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File: 1499824717350.png (478 KB, 793x951, soul9.png)

 No.687100[Last 50 Posts]

Temporary thread for Soul Quest this evening / any future instances where we can't play on our normal site, post your sheets for the 9th session of Soul Quest


File: 1499824817483.webm (2.59 MB, 480x360, Scaramouch.webm)


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coming at you live from the other side of the world



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>https://boards.4chan.org/mlp/thread/30450941 previous game


Previously on Soul Quest, a break through was made on the side of Pain, Fixer, and Aether. After briefly conversing with the disgraced hero, Triple M and Fixer had managed to see through Satar's plot and reasons for betraying his fellow Elementals, and had convinced him with a glimmer of hope that they could help to divulge the truth of all what he saw on the mountain: assaulted by Kachina's on personal dragon guards, and bore witness to a wrecked castle wherein two powerful ogres, specifically referred to as Demons, had taken her captive…

Meanwhile, Alexis was thrown from the castle after seriously injuring the ogre demon Gold Horns in one on one combat, punted down into the lake of a small village at the base of the mountain called Willow Shades. There, she was introduced to the Old Wicked Willow, a tree who helped to heal her wounds and offered troubling information on the task ahead…

>As Fixer and Triple M and Pain were conversing, Aether was standing back a bit taking notes on the situation

Fex lets out a chuckle, gaining back some of his backbone he lost. "S-see? They've fought demons before too! I should have figured."
Satar's eyes open wide, "They were DRAGONS too…?! Well, I… have to admit, that is very reassuring. Because we'll have that to worry about too." He sighs, "Sorry, lemme just start from the beginning, give you all the full picture. Then, I'll let you guys decide the best route to take."

"Last week I really did go up the mountain just like I said. There were a huge slew of goblins, ogres, and even trolls on the way up there but, I was either able to fight or slip past them no problem. No, the real problems started when I got close to the top. Dragon fire nearly turned me to melted scrap."
Fex mutters, "Pryftan and Trāgu…?"
"It was definitely Kachina's own personal dragon guards. They nearly tore me apart before I escaped into the rock to get away."
"By the Four…they haven't turned Doomed, have they?"
"They sure acted like it but, I don't know for sure. Was too busy getting away from them to get into the castle itself to find out. But point being if we do go up there, we'll have them to worry about too."



Satar wiggles in his ropes, "After that, I snuck into the castle itself, and saw the whole place was nice enough from the outside, but a total mess inside. Looked like one of the gnarliest fights ever tore the place apart. I stuck around a while, hiding in the stone, and I saw Princess Kachina in her cage, dangling from the ceiling in some kind of green orb. And, I also saw her captors." He turns to the ponies, "Two ogres, one silver and the other gold. Both as tall as me or Fex stacked on top of each other, and armed literally to the teeth. A brother and sister from the sounds of it. I spent a whole day in the stone of the castle spying on them, they were definitely the ones to take out Kachina. Learned a LOT about them, they're DEFINITELY Demons. Maybe only as fresh as a couple months, but every bit as powerful. We ain't had a Demon Tainted on Kachina in… I don't know how long. Only the Princess would probably remember if there were ever."

Old Wicked Willow puts on a stern glare, "Hrrrmph. I may be rooted to the ground, missy, but I was not always like this." she points at herself using one of her branches, "I'll have you know, I used to be a soldier, who fought in the name of Kachina across more than one lifetime. And in doing so, I came across a powerful relic, one that I used to overcome more than a few harsh trials like you face now. I have not had need to use of it in many, many years, and was going to tell you where you might find it."

"But first, you're going to take deep breaths. A few of them."


Aether puts a dot in her notepad to finish a thought, and suddenly she inquires, "Couple months? How are they formed, these demons? What are they?"


File: 1499826694822.webm (3 MB, 1280x720, when the autism hits.webm)

{Ogre Strength; […] Drawback: Fire Autocrits you.}
Pain Train listens confidently to the elemental's recount. However, when dragon fire is mentioned, his body shudders on it's own volition, a chill going down his spine.
>"What, something scared ya Pain?"
"No, atleast, I don't think so. Something about fire being mentioned is all."
>"You've worked with pyrotechnics before, you'll be fine."
"Don't say that word."
>"What, pyrotechnics?"
"Yeah, I dunno why but it's got me on edge."
>"Whatever, let's get back to the matter at hand."

>Market turns to the elementals. "Well that's why the Princess was captured, the answer was right there: Those demon guys roofied the dragon's food with that bad mojo soup we rescued those animals from earlier, and since the Princess trusted them, she never realized they had been turned. So all we gotta do is sneak into the castle, rescue the Princess, and beat up the baddies with the rescued Princess in tow. It's practically a tale from a storybook."

"Princess and the Elementals."
>"Eh, we could find a catchier title. Anyways, Could you two just tunnel your way up the mountain so we could avoid the dragons and such? That way we can deal with the demons and get the Princess, THEN deal with those turned dragons."


"You can't tell me what to do, you're not my mom!" she says angrily.

"And unless your 'relic' is going to magically make me able to save Kachina, I don't really care!"


>"Eh, we could find a catchier title. Anyways, Could you two just tunnel your way up the mountain so we could avoid the dragons and such? That way we can deal with the demons and get the Princess, THEN deal with those turned dragons."

"Huh. That's a novel idea. A good idea, if we can do it," she says in response.


Satar turns to you, "You don't know, miss…?" He says in slight confusion, taking a moment to consider how to explain.

"Well… you know about Tainted, right? How dark magic corrupts and transforms normal animals, plants, elementals, whatever into feral creatures, and then eventually into monsters? Well, most of the time when they finally succumb to the taint, they come out completely different than before. Sometimes mindless, sometimes with a totally different personality, almost always a new kind of creature." Satar's tone takes on a more serious, low note.

"Every so often, one of two things happen. First: the Tainted that comes out doesn't forget who it was. They had a strong enough will to hang on to part of what they were before. Their minds are warped, but not destroyed, and these kinds of Tainted usually end up smarter than the rest and lead them. Second: some Tainted develop this thing called Soul Hunger. They wind up with an insatiable desire to eat Souls from their victims, and the more the consume the stronger they get. These Tainted usually have the opposite problem of the first ones though: their hunger makes them stronger, but in the process they lose even more of themselves until they devolve into mindless ferocity."

"Demons… are what you get in those rare, dangerous moments where a Tainted who turns happens who have BOTH of these symptoms. A beast with a hunger for Souls that makes them more and more powerful with every bite they eat, and worse the intellect to actually put that strength to good use. And we have TWO of them up there."

"Bad mojo soup? You mean the stuff they put in those cauldrons we've seen Ogres and Goblins use to turn others into Tainted?" Fex asks.

Satar shakes his head, "They definitely did SOMETHING to Pryftan and Trāgu but, I'm not sure if they're Doomed… what you suggest would require more cunning than a Doomed is capable of, they're supposed to be mindless."
"What they DID do is irrelevant: the point is they must have had a hand in betraying the princess somehow." Fex replies.

As you make your suggestion, Fex and Satar turn to each other. Fex says "Dig up the mountain… it would take some time. Weeks for us to make a tunnel THAT long from here, the castle is 20 miles away at least, but, it is possible if we can get a bit closer, maybe a little up the mountain before the dragons see us we can dig our way in safely and quickly!"

"That's how I got in the first time," Satar answers, "I don't think I can handle both the dragons, so when I got close enough I tunneled away from them. That could work. But, while I've been in here, I've been thinking about another way that might stop the dragons as well, if you'll hear me out."

The Old Willow lets out a sigh, "No, I suppose I ain't, am I? Fine, fine, far be it from me to try and offer good advice." She purses her lips, "But, while I can't make THAT sort of promise, I can guarantee you won't regret having it. My relic used to save my life time and time again back when I was a warrior. It's a powerful little trinket that might do the same for you and, the next time you come across anything like those creatures, give you the edge you need to come out on top. And it's not that far from here. Now, are you ready to hear more?" She asks more calmly, trying to avoid raising her voice.


>"Well Satar? What of your plan?"


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missed my audio webm


>"…And we have TWO of them up there."

She quickly scribbles down this information, and once she finishes, she comments, "Well, that doesn't sound good."

>"…But, while I've been in here, I've been thinking about another way that might stop the dragons as well, if you'll hear me out."

>"Well Satar? What of your plan?"

"Don't delay any more. The sooner we save the princess, the better."


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Alexis keeps listening to her sales pitch, before picking up her backpack off the ground and slinging it over her shoulder.

"Fuck this, I'm out of here. Thanks for the healing."

She turns tail, vanishes and keeps walking.


"I was never sure I could even do it at first… with the princess gone I just about gave up everything without her to lead the fight. But, with you all here, it makes me think it has a shot."

"First, I'm pretty sure even if they're demons, they're still OGRE demons. That means they should have their weakness to fire. There is a tribe of Fire Elementals to the south west raging in the forest who might help us out in a big way. That, or there's Alma Town to the south where I'm sure we could find some Fire Elemental Souls for you ponies."

"Second, when I went into the castle after getting away from the dragons, I got caught by the two demons, but before they could kill me some old looking goblin convinced them to let me go. He looked like some sort of shaman, he was the one who made that deal for me to get them supplies in exchange for leaving Seele alone. I overheard him mentioning doing something to Kachina's guards personally that didn't sound like Tainting them… and I also over heard he usually doesn't stay up there at the castle, but at the first place Tainted ever came to be on Kachina, Ogre Island just off the coast. I was thinking, with all those Tainted up on the mountain and running all over the island, their home must not be that well defended. Maybe we can catch the Shaman alone, and force him to tell us how to fix whatever he did."

As you suddenly vanish from thin air, you see Old Willow look surprised, hurriedly asking where you went and if you could return before you head your way out of her branches, pass Sawyer and a number of other animals in the village, and push your way towards the way out of there. You see to the west, the imposing figure of the mountain holding Kachina's castle, and occasionally a wide shadow passes in and out of the clouds.

Just out of the village you find a crossroads in a clearing, one path leading to the southwest around the base of the mountain. Another headed south towards a large, flowing river (with signs of another village running along it), and the last path running towards the east in the direction of a far off coast you can spot through the jungle thicket, along with a dark, black island a bit off the coast. There is a sign that says 'Sal Village' pointed to the south, along with one underneath it that says 'Alma Town' in the same direction.


"I say we beat up the shaman, demon's won't suspect the dragons to turn on them till they're up in flames."
>"And gets rid of local Tainted while we're at it. I vote 2."


After jotting down a quick note about the "home island" of the Tainted, she adds, "Dealing with the problem at the source, effective. I think that'll be a good way to do it."


"Stupid talking tree." she says, straightening her now dry hair and tying it back again.

She looks up at the castle, letting out an annoyed exhale.

"I should be doing college algebra not walking around a stupid alien planet dealing with stupid talking…."

She keeps muttering to herself, before taking flight into the air.

>Next stop, Ogre Island


Satar nods his head, "I think that's for the best. Even with this many powerful allies, after Kachina's capture I think we should be careful."

Fex pounds his fists together, "Careful? That's how you think an Elemental is supposed to do it, Satar?"

"You and I have never fought Demons, Fex. But we've heard the stories. I say if any time is good to be cautious, it's now…" He raises in his cage, "Fex knows the way, and can point it out to you on a map. I'm going to need to eat some metal before I'm up to doing anything. Maybe Fex can get started on that tunnel past the Tainted on the mountain while you investigate that island and the shaman, but I'm here to help in any way you see fit, sirs and miss. In either case, I think the lady is right: it might be a good idea to get a move on."

>May opt to have Fixer drive you guys towards this location at your ready when you're done in the village. Of note to both Pain Train and Aether Bright, Alexis has not been seen floating around in some time.

You take off into the air and make for the pitch-black island off the coast, flying over miles of jungle on your approach. Below, you see a few wasted villages, the damage looking worse with each one closer to the coast, and upon arriving at the sandy beach you see the dark, imposing island. A scary face with horns seems to be made into the rock-face itself on the island, looking out at you from across the short channel of ocean separating you and it, and several signs of movement can be seen the closer you arrive.

The island on inspection is infested with goblins running about the outside, ogres fighting over large dead animals, and others training their goblin hordes in the art of war-fare and fighting. However, you notice, there seems to be a significantly less number of them present here than you saw on the mountain trail leading up to Kachina's castle.


File: 1499832330009.jpg (32.97 KB, 320x320, oni island.jpg)

>Ogre Island


>"Safar ain't wrong. If you all live as long as you say you do, you have all the time in the world to do things right. It's the people with short lives who have to do things fast and stupid."

[load up car with metal elementals, make transformers, hire michael bay, head towards island]


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keep forgetting my allotted webm


The ghost girl keeps flying over the island, still in a very sour mood over learning of the extreme odds facing her on the mountaintop. In her moody flying she eventually comes to the open sea, and continues on.

When she sees Ogre Island, she opts to continue towards it, before stepping down on the pitch black sands, her astral form failing to leave any footprints.

She walks out among the Ogres and Goblins, looking around the island invisibly.

>"What am I even doing here?" she wonders to herself.

>Still intangible/invisible.


"I'm, uh, not so keen on stupid, but yes, I think we should go as soon as possible. Which right now would be after Satar, ah, eats some metal."

She looks to Satar.

"How does that work?" she asks, before pestering him with a barrage of questions for the rest of the time. The air around her smells almost smokey from how much scratching her pen is making.

[going to island now now now]


>She looks to Satar…

[disregard this portion]


>"…Which right now would be after Satar, ah, eats some metal."

[disregard this portion as well]


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As you investigate the island shores, you hear many ogres and goblins conversing among themselves about crass things such as the latest capturees they had pulled in to be turned by 'the grand shaman', or speaking of the latest villages their comrades had plundered. You see there are indeed many, many Tainted around this island, but fairly spread out to the point you would never have to worry about fighting them all at once.

Heading up the coast, you find that, despite some rustic shacks outside of it, the majority of their homes are inside deep tunnels that lead into the ogre-faced rock-cliff itself, deeper than the hideout you ran across earlier today. Heading inside, it is a maze to navigate, and it is easy to get lost. You happen to run across a goblin, a bag along his back, walking around confused before he runs into a much larger ogre, who turns and growls at him.

The goblin with the bag states, "Aiee! Sorry, Sorry, Very sorry! But, I do not come to these caves often. I-I am told the shaman here is offering rewards for…" he leans into whisper something to the ogre you cannot hear, and the ogre growls.
>"Head down that way, take the next two lefts, then a right. You'll find him in his chambers."
The goblin hurriedly bows in thanks, and begins to trot towards that way.

Fex looks down, crossing his powerful arms. "I guess you have a point there. Hrrmm… well, there are a few preparations we could make. Wouldn't want to charge into a horde of Tainted and a pair of Demons with out all our stones in a line. I can work on getting things ready after the Shamans' been dealt with."

Satar coughs, "Right, I need something to eat after all this time punishing myself…" with a slight flex, Satar's arms sharpen into blades, but he quickly slumps back. "Too weak to even cut through these ropes… Fex, you can give me a hand here, right?"

Fex groans. "I'm half obliged to leave you starving for the shit you put me through… but I suppose that won't do the island any good. You're getting the cheap iron crap though, none of the copper."

At each other's haste, you both retreat back to Fixer's car parked outside of Seele, and with all due haste (and directions provided by a map from Fex detailing the location of Ogre Island off the coast of Kachina island, and over the course of around a 30-minute drive along the dirt roads of the Island you speed along under the twin moons and gas giant above in the sky. Several villages, caravans, and signs of destruction you pass by as you loop around the southern mountain base to make your way east, until after a bit you finally come upon the shores of the ocean, and the sight of the imposing pitch-black isle off the coast.

The island has an imposing face built into it, a grimace with two horns, and is across the water by a significant distance that makes swimming less viable, and Fixer's car is parked uselessly on the sands unable to traverse this last stretch separating you from your goal. However, fortuitously, you happen to see a row-boat beached in the sands near by, that appears to be mostly intact and a pair of rows still within it to you.
>marked by the red dot on the right side of the map is the cape you find yourself in


>"So uh, you guys that can make water appear, could we perhaps make this a magical motor boat instead of rowing?"
Pain goes to lift them out of the sand while Market talks


File: 1499836191868.webm (3.98 MB, 640x360, parappa.webm)


She gets out of the car and stares at the island.

"Well… that doesn't look friendly."

She then says, "Looks too far to just teleport to."

She notices the boat and says, "Oh, yeah, no problem. This should be easy enough."

Her horn lights up and lifts the boat and oars out of the sand and off of Pain's burden, puts the oars into the boat's oarlocks, and lightly places the package in the water. She walks over to the boat, and at the water's edge, she is reminded of something.

"Oh! I think I can, uh…"

She walks into the water, knees deep, then suddenly dunks her head in, looks around in the water, and whips her head out.

She spits a stream of water out, and exclaims, "Amazing! That should be very helpful."

>Glavo: none / Sildo: Lesser Canine / Ilo: Water



File: 1499837755905.jpg (13.5 KB, 480x360, hqdefault.jpg)

The ghost continues walking along the beach, backpack on her back, mind still distracted with worry and annoyance.

As she looks around the island she has a weak urge to continue looking around further in, having come here almost by accident.

An urge she eventually gives in to, entering the cave not through the entrance, but by phasing through the walls and advancing onwards. She floats slowly, cautiously, before something seems to almost jump out at her as she phases halfway through a wall. She recoils in horror at the sudden appearance of the goblin and Ogre.

The ghost girl elects to follow the goblin to the shaman.


>…Her horn lights up and lifts the boat and oars out of the sand and off of Pain's burden, puts the oars into the boat's oarlocks, and lightly places the package in the water. She walks over to the boat, and at the water's edge, she is reminded of something…

[inserting something]

…Her horn lights up and lifts the boat and oars out of the sand and off of Pain's burden, puts the oars into the boat's oarlocks, and lightly places the package in the water.

"This should do."

She walks over to the boat, and at the water's edge, she is reminded of something….


Pain goes and lifts the row-boat out of the sand, but feels it swiftly leave his grip as Aether's magic takes hold of the boat and lifts it up to be set down on the water, gently floating along in the shallows of the cape as the mare walks up to it.

However, as she is reminded of her Water Soul, the mare re-adjusts her Water Soul successfully to the Ilo slot, gaining the utility function of Lotus' gift and gaining aquatic swimming abilities.

>Utility: Can breath underwater and use sonar [while underwater light levels do not affect you and enemies cannot become hidden].

In the water, you begin to 'hear' something vibrating just off the shallows close by, underneath the waves, with your new senses.

After you run into the goblin and ogre conversing in the caves, the goblin grabs at his bag and hurries his way through the caves at a pace you manage to easily keep up with. He follows the directions provided to the letter, through which tunnels you see many homes/dwellings/armories etched into the sides of the tunnels, before he comes out to a large chamber of a slightly larger size than the earlier hideout.

Around the circumfrance of this chamber is a squad of over a dozen goblins standing at attention or sharpening their blades. Along with them are a pair of ogres, the smaller variety fortunately, and with chains around their necks attached hard to the wall, you see a Stone Elemental and a large bear growling and pulling at their metal leashes, crazed and barking at the goblins just out of reach.

In the center of this room is a cauldron, more than four times the size of the small one you saw earlier, boiling despite no heat and turning the entire chamber green. Standing on top of its edge on the side of the pot, a long wooden pole moving in stirring, you see yet another goblin, though this one clearly far older than the others, with long, thick white side-burns and a thick mane of white hair ground around a bald crown, and a ceremonial garb filled with teeth and hides. The goblin you followed down here takes a gulp, and slowly approached the cauldron while the shaman gives no notice.


Her gleeful face disappears when she says, "Wait a second."

She sticks her head in the water again and looks around.

Underwater, she asks herself, "What that?" and tries to get closer to the source of the vibration, whether by walking or swimming, her curiosity getting the better of her.


File: 1499839706356.webm (1.05 MB, 601x396, goldolascape.webm)

"Should we wait to start going?"


Unfortunately, Pain's words don't appear to reach Aether's ears. She continues to meander in the water with her head underwater, determined to find out what she's sensing.


Alexis walks with the goblin, carrying her bag as she steps unseen through the Tainted's rotten fortress. She looks around nervously at their great numbers, like at any moment she would be rendered visible and torn asunder.

When she sees the numerous monsters in the cauldron's room, and the dark wretched shaman himself, she reacts much as the goblin does, with barely hidden fear. Her boots click on the stone floor, audible only in the astral realm as she slowly approaches the shaman with him.


Aether decides to stick her head further into the water to get a better sense of what her newfound sonar abilities are showing her from beneath the waves. And as she does so, her vision completely clear underneath the water as she swims, she finds what it is: a large-sized Shark, eyes glowing green with the sign of Taint taking hold, is steadily swimming towards the mare in the water. As she ducks her head down to see up close, the Doomed shark begins to surge forward, maws opening wide to clamp down on the mare with its upper and lower jaws through the water

[1d10+1]/[1d10+1] Biting
>From above the sea-level, Pain and Triple M and see a ripple forming from underneath the waves racing towards Aether but no sign of what it is yet

"Ahem…? Your shaman-ship, Master Grak?" the goblin asks gently as the shaman stirs his cauldron, only briefly grabbing the Shaman's attention before the Doomed bear chained to the cave roars at it, causing the goblin to fall back in fear before the Shaman gives him his full attention.

"Hmm?" The shaman says, not stopping with his stirring. "Speak up, I don't have all day." He speaks with a more eloquent tongue than most of his kind do, and the goblin you followed adjusts himself.

"Ah… uh, hello! It is an honor to meet you at last, sir. I hail from the caves on the main island. Sort of on my own from the rest of the horde, you see-"
"Get on with it." The shaman snaps.
"Right. I uh, heard from my brethren spreading rumors that you were offering rewards for Souls and artifacts?"
This seems to draw the Shaman's attention, and he smiles a sickly grin. "Indeed I am. You have tribute?"
"Yes sir!" The goblin smiles, grabbing at his back and jostling it, lots of clanking coming from within. "Lots of treasures pilfered from villages closest to the castle! Now, what kind of rewards we talking?"
"That depends on what you have to offer."

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5


"Ah! Nope! Nope!" she yells underwater once she discovers what she's been looking for. She whips her head out of the water again, this time not so gracefully, and with a yelp she scrambles on her hooves to try to make like a tree and not get bitten by the shark.

[1d10] Dodgey dodge hold the podge

Roll #1 10 = 10


File: 1499841967210.webm (2.22 MB, 406x720, giraffic park.webm)

"What's up Aether? Fish?"


With eyes wide open and adrenaline pumping, she shouts, "Shark! Shark!"


Alexis appears and takes the bag.

>Equipping Souls

>Glavo: Goblin
>Sildo: Feline
>Ilo: Goblin

[1d10] DC 4

Roll #1 6 = 6


"Cast the Nets, Market, I'm going fishing!"
>Squared Circle: Market makes sure the opponent knows where the fight is, and when it's going down. Enemies can't flee from a set area and only one opponent maximum can attack Pain Train per round.

Pain dives into the water, heading for the nearest shark to punch square in the nose, breaking the cartilage.
>"It's Summer Slammer all over again!"

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


As the Shark lashes out at you from the water, you swiftly bring yourself up above out of it and practically run along the water to avoid its gaping maw. Amazingly, you succeed, and the teeth chomp down on nothing but empty air as they miss you entirely

Seeing the huge shark miss Aether with its gaping jaws, you race into the water and with your powerful hoof bash it square in the nose, causing it to reel back in pain and try to swim away for a moment to distance itself for another charge
>All moves crit on 8+ for the round

The shark pulls back and tries for another bite this time on Pain as it leaps out of the water to bite at his upper-body

As the Goblin grabs at his bag, he smiles widely, "Well then prepare to be amazed, Master Grak! I assure you, what I have to offer you are rare, one of a kind Souls and items the likes of which Kachina only sees once in a hundred lifetimes. Many goods from beyond our shores and-"

As you appear from nowhere, The Goblin keeps his grin as he feels his bag taken right from his arms, only able to turn and look at you with that same stupid grin on his face as his fortune leaves him in an instant. Meanwhile, the Shaman takes note of your appearance, and retracts his long wooden pole from the goop to swing at you
>Earthen Strike

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #3 10 + 1 = 11


File: 1499843824088.jpg (901.82 KB, 896x504, Shamansfacewhen.jpg)

The ghost girl is slammed hard in the side, rolling across the floor, holding the bag tightly before vanishing again mid-roll.

She sits on the ground holding the stolen treasure between her legs as the goblins are left once again by themselves.


Now on shore, she tries to catch her breath. She looks back and sees Pain Train getting physical with the shark.

"Agh! What are you doing?" she shouts at him.

Whatever he's doing, he's gonna need some protection. Her horn glows as she points it at him, and she sends his way a spell that should keep him from getting his head bitten off.

[1d10+2] Inure from piercing damage

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11


"Oh no you don't!"
Pain catches the shark midair, bending it's flexible vertebrate over his back.

>Fists of Fury: Great Weapon

[1d10] Crit on 7

Roll #1 8 = 8


File: 1499844025613.jpg (47.46 KB, 900x506, bock_shark_promo_USE.jpg)


The wooden pole slams into you with impressive force, sending you sliding across the floor with an eerie green glow but you successfully manage to escape from the Shaman as you phase back into the astral with your goods
>0/4, may get up automatically

As you vanish, the smiling goblin turns and looks around, before his smile slowly fades away in realization. "Ah… ah… aaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! WHat the… what?! I… my stuff! What?!"

The Shaman's eyes open wide and he turns around, "That couldn't have been… it's just not possible. Damn it all, where did it go?!" He growls and looks around, then shouts to the goblins in the room. "ALL OF YOU! Fan out, tell the guards to look for an intruder!" He turns around, looking in every direction as he sniffs the air. "Did you turn invisible… no, I smell nothing…" he turns to the goblin, growling. "You couldn't have held on to your bag?! Idiot!"

"W-wait! I-I kept the REALLY good shit on me personally!" He reaches into his vest, panicking as he pulls out a button used for a shirt. "Oooooh, see this? This is rare. This is a magical button that… magically makes anything you sew it on too look to be in perfect style! A-and makes you live forever!"

The Shaman glares, clearly not amused.

The shark opens its maw wide, and is about to slam down shut on top of Pain Train before a magical barrier from Aether surrounds the donkey, the Shark's teeth slamming down on only impenetrable barrier that cracks its teeth slightly when it tries to bite through.

Pain successfully catches the creature in-mid air as it leaps for him, and brings it down to crack its vertebrate in two over his back. Pain hears a satisfying *CRACK* from the Shark's spine as it seizes up, wallowing in pain before it tries thrashing about to pull free of your grip
[1d10] Get up from helpless

Roll #1 5 = 5


"My patience is running fin, shark. Time to end this!"

Pain says, cracking the shark over a bent knee
[1d10] crit DC9

Roll #1 3 = 3


She watches the fight unfold and cringes when she hears a crack from the shark.

"Eiee, that's a sound I don't like to hear…"


Alexis sits on the ground with her stolen bag, backing up closer to the wall out of the way with it, breathing heavily from the excitement.

She keeps listening to the shaman as he goes on, but turns towards her bag, digging through it.

>"Lets see, marbles, garbage….Souls!" she says, picking them out and setting them on top of her backpack. She pulls out a green necklace on a golden chain, dangling it.

>"Whats this?" she thinks to herself.


File: 1499847330993.jpg (506.88 KB, 970x970, verdantcharm.jpg)

The Shark gives yet another satisfying crack as you bend it over your knee, but despite the intense pain it must be feeling it continues to put up a fight and thrashes to pull itself free and get back into the water. As it does so, you hear a few things pinging off the sides of its innards.

You put the Souls down on top of your backpack, and as you touch them you recognize the light sage, white, and orange-red colored orbs are

>Fire Elemental:

>-Offense: Can apply Fire to your Attacks
>-Defense: Fire Shield; passive: Fire damage is halved.
>-Utility: Flame Shield: passive; you are immune to natural fires [this extends to lava]. This does not >shield against Fire damage caused by an attack.


>-Offense: Distraction; recharge 1: Enemy's actions next turn suffer -2.
>-Defense: Prince with a Thousand Enemies; passive: If an enemy critfails an attack roll against you, you >may immediately become Stealthed.
>-Utility: Rabbit Form; passive: You take the form of a Rabbit, your equipment either vanishing or >shifting to match your new form. Gain Adorable.


>-Offense: Entangle; recharge 2: Target enemy cannot act next turn. This attack does not deal damage.
>-Defense: An attack used on you has its recharge increased by 1 [assuming the recharge was at least 1 >already]
>-Utility: Miracle Grow

However, as you hold up the green-necklace on the chain to inspect it more closely, you hear the shouting from the Goblin peddler increase. "A-and this handkerchief! Woven by the finest Spiders from the lands of shadow, it's imbue-acacckh acaaakh!" The Goblin starts to choke as the Goblin points his staff at his throat, pressing up into it and pushing down to the floor as the pole threatens to cut off his circulation.

"Anything you had to offer me is clearly been pilfered. I have no use for a meager Soul as yours, but if you do not vacate yourself from my chambers, and my island, in the next minute I will gladly take it. Every bit helps." He says as he removes his pole from the peddler's throat, and the goblin swifty runs away from the chamber for his life, as the Shaman looks around sniffing the air. "Grrrrm… only saw it for a moment, but I'm sure what I saw." He turns to walk out of this chamber, headed for the halls.

Roll #1 6 = 6


Alexis races to her hooves as she sees the Shaman move to leave, dropping the jewel over her neck and absorbing the souls before tossing her backpack over one shoulder and moving to follow the Shaman out.

She moves a little too close to him and the Ogre for comfort and backs away, before following him on foot at a slight distance.


"Hmm, maybe I'm going about this the wrong way. Time to show this son of a beach some sand!"

Pain takes the shark on one shoulder and starts wading back to the surface, intent on killing the shark via lack of oxygenated water.

[1d10+2]Carry Fish(er)

"Really, I'm doing you a favor. You'll feel an extreme urge to take a breath you can't take, but atleast it's not me breaking you until you die from internal bleeding. Lesser of two evils."

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


By this time Aether's parasympathetic nervous system has kicked in, and she's now a mostly calm bystander to the ordeal taking place.

"Uhh…" she utters, head tilted to the side, as she watches the donkey try to lift the shark out of the water.


Aether then decides to "help out" and simply lift the shark out the the water and out of Pain Train's hooves, her expression halfway between disgusted and bewildered.

[1d10+3] Telekenesis

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9


You hoist the Shark over one shoulder and start to drag it back onto the shore, but in a last ditch effort it summons the will to fight back as its tail-fin slips and slaps you right into the side of the muzzle with great force, sending you down to your side

As it makes its way back to open water, You successfully manage to grab hold of it before it manages to escape your grasp, and assist Pain Train in dragging it back up the rest of the way onto the sandy shore where it lays still, trying to wiggle its way back to the ocean before, between the lack of oxygen and its broken bones, it eventually lays still, and a small wisp of gray-white smoke pours out of its mouth and coalesces into a Soul. After wards, a slide churning occurs in its gut, and you see two more Souls of the same color fall out of its jaws and land into the sand, making 3 total


>-Offense: Splash: Spell; deals standard damage to single target. On a crit instead casts Tsunami, rendering all enemies Helpless.
>-Defense: Summon School; recharge 2: Summon a school of fish to distract your foe, giving him -2 rolls to attack you.
>-Utility: Fish Form; passive: You take the form of a Fish, your equipment either vanishing or shifting to match your new form. You can breath underwater and talk to nonsentient fish.

You place the necklace around your neck and follow the Shaman, and a single Ogre accompanying him, out of the cauldron chamber as he winds his way through a tunnel, grumbling to himself all the while in contemplation. Eventually, he comes across a small cave that he turns into. Within it appears to be some kind of personal study / lab, with a large alchemy set on one side of the room, a miniature cauldron on the far-side, and a writing desk at the other.

There, he sits down at a desk, and puts down his wooden staff. He grabs at a quill in his hands, and begins to stick it into a ink-vial and write something on the pages. The ogre stands at attention just outside his door as a guard as he continues to write out a letter. "The cat had better have an explanation for this…" he mumbles.


Her expression becomes more disgusted than bewildered as she stares at the dying shark. Once the threat is neutralized, she says, "Ah, well, that was unpleasant."

She inches over to the dead shark, eyeing its souls. With more caution that necessary, she slowly reaches for one and quickly retracts her hoof once she absorbs it.

She then looks to Pain Train to say, "Come on, let's get a move on. Sooner the better," and she proceeds to hop in the boat.


File: 1499850711019.jpg (49.63 KB, 564x564, 892d2bb581fdae1215b0444a56….jpg)

Alexis follows the goblin into his study, taking a seat on the other side of his desk. She sets her bag on one side of her chair, and takes the time to hide her new necklace under her white T-shirt.

>"I still have no idea what I'm doing. This is so stupid." she thinks to herself, before appearing out of thin air and quickly beginning to speak before the Goblin can panic.

"Uh. Hi. Sorry about stealing your Souls. Probably not the best first impression. My name's Alexis. I'm a ghost. I mean, you can probably see that. I'm kind of see-through. And you're not an idiot, I mean how could you be given you know magic. I'm getting mixed up, this was such a stupid idea."

"Please don't kill me. I only turned visible to talk."


File: 1499850877143.webm (372.59 KB, 480x480, internal external.webm)


Pain wipes the sand from his shorts, standing up as the shark is lifted off of him.

"Thanks Aether, now I've only got to deal with sea salt getting over everything."

One of the souls flies into Pain as he absorbs it.
>Offense: Splash: Spell; deals standard damage to single target. On a crit instead casts Tsunami, rendering all enemies Helpless.
Pain groans, grabbing his neck in pain (hah). He checks himself over, but sees no changes,
"Huh, no physical change with this one."
He checks his teeth and turns to Aether, rubbing the back of his neck as he accidently reveals a set of gills, albeit unbeknownst to him.

"Alrighty, can you magic the boat forward? Don't really feel like rowing after that."


In response to Pain's gratitude, she says "You're welcome."

The oars of the boat suddenly come to life as Aether works her magic once again.

"No problem at all."


As you suddenly appear from thin-air, the Shaman cannot help but be caught off guard. "ACH!" He shouts as he suddenly flies backwards in his chair, ending up on his back, "What on Tetra?!" He turns and looks at you, peering in disbelief as he slowly rises up.

The Ogre guard is less amused, and he reaches for his sabre to rise up high above his head, "Pony scum! Here on Ogre Island!?"

"Hold your blade! That's an order…" the Shaman demands, and the ogre quickly complies, visibly sweating as he backs off from you and the Shaman pulls himself up to his chair. "…you're awfully polite for a thief. But, I suppose I can accept the apology…" He leans forward, "I can well see you are a ghost. But I have seen ghosts before. I notice you are also a pony. That draws more of my attention…." He rubs his chin, "…Alexis, was it? Haven't heard of that one before. I am Master Grak, High Shaman of the Tainted on this island. Indulge my curiosity: what exactly are you doing here?"

Aether takes in the Soul from the Doomed Shark, successfully adding to her reservoir. When you put your hoof close to the Shark's mouth, you swear you see it close a little bit, but surely that is impossible given it has coughed up its Soul…

After rubbing out the pains of combat from the tail whip-lash, Pain also takes in his Soul from the Shark's corpse, changing his appearance subtly as Aether successfully animates the rowing oars of the boat with her magic as you both move into the boat. Aether's Sonar from her Water Ilo picks up no more movement from just off the shore of the cape, and with the magic moving at full speed, you two begin to motor on towards the black island ahead…
>Exact detail of propulsion to be determined start of next game



File: 1499852675636.webm (2.25 MB, 720x1280, jewbird.webm)


File: 1502170915797.webm (3.99 MB, 360x199, Adventure Call.webm)



Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


>>30683269 (Fixer)
Satar closes his eyes, a happy appearance on his face as he responds, "I appreciate that, but don't worry about me. If the Princess and the Island are saved I would gladly put down my life, so just focus on yourselves."

As Fixer points out the hall, Satar and Fex both sigh, "Aye," Fex says, "What a mess…. this place used to be the envy of all the villages, now it's a damned wreck."

>>30683257 (Aether)

>>30683269 (Fixer)
>>30683363 (Aether)
Satar nods, looking warily at the demon pair, "Do you have any Anima that'd let you make spikes? Or something to help you dig and make holes for them to fall into? Then we could catch them by surpr-"

>>30683360 (Aether)

>>30683363 (Fixer)
As Pain Train goes strolling out, Satar's eyes open wide, looking between him and you two. "He… I guess he thinks he has this…?"

>>30683350 (Pain Train)

As Pain Train goes strolling out into the carpet, and MMM begins blaring into the microphone, the two ogres are immediately alerted, standing up and grabbing at their weapons. "What's that?!" Gold Horns shouts in a deep voice, looking around until he notices Pain Train coming up.

The two Demons are silent as MMM gives his introduction, staring questioningly at the Donkey and unicorn, but the silver one sparks a grin as he finishes. "Is… he challenging us to a FIGHT, brother?" Silver asks.
"I think he is. That's pretty damn stupid of him, ain't it sister?"
"Hehehehehe. Well, I'll be damned though. It's ANOTHER ugly pony! Two of them! Where in the Taint are they crawling out from…" Silver asks, glaring between the two. "Hrmm… neither of them are that bitch from this morning…"

>>30683364 (Alexis)

As Alexis strolls out, Gold Horns' eyes open wide, gripping on his claymore as he takes a step forwards. "THERE SHE IS! I told you Silver!" He points at you, "I knew you'd come back here! Hey!" He throws up his newly regrown arm, patting it, "I owe you for THIS! We're gonna see how you like getting your limbs chopped of, ghosty!"
Silver Horns growls, reaching forward to catch her brother by the shoulder. "So it is… looks like we finally have another real fight on our hands. Wanna tear her apart limb from limb first and see if Souls come out?"
Gold Horns bares his teeth, eyes bearing on Alexis. "You know it."
"Then let's go!"

The two twelve-foot tall demons start stomping their feet on the ground, the hall starting to shake lightly from their tremendous stomps. Gold Horns crosses his arms, kneeling down, "Who will impale you upon his mighty sword…" he throws his arms up, "GOLD HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORNS!"

Silver like-wise crosses her arms, "Who will make you go splat on her unyielding shield….." she throws hers up, "SILVER HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORNS!"

"We'll grind you up and spit you out! Ponies!!!" They both shout in unison before leaping from the throne, Silver closely sticking to Gold Horns as the golden foe swings his sword down at Alexis, and Silver slams her mace down on top of Pain
>Silver: [1d10+1] Suppress
>Gold: [1d10+2] Suppress

You fire off a sphere of magic to protect Pain Train from harm, but as you do so the Demons, in the middle of their charge, kick few pieces of broken marble out of the way right towards you, breaking over the pillar you hide behind and hitting you in the head and sending you to the ground mid-spell. The spell fails to cast

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #2 1 + 2 = 3


Just testing

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 7 = 7 / Roll #3 6 = 6 / Roll #4 6 = 6 / Roll #5 10 = 10


Name fix


>"This is it." Alexis thinks flinching, before rolling out the way of Gold's sword. She takes a few steps forward and cuts at his knee with her katana.


Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 1 = 1


"ooAAH!" is all Aether's able to say before being struck right in the head by a piece of marble. It knocks her over onto her back, and it looks like some stars and birds circle above her head as she groans, less of a disapproving groan and more of a pain stricken one.

She shakes her head and tries to get back up.



Roll #1 10 = 10


"Well, I'll be staying here," he says, "For now at least."

Homing Magic

Roll #1 8 = 8


File: 1502172593031.webm (2.84 MB, 900x506, asscat.webm)

Pain runs towards the demons intent on meeting them half way. "And who's going to stop you? Pain Train!"

Pain slides underneath Silver, slamming hooves into her feet as he goes by.

>Disgruntled: Silver

Shatter (breaking bones) [1d10+1] DC-1 (single), +2 Damage (ogre knight)

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


You successfully manage to pull yourself up from the ground, shaking the stars and birds from your vision as Satar tries to help steady you from behind the pillar (5/4). "Oooof! Are you alright?"

You successfully summon 3 floating spheres of magic over-head ready to be cast

Your sword cuts cleanly at Gold's knee, but Silver's shield swiftly comes down to protect her brother from the attack. "Nuh uh! Not that easy this time…" she shouts as she kneels down to parry the blow

>Silver: Vanguard, the two critfails of the Siblings are negated

>Silver: Protect on Gold
Your sword slides up along the shield towards Silver's arm, the ogre barely moving out of the way as you slice some of her shoulder off, causing her to roar in pain
>Sildo: Fire damage is halved
>Silver: 8/6

Gold, safe from your attack to he knee, swings down his sword at you to cut deeply along your side, "I underestimated you before! Not again!"
>Alexis: 2/6

Gold Horns, meanwhile, picks up his large sword, and swings it around violently to mark both Alexis and Pain Train with one large swing
[1d10+1] Cleave 2, Alexis + Pain Train

You slide underneath Silver amid their charge, but as you attempt to slam your hooves into her feet she nimbly jumps up in the nick of time, swinging her mace down on you at an angle to send you sliding away from her, "HAH! Oldest trick in the book, puny!" The mace hits hard and fast, hearing a crack already
>Pain Train: 0/4

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


>Protect is Automatic INSTANT
After she slams her mace into Pain Train, her mace begins to vibrate and shake violently, but she keeps a steady grip on it.
[1d10+2] Retaliate

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


>"Oooof! Are you alright?"

"Woo… not as alright as I wish I was at the moment, but I'll, uh, manage," she says. She blinks and her eyes spin derpily for a moment before she blinks again, now ready to cast another spell.

She spies the swinging (and intimidating) sword and gives an "Eek!" She then casts a spell again on Pain Train.

[1d10+2] Inure to metal I guess lol rip

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10


File: 1502173848850.webm (1.52 MB, 900x720, batjoke.webm)

Pain falls flat. However, as sword starts swinging, Pain grabs onto it, using it's momentum to cannonball into Silver.

Tumble [1d10+1] DC-1 Damage+2

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


Fixer fires his magic orbs at Silver.

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 3 = 3 / Roll #3 6 = 6


File: 1502174029242.png (998.58 KB, 1600x1200, hadou_no_33__sokatsui_by_k….png)

Alexis is hit hard by the sword in her side, sending her flying into one of the remaining pillars as it cuts a wide gash into her side. She reaches down to feel it with her hoof, finding a gaping slide through her right side almost to her navel, which the robe covers.

>"I don't know what this stuff is, but I'm so glad its hard to break." she thinks to herself, before trying Plan B.

"Glavo: Sokatsui!"


Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 4 = 4


Satar nods his head as you manage to stand, keeping his eye out over the pillar investigating the battle, "Alright. Looks like it's pretty even out there so far…"

You fire a spell on Pain Train, and the sphere this time forms successfully around his body.
>Inured from Slashing for 5 turns

The sword comes down on top of you, but Aether's barrier protects you from harm as it fails to pass through the shield. You grab it successfully, but the barrier forces you to let go early and you miss your mark on Silver, rolling closer to her but not hitting her
>0/4 still

Silver notices the barrier protecting you, "Huh… what's that?"


You fire out the orbs from behind cover at Silver, she's caught off guard as she stares at Pain, the orbs all impacting on her with explosive force as she cries out in pain
>Silver: 2/6

She turns towards the pillars as the spheres impact her, knocking one back to explode nearby
>Fixer: 2/5
"More of them!? You have GOT to be kidding me!"

You fire off a fire-burst, and Silver jumps to intercept it with her shield, the flames bursting and covering her shield-arm in flames, scorching her, "GAAAAH!"
>Silver: 2/5
>Alexis: 0/4

As you burst her with fire, Gold swings up his sword after his attack failed on Pain, running towards you, "You can shoot fire now?! Didn't have that little trick earlier..!"
Silver catches his attention, "Brother! We got two more over here!"
"I'll take care of THEM soon as I get pay-back for my damned arm!" He shouts as pulls back his sword his sword, and brings it down for another swing
>All or Nothing
Silver curses, instead racing over to swing her mace down on top of the newly discovered Fixer Heater, "Fine! More for me then!"

>Previous results: [3+2=5] for Gold, [10+1=11] for Silver


[1d10] Huge for next time

Roll #1 6 = 6


File: 1510544593562.jpg (78.08 KB, 862x502, forestclearingforweb_small.jpg)

It is in the dead of night, the bluish-purplish glow of the gas planet above shining down on the red-tinted Rosemary Woods. It has been a few hours since the party had gone to sleep, accepting the accommodations provided by the Lorde overseeing and running the Tournament. Many other Numeri have taken him up on his offer and have gone to sleep in his estate, though those who need not for sleep can still be heard going about their business in the main hall.

Alexis, among those who do not sleep, has decided to take herself away from the Villa and into the dark of the woods in order to train her Anima in private so she betters her odds of winning the Lorde's wish.

Alexis finds herself in a clearing, a large hole in the canopy of the trees letting the 'moon'light shine down onto it. There are many flowers scattered about the grass, and a few fallen trees gathered off to one side. A small stream passes over to the side, the occasional sounds of frogs croaking the only sounds she can hear in her secluded training circle.


The ghost girl stands in the clearing in the black robe granted to her by her Sildoastra, clutching her sword in her right hoof. It has been just over two hours now, and debris and shattered wood surrounds her as she tries to get her accuracy down for these strange pseudo-magical abilities. She presses her hooves together, extending a long iron-looking quarterstaff between them.

"Glavo: Hyapporankan!" she shouts, throwing it at an undestroyed section of trees. Mid-flight, it transforms into numerous such iron bars.


Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


You toss the single quarterstaff towards the trees, but as they split off, your aim proves to need more work as the split-bars veer off into various directions, impacting into the floor and into the brook, causing a large series of splashes, but only one or two among them manage to hit any trees. Minimal damage is done around you.

The frogs have stopped croaking, evidently scared off by this latest display. You feel a small tremor in the earth replacing their chorus, a small but noticeable rumble.


"Ugh! Come on!" she throws down her sword, which lands in the dirt blade-first, standing up on its own.

"Hooves together, like you're praying." she says outloud to herself, making the motion.

"Glavo" she says, pausing, pulling her right arm back like its holding a javelin.

"Hy-app-o Ran-Kan" she says pronouncing every syllable one by one. She moves her arm like its throwing the imaginary 'javelin' she's holding.

>"All together." she thinks to herself.

"Glavo: Hyapporankan!"


Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


File: 1510546452365.jpg (1.53 MB, 2480x3507, Giant.Soldier.Of.Stone.ful….jpg)

On the second attempt, you toss out the iron javelin, and this time when it splits off, the flying spears hit far more of their marks. Several trees explode into shrapnel of pine and splinters as many of your poles hit them dead on, and leave another good section of the clearing devoid of standing trees.

As you practice, the rumble you felt before intensifies, and begins growing in frequency. You see the stream you practice besides splash and ripple as the tremors, now sounding like giant hoof-steps as they make their way into your clearing.

Just barely standing beneath the top of the trees is the shadow of a giant monolith. It is hard to make out its features cleanly in the dark, particularly any on his face but it does not take much to recognize the giant stone elemental you noticed at the entrance to the Lorde's estate. "You're making quite a racket you know… some competitors are trying to sleep." He shouts in a low, gravelly voice as he stands at the edge of the clearing, making his presence known but no longer coming in.


The ghost looks on with approval at another successful hit, slowly but surely getting a handle on these stupid things. She freezes as the enormous creature stomps its way towards the clearing, looking up at his silhouette in the low-light.

"Uh. Sorry?" she says, still frozen where she stood at his sudden appearance.


The enormous stone elemental lets out a grunt, shaking his head. "Forget it. Just wanted to come over and see what was making all the noise." He looks over at the recent mess of destroyed trees, stepping through the clearing closer to you to get a better look. As he steps out into the moonlight, you see his face is covered by a stone plate that hides everything but the top ridge of his nose and his eyes, which seem to be made of blue gems. "You did that?" He says, pointing a somewhat stubby stone finger towards the collapsed trees.


She remains still, only speaking when he addresses her directly.

"Will you step on me if I say yes?" she says timidly.


File: 1510547668403.png (2.33 MB, 1482x1355, Stone Elemental Comparison….png)

>Posted for scale.


He turns towards you as you ask that, gem-eyes beaming in the reflection. "What? No, why would I…" he pauses part way, grumbling underneath. "Forget it. The answer is obvious, anyways." He says reaching for one of the fallen trees, picking up the broken off body in the palm. "Answer me this instead: what are you doing out here blasting trees to bits this late at night?"


"I'm practicing Anima." she says, taking a step backwards, floating into the air a little [but still nowhere near his eye level].

"Why are you in the estate with the others?"




"Too big for any of the Lordes' chambers. He offered his grand hall but I prefer to be out here. It's secluded, it's quiet… WAS quiet."

He tosses the tree off to the side, "You're practicing your Anima? I see…" he looks down at you. "Then, was it true? What the red pony was saying? Only one of you ponies are a fighter?"


She looks nervous as he tells her it 'was' quiet.

"No, its not true. None of us are fighters. I mean, I guess I am now. I didn't join the Tournament to be a spectator."


He takes another look towards the array of destroyed foliage. "So I see. No one who isn't a fighter could do this." He pauses, taking one more look back at you, then to the trees, before turning around to turn his whole body towards you.

"Well then. How about you try something a little hardier than twigs and leaves. I'd like to see just how true or false that statement is."


She floats backwards, looking shocked.

"What!? I can't fight you you're enormous! It wouldn't even be a fight it'd just be you stepping on me!"


The stone elemental looks at you with his piercing gaze. "Ooooh? I take that to mean you've never fought an opponent as large as me?"

He leans over you, pointing a finger, "And what difference does that make? What do you intend to do if you were to come across me in the finals? Surrender?"


"No, but-"


"Then what should it matter if I'm bigger than you if you'll eventually need to fight me, or someone who's defeated me, anyway? I'm not going to shrink any time before the competition starts, pony." He says, his voice getting a little sharper.

"If you don't have the courage to face me now, you might as well drop any hope for the tournament. Because there are fighters here who aren't afraid to take me for my size."


Alexis pauses, staring up at the living mountain before her.

>"This is ridiculous! I can't fight this thing." she thinks to herself.

>"But….that's what I thought about those Demons too…"
>"I had HELP then." she thinks, continuing her inner monologue.
>"The options are fight, or stay dead. The rules say you have to accept a challenge."

She breathes heavily as she takes a step closer to the behemoth, and draws her sword up out of the ground.

"I ante the Verdant Charm, my Astra." she says sounding like she's on the verge of an anxiety attack by the way of how she's breathing.


As you draw up your sword and ante up your Soul, you see the stone soldier hold up his palm, open, as a (comparatively) tiny sphere appears in its center.

"That's more like it. I ante up my Warblade Class Soul in turn." The sphere disappears back into his palm, and he reaches up for his back, picking out two short swords made entirely from stone out of their sheathes, brandishing them against you. "Brace yourself-!"

He swings up his swords into the air, swinging them down with a crash
>Earthen Strike
[1d10+1] Crits on 8+
>Living Steel: passive; Lowers critfail range by 2 for all skills and attacks with a minimum of 1.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #2 1 = 1


File: 1510551685527.jpg (25.02 KB, 631x474, Meta_Knight_Sword_Beam.jpg)

>"Oh. My-" Alexis eyes go wide as the swords come crashing down, missing her by far. Nonetheless the sheer shockwave knocks her backwards, stumbling to regain her footing as she slides to a stop on her heels.

>"WhatdoIdoWhatdoIdoWhatdoIdoWhatdoIdoWhatdoIdo" she thinks to herself as she see him towering over her.

"Glavo: Haien!" she says, swinging her sword with a backhand, causing a purple beam-slash to fly up and collide with the Giant's chest.

>Like this but smaller and purple
>Dual Ethereal

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 4 = 4


You avoid twins swords bearing down on you, leaving a large impact crater where they crashed initially, but are hit by the shockwave they create. You swing you sword and a beam-slash goes barreling for the stone elementals chest. However, with surprising quickness, he brings his swords up to an X to criss cross his chest, blocking the slash in time. "Not enough-!" He says as he swings the sword against you in a counterattack, hitting you with the flat of his blade and sending you flying back (0/5)

He comes barreling at you, looking to body slam you with his sheer size on his next attack.
Roll #1 7 = 7 Great weapon, crits on 9+


Alexis doesn't even have time to react as she's sent flying through a nearby tree, skidding backwards over the dirt as she rolls.

Her eyes go wide as she sees the enormous creature barreling towards her.

[1d10] Huge
>Posting again please wait

Roll #1 3 = 3


The ghost girl pushes herself up out of the dirt and off her stomach as he barrels at her.

>"Crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap-" she thinks to herself, eyes scanning her environment.

She swings her sword at the nearest tree, the thin black plan falling over the giant's path, hopefully tripping him.

>Road of the Spirited

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 3 = 3


You slice at the tree, cutting it down and blocking the giants' path, but it is ultimately to no avail: he careens right through it like a freight train, smashing it to splinters on his way to you. It is only with brief moments to spare you can get out of the way of being ran over by him, though the shockwaves and gravel he kicks up still collides with you and doing damage as he screeches to a stop in the woods.

He swings up his swords again, preparing to bring them down on top of you again like before, "Haaah!" He shouts as they crash down.
[1d10+1] Earthen Strike, Crits on 8+
[1d10] Fortify

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 5 = 5


Alexis barely manages to dodge the giant at the last moment, leaping out of the way before the shockwave sends her flying, slamming into the branches of a tree.

>"Ow, ouch shit fuck!" she thinks to herself out of habit, despite not feeling any pain as she rolls to a stop.

[1d10] Recovery
>Clarifying she is IN a tree right now, so he's attacking her near eye level.

Roll #1 1 = 1


The shockwave sends you flying and slamming into the trees branches, rolling down to a stop after the powerful blow connects. You hear a few more stomps as he walks along the ground towards your position hidden in the tree tops.

He raises his swords again, turning them so that only the flat side connects. "I suppose we have our answer… you aren't a fighter." He raises them up, holding them up at a side in preparation to swing them back at you to knock you out of the trees. "Let's get this over with."


The ghost looks on in horror at the enormous foe before her, readying to finish her off.

>"I…..I'm going to lose."

>"I didn't even scratch it." she thinks to herself, tears running down her face as he holds his sword overhead.
>"Why is this so hard?" she thinks to herself, vanishing into the astral.


As you contemplate your seeming defeat, the two swords never fall, and the stone elemental looks on confused at your position in the astral, where in the physical plane he now sees nothing.

"What…?" He says aloud, looking around as he scans the nearby area. "Where did she go?" He swings his sword at a nearby tree, causing it to collapse over as he looks around the area.

"Are you just going to hide? There is more shame in cowardice than defeat, pony!" He says, pacing around the clearing looking for you.


Her robe vanishes, replaced by her typical attire as the Verdant Charm dangles from her neck, tears still streaming down her face.

>"Damn it! Damn it damn it damn iiiiiit! Its not fair!"

She thinks, burying her face in the tree branch. Her Troll's Sildo activates. Though her spirit shows no signs of wear in this dimension, the energy replenishes her as her Vimana begins to rise…


As the Troll Sildo continues to recover Alexis' astral body, the stone soldier paces around the clearing, angrily looking around as he pushes aside another couple of trees. "Damn it!"

He looks up and shouts to the air, "This isn't going to end until one of us loses our ante, pony! Either fight me or surrender. There is no other options for you." He says with increasing agitation. "I'm waiting…!"


File: 1510556477022.png (247.21 KB, 540x350, 36Ichigo_powers_up.png)

>"Its not fair…." her sadness begins to twist into anger as she grits her teeth, slowly rising her head off of the branch.

>"Grrrrrrr." she begins breathing very heavily, shaking in anger.

"No." she says simply.
"Sildo: Shihakusho."

>Glavo: Ogre Knight [recovered from Pain]

>Sildo: Verdant Charm
>Ilo: Ogre

Standing on the branch, eyes focused into a death-glare, stands Alexis. Her faint blue aura has turned white, and burns so intensely it seems to rise off her silhouette. She points her sword at the Stone Giant.


The stone giant turns around to see his opponent, his gem eyes reflecting the light of the moon as he re-brandishes his swords, preparing for another attack. "There you are. Got tired of hiding?"

He pushes his leg forward, leaping into a charge as he crosses his sabres, charging at Alexis on the branch "As I said… let's get this over with-!"

[1d10+1] Earthen Strike on Alexis
[1d10] Fortify

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 1 = 1


She swings her katana at his short swords, shattering the tips off of both, not moving from her position.

>Ogre for the required strength

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 4 = 4


You swing your sword and clashes against the stone elemental's two swords, causing an intense struggle break between the two of you as your attacks parry each others, both defending against the other but leaving each combatant strained
>Alexis: 1/6

"Urg… much better-!" He comments, taking up his blades into the air and swinging them down again in a criss-cross motion
[1d10] Great weapon, 9+ crits

Roll #1 8 = 8


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The ghost grits her teeth as she parries, still standing on the branch as she slashes out at his left hand.


Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 6 = 6


[1d10] Huge

Roll #1 4 = 4


You parry his blow with your sword, and successfully lash out at his left hand, slashing it as he grunts in pain and drops his saber, breaking off from the clash as you are both dealt more damage by the powerful blows colliding. You remain in the tree branches as she slides back a bit, kneeling to collect his dropped sword.
>Alexis: 0/5
>Obelisk: 0/6

"…much, much better." He repeats, leaning down to pick up his sword. "But, I'd like to see what you used to take out those trees."
[1d10] Recovery

Roll #1 1 = 1


*0/4 for Obelisk


[1d10] Recover

Roll #1 2 = 2


Alexis stands on the branch, clutching her blade in her right hoof for dear life, teeth grit, eyes not even seeming to be looking at the Stone Giant, but rather right through him.


The stone soldier narrows his glare as she stares right through him. He brings himself back up to standing, cracks forming along his hand where you slashed him before, and he re brandishes his weapons. "Not in a talking mood. Fine by me."

[1d10] Recovery

Roll #1 9 = 9


She leaps at him, slashing across his chest [counterattack from last turn, 0/3] before landing on the ground.

[1d10] Recovery

Roll #1 1 = 1


He grunts as you slash him across his chest, leaving a clean gash in the stone as he staggers back, clearly feeling the damage now as he holds his swords. But, he continues standing upright, and you see a white glow appear around him.

"Sildo: Armament…" he mutters
>Bear Sildo

He spins around, bringing up his heavy stone swords to crash down on you as he makes a rotation, "And Heavy Crash!"
[1d10+1] Earthen Strike
[1d10] Fortify

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 1 = 1


[1d10] She raises up her sword, hoof to the back of it to block.

"Rrrgh, just get out of my way!" she screams, finally speaking.

Roll #1 1 = 1


The sword comes baring down on Alexis, causing a small crater to appear below and around her as the two stone swords drive down with terrific force from above. The stone elemental presses down with all his might, pushing through to finish the job with determination.

[1d10] Great attack

Roll #1 7 = 7


File: 1510559234244.jpg (8.98 KB, 480x360, Rukiacrying.jpg)


The white aura rages around Alexis as her Vimana lashes the empty and cool night air. She holds up her sword, hoof to its back as she tries to absorb the unstoppable force slamming down over her head. Her rage slips, and she feels her grip on her sword just barely loosen.

>"Nothing I try is working…"

>"I should have lost already. This is completely ridiculous. I'm no hero. I'm no fighter. I don't even know where this power came from. I was stupid, thinking I could just get angry and win, like this was some cartoon."

The tears break in again as she holds her blade up, trying to soak the strike.

Her scream of defiance echos in the night.

[1d10] Last Recovery

Roll #1 2 = 2


As you hoist up your blade against the onslaught of the stone sabers, you hear your scream piercing throughout the woods, and your sword slowly pushes back more and more against your grip. The stone elemental pushes down with his last push of power, breaking through your block as the force becomes too much to bear.

A shockwave surrounds you as you feel the blades push past your blade and pin you into the ground, pushed onto your back as the blades cross at your mid-section. The stone giant looks at you with an expressionless gaze as he stares at your tear strained face, keeping his blades from digging any further.

"…it is over." He says as he withdraws his blades. "You did well."


The young girl looks over on the ground, the scattered shrapnel of her sword disappearing.

"It was a stupid idea." she mutters, just barely audible.


The stone giant continues kneeling over you, sheathing his swords back up into their holsters on his back. "It wasn't. You could have won." He reaches up and runs a hand against the gash in his stone chest, then looking down at the cracks on his hand. "The only difference in us is in experience, not power. I don't know if I could have handled another blow like this one."


File: 1510561048532.jpg (119.16 KB, 624x755, rukias-face-start-to-disap….jpg)

She pushes herself up to standing. She puts her hoof at her throat, and her robe disappears as she grips the green necklace around her neck, pulling it hard enough it snaps.

"I was stupid." she tosses the Charm on the ground, barely three feet in front of her.

She sobs, closing her eyes hard as her teeth gnash, and with an astral step she is gone. They never even exchanged names.

>"So stupid."



File: 1516675293957.jpg (7.67 KB, 256x197, soul32.jpg)

Please post your sheets for the 32nd session of SoulQuest!


File: 1516675473819.png (17.99 KB, 542x771, 1516302801782.png)


File: 1516675493833.webm (3.95 MB, 480x270, trump's bizzare election.webm)


File: 1516675618924.jpg (223.84 KB, 1300x974, anxious-student-closeup-po….jpg)


Alexis: 7/5
>Glavo: Air Elemental / Sildo: Fruit/ Ilo: Speed Elemental +1
Pain: 1/4
>Glavo: Rhino / Sildo: Bear / Ilo: Knight
Aether: 5/5
>Glavo: Sand Elemental / Sildo: Troll / Ilo: Gambler
Castle: 8/6
>Glavo: Bear / Sildo: Knight / Ilo: Ogre>>692454

Previously on SQ,

The battle heated up between Rasheo and Pain Train at last, the later of whom even daring to fight the impatient lion with the wounded Raja on his back, no longer trusting their surroundings. Rasheo angrily accepted the terms, and the battle was joined. Though they clashed fiercely, Pain gained the upper-hoof quickly, powering through Rasheo's attack and sending him tumbling into the pit before he erupted in an attack of anger.

Alexis and Aether located the alliance of Baron Elijah Bello of Swampbottom, who extended the same offer he had made to Pain Train to the two of them. Telling him they'd think it over, the two instead challenged some of his alliance - the crocodile guard Darik and the mystical snow-elemental Firig - and handily won, shocking the King of Hippos and his companions.

Back in Equestria, Col. Castle Rock was met in his den by a mysterious military pony draped in white, who cited Rock's illustrious career as part of SHIELDWALL and offered a new mission for the retired soldier. After declining at first, the mysterious entity enticed him with an offer he could no longer refuse: a means of helping his deceased friend's ailing grand-daughter. Accepting the bargain and donning his old IRNHRT Mk II, Castle was instantly teleported in a bright flash of light to another world…

Aether's horn glows bright gold, magic swirling around it until it's all released at once towards the hapless ice elemental. The snowman looks up in time to see the massive force of golden energy rush him, and offers a mild,

Before he's bowled over by the rush of magical energy, busting him into powder as he goes flying down the path a ways. Most of his body is broken apart, scattered bits of snow all over the path, and Firig's body is significantly reduced, from his former ogre size to a size closer to the mares.

Elijah looks on from the side, flabbergasted as two more members of his alliance are beaten so hoofedly, "Well… that was rather brief wasn't it?"
The rat shakes his head, "They took them down in under a minute! I always heard stories about ponies but this…"
The hippo steps forward, moving to help up Darik first, "Someone see to Firig and see if he needs healing." He turns to you, "Congratulations are in order, Alexis and Aether… I've rarely seen such skill, even among Numeri."
Darik lets out a cough, "I… heh… don't suppose you've given more thought to the alliance, huh?"


>>(Luce's sheet here)
You take a closer look at the symbol in the pale 'moon'light of the gas giant, the blue hue mixing with the red of the trees to create a purple glow around this place. Inspecting the spot, you find the dirt has been clearly burnt, grass that was once here having been blasted away to make the crossed symbol. You feel a light heat from the burnt marks, but it's quickly fading in the chill of the evening (which while is hard to feel outside your armor, you can sense there is a coldness to the air).

You see no others around you, and you appear to be alone in the dense forest, though far off through the trees you think you spot lights of some sort of another peering through the maze of red trunks.

The lion jumps and leaps clear of the pit, but you are quickly there to meet him as you deliver a swift kick to his chest, sending him flying back down into the pit with a crash as he lets out a roar of pain.

As you taunt him, the lion's electricity starts to surge out of control, and he begins losing the shape of a lion, becoming more akin to a being made entirely of lightning that's merely in the shape of a lion. His eyes remain however, as they stare up at you with a hateful glow. "You…. dare…. mock…. me?!"
He moves to stand, roaring out angrier than ever as a tremendous shout fills your eardrums. "You fool! I! AM! RASHEO! And I WON'T be beaten by a novice! RAAAAAAAGH!"
He leaps out of the pit in a blast of lightning, poised to strike at you directly
[1d10+1: 10 + 1 = 11] Tumble
>Lightning Elementalist


Alexis stares at her sword as the rat and Elijah go on, marveling at the ease with which they won.

"Lets go again. You two this time." she says pointing at the rat, then the cactus with her sword.


File: 1516677736644.webm (3.82 MB, 640x360, DoubleCrit.webm)

Pain Train's eyes widen, but lets his face turn to a grin, jumping into the air to drop his full bodyweight on Rasheo, letting out a heart laugh,

"This Train's going off the rails! Woohoo!"


Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7 / Roll #2 9 + 3 = 12


Well, that sure was something.

Aether's horn almost appears to be red hot. Looking up at that thing sticking out of her forehead, she tries fanning it with her forehoof.

>"Lets go again. You two this time."

She stops fanning and says, "O—oh, we're doing this again? Uh, okay…"


*hearty laugh


Darik and Firig raise from their defeated positions, one of the other non-Numeri crocodiles, gifted with healing magic, steps forth to heal their wounds, and the two of them release the promised Souls to you
>Ice Ogre Mage Soul and Gecko Knight Soul gained

The rat looks alarmed as your sword points to him, looking back up at Elijah then to you. "What, who me? No way!" He says, pointing at Elijah, "You're fighting him next, I'm not losing one of my two chances to you!"
The hippo laughs, "She challenge you, Rachshun, not me."
"This is bad…" The cloaked rat protests, reaching up to rub at his head.

The cactus lets out a smug grin, pushing the rat aside as it pumps its fists together. "Aw, stop bein' such a sourpuss." The cactus speaks with a deeper, but clearly feminine voice, apparently female. "How many of your next lives are gonna be grateful for the opportunity to have fought a pony!? This is just the test I needed before huntin' down that lizard freak…"
Rachshun lets out a scowl, "You're pretty excitable for a Vegetable, you know that Getta…?" he sighs, drawing his two daggers. "Alright, fine, whatever. Name's Rachshun, from Serpen. I've got a pretty strong Mouse Soul if you beat me."
The cactus, evidently named Getta, continues to grip her glove-covered fists, needles moving up and down on their own along her body as she steps closer. "I'm Getta. Mostly I'm in this tournament for a shot at the Heavyweight Champ, and that Pain fella now that I think of it, but I won't mind usin' you two for practice. Got me a Pugilist Soul if you win."

Rasheo lets out an ear-splitting roar as his thunderous form rises up to slash at you, the long claws created from pure lightning creating a sizable and painful gash in your side when the pass through, thousands of volts of electricity now coursing through you. However, your final blow takes its effect on Rasheo as well: you collide with him in mid-air, crushing him with a full powered body blow that sends you both crashing into the ground below with you on-top of him, albeit paralyzed due to the lightning.

The crash creates a large crater, widening the pit even further with your body-slam, and after a few more sparks arc around the circumference of the hole, you feel a large, lion-shaped mass shakily breathing beneath you, no blood pouring from him but only the occasional low-spark of electricity. Rasheo lets out a pain grunt, "Im-*cough* impossible…"
>0/3, combat over. Raja is still snugly secured to your back, and you hear the clops of a sheep running over to the side of the hole
"PAIN! Pain you alright?! Hold on, I'll be down there in a sec…"

Rasheo struggles underneath your weight, unable to move easily, "Get… off… me… *now*."


Aether absorbs the Ice Ogre Mage soul.

>switching gambler ilo for ice ogre mage soul ilo (still saving that pocketed crit tho, just for l8r)

"I have a… what was—Oh yeah, a Paladin soul."

After a brief pause, she says, "Uh, I dunno if I should say my name again.

After another brief pause, she blurts out, "It's Aether, in case you missed it."


Pain Train nearly flops on his back before remembering to remove his belt, checking Raja's pulse as he elects for Market's help getting the tiger out of the crater.
>"Pain Train wiiiiiins agaaaaaain!" The unicorn shouts to a crowd that isn't there, using telekinesis to take the load of the tiger off of Pain somewhat.


Alexis absorbs Gecko Knight.

"I'll wager the Soul I just won." she says, taking a stance with her katana held in front of her.

"Okay. Go!"

She lets out an anxious exhale, before vanishing from view. She quickly reappears behind Getta with an arcing upward slash.


Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11



>"Okay. Go!"

"Oh! Okay."

She watches as Alexis hits the ground running, practically, then she shifts her attention to the cactus.

"Yeesh…" she mutters to herself quietly before casting a protective spell on Alexis, already in the fray.

>inure from piercing, benefits from mage ilo


Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12


Getta offers a shrug, "Eh, it's really just a formality thing, but it's still nice to hear, honey. Let's do this!"

Getta looks surprised as you suddenly shoot out of nowhere and then attack her first, "Woah, fast!" She says in exclamation as you cut off a piece of her hard cactus exteriors. "GRrr!" However, as they impact, the cactus' needles shoot out at Alexis, injuring her in a counter-attack.
>Alexis at 4/5

The spell from Aether's horn shoots out at Alexis, covering her in a golden glow that protects her from any and all stabbing attacks for 7 turns, shimmering around her.

Rachshun lets out a whoop of glee, "WOOOOH! I'm not first, thank the Four!" he shouts as he loops behind Alexis, pulling into his cloak to pull out some sort of powder, which he then sprinkles over the mare as she attacks Getta, "Think fast, pony!"
>Rodent Swarm; recharge 2: The target is swarmed by rodents that deal 1 Hit per round until removed as a rolled action. They deal a Wound if the target is helpless. A target cannot be targeted by this attack twice in one battle.

Getta quickly re-stabilizes herself, and then throws a powerful punch in Alexis' direction, "Make that 'twice' as fast! Strong right hook, comin' at ya!"
>Dynamic Duo: Rachshun selected
[1d10] Knockout Punch

Raja is successfully lifted up and out of the pit by Market's magic, Lachoc coming over to assist the manager as his hooves reach up to grab at Raja's sides and pull him in closer to them, "Easy, easy there… got 'im!" He shouts as he helps steady them. He looks down into the pit, shaking with excitement, "That was one unforgettable fight, Pain Train! I doubt he'll forget it anytime soon either?"

As Pain Train gets up, Rasheo barely manages to do so, still sparking arcs of lightning instead of blood as the lion growls angrily at no one in particular, crawling away from Pain Train, "It's… it doesn't make sense… you've only been a Numeri for a few days… yet against me and Hun-Hun you wield Anima like it was second nature… it's impossible."

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 7 = 7


>Inured against physical damage
>5 turns max


Alexis looks down at her shoulder as several pins are fired into her, not wincing or otherwise responding due to lack of the ability to feel pain. When Rachshun tells her to think fast, she does quickly spinning around and kicking him like a ball into a nearby tree.

Getta's punch slams into Aether's barrier while Alexis is facing the other way, drawing in the ghost's attention.

"Whoa!" she says as the large Cactus towers over her. She slashes across the front of her chest.


Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11


Pain Train goes to actually help the lion up, but assumedly the prideful beast rejects him. He instead sits down, atleast beckoning the lion to join him.

"Well by my understanding, you can use souls like an extension of your own body, empowering the natural skills you already have."

Pain grunts, trying to flatten his static-shocked fur,

"I just figure, if you've got mastery of the body already down, then souls are that much easier."

He turns to Lachoc,

"Thanks Lachoc, I'm glad you enjoyed the spectacle. I think I'm going to avoid fighting for now on, I want to get this fellow as close to the border of the forest as possible. I don't trust the lord after all this."


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forgot my post-ly webm


Seeing that her barrier's doing the trick, Aether looks around for something heavy, and she spies a few boulders on the path. Her horn lights up as one of those boulders starts to rise. She flings it at the porcupine vegetable.



Roll #1 1 + 3 = 4


As you punt Rachshun towards the tree, he lets out a pained grunt as your hoof connects with his abdomen, "OOOFF! Okay that's pretty faaaasst!" he shouts as he collides into the tree, quickly picking himself up afterwards. Meanwhile, Getta's fist slams against the golden shield Aether erected around you, bouncing off harmlessly as Getta staggers backwards.
"D-damn, that shield again! That was my strongest punch too…"
Your sword then connects cleanly against her, cutting off a large swath of body as yet more needles spray out in retaliation

"Need a new plan!" Rachshun shouts, looking around as Aether's magic begins to cast a familiar glow around one of the nearby boulders. He races to it, jumping off on its size and, with a strong kick of both his hind-legs, sends it flying back towards Aether, the rock impacting against her side and sending her down (0/4). "Switch your Souls, I'll cover you!" He shouts as he brings up his knives in a defensive posture, the rats' arms moving unusually quickly
>Speed Elemental Sildo
[1d10+3] Dodging/protecting on behalf of Getta against Alexis

Getta grunts, "R-right! Thanks!"
[1d10] Switching Glavo Soul

You presume correctly: even as you offer a hoof to assist him, the lion snaps and pulls away, insisting on getting up himself though you see he is clearly having trouble. He listens to you though, as you explain your reasoning.

"…possible." He struggles to lean against the side of the pit, panting heavily as the sparks shoot out. "I'll admit: I did not think you for having such 'mastery' at first. Gifted with Anima, perhaps; you used what you had brilliantly against Hun-Hun. The monkey's a fool, but he's not a pushover."
He turns away, "But, still I thought you were merely coasting on it, using your new found Souls as a crutch. Your attitude is nothing like that of a 'true' warrior." He grunts, "Part of me still thinks that's true. But… grr…" he growls angrily. "It doesn't matter. I lost. You won. By all accounts I should be dead, not arguing." He lets out a sigh, and with that a bright yellow soul comes out of his chest, and he offers it to you. "Yet another reason to despise this tournament."

>Swordmage Soul gained

>Offense: Enchanted Blade; passive: Select two Elemental Effects you have access to through Skills or Souls. You may apply them to your normal attacks.
>Defense: Cut Magic; instant recharge 2: On a success negate one Spell targeting you this turn [if it is an AoE it is negated for all targets].
>Utility: Adaptible Style: Once an encounter you may reselect all your Souls as though out of combat.

Meanwhile, Lachoc nods, "I understand. But, you remember that's going to be quite a journey to the edge of the forest? It'll take some time to reach there by hoof."

Roll #1 1 + 3 = 4 / Roll #2 4 = 4


>Dodge is only instant
>As he brings up his daggers, Rachshun also pulls out a few small spheres from his cloak, throwing it out at Alexis' face as they explode into blinding flashes of light
[1d10+1] Blind

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


It all happened so quickly. Aether was caught off guard, not anticipating the rat's next move, and the consequences are unforgiving.

"Ooh…" Aether groans as she lays/lies on the ground, feeling as though she was just hit by a ton of bricks (and that's not far at all from the truth).

She tries to right herself.


Roll #1 9 = 9


Alexis parries his knives and creates an opening, swinging it widely against her enemies moments before he throws his flash-bombs.

>First hit is against Getta, if it takes her out second hit is against Rachshun otherwise the second is also against Getta. Fluffwise its just one sideways swing regardless.

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6


>additional change
>As Getta focuses on changing her slots, you see bits of her body starting to heal up and piece together as the vegetation grows to replenish the cut off pieces
>Sildo: Fruit activated
>1 wound restored


Having little reason to linger and look for visual clues in the middle of the night, I scoop up a small patch of the burnt earth and wrap it in my spare handkerchief. Taking a last scan of the perimeter and still satisfied I'm alone, I head out at a quick trot towards the lights through the wood, my eyes drawn increasingly towards the alien moon.


You manage to pull yourself up successfully (5/4) while Alexis takes on both the rat and the cactus alone.

Rachshun grunts as he tries to parry your attacks to keep Getta safe, but finds himself in dismay as you slip through his defenses and slash at Getta once across the side, causing the cactus to grunt and yell out as she's tossed aside, her regeneration failing to keep up with the new wound.
"Gaaaah!" she cries out as she goes down, Rachshun looking at her with wide open eyes as his light-bombs go off in your face, blurring and blinding your field of vision towards the rat
>+2 to rolls against you

"Oh, Taint me!" He shouts in dismay, gripping at his knives precariously as he digs into his cloak again, preparing to throw the same powder as before at Alexis, "For the record, I thought this was a bad idea!"
[1d10+3] Rodent Swarm

You take up the small patch of burnt earth and secured it safely, and began your trek through the red-tinted forest under the bright, luminous gaze towards the lights.

>You spend the evening in the forest, the lights you saw being bio-luminescent plants, and the next morning you trek through the forest in broad-daylight to explore. Along your travels, you manage to come across hostile elements in the forest that attack you on sight (a mad bear, and a pair of ferocious ogres). You manage to come on top in all these encounters, and with each one defeated they leave behind small, glowing orbs that absorb into your body naturally, granting you enhanced abilities you are somehow innately aware of and know well how to use right away.

>Later that evening, you happen upon a civilization at last in the forest: a location called the Rosemary Villa, home to the Lorde of the Rosemary Woods. Overseen by deer-plant like hybrids (you gather are referred to as 'Fae') as custodians, and filled with a myriad of talking/moving animals, plants, elementals, and even a working robot (which, you notice, every attendee in your limited interactions seem to mistake you for with your armor on, specifically a 'Machine'), you discover that this gathering is the Tournament of Roses the stallion in white told you to join, and amid its festivities you see four (and only four) ponies among the attendees.

>You rest in the Villa that evening, and the next morning move out into the forest to join in the Tournament of Roses, which requires you to seek out opponents among the many competitors in the forest. In your travel, you hear a loud crack of thunder, and are drawn to the sight of a great clash of light between a lion made of lightning and a donkey wearing a championship belt (one of the equines you saw last night), who came out victorious in the match. You watch them now from beyond the trees as the donkey, the lion, along with a nearby sheep and unicorn (older looking than the donkey) converse among themselves.

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12


When she gets back up, her eyes narrow at the rat.


Two more boulders start floating now, and both are heading straight for the rat.

>telekenesis x2, road of the wise


Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7 / Roll #2 2 + 3 = 5


File: 1516688126221.gif (3.33 MB, 190x108, Shō.gif)

>"Got her!" Alexis thinks to herself, moments before the bombs go off in her face, blinding her.

She raises her free hoof as he throws the powder in her direction, her other hoof covering her blinded eyes.

"Glavo: Sho!"

A small bullet-like projectile flies from the tip of her hoof towards Rachshun, with similar velocity.

>Fruit Sildo as well, back to 7/5

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5


"What else do we have to do? I've done quite a bit of fighting, and I'd like to see if the forest keeps fighting back to confirm my theory."
Pain shrugs to Lachoc, turning to Rasheo,

"And please, using the souls as a crutch? I was a champion of my world before I was even introduced to Souls. What is a true warrior to you anyways? I love to fight, I hone by body to do so; is that not what true warriors are like?"
He laughs again,
"And besides the host, what's not to like about tournaments. Besides a war, how else does one get so many great fighters in one place to challenge?"


Still confused beyond words, I do take some comfort in my unasked-for disguise. As soon as I realized this place was home to intelligent life, my primary concern was disturbing the locals. Finding myself indistinguishable from an indigenous race (never mind the unlikelihood of machine "life" in the first place) was almost suspiciously convenient, but I had no reason to question it, and the facade was easy enough to maintain with some improvisation. It had been a long time since I'd slept in my armor, and the morning aches were all too familiar.

I was really starting to gag for a cigarette, though.

Curbing an impulse to lean against something I remain stock upright, watching the melee for any new revelations. It had taken a while, but to my shock I'd realized this was, in fact, the same donkey I'd seen occasionally on television over the last few years. Whether this was in favor or opposed to the "I'm dead" working theory, I hadn't decided yet.


The rocks Aether flings out at Rachshun hit him on either side: one impacts, causing him to stagger back, though he manages to hop on one of the others and throw a small dagger at Aether Bright, which barely grazes her but creates a small cut (4/4)

Alexis' hoof-bullets fire out at Rachshun at the same time as the powder covers the blinded pony, causing another wound on him that causes him to let out a grunt as the bullet-like projectile goes through his side. "Graah! A-alright, time for back-up…" he smiles as a couple dozen rats (normal sized, unintelligent) begin pouring out of the bushes and racing towards Alexis, jumping up to bite her and pester her as she tries to fight Rachshun
>Rodent Swarm active

Meanwhile, Rachshun charges at Aether, holding up his blades as readies to swing, "Nothing personal, lady, just can't have you castin' any more spells!"
[1d10+1] Backstab

Lachoc rubs at his long goatee, trying to think of a solution. "Well… it's a long way to run or walk but, if we could track down anyone with a Soul that would allow us to fly, it'd let us make the trip much more quickly." He raises his hoof to his chest, "I wouldn't want you getting disqualified though, in case we leave the boundaries of the tournament by accident." He lets out a sad sigh, "It's… pretty clear this ol' ram's not gonna make it far in this Tourney anyhow, I'd take him back on your behalf if we found one."

Rasheo growls, "What makes a warrior isn't just how he fights. It's 'why'." He grunts, pulling himself up into a more up-right position, but still laying down injured. "You fight for the roar and approval of the crowd. To hear them chanting your name. Your fights hold no lives at stake. That isn't a battle: it is entertainment." He grunts, reaching up to put a paw to his chest, "I fight to become stronger. To crush anyone who would stand in my way. I don't care who or what sees me do it. And, usually, 'no one' is supposed to live to tell about it afterwards."

He growls, looking around the forest, "This entire tournament is a mockery of the Numeri way. ALL of these Fae and flowers want is a 'spectacle'. Unless they are incompetent and fall to the forest's natural dangers," he says with a snide look towards Lachoc, "Every competitor will walk away from this without a scratch. If all these so-called 'fighters' wanted Souls so badly, they know damn well how they are earned."

>Unfortunately the stay hasn't been the most forthcoming in information as well: the myriad of talking animals/plants/elementals, the machines, the spheres you gathered and the nature of this place leaves much to be learned since you've arrived.

>You are close enough to hear the above conversation exchanged between the talking lion, the ram and the donkey. They have not noticed your approach yet from behind the trees, and everyone but the donkey looks fairly injured.

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


*Alexis hoof-bullet


File: 1516690436768.jpg (502.08 KB, 841x1280, VopRO.jpg)

The ghost regains her sight just in time to see the dozens of rats swarm around her and begin leaping onto her legs and climbing up her, biting her.

"Wagh! Get off! Get off! Get off! Get off!" she shakes around, trying to get them to leave her alone.

"Rrrgh. Glavo: Tenran!" she shouts, dropping her sword and holding one hoof at her wrist before a tornado roars, carrying away many of the rats as well as slamming into Rachshun.

>Still many rats ON her however.



Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3


>note: Rachshun is using a Single weapon


"Ah!" Aether yelps. She inhales audibly through her teeth. She almost forgot how it felt to get hurt.

She isn't given much time to tend her wounds, though.

"Ah! Nope!" she says as she casts a protective spell on herself before he can lay another blade on her.

>inure self, etc.


Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6


"I Fight for the roar and approval of the crowd?"
Pain laughs,
"You're mistaking my drive for my job. I fight because I like to fight. I just get the money as a bonus, AND get to fight upcoming and famous fighters. Killing someone just means you don't get to fight them later when they're stronger. Like you, ideally. Assumedly you'd be the kind to want a rematch someday, I don't believe you could keep that hanging over your head the whole time."

He points to the tiger,

"And please, leave without a scratch? What was that vine pit. Those things don't follow the tournament rules. I certainly suspect something is ahoof."

He turns to Lachoc again,

"If I get disqualified, at least I saved a life. Don't lose any souls I won either. If we come across someone who can fly, that's just a bonus. Don't worry about how long it'll take, we'll go as far as we can."


But even though she isn't able to cast a healing spell on herself, the cut on her leg appears to be mending herself, all thanks to the magic of Anima.



Roll #1 5 = 5


I linger behind the trees, straining my hearing to follow the train of conversation while busying myself with some approximation of "mechanical" behavior. Flashbacks to grade school drama class appear, unwelcome. The self-consciousness only makes it worse.

With some interest, I notice the pit and move to the edge, examining it.


>Inured for 1 turn against physical attacks
>Alexis' inure lasts for 1 more turn as well
The knives scrape against Aether's magical shield just as she manages to put it up, the rat's eye twitching as his knives clink uselessly against it, "I 'REALLY' hate this thing!" He shouts as he pulls himself back, bringing up his blades in a defensive posture, "It's gotta come down sooner or later…!"

Meanwhile, the tornado fired from Alexis scatters several of the rats and hits Rachshun as he move away from Aether, injuring him again with the blast though several rats still clammer on you

Rachshun brings up his knives in a defensive posture, his arms seeming to cast after-images as he brings them up and spins his daggers about at unnatural speeds, "Please let this work… Sildo: Swift-Escape!"
>[1d10+1] Dodge roll (instant)
>[1d10+1] Dodge roll (action)

>The regeneration begins, but it is slow and does not close up the wound immediately like it should, Still at 4/4

Rasheo leers, but your words seem to have some impact on him. "Hrrrm… it is easy enough to 'say' that is why you fight. Another to prove it. But," he says as he moves to stand, "I admit I underestimated you. Perhaps there is the making of a warrior in you." He bares his fangs, "And you are correct in one other regard: I 'will' have a rematch. And next time, I will not be burdened by the rules of this farce of a tournament. We'll see if you still hold the advantage 'then'."
He growls, "But, for now… you have proven yourself. Exceed expectations, even."

Lachoc nods his head, "That's mighty fine of you, Pain Train. That saving a creature's life on the line means more than winning… you're mighty fine indeed." He nods, "If you'll have me I'll join you on the trip while we look for one."
"You would risk losing just to save that tiger, even…" Rasheo lets out a sigh, "Can't believe I lost to this… why do you not just seek out a healer instead? There are as many Souls in this forest that grant healing as well as flight."
Lachoc smiles, "Oooh… that could work too!"

You maneuver yourself closer to the edge of the pit to take a gander inside: within are the torn husks of what appears to be three massive, carnivorous venus-flytrap like creatures, their leaves and mouths and vines torn apart and scattered among the pit. Within it is also a good deal of blood and what appears to be sheep-wool. A violent scuffle took place within it only just recently, most likely from the quartet you see besides it.

As Castle Rock maneuvers closer to the pit in order to investigate, his massive iron suit's weight gives away his position, the sound of plant/dirt crushing under hoof and the servos of his machine giving a clear sign of somewhat's presence.

Rasheo immediately turns his attention towards it, moving into a battle ready stance despite his injuries as he growls, "We have company… come out! Show yourself!" The lion bellows, electricity coursing through his mane as he does so.

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #2 1 + 1 = 2


I gaze down into the pit with some apprehension, disliking the implications.

The lion catches my attention instantly and I turn to regard it as hydraulically as I'm able. I take a quick stock of the situation and decide this is probably posturing, but quietly toggle my shoulder cannon's safety to off.

I struggle for a reply, not having had a strict need to speak before now. Nothing springs to mind. Now I start to panic a little.

"Ahurmurrrhh…. Beep boop."


The teen continues ripping the rats off of her as they continue to swarm, nibbling at her arms, legs, neck, ripping at the strange astral matter that composes her.

"Let GO!" she screams ripping one particularly nasty rat off her neck, tossing it to the ground and stomping on it.

She picks up her sword and shakes her head. She rushes at Rachshun and swings her sword, knocking his defenses out of the way, before kicking him in the abdomen like a soccer ball again.

"Call off these rats!" she yells.


Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7


"Oh—oh boy!" Aether says when she notices Alexis'… new friends. She casts a healing spell on her when she notices bits of her getting gnawed off.


Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


File: 1516693985998.gif (1.98 MB, 500x280, robots.gif)

"Haha, glad to hear it. As for a healer, I personally have a flower soul, but I can't stick it in him by force. We'll, er, that being Lachoc and me I suppose, see if we find anyone on the way, but might as well head towards the border in the mean time. Still, I'd like to see another disqualified person, see if they run into the same sort of traps once they've been booted off. I don't trust-"
Pain turns his head to the horse-looking robot, looking bemused.
"Don't suppose we'll be fighting you too, metalhead?"
>"Oh please I hope not, we already did one crosspromotion before, we don't need another robot fight."
"I thought it was harmless fun."


"… After consulting with my urhhh… probability trebuchet… outcome unclear. Boop boop."

"Internal hyperbole motor suggests subject is…" I wrack my actual memory. "Pain Train, holder of Saddlemania Series Championship Belt. Analysis: satisfying finishers despite annoying theme song."




Rachshun keeps his blades spinning as your sword comes at him, the rat grunting as you knock them aside with your sword before delivering another brutal kick to his gut, the cloaked rat coughing out painfully as you send him flying away down the path, making him roll before he tumbles out of his spin, coughing up a bit of blood as he brings himself to stand near where Getta was taken down
>Road of the Spirited

Aether's healing magic takes effect and cures Alexis of her minor injuries (7/5), as Rachshun gets back up again.
"Aaaaacgh… ooooow…. urg… what's wrong? They're just playing!" He says as he takes out his daggers, and charges at Alexis once more, "But lemme see if I can cut a few of them off!"
[1d10+1] Dual attacks

"We can't-" Lachoc comments, "But if we can wake him to be just lucid enough we might get him to take it. The issue is getting it 'back', we can't take it by force either. Well, not without killing the poor lad at least. Think he'll give it up afterwards?"
"At any rate, I guess I'm fine to head towards the borders whenever you are. I'm not quite sure what the best way is to find other fallen competitors, Raja was the first one we've met to lose twice…"

Rasheo looks towards Castle, decked head to toe in his IRNHRT Mk. 2 armor, taking cautious steps forward as he lets out a grunt of disapproval. "A Machine… not something you'd normally find wandering 'these' woods. Obviously another competitor." Rasheo lets out a grunt, turning his head towards Pain and Lachoc, "Scrap-heap! If you're looking for a fight, you'll have to wait. Neither of us are in much condition at the moment."

He pauses, taking a look, "…odd. Never seen a model like that before. New?"

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #2 1 + 1 = 2




File: 1529116481368.jpg (88.54 KB, 900x602, dream lake.jpg)

After a long, tiring, and fairly traumatic day, Aether Bright has succumbed to fatigue and drifted off to sleep in the Rosemary Woods. For an indeterminate amount of time, you find yourself twisting through an endless sea of stars, your vision and senses dulled as you're pulled throughout an infinite cosmos. Your mind has trouble piecing together images initially, many of them seeming quite alien and difficult to look at like you were trying to stare through a kaleidoscope, but eventually you your vision clears and you find yourself laying down on your stomach on a soft, sandy shore.

Around you are large fields of tall flowers, yourself feeling rather small in comparison to the blooming petals above, and to your right you look out across a wide, deep, colorful lake with multi-hued colors painted in the sky. Amid the lake is a large, twisted tree with a mouth that suspiciously reminds you of Duchess' maw, but the tree itself looks quite dead and rotted sticking out from the middle of the lake.

As you rest, you hear a distant murmur echoing through the nearby forest of giant flowers, though somewhat familiar you cannot distinctly point out who it belongs to.



Aether gets up and stands of her four hooves. With one forehoof, she gently presses into the sand before drawing a circle then a squiggle on top of it. She then looks around. The somewhat intimidating presence of the flowers feels familiar, and the hues of the lake and sky fascinates her, like always. Her mouth gapes and her eyebrows rise as she looks around. The sight of the dead tree in the middle of the lake gives her a minor fright, but she quickly gets over it when she hears something amidst the flowers. She walks towards the sound without a question.


You brave through the giant flowers in search of the sound you hear on the lake's shore, and as you explore the gargantuan field the voice you hear begins to pick up more and more in volume.
>"….A..ther?…. Ae.ther! Aether!"

You poke your head through a few stems of the flowers and see another figure walking among them. It is another pony, violet in color with wings and horn and deep lavender mane swishing around as she searches through the flowers, calling your name. She is wearing golden/pink jewels around her hooves/neck, and a small crown sits upon her head as she calls out. "Aether!" Her magic pulls aside a few flowers as she looks around for you. "Aether, are you here?! Call out if you can hear me, it's me, Twilight Sparkle! Oooh I hope I picked the right dream this time…"

It's beginning to come back to you who this pony is. It is your teacher, your mentor in both magic and friendship. The last mare in Equestria you saw before this whole crazy adventure had begun.


File: 1529118255604.png (1.42 MB, 1600x800, twilight.png)

>not necessarily accurate but I thought it was pretty while searching for pics


Aether eyes light up. She knows that voice.

"Ms. Sparkle?"

She picks up the pace, practically galloping now in the direction of the sound. She's eager to see a comfortingly familiar face after these very intense few day. She's a bit too eager, though. She collides with her mentor (specifically, her left rump) and almost loses her balance, but she's able to catch herself, and as she does, she blurts out, "Ohmygoodness, I'm so sorry I'm so sorry I'm so sorry," while backing up and bowing with her head in reverence to her sensei.


You run head-long into your teacher's flanks in your over-enthusiastic charge, Twilight herself being knocked over from the impact as she lets out a surprised yelp, "What the-aaah!" She squawks as she falls over onto her side as well, shaking her head as she sits back up and takes notice of you.

"Wha… Aether? AETHER!" She squeals, completely ignoring your apologies and your bowing as she swiftly uses her magic to pull you towards her, in which she envelops you in both her hooves and her wings in a tight hug (notably with her alicorn-strength), "Aether! Oh thank Celestia, I found you, I was so worried!"

She squeezes the life out of you for a few more moments before putting you down, swiftly pulling your limbs in every which direction and lifting up parts of your cape inspecting you, "Are you hurt?! Where have you been?! What happened?! Are you alright? Are you somewhere safe? Who have you met?!" She quickly puts both hooves on your shoulders, and shakes you a little too worriedly. "Say something to me!"


"Aah!" she yelps when she feels herself being tugged towards Ms. Sparkle. Within her very tight embrace, she squeaks, "Agh, yes, hi," as she struggles to expand her chest to take a breath. Thankfully, it doesn't last for too long, and she gasps for air when her mentor lets go.

>"Are you hurt?! Where have you been?! What happened?! Are you alright? Are you somewhere safe? Who have you met?!"

"Oh, I, uh," she mutters before being interrupted by a firm shake.

>"Say something to me!"

"Oh! Ah! I'm okay, I'm okay," she reassures her, "I got hurt, but I got better. I, uh, didn't catch the rest of what you said though, sorry."

Before giving the princess a chance to respond, she herself starts to say, "Wait, are you… you? Like, am I just dreaming, or am I really talking with you? Wait, how would I be talking with you? Is there, like, a spell or something that's let you do that? Well, I guess so if I was really talking with you, though I'm still not sure if I am, since I might just be dreaming. How would I even know if I'm actually talking with you? If I was dreaming and asked my dream if it was real, it still might say it is. Oh, hm…" Her eyes wander off and her hoof finds a place on her chin as she ponders this (if she isn't interrupted in time).


As you say you got hurt, Twilight's face suddenly turns red with rage, "What? When, who hurt you?! That alien didn't say 'anything' about… you mean she didn't… you were…" your mentor begins to trip over her own words, finding herself torn between various emotions of relief and insult before you start questioning off how the two of you are speaking right now. She pauses in her rant and begins to listen to yours, but before you go on past that point, she holds up a hoof, a usual clear sign for conversation to cease. "Hold that thought, Aether…" she says, taking in a deep breath, before letting it out calmly in the breathing exercise you've so commonly see her perform to calm herself down.

"Okay… I'm sorry, let's try going at this at a slower pace. First of all, yes, you *are* in a dream. It was the only way I was able to find you!" She looks around, "After you stepped through that light with that alien, I didn't get ANY contact through the machine for over 24 hours! For four days, I tried every spell I could think of for communication over vast distances, but you weren't responding to any of them! And none of my locator spells were having any luck either! So I had Princess Luna help prepare this spell to see, if I couldn't find you in the waking world, maybe there'd be someway to reach you in your dreams! The exact execution is a little complicated, it inv-"

She shakes her head, stopping herself from going on a long-winded explanation. She puts a calmer hoof on your shoulder, "I-I can explain it all later. But the point is, I'm here now Aether, alright? It may only be in your dreams but, I'm here."


Aether widens her eyes and nods as her mentor mentions enlisting Luna's help, and since what she's been hearing so far has been pretty sound, she trusts that this is the authentic Twilight that she knows.

>"…I'm here."

She nods and a smile forms out of her lips, and one might even see her eyes starting to get a little watery.

"Well, I'm really glad to see you. It's been… it's been…" she looks for the word, "intense," then she shakes her head and boasts, "Nothing I couldn't handle, though." She then tilts her head and adds, "Well, it hasn't just been me…"


Twilight's gaze softens immensely as she sees your smile and watery eyes, especially as you point out just how intense it's been, but as you boast how it's been nothing you couldn't handle so far, she smiles wide with bride, reaching out with a wing to gently hold you as she leans her muzzle down to give you a light nuzzle. "THAT'S my star pupil. I'm very proud of you Aether, I'm not sure what you've been through but I bet it wasn't easy. If I could have gone with you, I would have-"

As you mention it 'not just being you', she pulls her head back up, ears perked quizzically, "Not just you? Oh!" Her enthusiasm begins to peek itself, "Have you met other aliens?! What were they like? What do their cities look like, have you learned anything about their culture?! Oh! Have you made any new friends yet? I-"

She grumbles, reaching her hooves up to her forehead, "Graaah! FOCUS Twilight! Okay, okay, first question… what happened five days ago after you left, where did they take you?"


Aether smiles to herself hearing her teacher's approval.

>"Have you met other aliens?! What were they like? What do their cities look like, have you learned anything about their culture?! Oh! Have you made any new friends yet? I-"

Each question after the first whizzes by her head. She needs to take notes.

"…what happened five days ago after you left, where did they take you?"

"Oh yeah, I, uh, ah, I knew I should've reviewed my notes before bed…" she mumbles to herself.

"Oh yeah! When I first got there, the place, or, well, planet, is called Tetra, I was just by myself in, like, the woods at night. I don't exactly know by what, uh, means of transportation I got there, but there was a symbol on the ground burned into the grass where I kinda landed, if I remember correctly."


She nods, "Yeah, I remember the alien mentioning the world's name, Tetra." Her eyebrows wise, "But… you're telling me you just got popped in the middle of the woods? At night? By yourself? Where did that alien go, the one who showed up in the lab? She asked for my star pupil's help in saving the world just to dump her in the middle of nowhere? Did you find anyone nearby?"


Aether nods and says, "Yeah, I dunno, I haven't seen her, but yeah, shortly I found others who're actually from Earth, too, a mechanic, a wrestler and his manager, and a… a ghost."


Twilight's eyebrows raise, "You found other ponies from Earth there… were they recruiting other ponies besides you?" She pauses, tapping at her chin, "I guess if the problem were big enough they'd need more than just one unicorn, but…"

She chuckles, "I'm sorry, can you repeat that back to me? You said the other ponies were a mechanic, a wrestler and his manager… and a 'ghost'?" She says, a slight bit of laughter escaping her on the last point.


She nods emphatically to confirm what she says, "Oh yeah, I thought it was like some translucency spell, but, yeah, like on TV, a ghost. I don't know how she died, though, but she wants to have her life back. Actually, yeah, it seems like they're all there, or, well, here, to get something."


Twilight sighs, holding up her hoof, "Leeeeet me hold you just one second, Aether." She puts a hoof on your chest, and then to hers, "Both of us know full well that ghosts aren't real." She shrugs her shoulders, "I couldn't tell how for certain unless I met her, but I *think* this 'ghost' of yours may be playing a little magic trick on you."

She rubs her chin, "That second part though… you're saying they're all there to get something? Do they know that they're supposed to figuring out what's going on with the weather?"


>"…but I *think* this 'ghost' of yours may be playing a little magic trick on you."

Mildly offended by her mentor's disbelief, she says back, "I thought they weren't real, but it really seems like she is!" and she adds, "She really doesn't like being one."

>"… Do they know that they're supposed to figuring out what's going on with the weather?"

"Oh! Haha, no, I think they were all told to Yig… uh, that place. It seems like I'm the only one whose there just to help and figure out what's going on. We still haven't gotten there yet, though. It's far from where we landed. Kinda inconvenient. Actually, really inconvenient. I met a few nice ponies—I mean, creatures, along the way, though. And one other pony. Two. Oh wait, oh my goodness! This place is fascinating, there are very few ponies on this planet, the planet is populated by mostly, like, other non-equine species, and sentient elementals and planets and machines, too! And the ponies here have, like, this very special ability that only ponies have, and we happen to have it too! Wait, the, uh, sorta 'magic' here is really interesting, too, it's like, ah… how do I…" and she then trails off, trying to find a way to explain it.


As you argue back at her regarding the ghost, Twilight's eyes open a little wider in surprise. She looks a bit more concerned, "Aether, I'll tell you again: there's no such thing as ghosts. The dead don't just, get up and walk around. I'm willing to believe you both may *think* she is, but there's a rational explanation behind it. Who is this ghost filly?"

As you go on to explain everything you've seen so far about Tetra, the light of excitement enters Twilight's eye, and she begins taking mental note of everything you say. "Yggdrasil, I believe, was the name of the place the alien told us about. But she didn't even bother to take you there herself?! What kind of business are these aliens running…" she snorts in frustration, before listening to you explain.

Her eyes beam, "So there are other aliens there… a-and you're telling me there's even other ponies!? Ponies on other planets, who'd have thunk?!" She gets up and trots around in a circle, "It sounds just crazy, I can't wait to see your notes on it! What sort of weird, bizarre alien creatures are up there? So much variety," she chuckles, "I mean, talking PLANTS?! I bet their machines and technology are CENTURIES ahead of us! I'll need to ask them for whatever new computer systems they have…" She shouts enthusiastically, even adding a little hop to her step. "And they even have their own unique magic?! Tell me about that *first*, the other notes can wait, I'm dying to hear what alien magic is like." Twilight says, taking a few deep breathes to pause in her far too inquisitive rant.


>"… Who is this ghost filly?"

Feeling indignant, like a child whose parent doesn't understand him, she says, "I don't understand it, either! But I have no other way to explain what's been going on. Her name's Alexis."

>".. I can't wait to see your notes on it! …"

"Oh, yes, I took many notes," she says smugly.

>"…I'm dying to hear what alien magic is like."

The number of questions getting a little overwhelming, she says, "Oh, yeah, let's start there. So, the magic there is called Anima, but only certain individuals can use it, they're called Numeri. The magic there is interesting in that the 'spells' are, like, contained in these things called Souls, which are produced when one dies—Oh! But no one really dies there, remind me to explain that later—and so, like, the souls appear to act as a sort of catalyst that enables Numeri to be able to have special abilities, like there's one that allows the user to be as stealthy as a cat, there's one that let's you fly—Oh, well," she gestures to her mentor's wings, "You can fly, of course, but, y'know—there's one that lets me cast a teleportation spell—Oh, yes! Oh my goodness, I can finally teleport now! And effortlessly! Most Numeri need to train themselves to use a soul, but ponies are special in that they're able to use a soul's abilities immediately."


>"… Most Numeri need to train themselves to use a soul, but ponies are special in that they're able to use a soul's abilities immediately."

"… Most Numeri need to train themselves to be able to use souls, but ponies are special in that they're able to use souls without any training."


Twilight furrows her brow as you start to snap back about the ghost, "Well, my faithful student, I can say for certain that whatever's *really* going on isn't a GHOST!" She lets out a small sigh, "You said her name's Alexis? Well, tell me what she's like. And these other ponies you met, you said there was also a 'wrestler'?" She asks incredulously.

When you smugly say how many notes you took, she smiles wide as well, giving your side a little tap with her wing. "That's how I taught you Aether, good work!" She pauses to let you explain the properties of their magic, in which Twilight nods her head along with every step as you explain the nuances of their bizarre magic. "Okay… a thorough explanation on that 'no one really dies here' thing will be needed later but, on the whole I think I understand… so these 'Souls' are excreted from creatures here when they die… and then those Souls offer unique abilities to those who learn how to use them?" She frowns, "Sounds a little macabre, if you ask me, using a piece of a dead creature as a catalyst, but it sounds like it delivers results. You can really fly and teleport now?!" She smiles eagerly, "We've been having SO much trouble with teleporting and this 'Anima' let you do it right off the bad? I can't wait to try my hoof at it."

She turns her head, "Though there's just one thing that confuses me… you said ponies can use souls with little effort? Why? We're from a completely different world and I've certainly never heard of 'anything' like this, why would we be able to use *their* magic so easily?"


*right off the bat


>"… You said her name's Alexis? Well, tell me what she's like. And these other ponies you met, you said there was also a 'wrestler'?"

"Okay, well, she's a high schooler. She has a family. Well, I mean, I guess most ponies do. She really wants her life back. Uh, she likes mangas, I think?" She appears to have run out of defining characteristics of her ex-friend.

She continues, "Well, uh, yeah, it's weird, that wrestler Pain Train is here, too, and his manager. And, yeah, a mechanic. And a veteran showed up later, too, in his IRNHRT armor."

>"…so these 'Souls' are excreted from creatures here when they die… and then those Souls offer unique abilities to those who learn how to use them?"

Aether nods and hum, "Mhm."

>"… You can really fly and teleport now?!"

Aether nods and hums again, this time with a little more energy, "Mhm!"

>"…why would we be able to use *their* magic so easily?"

"That's still a mystery to me, it seems like the denizens of this planet revere the ponies like gods, and apparently their world was created by the hooves of four ponies who're called, well, the Four. I don't know how, though, but I have the book about Tetra's history. It's also what lets me teleport, it's an Astra, a soul that was forged into a physical item."


Twilight raises her eyebrow again, "Wait… you don't mean *that* Pain Train do you? The guy on TV?!" Twilight blinks a few times, trying to process your companions. "W-when you said wrestler I thought you meant like, an actual fighter, not an entertainer. And you're telling me this Alexis isn't even out of HIGH SCHOOL yet?!"

She holds up her hoof, "Okay, I get why they came for you… you're my top student and I'm, not to too my own horn, one of the best mages in Equestria. But the other ponies they chose to save their entire world, AND ours, are a guy who pretends to fight on TV, a garage mechanic, a school-filly who is supposedly 'dead'," she makes quotation marks with her hooves, "and… well I guess the veteran doesn't sound too off the mark, though I have to say I'm surprised any of those old IRNHRT armors are still in service after the war. But still," she throws up her hooves, "WHAT was their selection process?!"

After she calms down a bit, she listens to you as you explain more about the world, and she beams with pride as yo get energetic about being able to fly and teleport, giving you a firm nod in approval of your growth. But then as you explain how the world was shaped by ponies, she rubs her chin, "They think ponies are gods…? That's so bizarre… could this not be our 'first' contact after all? No way 'any' pony has the power to make an entire planet though, not even Celestia could do *that*. Are these 'Four' still around? You mentioned that there were a few native ponies there, have you met them yet?"


>"…you're my top student and, not to toot my own horn, one of the best mages in Equestria. …"

Flattered, Aether chuckles and mutters, "Oh! Haha, ah, thank you."

>…she makes quotation marks with her hooves…

Aether's eyes squint for a second, seeing her mentor making air quotes.

>"… WHAT was their selection process?!"

She raises one eyebrow and says, "I know, right? Haha, it's weird, definitely," she says, looking off into the field of fine flowers, "I'd like to know the reasons behind their choices. Or maybe they just rolled dice! Hahaha," she laughs to herself. Apparently that was a joke. I've heard better.

>"… Are these 'Four' still around? You mentioned that there were a few native ponies there, have you met them yet?"

"I don't think the Four are still around, but I did meet one of the ponies who are, Princess Kachina. She was really nice. She reminded me of you, actually," she mentions, looking at her mentor with a nod.


File: 1529132080340.jpg (112.43 KB, 692x539, Howboutno.jpg)

>rolled dice


As you make your joke Twilight first offers a sharp glare, still clearly frustrated with the situation, but as you laugh she can't help but show a little smirk herself, snickering a little before letting herself go into a full giggle fit. "Hehehehe… i-it's good to see you're remembering those lessons about the power of Laughter, Aether. I would very much like to see how they decided this too." She giggles a bit more, and then sighs. "I'm… getting a little worked up. I've been VERY worried about you for almost a week now. After whisking you away with no easy means of contact, hearing that the other ponies you were with weren't exactly what I'd call 'hero' material didn't exactly help calm my nerves. I just want to know that Tetra is taking this matter as seriously as I am."

As you explain the other ponies you met, she smiles, "Really? Well, that's good to hear at least. Another pony princess, that's someone I certainly wouldn't mind meeting. Is she aware of the situation as well? Has she been helping you get to this Yggdrasil place?"



>"… I just want to know that Tetra is taking this matter as seriously as I am. … Is she aware of the situation as well? Has she been helping you get to this Yggdrasil place?"

"She pointed us in the right direction, but she couldn't come with us, she had to stay with her people, and, well, yeah, we've actually kind of just been left to ourselves. The help we've gotten so far we've had to find ourselves, but, honestly, I feel like I'm been growing so much from the experience, like, as a pony. And, I survived through Advanced Molecular Rejuvenation, I think I can get through this," she says, punctuating her last sentence with a chuckle.


Twilight gives another chuckle, "I'd call an A more than just 'surviving' it Aether. But, I see your point." She extends a wing, smiling, "This… this is 'exactly' what I was hoping for when I thought it was alright to send you out on this journey alone. To see you mature from the experience, of traveling to distant places and seeing things for yourself, and learning from it to become a better pony." She sighs, "Reminds me a lot of what a certain pony did for me a life-time ago. I'm very proud to call you my student."

She sighs, "I just wish you had more help than what it sounds like you're being given, but it sounds like you're making due. I'm sure this Princess Kachina did all she could, and while your new companions don't exactly sound like hero material 'yet'," she blushes, "I can't exactly say the Elements of Harmony were what you'd call fierce warriors either. I trust you'll get it done."

She smiles, "Well… anything 'else' you'd like to inform me about your travels so far? Perhaps… any new 'friends' you've made among all these new creatures and ponies you've been meeting?"


>"I'd call an A more than just 'surviving' it Aether. …"

Aether looks off and smirks to herself. She's proud of her A's, particularly that A.

>"… I'm very proud to call you my student."

Hearing her mentor relate her own story to her's now, she smiles, but she doesn't know what else to do. She feels something more than pride, it's more than just herself. Maybe it gratitude, being grateful for all that's been happening to her. She feels compelled to do something. She looks left, then right, then suddenly, she embraces her teacher and holds her for a solid moment, then she returns to her position, as if nothing absolutely adorable just happened.

>"I just wish you had more help than what it sounds like you're being given… I trust you'll get it done."

Aether nods with a smile, reassuring her.

>"…any new 'friends' you've made among all these new creatures and ponies you've been meeting?"

Aether's eyes light up, "Oh yeah!" but then, just as suddenly, they darken and she looks down at the ground, "Oh, well…"

She sighs, then begins to say, "Well, yeah, Alexis, actually. She was really nice—well, she's not flawless, but, I, uh, well, hah, you… don't need to sing it again. But, yeah, I thought we became friends. She told me we were friends, and, well, yeah, I really enjoyed her company. Talking with her. Having fun with her. It was really nice opening up to someone who seemed to really care about me, other than you and Dad, But…"

Aether, still looking at the ground, turns her gaze to the ground at her other side.

"I think she just became friends with me to get her own life back."


Twilight gives a small 'eep' of surprise as you suddenly embrace her at hearing her pride, but she quickly returns the hug before you return to your original position.

As you go on to begin to describe Alexis, Twilight's eyes open up with joy, and her mouth opens wide with excitement as you talk about her telling you that you were friends. She takes in an excited breath, "She's nice?! And you're sharing with her?! Bonding with another pony! YESSSSS!" She says, flapping her wings up and fluttering above the massive flowers of the field in a triumphant laugh, "You finally made a friend!" she comes back down from the air with a very enthusiastic face, "Okay, tell me all about it, how'd you break the ice? Did you tell each other your hobbies or favorite subjects? Oh! You said she's is in high-school right, I bet she'd love to have you as a tutor, you'll be best friends in no ti…"

She pauses, her enthusiasm draining from her face at your first friendship as you look to the other side, stating what you think Alexis befriended you for. She flattens her ears, "Oh… I… okay, for the record, I *still* don't buy this ghost business but, what makes you say that, Aether?"


Aether sighs again, then begins to recount the story, "Well, it didn't seem like she was really interested in being my friend for the first few days. We talked a bit before, but, it was like the, uh, sort of talk when you don't have anyone else to talk to. But, now we're in some sort of tournament—I haven't lost a match, by the way—, and the winner gets a wish that's supposed to grant them anything they want. She really wants it, and she's only really talked to me after she found out about it. I told her I'd help her win that wish after she told me about her… situation."


File: 1529138551522.jpg (401.79 KB, 777x1170, red waterfall.jpg)

Twilight nods her head as you explain the story of how you and Alexis first interacted, but her eyes pop open as you mention being in a Tournament. "You're in a *tournament*?! Why are you in a Tournament, aren't you supposed to be…" she pauses, reaching up to rub her temple, "Hrrm, nevermind… maybe it's best I save that question for later."

She listens to you explain the rest of the story, reaching up to rub at her chin, "Okay… so just so I'm getting this straight: Alexis needs this 'wish' the tournament offers, which is to 'get her life back', and when she told you about it, you promised to help her win it, and so you're worried the only reason she's your friend is to use you to get that wish?"

As she speaks, you suddenly feel water among your hooves. Twilight looks down in surprise as the sudden wetness and stands up straight, the water-level rising around you as well. "Don't panic! The dream is shifting… this happens frequently in dreams, your mental state and memories affect what you see in them. Talking about it may have sparked a reaction in your dream."


>"…maybe it's best I save that question for later."

Aether shrugs and just says, "Sidetracked."

>"…and so you're worried the only reason she's your friend is to use you to get that wish?"

She nods slowly. She starts to sigh again, but chokes up as she inhales.

>As she speaks, you suddenly feel water among your hooves.

Right when she's about to sniffle, she starts to feel the ground get a bit moist.

"Ah!" she exclaims as she lifts a hoof up, looking down now not at the ground but at the water rising.

>"… Talking about it may have sparked a reaction in your dream."

"Oh, oh yeah, we… we swam in a pond together. That was fun…" she recalls, downcast, then after a pause, she adds, "Most fun I had since I was a kid…"


Twilight spares you a sympathetic look as you choke on a small sob after she lays it out, moving over to move a protective wing over you as you work through the emotions. She pauses as the scenery changes, but you feel a protective gaze cast over you.

The water level continues to rise higher and higher, enveloping the flower-fields around you, but for some reason you do not sink into the water. More accurately, it's more like everything else sinks into it as the water begins to take over the whole of your scenery. Once you peak out from the top of the over-sized flowers, you find yourself in a familiar sight: a pond with a waterfall surrounded by tall, red-leafed trees. It is the spot where you and Alexis stopped to swim and she told you of her wish. Twilight looks around, and points a wing in a certain direction of two ponies by the shore as her hoof continues to grip yours.

"There… that look familiar?" She lightens the grip on your hoof slightly, and walks along the surface of the water (you appear to be able to walk on top of it) in the direction of the two ponies having an argument.

>Alexis: "I don't even feel like it anymore."

>Aether: "Oh, okay… well, could I… vent a bit then? Would you listen?"
>Alexis: "You? What do you possibly have to vent about?"

Twilight pauses as she stares at Alexis, her mind seeming to have difficult grasping what she's seeing as the see-through pony floats cross-legged in the air. "I'm… guessing that's her?"


Aether nods at her instructor's question, and she follows her to the scene.

>"I'm… guessing that's her?"

"Mhm," she answers with a nod, watching the memory unfold.


Twilight stares at her, looking her up and down as though observing a subject for a science experiment. "I… can certainly see your confusion. Clearly see-through, zero regard for gravity. Still, I'm sure there's a perfectly logical explanation for her appearance…"

As you two watch, the argument builds up into both you and Alexis pouring out your emotions to one another, venting upon all your worries and stresses from the journey so far.
>Aether: "I didn't know I'd feel so homesick, even after just a few days. I miss being at school. Everything makes sense there. It was clear what had to be done. Everything's where it should be there. I miss Twilight being there."
>Alexis: "I… I miss school too. I miss home. I miss my mom and dad. I miss homework…
The scene continues on until Alexis finally begins to openly sob, Twilight's quizzical look replaced with one of sadness as she looks between the two of you.
>Alexis: "I miss it all so much! What did I do to deserve this?!"

Twilight turns towards you, wrapping a ring around your side to pull you into a light hug. She doesn't say anything, but her expression and the misty edges of her eyes say it all. "These last few days couldn't have been easy on you… I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you until now. If I had just thought of the dream idea sooner…"


Feeling her mentor's warmth around her, Aether also get a little teary-eyed.

In almost a whisper, she says, "I'm just glad you're here now. I didn't know if I'd ever see you this soon."


Twilight smiles down at you, "Don't worry my faithful student. Now that I've pinned down how to find you, you don't need to look any further than your dreams."

As she consoles you, the memory plays out, with the past version of Aether shouting to Alexis
>Aether: "Alexis, how about we win this tournament, get that wish, and get that back. All of that back. For you,"
>Alexis: "I didn't mean to tell you that… I didn't mean to tell you ANY of that! I-I was emotional, I didn't mean it. I vented way too much, you weren't supposed to hear that!"
>Aether: "We're winning this tournament. We're getting that wish. You're getting what was taken away from you back!"

Twilight looks up with surprise, not recognizing the forceful-ness you exuded before. She looks down at you with a slight smirk, "Is that really 'you'?" she asks sarcastically, "Normally the only time I see you get this energetic is right after you've nailed a tricky subject."


To her mentor's comforting words, Aether looks up to her and smiles, like a child to her mother.

In response to her mentor's surprise to her "assertiveness," she explains, "Oh, well, I was really excited. It was a clear goal I could work towards to help someone I cared about."


Twilight perks her eyebrows up as you admit to being excited at being able to help someone, and she nods her head affirmatively. "Mmmmhm! I can understand how hard it is to know how to help someone before you really get to know them. But through perseverance, communication, and sharing, you found out a way to help somepony in need."

>Alexis: "I didn't mean to tell you that, that was a secret and I slipped, it slipped out! You can't tell anyone else, they'll freak out I wasn't supposed to tell you that! Shit shit shit."

>Aether: "Oh! Oh, no, if you don't want me telling anyone that, I won't…"

Twilight's brows furrow. "I have to admit though, she is a bit of an anomaly… it's not as though you can't achieve what she's doing with the right combination of spells, but I don't see any sort of catalyst. And she certainly does seem to 'think' she's really a ghost, but that doesn't exactly make it true…" she rubs at her chin again, and as the conversation continues on to you and Alexis talking about going swimming, she looks back to you.

"But, we can look in to *that* later, what interests me even more right now is your friendship. Let's back to what we were talking about… Alexis is the first friend you've made, but you're worried that the only reason she wants to be your friend is to use you to get this 'wish' you two were talking about?"


>"… But through perseverance, communication, and sharing, you found out a way to help somepony in need."

"Just like you taught me," Aether adds.

>"…but you're worried that the only reason she wants to be your friend is to use you to get this 'wish' you two were talking about?"

Aether simply nods in confirmation.


Twilight looks out at the scene before the two of them, silently contemplating the conundrum while watching Aether make the trade-mark Pinkie-Promise to Alexis to keep her secret / win the Tournament for her before they switch the topic on to other subjects like magic and what the two do for fun, leading on to Alexis' suggestion to go swimming. Twilight chuckles at the scene, taking a brief moment away from her thinking as she comments to Aether, "She seems like a fun filly."

She sits down onto the surface of the water, odd dream-physics preventing her from sinking, and looks to her student. "I can understand your fear well, Aether. I've witnessed many occasions where somepony only pretended to be someone else's friend in order to get something they wanted. But, based on the reactions I'm seeing, she seems very surprised at even hearing the offer be made. I don't think she was out looking to use you from the start."

She turns her head, "Have you two been getting along well since this memory? Does she only seem interested in asking you about the wish or otherwise fixated on it?"


>"She seems like a fun filly."

"Oh yeah," Aether says.

Before answering her mentor's question, she looks down at the water.

"It seems like she's… obsessed with getting the wish. It doesn't seem like she cares about anything else."

She turns her head slightly away from her before she says, "She even said she'd sacrifice the rest of us if it meant that she'd get that wish."


File: 1529302956565.jpg (162.37 KB, 1000x889, twilight when she sees gho….jpg)

As Aether recalls the time Alexis had made that claim, the sky begins to go dark, and on the opposite shore of Alexis/Aether getting ready to go out for a swim, the nude ponies already dipping into the water, on the opposite side of the pond where a light now shines down from above is another scene from later in the eve, with a defeated Duchess treading the top of the lake as several ponies and animals dart the opposite shore. Twilight's eyes bulge out at the odd collection of ponies, her eyes racing across Lachoc, the talking tiger Raja, the wrestler Pain, the armor-wearing Castle, and Alexis/Aether as well as her mouth drops a little in silent study and bewilderment. "I… uh… is that…"
>pic related

However, she is snapped out of it as Pain speak,
>Pain: "Whatever you could want from a wish, there was already some kinda promise that was made to you when you were offered to go here. Are you seriously so greedy that you'd be responsible for the death of multiple people just so you can cash out? You do realize tournaments have one winner. You'd rather have everyone here traveling with you die so you can get whatever stupid thing you want?"
>Alexis: "Yes…" she says while stomping her hoof down, her face filled with regret.

Twilight's ears drop, her attention turned to the Aether on that shore as your dream-self's expression droop before Alexis turns to look at her, about to say something before disappearing out of sight. Twilight jumps back a bit with surprise at the sudden disappearance, but as many questions as you can see building on your teacher's face she pushes them down for now, staying focused.

"I-I see… she seems very determined to get it. I can see why you might be thinking the way you are right now. Was this the last time you saw her tonight?"


Aether feels her chest collapse again when she hears Alexis say that one word once more.

Aether only nods in response to her mentor's question, trying to keep her composure.


As Aether feels her composure crumbling, Twilight quickly takes note, and takes you to face away from the opposite shore where the dark memory resides. "I see… what Alexis said was bad. I could tell how important it was to her earlier, but it isn't right to sacrifice others just to get what you want." She pauses. "However, I also know how to tell when a pony is under pressure. I know how to read regret on a muzzle. And I definitely saw that look she gave 'you' in particular before she disappeared… 'somehow'." Twilight says that last word with a very confused inflection, her face contorting in a odd look as she clearly tries to wrap her head around it, but shakes her head as she refocuses.

"Aether, I'm going to tell you a little story before I give you my advice. Do you remember that pony Starlight Glimmer? The arch-mage from the Crystal Empire who comes to our school every once in a while?"


>Crystal Empire


"Hmm," Aether hums at her instructor's observation.

>"… The arch-mage from the Crystal Empire who comes to our school every once in a while?"

She confirms, "Oh yeah, she's the head of the Canterlot of Magic."


>Canterlot of Magic
*Canterlot Academy of Magic


File: 1529305278958.png (1.04 MB, 1280x720, Twilight_smiling_contemptu….png)

Twilight nods, "Very good. AND she's one of my oldest friends. Starlight and I go back a long time…" Twilight sighs with nostalgia, "But, in addition to each other, we also had separate groups of friends. One of Starlight's was another unicorn named Trixie."

Twilight closes her eyes, taking a very stand-off-ish pose. "Trixie and I did not see eye to eye back then. She was a loud-mouth, show-boating, attention-hogging pony who had it in for me in particular. There was bad blood between us, and she was always trying to prove that she was more powerful than me, and occasionally took things too far." She opens her eyes to the side, "We eventually called a truce, and I never saw her again until Starlight had knocked the horse-shoes right of of me when she told me she was her new friend."

She puts her hoof down, "NATURALLY, I was certain that Trixie was no good for Starlight. I just knew that somehow, someway, she'd only agreed to be her friend so that she could use her against me. I tried everything to get Starlight to stay away from her because I knew deep down Trixie was only using her to get what she wanted, which was a cheap shot at me."

Twilight's ears droop. "Eventually, I confronted Trixie directly, and she said something that confirmed my suspicions right in front of Starlight. She ran away, crying, and that just left me and Trixie alone." She sighs, "I was ready to give that pony the chewing out of a life time… until I saw that Starlight wasn't the only one who was crying."


Aether follows Ms. Sparkle's story, her eyes widening in enthrallment.


"…until I saw that Starlight wasn't the only one who was crying."

"What do you mean?" Aether asks.


Twilight turns her head to the side, a sad look on her face. "To my surprise, Trixie was as heartbroken as Starlight was. As it turns out, Trixie really 'did' care for her as a friend. Not just to get back at me, or to show me up like I thought. I mean, there was a small part of her that 'did' enjoy that but, what was far more important to her was losing a precious friend than getting her long-awaited revenge on me."

Twilight smiles, "After I saw Trixie's genuine hurt, I sought out Starlight and convinced her to give Trixie another chance. And from that day forward, I learned a very important lesson."

She turns her head, "Can you guess what that lesson was, Aether?"


Aether looks around and scratches her mane, and with a quizzical face, she tries to answer the question presented to her, "Uh, ponies can have friends for multiple reasons?"


Twilight gives a small roll of her eyes, and reaches up to put a hoof on Aether's head, scratching it. "The lesson is about the benefit of the doubt. I was so certain that Trixie was out to hurt my friend, to just 'pretend' to be her friend in order to get something she wanted, but in the end I had misjudged her, and nearly ruined a true friendship because I didn't give her a chance."

She lifts her hoof from your head, and holds it up under Aether's chin to look up at her, "Aether… there *is* a chance that Alexis might be only using your friendship to get what she wants. But there's also a chance Alexis wants to be your friend regardless of if that happens or not. That you even 'tried' to help her win probably means more to her than actually winning."

She smiles, letting go of her chin, "There are ponies out there that might take advantage of you, but you shouldn't go through life expecting the worst of everypony. You should give them the opportunity to show their best too, or you might miss out on some good friends. My advice to you, Aether, is to be better than I was to Trixie, and give Alexis another chance. Let her explain herself before jumping to conclusions, and you might find yourself with a long-lasting friendship like Starlight's."

She looks over to her side, and you see a bit of splashing going around between the 'other' dream vision, the happier one that shows Aether and Alexis playing with each other in the water,
>Aether: "Actually, you're, I think… Are we friends? You're the first I've really had a… conversation with. That isn't about magic. Other than Dad and Ms. Sparkle."
>Alexis: "Are WE friends? Uhhhhh…. I don't really know you. And… you're a little….weird? Buuuuut. You've been cool. Like, way more understanding then anypony ever had a right to be. Most ponies, they see me and they just. Run away. You didn't even care. You still don't care. I guess we could try being friends? I mean…I definitely want to keep hanging out. And keep talking to you."

Twilight smiles one more time as she observes the happy scene of you bonding, beaming from ear to ear at the sight of you making a friend, and looks to you, "Do you think it's worth at least a chance?"


Like a cat, Aether blinks and turns her head slightly when her head is scratched.

>She lifts her hoof from your head, and holds it up under Aether's chin to look up at her.

She yields and looks up into her mentor's wise eyes to hear what she has to say.

>"… That you even 'tried' to help her win probably means more to her than actually winning."

"Oh," she says, looking away to consider this.

>"… Let her explain herself before jumping to conclusions, and you might find yourself with a long-lasting friendship like Starlight's."

"Oh, ah, hm…" Aether hums just before being interrupted by the shenanigans of two particular mares.

>"Do you think it's worth at least a chance?"

"I… I guess so. Yes," Aether nods resolutely, watching the fond memory.


Twilight nods her head as she watches the scene play out, "You still sound like you're unsure, and that's okay. But from what I've seen so far in this dream, there's more to Alexis than one might think, and I think she'd make a very good friend given the chance."

She smirks, "Also, you weren't wrong: it wasn't the point of my story, but friends 'can' have friends for multiple reasons. This may not be how most friendships start, but it certainly can be one. If you're still unsure about her, I would also advice being honest: share with her how you feel. One way or another, you'll at least have your answer."

She coughs, "Also, speaking of honest: I couldn't help but hear that part where she asked you not to tell anyone about her… you know what? And you promised not to…?" she says in a less than serious chiding tone.


"… One way or another, you'll at least have your answer."

"Hm, well, alright, Ms. Sparkle," Aether says with another nod, making a mental note to ask Alexis about the issue whenever she (or if she ever) gets the chance. Hopefully she remembers. She usually needs to take pen-and-paper notes.

>"… And you promised not to…?"

"Hm? Oh, darn it," she says, shaking her head, "Well, uh, since this is a dream, I don't think it counts?" Aether says, shrugging at Ms. Sparkle.

"And," she adds, "I guess I feel like I had to. I wouldn't have been able to get your help if I hadn't, and if what you think is true, that Alexis really is my friend to be my friend, your help has probably saved our… friendship," briefly pausing before saying that word "friendship," the concept of her being friends with someone still almost foreign to her.


Twilight smirks, "Sorry, maybe if I were 'Dream Ms. Sparkle', but I'm just 'Regular Ms. Sparkle', so it does."

She raises a hoof, "For the record, I 'still' don't actually think this girl is an actual ghost. She is 'definitely' a peculiar case, one I'd love to get a closer study on… oh!" She looks at you excitedly, "Take a mental note to take more notes on her when you get back to the waking world…" her eyes open wide, "Oh but, be discrete, be VERY discrete! You don't want to go scaring her off. I've made quite a few ponies uncomfortable with my over-enthusiasm."

She shakes her head, getting herself back on track, "But, regardless of if it's real or not, if a pony asks you to make a promise, you have to keep it. I'm glad I was able to help you out, and I swear I won't tell a soul in turn, but just keep that in mind that even your teacher isn't above a promise. ESPECIALLY a Pinkie Promise!" She says with a laugh, "I heard the exact words you used. If Pinkie Pie were still around and found out you broke one of her special promises, hoo-boy, detention would seem like a paradise." She chuckles a bit, letting laughter take hold.

After she settles down, she puts a hoof on your shoulder. "Maybe don't tell her that you let that slip to me, but other than that Aether, just be yourself, and talk to your friend. I'm sure you'll find a way to make things work out."


>"…but I'm just 'Regular Ms. Sparkle', so it does."

"Whoops," is all she says about that. May the Pink One have mercy on her soul.

>"Take a mental note to take more notes on her when you get back to the waking world…"

Still a bit bothered that her mentor doesn't believe her, she (mildly) protests, "I already took notes on her when I first met her, and I haven't seen anything else particularly noteworthy about her… But I'll… keep my eyes peeled."

>"…detention would seem like a paradise."

"Oh, heh heh…" she chuckles nervously, thinking about a fate worse than detention, if there even is such a thing.

>"… I'm sure you'll find a way to make things work out."

"Oh, okay, Ms. Sparkle." A few seconds pass before she remembers her lessons on gratitude and says, looking to Twilight with a small smile, "Thank you for your help, Ms. Sparkle."


Twilight offers Aether another smile, bowing her head, "No need to thank me at all, Aether. I'm always happy to help you in the ways of friendship. It's what I'm here to do. Any pony would be very lucky to have you as a friend. I'd bet my crown on it."

She stands up on the water, offering a hoof to you if you need help as well, and uses a wing to push you in the direction back towards the shore as Aether sees herself/Alexis beginning to have their huge water-fight in the pond. "Now then! I think we still have a few more hours until you wake up. Why don't you start telling me about everything that's happened? I don't wanna miss a detail! Tell me about the princess, the aliens, the god-ponies, the 'never dying' thing, how you wound up with a wrestler and an antique IRNHRT, the Souls… oooh I'm going to have so many notes to make when I get back!" She squeals enthusiastically as she and her student make their way to shore…



File: 1529373225330.jpg (68.99 KB, 600x600, soul50.jpg)

Calling for sheets for the 50th (!!!) session of Soul Quest


File: 1529373371184.png (Spoiler Image, 713.26 KB, 989x1333, aetherbright_by_ladykochou….png)


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>actually updated my sheet for once


Alexis: 9/5
>Glavo: Air Elemental / Sildo: Lemniscate / Ilo: Speed Elemental +1
Pain: 5/5
>Glavo: Rhino / Sildo: Pugilist / Ilo: Swordsage
Aether: 5/5
>Glavo: Sand Elemental / Sildo: Troll / Ilo: Monk
Castle: 3/6
>Glavo: Ghostknight / Sildo: Knight / Ilo: Ogre

Previously on Soul Quest: ( https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/32501486/ )

A great deal has passed since the last evening, and at last the finals have begun: an announcement this morning had alerted ALL remaining competitors in the Woods that the final sixteen competitors were all that remained, and Viola, one of the Lorde's head Fae, instructed them to make way to the Villa to prepare for the final rounds of the Tournament, a series of 1 on 1 elimination battles. After a night's sleep and some fare-wells from some of the NPC's, the remainder of the party all made their way together through the halls of the Villa.

After a long march back from the depths of the Woods, the three ponies who spent last night roughing it in the woods now finally find yourselves back near relative civilization, as Fae guards on either side of you lining the draw-bridge that leads into the Villa proper bowing down reverently to you as victors of the first leg of the Tournament. With these three ponies are two other finalists: Lachoc, who managed to make it to the finals without fighting a single official round in the Tournament thus far, and Dead Tom, whom you met with last night. Aside you are also a few of the fighters you all rescued last evening, namely the fire-bird (Pirona), the rabbit (Pierre), and the mongoose (Drake), who wished to see the Finals play out.

You all enter the same grand hall that you all first gathered in the night the Tournament began, now much more vacant than it was before. Only a dozen other competitors or so are there to greet you upon entry, many of them familiar and some not so much. Those gathered here in the hall include
>Bal'boa and his manager, Goldfrill
>Baron Elijah Bello, and the four members of his alliance that Alexis/Aether ran into, along with his persistent entourage of crocodile guards.
>Sir Ratton
>Rasheo along with his monkey and dog companions, Hun-Hun and Cerbi
>The bipedal robot Piston
>A pony mare that seems to be made entirely of copper, wielding a spear and magic helmet
>Gathered in a trio to the side are a golden-feathered condor wearing what appears to be an expensive tunic, a large, imposing 20-foot tall stone soldier, and a small 1-foot tall flower that bears the appearance of a pixie

You walk side by side with Rutinoi in Peche in relative darkness, the only light coming from the Grand Hall up ahead where you can hear the chatter and commotion of several competitors already. Rutinoi and Peche both have excited grins on their muzzle as they march on ahead. Both are silent, seeming to drink in the coming excitement of the finals as you three make your way towards the light of Rutinoi's balcony just up ahead.


Pain Train walks around the hall with practiced stoicism, treating it like a PR event mostly letting Market do his speaking for him. The only notable exception is upon walking up to Baron Elijah, as he hadn't seen him since the start of the competition and more or less left on friendly terms. He goes to the hippo, nodding his head and flashing a smile,

"Elijah, I see you and your alliance have made it to the finals as you had hoped so, best of luck in the competition to all of you."

>"C'mon Pain, we should be hyping up a rivalry. Goldshill (sic) and his brute been going around boasting about being undefeated, it'd be a great stunt to go and challenge him."

"There'll be plenty of time for that, I just wanted to say meet some of the folks strong enough to make it this far."


Aether follows Pain and Market to see the hippo, not exactly one to go off and have social interactions by herself.


File: 1529377953609.jpg (89.23 KB, 900x594, sports-stadium-tunnel-alla….jpg)


The ghost girl walks next to Lorde Rutinoi and Peche, wearing an expression far less optimistic then those of her patrons. Her eyes are straight ahead at the light before her, the scene reminding her of the tunnel in a sports arena. She takes small comfort in the new Japonese robe, similar to the one she lost to the Stone Giant, though with the addition of a sleeveless white overcoat over the sleeved robe. With each step comes rising anxiety as she realizes her life is hanging in the balance. She steels herself and steps into the light with the others.


I take the time to evaluate the other competitors, potentially lingering too long on the striking copper mare.


As you approach the large, boisterous hippo, Elijah's blubbery muzzle splits up into a wide, goofy grin, as he lets out a bellowing laugh. "Hahaaha! Pain Train!" he approaches you, putting a hoof down on your back with gusto as he laughs, "So I see you made it as well! No big surprise there, lad. Wouldn't bet against you after that loss you dealt me. Just be prepared for me to even up the score soon."

He turns around, "You did not get to meet the full alliance before, did you? Well, here is what you 'could' have been part of my friend!" He says, pointing out the cloaked rat, walking snow-man elemental, walking cactus with boxing gloves (currently practicing fighting the air), and a sword-wielding crocodile behind him.
The rat, whom Aether recognizes as Rachshun,besides him gives out a pained snort. "Some alliance… only reason most of us are stickin' around is because we forfeit our share if we split early. The only ones left of our 'alliance'," he says making quote-marks with his claws. "Are the Baron himself and Getta over there, the incredible punching cactus."
Elijah lets out a laugh, "Yes, we certainly didn't make it through without a few casualties… in fact, it's to you, I believe," he says, pointing a hoof at Aether, "That we have to thank for so many early losses. But," he says with a boisterous shout, "That was in the past! Now that we've had time to study all your abilities, I fear this is as far as you all will be getting, my friends."

Several of the other competitors take note of you as you evaluate the competition, but in particular the copper-mare you look at is already staring back at you. Angrily, her metallic eyes furrowed so deep you feel as though she is trying to kill you with glares alone.

As you progress through the long tunnel, Rutinoi keeping his head held high as Peche follows closely behind on his opposite side, the light from the grand hall casting down upon the three of you as you enter from the dark tunnel and step onto the balcony looking over all the other competitors below. It doesn't take you long to spot out the rest of your pony companions, down below speaking with Elijah and his entourage.

Attention is drawn up above to the balcony as the large form of Lorde Rutinoi, the deer's great antlers filled with red-colored roses, holds up his hooves above the assembly, smiling widely as he calls attention to himself. "Greetings, to all my distinguished Numeri guests, and let me be the first to congratulate you! For through your difficult trials, you find yourselves the best of the best, the sole survivors from a hundred and twenty one potential warriors, to only sixteen of the mightiest and most brilliant competitors in all Chevalerie! I am most honored to welcome you back to the Rosemary Villa."


>To Rutinoi's side, Castle, Pain, and Aether can see a pink-themed Fae with sakura blossoms decorating her horns and gown, and surprisingly, to the other side is a ghostly-looking pony in a black/white robe that you all clearly can see as Alexis, standing beside the Lorde.


Pain squints up at the balcony, looking to Aether with slight concern and another emotion which isn't readily apparent,

"That's… disconcerting. I hope in her angst she hasn't decided to marry the Lorde in rebellion."

(1/2 just wanted to get something out for aether to respond to)


>"… That we have to thank for so many early losses."

Aether suddenly feels uncomfortable. Does he harbor ill feelings towards her? Is he going to beat her up?

>"But, that was in the past! …"

Phew. No beating up Aether today.

>"… I fear this is as far as you all will be getting, my friends."

She shrugs. "We'll see," she says.


Aether stares up at Alexis with a squint and pursed lips.

>"… I hope in her angst she hasn't decided to marry the Lorde in rebellion."

"Haha, that's silly," she remarks with a small laugh, but after a few seconds, she adds, "Though, she has done some pretty silly things…"


Pain smiles as Aether speaks up, turning back to the hippo with friendly determination,

"All the same to you, Elijah. No one holds advantage over the other, so let our strengths determine who come out on top. Whether we fight again or not, let's agree to put on a good show."


"Alexis is a smart mare, she's just made some bad decisions under pressure. I don't think she meant what she said earlier, we'll just hope she's calmed down a bit since."

Pain sighs, looking up at the ghost again.


Aether responds to Pain by saying, "Oh, oh yeah, 'benefit of the doubt.'"


Suppressing the reflexive twinge of panic associated with being the subject of female derision, I break the gaze, grateful I still have my helmet on.

As Rutinoi addresses the crowd, I turn towards the balcony, puzzled to see Alexis there. "Was there a plan in motion nopony told me about?"


Alexis leans over the balcony, setting her front hooves on the railing as she looks down at the other Finalists.

The Stone Giant, who beat her earlier.

Brunhilda, paradoxically the most heroic pony here and the only normal person she'd seen since Kachina.

The Baron Elijah, whose alliance she crushed earlier, and the source of what little optimism she had for winning.

Bal'boa, the massive boxer with the beyond-coincidental name she feels freaked out just when he looks at her.

And the others, Pain, Aether, MMM, and Castle. She looks down in their direction, resolving to head down as soon as Rutinoi finished his introduction.


Elijah chuckles loudly, "Yes, I imagine we will! Very soon, in fact, Finals shouldn't be taking too much longer to start in general. Have been using the time before your arrival sizing up the rest of our competition. Lots to be found, it seems, but, haha, none of them have fought the King of Hippos yet." He coughs, "Erm, present company excluded."

Elijah holds up his hoof to shake with Pain's, "May the best fighter win, and of course: to give the crowd a brawl worth seeing is what we came here to do, isn't it?"

You turn away from the copper-mare, but somehow you can still feel a burning hole being drilled into the side of your helmet. However, if you chance one more look at her, you see her waving up at Alexis as she stands besides Rutinoi.

As you look down at the stone giant, his attention is drawn to you along with that of Hokkule and Lila, and he gives you a quizzical stare before returning to his inner focus.
Brunnhilda you can see a slight look of shock upon her face as you stand side-by-side with the Lorde, but after a moment of confusion she offers a light smile, and a discrete, casual wave towards your position.
Bal'boa takes up a look at you as the Lorde calls attention as well, his same creeping, unsettling glare from his snake-like eyes sending a chill down your spine before he returns his focus to the rest of the competition.

Rutinoi continues, "The Final rounds will begin quite soon, but there are still preparations to be made. Until then, please, enjoy what rest, food, merriment, and preemptive taunting with your fellow competitors you can! The next time I make my announcement, the match ups for the first round of the finals shall begin!"

He takes a small bow, the other competitors beginning to return to mingling below, and he looks to you briefly before cocking his head in the direction of the others, seeming to sense your desire to go down there.


"Teenage angst and a silver-tongued fae, most likely."

Pain shakes the hoof, nodding to the sentiment.

"It certainly is."


At Rutinoi's nod, Alexis vanishes, flash-stepping down near the others. She slowly walks the rest of the way over to the four.

"Pain." she says with a neutral, serious voice as she approaches the group.


When Aether sees Alexis, her eyebrows raise up then fall right back down, then she looks off into the distance, only one eyebrow now raised.


Pain looks to Alexis, brushing aside Market and pausing for a moment,

"Alexis, I'm glad to see you. I apologize for what I said earlier, have you been alright?"


Alexis pauses for a moment back, cycling internally through responses.

"I've been fine. Look. I-" she looks away for a second, before turning back to Pain.

"Rutinoi knows everything. He knows you're trying to sabotage the Tournament, and he knows you're wanting to get rid of him. The only reason I'm even talking to you right now is to TRY and talk you out of it before you get yourself killed."


"Knows… everything? I plan to see the Tournament through, and then challenge him with my Wish. I thought that would be the most sportsmanlike way to solve the issue, no foul play needed."

Pain says, his inflection not changing,

"I presumed he was spying on us, but all we did was make sure less creatures got tainted along the way. We even followed the rules doing so."


"Do you know something we don't then? We haven't exactly been ducking his notice."


Aether lets the grownups talk, even though one of them is younger (and arguably decidedly less mature) than her.


"Wait you're NOT going to try and stop the Tournament?" she says with surprise, crossing her arms.

"Well, I still can't let you do that. I need that wish. I know I kind of was a jerk last night when you put me on the spot like that, but I do."
"I've been here all night, I know everything, I've been enjoying his creepy old world vampire hospitality ever since I ran off."


When Alexis mentions how much of a jerk she acted previously, Aether goes, "Huh," and nods to herself, still not making eye contact with anyone.


"Then are you going to tell us, or was that all just personal time? I only care about the tournament for as long as it promises even a fleeting tactical advantage."


Pain rubs a temple, keeping a calm voice,

"It was alright, I backed you up into a corner and it was a terrible thing for me to do, double so since I know better. But I digress, I know many people in here need that soul. I won't deny you the importance of whatever it is you're wishing for; I won't even ask what it is,"

Pain says, holding a pregnant pause,

"But no one here is going to willingly give up their chance at such a Wish willingly, you do know you'll have to fight for it, right?"


"Of course I know I'll have to fight for it, its a fighting Tournament."
"I honestly don't know if I'm going to tell you anything or not. I came down here expecting you all were going to try and kill Rutinoi in the middle of the Tournament. I'm still not entirely sure that ISN'T what you're planning."

She looks back to Pain.

"You don't even know me, how do you know I'm not going to wish for, I don't know, something horrible?"


"Because I trust you won't do something horrible. You're a mare who's been through a lot, sure, but any bad choices so far I think have been more from stress from being a genuinely uncomfortable position than from you being a bad person."

Pain says, sincerely,

"I was wrong to shout at you earlier, again. Everyone here has things they plan to Wish for, whether it just because they want something, or they need it. If you were willing to give up everything, even friendship, for it, then clearly it's something you need. I won't press further."


When Pain mentions friendship to Alexis, Aether looks to the side and hums quietly, "Hmm…"


Arms still crossed, she raises an eyebrow, her whole face dripping with incredulity.

"That's really the angle you're going with, huh?"


"Hey I didn't say I'm gonna give up on my goal to get a Wish as well, just saying you can Wish for whatever you want, provided you get there."

Pain says, offering a small grin,

"You're made it this far, you can make it the rest of the way."


"That's not what I'm talking about." she says with irritation at his nice-guy act.

"Fine. But I'm keeping my eye on you. You touch a twig on his antlers and you're over."


"I do plan to touch that twig, but after the tournament."

Pain says, expression unchanging.


As the four ponies catch up with one another on the side of the Hall, soon the sound of a triumphant horn is called from the balcony, and a flurry of purple petals appear beneath the balcony on the floor as a purple-colored Fae, whom they recognize as 'Viola', one of the first Fae they met upon entry into the Villa, appears as though from thin-air on the floor. Up above, Rutinoi is holding up his hooves once again, the pink-colored Fae at his side as he looks down upon the proceedings with a smile.

"My beloved guests! The time has arrived! If you any food or drink left, finish it now, for the preparations are complete! I trust you've all had enough time to rest since the fighting has ceased, because it is time for it to re-bloom grander and more elegant than ever before! Ladies and gentlefae, the finals are about to begin!" A collection of cheers from the attendants gathered fills the Hall, all fighters and spectators giving a rousing cheer as Rutinoi holds up a hoof once more for calm. "First, of course, we must determine our match-ups for the sixteen proud Numeri gathered before us, which shall be determined by impartial and unbiased chance! Viola, my darling bride, if you would?"

Below, Viola offers a bow to the Lorde, an gives a swift wave of her hooves, as a violet magic extends forth from her horns to the ground in front of her. In an instant rise a small, unassuming red/black budded flower, but as the violet magic surrounds it, the budding flower begins to not only bloom, but grow exponentially in size, until it is the size of a large table. Meanwhile, Viola produces a bucket of acorns held in her hoof.

"This flower is a special creation of mine. It has exactly sixteen petals arranged in the order of the coming brackets, will at my command, spin non-stop until all sixteen seeds," she says bouncing the bucket lightly, "representing the sixteen finalists, have bounced and settled into each of the holes." As she finishes speaking, the flower finishes blooming, a series of red/black petals like a roulette splayed out in front of her as it begins to spin rapidly, turning faster and faster until the petals take on the appearance of a buzzsaw. With a mighty shout, Viola tosses the sixteen seeds onto the swirling flower, where upon its center they bounce and shuffle around. For several tense moments, each of the seeds eventually settles upon a pedal, and when the last one has ceased bouncing around and is caught onto the last remaining petal, the swirling flower finally begins to cease spinning, and Viola holds up a hoof. "The match-ups have been decided…!"



File: 1529388968117.png (13.63 KB, 586x465, bracket.png)

Upon inspect of the seeds and their falling slots in the petals, Viola steps in front of it closer to the center of the Grand Hall, holding up her hoof to draw everyone's attention.

"Hear me, finalists! This will be your first battles of the finals…

"In the first bracket, Aether vs Lila!"
"In the second, Rahseo vs Sir Ratton!"
"In the third, Getta vs Bal'boa!"
>You can hear a long, drown out call of 'YES' coming from the cactus that accompanies Elijah
"In the fourth, Pain Train vs Dead Tom!"
"In the fifth, Baron Elijah Bello of Swampbottom vs Obelisk!"
"In the sixth, Alexis vs Lachoc!"
"In the seventh, Castle Rock vs Piston!"
"And in the final bracket, Prince Hokkule shale face Princess Brunnhilde!"


>"Damnit, I wanted you to headline against Bal'boa. Starting the finals by taking him out would've been a major score!"
>Market says in frustration, hitting a hoof against the table,
"Relax Market, he'll be next after Tom. You go and watch him while I'm battling, and then we can figure out what's his schtick."
>"Yeah but the chance'll be wasted by then, he'll have a finalist under his belt. Damn damn damn…"


The ghost girl gives one more annoyed look at Pain, before her attention is pulled to the deciding of the Finalists. As the wheel begins to turn, Alexis looks at it nervously.

>"Not Bal'boa, not Bal'boa, not Bal'boa…" she thinks to herself as the roulette slows to a stop, putting her up against Lachoc. She looks over at the old man with relief.

"I guess its you and me first then." she says to the ram.


"Lila?" Aether looks around to see if any eyes meet hers. She'd like to know what she's up against, as one would before having to fight them to the near-death.


"So did he decide your match-up for you? He literally used a plant he controls for the most impartial part of the process."

"Who's Piston, anyway?" I search the faces again, and check to see if the coppery mare if still glaring at me.


"Lila's the breezie-plant, Piston I think's the robot. And no, he didn't decide the matches for me." she says with offense.


"The breezie-plant…" she echoes to herself, still looking.


File: 1529391108038.png (378.54 KB, 600x543, Machine.png)

As you enthusiastically make this comment, you note Bal'boa nearby has caught you in his sights. He makes a sickly grin, staring you down as he does a 'cut-throat' motion across his neck with his gloves (you note that they seem different than before, flame-decals on top of them this time), as Dead Tom comes up from behind, adjusting his red cape behind him as the skeleton looks on at him.

"Yes, I must say that is a good idea… in fact, given the number of followers we have," he says, looking back at the others you have gathered, "I think we have enough to judge 'all' of the other fights simultaneously. Should be quite helpful…"

He looks on at you, his empty eye-holes suddenly quite serious. "Pain Train… I am eternally grateful to you for letting me accompany you thus far. It brought me no shortage of comfort to once again find myself around others I could trust. But…" he lowers his head. "I'm afraid Miss Alexis isn't the only one who needs to win. There is something I desperately, TRULY need the wish for… and so I hope you hold no grudge against me when I say I cannot afford to lose to you now. I will fight with every last ounce of strength in these bones to defeat you."

Lachoc looks up with surprise, sweat gathering on the old ram's face as he reaches up to scratch behind his head with a nervous chuckle. "Hehehehe… s-so it would seem. Just my luck to get one of you ponies in my first go round, too. Can't say I have much room to complain, though, I've literally been coasting by hanging around Pain since the Tournament started. You're actually going to be my FIRST official match of the tournament. So uh, go easy on me, will you?"

AEther can see said Breezie-plant waving excitedly from across the way, roughly a food-tall and with fluttering, leaf-like wings and a fairy-like plant form as she shouts, "Hello! Over here, I'm over here!" She says as she is about to fly in your direction, the golden condor that she was accompanying appearing to say something in protest before she speeds her way over, getting up swiftly into Aether's muzzle as she flutters about,

"Hey! We haven't met yet, but it's so so cool to meet you! You're only the third pony I've ever seen up close!" She bows her head as she flutters in mid-air. "I'm Lila! Yours is 'Aether', right? How do you do?"

As Alexis points out who Piston is, you feel a series of steps shaking the floor as said large machine begins moving his way closer to you, a gorilla-like shape to him as he holds up a metallic hand,
>"That would be me! Hello there."
His voice comes out like it's emitting from an old radio, but has a strong tone behind it that reeks of confidence.
>"Nice to see another Machine made it out here! Didn't get much of a chance to talk to you last night, but I knew I would get another chance. Can't say I'm too surprised that the only two Machines to have entered the Tournament BOTH made it into the finals."

He puts a metallic hand on his hip and another on his chin, looking over your chassis,
>"Said your name's Castle? Definitely haven't seen a design like THAT before… that just off the assembly line? Have to say, I like the cannon."


>one more note: you also see that you've re-captured the copper-mare's glare, but now it seems to have only intensified in hatred as she now seems fixated on shifting between you and Piston. You see her trying to put it out of her mind, looking away from you as she shakes her head clean of distractions


"Ah!" she yelps when she suddenly find a small, winged creature fly up into her face. She would have swatted it away if it hadn't talked soon enough.

"Oh, hi," she says as she awkwardly bows back, "That's right, I'm Aether. Aether Bright. I'm, uh, doing okay, I guess." After a few seconds, she scratches her head and says, "Uh, are we supposed to be nice to each other? I guess we're supposed to, uh, be going up against each other very soon. You seem nice, though. I wouldn't like to fight you." Aether then looks down and murmurs to herself, "Maybe that's what you're trying to do…"


File: 1529391775094.png (1.06 MB, 650x1004, astra gloves.png)

>also note: the decals on Bal'boa's gloves aren't flames, they look more like the gloves in pic-related


"Hello…" I reply, taken off guard by the construct's amicable tone. "Well uh, you know what they say… Be a fast machine. Keep your motor clean…"

"Yeah, it's a new manufacturing line. Reboot of an old design."

"Say, you wouldn't know who that is, would you?" I indicate the mare to Piston with some subtlety.


Alexis tries to think of a response, some witty reassurance, but coming up with nothing just says.

"I can't."


Pain clutches his chest as Bal'boa gestures towards him, exasperatedly letting his head fall to the table and closing his eyes, sticking out his tongue pantomiming dying. As Dead Tom speaks him, he jumps to attention and smirks towards Bal'boa, then turning to Tom.

"Tom the only grudge I'd hold towards you is if you didn't fight with your all. I won't hold back as well, but if you defeat me, you'll have my graces and my best wishes in towards winning the tournament."

Pain says, wiping the goofy expression from taunting Bal'boa off his face and looking sternly at Tom in the eye sockets,

"I hope you won't hold it against me that I'll give my all as well."


Lila smiles, "That's good! I'm glad to hear that you're good. I'm good too! Been having a LOT of fun around here, normally m'lord doesn't let me do anything this fun for this long but since we're having a one on one fight, I don't think he'd mind if I spent time saying hello myself!"

As you comment about if you're supposed to be nice to each other, she frowns, sitting cross-legged in the air as she flutters. "Oh… I guess that's a good point. I'm not sure if we're supposed to be nice to each other right before a fight either, I guess that does seem a little weird…" she turns her head, "Well, m'lord says appearances are important, and it's better for someone to think you're nice than mean, so… I think it's alright." She chuckles. "You're nice too. I wouldn't like to fight either but, it's a fighting tournament!" She shrugs, "What can you do?"

Lachoc chuckles, "Hehe… well, can't say it wasn't worth a shot." He cricks his neck a little, stretching out his limbs. "Guess I'll just have to give it my all then and hope it doesn't come up too short. Guess I have to admit, I'm MUCH more glad to be up against you than some of these other bruisers out there…" he pauses, "Oh, heh, not to make you sound like you're weak or anything just, you know, less likely to leave this ol' ram a pasty pancake than that Bal'boa guy."

Piston sounds a metallic-sounding laugh.
>"Can't say I heard that one, but it's not bad."
He nods his head in approval as you mention it's a reboot.
>"Ah, must be falling behind on my model catalog, don't recognize it. So much new Tech being developed these days even I have trouble keeping up with it all."

As you ask him about the copper mare, the machine looks between you and her repeatedly, seemingly caught of guard.
He asks, his volume suddenly a bit lower than its bombastic level a moment ago.
>"You never laid eyes on Princess Brunnhilde before? I assume you 'are' from Osterlich, right?"
He shakes his head, and whispers
>"Well at any rate, best just let the cold stares bounce off your chassis, understand? If it were ANYONE else I'd be laying them out straight in a milisecond, but no sense giving our princess trouble over a little bad oil. Few decades at the most, she'll probably convert anyh-"

"If you cowardly piles of scrap metal are going to speak ill of me, ze least you could do is zey it outloud to my face!" The copper pony shouts angrily in a distinctly Germane accent, turning her muzzle up at the two of you.


Bal'boa snarls out the sides of his mouth as you mock him from afar, pushing himself towards your direction before his manager gets in the way, mumbling to him about saving his energy for the fight as he prevents an early confrontation and pushes him to the side.

Tom looks to you as you get serious, and bows his head. "No, of course I wouldn't hold a grudge against you. The only person I'd blame for my failure is myself. I will fight however hard I must in order to win, but you will have my best wishes as well should you succeed. I look forward to an excellent match, my friend… and let neither of us hold anything back."

He holds up a hoof, "If I may, I would ask an arrangement: should you win our duel, I will tell you everything I know of Bal'boa from my confrontation with him last evening. And should you win, I would ask if your manager might share anything he sees in 'his' fight while the two of us are ore-occupied."

As all of you converse with your opponents, you hear a call cry out from Viola once more as she raises her hoof.

"If you are all quite ready, it is time to begin the first round of the Finals! Please, pair yourself up with your designated opponent, and follow behind me as I lead you all to the first fighting grounds. All non-combatants, you will be escorted to the spectators' section to be part of the crowd."



Alexis: 6/2 [7/5]
>Glavo: NA / Sildo: NA / Ilo: NA

Kameron's expression twists into one of confusion. "Uhhh…. exactly like *who*? There another zebra I should know about?"
As you tell him how long you've been up, he exclaims, "Damn. Couldn't ask for better timing then, huh?" As you comment having come down for coffee, he adds on, "Here, lemme treat you." He says, grabbing for his bits. "Yeah I feel ya. Week and a half like that? I'd miss it too. I just sorta figured it'd be like, you know, waking up and not realizing you've been missing it all." He comments as he moves up to the barista, putting down his bits insistently before you can. "You sure you should be outta bed?"


"Its not that its just…its a really long story. And I don't even know if its safe to talk about it with you. I feel like I've been gone for months. The accident…it changed everything. I don't know what to do after this but for now–"

She exhales.

"I'm sorry. I'm still half-asleep. I'm probably sounding crazy."

"Well its too late now if I'm not. Besides. I feel good."


Kam nods. "Ah… okay, I think I get ya. Can't imagine what it's like, waking up after a week after… something like the accident." He shudders slightly. "Still shakes me up just thinking what coulda happened."

As you mention being half asleep, Kam spares a small smirk. "Well, crazy is about usual for you anyhow, so I guess you're not doing so bad. Think you just need to take it easy for now."

The barrista behind the counter coughs, "Ahem… hello, welcome to StarBucks, can I take your order?"
Kam looks up, "Uh, yeah, gimme a mocha, large, and something for her." He nods to you. "Go ahead."


The former ghost looks over at Kameron, visually uncomfortable. She pauses, wanting to say something about how bitterly shaken up he was when something *did* happen, or how comforting or unnerving the teasing was. As she is still trying to think of what to say the barrista coughs, shocking her out of her trance.

"Right. Sorry. Alot on my mind." she says, looking up at the menu.

"I want a mocha coffee, a crepe, a blueberry muffin…one of those croissants with fruit in it, an eclaire, and one of those little bottles of milk. And a green iced tea."


Kam's eyes open a little wider as you place your order, before he reaches for his wallet to pull out a couple extra bits to cover the pastries. "Uh… I think I'll add on a couple of scones too, man."
"Coming right up. I'll bring them over to your table if you'd like." the barrista states, going behind the counter to start brewing the coffee and the tea, and digging through the pastry rack to collect the treats.

Kam moves over to the table he was sitting at before with his back-pack, and offers a chair. "Hungry, I'm guessin'?"


The girl looks slightly embarrassed as she slides into the chair opposite him.

"Very. Its been awhile since I've eaten anything." she says, her bare hooves feeling cold in the small corner cafe, enjoying the uncomfortable sensation. She reaches over for a few napkins and begins wiping up his spittake, which currently covers whats left of his old scones.

"Thanks for visiting, by the way. It means alot."


"Fuck, yeah I can imagine. Almost two weeks without any real food? I'd have eaten the first moving thing I saw. If you're still hungry we can hit up somewhere else that has some substance." As you start wiping up the spit-take, Kam's cheeks flush, "T-thanks. I was gonna get that, you just kinda caught me by surprise."

He shakes his head, "You don't gotta thank me, was the least I can do. We were all really worried about you. I-" his eyes open wide. "Oh wait, shit, almost forgot. I got you a card-" he digs into his back-pack, moving through his laptop and papers to pull out a small Hallmark card. He hands it over across the table, where you see it is a picture of a ursa major with the flu, a comically over-sized thermometer in its mouth and ice-pack on its head. Underneath, it says 'Hope things aren't too un-bear-able'.

"…do you get it?"


"You realize I'm not five right?" she says with feigned annoyance as she takes the card.

"And to be honest? Things were kind of unbearable for awhile. They still kind of are. I'm glad you're here though. After the crash, I started to think I'd never talk to you or anypony else I knew again."


"Course not. Just, I thought it was cheesy and maybe a cheesy joke would help after you woke up. Plus Flawless and Bitter already got you like, five sports ones, I wanted to be original."

As you comment on how unbearable things have been, a frown passes across Kameron's face. "I'm sorry. I can't begin to imagine how scary it's gotta be, waking up after something like that." He pauses for a moment, thinking of what to say next. "If you don't feel like talking about it, I totally get it but, what was like? Do you remember the accident, or…?"

"Here we go!" The barrista interrupts, carrying a tray full of food with him. "Two mochas, one order of scones, crepe, blueberry muffin, croissant, eclair, milk and green iced tea."
"Oh-" Kam turns his attention, grabbing at his coffee as it's handed to him while the food is set down on the table. "Thanks."


"I don't get why I needed so many cards in the first place. Its not like I could read them while I was gone." she says flicking it onto the table casually, before he asks her about the accident.

"I remember it. I had alot of time to think about it too, to figure out more about what happened. Most of what happened at the time was a blur. It hit me right after I saw it. I was walking home. I had just said bye to Bitter, who started walking down the intersection to her street, down that one road that goes kind of downhill a few blocks from mine? I turned around and-"

"If I hadn't have looked back. If I'd just gotten out of the way, none of this might have happened. And I wouldn't be here. You don't even feel it at first. You'd think a car hitting you, head on, you'd FEEL it right? You don't. At least, not at first. All I felt, was all the air being sucked out of my throat, like someone was pulling it out of my throat with a vacuum. Everything after that happened so fast I only found out what happened after. When it hit me, it dragged me under the car, instead of over the windshield. Something in the chassis, cut and dug into my chest and dragged me with the car about twenty feet leaving a blood streak in the road, before it hit a bump and I popped loose. That's when I felt it. It was like somepony had set a grand piano on top of my chest. I wasn't even in pain, I just…I couldn't move. I don't even know how many bones I broke, but I found one later there was a hole going through my lung. One of those, tube things that goes under the car, had went straight through it. Thats probably what dragged me through the street. After that, there really wasn't much that happened. I didn't see a light, or…you know how in the movies, its always really dramatic when somepony dies? And they see their whole life flash before their eyes, or they just sit there looking at the sky for ten minutes thinking about what had happened. Its…its nothing like that. It couldn't have been more then a few minutes between it hitting me and me passing out."

"All I remember thinking was this panicked realization that I'd been hit. Not even that I was going to die, just shock. And that was it. I was still thinking about it, staring across the street when I passed out. When I woke up, that was it." she says, just as the food is set down.


"No, but you could read them all after you woke up and find out how much ponies missed you while you were out."

Kam listens to you silently, taking in the full description calmly. As you start getting into more vivid detail about how it 'felt', to have been stabbed in the chest by something underneath the car and being dragged by it, his nerve wavers a bit, a bit of color draining from his cheeks. He doesn't stop you however, continuing to listen to your whole story, and only after it finishes, does his head turn down. "…damn. Just… damn." He takes a slow sip of his coffee, thinking over his response. "I'm a little surprised you remember it that well. Something like that, I sorta figured it'd be something that happened so fast when you woke up you'd barely recall the whole thing. But having THAT on your mind soon as you wake up is just… I'm sorry."

"It's different than I thought. When I asked the doc what was wrong he said you managed to miss a full-on collision and the worst injury was to your head. That you'd be able to walk around and shit if y-… when you woke up."


"Like I said, I had a lot of time to figure out more about it later. It was alot worse then-" she pauses, raising her head and looks around, before ducking her head down.

"Kameron what difference would it have made if it hit me head on or on the side if it was going sixty miles an hour?"


Kameron's eyebrows perk up as you pause, seemingly curious as to what you were about to compare it to. As you duck your head down he seems confused, but then as you ask him that question he shakes his head.

"If you asked me that two weeks ago, I probably would have said not much. Ponies get fucked up in accidents where the car isn't even going twenty, even getting clipped by something going sixty is insane. But I guess you're living proof to the contrary. Doctor just said you got INSANELY lucky with how it hit you, how you landed, how fast they got you to ER. It was probably a miracle."


"Bullshit. That's bullshit and you know it." she says, speaking somewhat quietly, head ducked a little.


"Bullshit? What, am I supposed to complain you managed to live through something like that because it's unlikely?"


"Because its *impossible*. If Mare-Do-Well or Princess Luna, or fuck even your grandma got hit MAYBE. Anypony normal would be a pavement smear at half that speed. You don't find that the least bit suspicious?"


"I find it improbable, I think you must have gotten the luckiest hand dealt in the history of Equestria to make it out of that alive… should try buying a lottery ticket after this, come to think of it… but what's there to be suspicious of? You're standing here mostly unscathed after something that could have killed you. Like Granny Z says, 'Whether things are going North or South, you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.'"


"Trust me if you knew what I knew you'd think I was staring down its tonsils. I can PROVE something weird is going on here."


"For a filly who just cheated Death, you seem kinda unsatisfied. Hasn't weirder shit happened?"

He raises an eyebrow. "Prove? Prove what?"


"By this point, kind of, but this didn't happen. I'm in a matrix. And I can prove it." she says sitting her hooves down on the table.

"Anything you know, that I don't also know, you can't remember. I'll give you an example. Remember last year when you did that chemistry project and you had to memorize all the elements on the periodic table?"

"Tell me something about it I DON'T already know, like listing the noble gases, or telling me what 'noble gas' even means. Or what the numbers in the little element box mean."

"Or look at the coffee menu. Like half of those are just made up, they aren't even Prench."


As you bring up being in a matrix, Kam gives you a look as though you just spoke in a foreign language to him. "You're in a 'matrix'… like the movie, that Matrix?"

As you ask him about the elements, he responds "Alexis, I did that project a YEAR ago. We've both had a lot of shit coming down the pipe going up to graduation, I've forgotten most of what I crammed about the periodic table just trying to keep up with everything else."

He looks over at the menu, "You sure? I don't really memorize the menu, I just sort of order what I order."


"Yes like the movie. None of this is real. The doctor couldn't remember what an IV was earlier either. Look, take out your phone and google the Periodic Table. Or google anything you think you know, that I don't."

"I KNOW it sounds crazy, but its the truth. None of this is real."


Kam gives a dead-pan look. "We're in the Matrix… right. So, where's the part where we get to learn kung-fu?"

As you ask him to test out his theory, he pulls up his phone, "Alright, let's see." He opens it up, "Going into browser, typing 'periodic table', hitting search…" he bears a smug grin on his face, but it slowly turns into an annoyed frown, "No connection to Internet? What the hay, I was *just* streaming something."


"Its not funny. I'm really trapped in here." she reprimands.

"And see? Its not letting you online. Switch from the hospital's wifi to using the phone's internet. That's NEVER down in the city."


"I *am* using my phone's internet, it says it won't connect." He says, going through the motions of checking various settings. "Weird… maybe I hit my data limit for the month or something's just wrong with the hardware, I'm pretty sure there's better explanations than being stuck in the Matrix."

As you reprimand him for making jokes, he says, "Sorry for not taking it as seriously as I should, but come on: what would *you* say if I told you something like that?"


"I'd think you were crazy. Honestly I'm surprised you didn't start saying I had lost it, or freak out or something. If it was anypony else they'd be sending me up the river for a psyche referral."

"How do you stay so cool all the time?"


"I just smoke a ton of weed when you're not around." Kameron says extremely nonchalantly, making an obvious joke. He shrugs. "I dunno, that's just how I am. Maybe Granny rubs off on me."

"For the record though, I *do* think you're probably not thinking straight right now. You're minutes out of a hospital room and haven't eaten or drank anything in days, I think you should at least get a bite to eat before trying to convince me we're in a computer or something."

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