Maeda843 posts and 2 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.
Slowly, gently, a tremor running through your body – you lean in. It feels so surreal. The air seems to be made of cotton - your whole body is numb, like a dream. You feel like you've been in the motion of leaning forward for several minutes when suddenly your sense of balance goes and you plant your face on the bed. Opening your eyes, you see you were a little too far to the side, and missed. At least your mouth didn't end up anywhere embarrassing. Strictures kisses your forehead as you lay there, red-faced.
Just when it seems the furnace is hot enough to make a decent bath, your door suddenly swings open, interrupting your moment. One of the Inquisitors you met earlier barges in out of the rain, shutting the storm out with a slam of the door.
"We've found the source."
Stricture, not missing a beat, replies: "That was fast."
"It's closer than we thought. Somewhere on the southern half of Dandelion Island."
You went into the military wing and into a basement store room - with nothing but some crates, a lit sconce, and a little bell. You rang the bell.
At first, nothing. Then, bricks in front of you rippling like water, a blue pony with a green mane sticks his head out through the apparently-not-solid wall. He has tired eyes.
"Make it quick. We're shorthoofed as it is."
Rather than respond to your statement directly, Aria makes for the door, and Aira is close behind. Right… nowhere to go but the audience chamber.
The room is perhaps not what you expected. Like the previous room, all of the walls here are carpeted. There are many designs, most in blues and purples, inlaid with cloth of gold. But besides this peculiarity, it more resembles a feasting hall than an audience chamber, not at all like the dome below where the Majordomo held court. There is one long feasting table covered in shining silverware and trays laden with foods from every corner of the world, and the room is decorated with brilliantly shined suits of ceremonial armor - from the ceiling hang interesting models - you recognize one right away as an armillary sphere. You stand perpendicular to the table, and none of the chairs on your side of the table are occupied. At the center of the table on the side opposite of you is a pony in opulent white robes, wearing a turban with a huge sapphire/ruby centerpiece and the largest feather you've ever seen - roc feather, if you had to guess. On either side of him there are a number of strange ponies, horses, and zebras. At the very end of the table on the far left, there's even a foal. Most of them have obscured faces - masks, shawls, hajibs.
The pony in white calls to you in Equestrian, though his Emirati accent is heavy. "Miss Roger and daughters! What a pleasant surprise. Join my table, you must be famished after your journey. You did not send word you were coming!"
Intriguing! ''Flapjack how did ya learn to do that?''>>672746
So wait, Do I roll or do I actually go rp and talk to the gryphons?
I'll laugh a little.
"It's not quite
as gravelly as you were trying to be, but it was close."
A few last titters.
"Don't worry, Cumin. Your secret is safe with me.">>672748
"Mare or stallion, it would still be you. That's the important thing."
Those kisses don't count.
A short silence.
"Though, there's something I should tell you, too. Something I only found out recently."
I'll take a deep breath.
"Apparently I'm descended from one of the four Lunar consorts, on my dad's side."
"Sweets are really popular in my homeland! I can make all kinds of stuff. Like cotton candy, ice cream… if we have the stuff. Hey, we should near Shangri-Lamb! It's not far out of the way!">>672750
She thinks about this. "That makes sense. The last noble family of Lunites led by a holy bloodline. The Sisters seem to love that kind of thing. But I have to correct you - Luna had twenty one consorts, but you're probably referring to the first two - Star Crossed and Cosmic Ring, whom she bequeathed stars from her mane… according to legend."
It's easy to forget that Cumin is an expert on theology from multiple religions.
I'll skip it just this once
''What is your homeland then? Dummytown?'' Snicker
''…Well what stuff do we need then? Maybe we can sneak out and get some later''Roll #1 9 = 9
"Actually, I'm from Machotown, which is, like I said, near Shangri-Lamb! It's a fun place! Ice cream though… it's hard to make it in hot places like this. My home is near cold mountaintops where we can get snow easy peasy. Cotton candy is just sugar but we need a special machine that they don't make in many places. But I can make other foods like cakes and pies too."
Onward! But you have to decide soon if you want to detour to visit Flapjack's home, so finish this conversation first.
"It was Star Crossed. Apparently Davy's family line is from Cosmic Ring's. That's why he was so intent on me. He thinks that, by joining the family lines, it would somehow free Luna from the moon."
I'll put my hooves together.
"Naturally I didn't much believe any of it. However, and this is what I put stock in, he swore on the moon herself. That's not an oath we take lightly, especially considering Davy was, in his own way, fairly devout."
I'll stare at my hooves for a moment, then continue.
"My complaint then became whether or not it was our princess that was to be released, or the demon which plagued her, the Nightmare. As I couldn't be sure, that became my basis for refusing him. That, and the fact he was willing to make a deal. He would cease his pursuit of me in exchange for one thing."
"The arranged marriage of my firstborn, and his nextborn of proper gender."
"What?! But… Couldn't we have gotten rid of him some other way? That's… medieval! I mean, if my parents promised me to someone else, how would you feel?"
''Woah… I never had Ice cream, cotton candy, cakes or pies before…''
Giggle ''But seriously? Machotown?''
"What? Does it sound too babyish? It was a fun place to grow up…"
''It just sounds silly. But hey, we should ask Mister MacRam if we could go. I bet I could even make the machine myself if I know how it works!''
"I'm a macho though! But that would be neat if you could."
''I'll go ask the captain then, since he likes me more!'' Stick my tongue out at him
Let's go ask the one and only Ram then
"The only other way to get rid of him by this point would be to do something ghastly and underhoofed. But it was either that, or… well, let's just say I wouldn't be free to be here if I had taken the other option. And if you were promised to some other mare, I… well, I'd feel pretty bad. But I'd challenge that betrothal."
"But there's a second reason I took Davy's written oath on this. It's so that I'd have time to look into what he thinks is going to happen. If it turns out that what will come out of that union is a nightmare in waiting, then I will have to break that oath and take the consequences. I'm not going to let those under me be blamed for releasing a Nightmare a second time."
You ask MacMeal about changing the route.
"We COULD pass through along the Lambish coast - in the Narrowing Sea, it'd be more friendly than staying on the Griffon side - but we'll have to pass through the middle of the sea, so it will slow us down by at least half a day. These things add up in time, but if you're okay with that Skipper, we'll divert our course.">>672767
"I don't know… it seems so surreal. Like a fae tale, an old witch asking for a firstborn sacrifice."
"Well, the pony he got this information from? That he swore on the moon was true?"
I'll wave a hoof.
"Swamp witch. And I met a fairy. Her name's Kotone, and she's traveling with us currently."
I'll shake my head.
"Truth really is weirder than stories sometimes…"
''Well, what really matters is if you're okay with that, Mister MacMeal. You ARE the captain after all…''
"Just the same, you have to take the source into consideration. Not everything you hear is true. It can't
"We're gonna have all the parts before the month is out one way or another - that's good enough for me, Skipper. I can't be sure if we'll make that wedding you wanted if we don't make good time, though."
"Well, at least we have time to check out whether it's true or not. My family line, his family line, what bringing the lines of the Stars together would even do…"
I'll slump my shoulders a bit.
"Sorry to drop this all on top of what you're already going through. I just didn't think it would be right to keep secrets this big."
I sigh ''alright alright, we should go straight for our goal then''
It's so light at first you're not sure what's happening, but then you realize it – you've been pulled into a hug. "It's okay. We'll… figure out something. That's still decades away. If we can even get married.">>672776
"If that's what you want, we'll stay on our regular course."
I'll lean into it.
After a bit, I'll chuckle a little.
"We could always elope, if they say no."
Nod and head back to my room, tell Flapjack the bad news
"There's one more thing. The other prank Itztli wanted to play on me… I don't know why I even think it's true, it's a prank. He just has a way of saying the exact thing that can terrify you. He said the second prank would be an uncomfortable truth. But it has to be a lie.">>672779
Flapjack is shoveling jello into his mouth.
"What's the matter?"
I'll blink at him.
"Wasn't this truth uncomfortable enough?"
''Well uh… We can't go, but I promise that once we're back from the moon, we can get all the candy we want!…Sorry''
He lets out a long sigh. "You know how I told you my family has a tradition of marrying priestesses, which prevents dynastic problems? And how my colors are really similar to your dad's? Itztli told me that we're cousins, and that your mother knew and didn't want to tell us because royal families used to marry cousins all the time."
She looks pretty devastated about this - which is saying something because she rolled with the whole gender prank pretty well all things considered.>>672782
Flapjack sighs. "Well, I kinda wish we could go home, but I understand. We can still cook for ourselves, though!"
I'll look confused.
"I thought you needed to have aunts or uncles to have cousins."
"Wait – your father doesn't have a sister who is a priestess? Oh, that's a relief! I knew it had to be a lie. You have no idea how much better I feel, though."
She gives you a little extra squeeze.
''We… Can? But there's nothing good we can make here… We don't even have sugar''
"Well not yet. But maybe once we reach the Great Canal! There will be a huge city, so we can get stuff there!"
''Ooh, you're right… What else do you know how to do, Flapjack?''
I'm still amazed by the gelatin thingie, it's like a weird, tasty kind of science
''…No I mean, what other stuff you know how to uh.. Cook? if you can call that cooking'' point at the jello
"Licorice, caramel, marshmallows - that kind of stuff."
''Okay, I need you to tell me how do you do those…Also who taught you how to do all that stuff?'' Sit down besides him, ready to make a mental list of the procedures and materials
"Wait… I think he… no, that's not really possible, is it? That'd just be too much of a coincidence. I mean, he said she was a priestess of… of…"
I'll go quiet for a minute.
"We're going to have to talk to my dad and your mother."
"A lot of sweets use a gelatin base, just like the one I already made. But making sweets isn't something you can just master all at once - it takes practice!">>672798
"I don't want your dad to know I'm… you know."
''Psh, if you can do it with with that pea brain, I bet I can too, and easily!''
"After the altar, but before meeting your mom. Though I'm pretty sure he knows about what the altar does, since he lived there for his whole life until he got picked up by those pirates."
"Or so he says."
"Dummy, cooking isn't from the brain - it's from the heart!">>672803
"I'm sure he does, but… Look, I know I'm not the toughest, beefiest stallion in the world, that's OBVIOUSLY why he did this to me, he knew it would bother me. But I'm not THIS feminine. I'm still just getting to know your dad, and I don't want this to change how he views me!"
And again for the record, not at all more feminine looking than normal.
Aw, come on, he had the barest wisps of a beard. I think. It might have been the light.
"Well, you're doing a good job of covering yourself so far, but… you probably shouldn't worry about it too much. I mean, it's a prank pulled by a servant of chaos. If nothing else, he'd probably just chalk it up to bad luck and say 'there's no helping it, we'll have to fix that.' Because I think that's just the kind of pony he is."
Scrunch a bit.
"Say, in relation to nothing, how good are you at singing?"
"Oh, I never sang seriously. I did choir like everypony. Why?"
"Do you remember the voice exercises to hit lower notes?"
''From… The Heart? What?''
Suddenly the voice of Steve rings in my mind again, him talking about brain, heart and dick…
"No, they uh… made me a soprano. That was a long time ago, though, my voice is definitely deeper now."
Truly they are the three things that motivate great creations!
"Yeah, you feel it! It's not just chemistry!"
''I don't believe you'' Cross my arms
''You know what, let me try, I'll make a gelatin just as good as yours
…Though now that I think of it, cooking IS just chemistry, you combine ingredients in portions and prepare them, put them in different temperatures until you get a satisfying result. Cooking IS just a kind of science!
[View All] (843 posts and 2 image replies omitted)
"Well, if you'd like, I could help you practice your voice so it doesn't sound gravelly? I mean, as it is they might think you have a cold, so…"
I'll avert my eyes for a moment.
"So it wouldn't hurt to practice a more 'naturally you' voice. I mean, if you want to."
Cough a little.
"It would, uh, give us a reason to have some time to ourselves during the trip."