Canterlot. The City of the Gods, of the Sun and the Moon. Since before Equestria was founded, here on the slopes of Mt Laurenia was Canterlot. Before the ponies came here, the Diamond Dogs inhabited the caverns of the mountains. It was the shining capital of the Diamond Empire. You see flashes of the magnificent ruins as the train goes through the dark tunnels up the mountain. And before that, it was said the original gods, the Sun, the Moon and Mother Nature lived here.
The first thing that draws your attention as the train nears its destination is the massive palace of the Sisters. It dominates the skyline and can be seen for miles throughout Equestria. As you leave the station, you enter one of the many squares in Canterlot. There are a number of statues depicting Equestrias finest heroes. The Lauren, the holy river with its spring at the top of the mountain, flows close by. A few fillies are playing by the waters.
>>589303 >>589304 >>589306 >>589309 Tulip coughs and hoofs all of you some maps. "I know a good hotel around here. I'll go there and arrange some rooms for all of you. I added it on your map, just use a taxi carriage if you can't find the way. We'll see each other tonight."
>>589312 I look at Tulip and nod as I write it down on my note. "Snack agree's, later tonight But we need to do what we need to do and that is to report the gigantic undead dragon in Silverhaze and …. that draconeques."
As a sidenote, if you're unsure what to do. Here are some ideas, you are free to explore at will >Talk in the Academy about the undead dragon and Anarchy >Silver and Amber have to report to the Crystal Embassy in the Royal District >Shortcake has to report to the Neighponese Embassy in the Royal District >Pico had to report to an agent of Goldbeak in the Hyperborean Embassy. >Mabel could visit the Temple of the Elements in one of the parks. >You could visit the Freedom Festival, there are posters for it everywhere. ………
>>589314 She looks up. "What do you mean? I was thinking of looking for contracts and such."
>>589315 The Royal District is close to the Palace. You can see the Palace from here. Maybe there are others going there as well?
>>589323 You reach the Royal District. The Royal District is less densely built than the rest of Canterlot. Here is room for plains, trees and many small waterways of the Lauren, streaming in small waterfalls down the mountain. The Royal Palace is in the center and you see the Sun Guard patrolling everywhere. No Moon Guard batponies however, they must still be asleep. The Crystal Embassy is easily recognizable as it is the one crystal building in the entire city. The Crystal Empire flag hangs proudly above it and Crystal guards are outside.
>>589325 You reach the Royal District. The Royal District is less densely built than the rest of Canterlot. Here is room for plains, trees and many small waterways of the Lauren, streaming in small waterfalls down the mountain. The Royal Palace is in the center and you see the Sun Guard patrolling everywhere. No Moon Guard batponies however, they must still be asleep. The Neighponese Embassy is on a small island surrounded by waterways. It is very peaceful here.
>>589326 "I'll look around, see if there are any business opportunities here."
>>589329 Snacks, Star, Iris, Indy, Tulip, LH and Mabel are still here.
>>589331 "Oh so much. There's the Royal District, there's the markets, there's the zebra quarter, the Freedom Festival is going on right now. I think you guys were invited to the Mages Academy as well sometime? Or you could just trot around and see what you find.
>>589338 You can't find the large park you've heard so much about. So you settle down near one of the waterways of the Lauren for some refreshment. Inferni is looking bad. A stallion passes by. "Is your chicken okay?"
>>589339 >>589332 The Academy is one of the largest buildings in the Royal District, except for the Palace itself. You enter the marble and glass halls and see many unicorns in robes, discussing magic. Magical servants float through the halls, no doubt doing some job for their masters. The unicorn at the reception greets you.
>>589340 In one of the lower districts, the flags of the town of Dixie hangs high and country music fills the air. This is the freedom festival. You see many gun sellers and a shooting range has been installed. Merchants are selling cheap hayburgers.
>>589341 She looks it over. "Yes. Yes. This all looks okay." She makes a few notes. "The Lord makes the challenging chef face of against one of his own chefs. I'll have to make an appointment for you. How does tomorrow afternoon sound?"
>>589342 They salute back. The inside is shiny, the sunlight breaks into thousands of colored rays through the crystal walls. A crystal mare is at the reception.
>>589348 >>589349 I smile and pipe in. "Yes, darling. I am a member and these are two of my assistants. As he said, we are here for research purposes. It is rather urgent, so forgive us for not warning you of our arrival sooner." Con Artist.
>Fidget There's an unfinished conversation with Vilina, would you wish to continue it or autoresolve it by her grinning slyly and walking off?
>>589349 >>589351 "Yes, our Academy grounds are only open to certified members. I'd need to see your member badges…" "Quilt!" another pony shouts as she passes by. It's one of the ponies you met while capturing Cerebus. "These are the ponies I talked to you about. The ones who have seen the Draconequus." Quilt gives you all a grin. "Well why didn't you say so? Here, you should carry these visitor badges with you at all times while on the Academy grounds, our golems might grow hostile otherwise." She hoofs all of you an emerald with an insignia of Starswirl.
>>589350 "Such a magnificent creature, even in his most inactive times. You are blessed to have such a companion. I'm one of the acolytes at the Elementarium, our humble shrine to the Elements in Canterlot. We'd all be honored if you'd visit us."
>>589352 She hoofs you 5 forms. "I'll need your hoof on all of these."
>>589353 "And Silver Blood." says Silver "Amber Stone…" the receptionist goes through a list. "Ah you made it just in time, you have been scheduled to meet with Lord of Justice Shining Dove in fifteen minutes. Let me show you to his office." She gets up and walks up a few stairs.
>>589538 I'd rather she leave me flustered and take off laughing, thanks. Continuing that conversation would be awkward for all parties involved. As for Canterlot… Well, I suppose first I should be sure that all our retainers are well off. Vilina, Star, Iris, and Tulip. If they've already left, then that cuts down on the ponies I need to talk to.
>>589542 "It is right on time. These kinds of orders came from the Crystal Palace itself. Princess Cadance tends to know these things." You walk up a crystal stairs with a map of the crystal empire in stained glass.
>>589543 "I'd be happy too. It seems the flow of the Elements might have sent me to the right place once again."
>>589545 "The badge of a visitor will destruct itself if you leave the Academy grounds. I'll keep yours for when you'd like to enter." The Gryphon Consolate is a bit isolated from the other buildings. A wooden building built like a nest on the mountain slope. You'll have to fly inside. Your contact griffon Lord Goldbeak mentioned was a griffoness called Hilde of House Larsa.
>>589544 Most ponies have left. >You could join Iris with Soil to the Freedom Festival >You could join Tulip and Vilina as she makes arrangements for your stay >You could join Star, Snacks, LH to the Academy (currently inactive) Or you could explore on your own.
>>589540 Sure thing, these ponies told the party to mention they saw the draconequus, you couldn't know.
>>589551 Well, if everyone's off on their own, so to speak, then I can be on mine. Off to the library. I'd assume the Royal Library is off limits to most travelers, but I can at least see if I can't get a pass for it.
>>589552 "Yes, there's been quite a few such orders lately. It probably has to do with…well I suppose this matter is best discussed with the Lord Shining Dove." She points you to an office with some chairs next to the door. "Please wait here. He'll be with you shortly."
>>589556 There are royal guards at the door. There's a female griffon at the door to greet you. "Hail, how can I help you?"
>>589559 There are many libraries, the one in the Academy is the largest but you need a pass. You could also go to the Royal Library that's open for everypony.
>>589561 "Smooth Spice. The pleasure is mine. Follow me." He walks further. "You a long-time worshipper of the Elements?"
>>589569 1 so wobbly you tumble down. 10 very comfy chair, but you move around on it anyway '1d10' "I can't believe it! How did they know we'd be here? We told we'd be going to Canterlot, but not when."
>>589567 The Royal Library is a large white building near the Royal District. There's a statue of Starswhirl the Bearded outside. There are levels and levels of books and many ponies browsing them. What were you looking for?
>>589568 "No, not at all. News from home is worrying to say the least. House Isin of Western Hyperborea has been gathering more support from the lesser western Houses for an incursion into Northern Equestria to retake the White Vale. And the Eastern Houses are opposing it, but Isin is getting more and more support for the moment. Yes, I'm hoping I get to keep my job here." She smiles grimly.
>>589592 It does. There's also a scribbled note on the map with an X at Aurora Square and "7PM. Don't be late".
>>589590 He nods. "There are few who venture into the realms of the elements. Many content themselves with looking towards the whole system of nature rather than looking behind and seeing the mechanism that fuel it."
>>589588 You find a book on the history of Dawnwood and an archive of the local newspapers.
>>589741 "There are one or two fire priestesses in the Elementarium, I'll introduce them to you." You reach a forest. Near the slopes of the mountain, there's a cave. The entrance is marked with the symbols of the elements. "The Elementarium is old. More than a thousand years ago this place was already old and ponies came here."
>>589740 >>589737 The way is marked. The Solaris wing seems to be very close to the Royal Palace. The entrance is marked with the Sun. Two Day guards stand there. "Halt, what business do you have here?"
>>589744 Maybe it was a typo on my side, in which case I'm sorry. You find a book about it. Greenville had been founded approximately 400 years ago near the Galloping Gorge. A small town, it depended mostly on its agricultural industry and traveling merchants. Approximately 200 years ago, these merchants visiting the town found the town had disappeared, including its citizens. There was a official investigation done by the Inquisition but no official explanation is known to this day. An old pony comes to sit in front of you. He looks up over his glasses. "Reading history?"
>>589747 "It is important. But not in the way you think. You both have been deemed worthy to be knighted by the Highest."
>>589745 >>589748 They look over the passes. "Very well." He guides you inside. There are a number of mages and military running around the books and discussing. In the middle of the hall is a large table and a map of Equestria. A purple unicorn pony is looking it over. A yellow pony with pink mane is with her, Snacks would recognize her as Cloudy Skies. She waves to Snacks. "Hey!…Oh dear, where all your friends? Nothing happened to them, I hope."
>>589749 "What's in a name?" You enter the dark cavern, it ends in a large circular hall painted white. There's a shrine to Mother Nature in the center. There are four other shrines towards the sides, forming a circle. Fire Air Water Earth.
>>589750 >>589748 I brighten up. "Ah! You're the pony back at Silverhaze!" I go over her and shake her hoof. "Snack and the others are fine and exploring the cities, Snack hope those spiders under pony's care are fine." I smile..
I then look at Star and Light Heart. "Snack think Yellow pony has not meet Snacks new companions, this is Star, a learned gem pony scholar and this is Lightheart an adventurer extraordanaire from far away Dixie."
>>589751 Silver seems stricken as well. Dove continues. "Yes, the order, as always happens when a paladin is knighted, came directly from the Crystal Palace. Now, this means, that as Wardens you both have accomplished something that gained the attention of the Lady of Love herself. Do you know what that is?" He grabs a paper and a quilt.
>>589752 "Oh Greenville, shame what happened to it, isn't it? One of the big unexplained mysteries."
>>589753 As you walk, a goat grabs one of Iris bags and starts running!
>>589754 >>589756 "Pleasure to meet all of you. My name is Fluttershy. I wanted you to meet me here so you could give your account of the dragon to my friend Twilight."
>>589757 I look at her. "Fluttershy… but we call you Cloudy Skies back then." I then look at Twilight and FS. "… about the dragon, Snack can tell about it specially those times when it escape the Silverhaze mines, but as of now our group dont know where undead dragon has gone too…"
>>589757 I might be a bit sweaty and pale right now "I… we just did our duty as warders and followers of the Savior… We did fight those evil cultists in Everfree though… That was pretty good work! I didn't expect we'd be noted so quickly!"
>>589758 You engage the Mighty Shield and bump the goat right off the road. He drops the bag and starts running.
>>589759 "Many magical mysteries in the world…. There were a few farms in Greenville you know. The sweetest mares were living there, not like these city mares."
>>589760 >>589763 "Yes I apologize for that. It was necessary for my security." Twilight steps up. "Hello, I'm Archmage Twilight Sparkle, but call me Twilight, it's easier. Here we are studying and following the movements of the Draconequus, I need to know everything all of you know about it. Every detail."
>>589761 As you approach the temperature markedly increases. The shrine is colored a bright red. At the top is a red sun. Beneath it, seven busts of the Fire Lords. In the middle, bigger than the others is a grand bust of a living flame, it's eyes clear and sharp even for stone. It is marked "Itumno the Bright" On both sides of him are 3 smaller busts each. You see one of Pyrrus the Shining. The others are marked as well. Before each bust is a cauldron with a fire. There's a zebra meditating before one of them. Inferni perks up as you walk here.
>>589762 "There must be something special. We mark these occasions in the annals of our order. I need to know about it in detail, before we can proceed."
>>589764 Silently approach the bust of Pyrrus, so I don't disturb the zeeb. I'll pay honor to the others as well, but first thing first. Sit down, and put Inferni in my lap. "I feel it too. It's amazing."
>>589764 >>589769 I nod. "Snack can give the details but Snack is not the sharpest of the bunch. Snacks companions Warren, Amber, Poor Soil and Iris can give additional information." I then sit down. "As for the undead dragon, Snack and the party encounters the thing when all of us lands in the mining town of Silver Haze, creatures comes out of the ancient diamond doge mines and began pestering the citizen. At first we though it is a straightforward job but it turns out some towns people are in cahoots with some pony dragon cultist who worships it and do malevolent things inside like sacrificial rites and stuff." I then cringe a bit. "The… green icor, smoke or something that the dragon breathes is quite toxic, but also potent that some of the dragon cultist turns to something… more than a normal pony. Weapons hurts them less and they are hard to put down… not to mention they are not who they are and has turned crazed, its something Snack didnt know that ponies are capable of doing to themselves and their own kin." I gulp. I then scratch my head trying to recollect everything. "We are too late to stop the cultist and it came out bursting out of the mines, with green smoke and green eyes as it roars into the sky and heads…. north if Snack is correct."
Is that everything? Try to remember more details. '1d10'
>>589772 >>589769 I turn to LightHeart. "Snack is sure that the undead dragon and whatever those dragon cultists are up to no good whereever they go. If they find another solitude cave, they may try to recruit and spread… its quite frightening come to think of it." I frown. I then think for a moment.
"If Snack is correct, Zona. A friend of Snack and the group, goes and joins a band of inquisitors… Snack assumes that she is to hunt the dragon cultist… Snack is not sure… though Snack hopes she is safe."
>>589774 I blink twice. "Uhhmmm… uhh… spread evil? So far the cultist did plan to take over Silver-haze so the cultists are a problem…. as for the dragon, Snack is not sure. Snack dont know if cultists take orders from the dragon or they are the one's who controls it. Its a mystery." I frown. I then tilt my head as I eye this purple pony, she kinda looks weak for a pony. "Is twily pony knowledgeable about dragon?"
>>590494 "I dare say she won't. I just hope she's not getting the wrong idea about why I did it, though. It might get awkward if she gets a bit more serious about what she started at that dance before we left."
>>590498 I enter and sat down as I grab the complimentary jug of orange juice and began to drink. "Snack feels worried… not all ponies are used to dogs. Snack has seen how other ponies react to dogs. What if city ponies stare at me? Snack dont want group to be cast out because of Snack."
>>590500 "Dirty jokes? Right now?" I grit my teeth as I shiver.
>>590501 I'll wave my hoof a little dismissively. "I sincerely doubt that the city ponies will make too much of a fuss. You're only one dog, and you're a charming fellow besides. And if they make us outcasts, well, that's their loss."
>>590516 I nod. "Snack do plan to do that, such things must not be left. It can upturn the balance of nature and if that happens it can only lead to misery for everyone, ponie's gryphons, doge's… and everyone alike."
>>590526 "It is when I don't know if she's doing it out of a sense of being in debt for us bringing her back, or if she actually likes me, or if she's just playing around and flustering me because it's funny." I'll rub my nose for a moment. "I mean, I'd be flattered if she really did like me, but if it's out of a sense of debt or something, then I can't help but feel that it would make everything awkward. Not to mention I'm not completely sure of my own feelings, so I can't answer her honestly." Readjusting my monocle, I'll lock eyes with Amber. "Does that answer your question?"
>>590528 "Well, with the right magic, anything is possible. Hippogryphs are rare, though, possibly only the stuff of myth. I've never met one, after all." >>590529 I'll sigh again. "Amber, what do you think two adult ponies do together in a room, alone, and at night?"
>>590531 … I'll just give you a blank look. "I envy your naivete, honestly I do." I'll clear my throat a bit. "But I'm fairly certain that what she had intended, or hinted at, was something more along the lines of what Soil and Iris do. Though with less broken beds."
>>590535 "Well, you two are partners and not lovers, right? I don't know how it works for crystal paladins, and if they're forbidden from, well… dating or marrying their partners, but I can't imagine Silver hiding his affections to well if he has them."
>>590544 "Its fine to know what someone thinks of particular subjects and such or else pony wont know if partner is upset about subject or not, that is how Snack and Star do it, that is why Snack now know more about Star since we exchange things that makes us happy and makes us sad."
>>590551 "Well, then it sounds like you've got something to do in Canterlot aside from paladin business, then! I'm sure he's waiting for the right moment to ask you on a date, but you might be able to get the jump on him by asking first. And you can get Tulip to help you with picking out good date locations, too!"
>>590554 "But wouldn't Cadence be disappointed that her loyal paladins aren't deepening their bond of love and trust with each other? I mean, going on a romantic date in Canterlot, showing the ponies there that there's no love quite like that of two paladins of the Crystal Princess?"
>>590554 "That is fine, knowing one's partner is part of the relationship. It will come in time as far as Snack knows, even Snack and Star is knowing more of each other… even somethings that even both of us dont know of each other." I grin
>>590559 "Well, hope does spring eternal." I'll give a small smile. "Though, sometimes a mare has to take charge in a relationship, Amber. He might be waiting for you to ask." >>590560 "I've got a few things I need to research, but other than that I doubt I have much of anything planned. Outside of informing the royals there about the dragon."
>>590566 My ears will flip down. "That's… probably not going to happen." >>590567 "No, we're not… together in that sense, but she might think that way, or be trying to settle the debt for bringing her back, or something, so I don't know. I'll be honest here and say I've never really had much experience with mares like her."
>>590571 "Well, if she's just offering because I gave up my wings to bring her back, then that's not… right." >>590572 "Exactly. And if I take advantage of any feeling of debt she might have about that, then that would make me a bad pony."
>>590574 "If there is, I don't know it." >>590575 "Be that as it may, I can't really sort things out in my head. So for now I'm just going to set all that trouble aside and focus on things I can do. Like research."
>>590577 "Yes, but… this is one of those 'do as I say and not as I do' sorts of things. It's a terrible failing that I can't follow my own advice, but really, there's no way that I could pursue that line of thought without it getting incredibly awkward for everyone involved."
>>590579 "Well, I'm not as honest about my feelings as you are, Amber. I've never been." I'll just sigh again. "At any rate, this is why I didn't want to say anything. I don't want this turning into a bigger deal than it is." >>590580 "I'd much rather try to muddle it out on my own…"
>>590591 "Everyone appears to be its their first time, Snack has heard of Canterlot but if it is the city that Snack has head of in the tales then it will be impossible to explore the whole city in one week… or even a month!"
>>589778 The commander silently notes everything down. "Now, do you know how a Knighting goes? Are you aware of the ceremonial procedures?"
>>589779 She points to the map. "We've tracked its movements, it has settled in the northeastern mountains for now. But every scout going there doesn't come back. We were hoping you could tell us more. Any idea of its name?"
>>589781 "I was getting my hair done." He strokes his mane. "Do you like it?"
>>589782 You close him down and cut him off as he comes off the houses.
>>590601 Knightings take place in the Crystal Capital. The Wardens take their oaths before Cadance herself. Often family and friends are invited to observe. Afterwards there's a gala for the newly knighted.
>>590602 "Hmmm, perhaps…" She turns to you. "I'll level with you. Our records on dragons have been tampered with."
>>590603 You feel at ease. "The Fire accepts you." A voice says.
>>590609 "Inside the city?" I gulp then look around. "T.. that is bad! We must tell the others and warn the whole city! If not perhaps tell the princess ponies!" I then look at twilight. "Well at least one princess pony already know already."
>>590614 I then rest my head on the table and look at Lightheart, Star and the two leading pone's. "If that traitor has access to the magical library then it means pony traitor also has this." I showed Twilight the visitor badge…. "If not this one then perhaps something that identify traitor and allow him or her to access the confines of this library."
>>590625 He looks up and looks you over. "Promotion…interesting choice of word. A knighting is much more than a promotion, young one. You are officially inducted into the Order by blessing of the Highest. You will be counted amongst one of Cadance's Chosen. And you call it a mere promotion?"
>>590624 "Most of us clean themselves with water. Fire is a more effective cleaner. Where fire threads, all impurities turn to ash. It is not a cleansing for the weak however."
>>590626 He bleats. "I have to buy apples here, doofus!"
>>590627 "Ask around, maybe somepony saw something. Or keep an eye on the archives, perhaps somepony left a clue or is going there again…"
>>590628 "Snack would like to explore the library though, it may have clue's." I then look at Lightheart and Star. "Should we split up on looking around? It may hasten the search but Snack is not sure it will be safer since the aggresor may caught scent of us."
>>590637 "Easier doesn't always mean it's right, you know. As you're aware, while we had an agreement on the bag and the stardust, our agreement did not cover the other contents of the bag. The village of Greenville will be returned to its place in the world." I'll close the book. "I'd think you'd appreciate the chaos that would come about from a centuries-old village adapting to the modern day."
>>590632 >>590640 "Twilight suspects there is a spy amongst the cult of the undead dragon that has been tampering with the records of the celestial records, covering their tracks. If Snack and pone's find him… or her then we may be able to put a stop to this."
"Snack plans to search this library, how about LightHeart what does she want to do?"
>>590641 >>590631 >>590642 "To be quite frank, I haven't the slightest clue what this is all about, darling. I thought we were here to investigate this Anarchy fellow of yours, not an undead dragon. Still, I could help with your witch hunt."
>>590636 She scrunches. "Good thing you were here…"
>>590638 "Please, do not take my words as an insult. Your phoenix is a sign your potential is there. But I'm pointing out there's still a long way to go. Fire asks the impossible of its adepts, you should not feel embarrassed that you are still weak compared to what Fire demands."
>>590643 >>590644 I turn to Twilight "If Twilight and Flutter would lend their ear and allow LightHeart to speak, LightHeart pony might give you details about another menace that is as threatening as the undead cult."
>>590648 "Huh? Not really. I mean I guess there's Anarchy and the dragon, but that bothers pretty much everyone. I was just saying, if you want us to stay in Equestria we can't very well get knighted in the crystal capital, right?"
>>590648 "That is the thrust of it, yes. But, I am a pony of my word. You will get it back, as well as a good portion of stardust to cause mischief with, as we agreed originally." I'll adjust my monocle. "This will be, of course, after Greenville is restored. And I get the dragon skeleton I put in there out."
>>590648 I gulp. "As LIghtHeart pony reminds Snack, there is a deadly being… known as Anarchy that has hounded and attacked our group back then. A 'draquenesque, being of chaos that has caused trouble both to our group and to others surely."
>>590649 "Everypony does. Do you have a reason for seeing her besides that?"
>>590650 He's silent for a few more moments before continuing. "Yes, actually since so many young promising Wardens are currently serving in Equestria, the Saviour has decided to exceptionally move the Knighting to Canterlot. It will happen at the Royal Palace, the day after tomorrow. Her Royal Highness is already meeting with the Equestrian Princesses."
>>590651 "Warren, warren, warren, and to say I had such high hopes for you. In any case, I need to get going." He gets up.
>>590655 "I'm not terribly upset about betraying your expectations… though shouldn't that be what you had hoped for? Or am I simply being predictable?" I'll open the book again. "I do hope you don't cause too much trouble on your way out. After all, Canterlot is probably one of the more secure places in the world at the moment, so any aberrant behavior surely won't go unnoticed."
>>590668 Still holds everything? Good. Now, since I know where Greenville used to be, I can shelve that for now. Finding the spell to bring it out will have to wait. Now to look for a bestiary that has an entry on that weird thing I saw flying around inside the bag. '1d10'
>>590669 "Everything requires willpower to a degree, but I am only using it right now to hold up my hoof, not to keep the fire back."
>>590673 "Now I shall explain to both of you what still needs to be done before the ceremony happens. After the ceremony, I will redeploy you both into our ranks. I believe commander Dust needs more hooves in Southern Equestria."
>>590670 She looks curiously at him. Indy shyly introduces himself. Twilight smiles. "My, my, aren't you growing fast." She floats over a bowl of small gems. "Here, these are for Spike but he's not here right now."
>>590680 Right, well, that's about all I'm going to get out of the library for now. Let's walk about town. See if I can't find a dealer in enchanted goods. If I'm going to return this bag, I'll need one of my own to replace it.
>>590687 "Yeah, didn't I tell you about the dragon and stuff? And how we got two of the back from the afterlife? They were there too! We've been traveling together since Silverhaze! They're great fighters!"
>>590688 It's a big city and you find it hard to navigate. A vendor comes to you. "Beautiful gems straight from Trotantium, have a look sir!"
>>590689 You make your way there without any trouble. The streets are decorated with hundreds of Dixian flags. Vendors are selling hayburgers, red velvet cake and sweet cider and sweet tea. You see a shoooting range up ahead. A pony is calling for ponies to join the upcoming shooting tournament.
>>590691 You get hopelessly lost in town. You're in an alley to your side is an antique store, your other side a steel door with a small sign.
>>590692 "Yes, but your future is with the Order. If they would not like to travel there, it seems your paths will diverge."
>>590693 "Within each pony shine the 4 elements. The fire within me burns through every pore of my body. I am already on fire inside. A little flame on the outside is nothing compared to that."
>>590695 "The Order needs both of you down south. Many more adventures and heroic deeds await."
>>590696 He grins. "I wash myself every day, if that's what you mean." He laughs loudly. "The key here is not to take the visualization of fire or water too literally. We call the energy of the Fire ElementFire because this energy has much in common with plain fire in our material world, it is the perfect visualization to comprehend it, but it is not the energy. Same with Water. The energy of Fire is antagonistic with the energy of Water. But they can coexist, as they do in Nature."
>>590697 He keeps clamping you. "But it's a bargain sir!"
>>590698 She overlooks his wings. "They still aren't fully grown. It will take time for these wings to become strong enough, Celestia knows it took Spike a while. You should do some exercises to speed up the process."
>>590699 You hear music coming from inside. There's a closed peekhole on the door. You make out a tiny engraving "Club Random" next to the door.
>>590700 BOOM BANG PEW There are 5 shooters already practicing their guns on the targets ahead. You notice one older stallion in white Dixian garb carrying a large rifle. With a yeehah he fires a few perfect shots before throwing his hat in the air and taking a bite of his hayburger.
>>590705 "The Water Lords are not my friends. I have chosen the different Lords of Fire as my guardians. I do not need more." He takes of his cloak and you see the tip of his black mane has turned red. "Each Lord has his own temperament and teachings, one can spend a lifetime learning of each of them."
>>590706 A little port on the door slides open. Two eyes peek out. "Whaddaya want?"
>>590704 You leave the merchant behind you and finally make it to an antique shop. You also see Pico at a steel door on the other side of the road.
>>590703 She giggles. "Something like that. When Spike got his wings, he had no dragons to teach him the ropes. We had to figure out everything for ourselves. Dragon wings are frail, they need a good diet of gems and exercise to grow."
>>590702 "Now, before you see the Knighting tomorrow, you'll have to pass by the Royal dressmaker to make a ceremonial uniform for you. Secondly…we have invited some guests from the Empire…both of your parents." Silvers mouth falls open.
>>590707 A few fire their guns in the air as you shoot.
>>590712 "Yes. It is a sign of pride. I do believe following only one Lord wouldn't trigger it. Following one Lord is only for those who seek the Elemental Equilibrium, one who dives into the nature of Fire needs to learn all the Lords, all the facets of Fire."
>>590903 "It's the feller over there." He points to the older pony in the white garb. "He's a landowner back in Dixie. Came here with his family and all his money to spread freedom!"
>>590904 "I am friends with all of them. Good friends with some, respected acquaintances with others. The Lords care little if you seek the guidance of others." He grins. "As long as you don't talk bad about them, of course. Friends don't do that."
>>590905 He nods and claps his claws. Twilight grins. "It's good that you're both eager to start. But first you'll have to climb." She walks to the window and points to the top of Mt. Lauren. "You'll both have to climb to the top of the mountain, where the source of the river Lauren is. I'll wait for you there. Don't underestimate the climb. Many come back empty-hoofed."
>>590907 He grins. "…I wouldn't do it with Lavann, to be honest. Or Itumno. They are…" He weighs his words. "…proud".
>>590908 Yes. He was one of the fiercest anti-Equestrians and anti-Princesses stallions in the whole of Dixie. And there are a lot there who don't like the Princesses.
>>590909 "The river Lauren has a magical essence. You can feel it as you bathe in there or drink its waters. At its spring it's the most powerful, we'll use it to help Indy, but I'll be waiting for you there. You can't go into the source without protection." She adds with a serious tone.
>>590914 "Please, promise me you won't go in there without me."
>>590915 He shoots another few targets before turning his head as you approach. "My, you are a sight for these old eyes, young lady." He takes off his white hat. "Might you do this old stallion a pleasure by telling your name?"
>>590916 He snickers. "That's more part of the Earthies if I remember correctly. They don't get fazed by anything."
>>590919 He snickers. "Dead on. But would you guess those are just the initiates. There is a master in earthern magic here in the temple. As far as I know, he has not moved or spoken for the last three years. The Earth acolytes say he is alive and communicating with the Lords."
>>590920 "My thank you, young lady. And I hear you're a Dixian yourself. Do you like our festival, it's my way of bringing the joy of freedom to Equestria."
>>590926 "Nah, just look at all these happy faces! It's great! Have you tried a piece of our red valvet cakes yet? Straight from home!"
>>590929 You're in Canterlot. The group has started exploring. Shortcake is at the Neighponese embassy LH is at the Freedom Festival. Mabel at the Elementarium. The rest at the magic academy. Pico is in a dance club
>>590932 You're free. You need to be here the next day to participate in the tournament. You can go where you want now.
>>590933 "No…you should know about them sure. But that's not your first test."
>>590934 You get up the endless stairs. Soon you leave the noises of the city behind you and come back in the wilderness. As you pass a turn, you reach the river Lauren again. One of the many streams flowing down towards the city. There seems to be a small pool here where a mare is bathing. She hasn't seen you yet.
>>590935 "Ah, a shame. Would you like a tour around? My son knows everything around here. JUNIOR!" A younger stallion arrives wearing a cowboy hat and 2 colt pistols. "What's the matter Pa?" "Show this young lady around the Festival."
>>590938 This is a big city and it changed so much since you last went here. You have trouble finding your way when you suddenly bump into Heavyhooves. "Ah, Melody, I was looking for you."
>>590940 He places a kiss on it. "The pleasure is mine. Now anything in particular you'd like to see. We've got shooting, like you see here. We've got Dixian drinks and cuisine tasting on the next square. There's a rodeo further up ahead, and some seminars on what freedom is. We're also doing a reenactment of the battle of Dixie in a few minutes."
>>590941 She looks up. "It's up there above! Just keep going. And watch out for the snow."
>>590945 He bumps it. "I've got good news. I found out Lord Hard Coin is in this city. We might have our revenge sooner than expected."
>>590946 The Royal District is a pleasant district full of tiny roads, public gardens, canals and grand buildings everywhere, there are dignitaries and servants running around everywhere. Also a large amount of Crystal pony guards come to think of it. You see a bunch of musicians up the road playing for handouts.
>>590947 "So do I. Let's go." He leads you towards Prancing Square that's been cleared for the occasion. On both sides volunteers dressed in Dixian gear and in Equestrian gear are lined up ready to attack.
>>590952 She stares as you walk away. Roll for the next part. +1 because your previous 10
>>590953 He nods. "Welcome to the neverending ride of tests. Everything you do from now on will be watched by the Lords. That is, if you keep their attention of course. Come with me." He steps to the fire.
>>590955 Turns out the Princess of the Crystal Empire is visiting the Royal Palace. The ponies here are extra security."
>>590954 You see a lot of ponies looking angrily. But a surprising number is laughing or even cheering for Dixie. You notice how these seem to be the poorer.
>>590956 There's a few ponies who take a wide berth. "That might be doable…if we're lucky."
>>590960 They play a good tune, very jazzy. A mare, no older than 16 is playing the sax. Another mare, around 18, the bass. They don't seem to have made much money yet.
>>590958 Earth pony stronk. You make a good pace right up another set of stairs. Here the vegetation gives way to pure rock and it gets noticeably colder. There's only one stream here and no mares bathing in them. Or wait… A mare does rise out of the pool, but no ordinary mare, she is unearthly beautiful and her eyes shine with a blue glow. Her smile warms your bones. "Hello traveler, what brings you here?"
>>590975 You gaze deep into the fire. You see light. And darkness. A winged shadow flying over Equestria, destroying all in its path. The vision fades…but then something else comes into view. You see yourself as a fire elemental exploding into flames without hurting you. You see two kingdoms far away clashing. You see a grand castle on a cliffside. The vision fades.
Inferni seems to have disappeared.
>>590977 You wind up in a shady alley. You remember there used to be a good bar up here.
>>590976 A few griffons are in charge of the bakery. "Puisque je vous aidez?"
>>590978 One of the Dixian soldiers gives the Equestrian captain a slap to the head. "All by your lonesome?"
>>591561 There's a huge dance floor and a bar. Many ponies and other races are dancing here or talking on the tables on the edges. There's some scantily clad mares and griffon girls dancing in cages hanging above.
>>591562 "Don't be too disturbed by it. Fire is potential. You saw possible things that might happen in the future, guidance towards great deeds. It seems your bird has returned to his form." You see some ash in the fire brazier.
>>591560 "I can speak Equestrian as well, madame. How may Francois help you?" he says with a french accent.
>>591558 You walk around the library and see a diamond dog dressed in a tuxedo carrying some books.
>>591572 He hands you a platter of delicious Fancy treats.
>>591573 "Yes, on your way, your inner fire will grow until it erupts, when it does, then your true journey will begin."
>>591574 "It is not armor, more like a uniform. A paladins duties are not just on the battlefield. A paladin needs to be at home at social gatherings just as well. And there's a celebration after your knighting, you'll be required to wear your ceremonial uniform."
>>591575 It tastes sweet and hot. "We keep a low profile, don't want just any geezer coming in here."
>>591580 I scratch my head and just grin in embarrasment, "Oh… ahaha, sorry. Snacks mistake." I then hand him the book back as I stare at him and his unique look. "What is a doge doing here if Snack might ask."
>>591581 "You'll have to visit the royal dressmaker. I'll let her know you're coming."
>>591583 Bar, club whatever. He seems to be talking to the barkeep.
>>591584 "I'm a researcher at the Academy. Winston Waggleton, my fort name is Waggle, but I found the ponies here didn't take it too seriously. I study the old Diamond Dog ruins of the past. Pleasure to meet you." He offers a paw.
>>591585 "This used to be part of the old catacombs in the city. The previous owner bought it, renovated it and turned it into the fine establishment you see today. Now his son runs the place. It's one of the dirty secrets of Canterlot, you might say."
>>591588 "It's a well kept secret, I'll give you that. I barely managed to stumble into it. Which reminds me, I could use some directions, if you have the time. " Inquire about the Square I'm going to meet the Gryphon at.
>>591599 "…pony's fear of doge's is not irrational, Snack do have rough time with other pony… who has bad experience to our kind." I gulp. I scratch my head. "But not everyone hate us Winston…. Snack is sure those who let Winston inside the library sure is fond of our kind, so is Snacks friends, specially Star pony.. " I smile.
>>591610 She disappears into the water again. Soon you reach the cold spring near the top of the mountain. The pool is circular with a whirlpool inside, the water seems to be moving upwards from the dark middle of the whirlpool and flows out of the circle down the mountain. Twilight is here. "You made it so quick? Impressive!"
>>591611 That LH is a qtie You get some tea. After a few moments junior continues. "Light Heart, this festival isn't just about promoting Freedom. In a sense it is, but we're not just here to celebrate. We, as in Dixie, is trying to gain a hoofhold on Equestria."
>>591614 Not at all, you make it right in time. The receptionist griffon is there, looking nervously.
>>591605 "It's good you found some friends who can help you. It took me a long while to fit into pony society. But I'm glad I did."
>>591617 "It's a fuckin' hole in the wall! Underground! Y'know- not a big place or anything!" I put a hoof to my head and sigh. "Whatever. Just don't tell anyone okay? Anyways…" I look back to Pico. "Know why he's here? Or- was, whatever."
>>591618 "Ah… it seems Snack is lucky… very lucky if Winston ask. Snack met them on the way to hunt monsters and soon we sticked together since all of us are good at covering each others back" I smile. I then find any nearby chair so both of us can talk while sitting. "Who's Winstons friends? Where are they?"
>>591620 I tilt my head. "Why shouldn't I tell anyone? This place is weird, but it could be fun." I glance at all the mostly naked mares around the place when you ask about Queren. "Maybe he's got a pony fetish?"
>>591622 "These Equestrians, they're Dixians just like us. They're yearning for Freedom, only they're too oppressed to see it. Celebrations like these, we gain a lot of supporters, ponies who see that there is nothing quite like Freedom."
>>591629 "That is true, Snack and Star pony have plans to explore the diamond dog mines underneath Canterlot. Snack and Star is lucky to stumble upon an abandoned one, so far Star and Snack are taking notes and learning more and if we find out, we will let the world know of doge's glorious past and friendship with pone's."
>>591649 [sp]Yes, he was the one who got me there. But this Gryphon probably won't believe me if I told her that her boss and likely Lord was into hanging out with Anarchy and his ilk. I just have to bring yphe same things I did back then and push her towards a better, less kill-y endeavour.
>>591648 "In time, it all takes due time. But having somepony around with a silver tongue and who knows the land would help."
>>591663 She shrugs. "I'm not too sure. Don't take it too seriously. This magic is primal, it forms and disappears again. It is without reason. Who knows why it wanted you to swim? It would have been dangerous for you to do."
>>591664 "A nice sentiment, but no prize for you. Come on, have you been following any of the number of threats that lurk here? Have you investigated them, or even picked up a newspaper, talked to anyone here, at all? I mean, have you looked into what they would have to deal with, like a good scout I know you're trained to be?"
>>591628 "Uh- well- this isn't much a couples place." I scratch the back of my head. Fuuuck this is gonna get awkward… "Get shitfaced. Blow your ears out with the music. Throw yourself the fuck around in the pit 'till something breaks - though that's only on weekday nights. And… get laid. Y'know, the usual - not that I'm here for that. I'm just checking up on my old stomping grounds. I swear."
>>591896 "A Gryphon of Hyperborea? Yes. Someone who wants the best for his family and friends back home, yes." Sigh… "Before we go further, just tell me what information you've been able to gather on people here to see how much work is left to do."
>>592178 He strikes a pose flexing his arm muscles. "I bet I can lift you!"
>>592179 "Yes, but the difference is subtle… My….predilection is towards the energy and heat fire produces. To the growth and prosperity of others. His predilection is fire at its most abstract, as a force of will and power. We would say he embodies Shoi'Khar. It is hard to fully explain in pony language. A meeting would give you a better idea."
>>592180 "…what job? I thought you were here to help me…"
>>592182 Approach her and smile. "Star pony, snack was going around and met this diamond dog who is also interested in our search for DD mines and artifacts. Snack didn't know there are other dogs who are into this"
>>592215 "I'm sorry, Amber." She holds your head to take a good look at you. "My, you've grown…" "It seems your adventures have made you stronger, my little filly." says dad. He opens his hooves for a hug.
>>592217 She walks to Winston. "Ah, a pleasure to meet you, miss Star." says Winston, tipping his hat. "Miss Star? Wow…I'm sorry for the outburst, I'm used to Dogs saying Star Pony."
>>592224 "Look, I don't know what you're thinking but just consider this. The Ancestral Lands are Griffon territory, they threw us out and it is ours. This is our chance, a chance to take it back, to restore our old glory." The Ancestral lands is a patch of land in the Hyperborean Mountains on the edge of Equestria, it currently belongs to Equestria. The area has been disputed for centuries with ponies claiming the tribes lived there originally, griffons claiming the area was abandoned and the ponies thus forsake their claim. The area forms an easy corridor between east and west Hyperborea so it is a point of strategic value, as well as economical.
>>592238 Your leg feels heavier than usual, you look down to see your little brother hugging your leg.
>>592239 He's a bit above the ground, but can't quite get up. Twilight smiles. "Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it, I suggest you practice back in Canterlot, not here near a chasm."
>>592240 "Uhm…" Star scratches her head. "No…" Winston grins. "What miss Star is trying to say, mister Snacks, is that amongst other pony researcher it makes you wrongly look a bit mentally challenged."
>>592247 I ponder for a bit before giving out a frown as I rest my head on the desk. "R… really? Snack talks this way in pony language… Snack admits that Snack is not the best when it comes to communicating with other races." I said with a pout.
>>592263 I look at both of them and think for a moment.. before looking at Star and smile "Taken seriously.. yes." I nod before looking at Winston. "Yes… it would be best for Snack to learn how to speak properly. But then.. how did Winston learn how to talk fancy?"
>>592265 >>592263 You do a race down, but Indy seems on fire with his new height and finishes before you. He jumps with his paws in the air!
>>592267 "You talk in riddles. Speak plainly like a griffon. I was a shieldmaiden."
>>592268 "Go to his shrine and close your eyes, if he accepts you, you'll see his realm. Be wary, you are a guest in his domain.
>>592271 "Dust, let your sister have some space." says your dad. Mom then looks at Blood. "Oh my, and who are you?" Blood clears his throat nervously. "Uh, I'm Silver Blood, Ambers…paladin partner."
>>592274 "With the help of a dear friend here. If you desire, I could teach you. You'd also need some new clothes, not for exploring, but for spending time in the Academy. I know a good place where they can help you."
>>592293 "Maybe we can do that…. but before that, perhaps Winston can help Snack and Star about something." I lean close to him and whisper to both of them. "Remember Winston when Snack wrongly accuses Winston of being an infiltrator…. Twilight pony suspect that there is a dragon cultist in this library who subvert records of the library… and Twilight suspect its here right now…" I gulp.
>>592305 "Like I said, that was only a small taste. I still have more experiences to share, but I hope you got the important point I was trying to make. Here, I have an idea. Take some time off and come with my comrades. I'm sorry, but this won't be as easy as you may have thought."
>>592482 "I want you to come with me. I still have a mark or two that could hinder any such invasions. I've been chasing a Dragon that could cause some harm to them and a pair of Ponies who I personally want to take down. After that, we might try things your way? Think of it as clearing the way for them."
>>592508 Wave a hoof as if bored, listing off what happened. "Archmage Twilight, some stuff with the magic river created before everything else…" Then burst into excitement! "He's all grown up! Can even run faster than me! And look at the wings!"
>>592508 "Now time to get ready." I turn to Winston. "Winston, go and ask Twily p… Twilight for permission for us to be allowed to investigate in the archives and libraries late at night during this whole week so they and the guards may know we are here." I look at Star. "Snack and Star will go in search for clothes and stuff that we need for investigating and capturing the culprits…. though come to think of it. What do winston and Star think we need to capture them? Snack think of nets but that is something that might be obvious…"
>>592511 You feel a sudden heat. And a tug as if you're swung across mountains. In your minds eye appears an ashen crater. You stand upon its slopes. The hill above seems endless, the chasm below is dark as night. You feel as if you're getting sucked into the chasm.
>>592512 He holds out a leather bag. "A genuine bag of Holding, sir. Stitched and enchanted in far off Neighpon."
>>592514 "T-that's wonderful!" says Iris shakily as an overjoyed Indy runs around the inn holding her high still.
>>592518 She frowns. "Fine, I will come, but I can't promise I'll spy for you. I want to see these friends of yours first."
>>592520 Mommy grins and pets your mane. "You don't have to be shy, Amber. After all you're an adult now, it's only natural."
>>592524 I scratch my head. "Good point, okay ropes or manacles are needed, Snack and Star will go get some… and something anti-magic if it is unicorn spies." I scratch my head… then look at Winston and Star. "No let all three of us meet Twilight first, perhaps Twilight can provide us the materials." I smile.
>>592525 "As a true bag of holding it is estimated it could hold the entire universe twice, if you can fit it in there."
>>592526 You manage to hold your ground for now and the attraction weakens for now. You can move around, you see fiery shapes on the slopes. Other Fire Elementals, like you saw in Pyrrus Domain.
>>592527 He stops immediately and carefully puts her down. "Sorry" he says while scratching his head a bit embarrassed. "I-it's okay." says Iris, who's grappling to regain her balance, nearly falling down.
>>592681 Hmm. Items for everyone, it seems. Well, since I've already got an entire dragon skeleton for Soil, I can probably pass up this tooth… unless it's magical. "Pardon me, but this dragon tooth here. What can you tell me about it?"
>>592700 "I saw him once. Kind fella, almost like a pony in dragon body you know. It must have been hard for him, being a dragon surrounded by all ponies. Just imagine if you were living completely among dragons and have never been with other ponies…"
>>592696 It is dark, so dark. But you sense a presence inside calling you. It makes your hairs stand up and you suddenly feel very unsafe. "I SMELL FEAR COME DOWN SO I MAY DEVOUR IT WHOLE BUT IF YOU ARE MADE OF FEAR LEAVE MY PLANE FOR I SHALL DEVOUR YOU WHOLE"
>>592695 "Quite. A long time ago, when Trotantium was just a number of city-states, Darenthion came down from the Shudderpeaks. Terror he wrought upon the fledgeling nations. He burned entire villages alive with but a single breath of fire…"
>>592716 Multiple villages in a single go? Obviously exaggeration. I mean, unless the dragon tooth I'm looking at is bigger than I am by an exponential degree. Or close in size to that giant zombie dragon's. Regardless, I'll motion the merchant to continue.
>>592717 He scrunches. "I'm old. I'm like 10 years now! I'm not a scaridy pony"
>>592718 "I SEE YOUR WEAKNESS IT SMELLS DELICIOUS"
>>592719 It is big, but not bigger than you. "The fearsome dragon roamed the countryside and flew further east, making its way to Cloptantinople, already a sizeable merchant city by then. When the citizens heard of its approach, panic broke out. Ponies trampled over each other to flee the city."
>>592720 "You hear about one or two flying through Equestria once in a while, or hoarding in some deep cave. But I've heard there are tons of them in the large mountains up north. Near and into Hyperborea. I heard there's a volcano there, just crawling with the largest dragons you"ve ever seen."
>>592732 "But surely there must have been some who stood against it." Hmm. If it happens to have any residual strength from the former owner, assuming this merchant isn't feeding me a line, it might bestow some rather interesting effects.
>>592734 You are greeted by laughter. "YOU ARE BRAVE OR FOOLISH WHICH ONE IS IT LITTLE DONKEY"
>>592735 He nods. "Indeed. In Cloptantinople, lived Black Arrow, an archer without peer, he vowed to stand against the dragon. When Darenthion approached, he stood atop the highest tower, alone and ready for battle."
>>592736 He grins. "I wish I was an adventurer like you sometimes. Seeing the world, seeing strange and magical places. But when you've got a wife and kids, you've got responsibilities."
>>592738 "But…" Mom shuts him up. "Dust, we'll talk about that when you're older." Dust scrunches but is silent. Mom turns to you. "You know Amber, we wanted to go sightseeing in the city, I'd love it if you could come with us…"
>>592752 "He had balls of steel or was very, very foolish. Whatever his motivation, he stood upon the tower and shot arrow after arrow at the raging beast. And the last arrow, the legend claims, pierced Darenthions hide and he fell to the earth."
>>592754 "Perhaps after you've met with his parents? There's time."
>>592755 "INDECISION IS ANTITHESIS TO THE WILL OF FIRE WILL YOU JUMP OR NOT CHOOSE NOW"
>>592791 "MOOOM, I NEED TO SEE HER!" "No, you stay right here, we haven't seen Amber for so long, the least you can do is be here with her." "BUUUUT MOOOOOOOOM…." Silver shows up again. "Uh…I found my parents."
>>592792 You jump inside and feel a churning. It's like you are chewed up by some infinite large mouth, yet it does not hurt. When you open your eyes again, you sit before a throne, on both sides flanked by Djinns. Here sits Asharr, the Eater.
>>592800 "That does sound to be a bargain, if it's as old as you say." I'll squint a bit, and rub my chin again. "Very well. I'll take the tooth, that bronze phoenix, the alchemical decanter, and the bag of holding."
>>593258 "Do you even know what that Mark represents?"
>>593259 She trots over with the ammo, hoofing em over very close to you. "Oh my, I'm n-not sure if this is the right t-type. D-did you get to talk to Junior?"
>>593260 "Amber! The suite is at the top of the hotel! You're running to the basement…that's for staff!"
>>593260 As you make your way back to the hotel, you come across the Freedom Festival, organised and about the great nation of Dixie. You see Light Heart a bit further preparing for the shooting contest. And there's a seminar about Dixian cooking.
>>593261 >As you make your way back to the hotel, you come across the Freedom Festival, organised and about the great nation of Dixie. >You see Light Heart a bit further preparing for the shooting contest. >And there's a seminar about Dixian cooking. That's for >>593257 Not Amber
>>593263 There's a mustached stallion there adressing a crowd. "Now when ya'll think of Dixie, Ah bet ya'll be thinking of hayburgers and fries and Hot Hays with lotsa lard, right?" The crowd, many of which are eating hayburgers right now, nod agreeing. The stallion smiles. "Yeeha, that's some good Dixian food right there. But did ya know Dixie also has some amazing other food? Our deep-fried cabbage is legendary among the New World, beans and greens, fried tomatoes, sweet patatoes, bread pudding, and desserts such as Red Velvet Cake. Now that's good eatin' I'm tellin' ya folks, if ya follow mah guidance, ya'll will never say again Dixie got no cuisine!"
>>593264 "So then we come back to the original question, why seek out the other Lords if your allegiance lays with Pyrrus?"
>>593265 "Did he say anything crazy? Do ya like the ammo, miss?"
>>593266 You run upstairs, dragging him behind you until you're all the way up. There's a guard standing before the door.
>>593272 "Well, not my primary choice of manufacturer but they still seem to be quite well made." Put it away in my ammo pouch. "Then I can inform you that yes, he is involved in dangerous business. He was wrong to think I was going to get involved in espionage for no good reason."
>>593275 "Oh dear….we thought so…listen, I'm with the Order. [GM's note: the Dixian anti-magic order, forgot their complete onion something name.] We've been keeping an eye on him for some time….thanks for confirming our suspicions. Ah'm glad it's to yer liking, miss."
>>593274 "Shut up! I tried years to get him to stop that…he doesn't want to!" He walks into the suite.
>>593273 "Don't tell me you were afraid I'd consume you."
>>593281 He looks at you and suddenly you're in an archipelago. You're on a rock on one of the largest islands, in the middle of the island, a giant volcano is erupting, spewing magma and smoke far into the sky. All ground except the rock you're on is covered in lava flowing to the sea. The whole island is burning to ash. You see two glowing eyes in the lava. Asharr. He rises. "What do you see?"
>>593282 "You should have seen our old house…" The guard leads you to a desk where an older pony is sitting, staring and talking to a crystal orb, as you approach he holds up a hoof as if to say he'll be right with you. And keeps talking to the orb. "Ah, there's my little stallion!" a mare with heavy make up appears. She holds up her front hooves "Silver, give mom a hug!" Silver walks over there and gives her a hug.
>>593283 You can still decide later. Next round. Shoot! '2d10'
>>593285 "Me…and my duty…what do you think of my duty? Can you imagine the life that once filled this island?"
>>593286 "Oh you've grown so much Silver! You'll be a big paladin! Oh and who is this?" "That's Amber, mom, you know I wrote about her in my letters…." "Ah yes, the little mare, oh she's such a cutie. Come here and give me a hug dear."
>>593292 "Quite a change of heart, is it not?" He grins.
>>593293 "The Crystal Capital? And what do your parents do?"
>>593294 Can't win em all. The mare in question is wearing a cowboy hat and shaking hooves with Grey. She smiles as you congratulate her. "Aw, thanks honey, you did mighty well yerself, I was sweating after that masterful shot first round."
>>593309 "Bending fate, it is our fate to do so, ironically."
>>593310 "Ye-" The guard coughs. "Sir, these ponies were insisting to meet you." It's mom and dad and Dust. "Oh I'm sorry" says mom "We couldn't wait to see Amber again, so I thought we'd come up. What a wonderful place you have here, it's almost bigger than our home…" Dad goes sit down in one of the benches as Dust jumps in the swimming pool.
>>593311 "I love the small custom modifications you made. I've always been more of a pistol mare. I love the grip, I love how easy it is to carry. I love the sound it makes…"
>>593313 Mom shake her head. "She ran straight out when I told her she could visit that designer of her." She looks around. "Oh my, I love the decor, mister Blood." Daddy Blood seems flabberghasted. "Uhm, yes thanks, uhm please leave the pool…"
>>593317 I shake my head. "Snack is fine working alone but Snack do have friends, but currently Snack dont know where they are in Canterlot. Winston is enthusiastic on helping." I then look at Star. "Will Star pony come? Snack will do his best to protect her."
>>593322 I scratch my chin. "The three of us wont do, strength and safety in numbers is good is it not?" I grin at them. "Snack will find first PoorSoil, Warren and Amber for they three are always up for a fight." I smile.
>>593326 "Let's go find them!" says Star. Winston will wait here.
>>593328 The guard is too busy trying to get Dust out of the swimming pool, but he's a fast swimmer.
>>593324 He opens his mouth. "I could burn the impurities away in seconds." But closes it again. "But it might destroy you as well. Let the fire within guide you to purity. You have received a vision have you not?"
>>593331 "Yes, she's a chip off the old block, she could always handle herself, even during the invasion of Changelings. Most fillies and colts were hiding, but not Amber, she wanted to help at all costs."
>>593333 "Meaning? They have no inner meaning. They are signposts. Do signposts have meaning beyond "go there"? They point to where you can find meaning." He swirls around. "Purification is not something one does. One does not fall in love, one does not become a leader, it just happens. The visions show you were to go and you'll know what to do. Follow the visions and one day you'll find yourself purified without doing any concentrated effort."
>>593334 He quickly climbs out and runs to Silvers dad, jumping up his leg. "Please, please, please can I swim in the pool, mister?" Mom is still talking to Silvers mom, but she seemed to have warmed up a bit.
>>593339 >>593340 Silvers mom shines. "Oh my, dear, do you want to see the town too?" Dad looks up. "Uhm…I'm sorry, I have some business to attend to, can't leave the mine alone for 5 seconds or it might implode."
>>593348 I nod. "Snack is…. " I look at the unknown ponies and the colt with hesitation. "… going to ask… Amber, Warrne and PoorSoil if they want to help Snack in finding a spy in canterlot… but it appears things are getting a bit busy."
>>593346 Well, now that I've got my things, I suppose I should head back to our inn, switch over the contents of the bags so that the town and void worm are all that are left in anarchy's bag, along with a single jar of stardust, and then go out to look for the others.
>>593352 I gulp, a bit embarrassed. "Yes, Twily pony told Snack that the archives are being manipulated by someone… or something. Twily wants that someone to be found if we want to find the records about the udnead dragon." I nod.
>>593363 >>593366 I nod at warren as I smile and lower my voice "Snack is findign Warren pony since Warren is a good at thinking, so far Snack, Star and Winston has planned to ambush and captre a spy for the cult of undead dragons that is destroying or hiding important draconic article's…. specially those records that regards to the undead dragon in the Silverhaze mines."
Snack wants help from Amber, Warren and Soil…. but it appears Amber is a bit busy is she?" I scratch my head.
>>593368 >>593367 "Twily, an important book pony who is a friend to Fluttershy, the yellow pony who has saved us back in Silverhaze riding the spiders…. has tasked me about it since it will be hard to gather more info about this undead dragon monsters…. the more we know about our enemy the easier it will be to hunt it ." I grin.
>>593371 "Winston… ah, an educated doge that has knowledge of the ancient diamond doge history of the past, specially regarding the times where there is an alliance of pony and doge back in ancient Equestria. So far Snack has asked Winston help and he is willing too." I grin.
>>593373 >>593361 "Uhhmmm… " I scratch my head. "So far, there are missing books according to Twily pony… the lead so far is that if the spy has access to the archive then it means it is an insider with one having this badge." I showed the badge of the Canterlot archives. "One needs this to enter the archive's, Snack and Star got one, Snack think Warren and PoorSoil can get one too once Snack and Star approach the guards.:"
Star coughs. "What Snacks wants to say is, that there's a spy in the Academy library, somepony who's altering the records of the undead dragon. So Archmage Twilight asked us to do a stakeout at night and try to capture them."
>>593394 >>593392 >>593391 The Sun sets… You've set yourself up sneakily in the Academy archives, with a good look on the Kronox wing. It is very quiet here. Roll to stay awake!
>>593393 The Night Guard Tower is partially built into the mountain itself and consists of dark rock. The gate itself is lined with silver and the insignia of the Moon is prominently displayed. It seems very peaceful here. There's a receptionist. "Yes, may I help you?"
>>593396 >>593397 >>593398 You all keep your sleepy eyes open like hawks. A few times a researcher passes by but nothing to be concerned about. As the Moon hangs high you see another cloaked researcher approach the wing. He floats out a book, opens it, and a green magic starts altering the pages. "That must be him. whispers Star.
>>593410 She looks at her list. "I'm sorry, Deepfang has been assigned to Los Pegasus for the time being. But miss Paleblossom is here, she's sleeping at the moment."
>>593411 >>593409 >>593408 It's an older, slightly overweight unicorn. It's a bit hard to see without the delicate clothes he wore in the past, but his face, you're looking at Regal Silverhaze, former lord of Silverhaze.
>>593416 She raises a brow. "Yes. She's at the end of the hallway, in the ruins of the Nexus."
>>593419 >>593415 >>593414 He looks at all 3 of you slowly. "Isn't this a surprise…Ner'Ghal foretold you would be coming. He called it beginning and end. When you are defeated, his reign may truly begin…"
>>593424 >>593423 >>593421 >>593427 "Bah, this meat puppet has served his purpose anyway. My father was always a fool, but at least we put him to good use. You can keep what's left of him."
>>593425 Inferni looks up and flies over to sit on your hoof. Everypony is impressed.
>>593422 "Oh my" exclaims your mom as you walk to the end of the hallway. It ends into the mountain where the architecture changes. You're greeted by enormous ancient stone halls and delicately carved hallways and pillars. These are the old Diamond Dog ruins from long ago. Now taken by the batponies. There are a number of batponies hanging on the dark ceiling. You see Paleblossom amongst them.
>>593771 "Amber, ssshhhh, there are other ponies sleeping." She puts a hoof on your shoulder. "Let's go to the mess, it's easier talking there."
>>593768 Indy fake attempts to bite you, but you easily dodge it. But this is enough to emit gasps and concerned looks from your audience. "Omigosh…how can she handle that beast?"
>>593769 You scratch your head and look up to see Indy grasped by the Skinwalker. The Skinwalker says something in a dead language and stabs Indy straight in the chest. A sickly green color spreads over his chest, similar to the turned citizens of Silverhaze. Your slamming instinct turns into overdrive and with sanic speed you crash right into the skinwalker, slamming him off Indy and he takes the Shield Train right into the wall. Like many before him, he learns that once you're inbetween a shield and a hard place it's hard to get loose. Indy grasps his chest and sinks to his knees trying to get his bearings.
>>593772 "By knowing he is not a beast, but a cunning, thinking predator!" Lower my voice. "I am pretty sure he is much smarter than a lot of people I've met, actually." Back to regular voice. "From that, I know he would definitely try and claw my eyes out if I leaned much closer!" Lean closer to him!
>>593774 You're at the mess hall, it's pretty empty. "Deepfang is on a mission in Los Pegasus, he knows the area. Meanwhile I know this place best, so I was needed to deal with a problem here. I'm sorry, I'm sure he'd have been glad to see you." She looks to Silver and the parents. "My, so many crystal ponies, is this your family, Amber?"
>>593777 Inferni looks suspiciously as you lean closer, then quickly claws but right in front of your eyes. "Oh dear, that donkey, she's crazy!" "How does she do this?"
>>593776 He starts pushing like a wild beast against the shield. He might be stronger than you thought….
>>593775 >>593776 Indy grits his teeth and gets up again. He growls and turns towards the skinwalker. His chest looks bad, but he seems determined to finish this fight.
>>593779 What is this… feeling? Its like it is dragging me down…. "Wh.. what is this?" I grit my teeth as I ready my axe and attack! Expansive weapon, change weapon type to dual using my Blood Waraxe '2d10-1'
>>593779 "Don't push yourself, Indy. Iris would be beside herself with sadness." Let's see what I can pull out of my sleeves with Hat Magic. Hopefully some medicine for that gaping wound in Indy's chest. '1d10-1'
>>593779 Smile. "You don't have to be afraid as long as you know to respect them! In fact… if I just tried to take one of his feathers, he would be really mad at me, he might even burn me! If I ask nicely, however…." Turn to Inferni, lean just a tiny bit closer, and speak in a tempered voice. "Oh, majestic phoenix, you would do me a great honor if you were so generous that you donated one of your beautiful feathers to adorn my mane." Bow my head to him when I finish.
>>593784 "Your…partner…" She looks confused for a second. "Oh right, you crystal ponies always fight in pairs. My, my." She gives Silver a hoof and whispers something in his ear. Silver chuckles. She turns to your parents. "It's a pleasure to meet all of you. You can be proud of Amber. I've seen her fight and she's a model paladin. Always looking out for the weak and poor first."
>>593783 Inferni stands upright proud, considering your most courageous request. The audience is breathless as they wait to see what he'll do. He spreads his wings. Gasp! Then he slowly moves his beak over his wing, plucking out one and holding it out to you.
>>593780 Since you rolled a crit and this is done, I'll let Indy do some heroics too.
You slam the Skinwalker against the wall once more and then let him go, making room for Indy, who looks angrily. He takes a breather and unleashes a pillar of blue fire right at the skinwalker. The Skinwalker is charred but still moving.
>>593781 And it is then that Snacks comes with his blood axe, slamming it straight into the creatures chest, revealing dark brown flesh underneath the charred skin. The axe greedily absorbs the blood and the skinwalker falls down dead and melts into the ground.
>>593782 You're not sure what would help. But you pull out a flask of sparkling glowing water.
>>593798 I'll rub my jaw a moment. "You mean like a puppet?" >>593799 I'll sigh a little in relief. "We're still going to get you looked at by a professional. I don't know what that thing did to you, but I'm not going to risk your health on something I pulled out of nowhere."
>>593804 "I can't imagine Regal's father would still be alive, but maybe it's like what you've got going with Indy." >>593805 "We should probably ask her anyway. She's likely got the most information on dragon health issues and what that thing did than anyone else alive at the moment."
>>593800 The wound reminds you of the horrible wounds the citizens of Silverhaze suffered before being turned into an undead. Perhaps your brain is working overtime for Indy because you also remember that it took the healers days of continuous healing to reverse the disease. You look at the water and it seems a lot like the water from the maelstrom spring at the top of Mt Lauren.
>>593803 Paleblossom chuckles. "You must have so many stories. What happened since you left? I think you were going to the Trotting Mountains?"
>>593802 The bottle is empty, but the wound seems to have been stabilized. He gets up again.
>>593809 "Regal is, or was I should say, the lord of Silverhaze. He sought to resurrect the undead dragon, and was willing to sacrifice his citizens to do so. We managed to keep the damage down, but he escaped in the confusion of the dragon's awakening." I'll look at the puddle of viscera. "What happened to him after that, and before he came here to alter the records, I don't even want to guess."
>>593809 "I met many new friends! Monster hunters, obsidian knights, crystal paladins and a lot more! Right now we're trying to stop an undead dragon and a draconicuisine from doing really bad things!"
>>593818 "Who is Swift?" >>593819 "Not necessarily, though we can hope, at least." >>593820 I'll glance at the puddle of guts again. "It might be a bit late for that. We've just dealt with what's left of him, I think."
>>593824 >>593825 I frown too. "Silverhaze… is a memory to Snack but the exact details are ereally not that etched to Snacks memory." I scracth my head. "But as long as those cultist are here, then citizens are not safe."
>>593836 You run off to the Palace. You find two mares at the dressmaker. One is a light brown mare with white mane. Another a white mare with purple coiffed mane. The white mare looks up. "Ah, you must be the late arrivals. And only five minutes before we packed up too. Come on no time to lose. Get out of those dreadful armors so we can take your measurements."
>>593837 Star scrunches angrily. "She'd be mad about us telling her about a serious security breach? Then she'd be the worst pony forever!"
>>593838 >>593837 The guard wakes Twilight, she shows up drowsily with a night cap and fluffy hoofshoes. "Yes, did you find anything?"
>>593843 "My goodness dear. Have you even looked at it? It's all messy and full of..ugh..dirt." Now that you look at it, it was more shiny when you got it. "Here, miss Haute, have one of the servants clean these armor to perfection for the Knighting. Now, miss Stone, please hold out your front legs like this." She makes a motion with her legs. Miss Haute takes the measurements for Silver.
>>593844 >>593842 Twilight listens carefully. "It lived…inside this pony? Oh dear, and our enchantments couldn't detect it." She starts walking in circles. "This is bad, this is really bad."
>>593841 The ponies stomp the ground in applause. Inferni slightly bows. Great show Mabel.
>>593846 "It also seemed to poison Indy, much like as what happened to the ponies of Silverhaze. Luckily, we managed to delay the curse… poison… ailment?" I'll shake my head. "Whatever it is, we managed to delay it enough for Soil to take him to the summit of the mountain."