>>606137 I can't exactly run away without telling her a thing. But I can leave a letter about it in the house we are staying at. Does she have a way to reach me through mail even if she doesn't know my heading?
>>606138 There's the mail system, though that seems a little counter-intuitive while tracking a courier. There's also internal communique if you can find Inquisitorial monasteries. Large cities with temples may also be able to help in this regards.
>>606139 She's more experienced than I am, after all… Leave the letter, detailing whet I believe to be a dangerously large plot with Nightmare Moon's return as its main point. Tell her visions are clouded by the Moon's oppressive light, and that a victim of her curses has been found. Go further along explaining Lilly's dreams and remeber to say I'm trying to help her. Make no mention of the healer of this town being a pirate. Tell her, however, that the clinic is snobbed for all but the most unimportant of illnesses, which seems suspicious.
>>606157 He shrugs. "If they have coin and aren't stealing the product, their name inn' any of my business. We get a lot of folk, maybe farmers or smalltime traders, couriers, honest folks ain't doin' nothin' wrong, just get on board and ride the waves down the coast. The league wants all this paperwork, sure. No one needs that though. People have been taking ferries without signing paperwork for centuries."
>>606167 "Because I have better things to do than run all over Autumnsreach once I'm there. Are you honestly doubting the word of an inquisitor who has literally nothing to lose by signing a paper for you?" Lean against the railing of the ship, at this point simply curious to see where this conversation will lead.
>>606168 "You have nothing to lose, but if the paper is questioned, I lose. Maybe they even throw me in jail for forgery or some such. Ten bits isn't much. With all respect due, why should the Inquisition get preferential payment plans?"
>>606169 "As I said, time is of the essence for me." Rummage through my pockets and find the ten bits, in a Convently Sized Little Bag™, throwing them to the cap. "Hundreds of inquisitors pay with letters of debt all around Equestria, it'd be stupid if there was no way to make sure the fake ones can be told apart from the real ones."
>>606184 Draw my weapon. "Sailor, tell your captain I will mail for the cost to be repaid once you reach Autumnsreach." Because I did get the name of the boat and the captain, of course.
Rush for the rowboat on the one side of the ship which faces the town of Lubuck. Glance quickly to make sure both paddles are here, and then land on it before cutting off the ropes tying it to the ship proper, falling with it into the water below.
>>606185 Your vessel splashes loudly as it slams into the water. With the current, you feel yourself being tugged along behind the boat. It's how they can get to Autumnsreach so quickly: fast ocean currents here.
>>606198 Finding that mare will be hell on earth. If only my polite bug hadn't bitten at the worst possible time. Take a moment, while still out of town, to sit down and relax, drinking a vial of Dream Wine while focusing on that courier. She's probably by a post office though, mostly because she might get free accomodations there… '1d10'
>>606202 Ring someone up, and as I wait write a letter to the inquisitorial officer of Autumnsreach, requesting the payment of transportation for two (2) at smuggling rate and one (1) rowboat to the captain. Affix my seal and the secret code upon it, then shut it and be ready to mail it through the proper channels.
>>606212 "Why fly off here then… This makes no sense at all! What's so special about this town that she had to fly away like that…" A light goes off inside my mind. "Has there been any notable pirate incursion in Lubuck during the last 20 years?"
>>606219 Saint Valorous - its walls are thirty feet tall, and there is a jungle-gym esque metal dome over the top. You wonder if they're trying to keep the rabble out or the students in. Saint Valorous was called a Hero - a paladin of the mind. Before Valorous, the use of potions was considered mysticism or even witchery, but he legitimized them and brought the light of science to their employ. He traveled the land, protecting the weak and downtrodden, using his marvelous chemistry and blade. This university is dedicated to him, and among the topics studied here, is the science of alchemy, called by some "chemistry".
>>606221 The most striking difference between the university grounds and the rest of the city is the clockwork monstrosity in the center of it. A huge sort of belltower, with a clock face on the front. It rings every hour, one ring for each hour of the day. The ponies here have embraced a new concept of lifestyle: time discipline. Unlike farmers, who work until sundown or builders, who work until the job is done, these students are citizens of a new era that exists on a schedule. They are ruled by a clock, rather than natural phenomenon or their own goals.
It is also striking that those inside the campus are all white well-to-do. This is not the humble monastery where most paladins and clerics where most paladins are educated. No modest robes or acolyte's habits to be seen: instead, the latest fashions, and every one of these rich whelps-of-gentry is dressed. It reminds you of readings on the ancient past when it was considered immodest to go nude – though you can clearly tell by the cuts of some of those outfits that the priority is to be a symbol of affluence, not modesty.
The library proper stands imposingly as the largest structure on the grounds - as well it should. It must have an astounding archival and reference section.
>>606221 You ring for the librarian, and a stallion in thick glasses appears. He looks suspicious. "I'll have you know that we have only approved texts here, and you can't search our archives for 'heresy' without proper cause. I will speak to the Bishop about this - don't think I won't."
>>606226 "I do not believe the university has any studies on piracy, so your only avenue would be the newspaper archives. Dreary work. And you say you'll be reading through twenty years of newspapers?"
>>606230 "There are ponies who have been in town twenty years – poor beggars and rich nobles alike. A simple question like 'was there a pirate raid' can be answered much faster. Maybe they remember a day, or even a year. That cuts your research time by 95%."
>>606528 "No..at least I hope not, I mean she didn't take too many ponies in confidence. I know she and Wark got along well. And of course Light and Rosemary were inseperable. But she didn't talk much with other ponies. She seemed nice enough however. I think she was just a bit shy."
>>606539 I look down. "I've had time to make peace with what happened… but I still miss them. I know they did bad things and that they only had themselves to blame for what happened to them but… I wish they were still around to help me."
>>606542 "… Thanks miss Selena. I'm glad I ran into you. I know my mother believed in destiny, so maybe she was right and this has something to do with it. I just need to… fix what they did. Everything will be okay if I just fix it…"
>>606562 "What do I do?" I pat my courier's hat. "I'm a freelance courier. I used to pretty much work entirely in the eastern seaboard but… well, you know what happened. I don't have a place of my own, because being part of the postal service allows me to just sleep in the offices."
>>606583 "I can't really complain, but I sometimes wish I could do something else. I don't earn a lot of money, so if I get injured for a while I can get in deep trouble. But it's not all bad, I get free food and shelter often."
You wander down the long dirt road from the university which is only generously considered inside the city's borders. Entering the city proper, you find yourself on Abracadabra Street, which seems to be full of cottage industry: shops with house lofts.
>>606851 Rhanna pulled on Selena's tail a little bit ''Miss Selena why is this place called Abwacadabwa?'' She asked,accidentally changing the ''R' for ''W' Her tongue poked out of her mouth for a moment ''ugh,sorry. I mean Abracadabra,why is this place called Abracadabra?''
>>606864 This shop looks more like a den than a shop. There's no counter, and several chairs and looms. In the back, there is a roaring hearth, and there are several foals bundled up in heavy blankets sitting near it. They were probably watching the flames dance before you got their attention. In a nearby chair, a grandmotherly sort is knitting. In the back, there's a middle aged stallion beating clothing dry. He turns to address you.
"To fight a storm like that, you must really need some cloth!"
>>606870 "Thanks, but I'm taking on a different fight right now, for which I need informations." Pat the water off my armor's shoulders and share a look with the stallion by the counter, pointing at the other ponies in the shop. "May we talk?"
>>607124 >>607126 >>607127 The FIS Merriment is a merchant galleon. Built of some warm, orange-colored wood, it seems festive and inviting. Although it is only morning, there are large Neighponese decorative paper balls with lanterns inside, further lending color to the vessel. Intended as a proper passenger vessel, there is a large quadruple-wide entrance near the aft of the ship that leads down a grand staircase into proper apartments. There is a plaque above the stairway that reads: A Hero's Welcome, in the same way that you might see Home Sweet Home at somepony's domicile.
Indeed, there do seem to be an odd bunch of random assorted mercenaries and crewmembers idling about, though most of the former are headed belowdecks to get set up in rooms before the launch.
>>607125 "Sounds awfully vague. No need to dance about the subject. I am getting up there, though Ma might know more, depending on what you can get out of her."
>>607130 >>607132 Rhanna smiled ''hehe,but what are they gonna steal from me?the pee rock?'' She asked patting the pocket in her jacket ''Oh,but pirates must be really cool!I heard that they go around in the boats getting money and crew and living awesome adventures,fighting mosters…And being awesom in general!'' She said as she seemed to be swordfighting with an invisible enemy,with an invisible sword.
>>607131 "Pirate attacks? Well… there wouldn't have been one of those since… maybe '84 or '83? Seems like something out of another lifetime, really. But even with the proximity to places like Reptil, Lubuck has always been a mostly secure city. Perhaps that's why the League is quartered here."
>>607133 They range in all kinds, from knights-in-shining-armor to old sea dogs that look intimidating without even trying. One pegasus is missing a wing entirely.
>>607132 Most of the rooms on the topmost floor are already full. You look around and find one on the next deck down. Better get Lilly and Rhanna settled in before someone else picks it.
>>607137 "Oh, an out-of-towner, eh? You know, the Middle Seas League, the trade organization. If you count merchant vessels, their fleet is probably bigger than the Equestrian navies. A collection of Free Imperial Cities and trade guilds. Quite influential. Of course, as authorized merchants, we're part of the Textiles Guild – I have my paperwork proving I am a master craftsman around here somewhere – and in tern the Textiles Guild has membership in the League. So I suppose you could say that I work for them, eh?"
>>607144 "Ah, well, I didn't get a good look, we're a bit insulated from the harbor here in the merchant quarter. I imagine that's intentional somewhere down the line – wait, no, we didn't follow the zoning at all, we're on a street set aside for magic shops. Hm. Well, anyway, if I recall the stories right – and this is second hand, mind, maybe four vessels? Heavy artillery, bombarded the harbor. That was back before the league had its own armed vessels, so you know the town had to mount a manual defense. Maybe a senior member of the town guard could still remember it? As for a name, I don't know if pirate fleets have a name, or if they do, I didn't hear about it."
>>607150 "Well, there is the police office in the square near the docks, though you might have better luck with the Old Nature Fort. Back before Lubuck was a pony city it was a sort of, uh, what's the word… Let's just say village. Deer village. They would trade with ponies, and then a trade post got built, and so on. But eventually the urbanization drove off the Deer. In any case, the ponies which worshiped Mother Nature built a fort centuries ago. It was abandoned when the Deer and their disciples left, so the guard took up office there. The guard is not a police force – not accountable to the Crown. Nor is it beholden to the League, like their own cartel enforcers. The guard are a sort of standing militia – volunteer soldiers. These days they're mostly outdated due to the modernization of the police and growth of the league, but there may still be hangers on out there. They would've been the ones primary to the defense back in those days. It seems like a different lifetime, now."
>>607159 He seems to not understand but waves as you go.
The Fort itself is situated on the hill opposite the university outside of town. You wonder if there's any symbolism in that, but eventually decide on the fact that hills make natural fortifications and they are simply the two hills closest to the town. Near the entrance there are a couple of teens chatting absently, but they draw themselves to attention as best they can - still a little slouchy by your measure - when you approach.
>>607163 When you're ready, we'll take off for Reptil, but first, roll Wheel of Fortune.
>>607182 Lodge is probably an accurate description. The forest does not appear to have ended with the fort walls - there are still a number of obstructing trees inside that you suspect would be very problematic if the need for an actual defense arose. In any case, there is a large structure that looks like a hunting lodge in the back. Upon closer inspection, the wood is oddly fused – as though it naturally grew in the shape of a hunting lodge. Weird stuff. Inside there are some old ponies in uniform playing cards around a table, though a young pony, again, probably a teenager, is guarding the door.
>>607188 >>607187 >>607186 The voyage is long. Two days long. Though not as boring as it could've been. During that time, there is dancing, feasting, and there are games of chance up on the main deck. It's almost sad when you make port in Reptil, a realization that it won't last forever. The voyage up to the Cape will be through a passage of currents known as the Middle Sea – a portion of the Manesian that has no strong currents and are notorious for doldrums. The choice of route, however, is intended to avoid storms. Indeed, for the first time in many days, you are not rained on as you look out over the town of Reptil."
>>607191 "Well, we'll see what we can do. Who is it then? Or… what?"
>>607193 "Ah, the old glory days. That would've been in the Spring of '84, if memory serves. A… four vessel fleet, I believe? Under the command of the notorious pirate Forever September. Needless to say the attack was repelled, though it did take a toll on the town, not that you could tell today."
>>607195 The town's port is well organized, and you notice a surprisingly large number of guard patrols here. There's even a great gate where people are being searched coming in and out. From your vantage on the ship, you can see the area outside of the gated dock area looks like a slum.
>>607198 Most of the city near the docks looks boring. Usual port stuff. The city outside looks more full of life and character. Smoke stacks! Crowds! Stages! Interesting stuff is brewing!
>>607199 The envelope itself is empty. You can only seen the seal. The seal itself is a drop of wax - nothing pressed into it. Now examining it, it seems warmer than before.
>>607211 "The Warlock, as some have taken to calling him. No – and I would think not. Most of those known pirates used to serve him, and usually when a band of pirates splits off, it's because their old liege died. I imagine he's with the fish now."
>>607210 Up to you. If so, it looks very different than it did about ten years ago.
>>607218 Rhanna looked back and forth from Lilly to Selena. ''Well…I rather go with you'' She said wrapping and arm around her leg >>607219 ''not that I have anything against you Lilly,I just rather stay with Selena'' She said tightening the leg hug ''Besides I wanna meet the guy,I never saw magic before''
>>607217 "Well, in those days, I'd guess they might have gone to Triangle Cove or Reptil to lick their wounds, though they may have feared pursuit, and if that is the case, they would follow the Great Manesian Current all the way up the coast for maximum distance. But again, I assure you, the commanding officer of the fleet was the pirate known as Forever September. I fought her in single combat, though it was broken up by a stray cannon ball that forced us to break locked swords."
>>607223 >>607224 >>607226 "Heading into the city? We'll need to look you over for contraband. Be aware that the port authority has no responsibility over anything that happens inside Reptil. If you're pickpocketed, we can't do anything about it."
>>607234 You get searched as well, and they let you through the gates.
As previously mentioned, the city of Reptil proper is something of a hole. It's the kind of party you'd expect during certain drinking holidays – after 2AM. Drunkards are stumbling about on the streets and there are shifty-eyed ponies in rags all over in the crowd. There are an assortment of little shops here where you could probably buy anything in the world, from slaves to candy, but none of it has any organization. One shop you see sells diamond dog toes and Dixie Apples right next to each other – they don't even pretend to have a method. They're all just random bazaars selling whatever they have.
On the far end of the street there is a large stage set up and a crowd gathered. You hear a loud voice that isn't yelling – like when someone magically enhances their voice to speak louder. You're too far (and the marketplace too loud) to make it out.
There are side streets here as well. One twists upward to a big hill where there are mansions among shacks – mostly built out of ship refuse — and the other twists down deep into the gutter of the side streets – at one point the light becomes completely blocked out. On the far side of the big crowd up ahead, you anticipate there is another road that leads out of the city onto the island proper, into some of the natural wooded area. The city is not walled – only the docks, which are carefully secured.
>>609506 >>609507 Rhanna's usually droppy ears seemed to droop even lower as she visually cringed with the lou noises, shady individuals and bad smell… "I don't like it in here miss Selena…" She said holding into Selena's legs as they walked
>>609520 >>609520 >>609521 "That's dumb…Fillies don't like dog paws and I'm sure colts don't like them either… This place is bad miss Selena I wanna go home…N-no I wanna go back to the ship…" She sniffed '1d10' maybe she could pick up the smell of something interesting?
>>609531 >>609532 There's a pony on the stage with a large, black beard. His eyes look kind of crazy. Unfocused, maybe. His snout looks broken, or at least dislocated.
He is standing next to two large metal pylons of some sort and talking to the crowd.
"AND THIS IS THE FUTURE!"
To punctuate it, he steps on a panel on the stage. You get flashbacks to battles with mages as without warning, a BOLT OF LIGHTNING blasts between the two large metal pylons. Amazingly, it seems to have gone from one to the other without killing anyone.
>>609533 If you had to guess, that area up on the hill looks the most civilized. Not saying much.
"I myself have worked with the doctor personally, and I can tell you that this electrical essence, as it is called, will soon define the entire world. At this very moment in Teat, there are talks of using this electrical essence as a source of energy to fuel magic that anypony – even earth ponies and pegasi will be able to use. Imagine, if you will, a candle that needs no wax, and can be lit or extinguished on a whim!"
"I understand some of you have your doubts – but taking a look at the industralization as it is now referred to in Salad, Anneiv, and Starry Slough – a new race of technological proportions is slowly gripping our world. As we speak, a carriage the size of several Ursa Minors lined up in a row and made of refined iron ore hurtles – propelled ONLY by boiling water – to deliver these same pylons to Dixie City. And what do you suppose THEY'LL do when they get THEIR hooves on it? You think those Dixies will just let this pass them by? I say–"
[The rabble begins to grow so loud you can't hear at this point]
>>609547 There are mixed opinions. One of the most prevalent (or maybe the people are just the loudest) is that Reptil is "We are not Equestria". You're sure that would make more sense with some local political context.
The easiest to pick out are the cheers and the boos, but it sounds like a lot of people are just yelling to talk to the person next to them.
>>609548 >>609546 Even backing up in the main plaza reduces the sound significantly, but to get some genuine quiet you need to get off the streets. Which direction?
>>609558 You catch sight of somepony in a courier's outfit like you alight on the hill and go into a building made out of cement. It's roughly an uneven rectangular hunk of the mix. No windows. There's not even a door on the front. The top has a 'skylight' of a sort – by which I mean a gaping hole you can fly into.
>>609559 You head down this long road that slowly tilts up and leads to a collection of larger buildings. They seem more permanent but look generally awful in terms of design. Cobbled together from ship refuse and stone blocks.
>>609563 It's not dark nor sinister. Afternoon light streams in through the ceiling.
This place looks like a hurricane hit it six years ago and no one cared enough to pick up. There are still ancient, moldy packages crumpled up in the corner, and the 'carpet' appears to be just a three inch layer of undelivered letters.
>>609564 It's hard to judge based on the architectural style, or lack thereof. You'd guess based on the ponies around here that it is either some sort of political district, or possibly a fighting arena.
>>609573 The courier looks up at you and sighs in relief. "Oh, good, there's someone here. Usually your office is abandoned. This place is a total mess – I hope you at least TRIED to deliver these letters all over your floor. Can you go ahead and sign for a package? And I'm going to want to stay the night. Where do you keep the food? I'm beat."
>>609575 >>609572 She shook her head again "No…Sorry" she breathe fiercely with her nose. Making a pig-like sound as she drew the mucus stuck on her nose back "My nose is full of mucus…I can't even breathe right… I dont think I'm sick though…"
>>609585 "Reptil doesn't have much in the way of organized authority, outside of the Port Authority. It's under MSL control – did you get a look at those guards? They look like they're besieging the gates of Tartarus itself. You might find some information dealers in the Lower City, too. I think I'm just going to dump my package and move on."
>>609581 >>609584 This is the oddest street you've ever seen. It's clearly a slope, but it's like the rest of the city isn't sloping with it. There are no doors down here, or windows – even basement windows. Suddenly you realize there's a roof above you – when did that start? Glancing back, it appears you're under a building. The street continues – paving and all, completely undisturbed by this development – to a… river up ahead. It's dark, too. No lights.
>>609858 >>609857 It appears to be a sewage "river". You can see there are chutes from the buildings nearby that are probably used for trash and biological waste, though many of them are collapsed or crushed.
It extends deep into darkness in both directions. The air here is rotten, but not stagnant, and seems to naturally rise out the street you entered. It wasn't immediately apparent that this is a sewage line because the whole city smells bad.
>>609859 "Reptil has always been a rowdy down since the Baron left. This council is a travesty. Just gives you more faith in the monarchy."
>>609867 And so the responsible adult drags the crying child through the sewer.
Eventually, you come to a dead end. There's a bridge, however, and a perpendicular path continues on the opposite side of the river. The sewage river is filtered through a grate below, and you can see that larger items get diverted in this way – though by the number of things stuck in it, someone probably comes to fish it out once in a while. Maybe homeless ponies.
The passage ahead is rough hewn and there are structural reinforcements such as rods sticking out at odd angles. In the far distance, you see a light, which indicates to you that you are in front of a long tunnel.
>>609901 He grins. "I had hoped you might ask for help."
He pulls out a broken beer bottle and uses it to cut off your hair. He's so close as he works that you can feel his breath on your spine. Creepy.
"Good. Of the two main streets, take a left, follow it down, and take a left again. Cross the bridge. Be wary of bums - they like to ambush ponies that look like tourists. Maybe it's best the bums stop you, though, eh? Real bad figures lurk down there. Good luck pretty mare."
>>609902 >>609900 Bum four slips on some loose newspapers while trying to cut Rhanna, but Bum 3 gets in a hit. Bum 2 stands up.
>>609909 Rhanna dug around until she was below the bum that was CLOSEST to Selena and then jumped out of the ground to clash with him "Get OFF OF HER YOU MEANIE!" '1D10'hack slash bite everything '1d10' and a Appraise roll on the same Bum as before
Bum 2 strangles you while Bum 3 comes in for a heavily handed hoof slap. You black out from the nonlethal attack. The last thing you see before you pass out is a blur as Rhanna tackles Bum 2 and he goes down in a wave of red.
Bum 4 tries to grab Rhanna with magic, but it backfires and he gets magic feedback.
Bum 3 Bum 4 HLP
Selena [░░░░░░░░░░] UNC Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░]
Bum 3 turns to Rhanna and points a hoof. "What are you waiting for? Grab the kid!"
Bum 2 [Glancing Appraise] Health: [░░░░]
>>609917 The crowd has mostly dispersed by now. It seems the man on the stage has packed up and left. The city center is still bustling, however, with partying drunkards and thieves.
Maeda There… out in the darkness. A fugitive running. Fallen from Celestia. Fallen from Grace. Sun be your witness. You never shall yield. 'Til you come face to face. 'Til you come face to face. She knows her way in the dark. Yours is the way of the LORD. And those who follow the path of the righteous shall have their reward! And if they fall as Nightmare Moon fell – the Flames! The Sword!
You follow a vision and the stars to Reptil. You've arrived at the Port Authority, a heavily garrisoned MSL-controlled walled region within the township of Reptil (which is otherwise unwalled). This area looks clean and orderly, but extremely well protected. The gates to Reptil proper have been described as "besieging the gates of Tartarus itself".
>>610101 You hit more bricks before you get much deeper. The bum is still struggling to get up.
>>610101 You're halted at the gate into the city. There's a portcullis here, so it's not like you could keep going without their intervention anyway.
"Before entrance into the city, you need to be searched for contraband. Additionally, you'll need to sign this waiver saying that the MSL is not responsible for anything that might befall you outside of the MSL-controlled zone, such as thievery or wounding."
>>610103 Here are some of the characters you see: A conclave of bums A shady dealer looking type Some gangsters A fortune teller stall of extremely questionable veracity A heavily armored litter surrounded by guards that look like they wouldn't hesitate to shoot anyone A few ponies who appear to be professional pickpockets A flight of orphans cruising at low altitude A sort of nerdy looking pony in a vest
>>610106 The MSL is a sort of corporate alliance between Free Imperial Cities, Imperial Cities, Guilds, Free Cities, and others - including cities not in Equestria. It's a trade league that operates internationally, if such a thing as nations can be said to exist.
>>610107 The bum pulls himself back to his feet as you pull loose the bricks to get to another layer of dirt.
>>610108 He looks up, surprised – as though interrupted in his train of thought.
>>610110 Out of nowhere, three female Zebras pop up and provide backup singing. Zebras noted with Z, Nerdy pone noted with N.
Z: DA DOO!
N: I was walking in the Cloud District at the time. And I passed by this place – where this old Neighponese stallion
Z: SHANGA DA HOO
N: He sometimes sells me exotic swords.
Z: SLASH DA DOO!
N: Cause he knows – he knows that they're my hobby.
Z: DA DA DA DA DA DOO!
N: He didn't have anything new that day.
Z: NOPE DA DOO!
N: So I was going to just walk on by.
Z: (Bass) Good for you! Z: (Backup) Shadooo dop a bwop!
N: When suddenly – and without warning – there was this –
Z: TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN!
N: It was a mailpony who had flown up above me! There was this strange whining sound – like something from another world. And when the light came back this weird Diamond Dog pup was just being pulled along there on the road by the wizardress!
Z: WHOOPSIE DOO!
N: I coulda sworn it wasn't there before – but they went into the Lower District anyway – without any protection.
Z: SHALALALALALALA DOOOOOOOOO!
The Zebras walk off.
"I hope that helped."
>>610111 They give you a courteous nod and let you through the gate. "Be safe Inquisitor. Some of the less scrupulous folks in town may take a lone professional as a target for bragging rights. Get your work done quickly and get out."
>>610112 You give the bricks a hard kick and force a cave-in above you, sealing you and Selena into a dirt tomb, but also protecting you from the bum above. You should be safe here.
>>610114 The first area you cross through is something of a marketplace, but none of the stalls appear to have any theme at all. They all just sell whatever they have – you see wigs, shivs, pendants, hooves, apples, and bags of bricks laying around next to each other. Another shop sells makeup, livers, hats, live frogs, and god leashes – which are a sort of leash with supports in it to make it look like there's an invisible pet floating above you wearing the collar. Popular among infidels.
Up ahead there's a split in the path – one road goes up to some larger (but still incredibly ramshackle) buildings). One road goes deep down, and appears to not follow the contours of the earth – the street proceeding without concern below the ground.
>>610115 She is terribly wounded and unconscious. She needs medical attention.
>>610116 You see the split – it's not very far form here. One of the advantages to the chaos of this city is that the streets are surprisingly simply laid out. Maybe drunkards can't handle complex winding passageways. Perception check.
>>610117 Upon seeing what happened to her. Rhanna almost started crying again. But she stopped herself…it was no time to be a baby anymore… Maybe Selena carries some medicine or stuff with medical properties with her…maybe Rhanna started to search in Selena's clothes and bags. Everything! Looking for anything useful
>>610122 No no that won't do. she needed alchemy things! Like the ones she used on those guys…she could maybe replicate the healing potion…maybe…what If she couldn't…No…no time to doubt yourself Rhanna! Keep looking! Take off her clothes,bags hat EVERYTHING!
>>610125 Her alchemical flasks are here, but you aren't trained in their use and it could be extremely dangerous to simply mix things up with no training. There would be a pretty high chance of making poison.
>>610126 She didn't know what to do anymore…they were trapped here… she scanned her surroundings. Maybe if there is somewhere she could dig to get out… '1d10' appraise the hole. She also picked each of the materials and neatly set them up. She needed to know everything she had access to. she sniffed and felt them. At least she always knew she could trust her nose '1d10' hole '1d10' materials
>>610130 You are not in what can be described as a hole anymore. This is a pocket of dirt below some collapsed bricks far below the concrete of paved streets.
You can identify these as various materials used for healing, acid, poison, and other functions. The only thing you can identify by name is the solid block of iron she has in her bag. There's a wand here too.
>>610131 She relaxed. she couldn't dig through concrete…she was not that strong… she thought and pondered about her options… she went to look at Selena…gave her one last nudge,hoping she would wake up… "Why didn't you taught me this earlier…I know I'm ready…" she said sadly before picking the materials using for healing. she did her best with them to make something to make Selena better… '1d10' gadjet
>>610134 "Sorry, I don't really have time to talk because I'm tracking someone down who's probably in trouble! She's wearing a wizard hat and she's accompanied by a young diamond dog, did you see them anywhere around here?"
>>610136 Rhanna falls in the floor. "Hah…" She got up. Sobbing as the tears rolled down her eyes "Again…" she said swallowing her sadness and doing it again. "P-p-prat-tice makes…p-perf-f-fffect" she tried using a little less of certain materials. Maybe it will work… '1d10' gadjet
>>610138 >>610139 In your vision, you see a rat crawl down a storm drain and drift through a coalescing yet evanescent flow of sewage. It drifts for a time and dissolves into a noxious mist which curls about into a mole hill, which your consciousness drops through, to find a graveyard. In the pauper's grave section, a hoof bursts from the soil, and the gravestone reads: Here lay two outsiders Found in the sewers Fodder for the downtrodden
>>610140 "Floor" is a very generous term to refer to this roughly scrabbled out section of dirt you're lurking in. You were already on the ground after all – there is not much room to move here.
You make a filter, gives you +1 to experimenting with dangerous chemicals you know nothing about. Of course, +1 still leaves a huge margin for error…
>>610155 Bleh. It's like nothing you've ever tasted. It's thick like day old milk and has an after taste like sour grapes. The initial taste is so foreign you have nothing to compare it to, but it's awful.
>>610152 >>610154 No Marehole – just a street. It slopes down, with no concern for the fact that the landscape and buildings remain flat. It heads under the bottom of a building where it is dark.
>>610211 Okay this is certainly not a good thing…maybe…then again medicine is really bitter… Rhanna let a few drops of it fall in the ground besides her. Then she let the mixture she brewed on the other side she had no time to waste. So she tried tasting,feeling,smelling and so forth on every other material she had available. "Come on…this time for sure…" '1d10'appraise
>>610215 Rhanna picked up the water and the leaves. Along with the heater she crushed and ripped the leaves until they were just tiny pieces and left them boil in the water. '1d10' wait a minute… the pee stone! Did she still had it?
>>610223 You have to sprint to catch up with her, but finally you run into her – physically, run into her because she stopped suddenly – near a bridge.
>>610224 Your sneaking is interrupted when Maeda runs into you! It's way too dark down here to identify corpses – you're lucky you can see them at all – that figure has some sort of light source, but it's faint. A candle, perhaps.
He turns his hooded lantern up on you and Maeda, and without a word he runs off. It looks like he was digging at a really odd spot. Something of a hole collapse, like a shallow grave…
>>610226 You close with him as he rounds the next corner, apparently knowing where he's headed. You only narrowly manage to follow his tracks as he heads over very rough terrain – grates, jutting rocks, and outstretched pipes that could incapacitate anyone in a chase.
"Get out of here, Equestria! This is no place fer yer likes!"
Based on the random swinging of the lantern, you think this is some sort of steam tunnel, maybe below or near a boiler.
>>610219 She hoped to whatever God ponies believed in that it would work. because she had no idea what she was doing she picked up the boiling hot water and placed it on a small cup. She carefully picked up the pieces of the leaves and mashed them with her knuckles along with the leeches then mixed the milk with the water that contained some of the essence of the leaves. she had no idea how to work with the stone so she left it in the warm water and milk mix (assuming it cooled a bit because of the milk that was cooler ) She then analyzed the paste of the leaves and leeches and the liquid '1d10' 1 '1d10' 2
>>610217 You're regaining consciousness. Something's really burning you badly. Suddenly you realize that someone has applied some sort of anti-coagulant to your wounds and is encouraging you to bleed out! To make matters worse, you seem to be in some sort of underground hole that is less than one cubic meter. It's CRAMPED. Rhanna is here playing with your medical supplies, and the bloodloss is making it hard to focus.
>>610237 Rhanna hugged Selena "You're awake! It worked! Those ponies hit you really hard and you fainted…I. ..I thought you died and I took you in the hole and then I blocked it off…And you were pretty bad so I…I tried using your things to brew something to wake you up…"
>>610239 "No no! Miss Selena come on you have to stay awake!PLEASE MISS SELENA STAY WITH ME I'M SORRY! " she shouted out as she shook her a bit Selena was right She was not ready. Rhanna ripped off her own cloak and gave them a good licking. and then started licking Selena's wounds. She remembered that licking always helped with her hurtsies '1d10' if I need to roll for it
>>610248 You don't have one on your sheet, but you have plenty of money to buy one up at the market above. You're sure you saw countless kinds of lighting, from torches to lanterns to glowing mushrooms to bottles full of fireflies!
The most you can make out by hoof is that the brick floor breaks up in favor of dirt for a brief patch here. The bricks look hastily cast aside, and recently.
>>610252 None of the ponies here had torches, but you fish a plank of wood out of the sewage – it has a hunk of cement on one end, so you smash it against the bricks until the cement is gone – providing you with a dry end! Now to light it somehow…
>>610258 Spits it out well Rhanna had no more options. she laid there and hugged Selena tight. Sharing her heat while crying and sobbing "Someone help me!…please…Miss Selena…" she said loudly but her voice cracked a lot from the crying
>>610262 She slowly lifted her head. she can't she will not let this happen. She let go of Selena. And looked up and started digging. Brows furrowed and eyes squinting she was going to get out of there and Selena was going to remain Alive even If her hands bleed and break she won't stop digging
>>610266 "Well, the oil in it will last for a few hours of continuous use. After that, I suppose you'd have to get more. If you're planning on cave exploring, I'd bring extra bottles. If it's just for around a campsite or to keep around the house, it could last years."
>>610276 >>610279 Rhanna is holding a blue pony corpse. It has a complex fracture of the front right hoof. It has severe lacerations on the chest and back, which are covered in a thick, pink paste – blood seeps out from under it. Its hooves are covered in blood. Its face is badly mutilated and hard to recognize. It has no pulse and its soul has departed.
>>610301 >>610302 "Well, outside the town's good for pauper's graves. Or the local necromancer. Supposedly some live down in the Lower District, but there's another in town that may do it. I seen it with me own eyes. No need to head below, neither."
>>610319 To the Void then. Unlike some Dark Templars may tell you, the void isn't cold. It isn't anything. You have no sensation or sensory input of any kind. You sort of drift, but you don't move. There is no time or space. It is a simple thing for your consciousness to drift away and disappear forever, here. Why fight it?
>>610321 >>610318 "Ach, you two are a special kind of pauper, aren't you? How about those clothes on the body? I can sell that cape."
>>610324 "My, aren't you generous? The stallion you're looking for styles himself Sir Crawfish of Farlands. That's an island in Caballeria, far to the northwest of here, outside of the Manesian Sea. Crawfish is sort of Paladin-Necromancer, if I ever seen one. Moon worshiper – that much is sure. I saw him giving a sermon and doing alms to the poor in this district not one day ago. While there, he performed a miraculous resurrection. I think his flock has congregated outside the city gates. There will be signs – look for the crescent moon symbol."
>>610325 You have plenty of time here, outside of time, to think about your goals, regrets, triumphs, and what you might have done.
>>610327 There is plenty of time to contemplate Rhanna too.
>>610329 You were bad once – but you ain't like that now. Wait, no, that was some western hero, wasn't it?
>>610330 >>610328 You head out into the island proper, past the stage and into the forest. As the merchant promised, there are moon signs here. They weren't really necessary, you can see the congregation down by the water. Mostly disenfranchised paupers crowding around the heavily-armored knight known as Crawfish.
>>610333 You have plenty of time to contemplate the infinite, but without access to a brain, comprehension is more difficult.
>>610334 >>610332 >>610335 He appears to be in the middle of a sermon. "And so she gave up her freedom for YOU! Martyred as a prisoner. But she WILL return! And on that day, all the downtrodden will be uplifted. One thousand years is no doubt a long time to wait for anypony – so that just means you'll have to be ready. When you meet her in the gardens of the afterlife, who among you will say that your whole life wasn't enough time to learn of Her glory?"
He gestures at your little group.
"You see, anywhere Her light shines, followers appear. Now, I know Celestia and her empire is not popular with you locals – so it shouldn't surprise you that she's tried to stamp out worship of Luna. And yet in spite of this, it continues to grow. Because you can't kill righteousness. It refuses to die. That's the beautiful truth of this world."
>>610362 "Yeah but I brought you here!and you're alive!Miss Selena I'm so sorry it was my fault! I should have not cried and asked to get out of there I promise I will be good forever from now on!" She said crying and hugging her
>>610364 >>610363 >>610362 "Perhaps in the days to come, when Equestrians bear down on Reptil to expand their empire by another island, you too will look to the Moon for protection from the wrath of the Sun. For she who can spare the dead can surely spare the living."
>>610362 This seems a good time to refocus your attentions. You were… looking for the author of that letter! Who could tell you about such a strange seal? Perhaps some arcanist? Or the merchants on Market Row? Someone in the Lower District?
>>610465 >>610462 It becomes kinda apparent that they're in the middle of a sermon here, so you skitter off to the main road into town.
That gypsy fortune telling booth is still up, if you'd like to visit it. There are also some gangs around you might consult with. For instance, the CSF – whatever that street tag means – seems to be out in force. You also see a number of ponies seemingly representative of the RAF. Market row is on the other side of this big fairground.
>>610493 >>610494 You go back to the entrance down to the sewers but now find the way blocked by uniformed RAF gangsters who bar the way. There are six of them here. They halt you on approach.
"High command has decided to seal off this route, as tourists are apparently being killed. The office of the people's dictator has issued an edict ordering that tourists may only enter the Lower District if escorted – to ensure that our tourism industry is not damaged by untimely murders. The fee is 40 bits for a group of any size."
>>610511 "It is known that the People's Dictator keeps some spellcasters in her employ. Besides that, perhaps there might be some skulking hermit-spellcasters that keep to themselves in the lower burg."
>>610520 "You are very spirited. Have you ever considered serving the people by joining the Red Army Faction? You may be young, but our Glorious Leader started out in this line of work when she was no older than eight."
>>610530 >>610529 >>610525 "The RAF is not a cult, it is a civil institution bent to the will of the people. Rooting out degeneracy and protecting the innocent. Taxes are just a necessity. This way, then."
They escort you down the left side of the river, over the bridge. Once you reach the Steam Tunnels, they pull out lanterns and you proceed more slowly, stopping at times so they can point out dangerous pipes you might trip over. Eventually you get through the twisting tunnel labyrinth and arrive at a large open space. It's kind of strange because it's rare to encounter an open area that is very wide and deep but not very tall – it's a six foot ceiling, not too bad for your size, but it's expansive – like a market square. Indeed, there are a number of huts and shacks here. Along the way, some hobos eye you but the RAF scare them off. Finally, they let you go free when you approach the center of the clearing – it's a fountain, complete with lights.
"This is a safe area. I advise you to hire escorts on the way back as well."
They depart. This area is dark except for the RAF Headquarters, which is well lit and heavily fortified. Any number of shacks could be here, full of hiding out ponies.
>>610542 >>610541 >>610538 >>610535 The RAF headquarters is flanked by two uniformed guards, but they let you pass without protest. There's a makeshift front desk here, and a pony salutes you as you enter.
>>610547 >>610548 >>610549 "Maybe one of the People's Magicians could help. If you follow the stairs up, I believe Comrade Karl is with the People's Dictator currently. Once they're finished, he may be able to help you."
>>610563 >>610564 This room is hardly spartan. It's full of scarlet drapes and filing cabinets. There's an austere desk, on which sits a green lamp. Behind it sits a red mare wearing a uniform.
>>610569 >>610570 "Red was once my name – I gave it away. To the people. Now they bear it. I am merely the People's Dictator."
She gives an amiable nod to Lilly. "Please, do not hold my welcome overly ostentatious. These are merely the trappings of office – I am sincerely pleased to see you once again, regardless of the terms I parted upon with my adoptive mother."
>>610578 "Oh… thank you, that's really kind. It'll give me something to do on the ship. I'm sorry, I wish we could be meeting under happier circumstances but I have an awful lot of stuff on my mind and-"
>>610579 "Oh! Sorry, this is Red. She's my eldest sister I haven't seen in years."
>>610586 People's Dictator gives a lengthy sigh. "Well, I can't say I'm surprised. Our mother did more than a few sacrilegious things. I'm surprised she's coming after you, though. Do you have specifics?"
>>610587 "Yes… I'm pretty sure I'm looking for an artifact that she took from an old Lunar temple in Autumnsreach… It was enchanted or something and capable of changing the gender of whoever touched it for whatever reason." Tilt my head slightly. "Did you know… mother died? I mean, both of them did. Years ago…"
>>610588 "Yes, I read about it in the Equestrian papers. Their rendering of the story was part of what inspired me to realize that to make a real difference, our revolution would require its own presses."
>>610590 "They named her a Pirate Queen, but her operation was small-scale. They also attributed the razing of Stonebriar City to her hoof, but that doesn't match up with dates that I personally know. This would've all been before you were born, though. The year 781AN. Or, if you prefer the local calendar, 1781AD."
>>610592 "She wasn't mentioned in the papers. I assumed she and yourself were lost to the conflicting ambitions of mother and the Equestrian state. My knowledge of what became of her is nil. In fact, part of the reason I came here was in hopes of finding my biological sister, but I have had no luck there in twelve years, even with all my resources."
>>610607 People's Dictator looks at you meaningfully. "I told you that I gave that name to the people. It's not mine anymore. I do have an explanation for this letter, but first I need the details. What did the message say exactly? Where did you get it from? Was the delivery delayed somehow?"
>>610611 "You do understand that the Red Army Faction claims sovereignty over Reptil? The Cloud Street Families still control the Cloud District, but if we rallied all our resources – we could push them out of there. Seize it as a new capital. We could never do away with the whole gang, but we could take those buildings. So why don't we? Certainly they would give us more legitimacy than skulking about here in the Lower District, don't you think?"
>>610614 "You're missing the big picture. Don't you understand? I'm saying there's a good reason we don't do that. There's something worth having down here. I had hoped I wouldn't need to spell it out for you."
>>610620 >>610619 Rhanna remained silent again,this was kinda boring… Maybe Selena would teach her more alchemy once she talked to this red pony Aw…She left the pee stone down there on the hole too… She frowed a bit at her loss…
"Not to doubt the sincerity of her aid, but is she not obligated to report back to Equestria? I would not hold it against her for doing her job, but there are some secrets a state is entitled to, aren't there?
>>610633 People's Dictator chuckles. "Well, I'm not so full of myself that I keep numerous copies just laying around in my office. Perhaps Lilly would be so kind as to share hers as you wait?"
>>610634 >>610637 >>610636 "Very well, the child can come, but I weep for her future if this has a dangerous effect on her psyche."
With that, People's Dictator stands up and leads you out of the room. "Make yourself at home, Inquisitor. If you get thirsty, ask the Comrade at the desk to send you something up. My library is yours for your perusal, and I doubt you'll find anything interesting in my desk. I keep nothing from the People I serve."
PD leads you downstairs past the main desk into a long hallway made of reinforced metal, and finally to a large heavy door that looks like the door to a vault. It's flanked by two RAF members. They salute, and open the door without a word. The inside appears to be a cubic metal room with no features. They seal the door behind you.
>>610643 These books are mostly about politics and culture. There are also books here on magical theory and fairy tales. Weird collection…
PD's book is called The Red Number, and appears to be a non-fiction philosophical/cultural critique with statistics.
>>610645 >>610644 >>610642 Dictator flicks the letter on the floor. "This room may be featureless, but it is the end of the line. It's not the location that matters here – it's the material. I had this material scavenged from the bay years ago. I think mother had something to do with it, but I can't prove the link conclusively."
>>610650 The fairy tales seem selected completely at random. Almost specifically at random. They're Prench, Germane, Bridon, Equestrian, Oddomane, even Dixie – the only thing that stands out is a distinct lack of books from Doggish or Griffon culture.
Index Foreword……………..1 On Establishment………12 The Role of the State….38 Republicanism…………75 Classism……………..135 Transition Point………182 The Red Number………..201 Afterword…………….213
>>610649 "It is imbued with a certain magic that I believe once had sway over all of this island. After much effort to make use of it, I have found it completely useless for sending – no mortal can truly get what they want even with an unlimited amount of preparation time. Receiving though – sometimes I get something through. That can be useful. That letter came through. I can tell by the magic trace on it."
>>610656 "I can't say with certainty where it came from before, other than not from here. And by that I don't mean Equestria – I mean this world. Maybe dimension, or time."
>>610660 "I would say the phrase 'out of thin air' is appropriate here. There are some ways to control it. I believe with the proper provocation, you may be able to find out who sent this letter. I have a suspicion of my own."
>>610655 The Red Number I explain this to give you the context necessary for understanding that this transition is not only something that can happen, but something that WILL happen. To avoid further buildup and adieu, the number is approximately one hundred eighty per square mile. At this point, transition is inevitable. So it must be concluded that in any urbanized world, transition must occur. There is no other way around it. One can either choose to live in the largely rural world of separation where each individual lives in small tribes, eventually ruled through feudal chains up to a single Monarch or two Diarches, but this cannot happen in any condensed society. Republicanism always emerges. The only difference is whether this is channeled through the lens of classism or the lens of the people. Island communities like Reptil tend to reach this number faster because size is a commodity which cannot be squandered. But this phenomenon is on the brink across the entire world. Even now electrical essence and steam essence are being captured and utilized. Populations grow. The inflation observed in recent years is unlike anything ever observed before. I predict in the next decade alone, prices of all goods will raise 400%, and the price of food will raise 800%. This is a price revolution which will - WILL - usher in the new age. It is a symptom of change that I have already observed.
>>610665 >>610666 "Time and space are not necessarily relevant. We are familiar with thinking in terms of time as a condition, but instead I believe this metal responds to a personal condition. The letter was to Miss Springleaf. I think the room may react if she steps forward."
There's fuzzy light before you. It's… light blue, with a sort of red shell. It seems to sag. The light seems to jump slightly.
It was so fast. I didn't expect it to happen instantly.
The point of reference isn't relevant. The conditions were met on the other side. That is to say, we don't know how long it took.
Why can't I see clearly? Is it broken?
No, and I told you, you won't get what you want. It's only good for receiving. Look, it's already weakening.
The image seems to flicker and fade, but not before one last… message? Voice? It's hard to say, gets through:
SELENA! FORGET ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE! GO TO THE VOLCANO FIRST! YOU CAN'T BE
It cuts off, and the room grows quiet. It occurs to you for the first time that there are no lamps or torches in this metal room, and for some reason you can see fine in here, as though it were an afternoon day outside.
>>610673 Who knows? Your work is mostly in the field. Though you imagine the buffet tables are nice for ponies who get to arrest heretical nobles at parties, that probably doesn't require a very big team.
>>610684 Most of them are practical. Things like conjuration of water and food. Shamanic magics. You can see how they would apply to army logistics. Two books stand out. They are highly theoretical, and written by ancient scholar Starswirl the Bearded.
>>610688 The first is A Brief History of Time. The second is Magic in Motion.
>>610686 "If I had to speculate, I would assume it was sent out before I had this gate built somehow… maybe before the original one was broken. Or… later? It must have had someone to deliver it. Maybe an external envelope? In any case, I must have been involved. One of those voices was definitely mine."
>>610705 Very well, I will note those down first of all… Then give the book a quick flip through, looking for most of the missing pages. They should come up easily if I just let the book flip like this… '1d10'
>>610709 You have to carefully reach each page number to make sure there aren't any missing. You don't find any in the next six pages. You are on page 74 of 322.
>>610711 >>610712 The letter has changed. Its size and dimensions are exactly identical to what they were before, but it is no longer a blank piece of white paper. It's now a postcard with an illustration on the front half. It reads: Greetings from Scenic New Earth. There's a large mountain in the background. The back is still empty.
>>610779 >>610780 "Me and Miss Belle met in Lubuck, and I've been trying to help her with her plight ever since. Celestia knows if she needs protection when facing such an insidious foe." >>610782 "Did we meet?" >>610783 "That's okay sweetie." Give her a big, warm smile.
She smiled as well "I met Selena back in a city…I was going to be trained by her but she had to go after her daughters so I came along with her!" She gave Selena's neck a big hug "Miss Selena is going to teach me all about alchemy right miss Selena?"
>>610785 This happens a moment before my previous post. "What a coincidence, I can distillate a few brews mys-" And then >>610787 happens. >>610788 "…And?", I ask, still looking at you uncertain. I'm clearly half neighpone myself.
>>610786 "But miss Selena…I really think we should try it Tonight. ..you…wouldn't have died…if I knew how to properly make a potion to help you…and if something bad happens to you I want to be able to help…please?…"
>>610804 "But she, ever so stupid, actually gave me this name even when he didn't come back. It came a moment she realized it, though…" Groan some more and sit, looking angrily at the sea. "What came of him?"
>>610805 "I'm sorry. I don't know he left one day sailing and I never saw him again." I sit down next to you. "I…I was in love with somepony as well. His name was Face. We had two dauhters together…and he left as well."
>>610816 I sniffle and my eyes grow a bit watery. "W-when Face left I always did my best to raise Aira and Aria as best as I could, that they wouldn't miss their father…D-do you think that's even possible? Or that they can forgive me?"
>>610825 Pull her in a motherly hug, petting her head slowly as I rock together with the boat, cradling you back and forth. "Our brains conjure the most twisted visages in face of worry. Let it not sway you from your path."
Land is not visible in any direction. You are truly far at sea. The wind is not quite steady, though – having left the trade winds and ocean current, you now must travel through the dead zone – a region between the directional currents and winds.
Lilly Things are looking grim. Even if you can get across the sea in time… you've got a week to find this 'slab', transport it somehow, cross back to Autumnsreach, find a sunken temple, and return it? And Selena won't be able to help unless she finds her kids right away…
>>610836 Granted, Reptil is a Free City, not part of Equestria.
>>610835 "Well, it's hard to say at this rate. I know you adventuring types are probably eager to get to business, but we're passing through the doldrums and our wind management team can only do so much. If we had the wind behind us, we could have landfall tonight – but we're fighting for every breath of wind."
>>610865 >>610863 It occurs to you that Rhanna, in her current state, can never successfully distill life. Her earlier failure is becoming more obvious – she has no catalyst. That means no essence of magic.
>>610864 "If you look closely, there are hundreds, no thousands, of fish living inside. Like little apartments."
>>610870 At the Magister's Academy of Equestria, it is tradition to make one's own – the latest fad is to use pocket watches. That's also popular amongst the wild tribes, but they carve their catalysts from tree bark. In high society, catalysts are usually bought from haute or not shops. There are public catalysts in Dixie, and in Old Unicornia, everyone has a catalyst built in!
You have a magic wand. You inherited it from Thia Springleaf.
>>610881 "Well… what would that imply? I can take us down a bit lower, but I don't think we'll reach the reef itself without either an extension cable or some kind of external protection. Like a dive suit or some kind of magic."