You fly to the direction you were told you could find this strange library.
With the sun slowly setting and a cold fog rolling around, it is rather hard however.
You do see the vague outline of some building in the distance…
Just ignore the thought that spies are watching me.
Go toward that building.
If they were, you wouldn't be able to do much about it.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUu08B0dWLU
As you get closer, the fog gets thicker, and only when you are about 200 meters away from the building do you start to notice how large it is, at least five stories of robust yet elegant stone with tall windows!
It is completely dark as it is shrouded in the mist, and the only light is not coming from that building, but a side one, which happens to be a tower, even taller than the already imposing library structure.
The sole light in the dark and fog is coming from the very top of it.
Well, I guess he's over there.
'1d10' fly up to the window with the light.Roll #1 4 = 4
The top of the tower has a balcony you can land on! The door is closed though, and can only be opened from the inside.
You could always try knocking.
Or just use a dagger to break in, whichever you think is the wisest here.
Supposedly he's expecting me, just knock.
A few seconds pass, then you hear hoofsteps.
A scrawny earth pony with a very pale coat and disheveled mane and tail opens the door, his eyes twitching slightly.
"Yes, yes, hello? Can I help? Why are you here?"
"Hello. Are you the one who sent me the dream last night?"
"Oh… Oh, you must be… Kelani Rush, yes, Kelani Rush. You do seem a lot nicer like… this. Not like the last time I saw you."
He closes his eyes and you see him shiver.
"Perphaps you want to come inside, yes? It is going to get cold outside."
"Ah, we've met before then? I'm sorry I don't recall it. And thank you, I would like to step out of this fog."
"Oh, you can sleep here yes, yes, there is a lot of room, guest beds too."
He shakes his head, closing the door behind you.
…his room is a mess. Just books and scrolls everywhere.
"You didn't meet me, I met you, and I didn't meet you in person, you were just present at the time of a great emotional surge. I feel those as if I am there."
He points at his cutie mark on his flank. It looks rather weird, as if the silhouette of two pony muzzles merged into each other to form a third.
"I could show you what I saw then, but you probably would not like the feeling of being burnt alive. I know I did not…"
His ears twitch.
Opt to stay hoovering so I don't step on his scrolls. "…Are you saying you were burnt alive?"
He shakes his head again.
"No, no… I just… I was in the body, mind and soul of a pony who was, and felt it all."
"I was in your body, mind and soul too. And I must say, I have to thank you."
Suddenly my eyes go wide.
"Wait. Are saying you saw the fire with the the phoenix statue
"Saw it… and felt it. I sort of saw everything from the point of view of that poor stallion…"
I start trembling, and looking at the books and scrolls surrounding every inch of the room, imagining how easily they could light up from a fallen candle..
He notices your distress and takes a step closer, putting a hoof on your forehead.
Just like the dream from last night, you are not in the present but in the past…
This time you quickly notice it is your own body! He makes you relieve the memory of when you first met Mother Nature!
That certainly calms your nerves…
That guy's going to make me blush.
"Oh. Thanks for that. So.. If you knew that.. you already know what I wanted to ask."
He blinks a few times.
"I have got not a single clue I am afraid."
He seems genuinely confused.
"Uh, right. Well.. I suppose I'll get to the point. I want to trade something for information about how to awaken some statues I have."
"Trade what? I have no need for anything. I can supply the information if you know the right questions to ask, however."
I tilt my head at his immediate declination "…You don't deal with a lot of ponies do you?"
"Wow, that is-"
He closes his eyes and lowers his head, raising a hindleg slightly.
You see his ears twitch, like someone was patting his mane, and he giggles in a very pleased manner. Then without breaking stride, continues.
"-sorry, that is very rude! I may not talk to many ponies in person, but I know more about the joys and miseries of life more than you could imagine!"
"Hey, I didn't mean to upset you. Just that.. I haven't met a pony who wasn't out for their own interest in a while."
"Tell you what, I'll let you see what I mean before you decide you don't want it?"
Slowly pull out the old book, carefully holding it like it might break.
"I just want to help other ponies… that is what being a pony truly should be about, isn't it? It is sad that so many others forget it."
His eyes light up at the sight.
"Is… is that real?"
Nod in confirmation "Very real. Directly from the temple in my hometown."
"I was told it was something that might interest you."
"It does, very much so yes!"
He takes a few tentative steps closer.
Land with a smile, letting him touch the book.
"Inspect it? Sure. You look like you're gentle with your reading material."
He carefully takes it and walks with it to a nearby pedestal, putting it down and opening it with as much care as a mother would show to her babe.
"This… yes… thank you… this is beautiful! I will read, catalog and add it to the Library first thing in the morning!"
"Then you are willing to help me out with the statues?"
Show him the Rat statue.
"How can I activate them? Do they require sacrifices?"
He looks the statue over.
"…I have heard of these, yes. But I have not had the time for proper research. Perhaps in the morning we can go down to the Library and do so! I prefer to read down there by daylight."
"Sounds better than trying to research during the night."
At least his mood has lightened up, but away the statue again.
"I'd appreciate if you kept whatever we find out a secret.. Nature seems to have enemies out there."
"Of course… this knowledge about your statues will be quite confidential, just between the two of us. I don't really… I don't really want to play any sides, ever. I'm just a librarian."
"Alright. You said there was a spare bed down stairs? I'll crash early so we can get started sooner."
"Oh, yes, yes. There is… well, it is more of a guest cot. I don't often get many visitors, you see…"
"That's fine.. Show me where it is and I'll get settled in for the night?"
"Of course, yes!"
He takes up a lantern and opens the door of this room, leading to the staircaise down.
The two of you arrive at the bottom of the tower where you can see a large door leading to the library, as well as the enterance, and a tidy, tiny little space with a kitchen and a small door you suppose is for a bathroom. The single cot is right next to a wall too, but you don't feel cold here at all.
Once you are down there, he stops suddenly, closing his eyes, letting out a few quiet sobs before opening them and blinking the tears away.
"Oh… oh, excuse me for that."
Pat his back.
"Hey, its been a long day for both of us yea? Lets get some sleep." put my stuff under/beside the cot and testingly put my hooves on it.
He shakes his head.
"Oh, yes. I mean no, I will tell you all about it."
You put your saddlebags down and test it a bit.
Not as comfy as a bed or a cloud, but better than the floor!
I've slept in worse places. Curl up in the cot and look at him curiously.
"Right now? Well, go on then."
He chuckles nervously.
"Oh, heavens no, it's a longer story than that! I will, tomorrow! Just… sleep well now!"
He takes his lantern and walks back up top.
…it's pretty dark in here now, since he forgot to leave you even with a candle.
Dark is okay. Easier to sleep right?
'1d10' rolling for sweet dreamsRoll #1 3 = 3
You sleep easy allright, but you have some… very, very strange dreams, an amalgamate of feelings, emotions and even… ponies? It's far too blurry for you to remember it sharply right after waking up, too.
Which you do after the stallion prods your side with a hoof.
"Hello? Good morning?"
Groan and roll over to look at him. "Oh. Hi. You got some.. coffee or tea?"
"Uh… I should have some coffee, yes."
He walks over to the kitchen area with the lantern, rummaging around.
"… so, you said tea was fine?"
"It will do, long as its strong."
Stretch and let him look around.
"Oh, well… I hope this will do!"
You hear him put a kettle on, preparing a mug and a small dip holder for the tea leaves.
"I am afraid I cannot provide you with breakfast, however. A delivery pony should be here with my meal only around noon."
"Don't worry about it. Just need something before we hit the books." I smooth out my mane a bit, just in case the delivery pony is a mare.
"So, what was it you wanted to talk about last night?"
You smoothen out your mane and make sure your feathers aren't messy just in case.
Soon enough he walks up to you with the cup in his muzzle, putting it down beside your cot.
"Oh, yes. If we are going to be around each other for a while, you must know that I… well, sometimes I might behave in a weird manner I cannot control."
"In what way is it weird?"
Sip on the tea and wait for him to go on.
"As in… I sometimes see and feel the emotions of other ponies and such… and sometimes it is so overwhelming that I cry or laugh or whatever happens to them, since it can be very intense!"
"And this.. happens to you all the time?"
"Yes, it is my… gift, or burden, from my cutie mark. Unfortunately, I cannot control it."
"I will keep tissues on hoof then."
Finish up the tea with a smile. "Shall we get started researching?"
He blushes at that statement of yours.
"Oh, yes, indeed. This way please."
He walks with the lantern to the large door, which opens up to a corridor.
At the other end of the corridor he extuingishes the lantern and puts it down.
You can see why when he opens the door.
You didn't even know the sun was up, but the ceiling high windows of this MASSIVE library let a lot of light in.
You don't think you have seen this many books in your entire life, shelves upon shelves as far as the eye can see!
"Whoa. I can see what you mean about this taking a while.. where do we even start?"
"History and nature… This way!"
He seems excited by the look on your face!
He canters over to one of the many large shelves.
"Hmm… you are a pegasus, so it would be easier to use you than a ladder! See if you can find a book called The Magical Bounties of Nature
! It has a green cover!"
"Magical Bounties of Nature, green cover. Got it." I reply and fly up to look.
'1d10'Roll #1 4 = 4
You find a book called Supernaturals
at first, but after a good more dozen minutes of looking, you spot it!
Looks quite grand and heavy!
Good thing I'm strong. Take the book down to him.
"This one? Also is there a table we are using for this?"
He motions you to a nearby reading table.
"Oh yes, definitely! Bring it over here!"
Set the book on the table without much worry.
"Maybe this will give a hint to further ones…"
He flips it open and starts breezing through the pages.
"Let's see… hmm, maybe the Tools of the Divine
book! Two rows down, a pristine white cover!"
"Tools of the Divine.." I repeat back and hoover the shelves. This reminds me of school, fetching books for that cute unicorn mare while she was studying.. history I think.
'1d10'Roll #1 2 = 2
Nostalgia makes you skim over a lot of books, and when you return to them again after 20 or so minutes, it seems like it was right there, you just missed it because of all the memories and not looking instead!
There it is though!
She was a very distracting pony, only makes sense.
Bring Tools of the Divine to the table.
"The one I was reading did point something interesting out… could you get Modern Discoveries of Ancient History
? I think I am onto something!"
"Modern Discoveries of Ancient History." I repeat it back to him and go look. Fetching is easier than reading myself, so I don't mind much. '1d10'Roll #1 4 = 4
This one is quite easy to find too!
It's right there, and it even has that fresh book smell!
Next to the others it goes.
"Okay, what's next?" I ask almost smugly.
He looks up excitedly.
How can he read this
"Oh, I already found a lot! Give that to me quick!"
Pass it straight into his hooves and hoover over his shoulder curiously.
He opens it and flips to the relevant pages, reading them up quickly.
"I see… so you say these statues can activate? From what I gather, all their activation has to do with the animal or creature they represent! Only a true follower of nature can activate them, and they imbue the powers of said animal to the one who 'awakened' them! From some more studying, I found that if they are amassed, they can create miracles, but are usually spread out again over the world afterwards, returning to their sleep again."
"Yes. We need them to create a miracle, but they have to be activated to do it." I add excitedly.
"I have a rabbit and a rat that need to be activated, how would I do that?"
"Hmmm… the examples that it gives are the dog statue activated by tracking something down, while the spider is for laying a trap of sorts…
Maybe the rabbit can be awakened by outrunning something or hiding, and the rat could be for sneaking or being fierce when cornered. The rules are not crystal clear, but doing something related might be good enough!"
"Something related.." I ponder a moment and get a smile on my face.
"Ooh, I get it. Just do something related to. Rabbits."
"Okay, what else is there?"
"Oh… well, whatever works!"
He clears his throat, motioning to the history book.
"I managed to trace down the last time they were used to carry out a miracle. It was to stop a demonic invasion in the Frozen North… it is about half a days of travel from here. I know that there are excavations and scientists there right now, so maybe you could find out more about the miracles there, since the records are not very clear on them."
"…When was that invasion stopped?"
"Anywhere between five and six hundred years ago. The records are not quite clear from that era."
That's the thing that Chell was talking about, Maybe.
"I might have a source actually."
"… a source? From all the way back? How?"
"I'll keep that a secret for now, but maybe I can introduce you two someday. I think you might get along."
"That sounds quite interesting indeed… all that knowledge!
What about any traces of statues you might find there?"
"Huh? Oh. If I can get a lead on a statue I'll go look for it? I need to gather them all for the miracle right?"
"That is what the books claim at least. They did not mention how many of them were there, however."
"I'll worry about that detail.. She'll tell me." I reply with a mysterious grin.
"I will want to know if you want to keep me up to date with it too!"
I tilt my head at him. Wondering if his mind can be read too.
"I could tell you about them as I find them, but then that might make you more of a target to the enemies of Nature.. How about I tell you the whole list when I've found them all?"
"That type of documentation is fine too! I would just love to add it to the archives!"
I nod, suddenly understanding him.
"As long as it doesn't endanger the mission, I don't see a problem."
"Ah, is that all the books suggest about the statues?"
"I am a neutral party…"
He coughs uncomfortably.
"Mirage could ask for my services too, just as the Saddle-Arabian does."
"…" Frown a little in concern.
"Well, perhaps I should get going, with this information I have a lot to do."
"Before you go… he did ask me to show you one thing, but… it is horrible, so I didn't want to… but he was very insitent. It is a memory about… something that you caused. He said he wants you to feel the damage you can cause with your actions."
I make a gesture of dismissal with my wing.
"I know what he wants to show me. He knows it wasn't my fault. That she would have gotten another messenger."
"He also knows that it was blackmail, that is why he did not kill that pony… but I would rather not disobey him. Sorry…"
"Fine. Let's get it over with." I sit down on the floor with a grumpy expression.
"Sorry again… I promise I will send you a nice dream if I can…"
He steps in front of you then puts a forehoof to your head.
First, it is as if you were in a dream, seeing flashes.
A beautiful green mare smiling at you lovingly.
The same mare, sick, on a hospital bed.
A tall, beautiful changeling queen smirking down at you, offering a black hoof for you to kiss.
A lone house looming in the distance in the desert.
Your bloody and shaking hand as you shiver in a damp and dark alley.
A newspaper with the title "Masked Killer Still on the Loose"
That same changeling queen, hoofing you a strange vial.
The same green mare again, now healthy and happy, with a belly suggesting she is pregant as you get on a ship.
You see… yourself, handing the other you an envelope.
You see yourself kissing your children goodnight…
Then you start feeling the unicorn too.
You feel the ground as your hooves clop against the cobblestones, the dock and ports nearby, the smell of the salty sea blowing over with a wind.
You duck into an alley, and pull the changeling mask over your head as you see your destination.
You see the two guards outside, wearing emerald badges. You casually walk up to them.
"What is this clown doing here?"
"Fuck of pal, this is private property."
Instead of a response, you step closer to one of them, unsheathing the dagger of the guard and stab him through the muzzle, your magic doing the same to the mare on the right at the same time.
They both slump over, and your magic carries the rifle the stallion carried, attaching the bayonet of the mare onto it while holding onto the dagger.
You calmly open the door to the inside, hearing heavy machinery being operated somwhere deeper.
Still, what you see first are the three guards.
Your horn glows again, and a sudden pitch black dark surrounds everything, but you can see them perfectly despite the blinding foul magic. You throw the dagger with your hoof into the eye of a guard, launch the gun with the bayonet into the throat of the other, then with speed that defies logic and implies magic you leap at the third, your hoof landing a quick jab on the spine of the third with a sickening crack.
Once the vision is back to normal you pick up the firearm and proceed inside the main hangar.
You recall this being about ammunition, and you can see why.
You count at least a dozen and a half ponies here, working on the machines, assembling bullets in their different stages wearing nothing but cloths to cover their faces. You see ponies above on the catwalks too, while you also see the office at the end of the catwalks on the upper floor.
Your entry is only noticed once you use your magic to float up the giant barrels of gunpowder that they are working with, and you hear the shouting and screaming, but nopony has time to flee or react before you feel your magic pull the trigger on the rifle, engulfing the entire workshop area in flames.
You dive behind the staircase immediately afterwards, running up.
You hear panicked shouting and the office door slamming shut.
Only a guard mare with a hatchet is foolish enough to try and intercept you on the stairs. You dodge her slashes with almost uncanny easy before finding the moment to slam your body against hers, snatching the weapon and slashing her throat.
You throw the body off the railing and proceed to the catwalk, a panicked workpony banging on the door, trying to get inside.
You canter up and pin the pony before he could run, twisting his neck with a snap. You use your magic to hold the body up in front of the door then stand beside it with your rear to the wall, giving the door a powerful, almost unbeliaveble kick to the hinges to buck it in. Immedaitely afterwards you see the gunshot wound, the arrow, the bolt and the scorch of magic on the decoy body you had.
You drop the corpse, and instead float over a box of ammunition and a large amount of glass shards from the workshop below.
You position the glass in front of the bullets, and hear the panicked shouting from inside as they realize what you plan. It comes too late as you spark the box and explode the room with sharpnel.
You calmly walk inside, stepping over the corpses to get to the safe at the end of the room, your magic spinning the combination open.
Once the safe is open, you drop the jewelry, bits and other useless things on the ground, only aiming to retrieve the document inside.
As soon as you do, you get an uncanny premonition, and your instincts tell you to duck.
Not a second after, the shotgun blats from the door litters the wall and safe where your head just was with pellets. You buck into the table, sending it flying to the door to buy yourself time, grabbing the shortsword from one of the corpses as you turn around and leap at him.
Instead of a regular guard, however, you see a pony in a terrifying, black armor that looks like it is made out of carapace, with changeling-like eyes that glow emerald green on the helmet. Without hesitation, you try to stab him, but the sword simply breaks on the impact.
You see the armor click as it reloads the shotgun built to the side like a saddle, and you tackle the pony, making him stagger backwards, throwing off his aim as your magic jams the broken pieces of the blade into the muzzle of the gun.
The victory is short lived, however, as you feel an immense stinging pain in your chest, and you can see a spiked, baton-like bludgeon impaled into your body, blood oozing from the wound.
He turns you around with the momentum, throwing you off the rail, and you fall to the level below with a painful thud.
You quickly drag yourself to your hooves, surronded by mostly busted machinery and pony remains, a hoof reaching for your wound, only to find it is indeed still there, leaking a steady amount of your blood.
The armored pony drops down from the level above in front of you, advancing threateningly, his baton ready to swing…
You focus on your blood instead, and from our own pool, you see shapes slowly forming…
Three changelings made out of your crimson blood stand in front of you, blocking the way of the mercenary, hissing menacingly.
You don't even need to see the face of him to know he is terrified, and you all start advancing on him, the changelings quickly surrounding him.
He keeps backing up, swinging his weapon in vain, as the moment it passes through the blood the changelings just reform, never stopping.
You do see where this ends though.
You make the bloodlings all jump the merc, blinding him and making him flail around. You rush at him and knock him onto one of the still somewhat intact workbenches, the ones that compress the ammunition.
Without giving him time to recover your magic pulls the lever, the huge metal hammer falls down, no amount of armor protecting anypony from that kind of weight and pressure.
You spit out some of your blood onto the crushed corpse before making sure you still have the blueprints as you start wobbling outside.
You wake up in your own body with a gasp.
I stagger backwards still feeling the rush of adrenaline. The change of scenery and the memory of the blood sudden too much.
I hold my chest, and neck, grab the nearest sturdy object to steady myself. And vomit directly onto the floor.
You stagger backwards, suddenly feeling your wings again, but no longer feeling the horn…
No longer feeling the pain either, but the visions play in your head as you steady yourself a chair and throw up.
The librarian jumps back.
"W-Woah! I know it was bad but… sorry, sorry! Are you okay?"
"Ugh.. Sorry about your floor.." I reply with a dizzy tone.
"It's… fine, I'll clean it up. Do you… need some water or something?"
"That sounds great, thanks." I wipe up the corner of my mouth a bit with a hoof. "Where is your sink?"
"It's back in the tower, come on… do you need a hoof?"
"No. I can walk." I reply and follow him to the bathroom.
He quickly leads you back through the corridor and into the base of the tower, lighting the lantern on the way to bring some light.
He opens the door for you to the claustrophobicly small bathroom.
Get myself cleaned up without further conversation. He knows how I feel anyway.
'1d10' for groomingRoll #1 10 = 10
It makes you feel slightly better that he had to suffer through this at least twice.
Also makes you wonder about what other horrible things you saw… but what beauties he might have also experienced.
You clean up and look in top shape in no time!
You could pick up any mare just by stepping out the door now you bet!
"There. Much better." Turn to look at the empathic pony with a smile.
"Now.. What's your drink?"
"Oh, good, you're fine then."
He flicks his ears.
"Water, mostly. Can't drink. It doesn't go well with the… anything. I don't want to get more emotional than I already am."
"Only water? That's kind of a shame.." I shake my head. "I can only bring you spring water so many times before it gets predictable."
"You could always get it from different springs! They would all tell a little story of their own!"
"Different springs huh.. that could just work."
Tap my chin and walk past him.
"Do you have the time?"
He tilts his head.
"Oh? For what?"
"The time it is now. So I know how far I can get before dark."
He flattens his ears.
"Oh, like that. We worked really fast, thanks to you, so it must be before noon!"
"…did you not want me to leave? I mean.. I can't get more statues here.."
"Well, it gets a bit dull around here alone… but if you come back to visit every now and then that is just fine!"
"Hey, next time I'll bring you some water, from a spring up north or something." I pat his back.
"Enjoy that book in the meantime."
He looks relieved! Geez, this guy really doesn't get out much does he?
"Thanks… I'll be waiting! Oh, and I won't forget about sending you something nice in return!"
"…" My eyes widen at the realization of what he means. "Another dream? Uh.. Its fine, you don't have to do that."
"Oh, don't worry! I'll be sure that it's a nice one this time! Not those… bad ones we all get every now and then."
I give him an uneasy stare. "Then, do you have any about this mare?"
I show him t he picture of my mother.
He takes a long look at the picture, then closes his eyes, deep in thought.
After a few moments, he opens them and nods.
"Oh, yes. Very much so."
"I'd like to know about her.." Then add in a more hushed tone considering his enthusiasm. "She's my mother so you know before sending anything."
He looks confused at first, but then blushes immediately.
"Oh great Princess in Heavens, yes, of course! I wouldn't anyway! I-" He breaks down a bit, stammering and stuttering.
"N-no I mean, if it someone like Lockbox, or Red then-" Oh, he's crying now. Give him a tissue/hanky.
Good thing you had those ready!
He takes one, quickly recollecting himself.
He clears his throat.
"I mean… sorry, but getting those involuntarily is not as fun as you might imagine! So I don't really do those!"
"Oh? I see." He said this happens to him all the time, so I should just act like its normal..
"I'll leave it up to you what is a 'good' dream then."
"I… I think I will know how to find one."
He nods more confidently.
"Yes, do not worry!"
"Alright. I'll be going then." Take the picture back to secure it in my bag before I go too.
You make sure it is resting safely close to your heart.
"Take care, Kelani! And… be careful out there, please."
"Don't worry. I don't plan on dying before I can finish my mission." I reply back with a smile and head out. I need to get back to ponyville, so I'll go straight to the teleporter.
The trip back to Vanhoover doesn't take long, and you can get to the teleporter to the hub before noon even! Go straight to the Ponyville portal too?
The trip is a bit uncomfortable as usual, but you find yourself in the nice village right away!
It does seem like the weather ponies had scheduled some light rain for today though.
And me without my umbrella.
I will head down to lockbox's place.
You only get slightly wet at least, the flight is not long and the rain is not too heavy.
It does seem to be locked though! She's not at home!
Look at the window, does it seem like she's been away long?
'1d10'Roll #1 6 = 6
You see traces of her breakfast from the morning. So she cannot have been gone for long then! You were away for a few days though, so who knows what she did in that time?
Sigh in relief and go to the news stand to get a paper.
The old stallion who you think you met once is there, smoking a pipe inside the dry safety of his stand, the newspapers all stacked inside this time so they don't get wet.
I think he had a son who was a boxer.
"I need a copy of the local news please." I give him the bits for it.
You remember correctly!
You toss him a few bits and he nods, hoofing you the daily paper.
The top story on the front page seems to be… two solved cases from Ponyville recently, and how the City Watch wants to keep information on a tight leash for now, but they got everything under control!
Sounds like they really don't have things under control is they have to say that.
'1d10' read through for any current eventsRoll #1 8 = 8
You can see the weather schedule, a funeral for some apparently beloved old mare around here coming up, the demolition of an ugly and abandoned warehouse near the train station, but aside from that, nothing out of the ordninary.
Well, aside from one newspony trying to find out what secrets the guards are hiding about the two cases and if they are connected or not.
Sounds like everything is peaceful here.. Let's get some dounuts and coffee from the sweet shop.
The kind couple and their kid are around as always. Seems like there is a line now, a lot of ponies choose to sit inside here to wait out the rain with some treats!
Maybe I shouldn't keep spending time here.. but its just so peaceful, and Lockbox does love this place.
Wait in line while looking over the selection to pick a tasty assortment when I get up there.
It's not like you have enemies here… right?
Even the wait seems to pass so fast with the chatter and laughter of ponies all around, and you get to choose from a long list, some with chocolate, some with vanilla, some with cinnamon, some with just powdered sugar, but they all look so enticing!
You eventually settle on their special today, which is two layered chocolate bars for the price of one.
I bet Lockbox will love it.
Wherever she is.
Put them in my bag so they don't get wet.
>>669539 You're only hoping to get one thing wet with these
You put the niceties away safe and sound. Where will you head with them now though?
It's around noon.
Good question. It is still raining, and she won't be back from work, where ever she is working right now, so I'll go have some lunch at that old seedy tavern.
You go back to the not-so reputable estabilishment that you've been before more than once now.
As soon as you do, you hear a sharp whistle from one of the shadowy corner tables.
It appears to be the donkey who gave you that little heads-up when you first came to Ponyville.
Sit down with the donkey, looking concerned.
He leans forward, grinning. It can hardly be called a toothy smile, since he still has quite a few of them missing.
"Buy me a beer, won't you?"
From the blackeyes and scars he still sports, not to mention one of his ears partially missing, you don't want to imagine life as an information broker.
"Sure, no problem."
I get him a beer and myself a sandwich.
"Hope you don't mind, I haven't eaten today."
He quickly takes a deep swig of the beer, smirking.
"Don't worry, neither 'ave I."
"You are lucky the guards didn't come asking me any questions recently."
Munch on the sandwich.
"I've been out of town, what happened?"
"With 'ow you picked that house clean the last time I gave you a heads up, I wou'dave bet you yoinked the shinies from the pawn shop too. Color me surprised, you 'ad nothin' to do wi' it."
Smile a bit.
"Hey, I'm not the only thief around. I kind of like it that way, keeps me on my hooftips."
"Just don't get jealous of them, huh?"
He takes another swig of the beer.
"So it turns out that a lovely little mare cracked the case, wouldya' guessed?"
"Really? That must be a big deal to the police."
"I've 'eard she had some… quite interesting evidence for somethin' else too. A peculiar little explosion to our motherly neighbour'ood arms dealer. I just wonder if she knew alla'that because she set the thing to blow… "
"Really, you think she could? What's this mare like?"
I ask with a raised eye brow.
He burst out laughing.
"You tell me, you're the one shaggin' 'er!"
"Playing dumb doesn't work around you huh?"
"You know, she's not into explosives and can't do magic, so she couldn't have blown up that place."
"If it did, I'd be a fucken awful information dealer, wouldn' I?"
"A stick o' dynamite could 'ave done it, but I hear it was more impressive than 'at."
"Exactly, so she couldn't have. Besides she's a good pony, wants to be a real detective."
"And what does that make you? What do you want to be with 'er?"
I stare at him with a frown.
"What? I just think she's adorable."
He leans back onto his seat, smirking.
"Can't fault you fer that."
"Heh, yea It seems like everything is fine here."
"Not quite. That 'splosion caused quite the stir."
"Really? They did sound desperate in the paper, and some nosy reporter is bugging them."
"Must be tough."
"Oh, not the fuzz. Erryone' else. Especially people who are in the lower circles of morality."
"Really? Was the mare that lived there important to somepony?"
"Some folks, yes. In the underground, mostly for the naughty things she could get 'er hooves on."
"…Just how upset are they?"
He puts the empty beer bottle down.
"I dunno', another beer might loosen my lips."
Get him another round, and one for myself too, to ease my nerves.
He clinks the glasses together with a wink, his many earrings clattering to add to the symhpony.
"Out fer blood upset."
"Sounds serious.. anyway I could get the names of those offended?"
"I don't 'ave names. I only know that a few ponies are blaming that pretty thing for it, since she helped the guards out with the evidence of what the old mare was really doing.
I hear they wanna' ambush and kill her tonight at the old warehouse."
"…Why would she be near the old warehouse?"
"That's 'cause it's a setup, dumass'. They'll lure her there."
I stare at him in silence for a moment.
"That's how it is then. Thanks for the heads up."
Scoot to leave.
"You're a buddy, so I thought I'd give you a 'eads up."
It's early afternoon now… where to?
I need to find lockbox, I wonder where she's working today..
She used to work as a private guard at the library… maybe you can find her there?
Maybe.. Let's fly to the library.
You fly inside, and see a few ponies lingering around, reading. The small exhibition that used to be here is no longer around.
You see a middle-aged stallion at the head-desk, reading.
It was just a temp job, but maybe.
Go to the stallion and tap the desk softly.
He looks up, fixing his glasses.
"M'good day. May I help you sir?"
"Have you seen the mare who used to guard this place?"
"Oh, you mean Lockbox? I sorry, I have not. She resigned three days ago."
"I see. Thanks anyway."
Time to leave, maybe she's at the police station!
You fly there, and see some guards smoking outside!
I will actually.
Just walk up to their front desk.
You find a long stallion in uniform there.
"Good day sir! What may we assist you with today?"
"I was wondering do you had a pony called Lockbox working here?"
"Lockbox? Hmm… let me see."
He takes out a few papers and flips through them.
"Lockbox… Ah, there it is. As it so happens, we do! It is very odd, she seems to have started working today even though her tests and background checks were just yesterday. The Chief must have seen some real talent in her!"
"Really, that's great! Could I see her? Is she on lunch break?"
He looks through some more papers.
"It appears she is out on the field.
Got some easy tasks like perimeter checks and patrols."
"Aw, okay. Let her know Kelani stopped by to see her when she gets back." I reply with a frown.
He nods, writing it down.
"Kelani, got it. Will do! Is there anything else we could help you with?"
"No, that was all, thanks."
Leave the police station, go toward the old warehouse.
Daylight is burning fast…
The sun is about to set soon, even though it is obscured by the clouds.
You see it looming in the distance, made out of wood. It looks rickety and unsafe even from here.
'1d10' stealth nearby the place. Keeping a watch out for Lockbox or seedy criminals.Roll #1 1 = 1
You sneak around, but as you do, you step on a plank that has fallen out of the wall, and it creaks loudly.
Not a few moments later, you feel a cold blade at the back of your neck.
"Move a muscle and you are dead."
The mare behind you lets out a sharp whistle.
"Hey, calm down. I'm not moving, see."
A whistle, try to see who she's signaling.
She keeps the sword trained on you, leaning closer to pat you down with a hoof, taking your daggers away.
You see an old stallion with a crossbow emerge from inside, immediately taking aim at you.
"Look what you found outside."
"I know, right? Smoking kills. Just not me."
You see a fag of a cigarette flicked past your head.
"Move. Inside. You try to run you are dead. Is that clear?"
I look annoyed but follow them for now.
You are lead inside. You see three more, five of them in total, two more mares and a stallion.
The one from outside pushes you down to the ground, walking to your front. She is missing an eye, but she can't be more than 30.
"So, what have we here, a lost little pup. What's your name?"
"My name is Spruce, I'm just looking for a friend. They said they would be around this part of town."
"A friend who? Would that friend happen to be a murderous WHORE?!"
She steps closer, putting her sword under your chin.
THe result is laughter from the other ponies.
"No. I thou, I do know a few murderers, and quite
a few whores. You could pass as either if you wanted Miss."
The others break out in laugher again, but her face contorts in anger, and she steps back so she can give you a back-hooved slap!
It huts a bit… but you can shrug it off completely. This stuff is not going to affect you after the beating you got by Stingray, that one boxer mare.
"You talk an awful lot of shit for a dead stallion!"
"Hey, what do you gain from killing me? I could really help you folks, you're all mad because you need a new weapon's dealer right? I might know someone."
"Yeah, don't kill him! I don't think anypony else knows a job as a whore for a one eyed mare!"
The others break out laughing again, but she silences them with a hoof.
"Can you really? Top notch shit? Even magic?"
I nod confidently.
"Magic everything. Definately. This guy can even get explosives like the one that blew up that place."
She looks at his bandit friends, then back at you.
"Joy, you're the fucking unicorn. You ask what you want to have."
She starts walking out.
"I'm having another smoke."
Heh, she still seems upset!
The unicorn joy who you assume is joy walks ahead of you instead of her.
"So, how exatcly do you know what blew that place up? It was magic sure, but you don't like a unicorn, and you'd have to know a bit about volatile arcane spells to recognize that."
"I know it from my contacts. They are always aware of their rivals, wouldn't you be? And after hearing how upset you were, I thought I'd set up a meeting."
"But one thing." Stare at her straight on.
"You can't kill that cop. She's new, and a big star to them. It would attract more police. Bad for business "
"I see… interesting. Sadly, I can't get behind your deal."
"But do you know how it is, accidents happen. She should not have walked in to a condemned building that could collapse at any time."
Her smile fades as you hear another sharp whistle from outside!
…and a few seconds later, the clatter of metal on wood!
"She's here! She's he-eugh!"
You see the one eyed mare backing into the warehouse, clutching her chest before collapsing to the ground in a pool of blood.
Everypony is looking at the enterance, shocked, as they see the mare in the full plate armor of the guards, clutching the spear in her hoof with fresh blood on the tip.
You see the cheek of Lockbox has a thin cut, a crimson trail dripping down from it.
"Put your weapons down, now! Before I-"
Her confidence falters for a moment as she sees you.
I can't help but smirk at her, leap into the air and
'1d10' kick one of the thieves away from her.Roll #1 2 = 2
You surprise the unicorn mare in front of you with your leap, but she is quick witted and quickly uses your momentum to grab you with her telekinesis to smack you back down to the ground! At least she is distracted!
You hear the 'thwoomp' of the crossbow and your heart skips a beat when you see Lockbox with a bolt sticking out of her head!
She raises it slightly, and you can see that she made the split-moment decision to tilt her head forward, making the helmet stop it before it could do real harm!
She takes a step forward and arcs her spear with a throw. The old stallion never had a chance to dodge it.
The other two bandits both rush her, and she barely has time to draw her sword! You have to help her!
but I don't have my daggers!
'1d10' tackle one of themRoll #1 9 = 9
As the two of them charge, you see Lockbox bump into the mare with her armored shoulderpad, knocking her away, parying the sword of the stallion… it's still a two on on though!
You see the unicorn mare beside you with her horns glowing, but you tackle her as she lets it off, the pinkish-purple bolt misfiring and blowing a sizeable hole in the ceiling.
The sound of metal on metal is muted momentarily as you hear the loud crash of a wooden support beam crash into the ground, the dust making your eyes water, your nose itching as you inhale the smokey particles…
You do have the unicorn mare under you though, and she is still recovering from her surprise! You have to act fast! You need something to knock her out, or worse…
Maybe one of these wooden beams will work.
'1d10' KO the unicornRoll #1 8 = 8
You quickly grab one of the planks that fell nearby, turning your body to bring it down on the head of the unicorn, the impact shaking every muscle in your body.
There is a sickening crack as the half-rotten plank explodes into a million splinters, the mare under you going limp with a crack in her horn that looks painful even just to imagine. Her face is bleeding, but you feel her breathe under you still.
There is a feminine scream from near the door, and as you glance back to look you see Lockbox, holding her left forehoof in the air with a limp, blood dripping from it. The corpse of the stallion bandit lies nearby as the two mares slowly circle each other, the thug looking for an opening now that she managed to injure the guard she set out to kill tonight.
'1d10' kick the female bandit.Roll #1 2 = 2
Instead of picking up a weapon from the ground you just go with your instincts hurrying you towards the fight.
Sadly, you did not put much emphasis an the stealth aspect of this attack and the mare hears you, spinning around and raising her sword without thinking, the blade cutting into your flesh at the base of your foreleg painfully, making you collapse to the ground again!
You open your eyes to see Lockbox charge the goon, but in her haste, she is easily disarmed… however, this doesn't stop her from tackling the mare to the floor.
"WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?! YOU MONSTER!"
"Wait wait wait, no! Please! I-"
In a matter of seconds, Lockbox takes her helm off, and you see fresh tears of worry and grief running down her cheeks… but you also see the fire in her eyes… from where she was, it might have seen that your throat was cut, and not your chest and leg.
You see that fire manifest into violence as she bashes the bandit under her with the helmet, the bolt that was stucking into it breaking on impact, but she doesn't stop even when the thug under her seems to no longer breathe.
I guess I could never really hurt a mare.
Stand up and walk over to Lockbox.
Aside from the unicorn you knocked out with a plank, but that was an exception.
She is breathing heavily, still weeping, when she looks up at you.
"K-Kelani? You're alive?"
She quickly leaps onto you to wrap you in a hug. It's a bit cold to your chest because of her armor, and it hurts your leg a LOT more than walking… but despite all of that, it feels great.
"What were you doing here?"
"Lockbox.. I heard that some ponies wanted to kill you, I.. I couldn't find you, so I came here and tried to talk them out of it.." I frown at the dead bandits.
"They didn't feel like talking."
She lets you go, sitting down on her haunches, wiping off her tears, looking over the scene.
"This… I was told this might happen, I was prepared for this but…"
"…this was the first time I killed a pony… but that mare! She threw a knife at me when she saw me! Then drew her sword! What was I supposed to do?"
"I know. I saw it." Keep holding her, even if it hurts.
"They were bad ponies Lockbox, intent on killing you. There was no choice."
She sighs with a shiver, gently stroking your back with an armored hoof.
"How… how did you know ponies wanted to kill me? And why?"
"A friend told me. And its over that explosion your investigated, they are blaming you for that mare's death."
She stands up, looking around, walking to retrieve her sword and sheathe it, while also grabbig her blood-covered helmet.
"So… this cannot really be made official."
I look a little confused, probably the blood loss getting to me, collect my daggers and check their pockets.
"Uh, whatever you want to report, I'll go with. This is your dream job after all."
You'll probably need a healer or medic soon… you did like that treatment Chell gave you for cuts…
You recollect your daggers, a few bits, but most of what these ponies had on them are no use for you.
To your surprise, after recollecting her spear too, she walks to the one eyed mare and fishes around her stuff for a while before finding what she was looking for… matches for the cigarettes.
"If there are ponies out there who threaten me and want to kill me… and by extension, may be a threat to you too, I want to send a message. Unofficially
I nod slowly.
"I got it."
Pull the fallen wood planks over to a pile so she has something to light.
"Ah, but! This one is still alive." I point out the unicorn mare.
You pile the fallen planks into a heap so she can start a pyre.
She slowly walks over beside you, flicking a match onto it, some dry has that was on the ground below it flicking up with flames immediately.
She looks at you, then at the knocked out unicorn.
My eyes widen and I back out of the building.
"If you're sure."
She follows you out, still limping a bit.
"I am not going to tolerate outlaws who want to murder me like this… And I cannot arrest her. She brought this on herself."
She looks at you.
"Do you need a hoof? Your wound looks bad… we need to get home and look at it."
"…" Use my wings to balance better getting a smile back, after all she wanted to protect us, and staring at her will help me ignore the fire..
"Let's go home."
Your experiences with fire have been rather bad recently, to say to the least.
You try to ignore the whole thing going up in bright flames behind you as the two of you walk to her place, slowly and a bit painfully.
After we walk a bit I stop to dig through my bag.
"Hey.. I picked up something for you. Hopefully that fight didn't crush it."
And show her the chocolate bars.
She looks at you, confused for a second, but her eyes light up with a smile.
She even tears up slightly, but you assume that might be the mental, emotional and physical exhaustion slowly catching up.
"Thank you! They look fine!"Skip to the morning?
"Go ahead and try some, I won't watch."
I promise her with a smile and let her have the chocolates.go ahead, I imagine they go right to sleep after that excitement
>>670757After some soft sobbing, but also bandaging up the cuts
For a change, you do not see Lockbox beside you by the time you wake up. You smell breakfast that was made some time ago.
You also find a note by her.Kelani
Sorry that I had to wake early, but I must fix my armor before I go to work. Sorry I couldn't be there with you when you will wake up. I will make up for it later!
"She went to work after that.. What a mare."
I yawn and stretch as I go to investigate the breakfast.
All the clues seem to point to the conclusion that it includes coffee, AJ and baked beans.
Not a bad way to start the day.
get some coffee and beans before it goes cold
It was only mildly warm at this point.
You guess she left making breakfast last, right before leaving, so it would be as warm as possible by the time you got up!
Healthy breakfast - eaten!
My heart feels warm at the idea.
And now that I've had breakfast, I can look into my own things..
Glance at the picture of the crystal eyed mare for a moment, then put it back into my pocket, its not time for that.
I need to go back to the base. Head out for the edge of town.
You wonder when you can meet her, finally…
But you slept so deep tonight you had no dreams, no nice ones you were promised about her.
You head out to the edge of Ponyville, out of sight, out of mind.
Focus on revenge
With a lot of recent things that happened, it is relatively easy.
After a nauseating second, you are in the teleport room.
You see the Doc working on something on a table, mumbling to himself.
He doesn't notice you.
You see a faint yellow light coming from whatever he is working with.
Slowly approach to get a better look at what he's doing. Is he wearing protective eyewear?
He is not. You see what he is working on looks a bit like the heart of Chell, but still different… with a lot less crystally parts, and it glows yellow!
He mumbles again.
"Piece of junk…"
As you peek over his shoulder, you feel a presence behind you…
And see that Chell has rolled up behind you as well, peeking over your shoulder in turn! It's just creepier with her face being unable to convey emotions.
She's probably just curious too.
Try to understand what he's doing with my limited knowledge of tech. '1d10'Roll #1 3 = 3
All you can tell is that it looks like a very vague, budget copy of Chell's heart.
It doesn't take much for him to annoyedly throw his tools on the table and turn around noticing you.
"Oh, Kelani! You are here. Good! I wanted to try an experiment anyway!"
He grumbles a bit.
"I need some success after this failure!"
"An Experiment? What sort of experiment?"
"Some new functions I've discovered that Chell has! We just need to find Stingray now so you have somepony to fight! I did hear she gave you a good beating, but let's see if Chell can prevent that!"
"Wait what?!" Look at the metal mare with worry.
"Chell what's going on?"
"Indeed! Let us go to the training field! Chell, take him there! I'll go find Stingray!"
Go along with Chell toward the arena.
Chell rolls by your side.
I laugh. "You haven't seen Stingray fight."
Look to see if anyone is around me right now. '1d10'Roll #1 5 = 5
Not anypony else you can see.
Well. There are a lot of sneaky types.
But speak softly to chell.
"Hey, how is the Doc treating you? Is everything going.. fine? Do you maybe want to go somewhere else for a bit?"
The two of you arrive at the arena that you've been to before, where that demonic mare fought with Mirage.
The various colors of dried blood on the ground do not make you feel any calmer.
"I see. Well. Would you be able to leave for a day then? There is somewhere I'd like to take you."
She stops near the arena with you.
"A place up north. I hear there is some archaeology that might interest you."
There is a long pause.
I nod slowly in return.
"Maybe. Its an old place, from what I hear."
There is a long pause again.
Moments later, the red pegasus mare and the zebra stallion enter.
"So, what's this I hear? Sissycolt here needs another beating?"
"Not so fast, Stingray! Play nice! Just stand in front of each other for now! Chell, a moment of your time!"
The construct rolls over to the zebra as the smirking red mare lands in front of you.
I chuckle a bit, smiling at the red mare.
"Its the only way I get to see you and your pretty wings~"
"I'll make you see some pretty stars to go with them how's that?"
You hear the zebra speak.
"Chell, engage Defensive Protocol!"
You feel… something weird, like your mind is being touched!
I rub my head a bit.
"Uh, that feels.. strange."
"Amazing, isn't it? I think he can connect straight with your mind or soul to help! Now… Stingray, beat him to a pulp!"
"Doc, Chell's a mare." I protest and try to put up a fight.
'1d10'Roll #1 1 = 1
"I meant you!"
The mare in front of you rears up, wings flared, ready to bring her hooves down on you.
But as she does, you feel an instinct to roll and dodge left! You do it almost unconciously, but still to your own will…
You come out of that strike unscathed!
The red mare looks confused but immediately dives with rapid punches!
You see each of her movements and can eerily predict what is going to happen next by the way she moves, and manage to dodge every single one of her punches and kicks for a solid minute before she runs out of stamina!
She groans annoyedly and flies away!
…ooh, you think she might be slightly upset at you!
"HAhah! Yes! This exceeds all my expectations! Real life calculations relayed in time!"
"Wow. It was like I could see everything she was going to do."
I reply amazed and only frown when I realize she left in frustration.
"Yes! She can predict movements quickly by profiling the fighting styles! It is amazing! I think-"
You hear a smooth, deep female voice.
"I think you need a bigger challenge."
The zebra doctor seems surprised by the sudden visitor, and not without reason. You never saw or heard the zebra mare enter!
She looks sleek yet muscular, with her eyes being… strange. It almost seems as if her eyes shift from being purely white to purely black, as if mist was inside a crystal ball!
I gulp, but put on my best smile and greet her.
"Hello there, I'm Rush, Kelani Rush, But that doesn't mean you have to."
"Don't you want to help that thing make anypony unstoppable? If you have any weapons, now would be the time to draw them."
"Uh, thanks for the help Spectre, but I don't think we-"
She takes one look at him and he shuts up.
"Right. One more test."
"Right." I have my daggers, draw those and take a better fighting stance.
"Chell, do that thing again." I call back to her.
'1d10' I'm getting used to this now, try to fight with the knowledge she gives me.Roll #1 6 = 6
You take out your weapons and you are confused for a moment as you see she has none…
Until she hold out a forehoof, mist forming around it until a dark blade materializes in her grasp.
The mare starts to do attacks without speaking, overhead stabs and sidewise-swipes. With this instinct you are given, you manage to dodge or parry all of it, but you have a bad premonition… her movements are starting to be very expectable… Too expectable, even for you!
"Chell, I think she's trying to trick you." I call back to the odd mare.
'2d10' keep up the pace, use both daggersRoll #1 2, 1 = 3
The ears of the zebra mare perk when she hears that.
With a move much swifter than before she completely closes the distance on you, flicking your daggers out of your grasp, leaning so close that your muzzles almost touch. Immediately afterwards she turns into a thick, black and white smoke, disappearing in front of you, only to appear behind you and swipe your legs out of under you, holding the blade to your neck, but not as close as to touch you.
"So you saw it through. Clever. But I think the new pet of the Doc needs some work before it is used for real."
"Maybe you should give it try? I bet it would work better on somepony so skilled already."
I reply staring at her odd eyes from the floor.
She holds her hoof up and the blade disappears, as if it was a cloud blown away by the wind.
She then offers a hoof for you to stand up.
"What is the point of a fight if you are not using your wits and skills?"
Accept it, using the motion to get close to her.
"I suppose you have a point there, you wouldn't be fighting like yourself."
"No, don't mind them Chell… let's just…get back to the lab now."
The other zebra hastily leaves, dragging Chell with him.
She doesn't seem to mind you being close all too much.
"You're new here aren't you. I've been with Mirage for years but I've never seen you."
"Ah, I think its been..a month now." Smile at her calmly.
"What can I call you?"
"Oh, a shame I have been… busy."
She raises a brow.
"Spectre, if you want to be formal."
"Pleased to meet you Spectre." I have heard about her before.
"Now what if I wanted to.. less formal
?" I suggest with a bold smile.
She seems amused at least.
"You may be in over your head then."
"I think I can learn to swim.." I step back without finishing my line blinking as if suddenly unsteady.
"I'd better head back to the lab." And start doing so.
"Something hit you in the head the wrong way?"
She seems even more amused.
"See you around, Kelani Rush."
You quickly head back towards the lab!
You see the doctor trying to figure out how to copy the heart of Chell again.
Ignore him and look around for Chell.
You find her in the back of the lab.
She looks like she is cleaning her hooves. It looks freaky and amusing at the same time.
She looks up at you as you approach.
"Hey, so did you get permission to leave?" I ask her.
"Alright, we're going pretty far away. The closest teleporter is still almost a day's walk from the place." I explain.
"Before we go I have to check on something, and get a warm coat.. meet me by the teleporters in an hour."
She stares for a moment.
Okay. Now I need to go buy a winter coat.
Do they sell those in ponyville even?
You are pretty sure they do! Even if they don't, you are ABSOLUTELY sure there is one to buy in Vahoover
You can search roll for it in Ponyville!
+1 since it's a tiny village
go into ponyville and look '1d10+1'Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3
The only boutique you find has some, but they are just
a bit too frilly for you to wear comfortable wearing them.
Go head to the seedy tavern.
You find some of the usual patrons here, including the donkey.
Does he just live here?
Get a beer two sandwiches and a water and go over to the donkey
Now that you think about it, it is not all that impossible that he just rents a room in this inn for life.
He looks at you with a crooked grin as you approach.
"Aaah, if it ain't my best friend!"
Sit down with him with a smile setting the beer and one of the sandwiches in front of him.
"You look well today."
He pops the booze open and quickly takes a few swings of it, throwing his long, scarred and pierced ears back.
"Ah, I know roight? When do I not?"
He leans back onto his seat.
"You 'ere for some news about yesterday?"
"You guessed it. Ponies still mad at my girl?"
"Mad…Mad? After yesterday?"
He lets out a loud and obnoxious laugh.
"Pal, they're scared fooken' shittles of 'er!"
Munch on the sandwich.
"owh, thwat sounds." swallow the bite fully. "Promising, as long as they aren't calling in back up."
"S'far as ponies know, she killed five n' set a barn over them on fire… then just wentt' work the next day like nothin' happened. Even scum wanna live. They don't want to… disappear like that."
I sigh in relief.
"That's one less thing to worry about." Wash down the cheap bread with water hesitating for him to add more.
"I've got to get back to my own hunts, but I had to be sure."
He chuckles as you cleanse your palette with the water.
"I think your girl is safe 'nough."
"Yea, thanks friend. I'll see you when I fly back into town."
Leave the bar and go to Lockbox's house. I will need to leave her a note that says
"Hey, a friend called me for a favor. I'll be back tomorrow.
Your Stallion, Kelani.
" thanks for running
You leave a lovely-dovely note for the pretty mare to assure her that you'll be back before she knows it.
Where to now?
Time to pick up Chell and leave?
That's right. To the teleport gates.
Chell has been patiently waiting for you there!
You still need to pick up a coat in Vanhoover!
That's true. What's chell look like today?
"As north as we can yes. I will have to stop to buy a coat, ponyville doesn't sell anything warm enough, you want something too Chell? Maybe a cute fox skin pattern?"
Like a mare who is made out of metal armor still.
have gotten a bit shinier, probably once she got a proper cleaning that she didn't get for hundreds of years.
Smile at her going to the Vanhoover gate.
"..That didn't sound like a no. We'll see what looks good on you, let's go."
She rolls there with you, as well…
And holds one of your hooves.
She probably can't teleport on her own.
Makes sense. Take her away to the city of Vanhoover secure in my hoof hold. ;)
Despite how nice and romantic it is to hold hooves with an animated construct, the teleportation still feels sickening.
Find a store now?
Chell seems very curious just by looking all around, but you might want to hurry before she attracts some unwanted attention!
"Okay, lets take the side streets."
'1d10' sneakily get to the shopping district.Roll #1 5 = 5
It works for the most part, but it really is near impossible to hide a set of rolling armor near the busy shopping district.
You get some strange looks, but that is all, thankfully.
Those high class ponies aren't going to do anything.
Now find a store that sells warm looking clothes.
It's more than easy to find one in a city this far up north.
A middle-aged stallion and mare seem to be running this shop. They look a bit surprised at Chell, but that doesn't break their smiles.
"Good day to you, sir!"
"And to you too… eh, madame!"
They both talk in unison.
"What can we help you with?"
Professionals as expected. '1d10+2' Disguise my accent to be more southern.
"Ah yes, thank you. We are looking for some winter coats today, visiting all the way from Dodge City."Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12
Your fake accent is so convincing you are starting to think that your mother may actually be from Dodge. Even the lights in the eyes of Chell flicker in confusion for a second.
The eyes of the two light up.
"Dodge City? How nice of you to choose us!"
"Did you take the train? We can suggest very good hotels around here if you need!"
"And the best coats here, for good prices!"
They start herding you towards the stallion coats.
They are way too excited to have a pony from so far south to even care about the strange construct.
"Yes, it was very speedy. No thank you Maim' we already have arrangements with a friend."
I look over coats and select one that looks warm, not really noticing the color, taking hints visual from the pair of them as to what might look good on me, like a guy who knows nothing of coats might do.
"They all look downright comfy."
They let you eye them all up, but propose some other ones once it seems like you would pick something that wouldn't fit your fur or mane.
Eventually they give you a coat with a long back that covers you nice and cozy, the gentle grey color complementing you well, and it even brings out your eyes!
Once that is done, the stallion smiles.
"Will you take anything… for the lady?"
"Cours', have you seen something you liked yet sweetheart?" I smile at Chell like its totally normal.
They are probably going to think it is just a southern thing, since it's not like they are ever going to go there with their business.
They do seem juts a tad weirded out, but they got over it by your charming and exotic mannerism.
Chell glances around.
"Ahright, the fluffy white coat too then." I confirm to the sales ponies. Such professionals, shame I don't have a hat to tip towards them.
Go to the counter to pay.
They seem very happy to make the purchases at least!
It is not expensive, but it costs a bit. You can cover it, but you won't be able to buy clothes of this quality like this every day unless you keep stealing from somewhere!
Up in the north this coat's gonna keep me alive, its worth the cost.
Help Chell put hers on before leaving and admire her like a pretty mare. "Yep, that's perfect for you, I knew ya'll had a good eye Chell."
Alive AND full of swag!
You help Chell into hers, which she might not be able to put on by herself.
She looks at you, then at the salesponies, then back to you.
Nod firmly and wave to the salesponies on our way out. Does her selection have a hood on it?
"Yall have a nice day now."
"Goodbye! Come around again whenever you need anything!"
"It was nice doing business with you!"
Yes, it does.
She seemed to have selected it on purpose, after she realized what you were doing!
Great, set her hood up and cough a bit as a I drop the accent.
"Now we should get less looks.. shame I can't share my voice abilities with you like you could your..defense thing, but it would probably sound strange if you used my voice anyway.."
She seems content with her cute coat now as she rolls along beside you.
"So.. the link doesn't work both ways.." I acknowledge with a nod.
Lets see how far north we can travel like this.
To the Library first, or straight to North?
I'm not sure going to the library is a good idea yet. Let's try to get to the next settlement at least.
"Its okay. Maybe I can ask one of the girls to lend a few hours to help with the voice recording someday.."
You grab some food supplies on the way too, just to be safe.
Roll to see how you fare on the journey.
"I wouldn't say wrong, just very different. Like you saw how different I sounded when I used the accent in the store? Its like that." I try to explain. "But even more obvious."Roll #1 7 = 7
The travel seems to be mostly without accidents. When the wind starts to pick up and it seems a snowstorm might be coming, you even find a cabin a the edge of a large wood!
It is like a hunting lodge, open and full of supplies, if a bit simple and barren.
Looks like somepony else has been here recently too. Wait out if a storm comes or keep going?
"No one starts out subtle, it has to be learned. We can work on it." I assure her with a smile and a pat on the back. "Just let me do talking until we're around ponies we know, okay?"
Wait inside here, I'll just explain about the storm if the pony comes back.
The snowstorm subdues in a few hours, meaning you can either keep travelling but risk not finding a place before nightfall, or just stay here and bond with Chell to start out tomorrow.
Staying here means possibly getting caught by the owner, but.. I'll do it anyway, just lock the door.
"Its a little late to travel now, let's just wait for morning here."
There is no lock on the door!
You could try to bar it, if you really want to.
Bar him out of his own storage room?
I suppose I will just to be safe.
Still, the night goes past without any trouble, you even manage to fall asleep rather easily despite the constant hum coming from Chell.
By the time morning rolls around, the non-pegasi controlled, wild weather outside seems to have calmed down, although it's still overcast, so it is mostly either white or grey everywhere you look.
Smooth out my mane as I get up and walk outside.
Look for signs of the owner first off.
You make sure that your mane is up to standards before looking outside.
Not a single fresh print in the pure, white virgin snow.
Make a motion with my wing to Chell telling her its safe. And close up the doors so snow doesn't get into the storage area.
"Let's keep moving while its bright out."
She rolls after you, moving effortlessly even through the snow.
You might be faster if you hover just above it though.
You made good time yesterday in what little time you had, so roll again to see how the rest of the trip goes!
'1d10' Hoover method is a goRoll #1 9 = 9
It is efficient and not all too tiring, but after a few hours your wings do begin to ache a bit.
You see the mountains in the distance first, and then the lights, on even during the day to guide ponies.
It is a rather small settlement for an expedition base though… can't be larger than half a dozen quickly built, long lodges! How do you approach?
"I'm going to have to look, stay here." I inform Chell, making sure her hood is up.
From above, just fly over it and get an idea what kind of ponies we are dealing with here.
'1d10'Roll #1 3 = 3
The lodges seem to be loosely connected, with a cafeteria, sleeping quarters, research area and storage, but you don't see anypony, or any signs of what they might be up to out here in the snow.
Land outside the sleeping quarters and peek in the windows.
'1d10' sneakRoll #1 5 = 5
They are pretty thick windows that cannot be opened, and the shutters are closed. You can only see that there is movement inside.
Just getting up huh.
Anyone in the cafeteria? '1d10'Roll #1 4 = 4
Nope, not that you can see. But maybe if you wait there you can pretend to be another expeditioner?
Not a bad idea, but I don't know if these guy had something special since I didn't see them.
'1d10+2' Disguise as an average expeditionary then.Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4
You don't have much room to work with, so you try to be nerdy-but-adventrous at the same time.
Something, yeah. Better than nothing at least!
Try to enter the cafeteria and wait there?
Well. Maybe it will work. I'll go inside and wait a moment.
You wait in the lodge, and soon you hear the laughter of a stallion and a mare as they walk towards it.
They seem a bit surprised as they enter and see you, the bearded stallion stepping forward, tilting his head.
"Good day? What brings you here?"
"I was just arrived actually. I'm a little lost, where is this place?" I ask the stallion, fidgeting with my hooves and looking down at the table and back to him.
The mare steps out of behind the stallion at your meek gesture.
"Forward Base Camp Sunbeam 1. Just an hour and a half away from the ruins of the north."
The stallion is still a bit wary.
"Must be awfully lost to get to this place in the middle of nowhere."
"The ruins of the north!" I stand up excitedly my wings fluttering. "That's just what I was looking for. I'm so glad I'm the right track. There was that storm, and we had to set up the thick tent twice, and we backtracked a few times because the compass broke."
Shake their hooves. "Thank you!"
You walk to them and shake their hooves, both of them chuckling at that.
"You're in the right place then, yes. Some of us planned to go to the camp there just tomorrow, you can tag along!"
The stallion nods.
"They haven't been visiting or sending any messages for the last week, so we are getting worried. Maybe it's nothing, but it's safer to make sure and check."
"They haven't sent word? That does sound bad. A snow in maybe?"
"That's what we are thinking. The magic around here is still going crazy even after centuries, so the weather can go wild."
The stallion interjects.
"If it brewed up into a magical storm, then it could be worse, but that is just my pessimism talking."
"I see.. How many of them are trapped in there?"
I show real concern here.
"Half a dozen. Four scientists, a security officer and the pony responsible for the dogs and sleighs."
Shake my head at the idea.
"I hope they have enough supplies up there.."
"They have enough for a month at least, but we will bring some more just to be safe. I am Hard Knock, by the way."
The stallion offers a hoof to shake.
"Quick Scribble! Sorry for the late introduction! It got a bit awkward, but we didn't expect to find another pony here!" Says the mare.
"Indiana Rapids." I announce happily shaking his hooves.
Then gasp at the last bit.
"Oh. OH! I'm sorry. I'll let you get breakfast in peace. I need to get back to the partner, now that I know we're on the right track."
Leave the room like an embarrassed third wheel.
"Nice to meet you!"
"Oh, no, don't worry about it, it's really… not…"
But you leave before he can finish his sentence!
You are outside again!
Goin' back to Chell.
A very light layer of snow covers her coat as she has been standing in the same spot without moving.
"Hello hello, I found out the place we're going is just a little bit north, just 6 ponies up there and some dogs. But they have been silent for a couple weeks, so two of the ponies I met are going to check on them." I flick my wings into a more action pose.
"We get started now, we can get there first and investigate while they eat breakfast. How fast can you roll Chell?"
"Okay. Got it. I can fly at that pace."
'1d10+1' aerial control to fly at faster-than-a-canter pace toward the north where the expedition should beRoll #1 5 + 1 = 6
You fly at that pace, which is a bit tiring but within an hour you already see the large, charred ruins of towers from an age past.
You see that most of the city is now gone, the circular zone around the tall, spikey and crystally tower now barren… mostly.
You see the expeditionary lodge next to the base of the tower, much larger than the forward base with several buildings.
You'll be there in about ten minutes but you feel that something is… off.
I land and walk from here. Suspiciously circling the area nearby.
'1d10' look for a trap in the snow.Roll #1 2 = 2
After some circling around, you don't see any traps nearby.
You do see a dog walk up to you, smiling with the tongue hanging out!
What is this cute little husky doing out of the kennels?
"Hi there puppy." I dig out a bit of my rations and offer it to the dog, where did it come from?
It looks like one of the dogs that are used to pull the sleighs, paw-prints leading back to the kennel.
As you are looking for your rations in the saddlebag, Chell rolls up, her long blade swinging out from her leg.
The dog takes a few steps back, tucking its tail under it, growling with a lowered stance.
"Whoa, Chell, what's wrong? Its just a sleigh dog. Its not gonna bite."
"Are you boy? You're a good dog right?"
The dog tries to approach you with a whine as you call it a good boy, but Chell swings the swords at it threateningly, making it back up and bark!
Okay, back away from the pup before chell murders it.
"Chell what are you talking about? If its not a dog what then what is it?"
The dog whines at you loudly with its ears flapped down, giving you the puppy eyes…
"…Okay well maybe it still acts like a dog. Sit Boy." I try ordering the mutt, and prepare a hoof full of food to toss it as a reward.
It sits down obediently!
Give it the food then!
'1d10' watch carefully how it eats.Roll #1 1 = 1
It eats as a dog, duh!
It tries to get closer to you, looking at you with begging eyes, as if trying to beg for some more food…
But Chell closes the gap first, driving the long blade through the chest of the husky, making it let out a miserable whine before falling to its side, dead.
"….Chell are you sure your sensor is working?" I frown at her turning over the dead dog looking for anything off about it '1d10'Roll #1 2 = 2
You see her sword is being heated up to cleanse it from the blood.
You turn the dead dog over… well, that blood looks awfully dark and thick.
And more worringly, it looks like it isn't flowing… it is moving
And now you touched it.
'1d10' get away from it quickRoll #1 10 = 10
You manage to shake your hoof and jump away from the body just quick enough.
The blood twitches on the freezing cold ice for a while before it goes still, drying up to form a lifeless, hard and black layer on the snow.
"Holy fucking shit Chell. What is that?!"
"Oh fuck. If the dog was like this.. the ponnies inside.. we gotta get there."
Draw my daggers and go toward the tower.
You draw your dagger and go towards the ruins of the large tower, Chell rolling right behind you.
Stop moving and look intensely at her.
"You shut down? What does that mean? What happened to you here?"
"I see. So that black thing was an old demon from your time.. This doesn't seem so much like the place of a miracle anymore.." Keep going to the tower.
You arrive at the broken down gates.
You see that excavation and exploration works have been done here in the past by these scientists, but there is nothing at the enterance now but the snow slowly being blown inside by the wind.
"I might have a friend who can help with that." I comment vaguely.
'1d10' walk around looking for how the possessed dog got out.Roll #1 8 = 8
Well, it was either coming from inside the ruins, or from the kennels that are part of the lodge, which are nearby. You do see that the side of the kennel has a giant hole in it, splinters of wood covered in snow all around it.
Now you just have to decide whether to go in the ruin or try to check the lodge first.
Investigate the lodge.
You see that it is built in a similar fashion to the other base, seperate buildings connected by wooden corridors so ponies don't have to walk out in the snow when it isn't neccessary.
The main lodge seems to be in a miserable state as you enter.
The room was once used for rest and relaxation, but now one part of it is completely burnt down, charred books over one corner, while the rest of the furniture has been all smashed up. You don't see any blood or corpses though. Which is either a good or a bad sign.
No dogs in here either.
Check all the rooms. '1d10'Roll #1 8 = 8
The kitchen is in a state similar to this. Some parts of it are burnt too, but you suppose that somepony put out the fire both here and in the lodge before it burnt everything to the ground.
The washing room seems to be relatively untouched.
The first closed thing you encounter is the living quarters. When you try the door again, you hear something moving inside.
Get my daggers out and kick the door open.
'1d10'Roll #1 3 = 3
You grab your daggers and turn around to buck the door open.
That hurt a bit, and probably looked dumb too, since the door didn't budge.
Chell gives you a look then rams into the door, splintering it open.
You see a mare with curly hair in the other side of the room, shaky hoof holding a sword that she looks like she has no idea how to use.
She looks at you in terror.
"D-Don't come a step closer!"
"Are you infected?" I demand to know breathing hard.
She looks you over.
"Are you? You just broke the door down on me!
And I don't even know who you are!"
"No. I'm not. Look." Cut my hoof with the dagger letting drops of red blood fall down. "Its not black like the dog's."
She takes the blade into her magic and cuts her hoof as well, letting her red blood drip to the ground.
She looks safe.
"…who are you? Are you here to save me?"
"Ah, you can call me Indiana Rapids." I sigh in relief. "I'm here to investigate the ruins, but when I got here there was a demonic dog and everyone is snowed in.."
"But yes. I believe I can save you, the settlement south of here was safe."
She shakes her head.
"What… what about the others? Are they all… dead?"
She seems to be in shock.
"I don't know. I only know that you're okay." I approach her and sit beside her, putting a wing over shoulder for comfort. "You're okay."
She scoots away a bit at first, but only shivers when you put a wing around her.
"Don't… come too close just yet, okay?"
Once Chell rolls in the room, she freezes up again.
"Who is that?!"
"She's a pony from the expedition.. Oh, I didn't actually catch your name." I apologetically say and look at her with a smile. "What can we call you?"
"Bright… you can just call me Bright, my friends call me Bright…"
She is still acting a bit scared, but at least she calmed down at a bit.
That will have to do.
"You wanna get out of here? A rescue party should be almost here by now. We could meet them."
She shakes her head.
"I… I don't want to go anywhere… I mean, I want to leave, but I'm so scared… but my friends, I can't leave without them! Or at least… without knowing they are dead. Then at least I could mourn, instead of doubting if they might have still been alive…"
"Alright. I understand." Stand up and offer her a hoof.
"You know how to use that sword you had?"
She stands up, shaking her head.
"I am a historian, not a fighter… our guard, Valiant disappeared first…"
"Okay, then you'll have to stay back.. We need to dig out the entrance to get in and see what's happening." I explain and lead her outside toward the ruins.
"So…you can fight then?"
She follows you behind, from a distance, but without being too far away.
She even grabbed her coat so she won't be cold.
The enterance of the ruins looms open before you still.
…open? Cautiously keep going.
'1d10' spot checking
"It seems like the rescue party might already be in. They have no idea about the demons thou.."Roll #1 1 = 1
Why wouldn't they check the base first?
Unless they saw the burnt lodge and thought something was very wrong, so headed here right away.
Sadly, you can't say if there are any hoofprints, since the wind is blowing hard.
In whatever time the large door leading inside to this spiral tower/castle, you don't know the proper term, the harsh winds already blew an inch or two of snow inside.
It is dead silent inside.
I can't shake this bad feeling.. go toward the tower.
'1d10' keep spot checkingRoll #1 1 = 1
As you enter slowly…you see Chell whiz past you with incredible speed!
And she doesn't look like she plans on stopping!
Wherever she is going, she is going there fast with no intent on stopping!
Let her do her thing. Instead look around for signs of life.
'1d10'Roll #1 1 = 1
Instead of following the construct that knows its way around, can detect lots of things and is very combat capable, you let her go off on her own and keep walking towards where you imagine people would go.
As you turn a corner, you bump into the mare from Sunbeam 1, Quick Scribble was her name.
"Oh… oh, Rapids? You are here already? You disappeared so we thought you went off on your own, so we decided to follow. What gives?"
I'm sure I'll be fine. Look relieved to see them.
"I'm glad I caught up to you. There's some kind of demonic infection here. You saw the dog on the way up here?"
She shakes her head.
"Dog? We didn't see anything like that. I was just going to come out to see what Knock has been up to, he said he is going to check the kennels."
"Really? I didn't see him and I was just there. Are you sure he didn't go back, Speeds?"
I call her a different name on purpose to see how she reacts.
"Why would he go back alone and leave me here on my own? Oh, and please don't call me that, allright?"
"Okay, let's keep looking around." Keep my weapons out. "Can you fight Scribble?"
"I'm not particularly good at it, no, that is why I wanted to go back to check on Knock. Something just doesn't feel right here."
"I see. We need to find my partner first then. I can't safely protect you both."
Go up the tower looking for Chell.
As you start walking there and find a set of stairs going up, with the prints of Chell's wheels in the dust, Scribble stops.
"Why would you want to go up there?"
"To meet up with my partner. I know you're scared but please try to keep up, we need to regroup before going back out there."
Twitch my wings a bit and rub my head. "You feel okay to walk right?"
"I'm fine, yes. Just a bit creeped out, if I'm honest."
You see the other mare walk closer to you without a word. She seems a bit spooked of Scribble.
Well, no everyone can be good friends with their co workers. Keep trotting up the steps.
You go up a few floors when you see the tracks in the dust go into a corridor. You pass something that looks like an advanced smithy that leads the smoke outside with a bunch of pipes.
The tracks lead into a large room nearby.
The two mares follow you, although both of them are a bit apprehensive.
'1d10' spot check it ahead of them, holding a wing up for them to hang back.Roll #1 4 = 4
You glance in and see the back of the coat worn by Chell. She is standing over something you can't make out.
You hear a strange sound coming from her.
Standing over something? It might be an enemy, draw my daggers and sneaky sneak inside. '1d10'Roll #1 1 = 1
You start sneaking in, but unfortunately the dust covers some broken glass on the ground you did not see.
Chell whips around, her eyes glowing red! A panel pops out of her body, ripping her coat apart, and your instincts (or perhaps the magic of the bunny statue?) give you just enough reaction time to duck, a sharp bolt whistling past your ear! You hear the other two mares scream in fear when the bolt impacts into the wall on the other side of the corridor where they have been waiting!
However, when Chell realizes it is you, her eyes turn blue again and she goes back to her usual form.
"Yea, I found another mare. Scribbles." I point behind me. "The one from the town."
"She's missing her partner and I told her it would be bad to split up, you know, even more. And she can't fight either."
The two mares peek their heads inside.
"Is it… safe to come in then?"
Chell keeps staring.
Then turns her back to you, going back to staring at the ground.
You see a skeleton there, curled up.
Trot over and look at the skeleton with her.
The other two mares keep back.
Chell keeps staring for a while, before talking to you, never taking her eyes off of the skeleton.
She stops, staring again.
I look totally stunned.
Then approach her and give her a long hug. With wings.
You approach to give her a hug, holding her close.
You hear those strange sobs from her again.
Eventually, she stops.
Let her go at last.
"Of course, its only pony nature at these times.. We've got a few more ponies to find, when you're ready."
She rolls out into the corridor.
The eyes of Bright widen.
"…wait, wait! That… that is the construct we uncovered here months ago! It was shipped to Manehatten! What is it doing here?"
"Don't be rude to my partner please. She's called Chell." I inform the researcher.
"We were told it was stolen from a warehouse!"
Chell casually turns to her.
The mare flattens her ears, shying back.
"I… I didn't know, I'm sorry!"
belong in a museum." I declare firmly with wings spread slight from the hugging still.
Bright seems ashamed of herself now, skulking in the back.
You hear the chest of Chell hum louder and her eyes shining brighter for a few seconds.
"That's great work Chell. Lead the way and let's get those ponies some medical attention."
She is right, you're not really sure what demon dogs are capable of… but what kind of help could you get here in the middle of nowhere?
"Okay. Chell is there a nature shrine anywhere here?" I ask her quickly.
She takes some time to think.
That's a few minutes of fly right?
"Would you be okay with these two if I go pray there? I think it would help."
As you speak, Chell shows the two scientist mares how to close the heavy gate of the smithy from the inside.
"I'll be back in ten minutes then." I smile confidently and fly off to the shrine. '1d10+1' pegasus flightRoll #1 9 + 1 = 10
The weather is fine but more importantly, you are confident in your abilities and brave to face danger. It takes about ten minutes for you to get there, and you easily recognize the sacred grove, beautiful winter flowers growing all around an ancient pine tree.
Land and approach the tree in silent reverence.
As if my own feathers might disturb it.
The tree almost sings as it sways in the wind.
Some snow is blown off the spiky leaves, falling in front of you, in the shape of a mare.
I bow to her reverently.
"My Goddess. I am humbled and relieved to see you so soon."
The almost ethereal shape made out of the snow bows her head slightly. You're sure it'd smile if it had any facial expressions, or just a face at all.
You hear the soothing voice echoing in your head.
"So am I, my child."
I have an almost dreamlike smile as she says that.
Still, I have something serious to ask. Pull myself together and explain!
"I need your aide, the area nearby is plagued with demons, the area said to be the site of a miracle, proves only to hold doom for ponykind if its not contained. "
Despite all your clothing, you feel a sudden chill, as if the entire grove just got even more
cold, and even the sky darkens slightly!
The calm and soothing voice now carries an edge of disgust.
"Wherever demons show up, they taint all that is good. They are envious of creation. They kill and destroy what they can never become… my children, and for that, they despise me."
The sudden chill and darkness is gone.
"I count on you to undo their plague on this land, with my aid."
"I will make sure none escape this place." I declare with fierce anger, almost hatred toward the things.
"Shall I return right away My Goddess?"
"I shall send some animals to help you, as well as something to defend you from the taint of the demons."
You see several, cyan flowers sprout out of the earth around you.
"Rub these into the wounds of those who are wounded by them to make sure they can not be infected. As for those who are, they are already lost."
I look a little sad as I gather up the bright flowers.
"Oh. I see."
"I know it is no small thing to ask of you, but you will grant peace to all my children who suffer."
"If that's true, that they are already dead, then its only right they rest.. I only regret that we are too late to save them all."
I sigh and look at the snowy pony. "Only Chell seems to be able to tell an infected from a regular creature, is there a secret too it?"
"That… thing is no child of mine. I do not know."
You gather up the flowers and put them in your bag.
You hear howling from the distance too.
"She's not?" I look a little concerned. "Is there anyway I could tell the demons apart then?"
Sounds like my que to leave.
"It was made by a child of mine, but it is not my creation."
The ethereal form shapes her head.
"They must feel they are discovered already. They may stop their hiding, but do not be fooled, that only makes them more dangerous, for they can unleash their true potential."
"So I need to trick them out? I think I can do that."
My ears flick at the wind, feeling urgency.
"Thank you Goddess." I hesitate leaning closer to her snowy shape, staring at where the eyes should be with care, longing and then blink the feeling back firmly stating, more for myself than for her. "I will go before they can deceive anyone else."
Step back and spread my wings to fly off, but wait for her to respond.
You get a bit dreamy by her very presence, but manage to pull yourself together for the cause.
"My other children are waiting for you near that ruined city. Go now, my blessed and beloved child, and take care."
The wind blows the snowflakes away, and with that, you take off too.
The flight back is just as quick as it was on the way here, and indeed you see a few shapes in the distance… it looks like a polar bear and four artic wolves!
That's some good back up!
Nod at them and go look for the building I told chell and the mares to hide in.
You also see smoke coming from the tower!
…but it is coming from three metal chimneys that extend out to the side…
Did they start up the smithy?
The animals refuse to climb up the stairs with you, so you knock on it alone.
To which you hear one of the mares says "Who is there?" in a timid voice. Probably a bit concerned.
"Its Me. Indiana. I brought company, but they're shy of the ladder, can I come in?"
You hear the bars of the metal doors lifted, and it swings open.
The other mare is by a forge with Chell…
You see one of her front hooves is partially open and… what is she doing? You can't tell from here!
"Thank the Princess you are back! We were starting to get worried!"
Now I puff up with pride at her reaction stepping in and touching the air in front my face as if to make my points more important. "It was well worth the trip my dear. I got a prevention to the demonic infection. If one of us is wounded, we can use these flowers inside of the wound and the demon won't be able to get inside of you."
She clears her throat.
"Buuuuut…. we have been thinking that maybe we shouldn't try to join the fight. We would just get in the way!"
You hear from loud sizzling noise coming from the way of Chell now!
"Very well-" I hurry over to Chell and other mare to investigate.
The other mare takes a few steps back, lowering the large, ancient googles she just had on her.
"…That actually worked, I can hardly believe it."
Chell turns to you.
"An upgrade? Those goggles are an offensive upgrade?" I ask confused again.
That was on the mare!
You also see that Chell seems more… glowy than usual.
"Off to battle then! We'd best leave these two here where its safe."
Lean closer to chell to whisper. "did you scan both of them to make sure they aren't demons?
She nods to your question. She cannot really whisper, so that will have to do.
"We'll lock ourselves in!"
"But… just in case… what do we do if you don't come back?"
That settles that worry.
"If I don't come back, then wait for morning, and run back to town, don't confront the demons, and get help. Possibly some of those.. Paladins that the royal palace is so proud of."
They both nod.
"Try and take care, okay?"
Chell waits for you by the door.
"We'll be fine. Partners have each other's backs."
And off we go into the snow and ice.
You go outside, your animal friends rejoining you, following you loyally.
You see trails of pony hooves, dog paws and somethings being dragged in the snow.
Chell examines them.
"They-must-want-to-move-down-to-Equestria-where-they-could-infect more-ponies. Probably-took-the-ponies-alive-for-sustenance-instead-of-infecting-all-of-them."
The trail leads to the ruined forward base nearby, the one with the broken kennels.
"Horrible beasts." I scowl at the tracks and hurry towards the kennel with my blades drawn.
The weatuer picks up as your little team approaches, snow blowing in your face.
As you are very close to the enterance of the common room of this research base, the howling winds blow screams your way. It is the crying, begging voice of a stallion.
"Help! Goddesses, no! Please, no! Help! Heeeelp!"
It sounds heartbreakingly miserable!
"I-detect-demons-and-unconcious-equines-inside. Demons-are-unpredictable. Combat-protocol-will-only-work-at-reduced-capacity."
You see her heart glow up inside her, and you feel your mind being touched again.
"Understood." Then reply in a serious voice. "Chell. Listen. We can't let them escape to Equestria. Don't let the demons get away."
With that, kick open the door. '1d10'Roll #1 3 = 3
You see three unconcious ponies in the corner.
The fourth, a stallion, has his back against the wall with three of those husky dogs gaining on him!
"Help! Help me, please! For Celestia's sake, do something!"
Three dogs, and one dead… but those sleighs are always drawn by eight!
Chell draws her sword from her hoof.
These dogs are dead too, or they will be. Attack with both knives at the nearest dog.
'2d10'Roll #1 8, 10 = 18
Without even waiting for Chell, spurred by your want to help Mother Nature get rid of these pests, you spread your wings and dive to the nearest dog, plunging both of your knives into the side of the canine then dragging them to the side with enough force to rip the poor thing apart… but the black goo coming out assures you did the right thing. Without hesitation or even thinking, you flip your bag open with your wing and even throw one of the cyan flowers into the wound.
The demondog lets out a miserable, pony-like yell, the magical substance preventing it from regenerating! It writhes on the ground before it dies!
Woo! One down!
You do hear growling and fighting behind you… the wolves and the bear are fighting too! You got flanked!
What's worse, the pony-lookalike dodged the bolts of Chell!
The other two dogs now drop the act too.
The fur on their faces fall off, the bloody muscle slowly crawling back to their neck and paws, turning into muscle and horrible ebony claws.
The canine skull isn't even white, but a dark black, the goo forming solid black spikes and huge fangs…
This is going to be unpleasant.
She told me it would be.
This is my task.
'2d10' keep going, attack the next dog.Roll #1 5, 3 = 8
You slice and dice into one of the now revealed hellhounds, but it attacks back fiercly, clawing and biting your way, only your agility and some help by Chell preventing you from being bit!
Your daggers are not doing so well against this form now… but maybe you could coat them in the flower!
You hear a loud whine then a crack from behind you… that must have been one of the wolves.
Chell does manage to slow down the other hellhound in the room, getting ready to deal the finishing blow.
But letting up here would mean these forces would go unopposed.
'1d10' dance around them as I rub a flower onto the edges of my daggersRoll #1 1 = 1
You manage to jump around enough to give you some time, coating your blades in 'poision'… at least, it is for demons!
You also hear a loud roar behind as the bear rips one of the demons in two behind you!
Even Chell manages to cleave the hellhound she was fighting in two with her heated up blade!
You see a large and thick ebony spike impale the face of Chell, destroying half of her head completely, metal and sparks flying everywhere. The source is the 'pony' stallion who cowered from the dogs before, now revealing his true form as a demon, his forehooves morphed into a sickening, dark spikes.
Chell seems stunned for a second, the lights in her remaining, broken eye flickering.
Her speech is now slow, jittery and slurred.
She raises her forehoof, slamming the demon into the wall which causes even more damage to her, but corners the 'pony' against the wall.
It lets out a screech as it melts to the molten metal spewing forward from the hoof of Chell.
With the threat dealt with, the consturct rolls backwards, trying to stabilize, but unable to as she falls over to the ground, her lights dimming.
Go to her, keep the demons away from us while I try to see if she's still.. uh.. alive. '1d10'Roll #1 2 = 2
You quickly run over to her, all the hellhounds too busy with the wolves to pay any attention to you.
The light in her one remaining eye flickers, the inner workings of her head and neck sparking and clicking jitteringly.
Despite her voice being weird and broken now you can almost hear… hope in it.
"Yes. we stopped them. Just take care of yourself."
I pet her head carefully, not really sure how to help her.
Her chestpiece opens up, the left side of it getting stuck halfway due to the damage.
Her heart shaped blue crystal core is undamaged though.
Her voice cuts off, the heavy metal body now going stiff and falling to the ground, the core detaching itself from the construct armor body, no longer glowing.
Pick up the core and put in safely into my bag.
You very carefully put it away…
Then notice that it is awfully silent aside from the wild howling of the wind outside.
I should probably actually
make sure the demons don't get away.
Go out there and check on things
You walk to the door and see the carnage that happened here as well.
While you and Chell fought the hellhounds and that demon inside, the wolves and the bear did their parts.
While the white snow is painted red around the corpses of the animals, all of the hellhounds lie motionless too. It even seems the polar bear was gravely injured and could have gotten away, but decided to give its life to bury the last hellhound under it, with a crushing hug, embracing it forever.
You should probably use the flowers on all these corpses to make sure none of them come back, then check on the three ponies.
Despite the victory, it feels… hollow.
And cold… but to think what these things could have done if they were left to roam free is even worse.
Its all worth it to protect Nature's children. The animals felt that way too, its clear.
Use the plants on their bodies too, its a good move, but make sure to leave enough for the injured ponies inside.
You take your time to banish the demonic corruption with the magical flower before checking on the ponies.
They all seem to be alive but unconcious.
One of them, a unicorn stallion stirs first, looking around wide-eyed.
"What… where… w-who are you? What do you want? Get away, I got magic and I'm not afraid to use it!"
Stay back from him but speak softly "Hey, easy there. You were kidnapped by demons. Did they hurt you? If you're injured you need to be treated immediately."
"The stallion in charge of the dogs… he was yelling for help, but when I went to check on him… I don't know, I lost concioussness."
Nod and slowly approach him with the flowers. "Hold still. This won't hurt you."
Try to apply them to his wounds.
He seems cautious, but allows you to proceed.
You rub the flower to the bruise on his head.
"Ow… that stings"
That's all his reaction.
"Now… now, we… we need to notify Canterlot at once! Do you have any parchment! Or ink? I can send a letter to them right away! We need their help!"
"Are there more of these demons than the ones inside the dogs and dog master?"
I ask him as I go around applying the flower to the other survivors.
"I.. I don't know. I didn't even know there were still demons here! We thought those were all dead!"
You do so, but they remain unconcious.
The stallion starts pacing around.
"Yes, parchment, or anything to write on, now, quick, please!"
"I might have something, but don't you want to meet up with Bright? She worked with you right?"
dig out some paper and ink for this nerd
"Oh, they are fine? Grand! That is great! Where are they? Just one second!"
He quickly starts writing on the supplies you give him, finding them in the ruins of this common area with your thief senses despite the destuction of most furniture.
Once he is done, he rolls it up and lifts it in his magic, the parchment disappearing with a pop and a flame.
"There! Now, where are they? Also, we should take my other friends to her too! This place does not look safe at all!"
"You have any healing magic to help them out? They look pretty hurt."
He shakes his head.
"I'm not a medical pony! But I asked for medical assistance in my letter!"
slowly nudge each pony awake.
You try to, but they are out cold!
You think how energetic this stallion is might have something to do with the fact he could shrug off whatever magic knocked all of them out.
"Right. Well. I don't want to leave these guys here alone. You stay here and I'll see if I can find a sleigh."
Look around for a long sleigh to pull these guys in.
You go outside, and head for the ruined house that used to be the kennels.
There must be one there, right?
However, as you approach it, you see a ball of magic appear out of nowhere! ANd it is sendings sparks everywhere, melting the snow, before the is a flash of light!
…and then you see a dozen unicorns! All dressed in a strange leather armor shielding their bodies, with long, curved muzzlepieces like they were crows!
They all wear the insignia of the Royal Canterlot Academy, and one of them aims her horn at you!
"Stop right there! Identify yourself! Where is Vision? We just recieved an urgent help request from him!"
"Indiana Rapids! Visions is the one who sent the letter? I was just with him, wow, you got here so fast. Did you teleport?" I reply staring at their odd outfits, can I spot a symbol or crest on them?
There are three, but the only one you can recognize is the Canterlot Academy one.
"Yes, he requested a quick reaction team! Where are the survivors? We need to stop any traces of infection right away!"
One of the stallions (you think? Can't really tell if they don't speak, but he looks bigger) walks over to you, his horn glowing.
"This way." I guide the 'quick response team' to the other researchers.
Even as you walk back, you hear a loud wooshing sound behind you, a quick glance confirming that some of them are using their magic to conjure giant pillars of fire from their horns and torch the bodies.
As the scientist reunite, quite tearfully, you are distracted by a butterfly right here inside the tower…. it's probably Mother Nature, trying to lead you somewhere specific now that the threat is dealt with!
But how will you shake these ponies off? They seem very insistent of nopony being left alone.
Pull one aside.
"You! Come with me. I saw something just now!"
lead him toward the bunks where I originally found that researcher.
But the buttefly of Mother Nature is inside the tower and those bunks are further away!
"What is it? More demons?"
I know that just bear with me.
"Maybe, come look with me." I insist and take the inquisitor pone inside drawing my sword and looking around as if expecting an attack.
He nods, following you inside, drawing a sword of his own.
"Should we tell the others? We probably should! What if we get ambushed?"
He seems pretty twitchy judging by his voice, not that you can tell much more because of the thick leathers and the beak-shaped headwear!
"You're well trained right? I already fought five of these on my own and I'm just an archaeologist. We'll be okay."
I assure him and go toward where the rooms split.
"Do you see anything yet?"
"Not a thing… are they hiding? Preparing to strike?"
His horn light up, scanning the walls throughoutly.
He seems pretty focused on that!
"I'm going to look this way." point down one hall.
"You take the other."
take a step toward my 'path but wait for him to move.
He nods, still focused.
"Just yell if you find anything, okay?"
He keeps probing the walls with his magic, advancing slowly.
This is your chance!
Indeed, I will sneak back outside and go toward the tower.
You sneak outside, taking care to hover over the snow to not leave any prints, then fly inside one of the first floor balconies to avoid attention.
It looks like a ruined library here, most of the books destroyed and unusable now, all that knowledge lost forever.
No matter, look for the butterfly.
You are somewhat sure you could find one or two books that are still miracolously preserved if you looked, but you might not have time.
You find it quickly, and it flutters upstairs, leading you almost to the top of the tower…
You soon arrive to a large chamber and a grim site.
Two colossal pillars of twisted and demonic magic, now collapsed. This must have been the main gate where they came across into this land to spread their hatred and destruction, and where they have ultimately been stopped.
Pony skeletons and infernal remains are scattered all over the floor, broken weapons and armor lying everywhere. You see a unicorn skeleton impaled on the largest weapon in the room, wearing a crown that still shines on his head, his own weapon piercing a now darkened ebony shell that must have been the heart of a strong demon.
The butterfly flutters by, landing on top of… a statue. Wait, there is a statue here! Is it possible that when all hell broke loose, the druids rushed to help this land but couldn't prevent it from being destoyed?
Carefully approach picking up the statue.
It's a statue of a bird… oh, you know which one, the one called killdeer.
A bird that will pretend to be injured and attract the attention of predators if its offspring are in danger, even willing to sacrifice itself for the safety of the eggs and its pair.
…if the druids did come to the rescue, it would be fitting that only this statue stayed here.
"Looks like they did a poor job of rescuing.. Since nopony survived." I comment with a scowl.
Secure the statue in my bag.
Statue acquired and secured!
…Now you just have to decide whether to head back on your own, or stay here and risk that the unicorns will start asking uncomfortable questions.
I do feel these ponies should be buried properly.. but I can't stay around here.
Go back to the Nature Grove.
You fly off into the distance, touching down near the giant tree again.
The wind picks up, blowing snowflakes into the ethereal shape of a mare again.
"You have returned to me victorious, my champion, while the souls of those of my children who were lost to the foul creatures shall live on forever in my realm."
"My Goddess. It was because of you that we succeeded today.. but it was also because of the one you said was not your creation.. She fought with everything to save us all from the demons. I humbly inquire, can you give chell a body, so she might join the world of your creation?"
Present the heart of Chell to the snowy mare with a desperate plea in my eyes.
The snowy form stares at you silently, and with the lack of face you cannot even judge what the reaction is.
Finally, the silence is broken.
"You know that this request is no small one, my child. Not a single soul who was not my creation has recieved such a blessing before."
"It can be done then?" I smile hopefully.
"How? What must I do?"
"If that core you have truly holds… her inside, you just have to give that to me."
The wind picks up again, the shape tilting its head.
"I doubt you would want to bring her back here in the cold naked. Just tell me where she shall wake."
"..I can go to Vanhoover, rent a warm room for her to wake up in." I suggest and carefully offer the heart to Mother Nature.
"I may be a Goddess, but even my powers have limitations. I cannot give her a body right away, here and now."
"You mean it will take some time? Like a week? Will she be a baby or a full grown mare?"
"It might take some effort and my magic to do so, but it can be done in a day. While it is unnatural for her not to be born the proper way, if she is as intelligent as you suggest, it would cause her distress to be stuck in the body of an infant."
"Yes.. She speaks and acts like a mare." I nod. "I trust your judgement in her body."
Then thoughtfully suggest "Would the house of your servant Erdei be acceptable? I think she'd be safe there."
The shape nods.
"It shall be done, for your services for me, beloved Kelani. You shall find her there, and she should be asleep until you wake her."
I can't contain my joyful grin.
"Thank you glorious Goddess."
..I approach closer, and kiss the cold snowy lips.
You get your lips wet, literally with the snowlflakes.
That… didn't go as you planned, but the elegant chuckle you hear echoing around you means Mother Nature appreciated the gesture.
"Stay safe, my champion."
The wind blows the little snow-shape away.
…She probably does have her work cut out for her with what you just requested. But that just means you gotta travel as fast as you can!
'1d10+1' away I fly. I suppose the fastest way is by teleportation, but I don't want to go back there, so I will make my way to vanhoover and look into the trains.Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5
It is a very long and very tiring flight, taking up almost a day, and by the end you are so exhausted that you just book a ticket to a Whitetail Woods and only get woken up by a ticket-collector once you are there.
It is an easy hour of flying from that point to find the house of Erdei.
He sits outside on the porch, carving a little wooden statue of a pony with a sharp knife in front of the house.
Behind the house, near his garden, you see something very strange, as if it was a cocoon made out of vines and leaves! A large one at that!
He looks up at you as you approach, but doesn't stop carving.
"Oh, so it was you. Figured. Mother couldn't even take the effort to warn me what was happening or why, but you showing up here makes sense. Got any idea what is inside that thing?"
"She didn't?" I frown, but immediately smile at the sight of the cocoon.
"Its a.. a fake mare, that helped me, died fighting demons. I asked for a real body for her." I step closer cautiously hoovering over the leaves with a hoof. "Her name is Chell."
"You may not have noticed, but she and I have not been on speaking terms for a couple centuries. Not like you speak with her."
He tilts his head.
"Fake… mare? That sounds confusing."
You do not touch it just yet, but… you can almost feel the raw magic and energy of Mother Nature pulsing through the vines! It has a single, small flower on it, and it is in bloom! You wonder if that means anything…
"It is.. I can't explain it right, but she wasn't a natural mare. She was built by a donkey centuries ago.. and woke up in a time she didn't know."
Touch the leaves, maybe it means she's ready to wake up.
As you do, the leaves start curling back and pulling away…
You see her now, curled up in a fetal position, holding her 'core', that is now dull and no longer shining. She is a grown mare, about the age of you, with a brass colored coat and frilly, golden locks of mane and tail. Her fur is damp with something, and you see a vine retract from inside her mouth (well, she had no umbilical cord, so Mother probably had to improvise).
Erdei just says "whoa" as the mare coughs a few times, opening her brilliant, blue eyes, looking around herself confusedly.
I scoop her carefully out of the pod, smiling and softly speaking to her. "Good Morning Chell, are you feeling alright?"
Erdei keeps his distance from the two of you, not wanting to interrupt.
You pick her up, but she still looks a bit confused.
"Kelani? Where are we? I feel… different. This is highly irregular."
"You're safe.. alive, and beautiful." just hold her by me, let her feel my warmth.
"We're in the middle of Whitetail woods."
She hugs you back, more for support, but she feels nice and warm too!
Not cold like she used to!
"Did we stop them? All of them?"
You see her squint.
"I cannot seem to access any of my functions… What is wrong with me?"
She still seems a bit… disoriented. Alive probably has a different meaning to her than to you.
"Maybe it would be best to show you. A miracle happened Chell."
Look at Erdei "Do you have a mirror?"
"I do. Looks like she needs a towel too."
He motions with his head.
"Get her inside, to the bathroom."
She looks up at you.
"A miracle? I am afraid I still do not understand you, Kelani. This is all very confusing."
…what if she's not happy, look a little concerned.
"Chell.. You're a pony! Happy birthday Chell."
Carry her inside the bathroom.
You guide her inside and let her look into a mirror.
For several seconds, her face remains unmoving, just like when it was made out of metal.
"I am… a pony?"
Then she smiles, and the smile spreads wider, turning into a laugh. She laughs for almost a minute and you are pretty sure the more she does the more she laughs at her own voice. Once it winds down, she tries to catch her breath, although it takes her some time to figure out how exactly to do that.
"I know that sound was laughter, but why could I not stop it?"
She wipes a tear from her eye, still smiling and chuckling.
Nope, it looks like she likes the body!
Even more surprisingly, this whole scene even made Erdei smile a little!
"Because you were happy! That's joy Chell. You're happy to be alive." I chuckle myself.
"Lets get you cleaned up a little, you're sticky." Help her into the tub and help her wash off. In a very non-lewd way.
You assist her in climbing in the tub and get some warm water to wash off all the sticky flower-residue, containing yourself around a mare for a change.
"Happy… happines indeed feels good. I never understood before."
She splashes the water a bit.
"I understood temperatures but did not know they felt this way! Is this how a pony measures it?"
You even get some dry, nice towels from Erdei, but he left the two of you alone again, since he probably knows getting a new body is a big enough shock that Chell doesn't have to try and make a new friend on top of it too.
What an understanding guy.
"Usually with a dab on the center of the hoof, for measuring something like warm milk, or on the tip of the hoof. You can also hoover over something very warm or cold to get an idea."
"Too warm and too cold is bad for ponies, that is why you have to be careful like that, correct?"
"Yea, you can get burned or frostbitten if its too extreme." take her hoof to guide it to properly feeling the water.
"This water thou, its perfect. See. Nice and warm."
She blushes, probably without even realizing, as you guide her hoof.
"It does feel perfect. Is comfortable a good term for it?"
It might take some time until she speaks like a normal pony, but she is already better than her construct-self! It's like it's intuitive for her!
"Yes, both are fine ways to explain it."
She's learning quite quickly even.
"Hm. I suppose you don't know what it feels like to get pruned in a bath, but you should be clean now, so it just enjoyment now. Which a warm bath is great for. Should I leave you to soak for.. ten minutes?"
She was clever even for a construct!
You suppose that just got improved with a real brain!
She looks at you with a bit of worry.
"You will not go too far, will you?"
Worried.. I smile to assure her.
"No, I'll be around the house. You can call if you need me."
She nods, smiling.
You suppose you should let her explore her first bath in peace!
You also wonder what Erdei is up to, too, since he gave you two a moment.
I will go find Erdei, I have a statue to show him anyway.
You find him outside.
He is next to the treeline, actually, and at first you think he is speaking in hushed tones to himself, but then you realize there is a beautiful, large and pristine white wolf in front of him, his even greater form was just hiding it.
Why is he talking to an animal though?
I was talking to snow and leaves and butterflies in the past. Let him talk, I can wait.
While he does not notice you, the wolf does, perking its ears and staring at you with beautiful green eyes… before rushing off.
Mr. Grumpus sights, turning around.
"I thought you were inside."
"Sorry. I didn't mean to scare your friend off."
"I wanted her to meet you before. She is just a bit shy. Says she might not want to become friends with you if you are just going to kill her eventually anyway."
He doesn't look like he is joking.
"I don't kill anyone that doesn't attack me." I reply just as seriously. "Even if I wanted too, I'm just not built for it."
"Long before you were born, long before you were an erotic thought, long before even your parents were that, she found one of the statues. She swore that she would protect it with her life from anypony and anything. Mother Nature accepted this vow."
He shakes his head.
"One of my disagreements with Mother. She is unmovable. She does not budge. She will not rethink this oath, either, and this will not be the first time she just watches as a child of her murders another for a common goal. They get consoled by either getting to live with her forever or be graced with a new form, but she will not relent."
He got ranty here, huh…
"She did?" I look amazed by this. "A wolf statue then?"
"I wouldn't know. She guards it with her life, remember? I did not want to ask, plus we got better things to speak of."
"I see. I would only need to borrow that statue. Then she could have it back."
"It could even be the last one, and she could come watch over it." I suggest hopefully.
"I see you have not really talked much with her. Compromise was never her strong suit. Disagree, and she gets a temper that could level cities."
"I don't understand, the oath says that the wolf will protect that statue, but not that the statue can not be moved to a temple."
"You don't think regular wolves live this long, do you? She is sentient, and she will not let it budge as long as she is alive."
"So.. it would be insulting to bring her a large bone shaped biscuit as a peace offering?"
He gives you a look that makes you feel incredibly dumb for even asking.
He doesn't even have to say anything.
"Right. Sorry. Okay, I'll find a way to deal with this. I wanted to show you that I found another statue, and I got advice on how to activate these statues." Show off the rat statue. "Acting like the animal of the statue, something stereotypical that they are known for, like a rabbit might activated by be going very fast."
"So got any idea for the rat then?"
You also got the Killdeer statue from up north!
"Sneaking perhaps? Honestly I'm not sure why its not active already, getting here was a very sneaky affair." poke it a few times before setting it down and pulling out the Killdeer.
"And this one, I found it up north, a bird that dies protecting its own, in the hooves of a king that died protecting his kingdom. Poetry." sigh and frown. "But I'm not eager to die to activate this one."
"Rats can also be very viscious when cornered."
He raises a brow.
"Those birds don't have to die, they just pretend to be hurt to save others."
"And you do have an active Phoenix statue."
I get a very disturbed look.
"It almost sounds like I could activate both together, if I were in a bad situation."
"Do you get into very bad situations often?"
"Recently, I do seem too be."
"..Maybe I should keep these two on me then, and wait for something dangerous to happen?"
"Just make sure to look for trouble away from here."
"Is there a trail nearby? I could try running with the rabbit statue today."
"There are paths in the forest you can take."
"Hey, I know its unexpected, but thanks for keeping Chell here. She's really confused about everything."
"No wonder. Wouldn't you be?"
"She can stay here as long as she likes."
"…maybe, but I do think I did the right thing for her. Living her non-life as a toy for a scientist, while being sad about her old life.. that wouldn't be right."
"You will have to give her purpose. Living your life for however long it lasts without meaning…"
"It can be tough. I should know. I lost my meaning centuries ago."
"Give her a purpose?" my wings flutter and I look surprised at the idea.
"I never considered that to be another's job. I always found my own purpose. Is that not life, to seek your own purpose?"
"Perhaps she will find it one day then, but what if she does not? Did you not say she was merely a toy?"
You are startled by the voice of Chell coming from the door, walking up to you two!
Her mane and fur are all wet, apparently she did not really understand she had to use the towel. Even more surprisingly, she overheard you.
"I had a purpose once, my master. He was family. I cleaned his home, prepared meals, helped him in the forge. True, it was a life of servitude, but I did not mind. Helping him made me feel accomplished. Now I suspect that I would have felt joy if I could have. There is nothing wrong with helping ponies you like, is there?"
Erdei seems shocked by this sudden honesty.
"No, there is not… I am sorry."
Chell ignores that, looking at both of you expectantly.
"I have finished my bath."
I smile at her, she's just so pretty.
"You'll catch a cold like that, let's dry you off. Wait here, I'll bring a towel.."
I go inside a grab her a towel.
You dart in and grab one from inside.
When you get back, the two of them are talking. Seems like Chell has been asking him some questions like a child would.
"…sed to, but not anymore."
"Oh. I am sorry to hear that."
"It's okay. It has been a long time."
"And you have been alone here since then? On your own?"
Erdei responds with a simple yes, with not a shred of emotion.
You see that Chell starts taking deeper breaths, and her eyes seem to be welling up.
"I-I've felt like this before, even when I was a machine… what is happening?"
put the corner of the towel against her eyes to clean up the tears as they fall.
"I didn't mean to interrupt. Please go on."
You start drying her off.
Erdei shakes his head.
"I suppose the two of you have a right to know. I do not like secrets at any rate."
He takes a deep breath.
"I have met my beloved so long ago I do not even know how much time has passed. We were living together forever, cursed by our immortality. Our kin died off and we could not make friends who would not just fade away while we remained here, so we relied on each other. I was the one to run to errands and into town when we needed something we could not make on our own, as rare as that was. One time when I was not home, a bandit broke in, a scared youngster, about your age. He killed her. I got back too late to stop it or save her. It was clear he did not want to. I could not blame him."
You can feel the great sorrow in his words, but he does not show it any other way, but the floodgates of Chell break down and she starts crying midway through.
"I was so… angry. I did not want to kill him. So I did not. I dragged him into a forest nearby until I found a cockatrice. I made him stare into its eyes and turn into stone, then I killed the beast, so no magic could reverse it. At the time, I thought that he took my eternity, so I shall take his."
At this point, even he sights.
"I visit him every other day to apologize. He will never be able to respond, but I know he can hear."
"…then that night that we met.. You.." I shutter in realization at what he must have meant.
He simply nods at you.
"You ought to know. It was why I was so upset that you asked about her at first. I knew that there was no other way for you to know but Mother Nature."
Chell is still shaking, sobbing queitly.
Put my wing over her and guide her to cry into my chest.
"No way to end the suffering then.."
She's letting it all out.
This is her first time crying, so no wonder it is really intense for her. First time in a real body, at any rate.
"Not that I know of."
"I'll look into it for you.. I do know a pony who has great knowledge of magic."
"It would remove a great burden from me. Thank you. I think we should head inside now."
Chell nods, sniffling, as she is about done.
"That was… that was…"
"There there.." I pat her head.
"Want to carry the statues? They're quite nice to look at actually." hoof her the bird and rat with smile.
She nods, still sniffling, hugging the statues close to her chest as all of you go inside.
You should probably figure out what is your next move, aside from teaching Chell about the little nuances of life.
I go to the statue stash, and find the rabbit.
"I'm going for a run. Maybe you should have tea or a salad? I imagine being born is hungry work!" I suggest to chell.
"You have to eat. I will teach you how."
He nods at you.
"Don't worry, we will be fine."
Rabbit statue acquired!
"Have a good meal."
I go outside and head for the forest. Look for one of the trails.
You find one relatively soon! But you can't shake this feeling that you are being watched…
Do a few stretches. Fanning out my feathers for the on looker with a smile.
"Alright, gotta sprint, fast."
'1d10' go fastRoll #1 1 = 1
You stretch and preen for a bit, before the white wolf appears nearby! Must have been the onlooker!
The way she starts growling, however, is very disconcerning, and you start running almost instinctually!
She gives chase for at least ten minutes, purposefully leading you where the canopy is too thick for you to fly so you must run!
Once you finally lost her, you realise you are lost too, and even sitting is hard you're so exhausted! She didn't look all that intelligent to you, she was a wild animal trying to kill you!
I was intending to run anyway.
Maybe she was just helping. Check the statue out.
The rabbit changed!
It did activate!
You are very startled when you see those green pair of eyes of the wolf staring into yours from up close!
"So it did work."
She has a very pretty ponylike voice, for a canine that just tried to kill you!
"Yea! Its awake for sure." I chuckle and smile at her calming down.
"Thanks for the help. I'm Kelani."
"I am Ailish. Did I frigthen you?"
"Only just enough." I wink at her and put away the statue.
"You have sharp ears, to overhear my plan like that."
"All predators do. Ponies do not seem to understand that… a wolf needs good senses to stay alive."
"I understand, at least on the surface. All things that live in the wild need such advantages, and living in cities and farms has made ponies dull to that world."
I sit on the trail near her. "I heard you are friends with my friend."
She sits nearby, swishing her fluffy white tail to and fro.
She almost elegant with her proud stance!
"I doubt he had any friends for a long time. I think he stopped making them so he will not get hurt by their passing, but we became friends before he started doing such a thing."
"I'm glad, really. Everyone needs a companion in life."
"Do you have a pack?"
"I am on my own too, just like he is. The common wolves fear me too much."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"It must be rare to meet anypony who isn't afraid.."
"Not many adventurers come to these woods.
They prefer the Everfree."
"But you like that huh? The peace of solitude?"
"Of course. Nature is beautiful, is it not?"
I nod in agreement.
"However, her creations are vast and wide. And social things. I don't think I'd like missing out on seeing them all."
"Ponies of the new age are not all as accepting of my kind as you are."
She glances away.
"Then there is my duty to uphold, too."
"You mean about the statue?" I tilt my head a bit, curious as to her line of conversation.
"Yes. I should probably go. We should not talk of such matters."
"Wait! Why shouldn't you talk about it? We're serving the same goddess."
"You are Her champion that must reclaim the statues. That is why."
"I'm famous already?" I smirk and then get a more serious look.
"But the truth is I just need to use them. Just borrowing yours when the time comes would be enough."
"I am afraid should you attemtp to take it, one of us will die."
I frown. "That's not right, such a beautiful and loyal servant of Nature, I couldn't hurt you."
"I would not wish to inflict harm upon you either, unless you will force me to."
"I don't see why we can't work this out. Neither of us wishes to harm the other."
"I am bound by my eternal vow. Breaking it would mean I will not get to live with Her in the afterlife."
"What did you vow her exactly?" I ask sympathetically.
"That I would assure the statue will not be disturbed or taken from where it stands."
"Oh. That is quite a specific vow."
I rub my chin in deep thought on the issue.
"I do not think Mother Nature would allow any… loopholes, as you might suggest."
The wolf stands up.
"Its hard for me to accept that she means for us to fight to the death in service to her."
I shake my head in concern.
She tilts her head.
"I doubt she cares."
There is no malice in those words…. which just makes it sadder.
This is just too much.
I go fly to a cloud to think this over.
'1d10'Roll #1 6 = 6
You fly up to a cloud, and find a comfy one.
The birds are chirping nicely and the touch of the sun caresses you while a sligth breeze blows up here.
Nature is perfect. But could she be flawed.. lacking foresight?
You also consier that the wolf was a predator…
Maybe that causes her to think differently?
That's true, wolves and lions aren't really known for sharing and trading. Gryphons too can be quite aggressive and selfish compared to a pony.
These are the kind of doubts you need a priest for.
You could visit home, it can't be more than an hour or two if you fly!
Yes. I should.
First go back to the cabin to tell them.
"If you say so."
Chell tilts her head.
"Can I come with you?"
That would add a few more hours, there and back, since you'd have to walk. You can probably make it back by tonight if you fly though.
"No.. I need to sort this out alone. I'm sorry."
My wings fidget and my expression remains in a frown.
"I'll be back tonight."
She blinks a few times, frowning.
Step forward and grab her hoof.
"Chell, I will come back tonight, I promise. It might be a little after dinner, but the flight there is safe."
"…I understand. I will be waiting."
Smile at her, she's just so cute.
'1d10' fly fast toward home.Roll #1 8 = 8
You make very good time!
It is early afternoon as you arrive!
Where to first?
To the temple.
I should see if the priest is there.
You see the druid outside, watering some plants, talking to them reassuringly.
I approach him with a worried look.
He looks up, surprised to see you soo soon.
"Ah, Kelani, what a lovely surprise to see you! What brings you home?"
"I need to.. speak to you about a religious matter. Can we go inside?"
"Oh? Of course, of course!"
He puts down the watering can and starts walking inside with you on his side.
"What troubles you?"
"My mission brother, its calling me to do something heavy, because of another's mission."
He leads you to some nice, comfy pillows so you can both sit down.
"Yes, go on."
I groan and sigh and fold my hooves a bit and then look at him.
"There is one tasked with keeping a statue in place, forever." I sigh again.
The druid nods.
"Not a pony like you and I, since ponies do not live forever. I assume this guardian will protect it for the very end, but your mission is just as important, if not more so."
"Not exactly like us no, but just as intelligent and loyal, just as dedicated to the same Goddess. Yet our missions conflict in a way that.. we'll have to fight to the death."
"I see… Do not think I do not care, but let me ask you this first. Have you seen our representations of Mother Nature? Can you recall a promiment feature?"
…sure you can. None of the statues or paintings or carvings ever represent a face on her.
"Yes, she does not show us her face."
"That's not quite the reason. She does not show us for she cannot. For those few priviliged who do see her avatar with a face, it is only for our sake, not hers, and it is said it is not the same, different for everyone who glances upon her. The perfect beauty. Do you know why she does not have a face then?"
"It is okay, it is because she is you, she is me, she is all of us. Ponies may be better or worse, but we are all her children, and we are all a part of her and she is a part of all of us."
"I remember this, serving her is really serving ourselves, and everyone around us at once."
I proudly reply.
"Exactly! We all exist for each other, not just for ourselves. The mouse might not like it, dying to feed the owl, but Nature is not uncaring that way, it is the way it must be. Death is a part of Life, just as important."
"I see.. So I must be the owl in this scene.." I ponder it.
"But.. This immortal, it is one of so few, and there is another immortal who will be completely alone if the guardian would perish. Isn't that a bit cruel?"
He seems to frown for a bit.
"Ah, immortals, yes. I knew a few in my life, but they all said the same, what Mother Nature admitted to them, that She robbed them of their just deaths at the end of their lives."
"Then perhaps.. This is her way of ending it. Like sending a cold frost to kill old plants."
"We may never understand the order of things, but you may give her peace."
He nods reassuringly.
"It is not for us mortals to understand her will.. but to carry it out.." I nod and my wings straighten out a bit as I find peace with the idea then scoot closer.
"Still, perhaps I can, take it without confronting her.. No.. her oath.. she would feel I cheated her out of it. Out of the green pastures."
"While I do not question your abilities, do take care, Kelani. You are like family to me, and you are a capable young stallion, but someone who has lived that long must know how to stay alive and well."
"I do not intend to leave my work unfinished." I reply confidently and stand up to go.
"Thank you Brother, for your council on this."
"Any time, Kelani. You know where to find me if you are ever in doubt."
He pats your shoulder with a smile.
I nod at the gesture.
How am I on time? I probably have to go right back don't I?
You have time to spare, even!
I should stop by and apologize to dad for leaving so suddenly.
You fly over to your old house, paying him a visit. You find him inside, sipping on a beer in the dining room, reading the papers.
His face does brighten up as he sees you.
"Ah, Kelani! I didn't expect you, if I knew, I'd have made some dinner!"
"Hi dad." I greet him with a grin and join him at the table.
"I was back in town to see the temple, and I had a moment so I thought, I'd stop by."
"The house sure feels a lot more quiet since you've been off! I dare say I almost get bored sometimes!"
"What have you been up to out there in that crazy world?"
"You wouldn't even believe dad, and the mares I've seen. The magic and wonder out there. Immortals, sages, secrets." I reply in a sense of awe still.
"Dove right into the thick of it, just like when you were younger. I am glad you are having the time of your life out there, son, I really am."
"I'm glad too.. it means a lot that I can still come home." Gosh, I'm such a sap.
You see just the tiniest hint of a sweet welling up in the eyes of him too, so at least you know it runs in the family!
"So tell me about these mares then? Should I get my outfit for the wedding ready?"
He says half-jokingly.
"Got another beer? I think this story deserves one."
"Oh, this I got to hear!"
He stands up to go out to the kitchen and bring you a cold one.
As he is away, you do glance an article about some upcoming parade in Canterlot and also an endorsement article for some place in Manehatten promising all the drinks girls and boys one could dream of.
A parade, maybe I should take a date..
"The first mare, she's called Lockbox, a guard, a detective now actually." I say the last bit with pride. "She's an earth pony, she's got these perfect eyes, so strong and brave and truly honest and good." I start rambling about her as I open the beer and sip.
It's coming up in a few days!
Just relaxing with a beverage definitely feels good after all thar Rushing around.
"You sounded really dream right there, son! Maybe I won't have to wait all that long for grandchildren, huh?"
"She's the type that makes you wanna, you know, have that life, settle down. She made me breakfast, a full thing, twice already. Even offered both coffee and tea, that's a real lady-mare I tell you." I smile then take a sip of the bottle and get a slightly worried slightly dream like look.
"The second one, she's literally something out of a fairytale. She.."
"Maybe it would help if I start from the start with her. When I first met Chell." I summarize the tale of how I discovered the robot mare, on behalf of a friend, activated her, took her to her original home, and how she died fighting real demons, ancient ones. And then just as it looks hopeless, I take a breath.
"And clutching her metal heart in my hoofs I went to the shrine of Nature, I plead to her to revive my comrade, not expecting anything, after all, Chell was not her creation. The Goddess's reprentation, a pony of snow, she accepted the request. Not a day later, Chell was born, a full grown mare, golden fur from head to hoof. Innocent eyes blue as the sky. A body crafted by Nature's own hoof, and a mind sharper than any I've seen." I let the image hang there and finish that beer off while he replies.
Your father is already in awe by the story of how you met Chell and what she was in the first place, but once you get to the part about her being brought back, you think you hear his jaw hit the floor, but it was just probably his hoof.
Still, you have not seen him this surprised ever, not even when you got him that flower-cart for his birthday that everypony from town pitched in with some home-grown plants!
He seems to be at a loss of words!
"That is… I do not even know what to say! Aside from thinking how proud I am of you! For Mother Nature herself to grant such a blessing…"
Here he goes welling up again!
"You must introduce me sometime!"
"I'm sure she'd like that, once she figures out how to be alive. She's.. not used the nuisances of it, like eating." I chuckle.
He chuckles as well.
"At least you'll know how I felt when you were a colt! You wouldn't believe the trouble you gave me about preening!"
"I imagine I did. I was never one to sit still too long."
I smile letting the moment linger.
You both sit there in silence for a short while, but it is not an awkward one, but rather one where you can both reflect both on the past and the present.
Presently you ran out of beer, however.
Well, that usually means its time to leave or get more. Stand up to go, but go toward him to offer a hug instead.
"I should get back to Chell. It was great seeing you dad."
He hugs you back, patting your wings.
"It was great to have you over, Kelani. Make sure to keep me up to date. Write a letter if you can't come home."
And then I fly off again, toward the golden mare of fairy tales.
You take your journey back towards the home of Erdei, and you arrive once the sun has just started to set!
You do see Chell outside, with her head hanging low.
…is she sleeping standing outside?
Go to her and touch her shoulder.
Her body jolts and her head shoots up, ears perked, but her eyes are only half-open, and her voice is groggy.
"Repeat please, I did not process."
"Chell. Its me. I'm here." I give her a concerned look. "Let's get you inside."
She blinks a few times before smiling tiredly.
"Kelani! I have been waiting for you! I am not sure why I powered down. I tried to be aware of my surroundings, but it all went dark."
"You're just tired. Uh. Low charge. You need to sleep now that you're alive. " put a wing over her back.
She is not as warm as you'd expect a mare to be! Hopefully she didn't catch a cold in that breeze!
"Oh. Sleep. Rest… how many hours does it take to recharge?"
She seems curious, if a bit tired!
"Depends on how tired you are, but 10 is a normal amount." I step with her inside, we need to find her a blanket or something..
You guide her inside, which is lucky because she'd probably have tripped without you.
There is the bed that you used last time prepared!
Erdei is nowhere to be seen, however.
He probably went to the woods..
Guide her into that bed. "Here just climb in and get under the covers.." I tuck in the pretty mare.
She lets out a long yawn, which makes you realize how tired you are too after all that flying
She does look very cozy in there though!
"How will I know how and when to power up again? To wake?"
"Know? You won't feel tired anymore, that's how." I kiss her cheek.. then realizing she'd not accept such a vague answer.
"Usually when the sun starts to shine, or when you can smell breakfast."
She nods at first, but then still looks somewhwat confused.
"How will I know the sun shines if I am not awake to see it? This is all so strange."
"The birds will chirp, the warmth of the sunlight will come from the window."
She nods as if she was just told the key to eternal glory and fame and also how to save the world, or something equally amazing, then lets you see deep inside her mouth when she lets out a giant yawn.
…you should probably teach her to cover her mouth with a hoof when she does that, and same thing with sneezing, before she covers somepony in boogers instead.
She lays down her head on the pillow with a smile though!
So many little things to show her!
I should get some rest myself. Did he have another room or shall I get myself a cloud and camp out in the yard?
You see a small, hoof-crafted cot covered in different furs in this room. It is close to the ground, but seems like Erdei did actually craft
you a backup-bed.
He crafted it himself? What a nice gesture.
I will sleep here then. '1d10' rolling for good dreamsRoll #1 5 = 5
The bed is comfy, but you are rather tired from all that flying around so you do not dream… or you would not by yourself.
However, you do see a dream that feels more of a vision, a glance from the past, as if you were there again!
It is hazy at first, you only hear murmurs in the dimly lit room, the moon peeking through the covers of the window. Your breathing is heavy and the lower half of your body is completely numb.
You hear a door creak open and your vision focuses, your ears perking up.
You see a stallion holding something step closer… wait, that is… that's your father, only a lot younger!
With a smile, he steps beside the bed, gently extending a hoof holding a small bundle of joy, sleeping tight.
You feel warm tears roll down your cheeks as you hold the tiny foal wearing your colors in your hooves, looking between him and the stallion with a heartfelt smile…
You wake up to the chirping of birds.
I rub my eyes, totally just to get the junk out of them and not some weird emotions about my mother and how she really did love me that much!
Yeah, leave dealing those strange emotions to freshly born ex-constructs!
Speaking of which, Chell does not notice you rubbing your eyes at least, as she is giggling like a schoolfilly at a bird singing a morning song on the windowsill.
What a cute pony.
Go to her side and try to mimic the bird.
'1d10'Roll #1 10 = 10
You sneak up to her and start whistling and singing, in tune with the bird.
The bird, almost insulted, puffs out its chest, singing back, quickly turning it into a contest that you easily win after a good ten minutes of whistling and singing back and forth!
When the bird looks exhausted and concedes to your victory, Chell claps her hooves together excitedly!
"You could learn that too, if you wanted."
She looks at you in wonder.
"I can? I am not sure… even talking is strange sometimes, not at all how it used to be!"
Pat her back with a wing.
"Of course you can, a pony can make all kinds of tones and songs if they practice. Do you know about the scales of music?"
She looks as if deep in thought.
"I… do not recall, no."
"It might have another name in your homeland, but they describe the notes that equines are able to hear… fa, do, la, ray, me, so, and how they repeat merely varying in pitch, its a way musicians and singers describe any sound that can be heard.. " I do my explain it to her.
She nods. "I think I am going to try…"
You hear her belly growl.
She looks confused, looking down.
"…what sound was that? I didn't do that on purpose."
"That is… your time-to-eat-alarm. goes off 3 times a day if you're late to a meal!" I grin and poke her side.
"Let's get you something for breakfast."
"Oh. I did not eat yesterday. I felt strange but it went away after a while. Is that bad?"
"You didn't? Well no wonder your stomach is growling, you must be starved! Hurry to the kitchen Chell." I point towards it and guide her out of the room.
You see that two large plates of veggie-salad are prepped! Must have been Erdei! Still, he has been home it seems, despite that, he's still not around!
You do remember he makes those salads a real treat!
I guess he's just a little shy sit down at the table.
"Oh, there's breakfast set for us, we have a wonderful host even if he's not here to join us."
She nods as she sits down the table.
"He was very kind to me yesterday, yes. I wanted to look at the flowers he had inside the house, but broke the pot, but he just smiled and told me it is okay."
I look extremely surprised.
"He said that? Well, I guess that it might be true, a plant doesn't necessarily get hurt from falling out of a pot.. long as you get the roots covered up again quickly."
"He did. I offered to help clean it, I still remember how to do a lot of my duties, but he would not let me. He did show me how to take care of plant, I never did that before."
"Its peaceful isn't it? Caring for nature's creations like that."
"I have created before… weapons, armor, but never… life. It felt quite blissful, caring for something like that."
I nod in agreement over the meal.
"That's a very special feeling Chell, one only Nature gives us. Its one of the things that I'm trying to protect.."
"I… I no longer have any other purpose but to help you. And I want to!"
The door opens and the large stallion enters, adressing the two of you with a nod.
I can't help but grin at that, hug the golden pony, just briefly.
"Good morning. Thanks for breakfast."
She hugs you back with a smile!
Erdei is still as stoic as ever though.
"Kelani. A word, if you would."
"Alright." I get up and follow him away from Chell.
He seems… concerned?
"The girl. She is not ready. I am sorry, but if you leave, and I know you can't stay put for long, she cannot go with you yet. I cannot let her."
"…" I burst out laughing in relief.
"I was so worried you would tell me the opposite! That you were tired of having a guest."
"I prefer solitude… but maybe having someone here will help me preserve my sanity more than the garden. Not to mention this mare…"
He takes a deep breath.
"It almost feels like being a father all over again. It's not a feeling I ever thought I would miss."
"I'm actually glad, I was worried about the risk of leaving her somewhere that my enemies could find her. My dad's would be nice, but they know about him too."
"I'll keep her safe, don't worry. Teach her a thing or two about nature and life too."
"That's for the best, she has so much to learn, despite existing for so long."
"Anyhow, I should get back to tending to my garden."
I nod as well, and go back to chell.
It would be rude not to tell her!
She tilts her head.
"For how long will you be gone?"
"a few days probably. I have been away a while, ponies will worry.." slide a wing around her back in case she'd feel sad about that again.
"Chell, would you like to stay here? You'd be able to get used to being alive in safety here."
"It is rather calm and nice here. I will not mind."
She smiles at your reassurance!
"I'll come back when I can. Promise."
Squeeze her gently in my wings.
She hugs you back!
You should probably head out soon if you want to make good use of daylight!
And go outside.
You hear… faint music in the distance?
That is odd.
I better investigate.
Sneakily. '1d10'Roll #1 5 = 5
The closer you get the louder it is, obviously!
But the louder it is, the harder it is to sneak. You feel like you have to… dance?
You see a cart on the dirt path ahead! It's where the music is coming from!
I simply have to find out what musician is playing that.
keep going, dancing and all.
The cart seems to be… drawing itself?
As if it was dancing too!
At the head of it, you see two little goats sitting there, one yellowish-white and one brown! The brown goat boy seems to be the source of the music while the girl is dancing!
Oh little goats having fun.
I can't help but smile at the sight.
The girl waves at you to come closer!
I dance over gracefully. '1d10'Roll #1 3 = 3
Your groovy moves are a bit rusty! Might have to practice more!
"Heya! I' Vanilla Sky! And this is my brother, Chocolate Sky! You're Kelani, right?"
The brown goat gives a little fanfare with a trumpet!
"Yea! Am I already famous in this forest?"
She giggles again.
"Oh, no, we just know when we meet special ponies! Knowing things we shouldn't hops in the family!"
"Now who has been going around saying I'm special?" I stand near her.
"Granny skies, duh!"
The brown goat play another fanfare!
"She is the goat who founded the Island of Freedom! You should visit it, especially with how you need to hide for a few days!"
"Island of what now?"
"The Island of Freedom! It is one big neverending party, with no bad people allowed in to poop it!"
"Really? Where can I find this island Miss Skies?"
"You can't take a boat there, you will never find it that way! It is only for those with a pure heart and those who are in need of happiness! And then you pop the magic baloon!"
"A magical balloon. That's a real fun way to travel."
"Don't try to float with it! We tried, it wasn't as much fun as it sounds!"
The brown goat plays a bittersweet tune on a flute.
"I can give you one! You'll probably need it to hide from the bad mare!"
"You kids know about the bad mare too?" I look concerned.
"Oh, we don't mean the witchy witch! The other bad mare!"
They share a look. The boy goat plays some drums.
He then plays a whistle.
"Oh golly, you're right! We forgot about the timezones, he didn't get the vision yet!"
She turns to you.
"You might want to sit down, it should be any minute now!"
I stay standing.
"Okay, but let me try that flute. I'll be gentle with it, promise."
"Oh, the flute? Why? It's nothing special!"
The brown goat hands it over anyway.
"It's just that my poor little brother was born mute! He can never sing…"
There's another sad thrill from a saxophone from him!
"Buuuuuut, he can talk with music!"
"Oh.. I'm sorry."
'1d10' toot on the flootRoll #1 8 = 8
"Don't be! If he is not sad about it, why should you be?"
They both smile as you break out some nice jams!
"Yay! Where did you learn to do that?"
"That one? I learned it by copying a traveling circus performance. They were going by the village and set up for a day, just around harvest time. I forget the name of it, but its about a miner." Pass the flute back to the boy.
"What's that song you were playing when I flew up here?"
The goat boy starts playing the song again.
"Oh, it's On the Road! I just don't have the rough enough voice for the vocals!"
You start feeling dizzy…
"Ooh, I think the message from your friend is coming!"
"Mm.. that or your song is making me sleepy.." I yawn and back away from the kids, this is strange!
You feel your eyes close despite what you want…
You see… well, not yourself, but that librarian, staring into a mirror.
"Uh… okay, I'll just start. I'm really sorry for this, Kelani, but I sense you are in danger, so I had to send you this memory! Please, be safe! I'm sure you'll know what to do!"
That one fades, and you find your senses from the point of view of a mare lounging on a chair, her green legs thrown up on the desk, polishing a rifle boredly. You recognize someone in the room, it's the pink pegasus mare that tracked you all the way to your hometown! She seems bored too, throwing knives at a wooden board full of pictures of ponies.
The attention of the body your senses are in is jerked to the door. The unicorn walks in, the one that read your mind!
He stops in front of a table, throwing down a bunch of documents. The mare boredly picks it up… it has your name on it! And your image too! Even one of your cutie mark!
"So? What do we know?"
"Nothing new about Mirage. I went through the memories, all the ones that must be when he is… wherever the witch is hiding out are hazy and blurred. She knows what she is doing and what we are capable of."
"Shit. And this joker?"
"Got caught up with them, although not on purpose it seems. He got into a fight with Rais and survived. Same with Angel."
The body lets out a whistle.
"Fuck me, that's impressive. What else?"
"He is inventive, cunning, manipulative. Good problem solving skills, compulsive liar. Good at subterfuge, tricks, not so much at fighting. Could be a valuable asset."
"Ugh, fine, whatever, might as well give it a try. LOLLIPOP! Get your ass over here!"
The pink mare collects the knives and saunters to the desk.
The mare hooves her the image.
"Remember this bloke?"
"Find him. You've got three days. Don't fuck this up."
The pink mare gives a salute then flies off.
You wake up once again in your own body, next to the cart and the goats.
"Ooh, that seemed rough! You okay?"
I smile at the goat.
"I've got a fan. A mare fan even. She's got a picture she wants me to sign. But. The angle is awful! It shows me from the left instead of the right."
"Oh no! Wait! I know just the thing!"
She dives into the back of the cart and emerges with an easel and a canvas. Her hooves work WAAAAAAY faster than you think it should be possible, while the goat boy plays a music that shows just how epic this undertaking is!
In a minute, she shows you!
"There! How about this one?"
It's… actually really impressive, it might just be the best image that ever got made about you! It's a painting even, not those new photo things with the flash and long times to be able to be seen!
"Its incredible!" I say in awe at the goat's skills. "You skies have some incredible talents."
"Tee-hee! As I said, it hops in the family! Oooh, you should totally visit Granny if you go to the Island!"
"Sure, you say I need a magically balloon to see her?"
The other goat hops to you and hands you a blue balloon. From the looks of it, it is full of confetti.
"Just blow on it till it pops!"
I carefully hold it, does this fit in my bag?
It's completely flat for now, it has no air in it!
You can fit it right in!
Inside it goes.
"So, where are you two going to go now?"
"Oh, we're on a tour! We do shows and everything, living on the road! It's tons of fun!"
"Vanilla and Chocolate Skies world tour? That's a catchy title, if a mouthful."
"Coming to a clearing near you!"
She giggles while the other goat plays her off!
"Do you do ballads too? Maybe ones about golden mane'd mares?"
"Tee-hee, are you asking us to help you with a serenade?"
She bursts out laughing while the boy whistles suggestively!
"Don't worry, I can handle that myself. Actually never mind it. I wonder if a wolf likes music.."
"OOoh, animals love music! They can't resist joining in! Check this out!"
She bows graciously and the boy goat nods with determination.
He jumps up on top of the cart with a guitar and starts playing… It's a very simple and fast, exotic note. The complexity of what he does is not impressive, it's quite simple, however, you are amazed, as you hear cicadas and crickets chirp in complete unison in response, as if they formed a hivemind and worked in unision to chirp and crick at the exact same moments, giving a base under the guitar! It doesn't take long until you hear birds of all types join in, but not in disorder, not in a chaotic fashion, but as orderly as the Royal Orchestra of Celestia Herself would play a piece!
'1d10' join in with a low 'do' note to complimentRoll #1 6 = 6
You join in with your own fairly good addition as the whole forest seems even more alive than usual for a few minutes, all the nearby animals coming just close enough to contribute, wolves howling, foxes gekkering, birds chirping, frogs croaking, even the trees themselves seem to blow their leaves into the wind with a hushed whisper!
By the time it ends, you notice your eyes have welled up a bit and that your heart is filled with immeasurable warmth.
"You two need to keep performing. Don't let any mean mares
stop you, kids." I wipe away the tears.
Then shake my feathers out. "I should go, before my fan finds me here. A forest is no place for such a meeting after all."
"Oh don't worry, if we come across any bad ponies we just make them dance until they collapse!"
She giggles and the goat boy snickers silently, high-hoofing each other.
"Best of luck to you, Kelani! I hope your date goes well!"
"It was nice meeting you Chocolate and Vanilla Skies." I wave to them and go off. Off toward a city, baltimare was close I think?
They both wave at you too, as you head towards Los Pegasus, which is the closest from here, you can get there in just a few hours with some friendly wind currents! Roll for travel quality!
'1d10' rushinRoll #1 2 = 2
You either have to fly high where it's getting a bit chilly or face headwind, so you're a bit cold by the time you touch down at the outskirts of the Big City! Brr! It doesn't help that they have rain scheduled over most of the city, from the looks of it!
rain is good for hiding in, I can use that!
I will disguise myself before I go in. As a chef prenchie. '1d10+2'Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4
You do your best manedo for it, but lack the hat and apron at the moment.
Still, just by steering yourself to the food district, you blend in more already!
Its better than not trying at least. In the rain it might fool someone.
Food district.. I should look at candies, I bet they have something special, and those are easy to carry.
Chell would say they are not proper sustenance!
Then again, Lockbox would say whatever makes you happy…
Most candy stalls are closed due to the rain, but there is a large, fancy candy store!
Chell doesn't know how to live yet, she's never even tried candies.
Lockbox however knows how to enjoy a good sweet.
Go inside the big store.
The little bell dings as the door hits it and you enter.
"Ah, my friend, you have come to the right place! Step in, dry off, have a warm cocoa or tea on the house then decide what you would like to indulge in today! The Sun of the Princess may not be out, but it shines bright in all our hearts with kindness if we believe in it!"
Woah, that old stallion in the fancy tailcoat really motor-mouthed that! He must be the owner, and he must have been doing this for a LONG time!
"Thank you thank you, I'm sure you'll have just the thing I'm looking for. This city's flavor is so dull without dessert."
I trot a little differently, partly to avoid dripping on candy and partly to act more refined.
Locate the cocoa and take a sample.
This way of walking would kill your back if you had to keep it up 24/7 like some of those fancy ponies!
You hardly have to locate it, though, as the old stallion not only helps you out of your wet saddlebags but even pulls the chair out for you before offering the tea and cocoa mug on a silver platter, placing the latter in front of you as you make your choice.
Smells fresh and tasty! Tastes so too!
Oh, the full treatment.
"Thank you. That's very good."
Glance around the shelved stock.
The prices are just a tad steep, but this does seem to be a very respectful estabilishment, and if the warm drink is anything to go by, you won't be disappointed. There's hard candy, toffee, caramel, lollipops, candy canes, jellybeans, gummy bears, those weird black things, even some mints! There seems to be an exotic corner too, which is obviously more expensive but has treats from distant lands!
Jelly beans that's a perfect starter candy. Lots of flavors. And mints are refined and bursting with intensity. I pick out what I can reasonably afford as presents… but take a look at the 'exotic' ones just out of curiosity.
You grab a few bags of the sweets and check them out.
They have some premium quality sweet scones from the Gryphon Kingdom.
Lokum, or Saddle Arabian Delight, which looks like some strange jelly with powdered sugar on it.
Zebra's Kiss, apparently the sweet marshmallow inside is hidden by the thick dark and white chocolate running in stripes around it, surrounding it completely.
Funnily enough, there is a selection of peanut butter biscuits shaped like tiny bones. A small plaque commemorates their creation to a succesful trade deal between Diamond Dogs and ponies, sharing culture and poking a fun at even themselves.
There's actually hard candy that is made from pulverized gems and dragonfire-melted sugar, but that one… that is far, far beyond your monetary reach.
get one of these zebra's kiss cakes, that will be a treat lockbox hasn't seen before!
You are sure it will be! The old stallion nods with an approving smile too!
"Will that be all?"
"Yes, It will do. Thank you."
Glance out at the weather.
It's still rainy, must be scheduled for all the day!
"Mind if I wait for the rain to lighten up?"
"It might take a while, but you can enjoy yourself here as long as you like! If you drink your warm beverage, you can get another too!"
"I see. Have you heard any interesting news?"
"Oh, I try not to sour my mood with nasty rumours, but I do know that there is a group of ponies that plan to hold peace rallies in cities all across Equestria! They also do a lot of charity work, the sweet souls. I have donated some candy to their organization last month, it is a cause we can all get behind I think."
"Organization? Which one?"
"It was… hmm… something of Harmony. I apologize, I cannot recall what exactly, but I am sure they are not hard to find."
"Harmony? What are they protesting exactly?"
"They aren't protesting as much as they are preaching certain values, you see. Generosity, Kindness, Laughter, Loyalty…there were other things too, but those are the ones that I really remembered. They say that we should let these virtues govern our lives."
"Hmm, A philosophical approach, breaking all decisions down into their core motives."
"That is an astute observation, but they seem to be more than ponies who try to gain prestige by following a noble cause. I have heard that some of them follow these virtues to their hearts, even if it means they lose face, wealth or even their lives in the process, but once again, I give no heed to rumours."
"Rumors are the product of boredom, and little more. A fascination with that would reflect badly." I comment with a hoof wave.
"Perhaps I will see these ponies, if they're so active anyway."
"If you are not averse to travelling, I would suggest Canterlot. From what they have been advertising, they will gather at the time of the military march this week, to prove their point of peace."
"I doubt the military will appreciate that."
"They would never hurt innocent Equestrians, not when they aim to impress the Princess!"
"Yes, there is no cause for anyone to be harmed. If its about peace."
Is the rain settled down a bit?
You'll get a bit wet if you go outside, but definitely not drenched, so it's better now!
"Not to mention they seem to genuinely take the issues of the poor and unfortuante to their hearts!"
"It sounds like a very unique charity movement indeed."
This would be a good time for an umbrella.
"It seems like a break in the rain, I'd best take this chance. Pleasure talking with you." And out we go!
You can always try to buy or 'borrow' one somewhere in this street!
"The pleasure is all mine, good day to you, sir!"
The old stallion bows was you collect your candy and move out! Where to now?
Where is around here?
'1d10' spot checkinRoll #1 4 = 4
The warm rain softly drip-dropping on your muzzle is a bit annoying, makes it hard to think! You see that a few of the shops are actually closed too, but there are many fashion shops still open, as well as a store called Cane Emperorium, a bookstore, an antique store, a pawn shop, and that is just this stretch of the long street.
Cane Emporium? It might be my disguise leading me, but that seems like the place to be.
It's perfectly fitting for a fancy pony such as you walking in there!
As you enter, you see a middle-aged mare look up from her book, seemingly bored before but her eye shines a bit as you enter.
"Oh, a customer! Welcome to the Cane Emporium, the finest canes, rods, staves and umberallas on this coast of Equestria!"
"We shall see!" I reply skeptically. Glance at the prices on these wares first off.
You hold your nose real high, just like you see a lot of rich jerks do!
They vary wildly, while some of the simple yet quality wooden canes are affordable even for you, there are quite a few elaborate wooden canes and staves with magical gems and properties that cost more than a house from where you come from!
The unicorn mare nods.
"If you chose this store on a rainy day like this, I am sure you cannot be disappointed!"
Mm, perhaps a simple black umbrella would not be too bad.
Plebian tier tiny umbrella that pops out, or fancy umbrella for a grown up stallion with style that is simple, black and traditional?
large but black and traditional of course
The mare seems to be unbelievably please that you made a purchase on a slow day as this, even if it's just a simple yet elegant umbrella!
"Good day Miss." I tell her and head back to my town adventure with my new umbrella.
'1d10' keep trotting along the shops.Roll #1 3 = 3
You got your umbrella now at least to cover yourself!
Still, you just wander aimlessly around the shops for a bit. You cannot stop thinking of a tune…If your blue and you don't know where to go to
why don't you go where fashion sits
You find yourself humming.Have you seen the well to do
Up and down Park Avenue
On that famous through fare
With their noses in the air
High hats and narrow collars
White spats and lots of dollars
Spending every dime
For a wonderful time.
Okay, now this is getting a bit unnerving.
That is actual music coming from somewhere, and it's not the streets, and if it's just in your head, well, that would be even more worrying!
I did meet some musical goats earlier.
I wonder if they wound up here too. Look for the musician cart '1d10'Roll #1 6 = 6
But you flew far away from them!
You start looking around but with no results.
You turn your head, the music gets louder.
You look forward, it is more quiet again.
After a few seconds of almost audible thinking, you realize.
The music is coming from your saddlebags!
Better check that out or I'll draw unwanted attention.
Good thing the streets are empty!
You check your bag and as you open it, you see that the music is coming out of the flat balloon you were given by the little goats!
Okay, I suppose I better use this thing.. just inflate it and pop it I think is what they said..
You take a deep breath and start blowing the air into the balloon.
It gets bigger and bigger until it pops right into your face with a flash, the light and confetti blinding you while your ears ring from the pop!
It takes your senses a few seconds to come back to you, and you immediately feel something is different…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4RSkNl4fCs
The sun is shining onto your coat warmly, you feel sand under your hooves and once the ringing in your ears is gone, you hear music!
You look around and see that around you is… you can't really call it a settlement, but as far as you can see, you see palm trees and different stages, some small, some large, some plain, some elaborate, some aqoustic for music, some elevated for acting, and above all, you see creatures of all kinds around you just having fun and enjoying themselves without a care in the world! The music you hear right now is coming from an assortment of ponies, gryphons and diamond dogs marching down on one of the 'roads', playing their instruments while others cheer and whoop at them!
Its like a huge party.
Follow the band at a distance.
Judging by the distant sounds of different music you hear every now and then, you'd say it's lots of huge parties all at once!
They keep a very good pace despite playing instruments on the go, and you pass some more performance stages and just random performances by the streetside too.
They seem to be approaching a spire in the middle of… well, judging by the sand and the trees, this has to be an island.
The middle of the island, there must be something going on here.
Must be a reason they are going there too!
You see a smaller marching band run into this one at an intersection.
That one only has mares for members, well, and two adolescent female dragons.
There is an intense staredown between the two bands and you can feel the electricity in the air… before the lead-mare raises her trumpet to her mouth and starts playing the two groups of musicians merging into one larger band, the flag twirlers winking at the sides at the cheering of the bystanders and dragonesses shaking the soft pom-poms covering their clawed hands!
You also see that there is indeed a huge stage at the base of that spire in the middle.
I'll find a suitable place to sit and watch the huge stage.
This is a lot more exciting than a rainy street for sure. Such a pretty band..
Maybe you can pretend you're a dancer stallion to get closer to some of them later!
As for a good place, you look for a while and notice something strange.
Here and there you see clouds that have cold, snowy patches in them, which is weird in a warm place like this.
Then you realize those small clouds contain booze and other refreshment, kept cold by the snowy-core of the cloud, not to mention providing a sitting place for pegasi at the edges where it's regular cloud-temperature!
That's exactly perfect for me. Fly up there and get comfy, in my regular way even putting up the monocle and umbrella for a while.
You fly up to the cloud, make yourself comfortable next to some cold beers and use your umbrella as a parasol
, just to show off.
View is perfect and no one minds!
You see quite a big gathering around the stage, but it's empty, aside from dozens of various instruments on stands by themselves displayed there.
I wonder what they're waiting on.. look for posters '1d10'Roll #1 5 = 5
You can't really see any posters nearby at least…
Something is happening though, everyone hushes up and all is quiet as you see an ancient looking goat lady very, very slowly make her way out to the middle of the stage!
Whoa, this must be the one the kids spoke of.
Once she finally makes it to the middle of the stage, she clears her throat, talking into some sort of magical amplifier that makes her voice sound clear yet loud even with the distance.
"Sorry folks, I'm just feeling really tired for a concert today…"
There is a gasp from everyone and worried murmurs!
That is concerning.
The worry hangs over the heads of everyone for several seconds before you hear the sound of gentle drums, soon joined by the strumming of a guitar, then a flute, then more instruments, slowly building up…
"Aaaaaaaaah, I'm just joshing with you, I'd never leave my lovelies without music and fun!"
The stage EXPLODES with music and light in a second, and despite her age, the old goat lady shakes her hips to and fro while ALL the instruments behind her play themselves! It's not even magic, you don't see the glow of any unicorn's horn, they just somehow produce the music all by themselves, yet in perfect balance to the movements to the goat!
Incredible! Pick a drink from the cloud and sip eagerly as I watch.
You take a cold brew to take a sip of as you watch and listen, the crowd going wild when she starts singing! It's almost trance-like, the music and all the people reacting as one, and you barely realize the passing of time!
For a while, that is, until time almost seems to slow down and she seems to look right at you for a second, interjecting something strange into her singing.
"Byyyyyyyyyyyyy the way, I've got a really nice frog statue at the spire if anypony wants it! It seems really unique, you can pick it up after the concert! No one? Okay, I'll just keep it on the shelf then!"
Rush over, hoovering at the edge of the stage excitingly waving at her.
"I'll take it!"
She grins at you deviously, holding a greying hoof at her brown ear.
"Sorry, I can't quite hear you over the music! Autographs will have to wait!"
She giggles to herself and goes back to singing to the crowd!
but how could she have known!
Better stay here and wait for her finish.
She takes another half an hour of -admittedly very catchy- singing before bowing to the crowd and urging them to have fun and make music and art of their own at the Island of Freedom, since that is what it's all about!
She looks at you and sticks out her tongue with a cheeky wink before hopping of the stage to the side!
I see this is a game of its own.
go around back after her.
In the short few seconds that you have to fly around, she has disappeared completely!
She was so slow earlier!
I get it, she's actually a wizard. And this is her own game. Looking for a clue she must have left here.
'1d10'Roll #1 3 = 3
Well, she IS on the home field!
She did mention she'll leave it on the shelf in her home… would that be the spiral or another house?
How would I even know?
But a game can't start until she leaves a trail. maybe a trap door even.. '1d10'Roll #1 2 = 2
Nope. You don't see what could be your trail…
The nearest thing to here is just a small stage with two pedestals and a banner "Dance-off Empire" and a sign 'Professionals and Natural talents welcome!
A dance off? I suppose I bust a move, who's the competition?
You approach to see what this is about, and a young donkey jack quickly grabs you and leads you to one of the pedestals!
"Ah yes, here we have another contender! You're a natural, aren't you? Well, you won't have it easy, your opponent is a big-shot too!"
You see that on the other pedestal is a unicorn with tap-horseshoes!
There's also a small band behind him with a piano, violin, drums and two saxophones!
The donkey jack turns to you again.
"You both get a round of single dance to impress your opponent to your own music before you have to shake what you've got at the same time, to the same music!"
You see the unicorn nod to his band after clicking his hoof on the wood, and they start playing in perfect synch, the band supplementing his lighting fast, rythmic and musical hoof-tapping that incorporates a lot of swinging back and forth with his body too! You don't even see two minutes pass by and he is done, grinning at you!
…but wait, what about music for you? Should you just ask the donkey?
"My own band? Give me a minute."
This place is so musical, I'll just get someone to help. Look for a free musician horse.
'1d10' luckRoll #1 3 = 3
"I'm afraid you can't leave the dance-off stage once you're up!"
"But turn around!"
You do so and see that there are young colts and fillies there, drums, cimbals, trumpets and trombones, even a contrabass and a cello too!
"These foals study under the great musician Buttermilk Sky herself! You should consider yourself lucky!"
They all smile and wave at you!
The drummer colt leads you in too, and you can already feel your spirits lifted…This roll cannot critfail and the music grants you a +5!
You don't have to worry about the roll being bad, since you can describe some unique Kelani moves for bonus points!
"Play something cheerful, the ponies want to smile." I nod at the band of children.
I start with a ready to fly pose, and then leap and flip, landing on one hoof. I flick my tail just a little and make crescent shape with my hooves, the lower one toward my oppenent making a 'come here' gesture. I take a couple quick steps back and then make a hopping motion right and left. With a few pretend boxing punches and a wink at the audience, I should have their approval.
'1d10+5'Roll #1 3 + 5 = 8
You strut your stuff, athetically but with lots of tongue and cheek moves, and the audience goes crazy for it!
Even the tap-dancer unicorn is amazed!
"Wow, ladies and gentlecolts, equines of all shapes and ages, what a WONDERFUL performance we have seen from both contestants in the singles round! But now it's time to merge bands and play harder!
The show goes on for three minutes of dance-off action or until one party throws in the towel!"
You glance at the side to see the "scoreboard"… it's just two large boquets of flowers, but yours has an impressive fourteen different flowers in it, while he only has seven! You can also use this as an advantage!
Dance off once again!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8cX1GA9iRw
"Maybe next round I'll have a partner?" I ask toward him, but really to the audeince with a smirk.
Time for a few showy moves, moving a square pattern.
'1d10+5'Roll #1 8 + 5 = 13
You see a pretty purple mare in the audiance fake a swoon!
You spare no expense or energy and use your wings and hooves for their utmost and best dancing performance, probably the best you've done all your life!
You need to take a few short breaths when the music stops, but see the crowd going wild! You are waaaaaay ahead on the opponent, you have almost three dozen flowers.
The donkey jack walks up to you, giving you a tiny box!
"Ladies and gentlecolts, equines of all shapes and ages, we haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave a winner! Contain yourself ladies, try not to smother him as he leaves the stage!"
Even the tap dancer unicorn nods at you approvingly!
I keep my swagger up as I walk, and bow don't show how tired I am after that.
Pick up the best flower bouquet with me.
You get lots of hollers and cheers on the way, and even grab one of the pretty bunch of flowers!
You also have that little box the donkey gave you as a prize!
Open the box.
It's… a piece of metal?
It has a little tag saying "Key Piece 1" on it!
Huh, that's mysterious.
I better keep that safe.
Must be part of the game to get to the statue!
But where will you find the other piece?
Maybe by winning other games!
But I can't waste this chance to mingle. Go find that purple mare.
You start looking for her in the crowd! You see her walking into a large tent!
It is housing some attractions with acrobats it seems!
Follow the pretty mare, always.
You follow her and see that there is a show going on with earth ponies hanging off white ropes in fancy dresses, doing all kind of twists and turns! It must be scary for them being that high without wings!
The purple mare is looking at them in awe, not yet noticing you entering!
Stand beside her commenting with a whistle. "What a show. What a dazzling performance. But wait, I think I see something even more amazing.." and hold out the flower bouquet looking at her.
She gasps at first, flattening her ears and covering her mouth with a hoof, glancing between the flower and you.
"For me? Really?"
Her blush is quite the indicator that your charms work!
I nod. "Of course, I know they aren't as exceptional as you, but I hope you'll accept it."
She nods gleefully!
"Of course I'll accept it! Thank you, it's so nice!"
She takes the boquet, still smiling at you.
"I loved your performance on the stage too! I haven't watched many dancing pegasi before, but the flighty moves blew me away!"
"I'm glad you were there to enjoy it. I couldn't have performed nearly as well without you there." I encourage her.
She waves a hoof with a giggle.
"Oh come on now, I cheered on you but you would have done fine!"
She holds the flowers close to her heart with a hoof.
"Although I never tried being a cheerleader for a handsome pegasus, but it could be a fun time!"
"Then will you come cheer me on still? I have been challenged to do more contests today. I would, appreciate your help."
She nods enthusiastically!
"I would love to! I am sure you will ace them just like you did with the dance-off!"
She nibbles on one of the flowers from the boquet absent mindedly as she thinks.
"Do I need an outfit for it?"
Chuckle softly at her.
"Sure, if you want, we can get you a cheerleading uniform."
"But where will we find one in my size on such a short notice?"
"That's just part of the challenge." I declare boldly.
"But let's just look around for a place.. do you know your way around the island?"
"Uh… somewhat! I mean, it changes up completely every few days, so it's hard to navigate! I'm no sure how some ponies do it who have been here for very long, and I'm only visiting here!"
"It.. changes?" I frown in confusion.
"Because it's the Island of Freedom! Nothing goes away, but things just… get mixed around to keep it fresh! So you can still be pleasantly surprised by things you know!"
"How unique. Let's go be pleasantly surprised." I offer her a hoof to help her up.
She blushes but takes your hoof with her soft one, the earth ponies still spinning on their silk ropes in the air.
"Lead the way!"
Off we go, any signs or roads outside?
There are roads yes, but also lots of signs!
Tons of stages, pubs and all that everywhere!
There's also things like beaches, the Chill Garden, the Magic Mirror, theathers, small circuses, a labyrinth, a creative workshop, food courts…
Go toward the creative workshop
The two of you walk there, and find that the 'workshop' is almost a small town of its own with shacks and small terraces for all kinds of creative activities! You see scupltors, painters, clay-sculptors, body-painters, mane-dressers, clothes makers, horseshoe makers… all kinds of art and appliances are made here!
"Wow, there are a lot of creative ponies here. Surely we'll find someone to help out.."
I browse the place calmly smiling at the body painter. "Ooh that looks fun too."
"Here they are free to make what they want without being judged! Isn't it great?"
"These are only temporary anyway! But why would you want a paintjob with such a nice coat?"
I shrug. "Guess you're right. I just got caught up into the mood."
Go over to a clothing maker's shack and look around for the owner.
"You could try on something new, see how it fits you! I think azure could be nice if you did something with your mane too!"
There are multiple cloth-makers!
You see an old gryphon lady who is making very comfy looking sweaters… for pets.
There is also a pony stallion who makes nothing but tablecloths and towels, but you see a unicorn mare nearby who is making a saddle but has skirts near her stall!
"You think so? But you'd have to help pick, how else will I know what to do?" I reply with a smile and guide us over to the saddle making stallion.
"You figured everything out for yourself on the dance off!"
You find a saddle-maker stallion too, not just a mare!
He smiles as you approach.
"What a nice couple you two make! Do you need any clothes made?"
"That's why we stopped by, can you make a cheer outfit? Maybe something.. azure?" I look at her to confirm.
The mare giggles.
"I meant azure would look good on you
if you did go with the body-paint! I think only the gold color is good enough for a cheer that is for you!"
"A cheer outfit? Hmm, I have everything I need for that, just going to have to put it all together. If you can come back in fifteen minutes, I can have it be ready by then!"
I rub my head laughing a little. "Right! I get it now."
To the clothes maker "Sure We'll see you then. Also what do we owe you for making that?"
"Owe me? It's free! Only thing you owe me is wearing and admiring it with joy!"
He smiles warmly at you, and you can see he is already working on the shirt-part that covers the chest and barrel of the pony who wears it!
"Oh! thanks then." Walk away to give him some space to work.
"What a friendly place."
"This is just a rumour, but I hear that the old goat personally makes sure that no bad ponies can ever get on the island! Don't ask how! That's why everypony can just genuinely relax here!"
"A goodness test? Well, that must mean you're a sweet hearted mare."
"It also means that you
are a sweet hearted stallion too!"
She looks at you with her big and pretty violet eyes.
"What do you want to do while we wait for the clothes?"
"Hmm what do you want to do?"
"Hmmm… there's a beach nearby, we could rest our hooves under a palm tree there!"
"A sweet mare, with lovely ideas too. To the beach we go."
I point towards it dramatically and offer to hold her hoof as we walk.
She takes your hoof with a smile, brushing up against you with her body as you two walk!
The nearby beach is not really crowded so you easily find a nice palm tree that gives shade, the mare sitting down on her haunches and looking around.
Some ponies are playing voleyball on one end of the beach, some are swimming while you see others on the water, riding the waves with surfboards.
Sit by her, wrap my wing around her and relax for a bit.
She leans her head against your shoulder as you do, the warm sand under you letting you shift around comfortably as you hear the sound of waves washing ashore rythmically.
…despite how crazy busy most of this place is, this place in particular is very peaceful, despite the muffled music coming from behind you and the occasional holler and laughter coming from the ponies enjoying themselves on the beach.
I might even be able to forget about the awful fires and spy plots for a bit in a place like this..
What are those?
Here there's only cute mares and nice stallions and all the other species too…
And while you can forget about the bad stuff, you cannot forget about Mother Nature, and that you will have to find those statues!
…just five more minutes won't hurt though!
The cute mare on your side definitely agrees!
definitely a good use of time, gotta keep my cheer mare happy.
She definitel seems to be enjoying herself!
After about ten mintutes of just relaxing in silence, she even archs her back and stretches all her hoofsies!
This is just to tempting. Take a wing and slowly move around to her hooves..
'1d10+1' tickle herRoll #1 5 + 1 = 6
She doesn't seem very ticklish… at first. But your soft feathers do entice a small giggling fit from her!
"Teeh, H-hey! Not fair, I don't have feathers to tickle back with!"
I gasp overly dramatically, putting a hoof to my mouth. "Oh! I didn't realize. How unfair of me, here."
Pluck one of my own long white feathers and hold it out to her.
She waits for you patiently and takes the feather between her teeth, holding it in her mouth, scanning your body for a few seconds… before attacking a tickle-spot on your neck and nape!
'1d10-1'Roll #1 4 - 1 = 3
chuckle a bit at her efforts and retaliate with belly tickling.
'1d10+1'Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9
Being a pegasus, this comes naturally to you while she struggles to nail the proper technique.
It doesn't take long until she is on her back, trying to deflect your wing with her forehooves, gasping with laughter!
I stop and nuzzle her neck affectionately.
"Looks like I won another island challenge already."
She rubs her muzzle against yours.
"But I didn't prepare a prize!"
She's just too cute, kiss the mare.
"That will do, and your name, sweet thing." stare into her violet eyes.
She is not taken aback too much, she even kisses you back softly before smiling with a slight blush.
"Joy Bundle, but just call me Joy! What name do I cheer you
on with then?"
"Kelani Rush. Simply Kelani is fine." I reply, no need to use a fake name here, besides the goats already knew mine.
"Speaking of cheering, want to go see if your clothes is ready? Joy?"
It's almost liberating to be so honest with no worries!
She nods with a smile.
"Let's go! I hope it will look good on me!"
Its slightly unnerving, like its all some kind of dream and I'll wake up in a cold rainy alley with no wallet..
"I'm sure it will, its golden, like your smile."
But for now, I walk Joy to the clothes maker, enjoying the sunshine.
"Oh you and your flattery, save some of that energy for yourself!"
She still giggles though!
The two of you walk back and the stallion shows her a small changing room nearby.
You are quite amazed when she comes out.
The gold does go very
well with her purple coat and violet eyes, the shirt is a perfect fit for her and she even has some long socks on her forehooves, while the skirt is just right to cover her flanks but still show a slight glimpse here and there as she walks and moves around!
"You look incredible!" I hoover near here to admire it closer.
"Is it comfortable? Can you move okay?"
"Thanks! I do feel great in it!"
She rears up and kicks the air with her forelegs before landing and bucking at the air, the skirt flipping to show her derriere off for a second.
"I feel full of energy and ready to burst too!"
I clap a couple times for her demonstration.
"Then let's find the next challenge, I have a feeling it will be near music again."
"Lead the way!"
"Unless you want me
to, now that I'm all dressed up!"
I snicker, "Only if you want to, let's try this way."
I head to the south, listening for music. '1d10'Roll #1 7 = 7
There's music everywhere!
Still, there's a particular one that catches your ear like a siren's song draws the sailor closer!
It sounds like a nice little orchestra singing along with a chorus who just sing in intonations, but there is the voice of a mare who stands out!
I just have to get closer to see what she's preforming for.
Woah, there's got to be at least thirty ponies in that orchestra!
And in the middle there is that older mare in a beautiful evening gown, singing…
As the song comes to an end you also notice that she has the Key Piece #2 on her neck, like a necklace!
I can't possibly out sing her.. look around for signs or posters as to what this stage is for.
You definitely can't!
You do see a sign nearby…
"Step up to the Amazing Diva!
She can read your emotions out of your eyes, but are you brave enough to withstand one of your fears in song form?
Or can you go one step further and rhyme in your defense? Find out now!
"…" I tap the sign.
"Aha! This is a challenge after all. I understand about the rhymes, but what could fears in song form be?"
Joy tilts her head.
"I saw her sing like that before. They aren't about spiders and stuff like that, I think they are more… emotional. That's why she stares into your eyes for like a minute before she starts to sing!"
"Mind reading! That must be it." I think back, and.. I never actually learned a defense against that..
"Maybe its too risky to let her."
"Why? She speaks in riddles! I doubt anypony aside from you will actually understand! At least I never understood what was so emotional about her other songs."
"Because last time I had my mind read.. nothing good came of it.." I frown into the distance. "But its the challenge, and I'm the challenger. Can't back down now."
Joy leans closer to plant a small smooch on your muzzle.
"I believe in you, don't worry!"
I smile at that.
"I'll be looking for you out there, Joy."
Fly up to the stage confidently approaching the pretty mare with a smirk. "Hello, Amazing Diva? I'd like to participate in your challenge."
The old mare nods with a wise expression, motioning to the stage in front of her, her plethora of golden bracelets on her hoof jingling with the motion.
"I see. Stand here, young stallion, and look deep into my eyes."
Stand where she indicates, and focus on, cloud beds, so she has a harder time picking up my secrets '1d10'Roll #1 6 = 6
She stares long and hard into your eyes before smiling, clearing her throat and walking a few steps back, motioning with a hoof to her orchestra.
She turns back to face you as they start the music, the drums and the bass starting off hard with a quirkly little whistling flute.
The old mare starts walking towards you, shaking her hips, and to your surprise when she starts to sing her voice sounds like… Lockbox? It's not the same, it's clearly difference, but it's still uncanny!
"Untrue, unfaithful, that was you!
Every other day there was someone new!
Untrue, unfaithful, that was you!
Why was I a fool falling in love with you?"
I shiver at the voice.
But then I take a deep breath, fluff my wings out a little, give her a verse in reply.
"Economy my dear, clues aren't free
Trades in the night, for coins some won't do
In these I lend a way to please, favors true
After my ear they've bent
On my way I went
My heart yours will always be.
The old mare raises a brow in pleasant surprise at your witty response, but does not waver!
She keeps singing, the orchestra slowing down to fit her new verse.
"Wishing for something other than love
Wishing that I had never known love
Wishing I could forget
Wishing that I had never tasted
Kisses that suddenly are wasted
Wishing I could forget you
Wishing we'd never met!
Despite knowing this is just a song, the words sting a bit since she does sound a lot like Lockbox right now…
Out of the corner of your eye, you do see Joy biting her lip, not wanting to cheer loudly and interrupt the orchestra and the singing, but you see her eyes sparkle with hope for you, which helps out a lot!
This is a tough challenge. Give her a nod and determinedly press on.
"All the time I spent
Tinkering behind the stage
Setting up the plays for you
Hearing it only made you blue
A fool today, my heart swells in rage
In this result, wishing I was never sent
The orchestra slows down even more, all the drums quieting down, the angelic choir and harps and flutes taking over completely to a mellow, relaxing tune.
The old mare, now no longer mimicking the sound of Lockbox, sounds almost divine, touching your heartstrings.
"Yet you were sent by your one true love
Taking wings as her messenger dove
Finding all that has thought to been lost
While finding for yourself what matters the most.
With the last words, the old mare smiles warmly, handing you the necklace that has the key piece.
I breath a sigh of relief, turning from the crowd for just a single tear.. then turn around posing victoriously and hold up the key
You hide your single tear for a second and turn with pride to the crowd.
To your relief, you see that even most of the crowd that gathered welled up at least a bit, but Joy rears up with glee to cheer on you, and soon the sound of clop-clapping and hollering fills your ears!
Judging by the shape of this thing, you now only need the middle part to have the key ready!
I fly to Joy with a wide smile.
"So, what did you think?"
She rears up again in a giddy way (showing some fur in the process) and smiles at you.
"You were amazing! You barely hesitated and stood up to her without fear! How did you do it?"
I smirk, admiring the fur as she does.
"Well, I had you here to cheer me on."
She either doesn't notice, or more likely she just doesn't mind.
"I had to cheer in silence though! It was soooooooo tough to hold back!"
I nod, "I saw you, that was enough. Maybe the next challenge will be something louder."
"I hope! But how do you know what is just for fun and what is a challenge for you?"
"Uh.. the instructions aren't too clear."
Show her the key pieces. "The real challenges award these."
"There were intsructions?"
She inspect the key pieces.
"Hmm… so you need one more for the middle of this?… Could it be near the middle of the island then?"
"More of a riddle really." I muse back at the goat's song.
"Middle of the island? Its worth a look. Want to fly there?" I ask and bend down a bit to offer to carry her on my back.
"There is a mini-arena there with all kinds of games! No fighting, of course, violence of any kind is prohibited!"
She looks happy at your offer.
"Heheh, oh dear, okay!"
She climbs onto your back!
"Hang on tight."
Off into the sky we go.
Her forehooves grab around your neck firmly as you take off carefully.
She giggles and whoops in the sky, clearly enjoying the ride!
You do see a wooden building that almost looks like a small arena…
Then I will land there, maybe watch a round to see what it is.
You land on the wooden seats surrounding it, Joy climbing off your back to sit on her haunches beside you.
It seems like… a duel of magic?
But only one of them is a unicorn, the other is an earth pony with a wand!
The spells they use are all pretty wild and whacky, but you just arrive at the end, where the earth pony tries to summon a giant orb of water to hurl at the unicorn, who doesn't waste time and uses her own magic to turn it all into honey!
The giant honeyball drops on the earth pony who gets stuck in the sticky substance, shouting a concede!
"Oooh, Miss Strange wins again with a sweet move! Looks like the challenger didn't mind his own beeswax! Sorry honey, but you are out of the game!"
There is cheering and applauding as the magic is dispelled and the earth pony leaves the arena.
"Remember folks, anyone can challenge Miss Strange! No magic? No problem! You get a Certified Buttermilk Sky Magic Wand of Amusement! Disclaimer: Only works on the Island of Freedom and only for non-violent creative spells."
"Awh its spells, no way I'll be good at this.."
Joy prods your side.
"They say you get a wand! You did so well so far, I'm sure this won't be a problem either!"
Smile at her, puffing up in a confident pose.
"You're right. I'll blow them away." First find Joy a great seat to watch from.
You hear a comedically timed pigeon coo as you puff out your chest and you quickly carry Joy to the VIP section.
She gives you a smooch on the cheek.
"Go get them!"
Smirk at her as I easily glide to the stage.
Then ask whoever looks in charge. "So, what are the rules of the magic wand battle?"
You fly down into the 'arena' and quickly realize that the commentator was a Gryphon from above!
He glides down, grabbing one of your hooves and shaking it before putting the weird, crooked wand into it!
"A new challenger! The rules are simple, use as many non-violent spells as you can to make your opponent concede! The magic within this area is contained, you literally
cannot hurt each other even if you try, but don't try if you can! Even a foal can use the wands too, just think of a thing and whoosh, it will be so! In the words of the wise goat, BE CREATIVE
The unicorn mare on the other side of the arena starts stretching with a smirk on her face!
"So simple a foal can use it huh?"
I hold the wand in my left hoof then my right, then wave it and think about 'The Magnificent Champion Kelani!
spelled out in blue glowing letters.
You wave it about…
You hear Joy laugh uncontrollably…
You glance up and see it!
"Great! I'm ready." Smirk at the unicorn. "Unless you already want to concede."
"Hah, you wish!"
The gryphon flies up.
"I guess our new contestant introduced himself with his little light show quite enough!
Allright, Get set, ready… SPELLS AWAY!"
I think about making a wave of water in front me toward the unicorn.
You conjure up a giant tidal wave of water out of nothing in front of you which starts rolling towards her with a roar!
To your surprise, she waits until it almost reaches her… before conjuring a surf board and turning the wave around! She even kicks the board out from under her to shoot it at you, and it turns into a giant cake in the air! That's going to be messy if it hits!
I give myself a seapony tail and jump into it swimming with her.
You turn your tail into a scaly fishtail, adapting surprisingly quick in how to use it and start swimming to keep up with her, even giving her a sly, cocky grin!
She narrows her eyes with a challenging smile, then hops away from the water… turning it into honey again! Uh-oh, this is how she won last time, the earth pony got stuck in it, and you are getting sticky too! You'll have to think fast while you can whip the wand around!
Oh, I know. Turn myself into a bear and eat the honey.
You turn into a bear real quick and start lapping and sucking around you with cartoonish speed granted to you by the magic wand, the sweet honey disappearing in a flash!
The cheer of the crowd fills the arena, but even out of that you can hear the voice of Joy standing out as she jumps up and down her seat to root for you!
However, Miss Strange doesn't waste time, and conjures a small yet comfy looking cave next to you with a soft lullaby coming out of it, making you feel a bit drowsy after all that honey…
Aha I will summon a discoball and party decorations in the cave, and glowing text that says Rush To Victory Party Deb
A discoball slowly descends from the cave as the text appears.
As the text illuminates the ball, it starts to play some funky music, filling you with energy!
You hear an annoyed grunt from the unicorn.
The gryphon laughs! You probably couldn't hear his commentary from all that time underwater/underhoney!
"What's this, Miss Strange is getting antsy? She's not down with this groove of not being the top dog! Whatever our contestant is doing, it seems to be working!"
The unicorn mare teleports to the cave in a flash, but summons a Paper-cutout bouncer at the door with a sign "GIRL'S NIGHT AT VICTORY - NO BEARS AND STALLIONS"
It's not even flashy or glowy, how lame!
I gasp in horror, not allowed where all the girls are?
I change myself back into a pony, and peak inside.
You change back to your pegasus form and try to peek in, but the paper-bouncer blocks your way!
You hear the sounds of a party, girls laughing and general sounds of victory and winning from inside!
"Looks like Champion Kelani will not have his one night at Victory at this rate! Is having a party for winners only a win condition? I don't know, nopony has ever done that before!"
You hear a distant "Go go Kelani!" from Joy at least!
I give a determined smirk.
give myself a paintbrush and grab the sign, adding a "without female escort" after stallions and whip up two invitations in my hoof, teleporting Joy down here.
You quickly scribble the addition to the sign and make Joy appear next to you with a pomf!
She giggles, showing her cheerleader outfit off a bit before jumping in front of the paper-bouncer.
"Excuse us, we have important business here!"
The magic-animated paper pony looks at the sign, then at the two of you and your invites before stepping aside and letting both of you in!
Turns out, it was just the unicorn mare in here with a box making 'party and winning sounds' (it says so on the side).
She narrows her eyes.
"Wait, you got in this easily? That's not how I expected to… ugh! Never trust a magic servant!"
Joy sticks out her tongue.
"Party pooper!" - before her mouth is zipped close by the mare.
"You haven't won yet, Kelani!"
She summons a scroll that plops down into your hand then smirks! Huh… what could it say?
I can't help but look at it. Too curious.
It's probably what she was expecting as she teleports out of the impromptu nightclub!
You open it and see it is… a deed of ownership for it!
You get a prod on your shoulder by a policemare in sunglasses.
"Excuse me, sir, is this your estabilishment? It is against the law to build and operate clubs without permission!"
I look surprised and then zap a lawyer mare cut out to help me.
"That law only applies if we charge admission right? because this is a free entry party. Tell em' law mare."
The paper-cutout lawyer mare in her fancy suit clears her throat and makes sure her paper-cutout glasses are on properly before talking to the fake cop.
"According to article 15 of the Laughter Law, all parties are to be considered lawful if they are non-profit and only serve the enjoyment of Equestrian citizens."
I nod smugly with my front hooves crossed.
"Yep. So this party is legal. "
As soon as you say it, the cave, aka the disco disappears! Oh, right, she was the one who conjured it in the first place, so she could make it disappear too!
"We'll see how big your mouth is now!"
The unicorn says and… Oh no!
She just magicked your mouth clean off!
You have no mouth and you must bantz!
I will flex my dance skills, with Joy as partner, but give her magical fairy wings and conjure up a fairy band to follow us around as we express ourselves in the sky.
A bunch of tiny fairies appear and start to play cute little music on their tiny little instruments!
You give Joy a pair of beautiful butterfly wings and you take to the air!
She seems… well, overjoyed, giggling to herself as the two of you waltz through the air.
"UGH! Fine! I give up! You just cannot be discouraged!"
"INCREDIBLE! Miss Strange has been beaten! She just couldn't break the Kelani and the dance was the last step!"
You also get your mouth back!
I better land and give up the wand.
"It was a pleasure battling you Miss."
"You are good, kid… very good. Not only that, but you have perseverence!"
In a flash, the last key piece appears in front of you!
"You deserve to have this."
"It was just about thinking, creatively
." I roll the key into my wing
"Besides, perseverance isn't my only talent." I wink at her before turning to show the crowd my latest prize.
You make her blush before she snorts and turns away!
The crowd hollers and cheers.
"You've seen and heard it here folks!" announces the Gryphon.
Even Joy starts to jump around in glee, which is quite a nice sight in that outfit of hers!
Bask in this moment, just long enough to really remember it, maybe I can show this memory my friend.
Then offer to carry Joy out of the arena on my back, in front of everyone.
You make a show even of that little motion, and she hops on your back as you fly off!
It is something to remember for sure!
You think the spiral-shaped building in the middle is the destination now!
Spiral building, okay.
Land nearby it, and take the key pieces, maybe I can assemble them now?
As you land nearby, you see a door form, and he key pieces even magically float up and melt into one-another, forming a curvy, intricate key!
"This must be it." I will approach the door and try to open it.
You slide the key into a door and hear a soft click.
It turns into ash before your eyes, opening up to a corridor that seems… impossible. The spire doesn't even go that long, yet the corridor looks long enough to stretch from one end of the island to the other.
Joy tilts her head.
"Uh, did it work? What must be it? I don't see anything!"
I pat her shoulder.
"I guess cheermares aren't allowed up then.. I'll find you after I'm done here."
She pouts a bit, but then smiles.
"Allright! I might not know where you are or what you are doing, but I'll be cheering in spirit!"
Kiss the girl.
"Do you want me to bring you somewhere else before I go up?"
She blushes, standing on her tip-hooves for a second.
"I can wait for you! At least then we'll have all the time we'll want without worries!"
I nod. "See you when I get back."
Then open the door.
You open the door and enter into the light…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UVAPd5Pqes
The door behind you is now gone and you find yourself in a long corridor. You see another light at the end of the corridor, which is lined with many doors on both sides!
It's very nice, light, bright and relaxing here, almost like the Celestial idea of Heaven!
Just with a lot more doors.
I get a little creeped out actually, walking slowly straight up with my wings tucked close to my sides.
What's even worse is that despite being horizontal, the more you walk down the corridor the more it feels like you are… going up?
Is this the Spiral, but sideways? But why aren't you falling as you walk then?
You also hear strange noises or music from some doors.
Well. I open one of the doors with the sounds.
You open the door to some sort of parlor…
And in the middle there is a table, and around it there are seven dogs playing poker.
…but not diamond dogs.
Like, you know, the pets.
But with hats and everything.
The honky-tonk piano music cuts short as you open the door, all the dogs looking up at you, only the creaking of the wooden chairs breaking the awkward silence you have created.