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  1. 7 points

    From the album: Muddy's Album!

    Villain design to take my mind off the heat.
  2. 5 points
    Ahh! This was it! A wonderful start to a wonderful school year. Students seemed to be in high spirits already, and seemed to be rather accepting of their new Headmare. Starlight Glimmer herself was feeling pretty good herself as she made her way off to the councilor's office. Apparently there had been a rumour around that she herself was going to be the Headmare...truth be told she wouldn't have said no if asked...but she was sure Twilight had her reasons. Whatever the case may be, the unicorn was all too happy to continue helping as the academy's councilor. To that effect she had made sure to decorate her office accordingly! Changed out the curtains to make the place feel fresh so to speak. Around the room she had various gifts and knickknacks that her friends or students had given her, as well as a couple of her favourite kits hanging from the ceiling to give it a little extra personal flair. With a mug full of apple tea — thanks Applejack — Starlight would open up her door and take a seat. She was fairly confident there wouldn't be any issues that she'd be needed for, it was the first day of school after all, but a good councilor always has their door open for a student in need, no matter how small the worry.
  3. 5 points
    Smolder strolled into class with a big grin on her scaly face. Beating up evil wizards! This was the class for her! Originally she assumed this was just a course for nerdy unicorns to take. Those single-horned ponies would throw on their pantaloons and a scarf and try to figure out what spell they could defend themselves against with another. Could Imperio defeat Locomotor Mortis? Wedges verses swirlies? Great taste verses less filling? Boring geekery! Then she heard even non-unicorns at the Royal Equestria Army took this class. They needed to learn how to defeat evil-doers who used magic without actually using magic. And while dragons were the best at almost everything, they knew even a mighty dragon could be felled by a sneaky spell. And eventually she would encounter an fowl wizard or evil necromancer whose face needed a good kicking! This class would help! Then it dawned on her. This wasn't a class against the 'dark arts', but 'dark hearts'. What the heck was a dark heart? The orange dragoness sighed to herself. This was one of those moments that a little extra, further bit of reading would have helped. But she already had made up her mind and her backside was already resting comfortably in her seat. So she would stay. And since her very best birdie buddy Gallus was here, she could always amuse herself by throwing 'magic missiles' (Aka crumbled up little paper balls) at him. After two seconds of sitting, Smolder glanced down at her book and quickly removed the plastic covering....This was about empathy? And what was empathy? The ability to understand and share the feelings of another........Oh-Oh.
  4. 5 points
  5. 4 points
    Well, this certainly wasn't going as planned. The sudden transformation of the fox they were pursuing into something of legendary size brought the trio up short. Or, at least, it brought Feng up short, staring at the vulpine enormity in front of him. Tempest seemed merely excited by the prospect, while Sunset seemed mainly peeved at Tempest's excitement. Hence, the two ended up being more distracted with each other than with Yanhua. At least at first, long enough for the longma to get a good look the kitsune. There was something... familiar about her. The little niggles that the back of his mind were sending him triggered something like a memory. *Really, could it be?* While their quarry was being distracted by Sunset's talk of friendship, Feng took to his wings, approaching the large fox with caution, right up until the little suspicion in his head solidified into a solid hunch. Yes, he was willing to bet on this one... Quick as a golden dash, the Watcher darted in to boop the enlarged muzzle before him. "Tag, you're it Hanabi!" He called out, face split by a grin.
  6. 4 points
    Sunset Shimmer could hardly believe when her friend, Twilight Sparkle, asked her to come on board as a guest teacher at the Ponyville School of Friendship. Sunset... a TEACHER? How absurd!!! The Equestrian girl hadn’t even graduated from high school yet! How was she supposed to juggle her studies and friendships in the Mirror World with mentoring responsibilities back in Equestria? Was Sunset actually worthy enough to be entrusted with nurturing the next generation of friendships? Yet Twilight had a plan. She always had a plan. All Miss Shimmer would have to do was convince the necessary authorities to let her leave school early each Tuesday and Thursday to do student tutoring at the (newly EEA-accredited) School of Friendship, alongside the winner of the last Fall Formal. Twi would then take care of everything else! Although Sunset Shimmer still had doubts, as far as the Princess of Friendship was concerned, the fiery unicorn had proven her worth as a friend and mentor many times over in the Mirror World. In particular, the lavender alicorn believed that Sunset’s unusual background as a villainess-turned-heroine gave her a unique perspective on Friendship matters that most of the other professors lacked. Nopony else had the qualifications to provide lessons in empathy and understanding the nature of lost souls like Miss Shimmer. Needless to say, Twi won Sunset over to her idea using the alicorn's powers of logical and emotional persuasion. And thus, come the new school year, the students of the School of Friendship found a new twice-per-week afternoon course added to the curriculum; “Defense Against Dark Hearts”, taught by Guest Professor Sunset Shimmer. The other teachers also discovered that a familiar magical mirror — once stored in the Friendship Castle — had been relocated to the Teachers’ Lounge. All so that one guest instructor can more easily reach her classroom on schedule. ---------- The hour is coming soon when the Students of Friendship will meet their new Defense Against Dark Hearts professor. Defense Against Dark Hearts classes is take place in the classroom once used by Counselor Glimmer for her lectures. Not much has changed about this lecture hall, although youths with keen memories will note the room’s walls have now taken a reddish hue instead of blue as prior. Two new posters have also been mounted on each side of the chalkboard; one depicts a phoenix burning bright in the sky, the other shows a sparkly “Embrace the Magic!” slogan superimposed onto an idyllic wilderness. One minute until class is scheduled to begin! The professor has not appeared yet, allowing time for punctual students to briefly gossip amongst themselves... or for the more tardy youths to get to the classroom on time.....
  7. 4 points
    He wondered what this class was about as well. As much as he would like to believe everything he had told himself in his head regarding claw to hoof combat he doubted it would be anything like that. Probably something to do with Empathy or some other pesonal virtue that wasn't somehow covered by the others. Sometimes he felt like the Elements tended to overlap with one another but he guessed that was kind of the point? All of the Professors embodied all of the Elements to some degree, they just exemplified one more than the others. But that didn't mean somepony couldn't come by and make a big deal about some specific part of something that showcased a thing or whatever. He didn't know what it was or what it was going to be, but he was sure it'd be fine in the end. It always was with the ponies, and it was kind of infuriating. "I don't know, but hopefully the defense part means...I dunno, fighting? I kind of want to see what ponies think fighting looks like. The ones who aren't Guards, anyway. But probably not. One bit says it'll be about emotional defense though. You on?" He challenged Yona to a bet, leaning in with hungry eyes. Nothing better than betting a Yak. They won, it was fine. Lost? Liable to make a friend for life or see them smash. It was great either way. Same with Smolder. He liked her. She was fun to be around. Whether they were teasing one another or being a bit mre serious, he sometimes felt like Smolder was the only one who operated on a similar wavelength. A little aggression, a little rough around the edges, but both were pretty cool cats/dragons when it came down to it. Not that he'd ever admit it. Dragons hoarded more than gold and Smolder's ego didn't need the additional massaging. He nodded. That was enough. Finally their professor walked in. Fiery looking unicorn with a broad smile and a killer mane. Where did they get all these color combinations from? It was like an entire species made up of crayon and creativity. She had a certain flint to her voice too- she sounded older than the other Professors. Not terribly so, but...mature. Gallus dug it. She revealed her name was Sunset Shimmer and that she had also been a pupil of the soon to be former Princess Celestia. Huh. They were multiplying. She also seemed aware of her relative obscurity. Well, at least she was self-aware and not another Professor Dash. Gallus raised his claw. "Hey, Professor. First off, I'm Gallus. Good to meet you. You should know that they don't give us homework usually. My question is: Who are you?"
  8. 4 points
    Well, one pony taking her up on her offer was certainly better than none. The Captain came on by and wanted some cider and the filly obliged happily, pouring a small amount into a small, old goblet and hoofing it over. “Here ya go, cap'n! Drink up. What'd you bring, by tha way?” Apple Bloom replied as she poured herself a small goblet and started drinking. She felt awfully comfortable around Fire Walker. Ever since Apple Bloom had hurt herself helping free Celestia during the Nightmare Night attack a while back, she had learned and looked up to the Guard mare. Task Force Suntrot followed and it was only because of mares like her and Applejack that she had gotten through it feeling as great as she did about the experience. She was lucky to have a mare as great as her sister, a stallion as amazing as Big Mac, and the greatest Granny to ever live. But she had to admit, she thought Fire Walker was a heck of a role model herself. It was partially her (and Twilight Guard Applejack!) fault that Apple Bloom had taken several pamphlets and programs relating to REA Youth Programs, after all. A soft voice stole her attention, though she didn't suffer any confusion as to who it was. Fluttershy didn't have to speak very loud to really be heard. In fact, it was when she was quietest that her words were heard the clearest by Apple Bloom. She liked the fire- well, of course. It was a nice fire if she said so herself. Most importantly Fluttershy gave Apple Bloom a compliment- calling her brave! Well, the big filly (little mare) certainly wasn't above taking compliments, and it was true. Maybe less because she was sleeping outside- that was just something she did to enjoy the nice night- and more because there was no good reason for her not be considered super brave, since she was super brave, and if you douted it you could just ask all her friends who would totally back that up without bias. She did offer Apple Bloom a place in her tent. Possibly tempting, but Angel was there. “Aww, Ah'm fine, Fluttershy. Ah go campin' all tha time. Want some cider? It's warm. Bring some of those apple oats an' maybe we'll get a soup on later. That'd be nice!” She said excitedly as she began to dig through her bag to find the soup mix. As she did she felt the whole energy of the camp change and become charged. Instinctually she turned her head and saw a pair of glowing eyes. Alizarin and Sombra were already up, and soon the Captain followed. Apple Bloom's heart skipped a beat as she stopped looking for a soup mix and instead looked for her rope. Rolling the line over her shoulder, she stood up and took a few steps, taking a deep breath or two. The eyes- well, they weren't the right type for a cockatrice. Apple Bloom looked around- she didn't see more pairs of them, so it wasn't a Timberwolf pack circling them. That was good. Not knowing what it was exactly, however, was not so good. Apple Bloom positioned herself not far from the Captain, haphazardly in front of Fluttershy and along with the others as she stared at the eyes and tried to discern what they belonged to. “Howdy there fella. Whatcha doin' out here this time of night?”
  9. 4 points
    And speaking of Apple Bloom. She was a really good kid. Smart, brave and resourceful, she’d make an idea future candidate for officer school. And she was actually helping them set up camp. And not just sitting there whining about the bugs or how she really would prefer her own bed over an sleeping bag. Oh, sweet Celestia, this was a kid she hoped to have one day. But would she? Little future kid would be raised in a mansion with al the things he or she could ever want. Would her kid grow up to be a spoiled brat? She dreaded the idea of having a "Little Lord Fauntlerpony'. A bratty little foal with a permanent sour look on his face and his mouth always ready to say...'I Want' or 'Wah!'. “I would be more than happy to have a glass of your famous apple cider.” Her family made some of the best ciders one could find anywhere, and when cider season began, folk tended to flock to Sweet Apple Acres to sample the batch. The lines would stretch far and long and resemble lines one would find at the grand opening of a new Whinny World ride. The little farmer’s food also looked better than what she had brought along. This was a small bundle of MREs or ‘Meal, Ready To Eat’ type meals. They were easy to put together and filling, but not very tasty. Fortified pastry. Eep. Fire Walker caught notice of Fluttershy who had vanished into her tent for a moment. She was probably looking after that devious little rabbit she kept at her side. The incredibly gorgeous mare was quick to offer help to the little farmer, but also turn down the officer's offer of whiskey. Oh, the red pony would pay ALL of the bits to see how she acted when tipsy. Thankfully Alizarin Fruits took up her offer. This was some good, primo stuff she had. Feeling a rather heavy wave of positive energy, she also offered up a drink to Sombra. The thought of this actually happening blew her mind just a bit. Was he a real, living creature, or an animated shadow? He had an somewhat adorable little sleeping bag at his side. Did he purchase this? She almost wanted to see the whole scene. The dark lord visiting an local general store...Maybe an Cantermart....Him with his impressive figure and bloody red eyes and horn...Standing in line, patiently, waiting to purchase his little bedroll. Maybe he even had a coupon floating at his side. What was he looking at? Both he and a few others were looking towards......She followed their eyes...To another pair of eyes...Ones that glowed in the dark....Probably belonged to an animal..."Can we help you?", she asked the owner of the eyes. Mr Gumby quickly made it to her side and waited for his commands. 'Ralph', he whispered.
  10. 4 points
    “Okay Sunset, remember what Twi said; relax, and just be yourself.” Be yourself. That was the one significant piece of advice Twilight had given Sunset Shimmer when she accepted this position. The unicorn had been prepared to dismiss the saying as generic, only for Twi to go “well, actually” all over her. And Twilight was right; this school would have failed had the Ponyville gang decided to keep doing things by the book. If those girls could transition into professors just fine, so could Sunset! On cue with the ringing bell, the classroom door magically opened as a fiery unicorn mare sauntered in; “What’s up, everyone?” The new professor’s mane seemingly blew on its own accord as levitated her cutie marked-saddlebags on the teacher’s desk, exuding a charismatic calm all the while. “My name is Sunset Shimmer,” the smirking unicorn turned to face her pupils directly, smoothing back her tousled hair with a single elegant flip; “And I’ll be your Defense Against Dark Hearts teacher this year. Like this school’s founder, I too was a personal apprentice of Princess Celestia’s. But as I understand it, I’m the School of Friendship’s first professor to not be widely known first before accepting the job. So if you have any questions about me, feel free to raise your hand and ask about anything!”
  11. 4 points
    The sun seemed to disappear out of the sky as darkness loomed all around the group of ponies. The scenery matched Ali's mood quite nicely; dark, mysterious, and sharp. The trees seemed like shadows lurking over the campsite, and the farm pony really liked the feeling. It was like the trees were protecting her, shielding her from the outside forces trying to mess with her. She felt secure and warm, like the tall green pines were a blanket keeping her from the cold. It really felt like her own Pop giving her a nice tight hug. He'd hug her every time she was upset, or showed any negative emotion. She really only would let go around him. Otherwise, she was a brood. Alizarin found herself a log opposite of the few who decided to speak to each other. She found herself closer to Sombra, which she didn't mind. He kind of seemed like an outcast to her. Everypony seemed to be really hostile towards him, but Ali knew why. She was a really good eavesdropper. That, or the group of mares were talking very loudly when they were off to the campground. Either way, Ali felt comfortable around him more than the others. They were both a little dark, maybe they had something in common more than the others. The warmth of the fire and everypony else settling down gave her the time to actually look through the group of ponies she was dealing with. She already knew her feeling on Sombra, but she was skeptical about the little yellow filly. Ali and Apple Bloom already had a huge thing in common: growing up on a fruit farm and being able to lead anything from their bravery. The short mare felt Apple Bloom was incredibly honorable, but she also though the little filly was too sweet. Too nice. She didn't think the young pony had a bad bone in her body. In Ali's eyes, that could be a huge disadvantage in what's to come in the future. The mare wasn't too nice anyway, so what could Ali know about being nice? Friendship and all that stuff wasn't her forte. Speaking of the kindness, the element of being kind was somepony Ali couldn't wrap her head around. What was such a shy, little frail pony doing in the middle of the forest? The yellow Pegasus was scared of everything. It really drove Ali up the wall. The earth pony thought you had to be brave in these kinds of situations, not be afraid of your own dang shadow. If the group ever actually found any clues to the disappearances, Fluttershy could easily drag the group. And if she ever did, Ali would probably blow up like a volcano- and not like a little one either. Lava would literally be running down her head, stinging the floor with it's heat. Ali guessed the only good side of the tender mare was her being able to talk to animals. Maybe that was a really good side. Ali could get her head around that. Suddenly, a nice big bottle of whiskey sat in front of the mare's face, making her scrunch her nose. The fruit farmer wasn't no stranger to some drinks, she'd always pop a good one with her dad from time to time. What surprised her was that the Captain was willing to share a little with her. She liked that about the brave mare. She respected Fire Walker the most. Ali knew she wouldn't get drunk, she was stronger than other ponies would think from her size. Normally when she took swigs, it made her relax a little bit. "Ah'll take a sip." Her tone was grouchy, but a little light and fluffy. She grabbed the bottle with her cream colored hoof and took a big swig of the drink, taking it like a champ. The mare shook her head, then smiled at Pegasus. "Thanks for the drink," is all she said with her country tune, and looked back around as everypony seemed to be eating or drinking. Everything seemed to be all good, with crickets in the distance and the sound of the fire sparking and snapping. Alizarin let the drink settle in her stomach. The night seemed peaceful then, until a sudden sharp sound was heard from the distance and everything goes silent. Then a large gasp. The mares ears perk up and she looks behind her, searching for anything off. That's when she spots a couple of glowing eyes...
  12. 4 points
    Gallus was vaguely interested in just about everything going on this year at school. Vaguely. Not tremendously interested. He didn't think that the School of Friendship's classes were anything near important compared to the day to day interaction with his friends, which really seemed to be where all the real education was happening. This wasn't to say of course that the classes lacked in elements that piqued him, however. Honesty classes could really bring out stuff from deep inside yourself and others that brought you closer together, even if Professor Applejack's earnestness could kind of make it seem saccharine. Loyalty classes were often fun and dangerous and he got to show off so that was cool, but Professor Dash had a braggadocios streak about her that seemed off-putting at times. Professor Fluttershy was perfect and he got top marks in her class, as did everycreature else. Generosity classes were tough for him- he was trying his best, but giving didn't come easy to a griffon. Laughter was fun as was Professor Pinkie, but he didn't need a class to teach him that having a good time with friends was....well, a good idea to have. He valued his time in the classes and paid attention as much as he deigned (and far more than he would care to admit to anycreature), but the school year was about his friends far more than it was about graded tests on friendship qualities and harmonic values. He did his best to appear aloof and he thought he succeeded rather well, but that didn't stop his crest feathers from standing on edge as he wandered into his newest class. 'Defense Against Dark Hearts' was a pretty cool name. He wasn't sure what the idea behind the class was mostly because he only briefly looked at the syllabus, but he hoped it would involve karate and claw-to-claw combat. He would be pretty hard to beat in that, he thought. He also hadn't heard much about this new Professor. Rumors swirled that she had something called hands. He didn't know what else had hands. Claws, hooves, fins, wings, but hands? Did Tirek have hands? Whatever. Rumors were rumors and he didn't really care what the Professor had attached to her. She was a her, right? Sunset Shimmer could be a male pony name but it was probably female. So close to Starlight Glimmer and Twilight Sparkle. What the heck was up with pony naming conventions? He didn't need to be worried about being alone, of course. He had heard Yona minutes before he had approached and he was sure in some realities the school was still rocking to her movements. He took flight and landed on the row above Yona, to her right. “Hey, Yona,” he said with a flat expression. “Stealthy entrance you made. So, what about this Professor? Have you seen her..him...her yet?”
  13. 4 points
    Hope Hollow - At the End of the Rainbow At first glance, nothing seems all that remarkable about the tiny town of Hope Hollow. Nestled not far from the source of the Galloping River, Hope Hollow’s only apparent distinguishing feature is a giant rainbow billboard at the town's edge. Yet if one was to dig into the town’s recent history, they would find a fascinating case study on the power of Hope and Hopelessness as potent magical forces in Equestria. In a sense, Hope Hollow was “discovered” half a century ago by a Manehattan travel writer scouting for weekend getaways away from the big city. With numerous locales nearby such as the Galloping River headwaters, Whitetail Wood, Roundbottom Hills, and the southern terminus of the Solstice Heights, Hope Hollow was strategically placed as a hub from where sightseers could potentially visit all destinations in one vacation. But just as vitally, this town represented the complete opposite of big city life; a small-knit community where everypony knew everypony’s name and looked out for one another. As for how the Rainbow became Hope Hollow’s official symbol? Being situated on the windward side of a mountain range means far more unscheduled rain showers caused by condensing moisture, and with those comes far more opportunities for rainbow-sighting. Many creatures throughout the world dismiss rainbows as nothing more than simple natural phenomenon, or even as simply the mass produced products of weather factories. In reality, each rainbow — no matter how it forms — is actually infused with a deep elemental magic; exposure to its color kindles the fires of Hope, Vitality, and Wonder within the hearts of ponies (along with triggering the natural evolution of rainbow trout). In turn, ponies infused with Hope can passively saturate a region with even more vivid colors! Perhaps it was no wonder then why Hope Hollow — constantly exposed to impromptu rainbows — became legendary for a hospitable town spirit unrivaled in Equestria. Few understood the power of rainbows better than Clear Skies, a transplant inventor from Canterlot who lived in Hope Hollow at the time of its “discovery”. Inspired by then-mythological tales of the fabled Crystal Heart (now proven to be ever so real), Mr. Skies created a magitek device that painted the sky with a prismatic aurora. This Rainbow Generator earned the stallion mayorship of the town, and the Mayor used his gizmo as the hallmark attraction of another legend-inspired initiative of his; the annual Rainbow Festival, where townsponies gathered together to renew the spirit of unity and hope. Hope Hollow’s economy boomed for several decades thereafter, allowing the town to host such amenities as the luxury Rainbow Resort and Spa. A number of big city tourists even permanently moved to the small, cozy town. However, Hope Hollow’s economic prosperity depended upon remaining an attractive vacation destination for ponies living in Equestrian’s metropolitan centers. Overtime, the town lost its trendiness as more train-friendly (and thus accessible) locales like Ponyville and Rainbow Falls became the new fashionable destinations for holiday excursions. By the time Mayor Skies’s grandson assumed the burden of municipal leadership, the tourism trade had all but whittled away to a trickle. Hard times followed as townponies struggled harder to make ends meet, sacrificing bonding with their fellow neighbors in the process. In an effort to revive community spirit, Mayor Sunny Skies attempted to upgrade the Rainbow Generator to enhance its prismatic output. But nopony cared anymore; fancier rainbows weren’t going to pay the bills, don’t you know? In that decisive moment; Hope for a better friendlier tomorrow was seemingly displaced entirely by cynicism and selfishness. Coupled with a coincidental malfunction of the Generator, this unfortunate event caused almost all color to vanish from Hope Hollow! Aside from the giant Rainbow Billboard and a few choice photos, everything and everyone within the town radius existed only in shades of black and white. What happened to Hope Hollow was what may be the most extreme instance ever recorded of ponies succumbing to Despair. Just as hope-filled ponies shine with color, those filled with Hopelessness are known to have their coats lose there vibrancy. In Hope Hollow’s case, the barrier of despair was so great that not even a Sonic Rainboom could restore color back to the town! As fate would have it, Sunny Skies — who blamed himself for the disaster —years later triggered the chain of events that led to restoring color to his community by conning the famous flier Rainbow Dash into being the guest of honor at a phony Rainbow Festival. Thanks to the efforts of Dash and her friends though, it turned out that rebuilding the severed relationships between townsponies was the trick needed to bring color back to Hope Hollow. Although other pressing issues still need to be addressed, for the first time in many years, the locals see there is light at the End of the Tunnel... or Rainbow, rather. ~Hitchhiker's Guide to Equestria (Revised Edition)
  14. 4 points
    The farm pony sat there dozing off, in her own mind, thinking about anything and everything. The forest seemed to peaceful at this exact moment. The wind slightly moved the trees in what seemed like a dance. Ali couldn't help but sway along to the leaves on the trees. All that was there was the sound of birds chirping in the distance, and the sweet smell of pine. The splotched brown and cream mare had a soft spot for pine trees. It just reminded her of home, before her mama left. All sounds were ruined by a couple of hard steps, and it made Ali's face turn back to it's grumpy self. Her eyebrows furrowed, and her eyes searched around behind her. "You must be Sombra," the mare mumbled, standing up quickly and making her way to the large dark stallion before her. She wasn't intimidated at all. She was never really scared of big dark beings lurking over her shoulder. Though she was a tiny pony, she had a lot of confidence and toughness in her. Ali was like a firecracker. Anypony could light her up and she'd go bonkers. It was easy to make her lose her temper. "Ah'm Alizarin Fruits." She lifted her little leg for a firm shake, trying to be polite. Not too long afterwards, a deep red Pegasus came marching through, and Ali clearly could recognize her. "Captain'," the mare said towards Fire Walker, giving her a confident nod. She kept a strong stature, as so far everypony towered over her. Ali just wanted to seem like the 'don't mess around with me or I'll bite your head off' type. Her eyes seemed villainous, yet soft in a way. The short earth pony just wanted to look like a tough nut, because nuts don't crack unless you apply pressure. "If that dog comes anywhere near me, ah'm gonna throw 'em." She said that kind of quietly, but meant it harshly. Next up was a slight surprise, as a little yellow filly came hopping along. At least now, she wasn't the shortest anymore. Ali had known the apples all her life, but never talked to them Her Pop-pop absolutely loved their family though. He'd always get after Ali for not sayin' hello, but that wasn't Ali's mojo. "That's the only thin' we have in common, bein' a farmer," she hissed at the little filly. "Apple Bloom, right? Mah Pop-pop talks a lot 'bout you. Got a lot of bravery comin' out here. 'Guess that's admirable." Shocking, the nicest thing to ever come out of Ali's mouth. Of course she thought of why a little filly was coming out here to find out some weird creature taking innocent animals, but she had to be nice and cooperate with these ponies so she can get out of here quickly. Last, but not least, was Fluttershy. Oh boy, Ali was gonna have a fit with this mare. Nothin' got more on her nerves than shy ponies. 'If you wanna speak, then speak,' she'd always say. Ali was a little ignorant though, and maybe a little closed minded. Ali just let out a "Miss. Shy," after the yellow Pegasus greeted her. The only good thing Ali could think of about Fluttershy was that she was good with animals. That was always a plus. As the ponies greeted each other, Ali cleared her throat. "'Kay everypony, I wanna get out of here as soon as possible. So let's get 'n here and get a move on." Her voice was raspy and deep, making it clear that she was takin' the opportunity to lead the group. She was firm and self-assured anyway. What could go wrong?
  15. 4 points
    "No worries, cap'n. You don't work on a farm without havin' ta bury some bodies ev'ry once in a while!"
  16. 4 points
    I'm going to guess Fire Walker can see Sombra...She just doesn't believe she can see him...Like...why is he here? She'll probably rush over and cut his throat once she realizes he's really there. Sorry Applebloom. This might be a little traumatizing for yah.
  17. 3 points
    Although the ceremony with King Oisin had ended, more internal affairs of state required discussion throughout the rest of the morning. And even after that, one last important matter remained. Long Guo’s delegation to Equestria’s Iron Pony competition had returned to the Imperial Capital bearing the fruits of victory! Ironically, when Feng was initially chosen to represent the Dragon Kingdom, his superiors never planned on him winning the title of Iron Pony. There were three chief qualities that the Imperial Watch prized in its members: the willingness to utilize ruthless efficiency, the ability to cultivate an aura of fear, and a mastery of the art of going unnoticed without any effort (.....alongside demonstrating an almost fanatical devotion to the Empress). Although it was true that Feng succeeded at every mission and exerted himself harder than any other Watcher, his reputation amongst the ranks... left much to be desired. Earning a glorious title at a high-profile sporting event overseas was exactly the sort of fame a model Watcher avoided if at all possible... but then again, it wasn’t like Feng could be reprimanded for failing to do bad. After all, the Empress herself chose the longma stallion to represent the Dragon Kingdom, and who in their right mind would embarrass their Imperial Sovereign by deliberately performing poorly? Regardless, Feng Yinhaitao was set to be viewed by the Watch’s leadership with doubt and suspicion for a good while longer. At least for now though, Empres Yuè could satisfy herself with the sight of her Champion strutting his way towards the Dragon Throne. Were Feng anybody else, the Empress might have labeled him as an arrogant showoff with ulterior motives. Of course, the royal qilin knew who the true Feng really was: a philosophical warrior with a fiery heart of passion and absolute loyalty. Thing was, in a dog-eat-dog environment like the Imperial Palace where servants were expected to know their station, Feng’s devotion could very well one day prove to be his undoing. So was for that reason that Empress Yuè sent Feng away to Ponyville; that, and to remove him as a mental distraction for a while. Thus it was an even greater irony that her actions had the opposite effect, as the Empress’s thoughts started dwelling on Feng and his well being at a more frequent rate than before. The qilin mare lacked an answer for why she was afflicted so; it wasn’t like something as silly as love could be involved, as Love was the province of those privileged with the luxury of opening their hearts. No; the Empress was sure to find a more probable answer through meditation, no matter how long it took! Yet it was rather difficult to deny Feng’s allure when adorned with golden medals, wasn’t it? If Empress Yuè’s emotions were in turmoil, none of it showed whatsoever as she addressed Feng and Yanhua with the utmost professional confidence; “The champions of the Long Sun before us today have brought great honor to the Dragon Nation! Although only one of them could earn the coveted title of Iron Pony, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the achievements of our very own palace chef, Yanhua, who earned the top prizes in the contests of Cupcake Eating and Rock Climbing! Please come forward to be acknowledged!” As Yanhua obeyed the command, she asked an almost non-sequitur question for this occasion... almost. “Yes we are,” the Empress answered nonchalantly; “It seems word of the Peryton delegation is spreading far and wide. As a matter of fact Yanhua, you shall be meeting with them at tonight’s banquet... to make arrangements for produce shipments from the Velvet Strand to the Palace Cellars. We trust you can carry out this task?”
  18. 3 points
    The situation was going from bad to worse! Yanhua ended up minding Tempest Shadow very much so, fretfully addressing her in particular as she warned her pursuers to back off. Before Sunset Shimmer could respond, the fox creature emitted an ear-piercing scream. Once she recovered from the deafening, Sunset opened up her eyes and saw a most horrific vision: a giant monster of flame ready to burn everything in the vicinity to cinders! And as if Sunset wasn’t shocked enough already, Tempest was STILL clamoring for her epic showdown! Hey gang, being a friend is boring, so let’s instead risk reducing Ponyville to ashes just so I can get a fight in! The frustration in Sunset’s heart boiled over; her horn erupted with a bright aetherial light almost immediately after Tempest issued her latest provokation. With one swift move, Miss Shimmer furiously turned and fired a burst of dispelling magic straight at Tempest! “NO TEMPEST, IT’S NOT YOUR TURN!” Should Sunset’s blast make direct contact with Tempest Shadow, the broken-horned unicorn would find herself incapable of summoning magic for a good half-minute or so. “DO US ALL A FAVOR AND STOP MAKING EVERYTHING WORSE!!! ARRRRRGH!!!!!” Having sufficiently vented at Tempest Shadow, Sunset Shimmer was able to turn back towards the apparent fire-demon with a more conciliatory expression on her features. In her heart, Miss Shimmer knew that despite Yanhua’s fearsome transformation, the scared vixen didn’t really want to fight. Besides, the unicorn’s six sense was telling her that everything about this scene felt off... but she needed to keep her focus on getting through to Yanhua while she was still stationary. “Look, Yanhua!” The mare pleaded, taking several steps forward and placing a heartfelt arm on her chest as she stared down the beast; “If you just want some space, fine then...... we’ll stop getting in the way. But I urge you NOT to drive away all those who care for you! I swear Yanhua that everything’s gonna’ get better; whatever you’re going through... you can count on your friends to be there through thick and thin!” Even if Yanhua chose to run away once more, it was at least worth the effort to deescalate the situation before somebody got hurt.....
  19. 3 points
    Vitamin-rich mix of leafy greens? Check. Generous helping of almonds? Check. Tasty drizzlings of seasoned rice vinegar and sesame oil? Check. Princess Bluebelle had to acknowledge the due diligence of her predecessor; Twilight had certainly ensured that her school would not run afoul of the cliched “school cafe” food. All students and faculty ate from the same menu, and quite a good menu it was too. Not extensive, but selective. Simple, nutritious, delicious, all from fresh ingredients, likely grown in this town where possible. *I could get used to these accomodations.* She thought to herself, which was a good thing, considering her commitment as the new Headmare. One thing still remained, though, and that was to get to know the other teachers at this school. Twilight she knew of old from Canterlot, though not so well until recent years. But Starlight Glimmer she only knew by hearsay, and Sunset Shimmer barely by reminisce. *I’m not too well acquainted with the other Elements of Harmony either, if it comes to that.* Well, no time like the present to make up for that! She’d given everyone an extra-long lunch break, students and staff alike, for the express purpose of them all getting to know each other, new arrivals especially. And as a new arrival herself, Bluebelle had a feeling that the other teachers would want to get to know her as well as she wanted to know them. And what better way to do that than over a meal?
  20. 3 points
    Hawthorn takes a deep sniff of the air and exhales in satisfaction. "I knew we'd make something special together if we tried, and you sure as sugarcane didn't let me down! Good work, my little ponies!" He gathers his younger siblings in a group hug at the end of the table, admiring their work. Today had been their first time cooking without him ever putting a hoof on the food. Of course, he had been there to give more than enough advice, and it had taken almost a week to find the absolute highest-quality ingredients for the occasion... but it still felt like the four of them did this all themselves. Looking at the scrumptious results, he can't stop smiling with pride. Moments later, the front door opens and the sound of Ginger Snap's sweet voice snaps Hawthorn back to reality. "Goodness! So much food! What's the occasion?" she asks the group. "Ah! Ma! Well, y'see, you were gonna be workin' all day, so I figured..." Hawthorn starts. "Big bro's teachin' us all to cook!" Sage abruptly chimes in. Ginger Snap blinks, then bursts out laughing. "Oh, you silly fillies and colts! This is very sweet and all, but don't you think you took it a little too far?" Hawthorn looks around one more time. He can't see the table under all the food. There are loaves of bread stacked as high as the Smokey Mountains. Fried apples and apple pies line the counter tops garnished with the omelettes they didn't have space for. Sticks of carrots and celery dangle from the wall clock and are spilling out of the cupboards up high. Most upsettingly, a pile of dirty dishes threatens to spill over and eat the food before they can. "Maybe we did go a little overboard..." Hawthorn admits sheepishly. "Aw shucks, did we mess up after all?" Sage puts her head down in shame. "Naw, I figure it as long as we had fun together it was no mistake!" Hawthorn grins and pats the filly's mane. "Still, no way we're eating all this before some of it spoils... Sure would be a shame to let any of it go to waste..." The next day, Hawthorn is out taking care of business in Ponyville, noticeably lost in thought. It is while giving the ground a thousand yard stare that he accidentally takes a wrong turn and ends up on a street he's never bothered to visit before. He trips on a rock and goes headfirst into the dirt, breaking the trance-like state of troubled thinking. He slowly stands up on shaky forelegs and brushes some of the dust from his mane while trying to get his bearings. "Oww... Great, ya done it again, Hawthorn. This ain't the way to market..." He's about to turn around and head back when he notices a mare and stallion couple laughing and waving behind them as they leave a rather homely-looking building. On further inspection, it seems to be an inn of some kind. Hawthorn suddenly remembers the extra food from yesterday and his cherry red eyes light up with inspiration. He quickly trots up to the door and knocks, but suddenly feels silly for doing so. This is a business during service hours, after all... so he pushes the door open and steps inside. "Hello? Is the owner in?" he calls out. "I have a bit of an odd suggestion, if you'll listen!"
  21. 3 points
    It wasn't at all Kōkina Kyūkei's intention to get involved. This was strictly recon, and if she was being perfectly honest with herself, bearing with the new revelations this fight was giving her would be burdensome enough without having to defend herself. It wasn't just that a new alicorn had to be registered; powerful heroes and villains were always popping up, and having to deal with so many Kaiju in her homeland had gotten her used to the idea of dealing with a power asymmetry, usually by means of technology. But this cyborg... the readings she was getting from Lightning unsettled the Neighponese mare to her core. Her country relied upon being the absolute best, up-to-date-and-beyond magitek leader in the world. But the gear of the interdimensional pegasus, if these readings were to be believed, put her home country to shame. And a very real danger, too; far from being able to hack the cyborg, Kōkina stood a very real chance of being hacked herself if she wasn't careful- "Frammenti del cielo si riuniscono per dispensare un'ira esaltata....!" All of a sudden, her readings went haywire, as lightning began to fill the air. Swearing under her breath, she flipped off the data-connection and spared a glance outward. Oh... dear. Probably best to retreat, she just did not have the tools capable of dealing with the angry alicorn. Ripping open an emergency packet, she deployed a nanotech update on the old ninja technique of the smoke bomb. Not only did it obscure normal vision, but diffused all magical attempts at detection and penetration... for about 30 seconds. Long enough for the mare to beat a hasty retreat, at least, dropping a few more behind her to cover her tail. *Well, this has at least been a... fruitful reconnaissance, if not a pleasant one.* She had a hard drive full of data to present to the shogun, a few new entries to make on the National Supers Database, and a whole bunch of tech to desperately reverse-engineer over many overcaffienated nights at the lab... <Exit, cameo over.>
  22. 3 points
    Don't do anything evil. He'd heard what the Captain had said when he'd been walking away, and it lingered on his mind as he settled down on the sleeping bag he'd brought with him; he likely wouldn't be doing any sleeping, but it was cushy enough to relax on instead of the hard ground. He was neither blind or stupid. What he'd done in the Crystal Empire? It was horrendous, and yet he'd gone through with it anyway for his own reasons. Many of them selfish, and vengeful, as well as the intent to keep himself alive and to some extent, to protect himself. If ponies had treated him badly before, they would have done worse if they'd discovered his true nature before he had any chance to act. It was good he'd always been a step ahead.. Up until a point. Would he do anything.. evil.. here? He internally scoffed. It wasn't likely. This was just an investigation, unless somepony got in his way in one way or another. Sombra rested his chin against a propped up forehoof, his elbow digging into the cushy material of the sleeping bag while he watched the group settling in to the campsite. Ponies set out sleeping bags or propped up tents, and soon food and drinks were making an appearance. He eyed what he could see, especially the bottle of something the Captain pulled out and soon offered to Alizarin. It hadn't escaped his notice that she'd set up near him, and he briefly met her gaze when she'd been looking his way. The growing firelight of the campfire Apple Bloom was building briefly reflected in his eyes as he watched, curiously, as Alizarin took a drink from the bottle the Captain offered. From his spot, he could smell something strong, but couldn't place it; he wasn't familiar with Equestria's hard drinks. As curious as he was to try it himself, he hesitated, glancing away to look in on what the others were still up to. His eyes briefly lingered on Fluttershy, who was fussing over a small white bunny. His brow furrowed. Where had that come from? He hadn't noticed it before. No matter.. Sombra couldn't help making a mental note to ask the timid mare some questions, if he could, at some point, although what questions he could ask her he wasn't sure. Mostly curiosities like 'Were you at the Crystal Empire with a group of mares?' and.. well, he didn't really know what else he wanted to know yet. His tail flicking, he turned back towards Alizarin and the Captain, dropping his hoof onto his sleeping bag as he straightened up in his spot. "I'd like-.." he began and was stopped short by a soft sound. His eyes followed the direction Alizarin's head had turned to a spot somewhere behind her, in the dark.. The sight of glowing eyes had Sombra on his hooves at once, his body tensed.
  23. 3 points
    "Yak not late to class!" The halls of Friendship shuddered under the hooves of a very enthusiastic yak. Yona continued her stampede, racing towards what had once been the lecture hall of Starlight Glimmer. Papers swirled to the ground and stray pencils scattered as students jumped to the sides of the hallway so as not to get caught in the mad rush. "Yona here!" She shouted breathlessly while slamming back the door on its hinges. Yona trotted into the lecture hall, her head turned this way and that, a stray note paper impaled on her curving horn. "Hmmmm, guess I'm early." There were a few other creatures in the room, but it was in no way packed. She'd been in the room before and after a moment began to notice the subtle changes to decor. New color to the walls, a couple interesting new posters up front. There were lots of seats to choose from so she sat herself down in the front row and started to rummage around in her school bag. Eventually she was able to produce a folded and crumpled sheet of parchment that had her schedule inscribed on it. She held the parchment close to her face and squinted her eyes. "Professor Shimmer?" An eyebrow raised inquisitively. She didn't think she'd met this professor before.
  24. 3 points
    Apple Bloom wasn't going to push the issue. If Alizarin wanted to take point and lead, she wasn't gonna argue it. Besides, that allowed Apple Bloom the greater luxury of observing the group. It was certainly a strange mix that had showed up to solve what appeared to be a small problem with animals in the woods. Fluttershy made sense. You could tell her that a single animal broke its leg in the seas near Neighpon and she'd feel the urge to go help it. And knowing her she'd probably succeed at it, too! The Captain had to be worried about such events so close to civilization. Keeping ponies safe was her calling in life. If there was a pony you could trust to keep you safe it was the sort of pony who kept Princesses safe. Alizarin...well she didn't know the farm mare well enough, but anything that could threaten the sanctity of the land was a threat to a farmer. That was why Apple Bloom was here, after all. Sombra? Okay well he was a mystery. Her logic was sound, but that didn't mean she wasn't internally worried about why he would deign to care about what had to be small potatoes by his reckoning. Indeed she was worried about him, but the situation really neutered any fear. Why commit himself to such a small activity if there was honest malfeasance at play? Why tag along with a member of the Twilight Guard and one of the ponies who helped unmake you if you knew you had ill intent? It'd be a rather dumb thing to do and while nopony could say much good about Sombra, few would claim he was an idiot. And so, for now, Apple Bloom was willing to let him slide. Not because she trusted him or forgave him, but because frankly this was weird and she didn't know bad fellas to do weird things. Only bad things. Helping out some animals sure wasn't bad. For him it was...strange. They moved through the woods quickly and soon it was time to make camp. Apple Bloom had packed a small tent and a sleeping bag, but was only gonna pitch the tent if the weather was unpleasant. Instead it was a beautiful night so she brought out her sleeping bag, found a small log, and prepped. It took only a few moments and she was ready. Then she got to helping make the fire. Abundant branches and sticks, a nice rock circle- didn't take long to get a nice fire going. She pulled out a pencil, some work papers, and a small wooden board and sat on her stomach near the fire. In the light granted by it she would start doing some homework, not that she'd be much for it when the options came out from the others. She hummed to herself while doing so, back legs and tails swishing happily as she worked. It was soon that a certain smell. It took her a few seconds to place it. It was only when her mental catalog ran into the hard ciders and drinks that her family made that the distinct aroma really caught her attention. Was that an aged malt? They made a lot of non-alcoholic malts but after she got her cutie mark Applejack had let into the family brewery so she could learn. She wasn't allowed to drink any of it but she had to know how it all worked, because soon she'd have to take on even greater possibilities. Point was, she sure did like their non-alcoholic malts. Maybe that was what Fire Walker had! It made her mouth water. She rolled onto her back to reach her bag and pulled out some drinks of her own. "Anypony want somethin' ta drink? Got mah family's cider right here, an' some juice. Got some milk from Arizona jus' tha other day. Ah also brought stuff ta eat, in case y'all get all hungry like. Apples, apple turnovers, apple bars, have some kinda mix for soups too!"
  25. 3 points
    Fire Walker glanced over at the little filly. The old stereotype was that ponies were a very forgiving people was riding high with the little farmer. He might have enslaved an entire kingdom and later tried to conquer Canterlot with an army of mesmerized slaves, but that was like yesterday! The past! Move on! Don’t dwell there! Move on to the present! The present where the former king probably had another scheme to conquer all ready. She trusted Sombra as much as she could throw Canterlot Castle. She would keep an eye on him. See what he really has planned. She doubted he was that concerned with a group of random animals. Maybe he was seeking out a mare or two to snatch. She would not allow this. So now there were two mysteries at hoof. Find the missing animals and see what was going on with Sombra. Maybe he was really Discord. That silly serpent hadn’t bugged her in months. Maybe he finally found a girlfriend. Gumby stood by the yellow coated mare. He would also protect her. “RALPH”, he barked with a slightly husky tone. He would be her guard-dog. Nothing would get by him. This lasted about a second as a little butterfly lured him away. “RALPH!” Thankfully it did not lead him away from the group. Sombra was still there and still very cranky. Being an officer, she could not look weak and continued to look him in the eye. Something bothered her. In the flesh? Did Sombra have any flesh? What she had heard was that he was an Umbrum. A living shadow that was shaped into an pony form. He wasn't a real unicorn, but still very powerful. If he wanted to turn her group into mindless zombies, he would have done it by now. "Well, don't do anything evil, alright?" Maybe he was trying to earn some brownie points with the princesses. Yes, I did horrible things all those years, but I rescued some cute animals, so are we even? The small group took time to set up their camp. This was something the officer was really good at doing. The tents would stand tall, and the fire was within regulation. Thankfully she brought enough R.E.A approved 'Fluffy Puff' marshmallows for everypony! Young Alizarin appeared to be a tad bit on the grumpy side. She might have been worried about the animals. Worried that she might not be able to solve the mystery. Thankfully the officer had a flask of some of the finest Rockwington whiskey. She pulled it out with her wing and waved it at the worried farmer. Single Malt. Aged 30 years. A quick sip wouldn't make her drunk, but it would at least take away the grumpiness. Her offer was good to just about everypony, except Apple Bloom!
  26. 3 points
    The dark woods ahead of him would have to wait just a little longer. The one they referred to as the Captain seemed to have finally registered his presence there and blocked his path, to them, as well as to the loosely gathered group of ponies scattered in this open, moon-lit space. What snatches of conversation he'd heard were quickly set aside in favor of the one who'd grabbed his attention so thoroughly. Sombra met the armored mare's fierce eyes and couldn't help but be a little impressed by how undaunted she was when facing him, even challenging him. The tug at the corner of his mouth that would've formed an amused smirk quickly faded as he took in what she said, and what it sounded like she was avoiding trying to say. The last part of it was nonsense, but he could figure out what it was she meant through both context and how that nonsense sounded; it wasn't hard. He most assuredly should've died that day, and yet.. he hadn't. Some small part of him had survived the magic that'd torn the rest of him apart, and it'd taken a few years for his magic and his body to re-form from what remained. In that time he'd been less than the meanest ghost haunting the frozen wastes, and once he'd finally awoken, it was as if almost no time had passed with what little he could remember of that disembodied experience. The Crystal Heart, he felt, must've at least done him the favor of smacking some sort of sense back into him after how he'd acted before. His tail flicked. In unnerving quickness, he closed the gap between them with just a few short steps, using his height to loom over the mare. His eyes blazed and he lowered his head until his snout was mere inches from hers, lips peeling back from the monstrous teeth he bared at her. "Go ahead. Say it." His voice was a low growl. "I can assure you I'm no changeling, no pretender. I'm the real thing, in the flesh~." The umbrum tilted his head as he met the Captain's gaze evenly, his eyes narrowing. His expression changed upon hearing the filly, Apple Bloom, speak. Daring to break off his little staring contest, Sombra looked over at her and straightened up, his expression softening and his voice changing to a silky-smooth purr. "As a matter of fact, I am. I've heard some rumors about it that has made it interesting enough to check out, with good reason. There won't be a problem at all." His red gaze flicked past Apple Bloom towards the fearful Fluttershy, who was already heading off with the filly, and back to the Captain. An eyebrow rose. The others were leaving while they were still having their little standoff here, and as much as he enjoyed the posturing (as if his anger hadn't flared at what the Captain implied with Fluttershy's friends), he'd rather get to the bottom of this mystery. He certainly didn't need Alizarin's insistence to get moving. Flashing the armored mare a smirk, Sombra stepped around her and started after the others, following them into the woods to the campsite Alizarin lead them too. It was a nice little clearing with a rock-lined firepit at the center. After a quick look around, he picked a spot apart from the others and settled down, his magic brushing through one of the saddlebags under his plain cape to pull out something he could lay on. It'd probably be best if somepony else handled the fire instead of him.
  27. 3 points
    A few days ago I prepared half a post to finish once it came around to my turn again and Canterlot seems to have eaten it. I usually try and want to put in my best efforts with my writing so if my post seems particularly short and shoddy, I'm sorry. edit; i seem to have managed something, I just had to leave out some things i wanted to acknowledge in order to. 😧 It's not as good as it could've been but eh.
  28. 3 points
    Alizarin let the ponies have their ways with each other. She didn't really respond to the rest of them, just a simple head nod, eye roll, or huff would be enough to fill in the empty void in between conversations. The small mare just wanted to see the emotions and chemistry between each pony- to see if any of them had tension. Of course the sharp mare immediately noticed the spark between the red captain and dark stallion, mixed with the shy Pegasus. The little filly, or Apple Bloom, seemed to be brave enough to stay calm in the situation. How interesting. As soon as the meetings settle down, Ali took the opportunity to lead the group into the forest. By this time, the stars were starting to appear. Soon they'd have to rely on the light of the night sky, and the sounds within the darkness to lead them. Hopefully they'd find a campsite in time, so they can settle down. The pack on the short mare's back was starting to make her tired, and she just wanted to see where these animals were going. In her mind though, she thought she was the most competent of the five to lead the so called pack, as the others seemed to be mainly emotionally driven. Ha. Who needs emotions. The brown mare kept her attention on the small dirt path, listening to the sounds around her. Leaves rustled, but the wind seemed to relax as it got darker. No striking sounds yet though. Probably because it was still not completely dark yet. Her ear twitched when she heard the little yellow filly talking, so Ali cleared her throat, "Yeah? I grew up 'n these woods. Y'all can trust mah judgment." Her voice was deep yet truthful. Her Pop-pop would take her to these woods to see the wildlife. Even the plants. The duo would sit and watch the sunsets in a large tree that they climbed up. Sometimes they could see shooting stars after the fact. Ali's dad would always call 'em lucky. Ali thought they were a rare yet beautiful sight. Maybe that could also be her motivation: saving her childhood forest from the darkness. There didn't need to be an Everfree forest 2.0. The short farm pony led the group down a path that led to a small, secluded campground. Dark, large trees surrounded the perimeter. The mare trotted over to a blank spot and set her things down, getting ready to set up her little tent as quickly as possible. She honestly didn't think she'd get sleep that night, just because they needed to be creature watching. If the crowd got tired though, and if this took a couple nights, then the tent would be useful. Not the first night though. But anyway, she set up her tent in silence, soon speaking out to say, "Somepony light up a fire. It's gonna get dark here soon." She still had her grumpy voice. It seemed unamused more than anything. She entered her tent, setting down her sleeping bag then coming back out. Her eyes seemed to glow in the night, as she grew impatient with everypony already. Her face was scrunched together in a frown, as she was feeling already tired. Tired from what? Probably all the commotion. She wasn't used to talking to more than one pony at a time. The large group kind of set her off. "C'mon y'all, let's get a darn move on. We don't have all night- er day- er whatever."
  29. 3 points
    "Well Applebloom," She gulped. "I'm not at all sure what's been happening with the animals. I've asked about but nobeast seems to know, not even the birds! I'm worried it might be some sort of..." She paused, not wanting to frighten Abby. Of course the things she said were quite unlikely to scare the farmfilly but Flutters was always the soft spoken and gentle pony. "Well some sort of not so nice creature taking them from their homes." She had wanted to say 'monster' and 'doing terrible things to those poor little creatures', but she just didn't even want to utter it! Fluttershy turned from the corgi to regard the red pelted mare. He smile broadened a bit as she stood and trotted towards Firewalker, Gumby trailing at her hind hooves. "Oh! Captain Firewalker! I'm so relieved to know you'll be coming with us!" She looked nervously over her shoulder as Ali readied herself to be on her way. "I-it's just the Everfree can be dangerous and with eep!...Sombra... here and Applebloom being just a filly," She checked to make sure neither Sombra or Abby had heard her. "You'll keep us safe. I'm sure." She relaxed just a little and knelt down to ruffle Gumby's fur. The pegasus giggled. "Of course I remember you Gumby! It just took me a moment because you've grown so big I didn't recognize you, sweet puppy!" A moment later Ali announced they were going in, Firewalker faced off with Sombra, and Abby began to trot right out into the forest on her own! "Oh dear..." She shrunk away from Sombra, confused as to why nopony seemed to pay him much heed. The more she looked at him though, the more she had to admit he didn't quite look like the horrible monster that he had in the past. There was something different about him but she just couldn't put her hoof on. Fluttershy back stepped from the confrontation between the Captain and the former King, knowing Firewalker could handle herself. This was shaping up to be an odd trip. Abby had decided to go out from which made her stomach knot with tension. "Eeep!" She squeaked in fright as she made herself enter the forest. Angel bunny poked out of her saddle bag, scowling at her obvious timidness. Fluttershy sucked in a breath, willing herself to stay calm. She would do this! For the animals!
  30. 3 points
    Fluttershy was always a good pony to have around, and not just because she understood animals better than anypony else in the world. She was kind and supportive and you couldn't have somepony better to back you when the going got tough- aside from Applejack, of course. She didn't hang out with Fluttershy as often as she wished she had but this was just another reason why she was happy to be out and about today with her. She was guaranteed to learn something about animals, no doubt. “Howdy to you too, Fluttershy. Can't wait ta see what y'all have ta say about this here mystery. What sorta shenanigans do y'all think it's about?” Apple Bloom asked. If anypony'd have a basic guess about what was going on it would be Equestria's foremost expert on critters outside the norm. Captain Fire Walker was on high alert because of Sombra, who for his part wasn't doing much to alleviate the situation- just by being there, really. What was that about mixing oil and water? Still, Apple Bloom wasn't a dumb filly and she had some common sense to dispense. Maybe it'd help? “Captain, Ah'd reckon its fine. If it wasn't, Ah don't think he'd be wastin' his time huntin' for some critter mystery in the woods. Plus, Princess Twi'd just show up with tha rest of tha girls. Ah'm sure Sombra's here for a good ol' reason and it ain't gonna be a problem. Ain't that right, Sombra?” She asked in a leading fashion to the former overlord of the Crystal Empire. Yeah it was strange he was here but that strangeness was partially why she felt fine. Apple Bloom would have taken some manner of offense at Ali's attitude had it been anything short of expected, but if there was one thing she knew you could count on Alizarin to be, it was grumpy. Heck, her pa was a nice enough stallion who came around Sweet Apple Acres once in a while and was a pleasant enough sort yet you couldn't buy a smile or a grin on the young mare's face. Still, they weren't here to get Alizarin to smile or realize friendship was the way, but rather to solve this whole critter problem. She responded to Alizarin's small bite of venom in no way, and when the young mare decided to take charge and push on ahead as a leader, Apple Bloom lodged no complaint. She started trotting ahead, eyes sharp and excited as she gandered out at the woods around them. She had to make her presence worthwhile to her and everypony else. "Alright. Ah know these woods pretty well-" not the full truth but not a lie, either, "-so Ah'll take point," she said in her coolest manner possible. She certainly thought she sounded all adult and qualified as she went out ahead. She was going to remain alert and was gonna try her best, but she knew her limitations. She wasn't about to start galloping here, there, everywhere at the slightest hint of a noise. If she had concerns or ideas, then boy howdy would she share them. She also wasn't about to cause a ruckus- she was their eyes and ears, but it was Alizarin who was gonna call the shows, Fire Walker who'd provide the protection, Fluttershy who'd lend her expertise, and Sombra who'd do...something helpful, hopefully. She was sure that they'd work together as a team and solve this mystery right quickly!
  31. 3 points
    So... the crowd's reaction seemed to range from indifferent to enthusiastic. Bluebelle could live with that spread; any absence of hostility was welcome, and positive acceptance was a good sign of future things to come. One of the first student reactions, of course, reminded the mare that these were, of course, students. That is to say, young and fundamentally immature. But that could be worked with, in time. "Well, mister..." Bluebelle made a show of glancing down at her notes. Twilight had sent some notes ahead on some of the new students to keep an eye on in particular, and this was one of them, "Grubber, was it? I am pleased to say that diligent students are often in the kitchen's good graces, when it comes to dessert." Never pass up an opportunity to encourage effort. Let's see, besides him... there were a couple members of Twilight's initial class that she picked out, an enthusiastic Yak with a sleepy-looking dragon across her back. And there... a longma? Or ryuma, as they were called in Neighpon. So the school was extending its reach, excellent. "If you have any more questions, I will be able to take a few. Other than that, welcome to Twilight Sparkle's School of Friendship for another year!"
  32. 3 points
    If anyone wishes to talk to PyroBlaze, his new address is now the moon. He was banished forever. Sorry.
  33. 3 points
    Oh, why did she read that book? A rather sleepy Smolder ambled into the main foyer, along side her classmate Yona. The big yak was basically a walking mattress. Even wore a sheet on her back. Would anyone mind if she hopped on her friend and took a little nap? Probably. And considering how hyper her large friend was, there was a very low chance she would be able to stay on top before being tossed off. She could sit. And listen. She wisely brought a cup of coffee with her, but so far it wasn't helping. The young dragon had finished reading her favorite new book last night. Salem's Stables. A rather terrifying little novel about a writer who returned to the old village he grew up with, only to learn its deadly secrets! It was full of Vamponies! And while she normally paced herself by reading just a chapter a night, as she drew near the thrilling conclusion, she needed to finish it all! The ending alone nearly caused her scales to shiver off. Then it was time for bed. And she could not sleep. She could almost see those vamponies sneaking about outside. Waiting to taste her awesome dragon blood. But they couldn't have it! It was hers! And while she was awake....They would never get their filthy fangs on her! Oh-Oh! She nodded off. Thankfully the noise in the large room quickly shook her back into the land of the living. Princess Twilight was giving her speech. She was leaving he school to rule the whole lot of Equestria. Old news. Can't believe she will be doing the job of TWO rather ancient Alicorns. How will she sleep if she has to move both the sun and moon! There was more of her speech. Yadda Yadda. But wait. Starlight Glimmer was still the Guidance Counselor? Huh? She could have sworn that the usual trusty grapevine had mentioned that Glimmer would be running the school as the Headmare. Instead this 'Bluebelle' would be running things? Who the heck was that? The confused dragon glanced over at her friend with an look of utter bafflement. Thankfully her question was answered once the purple mare was finished. And nope. She had no idea who this gal was.....A gal who was also a guy in the past? Pony magic was odd. Yona was already on ball with the new leadership. Hmmmph. Smolder really needed to see how things went before passing judgment. Along with the others that cheered the new Headmare, there was an odd little creature who shared Yona's enthusiasm. Was he a Diamond Dog? Giant rat? Hamster? He almost looked like one of those creatures that attacked her and the others awhile back. What did Fluttershy call them? Pukwudgies? Were they able to talk? For now she would try her best to stay awake and hear whatever speeches they had left...And maybe the dragon would be able to get a quick nap in before the first class.
  34. 3 points
    The captain smiled broadly at the little Apple filly. She had been assigned to look after her older sister and her unborn foal during their little adventure in the Everfree. Now she was looking after the elder mare's sister. Who finally got her cutie-mark. It almost matched the marks her friends also had. Was that something that had happened before? Friends getting uniform cutie-marks? “That’s my little sister’s dog, Mister Gumby.” The little corgi was rather grateful to receive early snacks! “RALPH!”, he happily barked as he did his ‘snack’' dance’. This consisted mostly of him shaking his chubby little corgi backside. Once the dance was finished, he gobbled up his cookie, gave the little farmer a very special ‘boop kiss’, which consisted of him standing on his back legs and giving the filly a kiss on her snout. After noticing somepony very familiar to him, he rushed over to the Pegasus mare. “You might not remember him Lady Fluttershy...”, the Captain was starting to feel just a little odd...Like someone...or something was watching them. “My sister and father picked him up during your last adoption fair...event...”, she really hoped her silly father left the poor mare alone during her pet-event. Considering the mare was drop dead gorgeous and he still had a few sons that were unmarried. He might have tried setting her up with one of them. Oh the horror. Their little party was shaping up rather well. A few farmers and the pet-whisperer herself. She made sure to nod her head back at Alizarin Fruits. Name almost sounded like a drink. Maybe even a Sangria with extra red....red wine....pomegranate juice...Hmmm. Once she was finished with this little quest, she would have head over to the nearby pub and have them make up an tasty Alizarin Fruit! Then she noticed somepony who really should not be there. "Sombra!", she growled at the shadow lord of lies. The former tyrant of the Crystal Kingdom. The dark wizard. As she took in the form of the loathsome libertine, she instinctively stood in front of the filly. He would have to get through her if he dared to harm one hair on the farmer's sweet little head. She knew he was very powerful. and also dead. What's with that? "Lady Fluttershy, didn't you and your companions..", oh wait, she couldn't say the 'k' word in front of the little farmer. "Illkay imhay eadday?", she wisely used 'pig-pony' to describe them putting an end to the shadowy scoundrel. She also noticed Mister Gumby was still playing with Fluttershy. Normally, he would be in the middle of chewing the lord of larceny and master of malfeasance's face off. But something was wrong. This didn't look like the Sombra she had seen pictures of. He looked a bit sad. Like a poor copy. "Sir, I really hope you are not a changeling hoping to play a prank on us...", she was ready to defend her new companions or give a pesky little shape-shifter a good talking to. Maybe it was Discord? He always liked to play pranks on ponies!
  35. 3 points
    Yona listened intently as the Headmare she knew and loved stepped down from her position. The yak's eyes filled with tears at the proclamation that Twilight would no longer be in charge to the school. She looked up as the Princess looked down at her students as the brimming tears fell from her eyes. She had learned so much form Twilight and it seemed such a shame for her to go. "Yona no get too ahead for herself." The yak spoke quietly to herself. She'd been working on her self control and now was as good a time as any to practice. Twilight said she'd back to check on them and so at least Yona had that! She sniffed loudly as the alicorn's talk turned to that of her chosen knew Headmare. If Twilight had picked her then whoever it was they would be good! No, they'd be great! Yona trusted Twilight. As Bluebelle was introduced a hush fell over the crowd for a moment. It was all quite a lot to take in and Yona felt her head swimming with the changes that were flying fast and furious. Applause started near the back and then filtered forward, though some hooves were a bit tentative at first. This was big news to take in! “WOOOO!!! YEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! LET’TH GIVE IT UP FOR OUR NEW HEADMAAAARE!!!” Yona's mouth dropped open for a moment when some small prickly guy she'd never met before started cheering loudly. The gaping muzzle turned quickly into a grin. "If Twilight say Bluebelle new headmare then Yona say GO NEW HEADMARE!" She hopped up and down in place which caused the whole place to rumble slightly and a tremor to go through the crowd. "Bluebelle! Bluebelle! Bluebelle!" Rumble, quake, rumble... The ground shook as the yak hopped in place with much excitement!
  36. 3 points
    It seemed he wouldn't have to say anything after all, she'd heard him coming. He also heard others' hoofsteps too, arriving on the scene shortly after he had. Were these others here to discover the source of the animals' disappearances, or just campers? A look at the ponies that'd arrived suggested the former, especially the red-coated mare in her plain grey armor. His eyes swept over each of them as they approached and gathered in a loose group. After the armored mare who didn't even appear to register he was there, there was a filly, who he was surprised to see here in a place that was presumably dangerous, but out of all of them she was the only one to offer him a smile and a greeting. His resting expression softened somewhat. Sombra didn't have much of a soft spot for foals, but they were the only ones who were exempt from his hateful view and treatment of ponies; they didn't deserve, and had done nothing to deserve, his ire. The last to arrive was a vaguely familiar mare of yellow and pink, who quite clearly was trying to ignore him. His scowl made something of a return, with the addition of a slight narrowing of his eyes as he tried to place where he'd seen her particular coloration before, as well as her overall appearance.. Until he gained some sort of clue, he'd have to set aside the question for now. The yapping of a little dog was distracting enough to keep him from delving too deep through his memories anyway, and he eyed the tiny thing with uncertainty; Sombra had never been around dogs before, much less had any experience with any other sort of pets. The filly, Apple Bloom, appeared to like it well enough. Sombra's attention shifted back up to the first mare he'd seen, who the others addressed as Miss Fruits or Alizarin, when he heard her voice. He really didn't know what an Alizarin Fruits was, or if it was just one of the stranger pony names. He put it out of his mind, instead paying close attention as she approached to greet him first. The undaunted way in which she had impressed him, and he got the idea of some sort of fierceness lying under her stern and collected demeanor. There wasn't the slightest bit of nonsense about her. He inclined his head, approving, and even shook her hoof after a few seconds' consideration of her outstretched foreleg. "I am," he spoke at last, his voice a smooth, deep rumble. "I've heard about what was going on and I thought I'd.. look into it. For my own curiosity, of course." He couldn't possibly look as if he was here to help. He tilted his head as Alizarin moved off towards the other ponies, greeting each of them in turn; it was through this that he learned the others' names that he hadn't already heard, other than the armored pony who Alizarin just referred to as Captain. Sombra grunted softly, his tail flicking behind him. He'd learn her name soon enough, he felt, once this particular little party got moving. The mare taking charge of it was something he could appreciate and he took a few, casual steps towards the woods, making it clear he was ready to move, though he had no problem going in alone if it came to it. It likely wouldn't.
  37. 3 points
    Yanhua had been scurrying away at a steady pace, but was still just within earshot. The last words she heard were tempest's and if anything they only made her more frazzled. This was terrible. They really were going to hunt her? Did Feng remember the stories back home about her told back in the palace and by talespinners back in the capital? Why were things turning out like this?! She knew by now it wasn't right to hypnotize a queen and take on her looks to get a good,free meal, but to be sealed up for so long just for that... She couldn't go back to being imprisoned in those woods. Or whatever woods they had in this area... Wait a minute wasn't some spirit imprisoned as a stone statue not long ago? This was equestria, what if that was how they punished rogue spirits here?! If there was anything worse than being stuck in the woods with no magic, it had be frozen in place for eternity. She had to run and get back to normal now, Just come back to the group as Yanhua. Tell them it was some sort of weird prank or some mean fox foal-napped her! ... They'd only seen a few glimpses of her tails, right? If she could turn back now she could make something up! She got low into the grass, trying to keep her extremities out of sight as best she could. looking back up to the group behind her through the tall grass, she could make out the magical one talking at length about something. While the fox couldn't put her paw on it, something about this pony seemed unique in addition to the magical gifts emanating from her. This Sunset seemed very astute. She could only just barely make out what she said by reading her lips in between the wind stirred blades of grass... The first thing made her panic spike again as she thought she read "Head on a wall..." Were they not even going to bother with the imprisonment?! This seemed like such a pleasant country! Were the ponies here really so secretly brutal to their enemies? As Sunset's lips waggled Yanhua only felt more restless, enough that she started to back up further and further into the grass. Something inside told her she should start running. If one of them got close she had at least one spell she could use to defend herself and inconvenience them... In her fear it seemed she failed to notice one of her tails drifting above the upper limit of the field of grass. Feng took the lead and as much as she knew she could use some magic on him and he'd be unscathed... she couldn't bring herself to cast it. The Fox turned tail and ran as fast as she could towards the mostly empty town, heart pounding away in her chest and sore muscles pushing her to flee. while she was surprisingly swift, her time on the wall was catching up to her and Feng was finding himself gaining on the vulpine runner.
  38. 3 points
    Only a second after one of the staff ponies started applauding, loud shouts filled the room; “WOOOO!!! YEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! LET’TH GIVE IT UP FOR OUR NEW HEADMAAAARE!!!” The lispy cries came from a short bipedal creature at the front of the audience, madly clapping to generate excitement. School of Friendship, meet your newest fellow student: Grubber the Hedgehog! Unlike the others, Grubber lacked any sort of nostalgic attachment to Princess Twilight. To the runt, all Twilight had been was the pony princess Tempest captured that one time so her horn would get fixed, but things didn’t quite work out as the Commander hoped. Grubber therefore couldn’t contemplate what was the big deal about Twilight leaving. Still, that didn’t stop the hedgehog from taking a crack at energizing the room. That sort of thing came naturally to the optimistic guy. After giving the main foyer a chance to quiet down, Grubber took the opportunity to ask the first — and most important — question. “Tho uhhh Headmare Bluebelle, I just wanted to know; do they therve cake and pie here?”
  39. 3 points
    Transformation magic? That was a possibility, perhaps; though now that Feng thought about it, he couldn't name any qilin who were able to do that with their breath magic. "You think so? I've never seen her do anything like that. Unless there's stuff going on in the kitchen I don't know about." Obviously, there had to be; transforming raw ingredients into delicious food was surely magical! But turning oneself into a fox was a whole order of magnitude different from transforming dough, shrimp, and veggies into delicious dumplings. In light of this context, Sunset's theory, as wild as it was, held some merit by process of elimination. "If she's not a qilin, though, what would she be?" His brow furrowed in thought as the eyes beneath scanned the horizon. Oddly enough, a picture was coming into his mind, a strangely clear memory of younger days, playing alone in the woods by his mountain village. Or not quite alone, but rather with- "Excuse me, what!?" Feng was jolted from his reverie, first by the glimpse of orange fluff in the corner of his eye, but mostly from the rather insensitive remark on the part of Tempest Shadow. The shock robbed him of eloquence, but thankfully the other unicorn present was able to reply for him. Saving time, no doubt. "Thank you, Sunset. I'm not wanting to involve my friend in what we find exciting Tempest, and there!" While scanning the grass where he'd last seen the telltale orange of a fluffy tail, a fairly obvious trail of broken grass could be seen, leading into the thicket. Without hesitation, he sprinted off into a full gallop, content to leave speculation as to the situation to the brains of the group. He was a stallion of action, first and foremost, and there was a foxy friend in trouble!
  40. 3 points
    A short snicker escaped Sunset Shimmer’s lips as Tempest Shadow boldly rejected the existence of hidden portals. Tsk tsk... if only she knew about Sunset’s adventures. That feeling of smugness came to a quick end when the broken-horned unicorn cockily suggested to take a break from tracking, which touched a nerve within Sunset. “Ugggh!!!” The worried mare’s voice oozed with frustration; “We’re NOT on a trophy hunt, Tempest! There’s a girl out there who’s scared about what’s happening to her and NEEDS our help! And we can’t do that if Yanhua thinks you wanna MOUNT HER on your wall!!!” Sunset Shimmer sighed as she gave herself space to cool down... and to mull theories over. “Hmmm, it doesn’t seem likely that a palace chef is capable of transformation magic. Qilin earn cutie marks just like us ponies, and whichever cutie mark you get tends to limit what spells you’re capable of. Even IF Yanhua’s special talent was magic instead of cooking, transformation spells aren’t easy by a long shot! I’d know; I dabbled in them once or twice back when I used to be Princess Celestia’s student.” She pondered some more, accounting for everything Feng mentioned earlier as she mumbled; “If anything, considering all the physical exertion Yanhua would have felt while doing the rock climb, it should have been even more difficult for her to accidentally trigger a transformation. Not to mention that spells aren’t supposed to spontaneously happen if you have control of your powers. No, it’s far more likely that somebody using a magical glamour would have that wear off due to physical activity than the other way around. But then, that would have to mean..." Miss Shimmer stopped dead in her tracks; everything concerning Yanhua’s freak out now clicked together. “Hey guys? You might think I’m crazy, but maybe we have to consider that Yanhua..." “...Isn’t a qilin at all.....”
  41. 3 points
    “There are no hidden portals that’s stuped.” Tempest says looking over at Sunset. She did not know why Sunset tagged along. Maybe she just wanted to get out of town as well but did not want to openly say so. “Well at least none here… But the one I know of is not really hidden if I know about it.” She added thinking on it for a moment before looking back at Feng. “Maybe she got stressed out and ran off in the woods? If she feels good out in nature maybe she just needed some space. I can understand that…” she says with a shrug. “And maybe she had spells all along to do that. Transformation magic is... rare and hard but you never know. I can’t say as I don't know her at all. But if she does have transformation magic I am going to ask about it. Maybe I can change into a wolf! That’d be so… cool. Thunder wolf… oh I like that. If I ever get transformed in to a stallion I am going by that name.” Talking more to herself at this point she looked about her surroundings. “Oh hay.” Tempest says hitting Feng in the shoulder and aiming a hoof out at the grasses just outside of town. “Fox was it? Can we sit here for a few minutes? I want her to get more of a head start. If we run her down now it will be boring…” She asked with a tiny grin.
  42. 3 points
    "Oh those poor creatures." Futtershy trotted around her cottage, fretting over the packing of her saddle bag. "Being taken from their homes and held against their will." She carefully placed a sachet full of animal treats neatly on top of her chosen camping supplies and snapped the saddle bag shut. "Oh my!" She glanced to the side noticing Angel Bunny with his little paws akimbo, his hind paw tapping on the floor with impatience. "I'm so sorry Angel!" The kind to a fault pegasus filled the bunny's bowl with a carrot and a lettuce leaf and placed it neatly in front of her little pet. "There you go," She gave a small smile to the bunny. "Sorry it's a bit rushed Angel." The bunny frowned at her, his eyes narrowing. "You know I have to go," She tried to pat his head but he moved to the side. "All those poor little animals need my help." Angel took the carrot from the bowl and hopped to her saddle bags, planting himself on the top of them. "I wish I could take you Angel. But, it might be dangerous...in the...*gulp*....forest..." She trailed off meekly, not even liking the thought of what she was getting herself into. She'd have to be strong though. There were animals that needed her help and she'd rescue them no matter what! Angel didn't move, no matter how much she coaxed the bunny so eventually the Element of Kindness left the cottage with a bunny poking his head out of one of her saddle bags. ----- As Fluttershy got closer to the designated meeting area she could feel her small amount of confidence fleeing. She didn't really know any of the ponies that were coming on this trip, except for Applebloom. Well, she knew one of the others but wasn't at all sure she wanted to interact with him. King Sombra made her want to run and hide not matter what his current intentions were. She had to remind herself as she trotted nearer that she was doing this to save poor helpless animals. Fluttershy gulped, giving Sombra a wide birth and Firewalker a soft smile as she made her way up to Alizarin and Apple Bloom. "Oh hello there Ms. Fruits," She smiled at Apple Bloom after her introduction. "Good to see you Apple Bloom." Then she spotted the little corgi dog who was at the moment intent on watching a butterfly. "Oh my! Aren't you the cutest little thing?" She called to Gumby, hoping he'd come over to say hi. "Who do you belong to little guy?"
  43. 2 points
    Okay, I've finished! Pleaaaasssee let me know if you need anything changed! I changed his mane and tail a little bit from the pony creator so he could look more himself^^ Here's a link to download him I also went ahead and drew his cutie mark! Just in case you wanna commission someone haha. Here's the link for that too Once again, let me know if anything needs to be changed!
  44. 2 points
    Applejack had to think a moment. So that little thing he made at the start was a stick? Huh. Well, he was a creative sort. She didn't think it looked much like a stick but she reckoned that was nothing compared to the real thing. “Well, Ah think yer bubble stick got tired and had ta go ta bed with tha rest of tha bubbles, sweetie. Maybe we can find it...” she said, looking around at the fading bubbles. The water by this point had stopped being cleansing so she didn't want to spend too much longer, but that didn't mean he had to stop having fun. “How 'bout you see if you can rouse that lil' stick from this here,” she said as she pushed the biggest mass of bubbles back to him, “while momma gets some towels. Then you can show me again!” She said excitedly as she pulled herself out of the tub. She hummed to herself as she trotted over to a closet, keeping an ear to her son as she awaited confirmation. She got a towel, dried herself off, and then got another towel. When Zap said he had it, she trotted over to give it a look. “Well, Ah'll be. That there looks just like tha glowin' stick you picked up earlier! May Ah hold it?” She said as she tried to pick it up. Really gently she held it up. “It's real pretty. You did a great job!” She replied, not at all fibbing. Why, he could be a sculptor someday! “Dinner's ready!” Apple Bloom said as he head poked in, her stuffy and achy head clear for all to see before it poked away. Applejack nodded, then back to Zap Apple as she put the stick back in the tub. “Alright, lets get you dry and then have some dinner. Maybe then we can show your stick to tha rest of tha family?” She asked hopefully. She didn't know why he liked that stick so much but if he loved it, so did she.
  45. 2 points
    Fine. I guess I'll start. I have my own unofficial Lore thread about this subject, but I can expound with how I think magic propagates, and what it takes to make it tick. (please excuse my "stream-of-consciousness" style writing. this is what it's like to live in my brain o3o) If you want to cast spells, it's more like flexing a muscle. You need only do it. You don't have to know why it works, or how the muscle cells do what they do, you just do it. (edit: I was going somewhere with this, but my train of thought derailed.... I'll get back to it) The magic is, as Starlight has pointed out, tired to your emotions. It's telepathically controlled and as such can sometimes be done subconsciously. Tho it doesn't happen often. Mostly it requires conscious thought and intention, but especially with powerful unicorns, it can sometimes happen without meaning to. For instance, when Twilight had the magic of all the alicorn princesses, at one point, she accidentally levitated books across the room. Seems small, but the implication is not small. With how much magic she had, she had a hard time keeping it from doing things without her say so. it could be she was thinking about looking through her books for something to help her, and her magic was just like "books. can do." Does this mean the magic had a mind of its own that was just amplified by there being so much of it? this would stand to reason given how the tree of harmony evolved. It seems powerful magic can just manifest itself into a mind. It could be conceivable, then, for some powerful unicorn(s)/alicorn(s) to just use raw magic to host straight up create a being of ultimate power with a mind of its own. Maybe this is how discord was made. Or maybe it happened similarly to the creation of planets. that is, chaos magic exists spread out and insignificant. chaos magic attracts chaos magic. It congeals into more and more concentrated and powerful chaos magic. The magic gets powerful enough to begin forming a mind. after forming a mind, it begins to concentrate to the point that it gains a form. viola. discord. (here we are back to that train of thought) So casting spells is normally like flexing a muscle, right? but if you study magic enough, and know how it works, you can make magic machinery. gizmos that either use magic as fuel (which are relatively simple) to do largely mechanical tasks, or contraptions that can take an input magic, alter it into something and use it to augment magical artifacts. That's much more complex. Examples of this would be The Flim Flam Brothers' Super Speedy Cider Squeezey 6000. The brothers simply shoot magic into it, and their magic fuels the machine. It would also appear that there's a built in spell that analyses the Apples to be sure they're good before squeezing them, so just slightly more complex than just "magic fueled machinery". and then there's Twilight's machine in Equestria Girls that pulls the magic out of one magical artifact (the book) and puts it into another (the portal) to make it function when she wants it to. It takes the magic that transfers writing and uses it to augment the portal which transfers matter. This level of magical engineering would likely be about equivalent to making a precisely machined mechanical watch by hand without any reference material. Pretty nuts imo. Anywho, I'm done, for now. Lemme know if you're interested to hear me ramble on some more about magic theory. o3o (also, I'm not 100% sure I'm using this section properly, so if an admin sees this and I'm not.... please let me know)
  46. 2 points
    A bubble bath was always a much better version of a regular bath. It was a very exciting upgrade. Zap wouldn't even consider how this was even possible, considering last bubble bath he had the bright idea of seeing what would happen should he submerge the entire opened bottle of bubble solution into the tub without Mother noticing. Well, noticing at first anyway. And the locomotive implication aroused his imagination, reminding Zap of a small but growing interest in the large engines that ran on tracks. Ever since he was taken to the train depot to see his mother return from a royal meeting in Canterlot, he has been fascinated with the over-sized pony mover. Maybe one day he would get to ride it. Mother's recognition of Apple Bloom's poisonous venture was all too filled with lessons of what not to do. But Zap saw it many other ways. Like for instance, finding ways to get mommy to pay more attention to you, and why there is food that is dangerous to eat in the first place, and of course the classic mystery of the existence of the thought process where one desires to do things they are told not to do. Zap would have to investigate more research into these subjects for several years to come. To start off, Zap had been reminded of the stick he had spotted in the woods by his mother's warning of not eating certain things you find. He bent to the saddle bag next to him and pulled out the enigmatic piece of branch. It softly glowed that green color it did before. So obscure, but normal possibly. What does Zap know? So he did what any self-respecting pony toddler his age would do in this moment of perplexing questioning. He put the radiating stick in his mouth. Not biting too hard, he tried to see if there was any tangible way of consuming such a rigid yet somehow organic cane. But it didn't taste good, and Zap pulled it out of his mouth the moment his taste buds overwhelmed his lack of comfort. And as he pulled it out, saliva dripping from one end of the stick, it started to pulse green more rapidly, as if it was trying to defend itself. Mother was right about most things, and Zap realized that the strange glowing green stick thing was not to be eaten, and so he put it back into the saddlebag. Maybe he would use it as a toy later. Applejack was so proud of her son, vocalizing it to esteem him. Words of affirmation always made the little pegasus happy. But as she talked about not being scared, the foalish honesty he could not avoid kicked him to respond. "I was a little scared," He said confessingly. "Those growls were very loud." As they approached the center of the orchard, Zap could smell the food coming from the ovens. It smelled like sweet potatoes and cabbage. He wonder if there was any room for carrots. He liked carrots. And apples. He loved apples.
  47. 2 points
    This was not going well at all. Having already made her way into the tall grass and trying her best to lose Feng, She was still tired from her earlier climb. At first she thought that she might have caught a break when Feng wasn't able to just tackle her to the grass... but this wasn't the first time she'd been chased. By the time she realized she was being led somewhere she was already scampering through the town. A shadow repeatedly flitting across her path drew her eyes up until she saw the outline of the broken horned unicorn leaping from wagon to rooftop! What kind of ponies were these equestrians?! Was everypony a borderline super-equine athlete? Out of the corner of her eye she spotted an a path she might be able to make a quick turn. If she used some of her remaining non-fire based magic maybe she could slip away! That was a good a plan as any. Before she could execute it she was cut off by a flash of light and swell of magic as Sunset teleported right in front of her. With all the adrenaline pumping through her system, "Yanhua" was incredibly rattled and at first was terrified when the mare called out... and only panicked further when the unicorn reared and let out what to a scared fox sounded like a vicious warcry. Thoroughly spooked, Yanhua's tails stiffened and frizzled out. All eight spread apart in a perfect radius and giving Sunset a presentation not unlike a frightened peacock. She looked back to see Feng still coming up behind her, then the ominous silhouette of Tempest Shadow above and the sun colored unicorn in front she tried to come up with some idea. ... She tried to slip herself past Sunset and make it to the end of the alley to the field.
  48. 2 points
    Valen was excited to attend the School of Friendship. In all honesty, he was just happy to attend school once more. His academic success in Manehattan had been sidelined for the past year or three during his extended, seemingly infinite and permanent, sojourn to Ponyville under the auspices and care of his cousin. Since then he had only dabbled his hooves in the local educational system- Manehattan Academies were several years ahead, so it wasn't much of a loss for him. It did make him feel stifled though, and when it was hinted by his cousin that he could attend the School of Friendship, he didn't give much thought as to why that was she thought he would do well to attend. He was just happy to have a place to go aside from the farm or the train during one of Rarity's fashion tours! He had been met by Smolder who gave him a brief rundown of the school. A strange happenstance of an event that was still hard to unpack mentally a full day later notwithstanding, he was excited. The School of Friendship was effectively a boarding school and the idea of being able to attend to his business without worrying about a raft of concerns outside of the work he was doing. Of course with his cousin and work partner both being Professors he wasn't expecting a completely freeing experience but where strong gallops were desired, a gentle trot would suffice. He had gotten himself comfortable, a nice night's rest, and made sure to proceed to the commons for the announcement of the school year. As expected, Twilight started the festivities off. It was the usual sort of speech he'd expect from a Headmare, but it took a twist. He had known it was coming because Applejack was fairly open about such important events, but it didn't take the gravity of the situation away. Two headmares on his first day? He wasn't sure if that was a good sign of stability for his future here, but no matter, Twilight was a fine mare who would make a fine ruler of Equestria, but she was the old news. The new hotness was...Prince-slash-Princess Blueblood-slash-Bluebelle! An interesting choice. Valen had once worked as a maid for the noble socialite and it had proven to be an enriching experience in more ways than one. Valen listened to the speeches and allowed for others to have their time- including what looked like a hedgehog, at that- before the new Headmare asked if anypony had questions. Valen did. He raised his hoof and when called he did a polite bow. “Does this appointment change our schedules?” He asked hopefully. He had just memorized it after all!
  49. 2 points
    The first day of a new year is always a time of transition and new beginnings, whether the year be a calendar or a school year. There stretches a length of time in front of pony, filled with new delights, challenges, and opportunities for growth. Some face these with confidence, others with trepidation, but none without some dose of morning caffeine. Or so Princess Bluebelle told herself, sipping a second cup of tea over the breakfast table. As she drank, she re-read for the umpteenth time the letter Twilight Sparkle had sent her, first outlining the purple princess’ request to take her place as Headmare of the Academy of Friendship. It wasn’t wholly unexpected for the alicorn to pass on the title and duties, now that she was officially ascending to head of state. But for her to have selected Bluebelle for the task? That had been rather more of a surprise. Blue had admittedly hesitated before accepting the offer; unlike Twilight, the alabaster unicorn had not been an enthusiastic scholar, and while proud of most things, was not inclined to have too high an opinion on her steadfast devotion to the harmonious values of friendship. Twilight had, however, insisted and assured Blue of her faith in them, and at the end of the day, Bluebelle simply could not stand the thought of disappointing her fellow Princess. The tea in the cup didn’t last long, draining at last all of her excuses for procrastination. Sighing, she got down from the table, took a little time to re-fix her golden mane for the last time, and set out from the guest quarters of Twilight’s castle towards the school. She arrived in time to hear Twilight give her farewell address. From the wings, Blue tried her best to judge the reactions of the audience…. Silence. Seems that almost none of them were expecting this, either. Knowing the movement of the moods of a crowd the way she did, Bluebelle wasn’t about to let the silence turn into murmuring. As Twilight left the stage, she arrived upon it. Nopony, at least, could accuse her of not dressing for the occasion. She was dressed in a dark blazer of the school colors, distinguished from a student uniform by purple trims around the collar and lapels, with a gold braid and tassels around the withers. It set off her natural colors very well, striking not a few of the audience still at the very sight of her beauty. At least, so she told herself to tamp down on her nerves as she gave her own speech. “Good morning! I take it most of you weren’t expecting to see me today.” Already she was doubting her chosen opening, but from the low ripple of laughter, more like the release of tension than a reaction to a joke, she could tell it was the right approach. They were ready to listen. “Some of you, who have never heard of me, might be surprised that I have been chosen for this position. Others of you who have heard of me may be even more surprised, depending on what you have heard. I have to admit, I was a little nervous to accept this position myself when Twilight offered it; I did not think myself worthy.” “Growing up as Prince Blueblood, I had come to undervalue friendship, and the elements that upheld our fair nation. It was not until I witnessed the attack on the Crystal Spire that it was brought home to me both what comes of a land where friendship is thought merely waste of time and a weakness… and yet, even in those harsh lands, there came close upon the attacking wave a fleet of helping hooves, reaching out to us in solidarity.” “That was what inspired me to found IMAGINE; I felt then, as I hold ever stronger as a conviction now, that there is much evil in the world, but the best way to fight against it is not with steel and blood, but with a clear head, helpful hoof, and open heart. It remains my vision to spread these values beyond the borders of Equestria, so that wherever a traveler may go, he may be assured of finding a friend at every inn.” “I have long admired Princess Twilight’s commitment to this school, as I felt it served to compliment my own efforts in aim, and even supercede them in effect. Looking over all those gathered here today, I feel the future is in good hooves. And claws, wings, or whatever limbs you may use to embrace a new friend. I only hope, for the time that I wlll be the steward of that future, that I shall do right by you, this school, and the values to which it is dedicated. Thank you.” She concluded her speech, and then could only await the reaction...
  50. 2 points
    Yeah, I'd love to see an year skip....The CMCs are teens.....Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake are kids..And the main characters..Along with their friends. Or I just want a certain artist to finish her comic strip! I'd love to see another city. We already had an itty bitty village. Why not set it in the city?
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