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About NiktoBarada

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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Science, science fiction.

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    Tongue Twister

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  1. "Well, if there is nothing else, I'd like to get back to training." T Twister stated as she trotted into the gym and began placing a few posts into a random arrangement - a small metal forest. She walked to the opposite side, hunkered down and ran around the track, slowing down a bit to weave through the posts. She wasn't above average speed by any stretch of the imagination, but that was why she was trying to improve her best times.
  2. NiktoBarada

    Hidden texts. [Open]

    "That's not a giant flying kitten !" Shady stammered, "THAT is a sphinx ! Just one of those terrorized an entire kingdom before it was outwitted and driven off by the best Pillar of Equestria - Somnambula !" "True enough." Caveat replied, "So, what do you think will happen here ? Standard Scenario BM-1 ?" Shady thought for a moment. "BM-1. Big Monster Attack. The BM swaggers in, does some damage, attracting the attention of the Mane Six and other Important Ponies. Who beat it down. Meaning there really isn't anything for me or Caveat or anypony else to do." "Yes, I suppose so." she sighed, "That means we can get back to that mysterious book we were discussing !" "Don't see how that's possible now. Those 'government agents' bought it from Double Dealer. It's gone now." "Oh. Right." Shady replied glumly, "Nothing to do now but go back home and wait for things to go pear-shaped here. Then back to normal." Caveat gave her a supporting hug before they took the train back to Manehattan. Scene : Caveat's Discount Emporium. A young unicorn couple have brought in an old trunk to sell. "This is a very well made trunk !" Caveat stated as he knocked on it here and there to test its solidity, "Where did you get it ?" "It used to be my grandfather's." the mare stated, "I inherited it a few years ago. Been dragging it all over Manehattan. I wanted to see if I can at least get a few bits for it." "Well, I can give you fifty bits for just the trunk." he stated, "Can you come back in a few days ? I'll need time to appraise whatever's inside. You wouldn't happen to have the combination to the lock ?" She glumly shook her head, before stating she and her husband can come back in three days. Later that day, he and Shady were checking out the contents of the trunk (Caveat knows a few spells for 'dealing with' stubborn locks) "I'd say her grandfather was Prench." Shady stated from behind a small pile of books and magazines, "Everything in here is Prench !" "Yes. It's genuine Prench junk." Caveat replied, "None of this stuff is worth much. They'd get more bits from recycling it than selling it ! The trunk this stuff was in is more valuable than all the stuff inside it !" Shady began laughing before holding up a tattered, moth-eaten book. "Hey dearest ! Does this book look familiar ?" Caveat took the book in his gold telekinetic grasp. Then sighed heavily. "It's the Hitchhiker's Guide to Equestria. First Edition. In Prench. In worse than Poor condition though; three bits would be a generous offer !" Shady was grinning, and gleefully bouncing in place. Caveat noticed, then returned the book to her. "Okay, you can see if there are any mysterious codes in it." She took the book and carefully paged through it (occasionally replacing pages that fell out). "There's a lot of writing in this book." "That's because books like that weren't meant to be collected; they were meant to be used." Caveat replied over his shoulder, "The last five pages of each chapter were left blank, so the owner could jot their own notes in." "I saw that. But there are notes in other languages in the margins on some of these pages." Shady stated, "This page has a note in Germaneic, another has Itailian, and I'm not sure what languages some of these are ! It's all in the same mouth writing. Why would somepony use different languages in their own book ? Unless - IT'S COME KIND OF CODE !!" she squealed gleefully as her husband rolled his eyes.
  3. NiktoBarada

    Hidden texts. [Open]

    Outdoor café in Canterlot. Table with the unicorn mare Double Dealer, and Tongue Twister's parents Shady Dealer and Caveat Emptor. "I'm sorry for any trouble I put you and your family through !" Double Dealer said to Shady, "I honestly don't know what got into me !" "It's okay Double Dealer." Caveat replied, "It wasn't your fault. Once some of those artifacts take hold, they're hard to fight off. I should've thought to look earlier, but artifacts like the Shining Star are pretty rare. The one you had was only the second one I've ever seen. Where did you get that item anyway ?" Double Dealer thought for a moment. "You know, I - don't remember ! That whole miserable episode is kind of blurry now." "Don't worry about it. Fuzzy memories are a common side effect of spells that alter the mind. Oh, what are you planning to do with the book ? I know a few ponies that might bid on it." "Oh, I don't have it anymore." Double Dealer replied, "Some stallions from the Bureau of Artifact Verification and Fraud Compensation showed up a few days ago, and bought it for fifty bits. Good thing it was a fake, all things considered." Shady glared at her. "The book Caveat sold to you was NOT a fake !" "Oh." Double Dealer stated, "So, I lost two hundred bits buying a book I really didn't want because my mind was warped by an artifact, and then got cheated by a government organization. I'm down one hundred and fifty bits !" Shady nudged her husband. "I can give you a, refund, if you'd like." he said, barely managing to force out the hated word 'refund'. Double Dealer thought for a bit, before sighing. "No. Keep it. Consider it recompense for the trouble and aggravation I put your family through for no good reason. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some afterschool programs to set up for tomorrow. We have a few pegasi foals in the program. You wouldn't mind stopping by and helping with some flying around the city Shady ?" "I'd be more than happy to help some little fliers !" Shady replied, "Same time they usually start ?" "Yes. See you then." she said after she picked up the check and left. Shady and Caveat returned to their home, Shady flying two feet off the ground, and Caveat staying a few feet away (having learned from decades of marriage to her just how much room she needs for proper flaps). He noticed she seemed deep in thought. "What's with that look, dear ?" he asked. "I don't know what you're talking about." she groused, not changing her expression. "We've been married thirty years. I know when there is something stirring around in your head. What is it this time ?" "That was an oddly specific thing she asked for." Shady stated, "Why that, and not something else impossible to get ?" "It was just a random idea that popped into her addled head." Caveat answered, fearing what rabbit hole this conversation may be headed into. "If it was a random idea, it would be an idea already IN her head !" Shady answered tersely, "How many ponies have ever heard of that book ? Or knew there was more than one edition ? Or that it came in Prench ? And I know there is no 'Bureau of Artifact Verification and Fraud Compensation ! There isn't enough of that sort of fraud to have a whole agency for it." Caveat sighed. His wife was an expert at probability mathematics, which for some reason led her to see connections where none actually existed. But she may have a point about that non-existent bureau. "What are you suggesting dear ? That someone gave Double Dealer that Shining Star, then suggested she ask for one particular rare book ? Whatever for ?" Shady thought for a moment. "Maybe somepony with a Prench first edition used it to go somewhere he shouldn't have, and found or hid some treasure, and he made notes in the margin ! And now somepony is trying to find it ! Which means examining every single Prench first edition that can be found !" "That's - highly unlikely dear !" he replied. "But this is EQUESTRIA !" she stated as she took to the air for a dramatic gesture, "Less likely things happen with disturbing … regularity …. here ?" she continued with a very confused look on her face, looking at something behind her husband. Caveat turned to see what she was looking at. "Huh. A fancy unicorn riding a sphinx. Point taken dearest !"
  4. "Do any of those creatures have their own significant language as well? I never really thought about that, or are they all just dialects of Ponish? I wouldn't entirely be comfortable with calling it Ponish in that case." Loose Cannon asked. "I've traveled quite a bit, doing field research." T Twister replied, "Ponies have no trouble understanding griffins, dragons, diamond dogs, and hippogrifs. The languages they speak are essentially ours. Possibly a side effect of us having an immortal ruler. The only ones that sound different are the yaks, but they use the same words with a different grammar. Probably because they were isolated for so long. Ponish from a thousand years ago seems to been the same as now - the ponies of the Crystal Empire sound no different than anyone else. Creatures from more isolated realms - like the Zebras, and the isles of Neighpon and the Fillypines - still have their own. It's like my instructors said : 'if there are many different languages, they will all eventually become one. If there is one language, it will eventually split into many.'" She noted what Ice Storm said. "So you learned what your special talent was the hard way ? That - could be rough. Your special talent could've been fire control, and having to find out by being caught in a forest fire or something."
  5. "Everypony has to start somewhere." T Twister replied with a shrug, "One of the things you need to be a teacher is to know the subject better than your students. But I do believe the title 'Sensei' takes a few decades to earn." "Ah. CYR - 'Cover Your Rump.' A very common - and rather annoying - practice." T Twister mused to herself, "You might be able to do a job very well, but if hiring you means spending a few extra bits, they won't !" "Yes. I'm a linguist." T Twister replied, "I work with artifacts because they're the steadiest source of novel languages to study - just about every creature in modern Equestria speaks Ponish, or a variant of it. I've been dealing with artifacts most of my life - dad sometimes imports a few trinkets with 'peculiar' traits. And considering how dangerous some artifacts can be, keeping them out of circulation seems a very good idea !" About then Commander Ice Storm came in. T Twister gave her a quick wing salute. "Ah yeah. Those sandstorms ! Been caught in them a few times too many." T Twister stated, as she recalled a few excursions she and her cousins faced when they were foals.
  6. It was only a few minutes before another pony came in. She was an Earthpony mare, with an orange coat, red mane and tail, a Cutie mark of a horseshoe on fire, and milky white eyes. "Yo, um hey you're here too, Tongue Twister right?" Loose walked in introducing herself. "Seems pretty cool here to me. I was expecting maybe, dark colours, maybe... well, I'm still expecting it because, I can't see colour to satisfy that expectation right?" "Yes. I'm Tongue Twister. And you're Loose Cannon, if I recall. I remember you from the meeting." she replied, "You said something like 'no one is meaningless', and 'we need to fight so those that can't won't have to'. Very civic minded. Probably why you received one of those enchanted recruitment letters like I did. The deserts around Las Pegasus can get surprisingly cool at night. They painted this place in neutral grays, for easy maintenance I'd suppose."
  7. Ice Storm's Casino, the bar : "Don't see you out this way too often cuz !" Icepick (a sand colored pegasus stallion) said to Tongue Twister, "What brought you out ? Checking up on one of your dad's money-making ventures again ?" "No. Not this time." she replied, "They're considering downsizing back at the Manehattan museum. So I got in on the ground floor of something out here before things went pear shaped back home." "Bogus ! The MMNH not need translators of ancient artifacts anymore ?" "They do. It's just that they can get three translator interns from the college for what they pay me." "Ah." "So, this is the newest casino. Kind of ice themed." "Yeah ! Great place ! Overcast got her first real job as a dealer at the poker tables last week !" "Sweet !" "So, how things at your new job ?" "Reminds me of a joke." Tongue Twister replied, "An ice goddess, an invincible warrior, a Shadow Lord and a mortal walk into a bar. The staff set up a table for three." Tongue Twister leaves the table and starts walking away. "Wait, what ?" Icepick replies, "Was that a joke ? Where's the punchline ?" "I said it reminded me of a joke." she replied, "I never claimed it was a good one." Icepick watched her leave, greatly confused. "TT always was a little off." he thought to himself as he finished the drink she left behind, "Shady Dealer should have never married a unicorn !" TT entered the base, deep in thought. -- -- Having devised something that vaguely resembled a plan, T Twister went to the base's locker room to stow her bags. She'd recently received a care package from her parents in Canterlot - homemade snacks, and a magazine from her father. Tales Of The Almost Unbelievable, Issue # 472. With stories with titles like 'The Human That Fell Into The Sky', 'Hayburger Zombies', 'How a Street Thug Beat A God', and 'Orange Frogs and Poodle Teacups' "I don't know where dad finds these things, but they're always a hoot !" she chuckled to herself as she put it in her bag. "Okay you two - no funny business until I get back !" she stated to Ace and Deuces. Ace gave her a salute, while Deuces sort of half saluted, yawned, then went back to sleep. T Twister went to the gym for yet more training (alongside the rest of the 'fodder'), and waited for someone to show up.
  8. T Twister entered the base, deep in thought. -- Having devised something that vaguely resembled a plan, T Twister went to the base's locker room to stow her bags. She'd recently received a care package from her parents in Canterlot - homemade snacks, and a magazine from her father. Tales Of The Almost Unbelievable, Issue # 472. With stories with titles like 'The Human That Fell Into The Sky', 'Hayburger Zombies', 'How a Street Thug Beat A God', and 'Orange Frogs and Poodle Teacups' "I don't know where dad finds these things, but they're always a hoot !" she chuckled to herself as she put it in her bag. "Okay you two - no funny business until I get back !" she stated to Ace and Deuces. Ace gave her a salute, while Deuces sort of half saluted, yawned, then went back to sleep. T Twister went to the gym for yet more training (alongside the rest of the 'fodder'), and waited for someone to show up.
  9. NiktoBarada

    Hidden texts. [Open]

    Tongue Twister was lounging in a cafe in Las Pegasus, having returned from an unexpectedly successful trip. She managed to acquire a matched pair of memory pearls, and her dad and his associates were crafting the Memory Vault for her. She had also picked up some Hearths Warming gifts - a small cask of beer from Hoofenheim for mom (she used to work in the casinos, and they always had The Good Stuff), and some Polka albums for dad (she loves the big goof dearly, but his tastes in music were, well .... ) She looked around and the busy opulence around her. "Hard to believe mom grew up here." "Long time no see, cousin !" a pegasus stallion stated. "Looking good Crowbar !" TT replied, "How's Uncle Legbreaker doing ?". "Same as always." he replied, "So, what brings you to town ? Las Pegasus has never been your style." "Business. Been trying to expand my vocational abilities." Crowbar looked around furtively. "Now may not be a good time for you to be here." "Oh ? What's going on ?" "Some new casino moved in. We may have to have a talk with them, to make sure they're not going to muscle in on our territory." TT held her breath to not snort her iced tea out her nose - Crowbar was talking about Ice Storm's place ! "The folks there have no intention of muscling in on anybody." TT replied quietly, looking about sneakily. "Really ? How would you know that ?" "I have my sources." she replied, "Trust me - it's just some rich stallion trying to get richer without anyone noticing." Crowbar suspected his cousin was shading the truth a bit, but knew not to press. "You're sure we won't need to have a meeting with them ?" he asked. "Probably." TT replied with a dismissive wave, "But I'm just spinning the breeze here. Give my regards to Uncle Legbreaker for me." "Sure. See you later." Crowbar replied as he walked away, figuring that TT had passed on a warning for him about pursuing the matter further. TT heaved a sigh of relief. "Hopefully, STAR will have one less mundane threat to deal with. And mom's old friends would've been wiped out if they tried to 'deal with' them ! It's funny - if I do things right, nopony should know if I've done anything at all."
  10. Gotta wonder what Cozy Glow's parents think of all this - the princesses sent her to Tartarus ! Unless she's actually an adult that just looks like a filly - seems very smart and focused for a kid. She did manage to drop a LOT of energy into the Void - hope that doesn't attract the attention of something.
  11. NiktoBarada

    Hidden texts. [Open]

    Tongue Twister looked over the paperwork her mother had given her - various documents of transit, passports, import/export licenses, and directions. "Great Celestia does Mom give wonderful directions !" TT said to herself in her room in Manehattan, "This has got to be the most efficient route possible. Except near the end here - if I stop at this station, I'll have to fly for three and a half days to the east, slightly curving to the north north east along a river's course. Or, I can just go to the end of the line. Then it's just two days straight flying." She noted that on her map, her mother had drawn a rough cartoon of an elderly stallion, with the words 'Ticket Taker of DooOOOOM !!' written under it. TT looked at it closely, squinted at it, then wondered why her mom had written it like that. "Short, straight and direct is always best for long trips." she noted to herself as she headed for the train station. ----- "Well, THAT was ... cringeworthy !" she noted to herself as she took to the skies, heading twelve degrees, 25 minutes, 15 seconds north of east. It was times like this, high in the air among the clouds that she REALLY loved being a pegasus ! Ace and Deuces had a rather different opinion of things; being ground creatures, they hunkered down in her saddlebag and didn't move much. TT figured three stops of half an hour each for meals and such should be fine. She'd end up on the eastern shore of Equestria, to catch a boat to Neighpon (she can't fly the great distance with no rest stops !) From there it was a short flight to Long Guo. Then to the Outer Ward of Heighjing to track down the Longma dad sold that bottlecap collection to.
  12. NiktoBarada

    Hidden texts. [Open]

    Tongue Twister laid on her bed back in her apartment in Manehattan. She had the shades drawn, and was wearing a sleep mask and earmuffs - for the deep rummaging through the mindscape she was going to attempt, there could be no external distractions. She imagined being on a cloud, floating through the sky on a moonless night. Off in the distance in every direction she chose to look, were dark clouds with Mind Palaces upon them. Each one representing a language and the cultures they were from. She knew A LOT of languages, and so needed truly advanced memory techniques to keep them all straight. But what she wanted was in a secure Vault on the ground - so she tucked her wings in and spiraled downward through mindspace. There she found the entrances to her memories - two doors set into a mountain. One was a thick steel door with sigils on it; the other looked like it was stolen from an outhouse, barely hanging on the hinges. She went through THAT door, since the other led to endless circling in a labyrinth with no exit. In the unmarked hallways, she came to an intersection. She waited for a moment, listening for something. From one corridor extended two long spider legs, then two more. Then the creature itself - a dark grey pony spider with pairs of thin, twenty foot long legs were each of a pony's legs would be, and three pairs of yellow eyes. It was also wearing a tool belt and a hard hat. "So, what sort of damage was done this time Dream Weaver ?" Tongue Twister asked the arachno-pony (the Aspect of Creation in her mind). "Not all that much actually." it replied with TT's voice, "Since the memories were shuffled instead of being crushed, burned, shredded or ripped from your skull, there was almost no damage at all !" "Hmph ! Thank Celestia for unintended favors !" TT replied, "I guess Whisp is having a conniption fit though." "To say the least." Dream Weaver replied, "Every time she gets close to getting those recent memories organized, that spell shuffles them ! So, you're going to do the Multi-Mind technique again ?" "It worked the last time. I just need to find at least two more Aspects to help." Black oil started dripping from the ceiling, gathering together into a puddle. Which began extending upward like a tethered bubble. An eye appeared on it, which split into two eyes, which slowly migrated to where they should be on a pony. Ears and limbs formed, and XynE (Zany - the Aspect of Flexibility) was in da house ! Who smiled and 'squeeeee'd in greeting. "So, you got victimized by yet ANOTHER self-important twit ?" a harsh voice sneered from down the left corridor - from Zagzig, The Horror Within. Aspect of Wrath. Which looked like a more buff version of Tongue Twister. "Why else would I be here ?" Tongue Twister asked her darkside, "Maybe we'll find out who did it this time, and we'll know who to beat up !" "Promises promises !" Zagzig groused as he followed Tongue Twister, XynE and Dream Weaver down a corridor to meet up with Whisp (Aspect of Organization). Who looked like a dark storm cloud in the shape of a pegasus, and even had the white socks that Tongue Twister has. And the same glasses - the only solid part of Whisp's configuration. "It is right over here." Whisp announced as she pointed the way. They were in a library, with endless shelves up to ceiling - which could not be seen due to sheer height. There, one of the books seemed to glow. "Ok. Everybody - GRAB IT NOW !" TT stated as she tried to grab the memory represented as a book - it immediately tried to swap places with a nearby book, but the other four Aspects grabbed the books before the swap could be made. The Reflection Deflection spell was only intended to work on one pony's mind, and had no defense against being pulled in five different directions, and so collapsed with an implosion of light and concussive force. TT was upside down against a wall. "Everyone else alive ?" she asked. There was a gigantic black stain on one wall. If flowed back together to form XynE. "Ow." she stated. The smoke coalesced back into Whisp. "I seem to be as intact as a vaporous idea can be." From behind a shield make of silk, Dream Weaver replied "Aye." There was a string of curses and swear words (in many different languages) from further down the aisle. "Zagzig is fine." XynE stated as she peered at the hulking shape in the distance, "I'd be worried when she didn't swear and curse !" Whisp did a double take. "I - keep forgetting that you can speak !" "Of course I can speak !" XynE replied (with her mouth on the front of her barrel), "It's just that I only speak when I have something relevant to say !" "CAN WE PLEASE JUST SEE WHAT SOME PONY DECIDED WE WERE NOT WORTHY TO REMEMBER !?" Zagzig bellowed, "EVEN *I* AM BEGINNING TO FEEL THE ENCROACHING HEADACHE !" Tongue Twister opened the book, which became a floating screen displaying the memory it represented. It showed TT talking with Double Dealer. Getting the Shining Star artifact from her. Then turning for home. Some blurry figure thanked her for solving the problem - before blasting her with the Reflection Deflection spell. "BOHHHHHHHHHHHHGUS !" whined XynE, "We don't know who zapped us, do we ?", earning a growl from Zagzig. "Why don't you render your mind impervious to such attacks ?" Zagzig asked her lightside, "You know of such mental conditioning tricks !" "Those tricks take decades to learn. I doubt I have the time or dedication to do them properly." TT replied, "And if they knew we were immune, they'd just hit us harder. With different spells. That AREN'T as gentle as the RefDef spell." "So that's why you're trying to make a Memory Vault !" Whisp stated enthusiastically, "You'll still be affected by the spells. It's just that you can reclaim what was lost later." "Correct !" Tongue Twister answered as the surroundings began to fade, "Well, it looks like were done here. I have a bottle of aspirin with my name on it waiting for me back in the real world. So just go back to what you were doing to keep our mind functioning ! TTFN !" Tongue Twister awoke on her bed a few hours later, every limb with the 'pins and needles' sensation, and feeling like some pony was hammering her skull with a sledgehammer - from the inside. "Hopefully this will be the last time I have to do THAT !" she groused to herself as she limped to the sink to get a glass of water, and downed a few aspirin ...
  13. NiktoBarada

    Hidden texts. [Open]

    Scene : Small outdoor diner in Canterlot. Tongue Twister is having some tea with her parents Caveat Emptor and Shady Dealer. "So nice to have you in town, even for just a little while honey !" Shady stated to her daughter, "I hope you didn't have to take off too much time at the museum to find that darn book !" "Nah. Not too many 'brave adventurers' bringing in artifacts lately." TT replied dismissively. "Oh, speaking of artifacts - how did you manage to calm Double Dealer down ? She came by the shop earlier to apologize." Caveat asked. "What are you talking about dad ?" "After you visited me at the shop, you went to the Canterlot Museum to borrow one very ugly pendant !" Shady stated, a bit weirded out, "Said you needed it to protect yourself from undue influences." Tongue Twister thought for a moment. "Hmm - I visited you at the shop. I borrowed a 'cursed' item from the museum. I went to find Double Dealer to see what was up with her, and lights in Polohama are magitech items. Wait - what ? Just before I came here, I returned the amulet to the museum. They were NOT happy to have it back. Before that, I was in the shopping district. Before that, the main exports of ancient Tenochtitlan were chili peppers and cocoa." TT dropped her head on the table, then bumped her forehead a few times. "GAhhhh !! NOT AGAIN !" Shady comforted her daughter with a hug. "Looks like another Reflection Deflection spell. Darn those lazy bullies at SMILE ! Think they're too good to use lies, bribes and threats like everyone else !" She then gave her unicorn husband the biggest puppy dog eyes she could muster. "Can you do something to help ?" "Messing with any creature's memory is a line won't cross ! For any price !" he replied, "I don't know enough about those kinds of spells to risk helping her. Besides, she's managed to break those kinds of spells on her own before." "I'll be fine mom !" TT stated, "I - just need to buy some supplies to hole up for a few days. And some aspirin. A LOT of aspirin." And so, a few hours later, TT visited her father's shop. "So, dad, you think you could make this enchanted item for me ?" she asked, unrolling a scroll on the benchtop. He looked it over. "A memory vault ?! Why would you need something like that ?" "Do you know how many times my memories have been tweaked ?" "No." "NEITHER DO I !" TT replied loudly, "And it is getting VERY annoying ! I may have done something useful or important - and some OTHER pony decided that I am not worthy to have my own memories ! That crap ends NOW !" she finished with a growl. Caveat inched away from his obviously irate daughter. "Okay ! I get the point honey ! A memory vault is a tricky spell, but I can probably do it. And if I can't, I know a few ponies that can. Most of the components are inexpensive, but you'll need a matched pair of memory pearls. Those are not easy to come by. I know someone in Huangjing that might have some. You won't mind making a delivery for me, would you ?" "What do you need delivered ?" TT asked warily. "Bottlecaps." Caveat replied. TT looked at him for a few seconds. "Bottlecaps ? That isn't code for something is it ?" "Not this time." he replied, "Collectors of odd things are everywhere. And Equestrian bottlecaps are extremely rare in Long Guo. A Longma I met a few months ago was trying to complete a set. He'll pay top bits for them, but I only managed to get all the ones he wanted a week ago." TT thought for a bit. "Well, if that's all you need, I'll do it !" she stated happily, "I'm pretty sure you have one of the other parts - a figurine. Do you have something extraordinarily tacky and cheap ?" Caveat raised an eyebrow. "That's pretty much all I sell here dear. May I ask why you want something like that ? The figurine holding one of the pearls can be anything, so WHY specifically cheap and tacky ?" "To hide it in plain sight of course !" she replied, "A little glow in the dark paint on the memory pearl, and it will look fake ! Anypony that sees it will not realize how valuable it truly is !" "You're as sneaky and underhooved as your mother !" Caveat stated with a chuckle, but thought 'that is a good thing AND a bad thing at the same time.' And so as one part of Tongue Twister's adventures ends, another might begin. Or not.
  14. NiktoBarada

    Hidden texts. [Open]

    "Dang ! This amulet is ugly !" Tongue Twister thought to herself as she examined the small squat stone carving she wore on a woven thread necklace. She'd borrowed it from an acquaintance at the Canterlot Museum. Most other researchers 'knew' it was cursed, and were glad to be rid of it. But she knew what it was - it was a depiction on a forgotten ancient god of games and death. Although those two duties seemed disparate, they had one very important thing in common : fair play ! Anypony wearing this amulet cannot be influenced by spells for good or ill. No spell can make them run faster, or make them lame. Or alter their mind. Unfortunately, the ponies that carved the grotesque thing were Earth ponies; so to them, having wings and using magic were cheating. Thus, Tongue Twister was resistant to spells, but could not fly while she was wearing it. She managed to track down Double Dealer, and asked her 'WHAT THE HAY IS WRONG WITH YOU ?!" Turns out she recently acquired a 'Favor of Celestia' - a brooch with a minor enchantment to help one think clearly. It is made of gold, and (of course) resembles Celestia's cutie mark. A disc, then a ring with eight wavy rays emanating from it. TT noticed that Double Dealer's brooch only had SEVEN rays. It wasn't a Favor of Celestia, but another very annoying artifact : The Shining Star of the Dashing Demogogue. It 'cleared' your thinking by generating mania, shoving aside all other ideas except one. And the more fixated one became, the more charming and convincing they became. If left alone long enough, one could have a fanatic army, ready to march forth and eliminate the color green ! Or exterminate rutabagas in our lifetime. Or something even far sillier. Double Dealer didn't want to part with willingly, but Ace and Deuces managed to steal it from her (TT's pet rats will do just about anything for some fresh peas !) Fortunately, Double Dealer wasn't too far along, and went home to figure out how to best undo what little evil she'd done. Unfortunately, on her way back to her parent's home, some pony in an alley zapped TT with a Reflection Deflection spell. As always, some other pony had decided that TT wasn't IMPORTANT ENOUGH to remember her own actions !
  15. NiktoBarada

    Hidden texts. [Open]

    "What to do about this situation with Double Dealer ?" Tongue Twister mused TO HERSELF as she headed across the street, "I have two choices. One : deal with it myself, and nip the problem in the bud. Two : ignore it until it becomes a major crisis. Then continue to do nothing so More Important Ponies can heroically step in to save all Equestria at the last possible moment. Buck that ! I'll deal with it myself ! Some help would be nice, but its not like I'll ever get any. Can't wait for something that will probably never come ...." She entered "Shady's Shipping Shop" and looked around for her mother. The place looked like it always did - maps of every railroad and mail route in Equestria (along with their schedules and rates), boxes of pre-folded boxes of every useful size, scales and labels stacked up to the ceiling of one wall, far too high to reach without a stepladder. But since her mother Shady Dealer is a pegasus, she never got around to buying one. "You in here mom ?" she called out, figuring she's in here SOMEWHERE. "Tongue Twister ? What are you doing here honey ?" a stern-looking dark gray pegasus mare with a straight black mane and tail, wearing a red vest and skirt inquired as she came from a storeroom in back, "Something going on ?" "Yeah. Found a copy of that book daddy was looking for. Gave it to him just now. Did you know he got a vampire rose ?" "Ah. That explains all these invoices of dubious provenance." Shady replied, "You actually found a copy of that book ?" "Yeah. A bookseller in Ponyville had four copies, and was willing to part with one."