Iga You just returned to Los Pegasus after a quick delivery to the Spiders living in Whitetail Woods. They proved to be surprisingly pleasant and even gifted you some of their webbing, although you're not sure what good it will be for you. As you were clocking out for work you found a package that someone apparently lost, without any notes to go with it. It's medium sized and sounds like some sort of small item is in it.
Cloud Skimmer You visited the flying tracks of Cloudsdale for some jolly good training. The workout-scheme that Stormdancer made for you is definitely showing to improve your skills already, but you tried to bite more than you can chew, ending in a not-so-pretty crash. Your legs are aching, but a coworker of yours, part of the Weather Control Team helped you up. The two of you just discussed how she laughed at you before during your shower incident. "Jokes aside, should I call somepony? Maybe I can get some bonus on my paycheck for saving your life."
Kelani You just had the worst sex of your lifea hole's a hole but stillif this is what is supposed to happen between a mare and a stallion you've been doing it wrong your whole life made sweet love to Lockbox, the cute and amorous security guard in Ponyville. While she was fast asleep, you slipped out of bed to check on the note the mysterious mare gave you earlier. It's a vague set of instructions about finding your way underground on the northeastern side of the town.
Curry and Felfire Your ship is heading towards another! The one Felfire spotted! However, your salvation might not be as close as you think. The closer you get, the more it proves the foreboding prediction of Captain Splinterproof right. You see no movement or signs of life on the giant vessel, it looks like it hasn't been tended to in a good while and the only movement it makes is slowly riding afloat a current. You will be there in about five minutes, get ready.
Felfire also trips on a loose floorboard and bonks her head.
>>597873 But they have a lot of safe hiding places!
>>597875 Yup! Just a little statue! But who left it here?
>>597876 Not chasing tail at all! You'd never! You fly over to where it's supposed to be, but you only see a small river, a few trees, a few rocks… hmm. It makes sense that it would be a hidden location.
>>597874 Angler starts pulling closer, nearing one of the ladders that lead up to the main deck of the ship. Splinterproof speaks up. "I don't trust whatever is going on here. Angler will stay here, and so will the native." The doc nods. "I want to go. We are critically short on supplies, and if their medbay is still intact, we will need whatever we can get."
>>597885 "That's why I'm going, captain. If there's any trouble, I should be able to handle it long enough for us to get back to the ship and cast off." >>597886 "Alright then. Now ask the captain. She's in charge of boarding parties."
>>597891 The clerk looks up at you. "What are you bringing it me for? The lost and found is at the warehouse. There should be workers there."
>>597887 Aside from the leg-ache from the fall, the training felt really good too. You didn't have any plans, but you could drop by to visit any friend of family you'd like.
>>597888 "We're not leaving with empty hooves. We don't know where we are, and we don't know how long it will take us to find land again." Angler chimes in. "Not to mention grabbing a compass and whatever else could help."
>>597892 You don't see it, but you feel the captain looking at you!
>>597893 You know your trees and plants allright, you know them gooooooood. It doesn't take you long to find the one that is not like the others. You grab some of the bark, and to your surprise, find a door. This tree seems to be entirely hollow, leading down to a dirt tunnel illuminated by glowing green vines!
>>597892 >>597894 I'll sigh a little. One day she'll be able to do it. "Captain, I'd like to bring the little one along. She can help the doctor carry a few things, perhaps another pair of eyes might see things ours don't."
>>597895 I-It's just a few words about coming along! You can do it, right? Right?
>>597896 You move, nimble and graceful like a falling sakura leaf. Upon arriving, you see two stallions, one of them smoking inside. You're pretty sure that's not allowed. They are chatting in front of a few boxes.
>>597897 That's an awfully mean name to call Airheart! Skyheart would be mortified if you ever did it in front of her!
You fly over to their home.
>>597898 One of these days… "Just keep an eye on her so she won't get lost."
>>597899 The tunnel snakes around, going deeper and deeper for a while before opening up into a large underground cave, illuminated by even more vines as well as torches. It doesn't look like much of a base, only having a few workbenches, beds, a small kitchen…
Before you can look around some more, a red coated pegasus mare pops up in front of you. She grabs one of your legs with her bandaged forehooves and with strenght and speed that defies her body flips you over before you even process what's happening. You land on your back with a loud thud, and she steps on your chest to keep you there. "Who are you?!"
>>597901 You rap on the door and it soon opens up, revealing Skyheart. Her face lights up as soon as she sees you. "Cloud! Hey! It's so nice to see you!"
>>597904 The smoking one puffs his cigarette and blows the smoke in your face. "We're on our break, chink." The stallion beside him kicks his side. "Stop being an asshole, Lift." He then looks at you. "He's right though, we're on our break."
>>597905 She lifts you only to slam you back into the dirt again. "You think I'm playing games, punk?" "Let him go. I invited him here." The voice is familiar… it's the voice of the mare you met with, who gave you the instructions how to get here! The red pegasus snarls but steps off of you. You see the white ma-wait a minute, wasn't she colored differently before? It's definitely her, but her coat and mane are both pure white!
>>597903 After Angler aligns the ships, he and the doc use ropes to fasten the two together.
After it is secured, the captain takes the lead and climbs up with the the doc and the two of you following close by. The main deck is disheartening to say to the least. You see no signs of life and puddles of rain and seawater accumulated on some parts of the cold metal. The giant turret in the middle of the deck seems charred and broken down. The lifeboats are nowhere to be seen. You can see the tower of the bridge, with most of it's windows broken.
>>597908 "You can drop by any time! I can always make time for you!" She steps aside from the door. "Come in!"
>>597909 "It's just the two of us." The other stallion puffs his smoke at you again. "Do it yourself if you want it so much. Just don't steal anything, I know your kind."
>>597911 You get up and dust yourself off. The red mare keep looking at you as if ready to pounce. Your 'friend' approaches as well. "You'll have to forgive Stingray. She punches first and asks questions while punching." Her voice is cold and distant, nothing like the mare who was smiling gently in that park when you first met her. "We did this, yes. It's where we bring ponies we do not trust."
>>597907 "Finding those resources is more important than finding out what happened. We cannot split up either." She approaches one of the heavy, metallic doors, only to find it locked. "Damnit all!" She gives it a hard kick with her rear legs. The doc uses his magic to try the door on the other side, and just shakes his head.
>>597910 As you follow them, you are overcome with a feeling… a feeling of… you're not entirely sure. It lies between fear and anticipation, as you feel a strong presence, nothing like the dark spirits of the Temple, but you cannot help but be reminded of them. The dagger under your wing seems to feel it too, as it starts to pulse with it's magic.
>>597915 "Locked. These things can be only opened from the inside." The doc nods. "In case the ship is boarded by hostile forces."
>>597914 You start walking away but feel yourself stopped as the stallion bites your tail and yanks you back. "Where do you think you're going? Get that crap outta' here, we're on our break." How utterly rude!
>>597913 You have been, but only once. "I just want you to know you're always welcome here!" As you walk inside and through the corridor, you see Airheart reading a magazine about cats. She lets out a squee when she sees you. "Clouuuuuud! Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!"
>>597916 You see nothing! Nothing at all! It's just a feeling within the deepest reaches of your heart!
>>597917 "Do you want to? Do you really want to? You can still turn back. Go back and live whatever simple life you were living. Once you jump down this well, there is no turning back until you see how deep it goes."
>>597918 "Hey, You really think I'm the type of guy to just bail on you?" Smirk slightly. "Besides, I've got my own reasons for wanting to look into this stuff, I'm not just here because of your pretty voice."
>>597922 "And I'm on a break, little neighpon, so take that shit to the lost and found yourself, unless somepony might report it as stolen." The other stallion facehooves. "You ass…"
>>597923 She snorts amusedly. "I'm not afraid of you bailing. You'd die before you could. You saw what happened to your friend. If you're not careful, it might happen to you. And if we're not careful, you might make it happen to us."
>>597927 A very, very silly pony! You must be just imagining things!
You are just as stuck as the others are, though. How to get inside?
>>597928 "I had vanilla and strawberry!" Skyheart walks up next to you. "Can I get you anything?"
>>597929 He flicks the butt of his cigar at you as you walk away. "Useless fucking immigrant."
>>597930 "I have a deal for you then. You prove that you can be useful for us and in return you get all the help you need with whatever it is you want."
>>597925 She just gives you a look that reflects all the annoyance she dealt with in the recent past. The doc speaks to try and break up the tension. "Uh… I doubt they'd make a security flaw as big as that."
>>597933 There are the broken windows of the bridge! But they are so high up! If only you could fly…
>>597934 He smirks. The other pony looks at you with a frown. "Don't mind him.. but it's the only break we get all night. Lost and found items are storage room 3B. All the stuff in there is categorized, so just put it down beside anything that looks similar."
>>597935 "Of course you can, don't be silly!" She leaves for the kitchen. Airheart pats the couch beside her. "I was reading about cats! I wish they could fly!"
>>597936 "I want you to steal something for me from Los Pegasus. A few documents that would help us be certain about the involvement of one of the ponies in charge there. I can tell you where to find the stallion who will let you in on the details."
>>597937 Well, it was worth a shot. >>597938 "Hm?" Looking up, I'll spot the windows. "Ah, good job!" I'll turn to the captain. "It seems we do have a point of entry, though we might be a bit large to fit more than a head through."
>>597937 Sit down next to her. "It sure is a shame they can't. I guess you could tie a balloon to one of them, but that probably wouldn't go very well. They'd probably freak out and start clawing or something."
>>597938 >>597939 Both of them follow your eyes and look up. "How do we get up there?"
>>597940 The red mare went back to her, business, which is punching and kicking at a dummy in the back of the cave.
The white mare scribbles down some instructions. "I will tell him you will be going. He will wait for you at the statue of Captain Skyshatter, every day at noon for the next three days. Miss that and you're out."
>>597943 She looks almost horrified. "One of the cats we saw hissed at me when I tried to pet it! I thought only snakes do that!"
>>597947 "Well, if we stand on each others' back, with me as the base, I'm pretty sure we can at least get a look in there." I'll sit, then rub my chin a bit. "And if the doctor can get a good view inside, he'd be able to make a ramp or something so that Felfire, who can actually fit in the windows, can open the door from the inside." >>597948 "It's a good idea."
>>597956 She giggles. "I'd cuddle it every day!" Skyheart returns with a glass of water and sits down next to you. "Here you go!"
>>597954 >>597955 >>597957 The two of them look at you expectantly. "Go ahead then." The captain turns to Felfire. "Once you find the door, you will see a big wheel on it. Turn it, and that will open it, okay?"
>>597961 Ah, yes! There are a few statues there! The light back here is flickering though… strange. It really should be fixed.
>>597965 She shakes head. "Not particularly!" Roll perception. "Why?"
>>597964 You pick her up and float her carefully to the windows and past the jagged, broken class. She's inside.
>>597962 The magic of Curry surrounds you and you feel the ground below you moving away… It's… it's like you were flying!
The sharp edges of the broken window seem scary but he managed to float you inside safely without you being anywhere close to it. The bridge looks like a mess… broken equipment, shards of glass and wet paper every where on the ground… blood… and the slowly decaying corpse of a pony in some sort of fancy clothing.
>>597966 As soon as the magic envelopes me, I open my eyes, and widening them in surprise, I gasp! My legs begin flailing wildly in amazement and the widest smile breaks over my face. But all of this, without saying a word. The sight inside is more familiar, and once it's time, I will tap on the door, to signal Curry he can drop me.
>>597967 She just bit her lip and fluttered her eyelashes!
>>597969 You put it down next to the other statues. On that table, beside these is an almost life sized porcelain doll of a clown… it's sort of spooky with how realistic it is…the light flickers again, and in the next moment it's falling towards you!
>>597971 You let go of your magic as you hear the sound. A few seconds later the Doc turns around quickly, flicking his ear. "Huh? Did you say something?"
>>597970 >>597972 You're no ship expert, but this is the lookout control room tower thingy! You'd need to go down from this tower thingy to the main deck floor thingy to find that door!
Probably down a set of stairs that you can see from here.
You walk around the corpse, but accidentally step in some of the blood… The moment you do, everything goes black. When you 'wake up' you see the same room you are standing in, except the blood and with all the windows intact. Before you is the stallion in the fancy clothes sweating heavily, surrounded by four other ponies. All of them seem either injured or incredibly nervous. In front of him is a mare in a similar clothing. The two argue in a heavy tone. "…We have to get home, we have to, that is our only mission now!" "Captain, listen to me, we're not in control anymore, I'm not even sure we ever were! We brought something aboard we didn't understand and it's killing us all! We cannot bring this ship back to Equestria! We'd put everypony in danger!" "Have you lost your mind? We have sinned, only the Princess can absolve us now! Don't tell me what to do! This is my ship, I AM THE CAPTAIN!" "You're being irrational! The crew is becoming paranoid and delusional! This behavious has been plaguing the crew and now the officers too ever since we caught the prisoner!" The captain in the fancy clothes starts frothing as he yells. "Nooo, this is not irrational, this is religious persecution! I will not allow you to take over my vessel! Stronghoof, restrain the mutineer!" One of the stallions gulps. "She's right sir! We don't give a fuck about your religion! We just want to get out of this alive!" The captain starts twitching and frothing. "He's a spy planted on my ship! To destroy any hope we have of a brighter future for Equestria!…… Wait a minute… You… You are all with her! You just want to-" One of the mares lets out a scream. "Fuck this, he's lost it!" She draws a knife and lunges at the captain, slitting his throat before anypony can react. He collapses onto the ground with blood gushing out of his wound, the mare above him breathing heavily. "She murdered the captain! Arrest her!"
Before you can see what happens next, you are jolted back into reality. You're in the ruined bridge again, full of blood, glass and the body of the captain you just saw die.
>>597988 "Just have faith, captain. She wouldn't have volunteered if she didn't think she could do it. And besides, even if she can't, she's in there and can give the Doc and myself a signal to tell us where the handle is and which direction to turn it."
>>597991 She blinks a few times… then perks up. "Oh! Allright!" Skyheart leans a bit closer. "Thank you so much for this invitation!"
>>597989 You slip on one of the bottom stairs and smack into the wall in front of you. It hurts a bit, but it's nothing serious. Hey, there's the door! It has a metal piece jagged into the wheel, so unicorns from outside can't turn it… but that is why you are here!
>>597990 "Yes, bu-" The doc stomps his hoof and flicks his ears again. "Allright, you did hear that, right? Right?"
>>597992 A sound soul dwells within a sound mind, and a sound body.
And nothing makes a body more sound than some delicious noodles! Sadly, it's rather late and you don't see the cart of Shu anywhere, she must have went home… you do see a small stall on another stree that makes Equestrian made noodles. You're too tired to be picky about it, but it's just not the same.
Lone Mesa Last time you were talking to Rickety Crimes, the old, retired sheriff of Appleloosa after the attack on the town by bandits. It turns out they were after the bounties that are on the heads of the law enforcers, including the rangers. You just confronted him about his past of being a ranger himself. He sighs heavily, shaking his head. "Son, you're right. I should have told you I was one of you, but I didn't. I didn't because I wanted to leave it all behind. Looks like it's still there to haunt me."
>>597995 You get 'em, you chow 'em and you go to sleep in your not-so-great apartment.
Rise and shine, it's a whole new day!
>>597996 You rub the hurting spot, but then focus on what's important! You grab the metal with your hooves and teeth, give it a good, strong pull!…. and a few more, and there it is! You un-jammed the door!
>>597997 He blinks at you in confusion, then lowers his head. "…sure. Yes…. Yes, that."
>>597998 She smiles heartwarmingly at you. "I'll do my best to do so!"
>>600639 Instead of him, Splinterproof replies, loading her crossbrow which was hanging on her side until now. "Keep those ears perked. I'd rather have you both paranoid while we are here than lose somepony."
>>600640 Oh right! He totally did! You jump up to hang off from it, but it's not even budging, not an inch!
>>600641 He puts a hoof on your shoulder. "Please… be careful with this, son. Those bandits knew the risks of attacking a ranger and went through with it anyway. That means that they know the bounties are not just emtpy promises. Somepony wants us dead for good."
>>600644 She shakes her head. "No, not like that, but something nice! Just for you!" Her eyes almost sparkle as she says that.
>>600645 Too cold is relative. That said, it's cold enough to make you jump and let out a cute little screech when it first hits you.
>>600650 She rears up with a flap of her wings just enough to be able to clap excitedly. "Great! I can't wait for this!"
>>600651 "All I'm saying is don't do anything rash. We don't know what we're dealing with here."
>>600652 You fly to the Pony Express and see it bustling with activity as usual. The Air/Skyport nearby is only making it busier! When you check in for work, one of the mares working the counters waves you over. "You're Iga, right? Collar has a special delivery planned for you, go see him in Hangar 2B."
>>600657 It creaks and opens up! In fact, it swings open and crashes into the wall outside, making a huge racket while you're still clinging onto it.
>>600658 Speak of the devil, she just opened the door while making quite the noise.
>>600659 She blushes slightly and giggles awkardly. "Um… yes, I'm hoping you are too!"
>>600661 "I know. But I can't go anywhere. If I die, I will die here, doing my best to defend Appleloosa. You'll have to go alone."
>>600662 Your superior is busy directing some ponies to different jobs and carrying supplies. He smiles when he sees you. "Ah, Iga, there you are! I am very impressed with your speed and precision! That is why I chose you to deliver this one. You see, you'll have to carry an animal."
>>600668 He reaches to his waist, undoing his belt and handing you his holster… with the impressive, custom made revolver, the Regulator inside it. "I want you to take this."
>>600669 He gives you a weird look when you call out his title, but leads you to a nearby glass cube with breathing holes in it, which is almost as big as your bathroom! Still, inside, you only see a pink colored, tri-tailed cat with a small, unicorn-like horn! "This here is a unicat, all the way from Anugypt. These cats require special care and are quite expensive. The problem is, as you can see, they absolutely despise cages. We managed to keep it without problem in this room, but we have no idea how it will react to the transport box."
The cat is busy licking her paws with a grin.
>>600670 >>600671 The captain seems impressed. "Did you find anything inside, little one?"
>>600683 You had a weird ass vision after touching the blood of a dead guy
>>600684 It's modified to kick harder than a buffalo bull. The DC for hitting and the crit treshhold are both lowered by 1, but it makes an awful lot of noise when it goes off. "You don't need to. Just use it to keep yourself safe."
>>600685 He points at a small box with a cage on the front. "That's what you will have to take it in. This is just the only place we could find for it without it escaping."
>>600687 You leave behind the two pegasus cuties after you say your goodbyes.
>>600701 You get them and pack them up in a saddlebag. Rope, firemaking tools, and a lot of booze. As you get ready, you hear a loud barking, getting closer and closer and CLOSER!
>>600702 You do. He is called 'Roaring' Lion, coming from a family of proud dragon and wyvern hunters. He was offered a place among the ranks of the Wonderbolts but refused, only recieving the honorary title. It is rumored that his disappearence in recent years has to do with the overseas war and his services needed there, but he always refuses to say anything to confirm that when he puts on shows.
>>600704 "A small village in the Unicorn Range. I will give you a map to point out where exactly."
>>600700 >>600706 There are stairs leading downwards and a corridor leading forward. Which way?
>>600724 You can skip it too if you want to move forward. Not like anything unusual would happen.
>>600725 He whines even louder at that, and licks your face more when you pat his head.
>>600728 She's so tired the kiss misses and you just awkwardly boop noses. "Ah… allright… goohd…" She falls back asleep.
>>600726 The two of you are stopped by something pretty disturbing soon. There's writing on the metal walls. Felfire can't read it, but you can.
If you hear whispering you're dying If you hear whispering you're dying If you hear whispering you're dying If you hear whispering you're dying If you hear whispering you're dying If you hear whispering you're dying If you hear whispering you're dying If you hear whispering you're dying
>>600751 "So, shall we pick up our pace, Captain? I'd rather not stick around long enough to start hearing what they were talking about." >>600753 "It's the words made in the blood that give us pause, little one. Reminds me that I've got to teach you how to read."
>>600751 Aside from making sure I'm groomed and handsome? I could go full Neighponese and give her a small gift for the meeting. Maybe I can go to ground level and find her a nice flower. Not a poison joke please. As funny as it would be, I'm not that big of a twat.
>>600773 "We're not certain. The words mention whispers, but I haven't heard any yet. Hopefully, the medical supplies we're looking for will be in the hold, and if not, then we'll have to go back up and search another deck." I'll sigh a little. "Sometimes, little one, ponies have to be brave and go into places they know aren't nice so that they can help others."
>>600770 Off you head, to the west. The first place you might want to check out is the bandit hideout you went to the last time. They might left clues there, but it will take quite a few hours to get there.
>>600772 He slowly approaches the unicat, which lets out a small meow, then jumps on the top of the head of the stallion, only to sit down on his flanks. She stays there, giving you an almost challenging look.
>>600778 For all she knows, you just turned invisible, without making the tiniest of noises. You are inside the kitchen, and can see that she is preparing coffee, tea and toast with honey for breakfast, swaying her hips as she is working on the food.
You could sneak up on her, or playfully mess with her, whatever you want!
>>600777 >>600776 You see traces and pools of blood along the walls and floors, but no bodies.
There is another staircase downwards here, and the signs say that the medbay is two decks under!
>>600785 You get a nice bouquet of them. Anything else?
>>600786 You sing that one about the Gunslinger as the sun is slowly making it's way toward the orange horizon. You see smoke rising to the sky in the distance.
>>600788 You make her jump and let out a surprised "Eep!" as you do. Once the surprise is over, she lets out a cute giggle and sighs. "You got me good… some guard I am, huh?"
>>600787 You step to the side then with a quick flap of your wings jump and roll into the cat,, landing on the other side of the stallion while holding the cat tightly to yourself with a single hoof. The cat is so surprised by your speed she doesn't even have the time to hiss at you!
>>600789 >>600783 The staircase is right there. You descend further into the ship. Once you are on the deck where the med bay should be, you are hit by a stench of death… you see a few assorted body parts lying around in the pools of blood here…. keep going further?
>>600806 She shows you the tray. "Just some breakfast! I didn't know if you liked coffee or tea, so I made both."
>>600810 You grab the box and put her inside before she even realized what's happening. Once you close the caged door of the box the cat pouts and lets out a sad meow. Your boss looks at you with hanging jaws. "…wow. See, I had a feeling you would be the perfect pony for this delivery."
>>600802 >>600801 You traverse the bloody corridors until you finally get to the medbay. It's door is slightly open, but only barely. You can hear heavy, pained, ragged breathing coming from inside…
>>600811 Frown. Well, that's… pleasant. I'll turn to the captain. "On three. I'll push open the door with magic, and you and the doc can take aim at whatever's in there. If it's hostile and attacks us, don't hesitate."
>>600813 You arrive at her place. When she opens up the door, you are very pleasantly surprised, as you've never seen her this nicely dressed. Her mane is done in a fancy way, and she is wearing an elegant, cyan dress! She gives you a wide smile. "Good afternoon, Skim!"
>>600814 He nods and crouches down with you. The two of you make your way closer. You can move around freely without being noticed….did they set the house on fire so there would be no evidence?
>>600817 "I can see that! If you do this right, you can be sure that you'll be recieving a raise!"
>>600816 "Oh… well, I like both. And hey, I asked first!" She hooves you some honey to go with it.
>>600815 She raises her crossbow with a nod. You can see she is about to say something, but you all hear a very loud thud coming from inside. The breathing continues, and you hear heavy hoovesteps, as well as something metal dragging along the floor. A muffled, deep voice speaks. "You think I don't know you're there?" There is a disgusted snort. "You're here… you're here for it. This is my flesh… my blood and my bone…." The scraping of metal against metal stops suddenly.
>>603586 "Oh, Storm Dancer was nice enough to offer and invite her over to herself so she won't feel left out and lonely!"
>>603587 "That doesn't tell me which one should I pour you, Mr. Wits." She gives you a teasing look, but thanks you as you help her get the stuff to the table. She starts munching away on her own breakfast
>>603588 Pour myself some of the coffee, and enjoy a peaceful breakfast. "I forgot to tell you last night." then stop and shake my head, staring intently at her eyes. "No. I didn't want to ruin our evening with worry. I got a new lead on the case. This whole thing may be mixed up in something bigger.. I'm going to meet up with a contact who knows more, its a couple days journey, the guy wants to meet pony to pony."
>>603589 She listens as you talk, but you can see that her cheery expression falls somewhat. "I see… but you will come back, right?" She clears her throat momentarily, then narrows her eyes. "Because if you just used me I will stick my baton up your ass, I hope you know!"
>>603590 She nods and leaves so she can lock the door behind herself, then joins you by your side.
>>603591 From this distance, you can see that the fire is no longer burning, but you could tell that already from the color of the smoke. It's only the smouldering remains of the building, which seems to have bullet holes in them. Holes you do not remember being there from your last visit. You can't see what's inside the fences though. You'll have to climb in or go around and find your way inside.
>>603597 It's easy to take a peek inside, since a lot of the building's walls collapsed, and it'sa small wonder the staircase and upper floor still holds up. Most of it, anyway. You see dead bodies inside.
There's no sign of any movement.
>>603598 She seems to calm down and starts smiling again. "Allright… take care of yourself, okay?"
>>603599 "You really should be more careful when you fly so fast! You're going to break something! Especially…." She snickers. "Did you say dumpster?"
>>603600 "You too, my sweet. Otherwise our I'll have to come save you.. on second thought, that'd be a good second date, be reckless." Kiss her with a smirk. Help her clean up a little before getting ready.
>>603603 "I'm not really the damsel in distress type, thanks." Cleaning the dishes up is occasionally interrupted when she gives you small kisses, but you get ready to move out soon enough. You have a long flight waiting.
>>603608 "They had one of those lightning guns on a pedestal in the lab, but it was in the way, you had to go around it any time you wanted to get some chemicals! So I wanted to pick it up and put it away, but accidentally pulled the trigger." She scratches the back of her neck and giggles awkwardly. "It only had a tiny cloud attached, so when it bounced back from the wall I only got zapped, but it could have been really bad if it had a storm cloud on."
>>603609 You go to the inn to draw any suspicion away from the cute little mare and head on your way. Roll for travels.
>>603610 The ones inside the house are damaged beyond recognition by the fire.
The corpses in the yard seem to be riddled with bullet holes, yet half of them is charred too… they probably got gunned down when they fled the burning building.
>>603612 No hoofprints. No sings of anyone leaving this place either. It was either phantoms or something that can fly. If they had bullets, there have to be casings though. You just need to find them in the sand, ashes and blood…
>>603617 He starts sniffing along the ground for a while before alerting you with his barks! Yup, he found some.
They were high caliber, as well as high end products judging by the look, not the cheap stuff made in sheds most farmers and average pony joes would have access to.
>>603618 She nods. "I learned my lesson…" She snickers. "The others said they liked the new manestyle at least."
>>603619 No town, and sleeping outdoors doesn't seem to be an option, because it looks like rain has been scheduled to these parts for tonight. You do see a single house in the woods nearby.
>>603620 >>603592 There are a few seconds of nothing but tense silence…. which is broken by a scream. It comes not from the medbay, but the Doc. "I can't take this!" He starts bolting away, in the direction you came from, which makes all of you look at him for just long enough for the door to swing open.
The resident of the medbay seems to be an earth pony, easily larger even than the behemoth raider Bluntstone was. His lips are gone completely, like he chewed them off, and his body is littered with scars and small wounds. You see barbed wire wrapped around his forehooves and a bloody pickaxe fastened to his tail which he drags on the ground behind himself. He uses the distraction the unicorn caused by slamming into Curry, knocking both him and Felfire to the ground, while his tail flicks, only stopping short of the Captain's chest by the crossbow, breaking into a dozen splinters.
He staggers back with sluggish motions, blocking the corridor you came from. Splinterproof drags you both on your hooves. "Run for it, the other direction, move, MOVE!"
>>603625 "I would rather not repeat it just to make a fashion statement!" You'll be at the restaurant soon.
>>603624 >>603623 You stab at his hoof, but defying his size, he raises his hoof with speed you could not expect and brings it down, snapping off the head of your trident completely. That would be enough to reconsider the plan of staying behind to slow him down but a not so gentle shove from the Cap'n settles it, running seems like the better option.
>>603622 You scream and start scramming away as fast as your tiny hoofsies can carry you, soon joined by Curry, who had to be shoved by the captain to get him moving. Running doesn't make you any safer, as you can hear the pickaxe scraping against the metal floor and the heavy thud of hooves behind you!
As your little group reaches a doorway, the mare comes to a sudden halt, eyeing up the door and quickly deducting it can be only locked from one side… but not the one you need to escape. She looks at you with a grim expression, then up at Curry. "Get her out of here. Keep her safe."
That's the last thing she says before quickly slamming the heavy door shut, and you can hear it's closing mechanism shut it firmly.
>>603627 You can only tell it's not from the Appleloosan or Los Pegasus area. You'll need an expert to tell where exactly it came from…
Now you just need to decide where to go. The three closest options, aside from where you came from are… Witchita, quite a trip from here southwest, an abandoned mining village. It has been a ghost town for the longest town, but is currently a gathering place of all sort of bandits and lowlifes. Even an experienced Ranger like you could easily find himself outnumbered and killed there, which is why no effort has been made to root them out of there. There's just not enough ponypower to do it. Fairbank to the west, a small junction town mostly used by travellers and traders to rest at. Or Fort Buckanan to the Northwest, which is barely much more than an outpost to watch out for the apple farmers who live by the nearby river.
>>603630 "I'm sure you've been zapped by clouds too! It felt just like that!" Voltage does like to pull that prank with great efficiency…
>>603628 >>603629 No matter how hard you beat against the door, or try to blindly find the hatch on the other side, your attempts fail. You only hear muffled sounds of struggle, screaming, and a sickening, wet sound…
>>603631 Well, let's not waste the captain's sacrifice… there will be time to mourn soon. >>603633 "Come along, little one. Let's not let her death be for nothing." Scooping her up, I'll make my retreat back to our boat, the lie of that thought stinging in the back of my mind. This was a monumentally bad excursion, resulting in the loss of our captain, the potential medical supplies, and possibly the doctor, if he isn't back on the boat.
>>603632 "She shocks you on purpose? That sounds pretty mean!" You're there! The Sweet and Savory, in all it's glory. There seems to be quite a few ponies here, but you were clever enough to get a reservation.
>>603634 Night falls by the time you arrive. The fort has a large plank wall, not unlike the one you just saw at the old outpost, but it surrounds a barracks, a few houses that belong to farmers and of course, a pub. Once you get near enough, a searchlight from one of the towers falls onto you and your dog, but it's quickly pulled away once they see your ranger outfit.
>>603635 The only problem with this plan is that there's only one stairway on this side, and the stairs leading up are blocked by a large pile of metal rubble. You're not getting up this way…which only leaves down, further into the belly of this monstrous labyrinth of a boat as an option.
>>603637 Well, shit. Pretty sure that rubble wasn't there before. Down we go, then. And at least the broken haft of my trident will make a decent-ish spear in case that lunatic isn't the only one here.
>>603639 You met her a few times during your career, but you wouldn't call the thing between the two of you a friendship. She is called Loaded Barrel, and your best bet to find her would be the officer's quarters in the barracks.
>>603640 He approaches the two of you and escorts you to a nicely prepared table with a trio of candles burning in the middle when you say your reservation name and number. "Can I get the two of you any refreshments while you'll check the menu?" "I'll have some mineral water, please!"
>>603638 That was the stairway on the other side of the ship, the way that was blocked by the not-so-healthy guy, remember? You had to run in the other direction.
Some of the magical gems providing the light here flicker forebodingly, and you're pretty sure the occasional puddle you cross is not water either. You're lost.
>>603643 Skyheart picks a fancy type of salad that's made by mixing various cheeses as well as specially extracted vegetable juices as a sauce! All the things look pretty delicious here, but you've heard the sweet potatoes with the sour cream are a killer.
>>603642 You just have to stick to the main corridor!
Problem is… there seem to have been a trap set up there. It's full of sharp pieces of broken glass as well as knives hanging from the ceiling by small threads… one wrong steps on the wire below and it all comes down.
Of course, you can try and go around it, but then you'd lose sight of the main corridor with the staircases even more. Which might still be preferable to being impaled by a hundred sharp objects
>>603644 The bartender doesn't even need any words to pour you a tall glass of whiskey the moment you enter, and put it in front of you wordlessly. A few soldiers playing cards and smoking at a table look at you.
>>603647 You send it down the hatch at a leasureable pace. A few moments after you set it back down on the bar… "Why did I have a feeling I would find you here, drinking?"
>>603648 "Oh… I guess a bit of it can't hurt. I'd like the rosé, please!" You guess she's not that big on drinking, but this is different!
>>603649 After a minute or so passes, you start thinking nopony might be home and they just left the lights on, when the door finally opens. The owner of this home seems to be a pegasus stallion, and judging by the number of wrinkles on his face, simply 'old' is an understatement. He eyes you up like you are some sort of common thug. "What do you want? Can't you read?" He points at a sign next to the door you couldn't see in the dark. It reads: I DON'T BUY ANYTHING I DON'T SELL ANYTHING DO NOT BOTHER
>>603652 Loaded Barrel. She sits down beside you. "Yes, would you believe it but some of us gets things done instead of getting eaten away by whiskey in smelly pubs all day."
>>603656 He starts grumbling and looks up at the sky, before taking a step aside from the door. "Get in, you stupid ass. You won't make it anywhere in this weather, no matter how close or far it is."
>>603657 She perks up. "Pretty good! We are about to finish a work project I can't really talk about, but it will be really sweet! Not to mention Airheart has been better than usual recently, all thanks to you… and I feel a lot better too."
>>603654 >>603655 Felfire's eyes are still wet with tears, so she doesn't notice, but thankfully, she's hanging around the neck of Curry, who does, that no matter how much the wires are moved, the sharp things do not fall… He is thankfully also quick enough to dodge the sharp blades that swing out at the two of you from the side as a spring is loosened and the trap is set off.
On the bright side, if you find some adhesive, that trap of three knives could be used as the new head of your trident. On the not so bright side, you are not so sure about this trapped corridor's safe passage anymore.
>>603659 Sigh. But the knives can be used… Hmm. From the side corridor, I'll send a small wave of TK along the floor, setting off what traps may be there, as far as I can send it from that safe cubby. '1d10'
>>603659 "You know, caring for your sister like that… I think that's really admirable and sweet of you. I've got siblings of my own, but I don't see them all that often because they live elsewhere. They're doing fine on their own though as far as I know."
>>603661 It's pretty puritanly designed, with not much furniture or decorations anywhere that isn't absolutely needed. He closes and locks the door, then points at a room. "Get in there."
>>603662 She starts playing with her mane. "Thanks… I do love her a lot, but she can be difficult to deal with. Plus, at least we can have a lot of fun living together! Why don't you tell me about your siblings, since you know about mine?"
>>603663 You get a refill without a word. "A lot of good you are, drinking the booze up saved for the boys." She motions at the table her soldiers are sitting.
>>603660 Your magic sweeps through the entire corridor for as long as you can see, and you are rewarded by the sight and sound of at least a dozen different booby traps setting off, sharp and blunt object of different sizes flying through the air! The corridor looks safe, for now.
At the same time, Felfire's dagger grows warmer, and she can feel the presence of something immensly dark approaching…
>>603667 The room he motioned you to has a large table on it with only two simple wooden chairs. Aside from that, it has a simple wooden cabinet and shelves with glasses and plates. He waves at one of the chairs. "Sit."
>>603670 She takes a look at it, then at you. "I'll need to have a better look at it than in a dinky bar."
>>603671 You tell her how your brother is a firefighter in Los Pegasus and your sister is studying to be a doctor. Anyway, your food is here!
>>603669 You start walking, but find yourself stopping. You do not hear anyone approaching, but you do hear a faint, soft whisper. You don't understand what it says… Not that it matters. What matters is revenge. Your friend was killed. Blood for blood. Thoughts and images of you standing over the eviscerated corpse of the thing that was in the medbay flood your mind.
>>603668 Curry stops suddenly, and to your horror, you see that you are not alone. Crouched above him with her snout right next to his ear, is a mare. A mare who looks nothing like all the Equestrian ponies you seen, almost alien. Only her snout is visible, as her wet, black mane falls in front of her face to cover her pale coat. She is whispering things into the ear of Curry!
>>603672 Shake my head. No. The captain died so we could escape, even if it was stupid and dumb. I need to find the doctor and get off this damned ship. Felfire is depending on me to keep her safe, and I can't do that if I turn into Buck.
>>603673 She rolls her eyes and turns around, leading the two of you into the officer's quarters. It looks just about what you'd expect an office like that to look, except she has no bottles of whiskey anywhere.
>>603675 She is definitely getting a very dreamy look about her as time passes on and you enjoy your dinner date.
>>603674 That is all true. So very true…but it's hard to keep focusing with those whispers in your ear, telling you to do all these horrible things… They suddenly stop as Felfire starts flailing around your neck like a maniac.
>>603676 Your hoof passes straight through her, like she was made of air… or as if she wasn't even really there. The mare who ignored you so far reacts though, and floats away from Curry, looking at you with curiosity, hate and… fear? Whatever that thing is, it's definitely surprised something can see her!
>>603681 "Definitely! I had a lot of fun too! And…" Looks like she really wants to say something, but can't bring herself to it.
>>603678 No ashtray either! She sits down at her desk. "I don't suppose you came all the way down here just to be a nuisance to me. What's the situation?"
>>603682 He lets out an audible groan, grumbling and looking at you. "Just shut your trap, will you? You're making my head hurt." He gives you a stern look as you sit. "Do not move a muscle." He leaves the room.
>>603680 You start walking again, moving slowly to avoid stepping into any of the garbage and sharp disabled trap parts that are all around. The nerves and what happened to the captain must be getting to her nerves…
>>603683 You point there, but even as you do, the mare starts to sink down, her body slowly disappearing… only for her to reappear in the middle of the corridor, right where you are headed! A darkness starts to surround her, and you feel the vile magic gather around the point where she stands, strong enough to lift her bloodied, wet mane, revealing her horrific muzzle, and white, ghasly eyes! You have to stop Curry, he is headed right there!
>>603686 "I was thinking that maybe since Airheart isn't home yet… would you want to come over for a bit?" She's blushing quite hard, as you can imagine.
>>603688 A few minutes later he returns and walks next to the table. He throws a plate in front of you, which is full of salad and diced carrots. Without saying another word, he trots to the other side of the table and sits down.
>>603692 Suddenly, your legs start to feel weak, your ears start to ring and your head starts to hurt as if someone coated a hammer with migraine and started to beat your skull with it! Your eyes are closed because of this so you're not sure what's going on, but you also hear a really loud thud.
>>603693 You manage to stop him in time, but whatever the ghost-mare was channeling is done. Too late. She rears up her front half then slams her hooves down, opening her mouth to an impossible extent, letting out a screech that makes you wish that you never had ears. Strangely enough, you can see that the mare isn't focusing this attack on the two of you… One of the large pipes that run above the corridor start rattling and burst, crashing down and blocking your way! That explains all the rubble that was blocking the stairways… she is trying to trap you here!
>>603696 It tastes… really good, actually for how simple it looks. "Your mother never taught you not to speak as you eat?"
>>603697 It passes slowly but surely, and you can open your eyes again, but a little ringing is still in your eyes… the thud is also explained, there's a huge pile of destroyed pipes blocking the corridor where you originally wanted to go.
>>603699 Doesn't really stop the ringing… but at least the neck of Curry is really warm.
You don't see her anywhere! Where did she go?
>>603700 She frowns. "Not officially confirmed. I was hoping it was just an ill mannered rumor."
>>603698 She perks her ears. "Really? I mean, thank you! It's just so rare to have some alone time in that house, you wouldn't believe!"
>>603701 Shake my head again. "Well, that way's shut, looks like we're going through a side passage." Maybe if I'm lucky we can find a porthole and squirm out of it. Swim back to our ship. I'll head back to that side passage.
>>603702 She blushes extra hard at that, and the two of you head back to her home, at a slightly faster pace than before, even though you just ate. Maybe the Rosé gave her some courage.
>>603705 He keeps looking at you in a very grumpy manner, just taking large, long breaths, not saying a word… it's kind of unsettling, really.
>>603706 She tilts her head. "Those insane prices cannot possibly be real, can they? Are you sure that's not just an alibi? Maybe there was another reason behind the attack."
>>603703 As you have your conversation with Curry about what a ghost is, you look up and scan the ceiling… whew, nothing there. Then you come face to face to the wet mane of the mare who just emerged from the ground.
>>603714 She motions at you. "Show me. Might have a lead with them. Rival bandits wanting to take their money?"
>>603716 When you're done with it, he stands up. "I show you where you will be sleeping. Do not touch anything that isn't yours."
>>603717 You're too tiny to do any kicks like that from this angle. The bloody ethereal snout snarls at you then disappears again!
After a few seconds, you feel the darkness pass. If she's still around, she is hiding.
>>603718 You calm your mind and put Felfire's needs and safety first… your connection to her already stronger than any whispers seemingly coming out of thin air… You see a grim visage flash in front of your face. You're not sure if it's real or just imagining, but you see a pale snout covered by a straight black mane that's wet from blood.
>>603719 That must be Felfire's ghost. More and more it's starting to look like coming on here was a bad idea. I can't imagine the doctor got away from her, or any other ghoul that might be floating about. "Little one, I think it's time we go faster. Hold on tight." And I'll set off running down the hallways, sticking to the right side and hopefully getting on to the other side of that fallen debris.
>>603720 "What's more sinister than that?" She looks at your 'new' leg. "What's up with that?"
>>603721 The two of you are in front of her house in no time! She lets you in with an excited smile.
>>603723 If he did, you bet it would be a pitbull or something. He leads you to a small, simple room with a comfy looking single bed and a few shelves in it. "This is the guest room. Guests stay here for the night, and are gone by the morning."
>>603722 You start running around for a while, but the maze of metal corridors and door is not doing any good for your sense of navigation. At least you do find something that you can remember, a large room, looking like a mess hall… but you don't think you're alone.
>>605858 Of course I'm not alone, I've got Felfire with me. But I think we aren't the only ones here. >>605859 "You are my eyes here, little one. I'm going to try and find a porthole or something so we can get our bearings. Warn me if you spot anything."
>>605871 "I get offers of mutiliation all the time by those lowlife outlaws. The least you could do is take me to a shootout first."
>>605870 She giggles. "Just some more wine?" She waves a hoof. "Not like you could stop me!"
>>605869 Looks like you won't be able to deliver this one under a day, it's quite the distance. Roll for the journey!
>>605868 It's so dark for you down here, you're not used to this….
You do see a door that might be the way out.
>>605867 Your eyes are perfectly used to seeing perfectly in the dark from all the time you spent in your little cabin. As Curry starts walking towards a door you notice something he doesn't… at first you think it's the corpse of a pony, sat on one of the big tables, but you see it's tail twitching! You're not sure but it also seems that the pony has her ears cut off…
>>605873 And guide you they do! You manage to get picked up by a strong draft and simply coast and glide on the wind currents, barely having to make an effort yet still moving at quite the speed! You'll need to start thinking where to sleep during the night though.
>>605875 She snorts. "Nothing beats the snot they give at the canteen."
>>605877 She nods. "One more glass I can deal with!"
>>605882 Technically, it's only the casing. She picks it up and holds it close to her eyes, picking up a small magnifying glass. "Whatever this is, it's nothing legal. No marks of manufacture anywhere."
>>605884 She occasionally lets out snooty meows your way, but seems to be doing fine otherwise. According to your map, you can find a small village but that would have to be a bit of a detour.
>>605885 She disappears then reappears with two fancy glasses and a bottle. "Sweet wine? I hope you like those!"
>>605883 You let a magic area surround your horn for a moment, bathing the area in light which shines even brigther from all the metal walls and tables. Indeed, there is something on that table that was previously undisturbed. It hops of it's resting place and turns around, revealing the face of a mare. Looks like someone cut her ears off, and you can see old trails of dried tears on her face. Her torn uniform suggests she was pretty high ranking on this ship once… "Get out! Get out of my head! Getoutgetout GET OUT!" She beats the lumps that used to be her ears then grabs a jagged piece of… is that a metal chairleg? Is there anything here made out of wood?
>>605886 Welp, time to haul ass to that door. Though the sheer amount of metal on this tub is a bit odd. Is it supposed to be some new kind of ship? Wonder why I never heard about it before now, even in passing.
>>605888 You're not a very clever pony, maybe that's why.
Roll for a successful evasion of the crazy as you leg it towards the exit to escape
>>605890 Looks like Shudder when someone went into her stash! In comparison, this mare is not that scary!
>>605889 She shakes her head, still examining it. "Nah, I've seen it alright. It's got to be one of those fucking merc companies. I did get multiple reports of more than the usual showing up recently, but we haven't had any trouble with them so far."
>>605891 She pours you some both, the red liquid sloshing around gently in the glass as she hooves it over. After she's done, she sits down real close next to you, her wings partially open. "I had a really nice time today!"
>>605887 A rare Anugyptian Unicat, the cat would probably remind you if it could speak, which it can't. You don't know why you get the sense a cat would say such a thing, though. Maybe you don't have enough rice in your diet!
By the time you arrive at the village, it's already pretty late into the night, but considering the distance you closed, it's still a pretty nice tempo! You see a wooden house with the lights on that resembles an inn.
>>605895 She looks up at you. "They don't seem very eager to tatoo their names on illegal ammo. Even they aren't that dumb." She pauses. "Most of them, anyway. Why strange, though? Those vultures are everywhere, and you did mention some thick bounties."
>>605894 "Mrooow." Looks like she agrees! An old lady opens the door. "Yes, what can I help you with?" She looks you over as she talks.
>>605896 She takes a sip of her drink. "Oh, come on, don't say that! You could never be insufferable to me! You're the nicest stallion I've met!"
>>605893 You hop up on a bench, to the table, and with a slightly risky manuveur, jump over the crazy ex-officer and even using her to get some more momentum, kicking her to the ground in the process. She lets out a shrill screech in frustration, but she takes a while to scramble to her hooves, giving you enough time to scram and run down a hallway on the other side of the mess hall.
You don't hear any voice, so she probably didn't follow.
>>605897 Just because I can't hear anything doesn't mean there's nothing there. >>605898 "You did well spotting her, little one. It seems something drove everyone on this boat mad, be it ghost, curse, or something else." I'll shake my head. "I'm going to be relying on you to see what I can't. Now, let's keep moving. Hopefully we'll find the doctor before he succumbs to the madness that clings to this ship."
>>605899 She giggles with a blush and starts playing with one of her wings. "Well… maybe I do like someone from work."
>>605901 She tilts her head. "You're on of those ponies from Neighpon, aren't you?" She stays silent for a bit, then grabs you to pull you inside the inn with a grin. "You little muffin, I love your kind so much! Always so tidy and neat! Of course I have a room for somepony like you!"
>>605900 If it is, it's not readily apparent. On the flip side, you're still pretty lost.
>>605898 It's gone… you think. It's just Curry and you now. You don't like this ship… You like the creaky wood one where you met Mr. Bird better…
>>605905 "I can tell you he's not from the labs." She is smiling at you warmly, twirling a hoof around the tip of her wing.
>>605906 "I can let you stay with a discount! Only a few bits! Say, you don't have any nice curry or rice recipes to share, do you? I could whip some late dinner up in no time! Ooh, what have you got there? I hope you don't plan to eat that, tee-hee, don't worry muffin, I am just pulling your tail there!"
>>605908 "Oh, he's a smart stallion! Quite handsome, too! And those muscles, those cannot go without mention! I don't think I could ever be lucky enough to be together with a stallion like him!"
>>605910 Before you know it she nudges you to a table and pours you fresh tea with biscuits, then sits down across you with a pen and some paper. "I collect recipes from all the Neigphons! I'm hoping to publish a book from out of them one day!" She bows to you. "I would be honored if you could share some with me, muffin!"
>>605909 The bloodstained mane hides her terrible face, but you know she's staring! You can feel it!
>>605913 "Oh, just a few, the rice balls, rice cakes, the ramen, the neighponese mushroom wrapped in salad, the cheese-coated vegetable salad, the…" She drones on and on and on, like a neverending torrent of recipes!
>>611928 She holds up a hoof. "I am happy that you are doing well, but there is no time for flattery. I cannot talk to you long when visiting your dreams. I need to tell you something about your host who took you in."
>>611929 She gasps and covers her mouth with a hoof. "Oh Goodness… you haven't heard that one yet? It's quite strange, it must be just a rumor!"
>>611930 "Our barracks is the proud owner of the most uncomfortable bunk beds in the whole of Equestria. You can be my guest to try one of them yourself."
>>611931 Her face says shy and embarassed, but her wing says 'aww yeah' and wing-hugs you back immediately. "We all have been, but I just needed to think about you to be happy again."
>>611933 "Fate itself must have brought you here. Your host is none other than a Forestwalker, one of the first children of Nature. He will deny it, and when he does, ask her about Aerianna.
Once he'll know that you can be trusted, I belive he will be able to help you in your quest."
>>611934 "You're shit out of luck, pal, I sleep in my chair." She taps the piece of furniture she is sitting on. "Seriously, fuck those beds."
>>611935 She clears her throat then starts motioning around her hooves. "Well… I've heard that the mares take some eels… and then they take the eels and they shove them… and the…" She shivers. "It's horrid to think about!"
>>611936 Once you do, she leans even closer, your muzzles being very close to each other now. "I hope I'll be able to know that feeling with a special somepony."
>>611938 It's done. You have a refreshing talk about Thangs and Stuff™ over half a bottle of whiskey before you go off to the barracks. Seems like someone was kind enough to throw a bone to your dog too - literally, and he is already sleeping outside.
As promised, the bed is incredibly uncomfrotable, but the whiskey helps somewhat.
You wake up to the gentle chirping of birds and the first rays of the sun.
>>611940 She lets out a sigh of relief. "That's nice to know! Not like I would for a moment believe that a mare such as yourself would do it!" She doesn't sound very convincing.
>>611941 She is surprised only for a split second, but doesn't hesitate and instinctively closes her eyes to kiss you back. Her lips are soft and taste heavenly, and you feel her poor little heart beating away like a jackhammer inside of her soft chest.
>>611957 She frowns. "Aww… A-allright… I really wish you could stay, but I know you can't." She smiles, and gives you a quick peck on your lips. "There's always tomorrow, right?"
>>611958 "Don't be silly, that cat couldn't possibly be up to anything bad!" She slowly walks to the counter and picks off a key from the wall. "Here you go, sweetie. Second door to the left on the first floor. It's nice and cozy, all set up!"
>>611959 It's gonna be a few hours of trekking, but it's nothing you aren't used to. Plus, you're on quite good terms with the Sheriff, High Noon.
>>611960 He puts down the knife and walks on front of you… he's quite a big guy for you, so him just standing in front of you is imposing and threatening. "Are you one of those mind-readers? What do you want from me? I can tell you what I can give you, a kick in the arse and nothing else." Even though he is threatening you… his voice doesn't sound menacing. You don't feel anything behind it.
>>611961 Shrug like I'm not intimidated at all. "I'm not actually magically inclined at all. I'm on a mission from Mother Nature, she's missing a few artifacts and I'm supposed to retrieve them. She told you me could help, because you're a forest walker."
>>611962 He's a guy who gives you quite the mustache envy.
>>611963 She blushes and flaps her ears down. "W-Wha, no, I, uh, H-hey! Come on, Cloud!"
>>611964 It really is a nice little room! By the time you arrive, the cat is fast asleep… or so it seems.
>>611965 He lets out a sight and turns around, slowly walking to the table. He pulls out one of the chairs. "Sit. I'm sorry for that outburst." He sits down on another chair, and puts the salad he made on two plates, sliding one of them over to where your chair is. "It has been so long since I've heard from her that I could hardly believe she would send anypony again."
>>611967 "I-I can see that!" She prods your side with a wing angrily as she starts to walk you to the door. "Tomorrow~"
>>611968 You don't open the cage for her. Time to sleep like flowers under the blanket of snow during winter?
>>611969 The time passes faster when you play fetch with your dog as you walk. It's nearly noon when you get to the border of the town, already seeing the first houses. Hopefully an inn too, you're parched.
>>611970 "If only you knew. He nods and motions at the plate. "Eat." He doesn't touch his food. "What do you know about my kind?"
>>611972 It is delicious! Must be homegrown. "Forestwalkers are one of the first children of Mother Nature. One of her oldest creations. Forestwalkers were meant to be beings of another time, to be at home in every forest of the world, to live and thrive among the trees. Yet, as she did not know better, she made a big mistake." He shakes his head. "She made it so we cannot die of old age."
>>611973 You almost have trouble flying like this… with your heart pumping so fast and your mind being in the clouds. Not literally, unless you crash of course.
>>611974 Saying that's racist is racist you squint eyed fuck.
You get a nice, relaxing night of sleep at least… You wake up in the morning to the sound of purring… coming from really close.
>>611976 He nods. "I cannot. Sometimes she doesn't give me any sign that she still cares, that she still watches over me for years, decades." He starts slowly nibbling his breakfast.
>>611977 As much as the pink clouds of love are invigorating, you still get the same rush from flying too. You have no trouble focusing on your flight, even speeding up to get some of that adrenaline rolling.
You also get tired faster, which is a bonus.
>>611978 Usually, the town is bustling with trade, but seems to be a slow day today. You see ponies talking or smoking here or there, a few of them armed with weapons too, but none of the usual chatter of selling and buying.
>>611980 "…So have you ever seen the animal statues? They are missing from the temple in my hometown, which is bad news if I can't get them back. Already that place is pretty messed up, my poor pa can't grow hardly anything."
>>611981 You crash into bed as you are, falling almost a come, with just your happy thoughts. You hear the beep and some talk, but by the time you wake up the talking skit of the morning show is already over.
>>611992 He returns to scribbling. "The Sheriff is out of town on some official business. You'll have to come back at some other time."
>>611993 "I will help you with whatever I can." He motions with a hoof. "You can use this cottage whenever you want to, eat the food from the garden and sleep in the beds. I will do my best to help you get those statues too.
>>611994 Who needs breakfast when you can visit Skyheart? Even better, the two of you could go to work together!
>>611995 "Mroooooooooooow…" She gives you sad, cute little kitten eyes…
You are still lost deep in the bowels of the Equestrian Ironclad which only seemed abandoned at first sight. Having lost your companions, you were forced to move into the lower levels, losing way yourselves in the process.
Curry just spotted a stairway that might lead up. Felfire spotted the ghost with the bloodied mane floating patiently right above the first step of the stairs, waiting.
>>614999 Sigh. Well, it's either go through there now, or wait until it's completely covered in spikes. >>615000 "Hold on tight, little one. This is going to get a bit rough." And then I'll barrel through the thing, leaping over the first few steps. '1d10'
>>615003 >>615002 You manage to keep Felfire safe but the spikes quickly jab forward at your attempt. You are quick enough to make it through, but you get some unpleasantly painful cuts in your flanks and you feel some hairs of your tail get caught on and ripped out.
Nope, this barricade is constructed better than a house. Hell, it almost seems more stable than the ship you are sailing with.
>>615010 Your eyes quickly adjust to the dark, as they always have. You see Curry poking away at a barricade… and the shadow of something approaching from the nearby corridor! It has a totally not-pony muzzle too! Aaaah! What is that?
>>615012 >>615013 Felfire yanks the head of Curry to make him look at the corridor. Soon enough, around the corner steps out an equine form.
It has a weirdly shaped muzzle, and long, very long ears, like they've been pulled on a lot and stretched that way, hanging beside her head! Her skin is pale and her mane is unkept! Beneath the small armored vest, you can see her ribs poke out from under the skin!
Curry can tell that whoever this is, she is a malnourished donkey jenny. Judging from her complexion, she isn't very healthy. She has a baton attached to her hoof, and that baton has several bloody nails run through it.
She stops suddenly when she can see you, looking over both of you… then throwing the baton away beside her, slumping against the wall. "Well fuck, it finally happened. I officially lost my mind." She snorts. "So much for keeping it together…"
>>615015 She gets comfy against the cold metal wall and shakes her head. "How could I be sane talking to you? You weren't on the ship. I had to know everyone on the ship. What kind of hallucination are you? The others said they were violent and gory and brutal… and what's with the filly?"
>>615016 "I came onboard with another group. Found your ship floating around, a derelict. We thought that, since our own stores were fairly low, we could see if any of the medical supplies survived what we thought was just the ship being abandoned or raided." I'll frown. "Unfortunately, as I said, things didn't quite go as planned, and whatever was left of the pony in the medical bay has gone mad to the point of murder. Now we're just trying to get out of here." I'll look over my shoulder at Felfire. "As for her, I'm looking after her. She wanted to help carry things, and, well…" I'll gesture with a hoof. "You know."
>>615019 >>615020 >>615021 She slowly gets up to her hooves. "Wait… you are actually here? Have you lost your mind? You see the ship of the Equestrian Navy and you just board it?" She snorts. "You're lucky I'm not arresting you." She slowly looks down at Felfire circling her, then back at Curry. "Is she allright? She hit her head or something? Or did the good old Chef in the medbay do this to her?" She points at her weapon on the ground. "Oh, right, it's not just him. Come with me, I know a safe place where we can talk."
>>615024 "Crimson Tides. Chief Security Officer, unlucky survivor, trying-to-keep-it-together. Happy to be talking to someone else again." She nods and turns around, picking up her weapon and slowly limping down the corridor. "Oh, haven't you met the rest of the crew? My best friend held out for an astonishingly long time. Then she cut her own ears off to make the voices stop."
>>615025 She looks down at you silently…. Staring… Judging… Then she speaks! "I was born in Baltimare so I learned there, my ears are long because I always use them, I'll take that as a compliment but I don't know, and I'm thin because it's been a very long time since I ate anything."
>>615026 "…I think we met your friend in the mess hall, Officer Tides. It seems her plan did not work." I'll shake my head. "Also, there's apparently a ghost chasing us, since it warped the stairwell into a jagged piece of metal on our way up."
>>615032 >>615033 It's a complete mess. You see blood on the walls and floor, possibly originating from more than one person. It's long dried up already. Most of the 'furniture' is in disarray, and the only things left are a sleeping cot, a makeshift workbenc-wait, is that an altar to the Princesses?
The donkey quickly enters behind you, shutting and barring the door, then tipping a locker over and in front of it for good measure. She kicks into a long empty can of food, of which there are dozens. "I really should tidy up, but I wasn't expecting guests, so I have no snacks to offer either."
>>615034 "That's alright, we weren't planning on staying long anyway. And if we're lucky, all three of us will be leaving." Check my belongings. Do I have things I could use to whip up something for Tides's leg? Or did I think this would be easy and not bring my own paltry medical supplies?
>>615035 You think you'd gain medical supplies, not use them up. You've got nothing to treat a busted leg, maybe just enough to treat the cuts on your own flank.
"Who are you anyway? Rescue team? Did you save the kid from some sinking tub too? Because let me tell you, you're in over your head here."
>>615036 Nothing new there with the blood. Psch, it's not even a lot of it! You sniff and poke your nose at the cans until you find a teeny tiny bit of leftovers in the bottom of one of them! Smell sort of funny, but hey, it's food!
>>615037 I'll shake my head. "We were actually sailing back to Equestria after a shipwreck. I rescued the little one from a tribe of cannibals on the island we ended up on." I'll sigh. "And here I was hoping I was done with evil magic…" Shake my head. "So, Officer Tides… how did all this start? Judging by the lack of food and sanity, it'd have to have been at least a week ago, or more."
>>615039 Nope! It's probably safe to eat! It's even a bit juicy!
Though, if you eat it you might just get hungrier because it's not a lot.
>>615038 "Wow… you have really shitty luck." She drags herself to the cot and sits down. "You do know about the war with the Empire, don't you? Most ponies pretend it's not happening, because it is nowhere near Equestria."
>>615040 "I wasn't aware there were any empires left. Not counting Equestria itself." >>615041 "A war is when a lot of ponies and sometimes not-ponies fight over different opinions and kill a lot of each other. It's not a good thing to have."
>>615041 She frowns. "It's a terrible thing, something pointless that costs a lot of lives."
>>615042 "That's what they call themselves anyway. They claimed their Empress is above the Princesses herself. One thing led to another, and now here we are, neither of us daring to end the conflict." She shakes her head again. "These ironclads, they were supposed to be the ultimate weapons. We win the sea battles and it's all over. The trump cards. The best Earth Pony technology, just to survive against the Sea Serpents those assholes tamed." She spits in a nearby can. "The last ship I was on before this one was sunk by one. They play hide and seek with you. First, one of them starts tracking the convoys, later joined by another, and another, and another, until there's a pack, just like timberwolves…"
>>615043 I'll harrumph. "Nature does have a way of finding ways to survive, even if it's at someone else's beck and call." >>615045 >>615046 I'll shake my head again. "The leader of those cannibals I told you about. A deer about as big as I am, and meaner than a ticked-off manticore."
>>615047 >>615046 She snorts. "You had it easy. A deer, a pony, a donkey, a manticore even, you can kill. They realized the Serpents are useless against the Ironclad, and so they tricked us. Made us believe we caught a spy, a prisoner. A pale mare with a mane of black. Didn't think too hard about it, we locked her up in the holding cell. Overnight she cut her hooves open with a small blade she smuggled in, painted all kinds of weird crap with her blood all over the floor and walls and then died of the blood loss."
>>615048 "That's not something to be especially proud of, even though it was necessary." >>615049 "It got less easy when he started raising the dead, including our own former crewmates. But by the sounds of it, that pony you picked up was a necromancer. A real nasty one to boot." Sigh again. "Which would explain pretty much everything, really. So, why not scuttle the ship? Take her down and escape in a dinghy?"
>>615051 I'll shake my head. "Felfire has been seeing her here and there on the ship. On the stairs up to this level, for example, and in the mess hall." >>615053 "Well, he did deserve it. Ponies, and deer, who do bad things usually have bad things happen to them." I'll pat your head. "But, you shouldn't have to worry about that."
>>615052 "No shit, Sherclop. We figured, but by then it was too late. She wasn't just any necromancer either, she was a Banshee. Turned us against each other… when it first started happening, we welded off the armory, sealing all the weapons and explosives inside, afraid of someone blowing up the ship. In hindsight, that would have been preferable, but we didn't know… Most of the ponies who are still alive are controlled by her visions, and keep me away from the places that I need to be to survive."
>>615054 >>615053 She blinks a few times. "Wait…" She points at Felfire. "She is a necromancer? Or a chaplain? Or a Paladin? Because she looks like neither of those."
>>615055 "Any way we can get into those places?" At her exclamation, I just shake my head. "She's a child who just happens to have the ability to see things I can't. Nothing more, nothing less. And it's an ability that's probably saved my life more than once already in here."
>>615056 "Yes, I can see that. But most ponies can't see those dead spirits or whatever the hell they are."
>>615057 "Yeah, just the ability! That is everything here!" She points at a poorly bandaged gash on her abdomen. "That could have been easily avoided." She points at her weapons. "If you think you can take them on sure. I've tried before. You can see how that turned out."
>>615058 I'll nod. "I'm not certain I'll be able to harm the banshee, but… as long as we don't run into the chef again, we should be fine. He's too stupidly strong for a pony his size. But, avoiding them would probably be the wiser course of action." I'll think a moment. "Is there a back-up supply of medical tools? Or are those all squirreled away?" >>615059 "It's alright, little one. Miss Tides has had a very bad couple of days, so she doesn't mean to be scary."
>>615059 She leans back against the wall and coughs. "Right, right, sorry… it's not good for me either, actually."
>>615060 "Nothing that I know of and haven't scavanged yet. All the good stuff is in the med bay and all the food is in the kitchen."
Suddenly All three of you hear an explosion somewhere below you, and the whole ship rocks from it. Tides perks her donkey ears up. "What… but… we had no more explosives to use! And the armory is below us!"
>>615062 >>615063 She tries to stand up to the best of her ability. "I don't know what that was, but we must get there before the freaks and the banshee get there first. We might have a fighting chance, or even better, we could sink this damned floating coffin!"
>>616998 "Two minutes!" Without even closing the door she turns around and hurries inside. You can see her pack a few things into her saddlebags, including a lab coat and safety googles, before quickly cantering outside and closing the door with a key. "All set!"
>>617000 Will respond once Curry is here and you're back
>>617001 He lifts up some of the fake floorboards, hiding them in a compartment. "If I am not here and the door is closed, go south. There is a shack about thirty minutes there. A friend of mine has a spare key there."
>>617002 The two of you take off and arrive at the Weather Factory in no time. You check in at the gates and go inside. Airheart waves from behind the receptionist counter with a loud "Hi!" and her sister runs over immediately, hugging her like she just returned from an overseas trip. "Oh, Airheart, so you are here! Thank the Princesses!"
>>617003 Wind: 1 Iga: 0 You will just exhaust yourself this way, flying against such a strong current. Maybe you should do some of the distance on foot until it dies down.
>>616995 "And if we're even luckier, we'll survive to escape it as well." >>617000 "'Boom' could also be bad for them, little one. It all depends on how it's used." I'll make a note to pick up something I can use as a weapon along the way. Didn't expect I'd need anything other than my trident, and now that's broken.
>>617005 "She is called Green Drops. You can't miss her."
>>617006 "That is secondary." When she notices you are looking for a weapon she hooves over the baton with the nails driven through it, and pulls out an Equestrian Military Knife from a drawer for herself. "We need to move, quick."
>>617000 "Boom can make all the bad things go away, so boom is good, little girl."
>>617007 It must have rained recently, because even on hoof, your movement is slowed down by the huge amounts of mud you keep stepping into. Slows down AND makes a mess!
>>617008 She beams with happiness. "Oh, it was so great! We had a sleepover party! Told stories, had make-up, did each others manes and tails! And it wasn't gay either!" Skyheart blushes with flapped down ears. "Airheart!" "What? It wasn't!" "You don't have to say things like that!"
>>617009 Ill give it an experimental heft, and nod slightly. "If I'd known what we were getting into, I would have come better prepared." Settling down near Felfire, I'll nod to her. "Hop on, little one. We're going to need to move as fast as possible, and I'll need you up here to spot things I can't."
>>617010 Her eyes sparkle with curiosity. "Oooh! You did make-up?" She snortles. "You must have looked funny!"
>>617011 "She is, as long as you're not faint of heart." That definitely sounds interesting!
>>617012 You do not stop, but your advance is really slow… you are losing some of the time you managed to make yesterday. You are still not late, but if you can't make up for this later, you might be! Late! For an assignment! It is invoncievable to even consider such a shameful idea!
>>617015 She nods. "Yes! I can't wait!" Skyheart nods as well. "I should get going to get ready too… see you then." She walks off towards the Lab. You still have some time to kill before your shift starts though, you got here early… Maybe a visit to your old stallion?
>>617016 Breaks are for the weak. You need no food or drinks or rest! Soon enough, you get to the hills and mountains of Unicorn Range. You're in a rocky valley, the map says the village should be close by… you hear the cat meow. It doesn't sound right, that's not where the cage is!
>>617017 He nods. "That might be a good idea. Tell her to prepare something from Mr. Grumpus for me. She will know I sent you."
>>617021 "Mr. Grumpus is a pet of hers." He looks sad for a moment. "I try not to get close to anypony anymore. I will just outlive them anyway."
>>617020 She is purring on one of the rocks, licking her paws. That little mischievous piece of dishonor! The cage door isn't even open!
>>617019 You knock and enter into the Infirmary. She seems to be doing inventory on the medical supplies of one of the lockers. "Oh, hey there Skimmer." She looks at you with a grin. "Had a fun night yesterday, I hope? I guessed the two of you needed some more time than a little dinner at me, so I invited Airheart to sleep at my place."
>>617022 "There's my favorite pegasus wing expert!" Look back at her with a grin. "Last night was magical. And I appreciate your thoughtfulness, though you did worry Skyheart a little bit. Seems like she gets worried fairly quickly about her dear sister."
>>617023 She swishes her tail to and fro, licking her paw and running it over her horn to clean it, still purring… watching you. Waiting for your move.
>>617024 She walks over to your side and taps the base of your wings. "Let me see them, 'Prince Charming'." She snickers. "I don't suppose the details are publicly available? Oh, and tell me about it. One time when they were supposed to go home she couldn't find Airheart and almost broke down crying to me. Turns out she just went to the bathroom to drink some tap water."
>>617025 Spread my wings. "We didn't go too far, don't worry about it. We both had fun though, she's such a sweet soul. It's amazing to see how close they are as siblings. For comparison, I haven't seen mine in weeks."
>>617026 He shakes his head. "Once, we were all over Equestria and beyond. We roamed all groves, forests and clearings. When the other races came, we became recluses. Our immortality did not pass down when we mixed with earth ponies, unicorns or pegasi. Some died of disease, some of wars. Some couldn't bear the thought of their loved ones passing on without them, and took their own lives." He covers the floorboards to hide the statues, then walks to the window and stares out of it, looking at the wind playing with the leaves of the trees. "Now… there is only one."
>>617027 She starts prodding the base tugging at some of your feathers, examining them all over. "Mhhm… your wings are already showing great progress." She bends them a bit and yanks out a few loose feathers. "To be honest, if Airheart was my sister, I wouldn't let her live alone either. I love the girl, but she is a bit of a ditz, isn't she?"
>>617028 The usual tactic you have used so far works! You feel her in your grip! There is no esca-there is a flash, and your hooves are hugging nothing! You look back behind you… the stupid cat is on another rock, still leaisurely cleaning herself, her horn still glowing slightly with the residue of magic…
>>617030 "I know. She once got bored in this room and started to read a medical journal. A few months later she identified a feather infection on a co-worker before it got serious from the sympthoms, and said she remembered just reading about it. Her brain is like a sponge." She snickers. "It has a few holes in it, but soaks up everything."
>>617031 You watch the clouds above you pass in the clear blue sky. You hear a cute 'Meow' nearby.
>>617032 You gob into the bucket placed for just this reason. The stallion is not impressed. "I'm afraid not. You can try coming back in a weeks time."
>>617033 He nods back. "Take care of yourself." You walk outside. Where to now? South to meet his friend, or to Los Pegasus?
>>617035 You feel a light weight on your chest as the cat climbs onto it, looking down at you. "Meow?"
>>617036 He looks up. "Yes, sir. That is a bullet. Firearms use those. You might be familiar with the concept."
>>617037 "Some people like Lancer pick on her every now and then, but she usually just shrugs it off. Intentionally or not, I will never know."
>>617038 You go south, and in about 30 minutes, just as Erdei said, you see a shack, and a whole row of other, small wooden buildings behind it! You land near the front door, and approach with the intention to knock… but you are interrupted. Out of the grass, the head of a large snake rises, the scaled hood on the sides opening into a threatening position with a hiss! It's a cobra, and it looks almost as tall as you when it finishes rising from the ground!
>>617039 For the love of Celestia, they should have put up somebody actually smart here. "I'll leave then. But before I do, can I see some papers to prove you're sent here by the government, routine business."
>>617040 "You could be just a thug wearing the armor of a Ranger too, and you don't see me accusing you of anything." He opens a drawer and tosses you a rolled up paper. "There."
>>617042 She shakes her head, and pats your back, letting you know you can fold your wings. "I meant shrugging it off. Of course Lancer does it on purpose, he's an asshole." She sighs. "Too bad he is an asshole who does his job well."
>>617043 The cat looks like she is… pouting? "Mrooow!" You see her horn glow… and her little cage flows through the air, landing next to you, the door opening.
>>617044 You get so startled you fall back onto your flanks! Oh no! You're done for! This beast will bite you and poision you and all will be in vain!
Or so you think… from behind the shack you see a green earth pony mare walk out. She gives you a questioning look, before turning to the snake who feigns a strike at her with a loud hiss! Instead of retreating, the mare just raises her eyebrow. "Really?" The snake pretends to strike again, and the mare only walks closer. "You're getting brave for a small guy, huh? Showing off like that." Faster than lighting, she smacks the snake on top of the head, and points behind the shack where the rest of the buildings are. "Shoo. Get back to your place before lock you up again." That's all it takes, the snake folds its hoods and scurries away!
>>617041 >>617013 With a bit of a struggle, the jenny undoes the barricade and opens the door. "Allright… follow me. I know a staircase that might still be usable." She starts limping down the hallways as fast as her wounded leg allows her.
>>617046 >>617047 By decree of the bla bla Dodge City bla bla… seems legit enough. Of course, you can't check if it's real unless you talk to or message someone from the Dodge City authorities.
"This desk provides good cover in that case."
>>617048 She snickers. "Did you meet him or just heard tales of his behaviour?"
>>617051 The cage gets tossed away between some rocks! "Mrow!" The cat starts licking your face!
>>617049 The three of you walk along the dark, metal hallways, passing the occasional bloodstains and broken doors. With the donkey leading, you feel less lost in this place. You are getting near an intersection, and the donkey slows down. "That place should have a staircase down. It was still good the last time I used it."
>>617050 You see nothing… yet. A warm tingling senstation is something you feel, however, under your wing. It's the dagger! She is coming. She is close. Let us help you… when we tell you, use us! We cannot stay here. You will have to use us! From within the dagger, you feel an immense, dark power run into you… if you could really use this, you wouldn't have to be afraid of the spooky ghost mare…
That crit is stored in the dagger, ready to be unleashed.
>>617055 She hops onto your back! The wind has died down too! You can keep flying now!
>>617057 "As much as I love smack-talking co-workers, I need to get back to this inventory before the day starts. See you around, though, and try not to crash into anything! I've heard about the one with the dumpster."
>>617059 She looks you over. "Do we? Who do I have the fortune of speaking with?"
>>617058 >>617056 As Curry turns the corner to the stairwell with you, you come face to face with two ponies… a cream coated pegasus stallion at the front, and the earless mare from the cafeteria at the back.
Felfire can see the banshee hovering above the mare momentarily before slowly sinking down into her, merging into her body! Curry can only see the result, as her eyes roll back into her head, and she uses a metal piece to cut both her front hooves, starting to chant in an alien tongue and scribbling occults drawings in blood to the floor.
Crimson Tides, the donkey, starts yelling. "I've seen this before! Stop her! Kill her before she finishes!" Her voice wavers with fear, but the stallion spreads his wings, blocking the way from reaching the mare, even with the telekinesis of Curry!
The dagger of Felfire talks to her in an urgent voice. Use us! Now!
>>617070 You see a short mare in a business outfit behind his desk. She has a black mane in two ponytails to the sides, both of them being held by pink ribbons. She looks up at you as you enter. "Yes, what may I help you with?"
>>617071 You hear footsteps from the other side, and a butler opens the door. "Yes? May I be of assistance, ma'am?"
>>617060 Right, if I can't go over, or under, then the only way is through. Bullrush that pegasus, hopefully into the possessed mare, and disrupt the spellcasting. "Hold on tightly, little one, this is going to get rough." Horn down and charge. '1d10'
>>617565 She gives you a look like you are stupid. "I am Pink Ribbons, sir. I am in charge of this facility in the absence of Mr. Cloud Trimmer." Your father taking vacation? That's not something you thought was possible. Or if it was, he'd have told you for sure.
>>617567 "You don't." She looks at you with annoyance. "Now, do you want anything else, or are you going to wait around until you get bit by something? If you need directions, I can give you those."
>>617568 You are led into a playroom… it's pink and frilly, full of toys of all kinds, and it is at least four times the size of your complete flat. You see a unicorn filly in an elaborate dress writing something in a diary. Beside her is an unicorn mare, probably her mother, with bags under her eyes. She strains a smile when she sees you. "Oh, look, darling! It finally arrived!"
>>617570 >>617065 As Curry starts charging headfirst into the pegasus and Felfire holds onto the dagger, something unexpected happens… The dagger starts glowing with a sickly green light, and Felfire feels a surge of power flow through her. Without thinking, or as if the dagger was suggesting to, she waves it forward in one hoof, creating a rift in space itself! Curry, having no time to stop or even conceptualize this, charges straight into it, and for a second or two both of you realize you are no longer Equestria. You are surrounded by a dark, hellish landscape, the path you are standing on covered in bones. The stench of brimstone is thick in the air, and in the far distance, you see creatures that are too terrible to even imagine in your wildest nighmares… before you can get too much of an impression, however, mid-step for Curry, another of those rifts opens up, and you find yourselves back on the ship… on the other side of the pegasus! The dagger whispers another stern command, or suggestion, to Felfire, who now points it at the unicorn she is riding… For Curry, this is the moment everything goes red. Felfire can see his eyes light up with black and green fire, just like the frenzy spell Buck used on his raiders! His horn lights up with a similar glow, and a thin line of magic whips out of it that instant.
As fast as it came, the sensation goes away, leaving Curry feeling sick and disoriented. The shoulder and most of the upper body of the mare slowly starts sliding off, the resonating scream of the banshee filling the corridor as her vessel was sliced into two. Felfire feels her presence gone… not forever, but she took a big hit for sure.
The pegasus stallion, even with his disturbed mind is shocked by this, so much in fact that the donkey jenny has no problem sneaking up on him and sinking her knife in his head through his neck. She gives you a weirded out look as the corpse of the stallion collapses and as the corpse of the mare lies in two parts. "….I'm not even going to ask."
>>617598 I'll stagger a bit. "I… I think you might want to. Later. I don't really know what happened either." After I give my stomach a moment to settle, I'll make sure my hooves are solid under me and stand straight. "Now, I believe there was that room we were going to?"
>>617598 >>617603 My brain is still stuck on overdrive trying to process all of this, but I'm pretty sure soon enough I will have visions and nightmares about that place. Hide the dagger again, in an effort not to listen to its words anymore, and squeeze my hooves around Curry's neck.
>>617597 The filly walks up to you, and looks you over with disdain. "Well, where is it?"
>>617599 "I never claimed not to be me. I would rather get bit by a mamba before hearing another of those cheesy lines, so please just stop."
>>617600 "He was taken to the Peaceful Respite Hospital this morning, shortly after he arrived to work."
>>617603 She cleans the knife. "Downstairs, yes." She grimaces. "We better leave. You do realize I used to know these ponies, don't you?" She quickyl goes down the stairs, without giving a second look to either you or the dead.
>>617606 You might… You tuck the dagger away, still feeling some of the unholy magic course inside your veins… You quickly do the best stress relief you can imagine and hug Curry tight!
>>617626 Pick her up! "This is the cat you wished for, yes?" I'm not stupid. If that cat wants to run away from this place there's nothing that will fucking stop it from doing just that. All I care about is getting this thing signed so I'm no longer liable.
>>617629 "Just getting some weapons and knowing we might be able to sink this ship is enough for me." She keeps creeping down the dark hallways.
>>617630 "Was there anything else?" She looks impatient! And knowing how much trouble it is to get the right room, you might be late to get back if you try it during lunch.
>>617633 The filly looks at it, then closes her eyes with a "Hmph!" She turns away. "I don't want it anymore! I want a puppy now!" The mother frowns. "But, sweetie… it is already paid for, you-" "I WANT A PUPPY!"
>>617639 "Working with that loner, huh? You are stranger than I thought… hey, since you seem like the guy who is not afraid to make friends with weird people, I might have something for you. Are you planning to go to Los Pegasus anytime soon?"
>>617641 She also looks like a retard with those twin tails! "No, no, that's all I needed to know… thank you." Leave the office. I really wonder how serious this is… Knowing dad he wouldn't want me to ditch work, especially if it's it's not too serious.
Why the hell did Storm Dancer not say anything about this? Bah. I'll get to work first.
Maybe Storm didn't even knew herself yet? Her shift technically didn't start before, so she might not have been told. Roll to try and focus on work.
>>617651 "PUPPY! PUPPY PUPPY PUPPY! A LITTLE CUTE DOGGIE!" It is hard to hear her over that! "I'm sorry miss but I don't think I can…"
>>617646 You bump into her when she stops suddenly, and you see why. You see the door of the armory, now blown open, some of the small fires still burning by the side. There is a light inside, casting a shadow of a pony on the wall across… someone is inside, but you can only see the shape of the head, not the legs… is whoever in there on the ground?
>>617673 You see no horn. The jenny is motioning that the two of you should burst in the room at the same time.
>>617677 "Yes, but if we sign it, will you… take it back? We can't have both a dog and a kitty in the same house, can we?" "Yes! Cats are boring now anyway! Why didn't you bring a dog in the first place, you stupid chink?" "O-Oh, I'm terribly sorry, please don't take that too personally!"
>>617680 So it's either pegasus, earth pony, or something else. I'll nod to the Jenny, then whisper: "If it's our ship's doctor, he might still be sane. Let's make certain of that before we do something to him. Assuming whomever that is is alive, of course."
>>617682 The same shadow of a pony head Curry does. Unfortunately, you can't see through walls yet. Fortunately, no ghosts or banshees around!
>>617686 The Doc is a unicorn, silly. She nods. "Keep those weapons up… on three?"
>>617685 You do half assed work as the worry makes it hard for you to concentrate until lunchtime. What will it be? Rushing there and risking being late without food, or waiting until your shift is over?
>>617689 She nods and quickly sings the papers. "Thanks! Take it away then, please… and sorry about this, she is a precious little gem but she doesn't always know what she wants!" "I know what I want! Get me a puppy already!"
>>617690 She snorts amusedly. "Nice save. Wait here. Try not to step on any snakes." She goes inside the shack and comes out a while later with some letters. "The adress is on them."
>>617703 The rest of your shift, after calming down a bit, goes perfectly though! You tidy up the weather in your region so well you even get to leave an hour early!
>>617705 That's the most pleasant way you can put it. You quickly leave this little brat behind, the cat poofing her way onto your back with her magic saying a small "Mrow?"
>>617711 She tilts her head. "Sure, sure. Now scram before I throw snakes at you."
>>617706 >>617704 You burst into the room, ready to slay whoever foe might be in there! The room itself is full of shelves, racks and containers packed with weapons… swords, spears, bows, flintlocks, crossbows, rifles, anything you can imagine! In the middle of it, leaning against a box with a lantern on it is a bloody, battered and bruised mare, looking like she stood at the brink of death's door, then turned away by mistake, holding a flintlock towards the door and now you… lowering it when she sees you.
One of her eyes might be bloodshot and the other puffy and swollen from a beating, but you can see a tear of relief and a smile on the face of Captain Splinterproof.
>>617724 You rush so much you barely knock some people over, some of whom describe you in colorful swear words.
You arrive at the reception.
>>617728 The cat starts purring…then rubbing her face against your cheek.
>>617727 "Heh… good to see you too, lil'un." Wait… you notice something… something is not right… something is missing!
>>617725 "That's my problem… I can never quit. Even when it would be easier." The jenny quickly takes a sword and a flintlock to herself. "I'm glad you know each other and all, but don't forget where we are."
>>617733 It's quite the journey! By the time you get there, it is already afternoon! You can only meet the guy at noon, at that statue, so you will have to find something else to do for the rest of the day.
>>617735 Is there anything I can use as bandages? "Have you seen the Doc? Haven't seen him since he ran away, and considering how haunted this ship is, I can only hope he hasn't gotten into trouble…" Going to take a sword, a pair of spears, and if there are any satchels around I'll load up on ammunition and a couple pistols. I'll also get a dagger for Felfire, if there's one about, and it's got a sheath.
>>617736 The mare at the reception nods. "You must be Cloud Skimmer, correct? Your mother is already here, she said you would show up around this time. Your father is on the second floor, room 2005."
>>617737 She keeps purring! Doesn't matter, it looks like!
>>617741 Roll to find one. It is a big city, you're not used to these!
>>617738 You get all the weapons you can carry, and the donkey had the same idea. You find a cute little knife for Felfire too. The captain stays silent for a few seconds, then her voice cracks as she speaks. "I think I might have killed him."
>>617740 It's… It's her tail! It's gone! Completely! Even the tiny fleshy part! You see the same marks on her flaks where it used to be like that one raider mare had who always played with fire and burned her face!
>>617746 I'll be silent a moment, but then nod. "I don't blame you, Captain. The ghost of a necromancer is haunting this tub, and if it possessed either you or him, then I can't really hold it against you. One, or both, of you could not control the situation, and that's how it ended. We can grieve once we're out of here and this is on the bottom of the sea."
>>617748 You stick to the outskirts of the big city which resemble more of a lot of small towns next to each other, and easily find a comfy looking tavern!
>>617753 You bolt up there and find the room quickly. You see your father lying on the bed, with one of those drippy things connected to his hoof and some tubes in his nose. Seems like he is sleeping. On the chair beside the bed your mother is sitting, holding his hoof, with a worried expression on her face.
>>617751 She shakes her head. "I don't even think… it might not have been him. I was running and running and he stepped out in front of me and I just turned around and bucked then kept running… I'm not sure."
>>617754 >>617755 She licks your face in approval! You're out of the mansion. Time to head back to Los Pegasus?
>>617766 "Then until we find a body, or don't, it would be best to put it out of our minds. With any luck, he'll be waiting back on the ship." >>617773 Smile slightly at that. >>617766 "About how much gunpowder would we need to scuttle this tub, Tides? And where?"
>>617784 "Alright, then how many of those, and where, will it take? Two? Three? A dozen? At the moment, I think I'm the only one in decent enough shape to carry them." >>617787 "Speaking of keeping things steady, little one, this is for you. You might find yourself in a situation that any of us three can't help you, and this knife should allow you to defend yourself." I'll hold the dagger out to her. "I know that you know they aren't toys, but I just want to say that you should only really use this as a last resort. The ponies on this boat are better avoided than fought."
>>617790 Whitetail Woods are pretty thick here… As you try to look for a clearing you start hearing… music?
>>617792 A burly buffalo wearing a stained apron walks up to you. "Nice day isn't it, traveler, one that just begs you to drink a mug of ale! Welcome to my tavern!"
>>617789 She hugs you tight. "He…" She sniffles, and wipes some tears away. "He started choking and coughing blood this morning. The doctors say they are not sure how to treat him just yet, it was all so sudden…" You see a bitter smile on her face. "Even still, the first thing he did was get a pony from the hospital to get me so I can be with him…"
>>617787 "If I survived so far, I'm not giving up now." She stands up on shaky hooves.
>>617796 "We blow up one, it will blow the rest, right here, and it will cause a chain reaction big enough to break this tub in half. Problem is, we'll need a long fuse, your ship, I'm not sure how big it is, but your ship will want to make some distance from this one before that happens."
>>617797 "Which is why I hope you never have to use it. But, it is a tool that can be used to prevent others from hurting you. The fact you know they can hurt means I can trust you with it." >>617798 "It's not that big, and I doubt our resident unfriendly ghost will just allow a fuse to get here… But, if we can find enough rope, we should be fine. And if we light it before we leave."
>>617923 Your father seems to be resting. Your mother nods. "Your sister is coming home tomorrow, but your brother can't make it right now." She looks like she is about to say something, but your father stirs and opens his eyes with a cough. "What's the time? Shouldn't…shouldn't you still be at work, son?"
>>618514 It feels lame compared to the one you already have! But as Buck would remind anyone, it's not a fucking knife, it's a dagger!
>>617800 "We'll figure something out." She starts setting up the fireworks, while the captain walks to the corridor. You notice something strange about her…
>>618516 You go back to the streets. It still feels eerie, with how empty the streets are aside from the few armed ponies… You really hoped you'd get to talk with the Sheriff too. Him and his stupid, large hat!
>>618515 "We do, me and the joy of my life, my wife, cooks the best meals you can find in Equestria, while I brew the ale myself! Our rooms are guaranteed to have the sleep of your life too! I'll get you all those, coming right up!" He leaves and enters the kitchen area.
>>618523 I'm just thankful it's only her tail, and not the rest of her that's gone. With a small nod, I'll meander around the armory while Tides is setting things up. I don't suppose there's anything I could use for bandages or the like? Sacks that can be cut up, or loose cloth?
>>618524 The bartender looks grim as he pours you quite the glass. You see a picture on the wall behind him, standing in front of the Saloon with the Sheriff. That guy would never go anywhere without his stupid hat. Some ponies say he got into the job just to be able to wear it without ridicule in the first place.
"More like all days nows'times."
>>618526 He nods and dozes off again, muttering something. Your mother looks at him with concern. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do when he's not home for me every night…"
>>618527 That's one way to look at it! Looks like the donkalien is done with whatever she is doing!
>>618525 Nope, not in here. All weapons and crates of more weapons and ammo. From the glance you got you did see she cauterized it herself, which must have hurt like hell.
>>618529 He looks around, as if afraid of something. "…wargs. Those big nasty wolf things? Can talk and all that, but they ain't just a timberwolf. Those things are mean to their last hairs. Been skulking around town for a while now."
>>618530 Not so fast, bub, you need to get off this tub. Tides joins you outside of the armory. "Allright, it's set up. We'll uncoil this rope as we leave, tell your ship the plan, someone comes backs, lights it, runs like hell, and we'll see what happens." She frowns. "That's the best I can come up with, given the circumstances."
>>618531 "You would do that? It would be a really large help for me…"
>>618533 Most look like folks from nearby farms, some woodsponies too, but you see ponies who resemble city-people more, especially those nice looking mares… This place seems safe from any ill intentions!
>>618534 "If you think you c-" "No." The captain interjects. "If anypony, it is going to be me. You're not going to do this and risk leaving the filly alone."
>>618535 He hesitates for a few, long seconds. "No, no, he's trying. No problems there."
>>618536 She hugs you again. "Things will be easier once your sister arrives… I'm sure of that."
>>618537 "Captain, you've already come to the point of death once today, I'd rather you not push your luck." I'll look at Felfire for a moment. "And at any rate, I probably have the best chances of getting out of here at a dead run than you do, Captain. And if I'm lucky and the necromancer's ghost stays out of it for a while longer, then it'll be easy." Grimacing a little. "Of course, that is a best-case scenario…"
>>618538 She sniffles and looks like she is about to break down into crying again. You can see her eyes are all puffy as it is anyhow. "I-I don't know, just leaving him here like this…"
>>618539 He tender scratches the back of his head. "You know…
He's got… Stuff.
>>618540 You have a very nice meal, ale, and a restful night of sleep.
You wake up early in the morning fresh as a flower. Now you just need to decide what to do until noon, when you must meet the mystery pony. This is the third day, so you can't miss it!
>>618542 >>618541 She speaks confidently and harshly, scaring Felfire a bit. "We aren't arguing. This is final. I might not even make it anyway. I don't want this to be a suicide mission, but in case it is, it is going to be me, and not you. You've got greater things to do with your life than this."
>>618542 >>618543 Build up worry and confusion inside of me until it's too much, and explode, shouting for the first time ever. "N-no! You are all wrong!" Look at them in exasperation and worry, hyperventilating as I scan the three. "Y-you can't make it out with the dark-maned mare around!"
>>618544 You get a cup of nice, fresh coffee and the daily papers. The headline is about some corporate guy here in Los Pegasus getting fired from the business he built but was taken from him over the years. He's been gone for days now and nopony knows where he is. There is a picture of him and a call from local watch to notify them if you see him. There is also the picture of a mare doing a risque pose on the third page!
>>618545 She wipes her face. "Right, right… you go ahead, I'll meet you outside… just let me say goodnight to him before we go."
>>618548 He starts sweating. "L-Listen, I'm just a stallion who owns a Saloon, I'm not looking for any trouble." He turns around, and does something you cannot see for a minute or two before sliding you another glass of whiskey. There seems to be a piece of paper under it.
>>618550 I'll be confused at that. "Because I choose to be? Where did that question come from, little one?" >>618551 >>618552 "Be that as it may, you're not that good at running yet. And your wings are still wounded. I can't in good conscience let you do that alone."
>>618556 Ah. Gonna need to work on her phrasing, once we finally hit land and I start teaching how to read and junk. "I really can't see the captain agreeing with the two of us running the fuse…" I'll glance sidelong at Splinterproof. "Though I can't see many other options that would allow for avoiding the ghost and getting everyone out alive."
>>618553 You wait for her at the doorway. A few minutes pass, and you see her slowly walking out, feeling the unfamiliar floor in front of herself to avoid tripping or bumping into anything.
>>618554 You pocket the picture and start exploring the city! The square and the statue is easy to find, it's… wait, that's not the statue of a stallion, it's a…mare? Some Saint Radiant or somesuch. You never paid attention in school, no time for that when you have mares to flirt up!
>>618558 The stallion goes away to wash some kegs.
The paper seems to be an adress at the edge of town.
>>618557 >>618556 >>618555 >>618552 The captain stomps her hoof, resulting in a resonating clop as the metal echoes. "I said it's final! You either leave with my ship and let me do this, or swim back to Equestria on your own!" She seems dead serious, starting to walk down the corridor. Tides seems to take it pretty awkwardly, but follows her.
>>618561 There would be a lot of dead ponies and rats if there was a plague There is indeed a plaque. Looks like she was some Paladin of Princess Celestia who died a few decades back. Must have done a lot of heroics! Still, it's not the statue you need to be at.
>>618563 You find it easily. The house seems run down and abandoned, but has a high fence. Two mares are standing at the front gate with rifles, drinking a bottle of whiskey.
>>618566 You take her wing and guide her home. She knows her way once she is there, and goes to the bathroom to wash her face. It's been a long while since you last slept here!
>>618565 >>618564 Your little party slowly starts to traverse the corridors and stairs by the guidance of Tides, and you go up at least two flights, when suddenly you hear the Captain gasp in front of you and run ahead!
>>618570 As if you just walked into the church of Celestia wearing a sign with the words 'I DON'T CARE MUCH FOR CELESTIA', you get surrounded by five priest looking ponies, two stallions and three mares! "Came here to celebrate Celestia and all her loyal subjects? Would you like to know more?"
>>618571 They share a glance between each other and hold their weapons tighter. "What is it?" "Yeah, what do you want?"
>>618572 You make a dinner that would bring shame to the best chefs of the Princesses! …now where is your mother, though?
>>618569 >>618568 You three rush after her, and it becomes apparent why she was in such a hurry. The Doc is here, slumped against the wall, with a large piece of sharpnel sticking out of his chest. Splinterproof is trying to bite back tears, nudging him, trying to wake him. "No, no no no… I did this, I didn't see it was him, it was too dark, I…" You are all startled when the unicorn stallion gasps and wakes up with a jolt. His magic is weak, barely enough to float his glasses on his snout. "C-Cap'n… Oh… you guys are here too… I'm sorry for running away…"
>>618573 "Captain, hush. Now is not the time for guilt." I'll kneel down near the doc. "It's alright, Doc. Turns out you really were hearing voices. The ship is haunted." I'll glance at the protruding shard of… something. "But you're still with us, so there's still a bit of hope for you, right?"
>>618574 Splinterproof nods and reaches for the jagged metal. "Yes, there must be-" The Doc, however, stops her. "No, wait… you'd just risk further injury… I don't think I have the tools or skill for this."
>>618579 "..Actually, I have temple at home I'm very loyal to already. I'm sure you understand I'm not really looking for a new on, I mean you wouldn't want to suddenly change churches either right?" '1d10' smooth talk to help convince them
>>618584 I'll throw a quick glance at the rope we're spooling out behind us, and then back to the doc. Then to the captain. Then back to Doc. "Doc, do you think you can do one last thing for us? You see this rope we're laying down? We need you to light it on fire. It will sink this ship, but the captain, our boat, and Felfire will be safe. Can you do this?"
>>623581 There it is! It was pretty easy to find, but that's probably the point. A few ponies linger around, but none of them stay for long. It's not noon yet, but it's going to be very, very soon.
>>623582 You grab one of them and pull her into a chokehold in front of you. She drops her rifle when you do so, and you can easily reach your own revolver. The other mare raises her gun on you. "Motherfucker."
>>623583 You eat some of your cooking and sleep on the couch, thinking you shouldn't disturb your mom. You groggily wake up to hear her call your name! A few tired blinks make you realize it's right after dawn, a tad earlier than you are used to waking up.
>>623588 She snorts. "You're going to be in trouble, Ranger. Big trouble. You can't even begin to fucking fathom." She keeps her gun pointed at you. The other mare struggles in vain in your hoof.
>>623589 She shakes her head. "I don't remember… maybe yesterday sometime…" She accepts your hoof and climbs out of the bed. "Could you prepare the kitchen? I need to go to the bathroom first."
>>623590 Sounds like someone is playing an upbeat tune on a flute. Maybe they are camping too? You need one for the night yourself.
>>623591 "You do something we ask you to. If you do it, you ask something, and we do our best to help you with it. Scratching each others backs." He floats a piece of paper and a pen in front of himself and starts to write. "Mirage told me you can be trusted, but you can only come to our hideouts once you did this job."
>>623593 "Fine, I'll drop it." She glances at her friend. "Just promise not t-" The mare you are holding jerks her body sideways as best as she can, and you see the other reach for the trigger! Roll for your reflex!
>>623594 She thanks you for your help. You start setting up the plates, as well as the food you made from the fridge. She shows up a few minutes later. Looks like she washed her face and such. She feels up the table and the chairs with her wings then sits down patiently, with the hint of a smile. "I remember when the roles of this were reversed."
>>623595 You land hidden in the trees, sneaking up on the clearing where the music is coming from. You see a path winding across it, and a cart stopped at the middle. Next to it, there is a mare who looks like a highwaymare, passed out… You also see another stallion and mare, both highwayponies. The mare is crying desperately, while the stallion is begging… and what is really strange, both of them are dancing! You don't think you ever saw ponies dance this much! "Please… please, make it stop! I can't take it anymore!" From behind the cart, you see the source of the music hopping out, a brown goat boy, who can't be older than ten, playing the flute and happily jumping around the bandits. A yellowish-white goat girl who is barely older than the other jumps on the cart and giggles. "That's what you get for trying to rob us and our wagon!"
>>623596 He floats the piece of paper to you. "There are two adresses. One of them is an alley, you will find a package there. Take it to the other adress, find the unicorn stallion there, give him the letter. If he objects, show him the rest of the package." He looks around to see how many ponies are around you two. "There is one more thing you should know."
>>623598 "It is. I'm just warning you, working for us might get you killed." He sighs. "What you do for us… it will also get ponies killed. Ponies who work for the asshole that got your friend killed."
>>623599 "I'm glad to hear that!" She starts eating, smiling more now. "Ooh, I remember when I was making pancakes and you were so small, leaning on to the counter with your front hooves and peeking at what I was doing… that and asking for some early snacks!"
>>623600 The brown goat keeps playing, and you see the crying mare pass out with exhaustion. "P-Please!" "Nuh, uh, not until you learned your lessons!" "I will never try and rob kids again!" "Nope!~" "I-I'll never try and rob anypony!" You can see he is on the verge of blacking out too.
>>623602 You yank the mare back a bit too strong, breaking her neck in the process. At least she shields you from the incoming shot. Unfortunately, in all this excitement, you fire your revolver as well, splattering the brains of the other mare all over the plank fence… and making an awful lot of noise. Damn, Rickety wasn't joking, this revolver is loud
>>623603 He nods. "Good. Go back to the stallion tomorrow in the morning to see if he delivered, then meet me here tomorrow at the same time."
>>623604 "When we come back from the hospital, we could make some together. Wouldn't that be delightful?"
>>623605 You set up a substitute and come out from your hiding place just as the last bandit passes out. The brown goat stops playing the flute, while the goat girl waves at you. "Hey there! You can drop the silly act and come here without that silly thing! We won't hurt you!" …well, they saw through that pretty easily.
>>623607 "Good!" She goes back to eating. You have quite some time, you're not used to waking up so early.
>>623608 You go behind the tall fenced off area… it seems like what they were trying to hide was not inside, but outside… in a cage. They caught one of the wargs. The ugly creature somewhat resembling a wolf is easily twice your size, with teeth as big as nails and claws sharp enough to rend armor. Worst of all, they are sentient and not always as dumb as one would imagine by their looks.
>>623609 The brown one hops next to you excitedly and starts looking at your stuff. The girl speaks. "He wants to know if you're a courier!"
>>623610 You find it with a bit of trouble, passing it three times before you notice the small enterance to the alley. You see a dumpster with a small circle painted on it at the back of the alley.
>>623612 There will be a light drizzle early in the morning, but it will be sunny all day after that. She should arrive at around noon, but you will still be at work then.
>>623613 The warg is pacing up and down in the cage in annoyance, and you can see blood around the bars… it doesn't look like those bandits and this one were on good term.
You can always just ask, too.
>>623614 The girl talks again. "My name is Vanilla Sky!" She points the brown goat. "And he is my brother, Chocolate Sky!" He bows at you theatrically.
>>623615 It's a dumpster. Ponies put trash in it. It smells really bad. There is also the package you need in a water and trash-proof bag in it. When you remove it, you realize it doesn't even smell like the rest of this alley!
>>623619 The chocolate goat runs to the cart, digs out a tiny koto… hey, that is a traditional neighponese instrument! He plays a few strings on it, and you feel a complulsion to do a pirouette, which you do! Vanilla Sky giggles, but when Chocolate keeps playing you feel nothing. "They were being mean so we taught them a lesson! Choco here can do very special magic with music!"
>>623623 Most of them can, at any rate. He stops circling the cage and snarls at you. "You're not one of those morsels." He starts sniffing the air. "Different."
>>623624 You can simply fly and be there in about 40 minutes, or walk and be there in an hour. If you are inconvinienced by that, you could hire an expert who'll get you there in less than half an hour for a few bits.
>>623625 You are doing good, and feel like this new training scheme is really paying off… until you lose your balance and knock a vase over, breaking it.
>>623626 "Oh, they will sleep until tomorrow for sure! There is a much better clearing a bit of the way from here, we were planning to spend the night there before we get to Los Pegasus! Want to join us? We have food and music!"
>>623628 You start sweeping it up. "…Cloudy?"- You hear your mom ask loudly from the other room.
>>623629 He lets out a disgusting sound you can only guess is a laugh. "Not before I killed three of their friends. Hunting them is the most fun I've had in years."
>>623630 You put on a fairly well made disguise, changing your mane, clothes, covering your buttmark and being careful with details! It's still early afternoon when you arrive at the house. It's a nice home with a pretty garden. You see a dog playing in it.
>>623631 "As long as you don't try to hurt us! But we know you wouldn't! You're a good guy, aren't you?" Chocolate sky jumps on top of the wagon with a trumpet and starts playing… and the cart starts to move, even though nopony is pulling it! Vanilla sky pats the bench on top. "Hop on!"
>>623638 "oooooh, didn't I tell you not to break anything! What was it?"
>>623639 A cute, green earth pony mare opens the door with a smile. "Yes, what can I help you with?"
>>623640 You arrive at said clearing soon, and set up camp. You get offered fresh cake by the campfire… where did they get that? The brown goat also starts playing a guitar, and you soon start to hear that all the cicadas in the forest that are nearby start to act like living maracas to support the music.
>>623647 There is that disgusting 'laugh' again. "Tell you what, pony… I know where you can find my master, and the master of my master, you can ask all the questions… but first, set me free… and bring me pork. I'll tell you everything then." You do know that there are some pig farmers who keep them for smelling out truffles a few hours away to the east… but do you want to strike this deal?
>>623648 "…that's not very helpful." Oh, right. "How did it look like?" You didn't get a glimpse of it before it broke! And it's totally not an excuse, but you also need to go to work!
>>623649 A grey coated unicorn stallion indeed shows up. Looks like a pleasant enough fellow! He kisses the green mare with a smile, who then leaves… you see she looks like she is pregnant! The stallion speaks. "I'm Grey Leg, but you probably know that if you were looking for me. What can I help you with?"
>>623650 That they put you to sleep, dummy! You are back in Neighphon now! This is definitely a dream! Sakura leaves are falling as you are standing on a nice bridge over a calm stream…
>>623652 He starts reading it and the smile from his face disappears instantly. "Get in." He walks to the doorway of a room in the house. "Honey, I'll be in the study, please don't disturb, okay?" You see a colt run up to his leg. "Can I come too, papa?" "Not this time, son. Go play with your mother." He motions for you to follow him inside.
>>623653 You hear her sigh. "You grew up, but you didn't change, did you? Take care of yourself."
>>623654 "Lots to hunt here! The ponies with the gems were too slow, couldn't get here fast enough… now these mongrels took it and guard it like it was their home…"
>>623656 You leave quickly. The route is different, since you're not going from home, but you get there quick. You get greeted by a giant smile and wave of Airheart.
>>623657 After you both enter, he closes it with several locks. You can see it's soundproofed. He sits down on a chair. You suppose you could sit down on the couch on the opposite side. As he sits, he brings a box to himself with his magic, and takes out a small opium pipe.
>>623658 He mauls at the bars of his cage. "This. This town. All theirs now, and nothing we can do. Die if you attack, they expect it."
>>623660 She nods. "Skyheart was sad yesterday but didn't tell me why, but I'm good! What about you."
>>623661 It's very stereotypical!… But it is pretty relaxing. Especially the garden!
>>623662 He lights the pipe, calming down from the distress you saw on his face earlier when he read the note. He takes a deep breath and exhales. "Yes. I worked hard for it. That's exactly why I'm going to say no." His magic crumples the note up and throws it at you. "Shove it up your ass, and tell Diamond to do the same."
>>623663 "I wouldn't know. But they have friends. The death from the sky ones. They are expecting an attack, and will kill us if we try."
>>623665 He looks confused, but opens it. You see his face fall. He floats it out, so you can see it too. It is an elaborately made mask resembling the head of a changeling. Spooky! "…where did you get this?!" He quickly takes a huff of his pipe.
>>623666 She nods. "She said today she will be very busy! Something with clouds, but there's only sun in the afternoon…"
>>623668 He undoes the locks and slams the door open. "Fine. Now get the fuck out of my house." He opens a drawer and showes both the pipe box and the mask in it… but you catch a glampse of a few small weapons.
>>623669 She nods. "Allright! You know where to find me!" Roll for work quality!