh, I think.....I think that makes a great name for a unicorn so talented in magic! I always thought that you were type that would only care for himself, your looks, along with your attitude just give that impression., but then I saw what you actually are: Somepony who cares about others. I..um....I admire those traits" Flow replied 
 
@,
 
Flow had expected a response from Dusky after answering his questions, instead she saw him nod to her answers, making it seem like it didn't really matter to him anymore, it made her feel uneasy "Uh...were you really listening?" She thought,
 

"You know, I was just thinking... Thinking about what it means to be good. I've always found it to be so funny. Ponies everywhere practically fall over each other to stamp the label of goodness on themselves. But... Have they any clue of what 'good' actually is? Oh... I doubt it."
 
"Huh? What is he talking about? Magicon....Magicon is a good pony, rescuing me from Trixie's madness, why question it?" She thought, continuing to listen to Dusky's words in an attempt to find out what he is talking about.
 

Dusky shook his head and laughed silently, when he continued speaking his eyes seemed as though they were alight from the inside. "It's a circular definition. Do you know why? I'll tell you why. It's simple, oh so simple. The definition is meaningless. You see... There is really no such thing as good. Think about it. Good, bad... Both of these words are mere constructs designed by Equestrian society to uphold one set of ideas while pushing down another. It is a distraction, a distraction from the truth, which is that there is no good and no bad. Only strength. The strong... They define what is accepted as right, what is called good."   He licked his lips and then continued with a strange fervor. "This, all of this, is the reason that we have a society where ponies are still under threat from dragons, manticores, timberwolves, and all manner of other primitives. You see, it is the strong that define what is good and what is bad. And... What have they decided? They've decided that the good thing, the right thing is to protect the weak... To help those that fail miserably in helping themselves. To be guardians of those that are too worthless to guard themselves... Now, this drags us all down..."   An icy smile appeared on Dusky's face. "I would like... To propose a hypothetical. Let us say that there was a magic show that had gone terribly wrong. A pegasus had been caught off-guard and thrown into a portal. A 'good' unicorn stepped in to save this pegasus. This unicorn. They succeeded. The pegasus was saved." Dusky frowned. "The unicorn was the strong. The unicorn saved the pegasus. The pegasus was weak. Now... What was the result of this? Now, they are both weak. The unicorn is tired, weakened by the force of exertion. The pegasus always was weak, nothing much changed there."   Dusky's smile returned. "Now, take this hypothetical and apply it to the whole of Equestria. See? The very fabric of civilization is in danger. As the strong make ever greater sacrifices to save the weak in the name of 'good', they are merely becoming weak themselves - wasting away in the pursuit of some misguided sympathy for those that deserve none. Of course... An exercise of strength that incidentally results in saving another... Now... That is acceptable, but... Good for its own sake is merely a mistaken attempt to grab a hold of societal approval. Approval that will, of course, mostly come from the weak that need saving. Or... At least... This is my viewpoint. I'm open to others, assuming that they are explained well." Dusky held out his hooves as a gesture of his openness.
 
"Jeez, this is getting annoying, what's the problem with getting exhausted after saving somepony from a portal? I can understand that reopening a portal takes a lot of magic but does he too? Also why is he blabbing about the word 'good'? It seemed like he isn't interested in knowing what happened at all and just finding a way to annoy us, I guess I'll leave now," 
 
Then, she saw Magicon leave the dining car, it was clear to her that he wasn't enjoying Dusky's talking, it also prompted her to leave too.
 
Next, Flow stood up and told him "Um...I'm done here, I guess I'll take a breather outside, err....thanks for the breakfast." She then left the train and stretched herself outside, trying to forget about Dusky's ranting.
Edited by Narutardedscum
  • Brohoof 4

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