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12067259 No.12067259 [Reply] [Original]
Quoted by: >>12067266

Quest archive and previous threads: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28501521/GeneralArchive/CelestiaQuest/CelestiaQuest.html

Previously on Celestia Quest:
>Celestia, you, and Silver depart camp for the old campsite in the hopes of finding Rose. Celestia asks you why you're so determined to find her.

Lowering your forehead to her neck, you take a deep breath, consider her words. Technically, Rose isn't any sort of guaranteed ally, and even if she does help, how much will she affect this struggle? You're risking yourself, Silver and Celestia to find her. Why are you so determined?

"She's my friend."

"Ah," Celestia says, smiling. "Now that makes perfect sense."

Most of the remainder of the flight passes in silence; the occasional conversation popping up to keep your mind off the journey. Silver's still tense around you, like there's something he needs to say but can't bring himself to say it--at least in front of Celestia. The princesses herself seems more concerned with keeping Silver and yourself calm and comfortable. It's like she's got some sixth sense about it; every time you start feeling nervous about the length of the trip or where the enemy might be hiding, she speaks up, talking about how you first met, or some simple question about how you're finding Equestria. This must be one of the reasons why she's such a good leader.


>> No.12067266

Celestia is lowering her sun just beneath the horizon when you arrive at your destination. Instead of diving right into the remains of the camp, Celestia holds up and dips beneath the trees, coming in for a landing as gentle as her demeanor. Silver hits the ground right next to her as you hop off her back.

"I can't sense any enemies still around, but my senses are not impervious to fault. We should move in slowly and quietly," says Celestia.

>> No.12067290

That's the intention.

>> No.12067328

Whispered obviously

>> No.12067360
Quoted by: >>12067514

"Do you have like a disguise spell or something? I big white princess would probably stand out a bit against the foliage."

Make your way towards where the camp was.

>> No.12067514

"That's the intention," you whisper back.

The three of you walk towards the campsite, doing your best to avoid thick brush and twigs. With the sun set, it's tough to make out much, but that also makes your party difficult to see. Except, well, for the giant white alicorn.

"Do you have a disguise spell or something? A big white princess probably stands out a bit against the foliage."

Celestia looks down at herself. "Hmmm. You're right. As much as I do love my natural colors perhaps a bit of green is in order." Her horn flashes, and a dark green flows over her coat like water seeping into carpet. Transformation complete, she turns to you and smiles. "How does it look?"

"You were right to prefer your natural colors," you say, trying your best to keep a straight face.

Celestia's face wrinkles into a frown. "How dare you! Telling me to camoflauge then chastising me on the color I pick!" Her voice is thick with sarcasm and exaggurated offense. "How would you like it if I turned your skin green?"

Silver snickers at that.

>> No.12067540
Quoted by: >>12067879

I imagine I'd have 100% camo index.

Can you sense any life at the camp?
I know you mentioned you couldn't sense enemies.

>> No.12067668
Quoted by: >>12067879

"And deprive our princess of the uniqueness of her new fashion? Not a chance!"

>> No.12067746
Quoted by: >>12067890

Can I have your Skype Smut? I need to talk a few things with you

>> No.12067879

"Then I'd imagine I'd have 100% camo index. Besides, I'd hate to deprive you of the uniqueness of your new fashion. You wear it so well," you say, grinning, before turning your attention forward, ducking under a branch. "I know you said you couldn't sense enemies, but can you sense any life at all in the camp?"

"I haven't checked yet, but that would be a good idea." Closing her eyes, she casts the spell, horn glowing against the darkness of the evening. You hope no one sees it. The spell only takes a couple seconds to cast, and when Celestia opens her eyes again, she's looking in a very specific direction. "There's someone alive in that direction on the other side of the camp. No one else."

A single pony. Could it be Rose?

You pick up the pace, about at a jog, now. Celestia and Silver keep up behind you until you reach the edge of the forest and stop. Before you lays the camp, an odd chunk of it missing, taken away by Luna's teleport. Most of the personal sleeping tents are still around, as well as half the supply tent and a few others. The air carries the scent of a battle and lives lost, though you can't see any bodies. Odd.

Scanning the area, you try to make out this single pony, but can't location him until Celestia points him out. Squinting, you just barely making out a light blue coat and some wings. You heart drops at seeing the color of his coat; it's not Rose. The pony is looking through the remains of the supply tent.

>> No.12067890


>> No.12068018
Quoted by: >>12068307

We're going to need to interrogate him.
Sneak up on and make sure Celestia is aware of what we're doing or ask her to make a small sound proof bubble if possible.
Muffle his scream, he can't cry for help.

>> No.12068199
Quoted by: >>12068307

Have Celestia cast a stun spell on him.

>> No.12068307

"Could you cast a stun spell on him?"

"I'd rather not. If it's absolutely necessary I will, but it's much preferred we do this without such force."

"Alright, then let's sneak up on him and find out what he knows, if anything. Can you muffle our sound, Celestia?"

"Somewhat. I can prevent any sound we make from reaching his ears, though the spell tends to make an odd void of sound that he may detect if he's paying attention. It's better than sneaking up without protection, though."

You nod. "And we'll need to make sure he doesn't grab anyone else's attention once we get to him. That's the last thing we need right now."

Celestia and Silver both nod their agreements. You start toward him but Celestia grabs you back with magic.

"You're not planning to do anything... rough with him, are you? The poor pony is probably nothing more than a scavenger and no matter what side he's on, he's still one of my citizens. I don't want him getting anything more than a simple spook."

>> No.12068333

Simply going to ask him a few questions, in the even he is an enemy, I'll need you to step in.

>> No.12068334
Quoted by: >>12068498

"No, nothing rough. Just gonna ask some questions."

>> No.12068337

Nothing rougher than what he makes necessary.

>> No.12068344


>> No.12068498

"No, nothing rough. Just gonna ask some questions. In the event he is an enemy, though, I'll need you to step in."

"I can do that. Let's go."

A thin sphere of gold light flashes around you, likely the stealth spell, before disappearing. The three of you make your way over toward the lone pegasus. Luckily, he's far more interested in the remains of the supply tent than his surroundings, so he notices nothing until you're right behind him. You tap his back and cough to grab his attention.

The sudden noise makes him jump as he frantically turns around, eyes growing to the size of bowling balls upon seeing you and your party. His entire body locks up but for a shiver of fear rattling his frame. Across his back are saddlebags, filled to overflowing with items you imagine he picked up here.

This guy isn't a warrior at all, just some random pegasus who's trying to make a bit off the leftovers here.


>> No.12068537
Quoted by: >>12068681

Shhh...quiet, mate.
Were you around when the attack on this camp was going on?
Or how about after, did you see the soldiers or where they went?
Overhear anything?

>> No.12068612
Quoted by: >>12068681

"Hi. Mind of we ask you a few things?"
See if he knows where the soldiers went.

>> No.12068681

You put a finger to your lips. "Shhh, keep it quiet, mate."

He offers a shaky nod.

"Good. Now, were you around when the attack on this camp happened?"

"W-w-w-why s-should I answer y-y-you?"

You gotta give him credit. Even scared to the bone, he's got some spine. You don't want to hurt him, though. You crouch down to his level in an attempt to look less threatening.

"We're looking for a friend of mine. She was here after the battle but not any more. She could be hurt."

"O-o-okay. W-well, I wasn't here f-for the battle. I c-came afterwards."

"Did you see anything? Survivors? Where did the remaining soldiers go?"

"D-d-don't know where the s-soliders went, b-but I think there were some s-survivors."

"Yeah? What happened to them?"

"T-t-the other s-soldiers took them away. E-except for one p-pony the v-v-villagers found on their way here."

>> No.12068697
Quoted by: >>12068861

"What did that pony look like?"

>> No.12068732
Quoted by: >>12068861

That pony, what did he or she look like?

>> No.12068861

"What did that pony look like?"

"I d-don't know. I just h-heard about her. That's how I heard about this c-campsite. I think s-she was injured, though."

"Did you hear anything else about her?"

"N-no. Sorry..."

His head dips, looking at the ground. He really does seem disappointed he couldn't help, but the pony he's describing could very well be Rose.

"Where is your village?"

The question makes him take a step back, eyes darting back and forth. "Uuuhh, I d-don't know if I s-should tell you that..."

>> No.12068889
Quoted by: >>12069128

We are just looking for my friend, it would be very beneficial if you'd help us.
Though you've helped enough if you decide not to tell us, I imagine someone in my party knows where to go.

>> No.12068936
Quoted by: >>12069128

"We're not invaders, in case you hadn't noticed."

>> No.12069128
Quoted by: >>12069148

"We are just looking for my friend, it would be very beneficial if you'd help us. Besides, we're not invaders, in case you hadn't noticed."

He scans you body, unsure whether or not to believe you. The fact that you're an alien he's never seen before probably isn't helping your case.

"H-how do I know I c-can trust y-you?"

That's the question, isn't it? All you've really got is your word. Before, that had been enough for ponies, but this time it isn't cutting it.

Celestia taps you on the shoulder and you turn around. She leans forward and whispers into your ear.

"Perhaps I can handle this. Why don't you take Silver just out of earshot while I talk with this young stallion?"

That actually sounds like a pretty good idea. Celestia just about makes a living out of knowing how to deal with ponies, especially ones that can be difficult. Nodding, you pat her neck. "Good luck."

You gesture to Silver to follow you and walk a little ways off. Celestia watches the two of you before turning back to the shivering colt.

You take a seat on the grass, looking over the campsite. It reeks of sweat and blood, an odd contrast to the peaceful glow of the moon and stillness of the air. A tick of reget fills you, knowing you didn't help the ponies that either died or were captured here. Part of you knows it would have been impossible to make a real difference, but you can't help but feel you let Celestia and the rest of your friends down.


>> No.12069148

Silver takes up a spot beside you. Sitting down, you're much closer in height. Now that you think about it, this is the first time you two had alone since Silver found out about your little lie. The snide comments from him had slowly decreased since then, but you're still not sure if he's ready to talk about it.

"It wasn't cool, you know. That thing you did."

Guess that answers your question.

>> No.12069161
Quoted by: >>12069192

Thing, which thing?
I'm blanking

>> No.12069181
Quoted by: >>12069541

"No. No it wasn't..."

>> No.12069192
Quoted by: >>12069210

we lied about having seen the doctor so that Steady would have a medic unicorn fix our arm

>> No.12069210

He's still mad about that?

>> No.12069219
Quoted by: >>12069541

I'm sorry, you said you understood why I did it.

>> No.12069353
Quoted by: >>12069364

Hinch is going to disappoint all those people somehow.
Technical, someone crashes into him, or he crashes out.

>> No.12069364

Oh fuck, wrong thread, I'm so sorry.

>> No.12069541

"No. No it wasn't..."

"I mean, you meet a bunch of ponies you've never seen before, not even of your own species, and one of the first things you do is lie to them? Cause you're a little impatient?"

You swallow, looking up to the sky so you don't have to face Silver. "I'm sorry I did it, but you said you understood why, at least."

"Yeah, I understand. I just... I wanted everything to just work out. You've been here hardly four days and you're already one of Celestia's most trusted companions, you go with us on every excursion and you've been such a big help. I suppose I was hoping you really were all that I thought you were. Too idealist, I know. Steady gets on me about that all the time."

"Silver, flaws... help sometimes. They let us know what the right path to take is. They educate us through the mistakes we make. I know I'm not perfect, but I do the best I can."

"Me, too. I just hope that's enough for this conflict."

Smiling, you pat Silver on the back. "I think it is."

He smiles back at you, then turns to check on Celestia. "This is probably going to sound like a weird question, but... do you see any flaws in her? Because I've been thinking about this whole thing, and I'm not so sure our enemy is without their own good reasons to fight."

>> No.12069609
Quoted by: >>12069933

I have thought about it.
(whispering)In fact, it's part of why we are here. I wouldn't have been at the camp with you if Celestia hadn't stopped me. I'd be with Rose wherever she is.
I feel that maybe in Celestia's search for Twilight she's neglecting everything else.

>> No.12069685
Quoted by: >>12069933

Her greatest strength is her greatest flaw. She cares a lot for all her people, and that's great, but I think she can get too focused on individuals and lose track of the grand picture. That she is here is example enough. I'm glad that she chose to help me look for Rose, but she's the leader. Going out on a rescue mission for my friend who may not even be a part of her force may not have been the best overall course for her to take. Basically she wants her cake and to eat it too. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way.

>> No.12069837

Dixon has it!

>> No.12069933
Quoted by: >>12069951

"I have thought about it. Her flaws are part of the reason I'm here. Back during the fight, I was going to go help Rose get back to the tent before the teleport, but Celestia held me back. I don't know if I would've gotten her or not--probably not, if I'm honest with myself--but I should've had that choice. I think perhaps in her search for Twilight, she's neglecting others things."

"Neglecting things? Like what?"

"Well..." You rub your chin, trying to think of the best way to say it. Celestia's oddly sort of complex and simple at the same time. "Her greatest strength is her greatest flaw. She cares a lot for all her people, but I think she can get too focused on individuals and lose track of the grand picture. The fact she's here is example enough." You lean back on your elbows, stretching your back. "I glad she came to help me look for Rose--really. But she's your leader. Going out on a rescue mission for my friend might not be the best idea. She wants to have her cake and eat it, too."

"Yeah, I can see that," says Silver, idly scratching at the ground with a hoof. After thinking about it a moment, he smiles. "You know, that makes me feel a lot better. She's kind of an idealist like me. I mean, yeah, she did come on this crazy rescue mission with you, but given our resources, that may have been a smart overall choice as well."


>> No.12069951

"She ensures you're finished with your task quickly by flying you out here, plus, in this gamble she might get Rose back. And Rose isn't just a fighter, she's one of them. One of the ponies who lives down here, where the real dissent is, who knows their side better than any of us." Silver stands up, wiggling his back legs as if they'd fallen asleep. "Maybe it's not as simple as we think. The only way to know for sure is to ask her yourself."

"I hope it's like you say, Silver. I'd feel a bit better, too."

You turn around at the sound of approaching hoofsteps, finding Celestia and the colt walking your way. Hopping to your feet, you nudge Silver to get his attention. Hopefully she's got good news.

"The town is Withers. I assume you remember how to get there, Silver?"

"Yes, ma'am."

Wait... Withers, where you found the Pegasus Worldshard? "If the town is Withers, that's where Rose is from!"

Celestia smiles and nods. "Yes, I'd say that makes a very good case for this lone survivor being Rose. I would suggest we rest here for the night and depart in the morning. I'm a bit tired from the flight and I can tell Silver isn't fairing quite as well."

Silver's face flushes red, but he barks out a protest. "I could do it! It's only an hour!"

>> No.12070018
Quoted by: >>12070179

How far is the town?

>> No.12070047
Quoted by: >>12070179

Should we camp or continue?
For the sake of speed we may want to continue through the night, that's going to be the best cover too.

>> No.12070179

"How far is the town?"

"Well, as Silver said, it's about an hour flight. Probably a bit longer, given our condition."

"Why do you suggest we camp instead of continue?"

"Our exhaustion may have other consequences. Flying in the dark, while stealthy, is more taxing of concentration, something Silver and I have had worn down on the flight here. Remember, we kept a rather harsh pace to make it here by nightfall. Also, if you remember, Withers was not the most welcoming village. If we wish to retreat, it would be better to do so after a night's rest. We also haven't taken the time to sit down and eat. However," says Celestia, laying a wing over the shivering colt next to her, "if they are welcoming, we would have a warm room and roof over our heads for the night. The village would also be a bit more secure than sleeping out here, as well as the obvious advantage of answering our question about this lone survivor sooner rather than later. I will leave the decision up to you, though. This is your rescue mission."

>> No.12070259
Quoted by: >>12070550

I'd like to make it to the town before morning.
Mid day really is the last time I'd like to arrive in town to take a stroll looking for someone.

>> No.12070330
Quoted by: >>12070550

Would like to press on, but only if you feel up to it.
I can't imagine that flight is very easy.

>> No.12070550

"I'd like to press on, but only if you're up for it. If we make there before morning, we can at least escape under cover of night if things go bad."

Silver grins at your decision, clearly excited to show he can push on and probably just as curious as you about the mystery pony's identity. "Count me in, cap'n."

Shaking her head, Celestia sighs at his enthusiasm. "I can be 'counted in' as well, then. Would you like to accompany us, young one?" she asks the scavenger colt.

"Uh, uh, n-no. I think I'm gonna stay around here a little l-longer."

"Very well. Be careful."

"Uh-huh." With that, he goes back to scavenging.

Celestia walks over to you, offering her side and you hop on. She looks back, smirking. "Ever get tired of riding me?"

>> No.12070587
Quoted by: >>12070867

Flying with the wind hitting my face is a completely new experience to me so not really.
We have huge flying machines where I come from, but passengers are enclosed.

>> No.12070684


>> No.12070867

"Not at all. It's a new experience for me. Back where I'm from, our flying machines are enclosed. It's a lot more secure, but you don't get the same rush with the wind hitting your face and blowing through your hair."

"Really? Flying machines? You'll have to tell me more about those." She looks down to Silver. "Ready?"

He grins in response, then rockets off into the air.

"Yeah, he's ready," you say.

Celestia chuckles at your remark and takes off herself, sticking close to Silver, right over the treeline. Her pace isn't quite as harsh as before, but it's still fast enough to make you feel like you could fall off at any second. You're forced to squint to keep your eyes open with the wind buffetting down on you, but the view's totally worth it. The sea of trees, interrupted by the occasional clearing, flows beneath your almost like water. You're tempted to reach down and run your hand through it, if you weren't completely sure you'd fall of Celestia while doing so.

A few minutes into the flight, you notice how cold the wind is. Earlier you had the sun to keep you warm, but now that the moon is out, it's getting chilly. The only source of heat you have is Celestia, so you cling to her tighter, laying your cheek against her neck. She doesn't say anything about it; it must be tough to concentrate on the flight after such a long day. You check on Silver, who seems to be managing alright. He's not exactly zipping around like before, but he hasn't veered off, either.

>> No.12070935
Quoted by: >>12071258

Just have to ensure we all stay together.

>> No.12070940

Is it possible to have a conversation while flying?
If so, regale Celestia with stories of your wondorous flying machines on earth

>> No.12071048
Quoted by: >>12071145

She seems pretty concentrated and we have wind pelting us.
We may have to wait.

>> No.12071145
Quoted by: >>12071258

Damn, fine then, just continue keeping track of Silver and make sure that you don't lose him

>> No.12071258
Quoted by: >>12071272

"Why don't I tell you about those flying machines to pass the time?"

"I'd love that. Please."

"The flying machines where I'm from are called planes. They're the fastest way for us to get from one spot on the planet to another. They look like massive cylinders with wings and a tail. The passengers all sit in the body, the cylinder, and the pilots sit up front. The whole thing is made of plastic and metal."

"Metal? My goodness, how does it take off? Do the wings flap very quickly?"

You laugh at the mental image of an airplane flapping its wings. "No, no the wings don't flap at all. There are massive engines attached to the wings that create a lot of force to push the plane forward. Because of the design of the wings, they create lift, another force that pushed the plane up."

"Really? Just by going--" She cuts off when one of her wings dips out of rhythm with the other, forcing her into and impromptu dive and turn. You holler and grip tighter. Thankfully, Celestia's able to recover in mere seconds, but afterwards shakes her head and says, "I'm afraid I can't talk any more. I'll have to concentrate on flying. I appreciate you trying to keep me company, though."

You nod. If she's almost wiped out, you best keep an eye on Silver. He's not far off, looking down at Celestia after hearing you cry out. His wings look fairly stable and he's keeping close.


>> No.12071272

Before long, your party makes it to Withers, and likely not a moment too soon. Silver looks haggard, and Celestia, while she's able to hide most of her fatigue, doesn't look the example of sunshine she often does.

No one from the town has likely noticed you yet, but it's not far off and your group isn't exactly hiding.

>> No.12071360
Quoted by: >>12071771

I guess now we go and find shelter before Celestia and Silver collapse from exhaustion?

>> No.12071400
Quoted by: >>12071771

We stick out and I fear the town may be hostile and Anon, specifically, will stick out.
Is it possible that if Silver removed his armour he could ask a pony some questions without fear of reprise?
We'd stick close and watch.

>> No.12071771
Quoted by: >>12071780

You tap your foot, debating the options. Showing yourselves is a risk and you're not seeing any way around it. Given how small the village is, likely everyone has either seen or heard about you and Celestia. Silver, though...

"Hey, Silver, do you think you could take off your armor and ask around, see if you can find the pony and figure out if the village is hostile or not? Celestia and I will hide out behind some bushes right over here," you say, pointing out a spot with good cover.

"Y-yeah." He doesn't sound too confident. "I'll see if there's an inn or something, too."

You don't want to doubt him, not right after you two made up. He struggles to get his armor off, stumbling around while fumbling with it. Celestia eventually helps him finish removing it, and he takes off toward the town. You duck into your hiding spot and huddle up with Celestia.

"Uh, you know you can probably turn your coat back to white now."

"But you called it a unique new fashion. How could I possibly consider discarding it?" she teases, nudging you with a hoof.

"Because your unique new fashion is the stuff of nightmares."

She curls her lower lip in an exagguraded pout, but changes her coat back anyways.

You rub your hands up and down your bare arms, trying to keep the cold at bay. The trip here had sapped the warmth from your body, and while you weren't as tired as Celestia and Silver, you're still starting to drift off.


>> No.12071780

You'd hate to fall asleep shivering. So focused on your own cold you are that when Celestia drapes a wing over you and pulls you to her side, you almost jump. Looking over to her, you find her smiling with her eyes, the private sort of gaze you remember from last night.

"You looked cold."

>> No.12071870
Quoted by: >>12072324

Yeah sorta, us humans don't have the advantage of having a coat like you ponies
But enough about me, how're you holding up?

>> No.12071946
Quoted by: >>12072324

Thank you.

>> No.12072284
Quoted by: >>12072303

considering that we managed to talk down the villagers from attacking earlier by showing them that celestia was fit to rule, maybe we can just walk right in and ask them about Rose and they wouldn't be hostile at all

>> No.12072303

None of them seemed very pleased.
Least of all the leader of that pack.

>> No.12072324
Quoted by: >>12072347

"Yeah, us humans don't have the advantage of having a c--"

"You don't have to make any excuses for me." She brushes her cheek up against yours. A rush of heat and emotion accompanies the touch, a silly grin on your face.

"Thank you. How are you holding up?"

"It's kind of you to ask. I'm admittedly tired, but I should be fine for a while longer. In truth, alicorns don't need as much sleep as the average pony... or human. It's the flight here that really has me exhausted. That, and worrying about my ponies back at camp. I also admit to a certain nervousness about Rose. I do not know how she'll feel about our retreat or rescue attempt, though I hope she returns with us should we find her."

You can see the anxiety, too. She's fidgeting in place and her voice is trembling, though that may be more from the exhaustion. You find yourself feeling much the same way as her about Rose, about the ponies back at camp, about everything, really. Every moment you'd been in Equestria had been in the harsh environment of the south under the threat of the rebels. It'd be nice to know what this place is like without all the tension.


>> No.12072347

You both wait in your cover for what feels like an hour or so, though you can't tell for sure. Smalltalk passes the time, though you get the feeling Celestia would just as soon fall asleep.

Eventually, though, Silver does return, and from the looks of him, he's got some news.

"We're in luck. I found out where they're keeping the survivor, and it sounds like the village isn't hostile at all. In fact... I think they'd even like to see you two come back. I don't know if they'd celebrate you presence, but they're at the very least questioning things. After that speech you gave, things changed around here from what I can tell. I'd say we could walk right into the building where the survivor is and not have any trouble."


Ending the session here. See you all next Wednesday.

>> No.12072372

Called it.

>> No.12072384

Thanks SA

>> No.12072393
Quoted by: >>12072788

What if Rose was a spy the whole time sent to infiltrate the camp and lure you back to Withers
Thanks for another awesome thread Smut, see ya on Wednesday

>> No.12072788

What if Silver was the spy?

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