'The Nether Roads (or The Under Roads) are a network of former mineshafts connected to one another running all under the empire's surface. In ancient times these belonged to the diamond dogs, but were cleared by crystal ponykind during the last war between the two species. Nowadays it works as a alternative route to the Amber road on the surface. While protected from the natural elements, the netherroads tend to be dangerous for different reasons.'
The rest of you: Angelite has joined you in the pocket dimension, having found a noble ally in the city and receiving news about looming changeling invasions coming from the island of Sunstone.
Leadlight returns from her chat with Shimmermist, who took her leave with some of the other thieves after blowing a kiss to Angelite. "Are you ready to set things in motion? Remember, neither he or we will have any chance of escaping once we enter. There will be no way out until the portals are opened again."
>>526712 "Yes, though I am unsure whether he will allow us to do so. He can be… quite rash at times." She walks over to the northern wall and starts making the same motions you saw before, back in the restrooms of the bar. Moments later a magical portal in the wall sputters to life.
>>526714 She looks back at you. "Neither are my ponies, but they will also be at risk all the same."
>>526716 "Very well, just be careful of his rogueish trickery."
Herald chuckles at this. "Don't worry, he's had practice on dealing with that kind of stuff thanks to me."
>>526717 "It's nice here and all, I mean there's a lot of stuff to do and learn but… I really don't want to spend years of my life in just these towers. I'd like to go-" She's interrupted by the sound of a loud gong reverberating through the towers. "Oh, sounds like someone is at the door again." She walks over to one of the windows to the outside and peers through it. "Who is crazy enough to walk through that weather!?"
>>526719 "If you want to stay behind, be my guest."
>>526733 She nods. "Yeah… thanks for the helping hoof. I think… I think I'll go have a snooze now, it's getting late."
>>526735 >>526736 One by one, each of you enters the newly opened portal, stepping into a world of momentary darkness which is soon replaced by a new scene. You have arrived in a dark, seemingly unused room. There is little light here, the only source being a faint glow coming from under the door up ahead which also seems to be the only exit out of here. The portal behind you vanishes.
Leadlight whispers. "The portals have been taken down. Shadow Play will head to the main room to investigate what's going on, so that's where we'll catch him. He is the biggest threat, as the others are not as well versed in combat. They will attempt to run, but there is nowhere for them to go."
>>526734 This leaves you… all alone in the thieves' layer. Or maybe not, those two foals are still here too. Better watch out they don't try something uncouth that violates your precious noble senses!
>>526752 The colt whispers something to the filly, making her giggle. They both approach you. "Hey! Why didn't you go with the other adults?"
>>526753 >>526754 >>526755 You move down the hallway, following the lit torches lighting the way. You are nearly hit by a door swinging open as a pony wearing the recognizable magpie outfit tumbles through it. She seems bewildered for a second by your presence. "… Oh shit!" She turns tail and tries to run away! A small dart flies past you towards the running mare [1d10]
>>526756 She smiles back awkwardly and slinks off without any further explanation. You are alone again.
>>526760 Your commanding words make her hesitate and stumble over her own hooves…
>>526761 … Allowing Ardent to get the jump on her and tackle her to the ground. "Fuck fuck fuck! Get off me!"
>>526762 You start ascending again and arrive back at the first mage arena you saw, the covered bridge leading to the main tower can be found here. You hear voices coming from the other side, but they are too faint to hear what they are saying.
>>526764 They look at each other for a moment, then back at you. "We can watch over ourselves! They never leave supervision for us!"
>>526767 Turns out you're better at speaking than hearing, just like one would expect from a mare. Someone is approaching. Two someones, rather. You see… a gryphon and a pegasus walking over the bridge.
>>526775 Can't really do that seeing how there's a ceiling and a wall in the way. The bridge is covered, remember? And this place isn't suited for pegasus flight, as lord Flux explained to you when you arrived. They've reached the other side and are now standing before you. They both seem rather weary and tired, their feathers are… wet. They must have just arrived here. The pegasus speaks up. "Good day miss, is everything alright? You seem a bit pale."
>>526777 >>526780 "Just like… 6 of us, something happened to the portals so the rest of us are outside. Stop pressing that blade against me like that, you're freaking me out!"
>>526779 "At least we don't have to sleep on the streets on our own!"
>>526784 …I'd be so easy to kill her right now. Just a quick pull, a slight tug of resistance, and… I can feel the blood racing through her veins, hear the stutter in every breath as she tries not to breathe too hard… My grip tightens even more. All it would take is one quick pull… Is that what I want?
>>526807 >>526808 You reassemble and push open the door into the main hall. This room is similar to the main hall in the dimension you started in, being circular as well. However, the place does seem a lot cleaner and better maintained than the one before. You see target dummies, a few tables with food on it, barrels of booze, weapon racks and a variety of other items set up in this room. The five ponies in here - all wearing the same outfit as the mare you encountered before - perk up in surprise as they spot you. "Intruders!" "How did they get in!? How do we get out!?" They all seem to be caught with their pants down, except for one crystal stallion who just glares at you. He opens his mouth to speak but instead swirls around as you see Leadlight leap at him from the shadows with her daggers drawn. He deftly parries her strike and counters it with a swift backstab, sending her sprawling over the floor. He smirks at her apparent defeat. "Hello to you too, Leadlight. I figured you had finally turned on us when the portals are down, but bringing paladins in here? Have you fallen so low already?" He looks at all of you. "And you, have your kind become so flexible to work with a lowly assassin nowadays?" The other thieves wisely keep their mouths shut.
>>526810 "Pfff, you sound like that knight lady!" "Yeah, easy for you to say that, miss richy rich!"
>>526811 "How long have you been here, miss? Long enough to have familiarized yourself with the towers somewhat?"
>>526821 The pegasus nods and motions the gryphon to keep going, then pulls you aside and whispers lowly as Grizz inspects the rest of the room. "Have you seen any… suspicious activity around here? Ponies behaving strangely maybe?"
>>526825 The filly snorts in defiance, clearly not buying it. "And who is going to pay for that? You? Yeah, I thought not!"
>>526826 The other thieves seem to be too busy shitting themselves and looking for a way out, but the stallion is unimpressed. "Preach all you want paladin, your god can't hear you here. You've made a big mistake coming here and meddling with our business." Leadlight stumbles back to her hooves, the dagger still stuck in her back.
>>526830 He chuckles. "A crystal follower of Celestia? Shouldn't you be hurrying your way to the crystal capital to be on time for her upcoming royal visit so you can lick her hooves like the rest of your kind? You're a traitor, that's what you are."
>>526829 "Another crystal working for the Equestrians? We already took care of the other knight poking around where she shouldn't have, so rest assured you'll be joining her soon."
>>526832 Shake my head slowly. "You might think your little hole is safe from the light. But I am here to show you the folly of your thinking. The light has come to you, for I carried it with me." '1d10' blast him.
>>526834 He takes off his hat. "My lady, we are ponies of the law on the lookout for a outlaw with a large bounty on her head. We believe she is hiding in this tower disguised as a mage… seeing your recent arrival and your non-magical aptitude, you are clearly not the pony we are looking for."
>>526835 >>526839 You charge in and batter his form with great zeal and gusto. He collapses under the heavy punishment within moments, but to your horror you notice that you were hitting a doll! It was a substitute!
The room goes dark in an instant, it is an unnatural kind of dark caused by magic.
>>526839 You slice at the five other thieves, wounding them all. They run and scatter away in panic.
>>526840 The colt blurts out a surprised "R-Really?" The filly still doesn't seem convinced. "Why would you even do that for us? Is this some kind of trick!? They warned us for tricks like these!"
>>526853 "Yes, perhaps they do." He puts his hat back on. "Still, if you do see anything suspicious, be sure to warn us. This mare has been accused of practicing illegal magic and is branded a dangerous witch by the paladins. Try not to spread this information around, it could incite a panic."
>>526854 >>526855 A valiant try, but without something to concentrate your holy magics on the darkness easily overwhelms it.
>>526857 You swipe the legs of a stallion from under him, causing him to crash helplessly into the ground. "I yield, I yield!"
>>526862 He gives you one last look, then walks over to rejoin the gryphon. They both take the stairs upwards towards a unknown destination to you.
>>526864 All you hear is the sound of a pair of shurikens flying towards your face. Before they can hit however, a pair of magical bolts shoot them out of the sky. You think you can guess who was responsible for saving your hide right there.
>>526863 Your taunting seems to have the right effect, as the stallion rogue materializes in front of you. "Want to dance with me, paladin? Watch your step, it's dark out."
>>526865 You hit another running thief, but she manages to speed away before a second strike fells her. "No!"
>>526866 "You have to promise me that if I do this, you will live a fullfilling life devoid of crime. That you will be honest, generous, kind and loyal to your friends and that you will strive to make the Crystal Empire a better place."
>>526874 Smile at them both. "I trust you both. If you come with me to the Crystal Capital, I can provide you with education, accomodations and such. I cannot, however, promise to give you a family, or be there for you at all times… but I will visit you every time I am nearby and I could even keep in touch with you by mail if you wish."
>>526875 You go up, passing through another library, then what looks to be some kind of study for ponies to read their books in silence. One mare with a messy looking mane is busily writing away at one of the desks. She's surrounded by a magic bubble, no doubt to block out all sound. You ascend further, reaching the dormitories. There are many doors here leading to private rooms. They have nameplates on them.
>>526876 >>526879 As you both lunge forward to strike, he does a backflip to get out of the way. Instead of striking him, you strike each other with your attacks very painfully. Both of you are helpless.
>>526878 You time your attack better, going in for the attack as he lands and not giving him time to get away. You get in a solid stab, causing him to flinch in pain.
>>526885 They both nod eagerly. "T-Thank you miss! Thank you so much!" "I'll go get my stuff together!" They both run off again.
>>526894 Nod. "She might be. However, I am not forcing you to come with me… on the same note, neither can she force you to stay. You must make that decision yourselves. Do you want to grow up to be thieves or upstanding citizens?"
>>526907 He pounces you from the shadows, delivering a lightning fast flurry of dagger strikes which quickly overwhelm you, then disappears from sight again.
>>526910 >>526915 Paladin of love and paladin of the sun, standing side by side and cooperating to take down their common foe of darkness. Gallant's spellbreaker finally breaks the night, bringing forth glorious light and eradicating the shadows where the profligates lurk. Sonnet's booming voice and the sudden return of the light startles Shadow Play into immobility. The time to strike is now.
>>526935 Let me specify. I'm going fr killing blow because I seriously doubt that, in the heat of the moment, Sonnet would spare a second thought about killing a criminal that's about to kill one of her travel companions. I just don't think it makes sense to not go for the kill when she's armed and the situation is incredibly dangerous to boot.
>>526925 >>526927 You both charge forth in perfect unison again, bringing down the full divine might of your respective orders onto the master thief. Without substitutes or darkness to cover him, he stands no chance against this combined holy fury and collapses to the ground, mortally wounded.
>>526928 The filly happily exclaims "I'm Nova!" The colt chirps "Night Spark. I'm Night Spark."
>>526926 You get back up in time to see Shadow Play get clobbered by the two other paladins.
>>526932 It's locked. If you had a certain sound wave spell… or lockpicks…
>>526946 He spasms a little as the spell goes awry once again, doing nothing but intensify the pain before he finally succumbs. Shadow Play is well and truly dead now.
>>526948 You leave the main hall and enter the hallway again. The mare you subdued earlier is gone and you find her and two others in the dormitory, seemingly trying to open a portal to no avail. There's no way out.
>>526964 "Hey! Say, could you help me with a tiny little problem? I was talking to a mare earlier and she didn't feel well. I was going to go to her room to see if she needed anything, and her room is locked and she doesn't respond! I'm really worried…" Con Artist '1d10'
>>526966 You find the manacles lying discarded on the floor. You also find the mare and two others inside the dormitory you checked earlier. Ardent is here as well.
>>526968 She spits out the rest of the bandage and nods. "I was foolish to be so rash and paid the price." She looks at the dead ex-leader of the thieves. "But it appears you managed on your own, that is good."
Herald is inspecting the food on the tables and stuffing one of his bags with some of it.
>>526969 They don't seem to like that plan. They quickly dodge out of the way of your strikes.
>>526970 "Sure thing." He hops off the frame and puts his flute down on his bed. "Lead the way."
>>526971 Look back at the body and shake my head "Not everyone will be captured.." Focus again. "What about your friends? Are they okay? I got rid of the darkness as fast as possible but I am not sure if anyone else was hurt."
>>526972 You punch the mare you manacled earlier with your iron hoof, surely breaking her jaw with the sheer force behind it. She falls down unconscious. Kill her?
>>526974 "We were the only ones who entered this place. The others were in charge of taking down the portals which they seemed to have done perfectly, so I assume they are well."
>>526976 You completely miss one strike but manage to get a hit in with the other, knocking a stallion out as well. Kill him?
>>526975 He follows you downstairs to the door. "Oh Spring, I've seen her around. She's pretty nice." His catalyst lights up and you hear the sound of tumblers twisting and turning, then hear the door unlocking itself. "There we go, easy peasy."
>>526982 You heal his wounds back to full. He's feeling better now.
>>526983 "Eh, I'll just go back to playing my flute babe. Have fun." He winks at you and turns around to leave. You head inside. She doesn't appear to be here. Her room is pretty simple, a bed, a chest, some parchment on a simple desk and a small vanity mirror lying on her bed.
>>526997 Bullseye. Your gauntlet hits her right on the head, knocking her out of this world for the time being.
>>526998 These are pretty complicated… They seem to be techniques to break down things like illusions and magical barriers. Or at least see past them somehow by bending dimensions. … Whatever that may mean.
>>526999 They're down the hallway, having just taken down one of the thieves who now lies unconscious on the floor.
>>527001 She's already out for the count. Sonnet's gauntlet knocked her unconscious.
>>527003 Magical barriers…like this barrier…and bending dimensions like that backdoor. Click Clack. I'm not a dummy. Daddy should have made me the boss…why daddy why ;_; no can't think of that now, gotta focus. Check that chest '1d10'
>>527010 Let the blood stay for now; it'll send a message to the rest of them. That leaves two still unaccounted for. Let's go find them. '1d10+2' >>527012 Grimly nod back, then >>527009 motion towards the hallway. We need to find the last two.
>>527011 With some effort, you eventually unlock the chest using a hairpin. Maybe getting some actual lockpicks would be a good idea. Opening it up, you see a variety of items. Saddlebags, a red crystal pulsing with magical power, a… horseshoe?, a compass, a rock which is warm to the touch, a small wooden lock box which is locked and a long steel dagger in a fancy sheath.
>>527013 >>527014 >>527016 You continue down the hallway, passing by the room you started in and confirming it is empty before continuing on. You pass by another empty dormitory, the kitchen, a food larder, all empty. Then you come across a door which leads to, yes, a prison. There are two cells in here, both of them empty. Ardent spots the familiar form of a hospitallion's armor lying over a rack. It looks like it would fit a female.
>>527021 Turn around, shouting on the top of my lungs. "Surrender now, and She will show you mercy. Don't, and we will bring Her judgement upon you! By the cells. In two minutes!" Word of Power. '1d10+2'
>>527022 You have absolutely no idea what purpose it serves, but yes you can take it all and shove it in your bags. You're pretty loaded now.
>>527023 Moments later, two stallions and a mare shuffle towards you. Both stallions are wearing the common thief garb while the mare is naked and gagged. She looks very unamused by this whole situation. "We've got a prisoner! Let us go free and we'll let her go free." The mare rolls her eyes.
>>527024 It's a little dirty, but otherwise in good condition.
>>527025 You leave the two behind and return to the main hall where Leadlight is sitting down for a rest. She seems to be better, but lost some blood and is slightly weakened. She looks at the mare on your back. "Quick Sand. It does not appear to be her best day today."
>>527027 "Uh…" The colt seems to want to ask something but isn't sure if he should.
>>527051 Clear my throat. "…in a manner of speaking, yes, then technically I would be your legal guardian once we get the proper paperwork done… which in different terms, would mean what you suppose, yes."
>>527052 You head up further and find… a chapel! This is a place of worship, so you better mind your tongue! There's a stallion and a mare here, both wearing hooded robes. It looks different to the ones in Equestria, more… upbeat perhaps. It makes you feel at ease.
>>527053 >>527054 "Brother in arms… I am a knight of the hospitallion order, paladin. And you are… one of the Lover if my eyes don't deceive me."
>>527057 "Yes." She says this without hesitation. "He was not a good pony, even by our standards. I doubt there will be many who will mourn his passing."
>>527059 "That is correct. Applying Her Law throughout the Land." Bow slightly. "Now, duty calls me. Nice to see you aren't a goner." Off to the surrendered stallions, shackle them and lead them back to Gallant.
>>527059 "May I ask you not to call me that unless we are in private? I do not feel embarassed about it, however, as a diplomat it would be terrible for my creditibility to have rumors spread around me. I hope you understand."
>>527082 Hug them tight. My father is an understanding stallion with a good heart. Surely he will understand that I could not leave two foals in uncertainty about their lives… plus I will not settle down because of this. I am sure that anypony with kindness in their soul will understand.
>>527083 You're not a very stealthy pony in that armor. She looks around the room, staring at the corpse of Shadow Play for a moment with a frown, then walks over to where you are hiding. "Brother, I would like my armor back. I feel too naked without it." She seems like she takes her duties rather seriously.
>>527084 "Shadow Play is dead, our base has been compromised and several of our members are gone. This leaves me in charge of a broken operation, as expected." Your spell heals her wound further and revitalizes her. She gets up. "I feel better now, you have my thanks."
>>527086 Still a big responsibility, filly~ But yes, you did make two little ponies very happy today. That is something to be proud of.
>>527087 The mares sits down in front of you and moves her hooves above your head. "Lover, Goddess, Our Grace, watch over this one, welcome her to your loving and kind embrace, light her path in life and beyond, so that she may show love, compassion and mercy to others, as is your creed, your law."
>>527088 There's a naked mare standing in front of you, what do you do?
>>527101 She nods and walks over to one of the walls, beginning the same ritual as before.
>>527102 You feel a feeling of warmth swell up deep inside you. It reminds you… it reminds you of the feeling you get when you hug your mother, or kiss a special somepony and… more. Your heart flutters a little.
>>527103 A crystal mare with a shiny white coat and a light brown mane. She's quite strong looking and obviously very fit. Her eyes are a deep emerald blue.
>>527104 That's very kind of you, a true showcasing of love and compassion. … You're still hugging them by the way.
>>527157 You must be getting pretty high up now… You leave the chapel and head upstairs to the next level. There are many beds set up here, separated by white curtains. You also see an entire arsenal of medical equipment, potions and other types of medicine stored in crystal cases. This looks like some kind of hospital, a clinic.
>>527162 You head up further and are stunned by the next sight you come across. This room is completely painted in a very dark blue and has no windows to speak of. The floor, the walls, the ceiling… all of it is painted in the same dark color. The ceiling is also shaped as a dome and the floor and walls seem to curve slightly. It doesn't take you long to figure out that it represents the night sky. You see what must be thousands of white dots covering it, stars, constellations, nebulas, other planets… some of them slowly moving through what you assume to be magical means. In the middle of the room floats a giant glowing sphere… a planet, our planet, with all the continents, mountain ranges and oceans visible. You even see small clouds floating above its surface! You notice a smaller orb circling around the planet, the moon!
>>527172 You go up again… the final level. You arrive what is no doubt the observatory.You see an enormous telescope here, piercing its way through the crystal roof to see the outside. Spring Green is busily peering through it as you enter, though how she could possibly see anything with that blizzard outside is beyond you, and startles as she hears you call her out. "O-oh it's you. You startled me!"
>>527181 She quickly runs over to close the door behind you, leaning against it. "… Yes, they're looking for me. I think they're bounty hunters. I… the paladins are looking for me, they branded me a witch because… because…" She trails off.
>>527192 "… No. At first these visions only appeared at dreams… but eventually I started seeing them during my waking hours. One day a pair of paladins showed up at my door. They wanted to take me to the paladin academy to investigate rumors about my abilities… I kind of panicked and… hurt them. But just a little!"
>>527195 You release the pair of foals again. "Thanks!" "Does this mean we'll get allowance money from you as well sometimes?"
>>527200 Smile a bit. "Let us not run ahead of ourselves here, shall we? You will, yes, provided that your performance with your studies will not falter. I do plan to reward knowledge, however, with more than just money."
>>527202 "It's just… when you're a mage and you open up your door to see two fully armored paladins standing there… Oh dear." She shakes her head weakly. "I grabbed what I could and ran off… like that crystal. It's enchanted and very valuable, but I can't use it for anything myself."
>>527209 "I changed my name and appearance… they shouldn't be able to find me but… I'm still nervous about the possibility…" She pauses for a second, the gears in her head turning. "… hey how did you get to my crystal anyway!?"
>>527211 "Wow, really? I've never been to an amusement park!" "They don't even have one here…"
>>527212 "As I have said, let us not get ahead of ourself. I would like to take you to the capital, let you get comfortable in your new homes and teach you some proper etiquette. Afterwards, you can begin learning… and I apologize in advance that I won't be able to be present for you at all times."
>>527224 "Sure thing mom! … What do you want to know?"
The filly frowns. "What our special talents are, duh!" She points at her buttmark, which looks like a fiery ball of energy. "I got mine when I tried to do magic! I did kind of set the curtains on fire by casting a spell but it worked!"
>>527226 She looks around. "Really? W-Where should I go then?"
>>527231 "Well if you're here, looking through a telescope you shouldn't be able to see through because of the blizzard. Isn't that a bit suspicious? We could go a level down and look at the stars there!"
>>527231 "Anything you would like to tell me." Look at the filly. "That is really nice, however, I must advise you to be careful. Magic can be a very volitale matter, however, I think you will find Magical Studies not only interesting, but beneficial to your understanding and control of your own magic."
>>527395 She paces around the room. "Well it's getting late… sometimes I come up here, sometimes I go to the relaxation room or just read something in the study… but maybe going to bed wouldn't be a bad idea…" She stops and looks at you. "Do you have your own room?"
>>527440 Her yellow mane is a mess, it looks like a twister blew right through it. "Voltage. Professional mage." She flicks Spring Green's nose with a hoof. "What's up Greeny? Looking fresh as usual!" "Y-You too."
>>528094 "That's right, I'm the resident electromancer. The name's usually a giveaway." You notice she's not actually wearing any clothing. Her cutiemark is depicts a bunch of blue sparkles. She looks you over. "What about you? Wait no, lemme guess! Uh… Illusionist? You look like a fancy type."
>>528098 "Well I guess I can't blame you for that. We've all got our own little talents. I'm lucky enough to have mine in electromancy!" She walks past you, heading for the stairs. "Anyway, I'll get out of your manes. I've got work to do. See ya around!"
>>528100 "Good night Silk… thanks for helping me out." She disappears off into her room. You find your own room just a few doors down the hallway. A small nameplate besides it signifies it's been claimed by you. The room itself isn't exactly as big as you were used to back home, but it's still comfortably large. There's a bed, some closets, a large mirror, two windows looking outside and a nice fluffy carpet on the floor. There's also a small bathroom with a bath in here.
>>528104 There is nothing shielding the buildings right now, nothing that you can see anyway.
You take some time to soak in your warm foamy bath and ponder on today's events. You met a lot of ponies and saw a lot of different things in this place, it'll be nice to catch some sleep and process this day at last.
>>528106 You finish your bath, get dried and head to bed. Your legs are tired from a long day of walking, finally giving them rest feels divine. You're happy to be inside in this warm room rather than still out there in that horrific storm. With that thought, you finally drift off to the world of dreams. Roll.
>>528108 You wake up after an unknown amount of time. Your room is utterly dark. Your throat tightens and your heart is beating very fast as you feel a sense of panic wash over you. You don't know why you feel like this, but you do get the feeling of being watched from somewhere.
It's a feeling you've experienced before, it sometimes came up for no explicable reason in the past. But back then it was a product of your paranoia of being hunted down by your family. You knew it was there because of the stress that came with being on the run. This time however… it's far more intense. And it doesn't feel like just a baseless fear.
>>528128 You get out of bed and carefully walk over to the door, the fright never leaving your mind. You open the door and carefully peek out into the dark hallway to see… one of those flying orbs of energy slowly flying away. A wisp.
>>528133 You leave your room and walk down the hallway, after the wisp. Coming around to Springs room you try to open the door but find it to be locked tight! The wisp seems to be… waiting on you at the end of the hallway.
>>528135 You follow it as it starts descending down the stairs, into the dark room below. The study. The wisp illuminates the area around it, allowing you to see where you walk, if only barely. The rest of the room is drenched in a intimidating darkness, almost unnatural like.
>>528139 You see a faint glow coming from up ahead… it looks like… some kind of tear, a portal. The wisp slowly floats towards it. As you follow and get closer, you noticed it is indeed some sort of magic portal placed right in front of one of the bookshelves. You can't see what's inside, as it just looks like a wall of purple… stuff. Swirling around in a hypnotic motion and humming ever so softly. The wisp goes through and disappears.
>>528154 You lean forward and try to take a peek inside, but instead the portal immediately pulls you in! Everything goes dark for a moment. Then, as your vision returns, you find yourself inside… your old room back home!? You look around in disbelief and to your horror it does appear to be the very same room you used for all those years! Everything is still as you remember it.
>>528161 It was all kinds of technical shit you don't remember! You open up your door and look outside, but are startled to see your father standing right outside. He's looking at you with a furious gaze. The feeling of panic peaks inside you and your legs begin to wobble in sheer fright. You can't move a muscle.
>>528164 He opens his mouth to speak, but all that comes out is a terrified screech.
You awake back in your room in the tower with that very same terrified scream. You look outside and see Celestia's sun is shining. The storm has cleared up and it's morning again! It… was a nightmare? Just a terribly vivid nightmare? You're sweating and trembling really badly, your heart still pounding away in your chest.
>>528183 You notice a floorplan of the buildings lying in one of your room's drawers and take it with you for convenience's sake.
You see that the dining room is in the western tower, so you head there. As you arrive there you see several other ponies are still eating breakfast as well. There's a large breakfast buffet set up where you can pick your own food from. You recognize Thaumia, the unnamed stallion who helped you open up that locked door yesterday, Voltage, the stallion who fought Thaumia in the mage arena and another stallion you don't recognize here. The two bounty hunters are eating as well.
>>527114 >>527115 She gets her armor back and despite Ardent's attempt, manages to not get her personal space invaded. All in all, she doesn't seem particularly amused by these antics as she equips her armor again. "You boys did a fine job here today. I know this isn't very kindhearted of me to say, but I'm glad Shadow Play is dead."
>>527119 Leadlight looks back at you as she opens up the portal. "The ones you captured? I imagine that is more your problem than mine, but normal bounds will not keep them in check for long. You need enchanted cuffs."
>>531116 "Sure she's nice. Everybody's nice enough around here, y'know. We're all cool and laid back."
>>531118 There's likely plenty of interesting stuff to be found if you explored the area further, but Leadlight is unlikely to approve of that. The portal out of here has been opened and is accessible.
>>531120 She gives you a confused look. "I am not resting. You can return to your friend now. Shadow Play is dead and the evidence is yours. Do not worry, we will keep his death a secret for the time being. You are now safe to walk around the city as you please, the Magpies will not be causing you any trouble no further."
>>531119 "But… what if I'm no good at it? I mean I'm not dumb or anything but… y-you know… what if?" A portal opens up at the other end of the room.
Everyone with the exception to Silk has earned a skillpoint as a reward. You can spend it or save it. More will follow in the future. You also have three prisoners and a pile of evidence against Redwood and Obsidian Flow.
>>531124 They're sitting across from each other a few seats away from you, too far for you to hear what they're saying. Their postures seems relaxed, so they're probably not on high alert just yet. Unless they're faking it of course. They are armed however.
>>531123 "I will support your efforts on taking down Obsidian Flow. I do not know what he is planning, but as I explained before I fear it is something very bad." >>531125 "Back to our original hideout. Do not worry about this place, my ponies will take care of cleaning it up." She walks through the portal and disappears.
>>531126 Geared up and ready. She's probably holding back asking questions for the time being.
>>531122 "I totally believe in me! I said I wasn't dumb!"
Leadlight walks out of the portal into the room. Judging from the blood on her back, she may have been wounded.
>>531129 They both follow you. "Are you hurt!?" "The others are behind me. Shadow Play is dead. I was wounded, but the kind paladin healed me. I am fine now." Ardent and another crystal mare wearing similar armor to his push through the portal as well. They seem to have three prisoners with them, two stallions and an unconscious mare wearing the magpie armor.
>>531130 They pause to look at you. "Which search?" They seem oblivious to what you're talking about. It probably wasn't smart to ask this in front of all the others.
>>531131 She nods and shoves the prisoners through the portal, then goes through herself.
>>531132 You follow her through the portal. "Then send them, paladin. Just know this: A hive of changelings has invaded the island of Sunstone and are now threatening the entire west coast of Equestria and the Crystal empire. The crystal paladins have a lot to worry about at this time."
>>531135 "We have our connections. Before soon this news will become known to everypony in Equestria and the Crystal empire. Let us hope it does not incite too much panic. You would no doubt know about this already if it wasn't for the fact that paladins have been avoiding this city like the plague."
Shimmermist and some other thieves arrive through another portal. Leadlight walks over to talk to them in private.
>>531136 "Not on our side, no. The other side had a few deaths."
Shimmermist and some other thieves arrive through another portal. Leadlight walks over to talk to them in private.
>>531137 Back in the vault. You might want to ask Leadlight for permission if you're planning on taking them for yourself. They're not part of the evidence you're supposed to take.
>>531138 They look at each other again and shrug. "Whatever you say, stranger."
>>531145 "I don't know. I thought I talked to them yesterday, but it seems I was wrong. Normally I remember everything so well." I shake my head. "I must have had a worse night than I thought. All those nightmares…."
>>531147 "I talked with a noble called Prim Rose. He is an advocate of our cause. Combined with the help of our… rogue friends, as soon as we take the evidence of Redwood's corruption to the capital, his swift downfall will be assured. Once that happens, Mister Prim volunteered to govern the city of Brilliance until order is restored and a proper vote can be held."
>>531150 "I'm sure he found the burden of governing atrocious, but it's not up to him to decide. The emperor will nominate a stand in for the current mayor as soon as the capture order is carried out."
>>531148 "Nightmares huh? Y'know, there's a lot of magical energies pumping through these towers, it's really not uncommon for newcomers who are not used to it to have magically induced nightmares as a result."
>>531149 "- is dead and gone. Some of you will be assigned for cleanup duty. The longer Redwood and Obsidian stay ignorant, the better for us." "Gotcha." "Amen to that. What are we going to do once they do find out?" "We will discuss that later." The group breaks up and Shimmermist and Leadlight return to the party. Snowberry is keeping a close eye on the captured thieves for now.
>>531157 "Miss Sonnet, you misunderstood me. I did not say I have the power to appoint anypony to the position. I merely said that when it comes to picking the right person, I will surely mention the name of Prim Rose, keeping in mind his efforts against the corruption."
>>531169 "You." Turn to the mare barganing with Ardent. "We require a vessel to safely store the proofs. One of those bags will do us. I believe that is part of the deal, covering the safe handling of the evidence."
>>531174 >>531180 She considers this for a moment, then shakes her head. "It is not part of the deal at all. These bags are too valuable to hand out for free. I do not ask for much, just a hundred gold pieces." People with wealth 4 can afford this. As of the recent sale of silver weaponry, the entire party is able to afford this, although it is still quite expensive.
>>531179 They are likely back in the hotel on their own, they should be just fine.
>>531182 "Did you give them some money to be your friends? That's what you rich people do right?"
>>531183 Leadlight nods. "The island of Sunstone was overrun by a hive a few days ago. Some made it out in time, but plenty didn't. I know for a fact Stormcloud is currently in Crystalport. She is no doubt enraged by what happened."
>>531184 She stares you down for a moment, then looks around her, at the other thieves and the state of the hideout. "My ponies need me here. Things must be put back into order. I cannot leave."
You caught Leadlight's attention as well with that. "You are taking Nova and Night Spark away from here?"
>>531187 "Do not belittle me, paladin. The price I am asking you for one of the bags is extremely low. I am being very generous here and would prefer you not to insult me for it."
>>531188 You'll probably need a cart to pull it. Cassie has one, but it's filled with her own stuff already. "Let us hope the paladins can deal with the threat. If not, the ponies of the west coast will not be safe."
>>531200 "They have helped us tremendously. We will not arrest them. In fact, we will try to get them amnesty, so they can be free of fear about it. They have been a very important asset in the undertaking that is removing the corrupt Mayor Redwood."
>>531197 No, anyone in the party has enough money to afford it, but it's still quite the strain. Pooling your money together as a party would make it much lighter. "There are stores around the city which sell them. I would advice a carpenter."
>>531198 "I don't think you're outstaying your welcome, babe. But you might want to talk with Golden Flux about it."
>>531199 Leadlight approaches the two kids and lowers her head to whisper something to them. The three of them share a brief hug.
>>531228 "The kids are. And since you are so gallantly insisting-" Turn to Gallant. "No pun intended." Back to Angelite. "On bringing them to the capital, and on coming with us of all things, if troubles that need our attention arise, you will stay with them until us or Ardent or Gallant give you the all clear. This is not negotiable. Not if you want to bring those kids along."
You're still in the thief hideout. The party has purchased a bag of holding for a fair sum of money. The promised evidence has been brought to you in bags from the vault. They mostly contain stolen items and written evidence such as bills of sale and correspondence from and to Mayor Redwood and Obsidian Flow. The way out back into the city is clear, all that you need to do is step through the portal again. Leadlight is working on organizing her underlings in her new role as leader. Knight Snowberry seems a little displeased and looks like she wants to get out of here. Shimmermist is flabbergasted.
>>534631 >>534640 Sorry, one final note I forgot to mention: Herald has disappeared. He's nowhere you can see. He might actually be hiding in this area though.
>>534635 "No offense sweetheart, but the ponies you roll with aren't exactly my kind of crowd." She looks at Gallant, Sonnet and Ardent in particular. "They're the kind of ponies that have a tendency to try and hurt me, you know?"
>>534638 They're both crystal ponies like you. It's hard to exactly guess their age, but the filly seems to be a bit older than the colt. They're old enough to have cutie marks anyway, so you guess they must be around 12 years old. Their looks are quite the contrast to Angelite, whereas the latter looks very prim and proper, these kids look more rowdy.
>>534637 You leave the Western tower, going through the main tower to reach the Eastern tower. You're back on the mage arena floor. Go up?
>>534646 He's a sneaky rogue. You really can't tell whether he's here or not, there's so many places to hide. For all you know he might have left through the portal already.
>>534648 "Well… if you're serious about that, then that's one less paladin to worry about."
>>534649 She smirks. "You've seen my best behavior already, but I can be really naughty sometimes as well."
>>534651 The colt cocks his head along with you while the filly scrunches and steps up. "You better not be planning on causing any trouble for us mister!"
>>534655 It is. There are three libraries on three separate floors in the main tower. The one you went to during your dream was the middle one, the one you just passed through to get from West to East. You can't spot any open magical portals at first glance but… who knows? Maybe it's hidden.
>>534672 She sticks her tongue out at you as you leave.
>>534674 She chews on her lip in contemplation, but eventually just nods. "Alright sweet cheeks, I'm in. As a trial, mind you. Just… don't expect me some kind of knight in shining armor helping everyone I come across out of the goodness of my heart."
>>534676 She huffs in annoyance and sits back down next to Angelite.
>>534679 "Of course. However, should you help everypony you can help out of my heart, so to speak, you will come to realize there is no single greater feeling than that of making the life of somepony else better." Motion at the children. "I believe their smiles speak for themselves."
>>534681 You're back in the bathroom of that bar. Heading out to where the patrons are enjoying their drinks, you try to locate Herald, but to no avail. Looking outside, you see it's coming up to midday.
>>534683 He's observing you warily but not saying anything. He seems to be the more reserved and careful one of the two.
>>534684 "Whatever you say, honeybuns." She pulls her hood over her head. "I'm ready whenever you so desire to remove your noble flank from here."
>>534685 You look at the book covers and try to find any recognizable ones. It doesn't take you long to spot a row of books you recognize from your dream, their colors still firmly implanted in your mind. The portal was right next to it!
>>534700 Indeed. You head to the mage arena and take the stairs up. The door at the end is locked, the sign above it reads 'Enchantry' in fancy golden letters. Knock? Eavesdrop? Peek through the keyhole?
>>534701 He startles as you pick him up and put him on your back, but calms down as he sees you mean no harm. Snowberry follows in silence.
>>534702 You take the lead and step out of this dimension by stepping through the portal. You're back in the bar now, the real world. Looks like it's close to midday outside.
>>534704 You already found two! >'You eventually spot two of them talking to each other in uniform on the corner of the street though.'
>>534726 They look at each other, then back at you. "What did she look like? When was this? And where exactly?" "Was she a foreigner?" "Hey now, don't start jumping to conclusions." "What? I didn't mean anything by it!" "Just watch your tongue, alright?"
>>534731 Your pone eye sees nothing there's a key blocking the view through the keyhole.
>>534733 >>534729 >>534734 You leave for the inner city, the richest part of town where the hotel you're staying at is in. And Cassie and Edelweiss. Shimmermist chuckles. "Oh boy, my favoritest place in the whole wide world. This is where we met, Angy. Remember how romantic it was~"
>>534740 "Whoa whoa, easy there boy. I'm not trying to stir any shit here."
Snowberry clears her throat and directs your attention towards her. "Brother Ardent, I haven't been filled in on what's been happening, but I've filled in the blank holes mostly by myself. I personally suggest we bring this 'evidence' to authorities outside of this city, like the capital."
>>534741 The muffled voices lower their volume as you hear hoofsteps approaching the door. The key turns as the it is unlocked and swung open by Olivine Flux, the mare that lead you around for a while yesterday. You remember her being one of Golden's cousins… or something. "Oh, it's you. What's the matter?"
>>534742 "What kind of clothing was she wearing?" You can definitely see they are not surprised at all by this report. In fact, they're pretending to be more taken aback than they probably actually are. There's no doubt that these kind of reports are common.
>>534744 "Yeah Ardent!" She smirks. "Don't you trust her?"
>>534766 Nova steps in and bites down on her tail, tugging at it. "You heard her! Back off!" "Stop chewing on my tail!" "I'm not not chewing on it!" Shimmermist just reaches down and flicks her nose, causing the filly to let loose.
>>534771 "No, don't worry about it. Come in, the enchantry is normally open to public anyway." She steps aside. "We just finished a little family meeting."
>>534776 "I'm glad we're in agreement. I'm not entirely sure whether I should let you handle it on your own or not. Think you can do it without backup?"
>>534777 "Odd. We'll look into it, sir, don't you worry. Brilliance is one of the safest cities in the realm and we are here to keep it that way."
>>534781 "Play nice now, fillies. Neither of you would want to embarass me, now would you? That would hurt my feelings terribly." Pout. Then smile. "Now, we shall find two of my friends, then we can head to the shops." Cassie and Edelweiss, find them!
>>534783 You can gather they're not entirely sincere about their promises and reassurances. You're no mind reader or lie detector though.
"Move along then, citizen. Thank you for your cooperation."
>>534785 She nods. "But bear in mind there are other matters I need to attend to as well. I will trust your judgement if you say you require my further support though."
>>534786 Nova sticks her tongue out at a frowning Shimmermist. "She started it!" Well, the first place you ought to look is the hotel. You think you also remember Cassie saying something about finding a forge to do some work in.
>>534787 You see Spinel Flux, the arcane smith who opened up the door for you yesterday when you arrived. Aside from that, there's two other ponies you haven't met. Both of them are younger stallions. Seems like all the Flux family members are fairly young so far! Golden Flux, the owner of the towers smiles as you enter. "Ah, Silk. How are you? Haven't seen you since we parted ways yesterday. I guess your night was much more comfortable than you expected when you were still trudging around in that blizzard yesterday?"
>>534798 Let's hope she is still there for the moment. Off to the Hotel, I should remember which one was her room. "Be nice, unless you want to forfeit your rights to getting some ice-cream after we have bought the clothes."
>>534801 You spot him further ahead, he's inconspicuously talking to a crystal mare on the street.
>>534803 "Ice-cream!? Can we get chocolate sprinkles on top of it too? It's been so long!"
"Uh… If I forfeit the ice-cream, can I get a special reward later? Maybe a back massage?" You arrive back at the fancy hotel and head upstairs to the floor where you rented the rooms on. You knock on Cassie's door, but don't get an answer.
>>534805 "Nightmares? Oh dear. Vivid ones? It's really not that uncommon for newcomers to have them. These towers have a large magical presence that can affect even the dreams of those not used to it."
>>534818 She must have gone to that smithy… Let's knock on the door of Edelweiss then. "Yes, you can get chocolate sprinkles on top. No, Miss Shimmermist, as you have surely heard the saying, this deal is a 'take it or leave it' type."
>>534825 speak softly. "I just want your help finding the clean cops from the dirty ones so I can turn over the evidence. There is a changeling issue to deal with, so I can't stay in town too long you know."
>>534826 "I know there is, I was just talking about it with one of my friends. And hey, don't you think it's better to just bring this stuff you found higher up the chain of command? Better to not turn it in this city. Where are your friends anyway?"
>>534827 Edelweiss opens up, rubbing an eye with a hoof. "Hello? Oh! It's you! Sorry, I was distracted reading and didn't hear you knock."
>>534831 "No, not at all. Same thing happens at the mage academy in the capital to a lot of new students there. It's not abnormal, don't worry."
>>534848 Blink as if he said something completely foreign. "You don't think that this should be dealt with right away? Am I the only one who feels this is urgent?" Sigh. "I mean, the capital is a better place its true, less corrupt."
>>534853 "Oh… alright then!" She looks back into her room. There's a pile of books on her bed. She must have borrowed them from somewhere. You recognize most of them being about law and economics. "Although… I still have a lot I'd like to read as well."
>>534854 "I'm saying it's too risky to deal with it in this city on our own. Even if we have evidence, who are we going to bring it to? The mayor who is in Obsidian's pocket? The guards who are in his pocket? Nobles who are in his pocket? It's too risky to trust anyone here, even if not all of them are bad."
>>534856 Olivine frowns at this. "You dreamt of a wisp? They're bad enough in the real world, I feel bad for you."
"A purple gateway you say? Where exactly and in which library?"
>>534880 "Tiny? Oh no, the opposite really. They can be quite large! Have you ever heard about bags of holding? Despite the physical bag itself being really tiny, the amount of space inside it can be really huge." You know of bags of holding. They're really expensive and not easy to find because of this. You know your dad had one though. You reckon he used it to store valuables, but he never actually confirmed this. "Anyway, these bags are similar to the kind of portal you saw in that dream. Have you ever seen such a portal before aside from in your dream?"
>>535842 He laughs at your remark. "No no, of course not… only the Crystal Heart has such powers. I just believe that your experience was caused by a reaction from your body to the intense magical presence here. If you do happen to feel sick, simply ask Morning Prayer for help. He will help you with whatever ails you."
>>535843 I humm a bit before giggling a bit. "Crystal Heart? Is that some kind… of crystal that you know is in the shape of a heart? I mean because if it…. the one's who named that thing are pretty creative individuals."
>>535844 You notice several of the ponies who were here before have taken their leave to start the day. "Just keep calm and carry on. Everything is under contro-" An extremely loud explosion rocks the building slightly, startling you both.
Olivine rolls her eyes and lets out a very frustrated sigh. "Voltage."
>>535845 Silk Orchid is nowhere near the party right now. She's not been added to the party yet.
>>535856 You don't hear a response from him as you leave as well. Following Olivine, she retreats to the main tower and heads down. All the way down to the second floor! It's the room with all the big cauldrons in it which you passed by yesterday. Voltage is leaning into one of the cauldrons, her head is fully inside of it. You notice her blue tail is looking more messy than before. It's also a bit singed. The smell of burned hair hangs in the air.
>>535857 Judging by the speed of which he grabs one of them and starts devouring it, you reckon he does want some corn!
>>535854 She has a somewhat purplish mane with light blue coat, her crimson cloak and hat may not be that of high quality but it is quite heavy and rugged. She looks like a traveller and and outsdoor-pony but this notion all ends when one see her talent that she has demonstrated just right now: magic.
The way she stares is a bit piercing and her brows somehow furrows when she stares back at you but lightens up upon seeing the colt that you are taking care off.
>>535855 >>535857 I look at Ardent and think for a moment before offering the corn that I produced. "Hmmm… does he want some of these?" I give a warm smile
>>535858 Chuckle and give him a little pat on the back as I accept some of the corn offered. >>535860 Think for a moment, then waggle my hoof in a "so-so' gesture. Showing her my sign language book so she understands what I'm saying, I sign, adopted today.
>>535862 "I… oh… I see." I give an awkward smile. "So… how do we do this, I mean you are not deaf or anything you can hear me so thats a plus." I think for a moment. "You adopted him? Why? What happened to his parents?" I look at the colt.
>>535858 Hmmm grab from my hat and lets produce corm for both me and for him. '1d10+2'
>>535861 You hear a thump as she perks up inside the cauldron and bangs her head. "Ow…" She cringes and carefully removes herself from the cauldron. Her mane is a total mess as well and is just as signed as her coat and tail. "Hehe, you again. Did you hear that sweet ass explosion?"
"VOLTAGE!" Olivine stomps over to her. "How many times do we need to tell you to follow safety protocols!?" "Uh… one more time?" She replies sheepishly. "Is it so much to ask to be at least a little bit considerate!? Imagine what our guest must be thinking!" "She's probably wondering what caused it!" Voltage turns to you. "And I'll answer that question right now. I was prooftesting new materials for their electric conductivity!" Olivine smacks her face with a hoof. "Just what did you test right there?" "Just a new magic alloy that Spinel created. Pretty good stuff." Olivine scowls and looks at you. "Don't you just want to strangle her? Or is that just me? It can't be just me right?"
>>535863 You're not sure if you have a corn farm hidden in that hat somewhere, but judging by the amount of it you pull out you begin to see it as a plausible theory. There's a pile of corn in the hallway now. Nova 'sneakily' takes one of them and hides behind Angelite as she eats it. Night Spark is still eating the previous one with much gusto.
>>535865 "She doesn't have to do that inside one of the cauldrons! Metal doesn't belong in there! That's completely against regulations!" "It's actually a good way to contain the explosions. Look at the room! No damage! I was standing a little too close, but I'm not hurt either!"
>>535866 As he points to Angelite, my eyes widen. "Adopt? Why would both of you adopt foals? I mean we are travelling. Isnt that dangerous to these younglings?" "And… uhurmm a bit late but I must say congratulation for dating her." I shake his hoof.
"As for the corn, well I have a knack of getting things from my hat." I smile as I grab a corn and began to eat.
>>535868 Olivine nods sternly. "I fully agree! I ought to have you suspended for this reckless behavior!" Voltage just rolls her eyes and turns around again, flicking her tail into Olivine's face. "Whatever nerd, go cry to the first enchanter about it or something. I've got stuff to test." Olivine swats the tail out of the way angrily, her face turning red in frustration. "How dare you say such things in such a tone!?" This might get out of hand soon…
>>535872 "I may be, but she's certainly not! The lowly peasant she is!" Voltage freezes and slowly turns around with an annoyed scowl. "… Excuse me, bitch? What did you just call me?" "You heard me! You are the most unmannered pig I have ever had the displeasure of meeting!"
>>535870 >>535873 "Oh come on." I nudge his elbow. "Just look at her, if you are getting idea's, its alright to act on it you know what I mean?" I smile. "Well unless it is something she would oppose then perhaps dont act on it but if it is something that will both make you and her happy then why hold back? I mean you already took the time to take care of her orphan… foals or something."
>>535876 >>535877 "Interest increases the more you show interest to her, its like investing something but as for pony to pony relationship or sometimes to insterspicies it is with love." I show a heart sign on my chest. "Well I've had a lot of male from different species investing love to me, well some even forcibly but it is something that a true man has to ask a lady himself. You got to ask her to know if she loves you back." I tilt my head. "Have you asked her?"
>>535883 She glances at you for a split second, then goes back to staring down Olivine. Eventually she backs off, muttering something under her breath as she leaves the room and heads upstairs. Olivine watches her go in silence.
>>535882 I lounge a bit and eat some corn "It really depends on the lady, some girls want their man to be more upfront and fast while others like them to be subtle and are excited if they get stalked which is super creepy." I giggle.
"Anyway dont listen to that last one, if you are asking my advice, the way I observe Angelite is that Angelite is a mare that likes to be talked straight, invite her to something like a tea and ask her. Angelite is also not that extravagant even though she is old money so I think stallions like you may caught her atttention."
>>535886 Pause for a moment. Really think she might like me? Shake my head after a moment. Right, talk straight to her. I… can try. Gesture at my throat wryly. As for helping… I not know what I doing. New to this. Never… done this before. Need advice.
Main party Knight-Sister Snowberry wishes to speak to you. She seems ever so anxious the more time passes by.
Silk Orchid Olivine and Voltage have left you, you are now all alone in the distillery. There are parts of the towers which you have not explored yet and the bounty hunters remain at large. It's hard to say just how close they are to catching their quarry, but you haven't seen Spring Green so far today.
>>540508 Silly pony. They approached you when they first arrived because you were a newcomer and not one of the mages, meaning you could not be their quarry. They didn't actually tell any of the actual mages they're looking for one of them. So when you announced this at the breakfast table, they of course denied it to keep their cover as travelers taking shelter.
>>540513 You are 'alone' with the party, at least.
>>540509 >>540510 "We need to leave this city. I for one refuse to stay here any longer, we are not safe here." She speaks with the tone of an experienced soldier, her eyes hard and unyielding.
>>540519 >>540520 It dawns on you that one of your new companions is wearing that same outfit the band of thieves wear. Looks like one of them decided to tag along. On the bright side, the two foals seem enraptured by your display of magic, especially Nova.
>>540530 Nod in agreement. If your gut says you're not safe, then you're not safe. If she thinks we're in danger, then we need to go. After stopping to get the kids some ice cream along the way, of course.
>>540531 You reach inside your hat and pull out two animal shaped balloons filled with helium. You give a dolphin shaped and a tiger shaped balloon to Nova and Night Spark respectively, much to their glee.
>>540533 "I don't want to be taking any chances. The road to the capital is still a long one and not without its risks. The sooner we leave this place, the better."
>>540538 "I am a capable warrior, sir. But I will not stand idly around this city while this… Obsidian Flow is at large."
>>540541 You were. Heading back to the Enchantry, you find that the door to the next level is locked though. Golden Flux is here as well and notices your actions. "I'm sorry, but for your own safety you can't go up there. Too dangerous for outsiders."
>>540547 "The more advanced kind of magical equipment and experiments. Not all of them are dangerous, but we just can't risk upsetting them somehow and losing a lot of our progress. Sorry I can't indulge your curiosity any further than that, miss."
>>540548 >>540550 >>540553 Snowberry glances at the kids as well, her expression softening slightly. "… Yes, of course. But make haste."
>>540566 Nod nervously, then take a few deep, steadying breaths before approaching Angelite. >>540559 Approach with my sign book looking nervous. Why don't you and I take the kids to get ice cream while the others pack up?
>>540572 "Nothing much, I just like to have small talks you know, trying to catch up with everyone. I mean I was just looking away for a moment and then boom, Angelite has adopted foals out of nowhere. I mean wow." I smiled.
"Say how about you, what do you think of these band of thieves?"
>>540578 "They helped us do the right thing, and showed they still have light in their souls. In the end that is what matters. And the ones that follow us now wish for a better life than they were hoofed, I can't fault them for that." Look off to the sky as if expecting something to fly down. "After all.. there are more serious, darker things about.. I don't need to waste time worrying about a little lost gold" Smile at you.
>>540569 His expression changes immediately to one of joy. "Okay!"
>>540574 "I don't know… not that I don't trust you, but… that stuff is kind of part of our secret magic research projects." Roll for diplomacy. >>540575 >>540579 Do you want to skip this? You have enough wealth to buy them some warm clothes and ice-cream.
The party gets some extra warm clothing and indulges on some ice-cream, because what better weather for ice-cream than while it's cold and windy outside the bubble? You find back Cassie working in one of the forges to scrape together some savings and add her back to your growing collection of NPC followers. The children are happy to use her cart as a form of transport, much to the displeasure of Cassie. Snowberry takes the rear of this small convoy, keeping an eye on your non-bodily flanks. Shimmermist and Herald are walking side by side, engaged in quiet conversation while Edelweiss walks next to Cassie's cart, seemingly scrutinizing the kids on top.
You set out, leaving the inner city behind and soon reaching the edge of the magical bubble protecting it. No guards stopping you this time… you wonder if the presence of Shimmermist has something to do with that.
>>540594 He seems mildly surprised by your implications, but still shakes his head. "Sorry, but I'm a stallion of science. I can't let you in there in good conscience."
>>540615 They're not actually saying anything! Just enjoying their ice-cream in their comfy new clothes in silence.
>>540618 Maybe… though from the looks of it you are safe right now.
>>540622 The guards at the guardpost near the edge of the bubble are certainly watching your convoy closely.
But they let you pass anyway. Looks like Shimmermist's outfit makes them care much less about you.
>>540624 You pass by the guard post and move through the bubble back to the cold and snowy 'outside' world of the crystal empire. It's past midday and the sun is shining outside, making the temperature very bearable. Spring is rolling in… things will get warmer and warmer soon enough. The trees, ground and mountains all around you are still covered in a thick layer of snow though. The road is cleared however.
As you bring your trumpet to your lips, you realize you've made a mistake. The cold makes them stick to the instrument as if it were glued. The trumpet is completely stuck to your mouth.
>>540619 "Don't be sad, I'm sure you'll see our Flux Capacitor some day when we're done developing it." He smiles cheekily.
>>540658 "I do not wish to outstay my welcome. I admit I stayed a bit longer than I planned to. I was entranced by the wonders of this place. If you'd permit me, I'd like to stay until tomorrow morning."
>>540659 Your traveling alongside the party, having just left the magical bubble surrounding the city for the outside. The sun is shining and it's not too cold outside.
>>540663 She's pulling the cart, seemingly somewhat displeased. But then again, that mare seems grumpy all the time.
>>540664 "Hmm. Very well, I'll allow you-" "GOLDEN!" Olivine runs inside the Enchantry, looking very alarmed. "Somepony- No somegryphon was murdered! The gryphon that arrived here is dead! Someone killed him!" "What!? Where? When!?" "In the dining room! Come!" She runs off, Golden grabbing something from his desk before following suit.
>>540665 She shakes her head and chirps back. "Nnnnnope."
>>540681 The three of you speed down the tunnels between the towers and arrive at the dining room. A lot of people are crowded around something here. Most of the tower's inhabitants are here! Not all of them though, several are missing. Golden pushes through the crowd and you follow, encountering the object of interest in the middle of it all. The gryphon bounty hunter, lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood. Eyes wide open. "By the Goddess…"
>>540685 >>540683 >>540686 >>540694 You will walk for the remainder of the day and then camp out during the night. The capital is a few days away on foot. Everyone roll a d10 for luck.
>>540708 >Hands Voltage is here and speaks up. "I went to the kitchen to grab a snack and found this mess instead! No one else was around!" One of the priest ponies is knelt down besides the body, praying silently. Golden shakes his head slowly and runs off again.
>>540746 Edelweiss yawns, pouring over a book again. "Yeah… So many books to read and so little time… can't walk and read either. Unless I ride the cart." Cassie glowers at her.
>>540752 Cassie mutters under her breath. "Thank Celestia for that…" Herald clears his throat. "Speaking of Celestia… I overheard she's coming on a royal visit to the capital very soon."
>>540747 Everyone starts mumbling to each other. "Whoever did it must still be around…" "The murderer could have escaped by now for all we know!" "Where's his friend anyway? The pegasus?" "This is going to attract the wrong type of attention to the jade towers…"
>>543551 "We would have also had to deal with the corrupt guards and most of the citizens. Even if we had enough chains and cells. Arresting the whole city with just us two is not possible. " shake my head with frustration.
>>543561 "Perhaps we should be grateful that she desires to do the right thing. It proves that there is light shining in even the hearts of the privileged. " "We should take it on ourselves to further guide her, yes?"
>>543569 "I wanted to defend my family, everyone's family really. To stop those with only darkness in their hearts." "..my dad didn't want me too go, but he wouldn't say it either. He knows how important it is too me."
>>543594 Give you a strong look. "I believed we can make a difference. That the world is full of good things as well. That the light shines on everyone, they only need let it in and follow the righteous path." " I believe that. We above all. Must not stop trying. " add with a smitk "Even if it means a little paperwork"