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Everything posted by dragonofruin

  1. dragonofruin


    aaa thankies! 😄
  2. dragonofruin

    Mal's art!

    Although I have a dA, malheureuxart, I'm gonna be throwing some of my art in here too! Mainly pony art, of course~. Please do not post my art elsewhere without my permission unless you're the owner of said art!
  3. dragonofruin

    King Sombra

    From the album: Mal's art!

    him my art, of the Sombra that I roleplay.
  4. dragonofruin


    From the album: Mal's art!

    Thunderbuck, Stormstride's character that I wanted to draw!
  5. Yuna sighed softly and made a noise in her throat, appreciating the stranger's sympathy. Her coffee had been on its way up to her lips for another sip when his next question came, a request, and she lowered it back to the table, her ears perked. "I don't normally do any fortunetelling without my cart or some of the things in which I use to divine the events in somepony's life, but.. I suppose I could manage something while we're here." The zony slid her cup carefully aside with both hooves and laid them flat on the table's wooden surface, focusing her dark gaze fully upon Heart Shield across from her as he spoke of the Royal Guard. How they'd been his goal. It wouldn't be difficult for anypony to guess that he might have hopes to move up in the guard, whatever it might entail, but would it happen? She quietly took a slow, deep breath, hoping that, perhaps, her talent might whisper something to her about this stallion. "Yeah, Canterlot's about as much as I can manage on a good day if the rich ponies don't rile me up," Yuna commented as she eyed the pony, trying to allow herself to relax. The Royal Guard. There were few possibilities in so peaceful a kingdom as Equestria, and what she could gather about Heart Shield so far was that he seemed to be a kind pony, a hard worker. Loyal, determined. "I feel that.. your future certainly holds good things for you. You won't do so badly in the Guard that you might get demoted, or cast out. Your heart's in the right place and you always do well.. though there may be no chance of a promotion anytime soon. The lack of any real conflict would make it difficult to make it, though.. even then, the future can always change. It's never one fixed thing. One little decision is all that it takes." Yuna paused as she thought. There were a couple of other things she was getting stronger feelings about now than the others, especially with what she'd just now told him. Distant, but.. "In time, it's possible you'll be able to make captain of the guard one day. Even though you're kind, you have the leadership skills that may come of great use to you, and to others as one. Perhaps your skills will come to be of use to you, because I feel you may eventually come face to face with a threat, something dangerous. I don't know when. Only that you will. At Canterlot Castle."
  6. Elysium could only nod to Gray's agreement, a half smile tugging at the corner of their mouth in the wake of the earlier, fuller one that had just faded. "Indeed?" they replied. "It is good to be an explorer, to fill your life with seeing what you have never seen before, what others may never experience when they live every day the same way," they said, their tone wistful. They'd always been a little bit of a romantic, if just to try to find the wonderful things in life in order to brighten up their own. It had never been -- all that great. "You speak as if you are so terribly old, yet you don't look that way to me. How old can you possibly be? Middle-aged? Older?" Elysium snorted and took a few steps around Gray, eying him. Grey fur, black mane.. There wasn't much that gave away his age to them. Their eyes even sought out any form of wrinkles on the pony's face, even so much as crow's feet, to try to judge for themselves. They flicked their purple tail, the hair glittering softly in the light. The sun was still high in the sky, and a glance told Elysium how many hours they might still have left in the day. It wasn't something to really worry about yet. "We can only hope you still have your house. I feel that is something I'm not going to be worrying about, not with the little cabin I'd found out in the woods and claimed for my own. It hadn't looked like anypony had lived in there in some time.. It's nice, secluded. Only me and a little cat I've taken in. Maybe you can find such a home; I'm not sure how willing I would be to invite you into my home when you're just a stranger I met on the road." Their voice had a joking tone to it. "Still, it would be good to consider what you'll have to do if your house is taken."
  7. Yuna offered Heart Shield a smile to be friendly and nodded to his question. "I do, quite a few. Some ponies treat what I do as a joke, an act. Entertainment. Something to distract them with while I take their bits, or whatever," the zony shook her head and rolled her eyes. "It partially.. is entertainment, and while some ponies who claim to be fortune tellers might do that.. I don't. My talent is precognition; sometimes, I can get a good enough read on somepony that I'll know what's going on or what might happen.. and I use it to try to help ponies," Yuna thought to explain. Falling silent, she listened. A local to Canterlot, but originally from Ponyville. She'd been there just before she first came to Canterlot, and it was rather pleasant for a small country town. The kind of place that she might like to live, if she ever thought to find somewhere to stay. Currently Yuna didn't know if any place could feel like home to her, or if she might find something that would keep her in place. "You're with the Royal Guard?" Yuna asked, a detail snagging at her attention; it'd taken her a few seconds to register that he'd said the guard. It was certainly an interesting thing to find out, if only because she'd never run into or conversed with one. She noticed his brief moment of silent and took another sip of her coffee while he looked out the window, of which she gave a cursory glance out onto the street. "Yeah, I've certainly seen a lot of Equestria, but mostly small towns and the like. I haven't dared to try the big cities." Not after her life growing up in Baltimare.
  8. Yuna shrugged and dismissed his apology with a little gesture of her hoof. "It's fine, really. This place is pretty packed, and it'd be greedy of me to try to keep this booth all to myself when ponies need to sit down." Socializing with ponies might be strange for her, even awkward, but she'd feel bad if she shooed him off, or anypony off, just to hog a booth. It wasn't the kind of pony she was. "I'm Yuna," the zony replied. "I'm not from here, no. I come to Canterlot just to explore the place, maybe buy myself a few nice things with the bits I'd saved up from fortunetelling.. It's my talent," she clarified with a shrug of her shoulder. "I'm actually from Baltimare. I uh, do a lot of traveling because of my job." Being given something to talk about, Yuna took advantage of what she could say without feeling like she had to hunt for it. It was as good a conversation as she could manage as any. And after she'd uttered the word job, Yuna had to seriously consider if fortunetelling was good enough to be classified as a job, even if most might consider it merely entertainment. A hobby? She mentally shrugged, uncertain. Whether it was a job, or not, Yuna used her talent and fortunetelling to do her best to help ponies. To help them avoid trouble or danger, to recognize when some ill might be about to befall them or their loved ones.. There was a long list. "So, uh.. Heart Shield, I'm guessing you live in Canterlot?"
  9. A small smile tugged at the corners of Elysium's lips and they nodded to Gray. "It did, and may still serve me should I ever have a reason to use it again. I did like wearing my armor on occasion, if only because it helped me feel.. prepared." They shrugged and listened to Gray talk, taking what little information they could out of what he had to say about the differences of an army, and mercenaries. It wouldn't hurt to try out a mercenary job once in a while, Elysium pondered. It'd pay well, and it'd at least break up some of the monotony that'd settled. As welcome as it was to have such monotony in Equestria, sometimes it left them wanting excitement. Something they were a willing participant in, and not forced into it as they had been as a soldier. "Oh, you live there?" Elysium made a noise in their throat. "So you're a traveler. I pass a few out on the road on occasion, whenever I'm wandering. There seems to be a fair few of us, and I admit it's a nice change to be able to move about and wander so freely. Regardless.. some rest is required from time to time." A small smile made it's way onto Elysium's face then, their angular golden eyes glittering with some amusement. "You look to be carrying so much for a mere traveler, after all." "What will you do if your home is no longer yours? Find another, or retreat to an inn?" The unicorn asked and paused. An inn- that was something they ought to ask about, if there were any along the road ahead or if they'd have to settle for sleeping in their small tent for another night. Uncomfortable, but not unbearable; they could always hold onto the hope of the next time they sleep, they would have a bed. [somehow i missed that it was my post oops]
  10. Her attention wavered, close to zoning out to whatever idle thoughts tended to drift through her mind, though movement in the corner of her eye drew her back. A glance over told her that the new arrival had finally found and ordered what he'd wanted, and appeared to be on his way over, heading in her direction. Thinking that he might be picking out a seat near her, Yuna hastily looked away to avoid looking like she'd been staring at him. It was rude, and occasionally some ponies were testy about it. Yuna didn't realize she'd misjudged the stallion's intent until she'd heard an unfamiliar voice. The zony looked up, hesitant, and a look around the cafe reminded her that it was still rather busy. She was the only pony with a claim to some seats that wasn't taken by any companions. Well.. as often as she was short-tempered and rude with some ponies, depending on what sort of day she was having, she didn't want to look like a jerk. "Uh, su-sure, I won't mind! I guess you can." Yuna finally found her voice and gestured to the seat across from the one she was occupying. Better across, than sitting next to a complete stranger. Now that somepony was there, she felt a little awkward; she didn't socialize with ponies often outside of her fortunetelling act, or if she was purchasing something. Or asking for directions if she really needed them. She took another sip of her hot coffee while she waited for the pony to join her in her booth. Yuna didn't really know what to say in the way of conversation except for the usual talk about the weather. "So, uh.. it's rather chilly this morning, isn't it?"
  11. dragonofruin


    From the album: Mal's art!

    Art of a friend's pone, Pastel Wave~
  12. dragonofruin

    Ice Storm's dress~

    From the album: Mal's art!

    Gift art for Ice pt 2
  13. dragonofruin

    Ice Storm

    From the album: Mal's art!

    Gift art for Ice~
  14. This morning would find Yuna comfortably settled in one of Canterlot's cafes. She'd had enough money saved for herself to try it while she was visiting Canterlot, a city that she'd come to consider as a place that she could indulge herself in when she had the extra bits to do so; she deserved it, didn't she? With the coming of the autumn season, she'd taken advantage of a returning flavor and purchased for herself a pumpkin spice-flavored coffee. As long as it was sweet, she could handle drinking coffee well enough, and it went so well with the cool crispness of the weather outside- something that always managed to make her feel more awake and alive than any other season. Currently, however, the pegasus was zoning out as she sat alone in a booth, something that she'd had the opportunity to snag for herself, and her dark eyes had a faraway look in them as she stared out the window she was sitting next to. Yuna was only vaguely aware of the warmth of her coffee through the foam cup that she lightly gripped between both forehooves as they rest on the table. A silent, still pose of somepony who didn't seem all that interested in engaging anypony else around her, who seemed to have something or nothing on her mind while her attention wandered. She would eventually be snapped out of her reverie by the silvery ring of the bell over the door as a two-tone stallion entered, drawing Yuna back to the cafe around her and prompting her to glance over to see who'd come in now. Naturally, nopony she knew- and it wasn't like she was expecting anypony either- but the new sound and movement was just enough to catch her attention for the briefest time. Yuna fidgeted a little in her seat, getting herself comfortable again and lifted her cup carefully to her lips, sipping at her coffee. Her wings were adjusted beneath her warm shawl, refolding against her sides as she fussed over a little restlessness now that she was made aware of her surroundings by that little bell. It was warm her, and she was comfortable, so she wasn't all that willing to just get up and leave yet. Even if it was rather busy in here.. and she had nothing else to do but drink her coffee.. The zony took the opportunity to let her eyes wander over the other cafe visitors, including the newest arrival, with curiosity. [*scoots right on in here*]
  15. A low chuckle rolled out of Sombra's throat after the way Ice and Raven responded to him; especially Raven. He moved closer to the pair, an eyebrow rising in interest. "I'll overlook your use of redeem if you tell me what this good news is. After all, it's just a casual little party for my dear Celestia, I'm sure we have time to discuss whatever this news is. How are things developing in the Crystal Empire for you?" he asked. He'd dropped the volume of his voice for only them to hear, and Celestia if the alicorn were to strain her hearing. When Sombra glanced her way, he was made aware of the conversation that'd been going on in the background of his focus between Celestia and the twin ponies. Sombra gladly accepted the glass of wine that Celestia had levitated towards him and gave the princess a mischievous wink as he took a sip. His intense red gaze briefly slid back towards the twin mares, and past them towards Thunderbuck and Luna, before he returned his attention to Ice and Raven. "Eh, tis only a little spelling mistake. Certainly nothing to worry about," Luna dismissed it, "but.. yes, I do consider it clever. I have never seen- or rather, heard- anypony use such a thing before to make up for the lack of a voice." Ponies usually fell back on other forms of communication if they couldn't be verbal, mostly through writing, and even nonverbal ponies were rare. "It certainly makes it easier to understand the pair of you when you speak- there is no chance that we can mishear something. And you two are the first pair of twins I have gotten the pleasure to meet," Luna said as she looked up towards their newest arrival as he approached her. She couldn't help noticing how he was as tall as Sombra, if more muscular without looking overbuilt; however it was his height that impressed her, when it was so rare for there to be a pony as tall as either her or her sister. There were slight similarities she could draw between the two stallions, and she had only a few seconds to think it was odd before Thunderbuck's melodic voice finally caught her attention. "It is my sister, Celestia's, birthday today," Luna answered. She followed his gaze to the now starry night sky and looked back at him, studying what she could see of his emerald green eyes while he busied himself with pulling his instruments out of his enchanted saddlebags. "You are a musician?" the dark alicorn queried, though the answer was obvious from the sight of them. She made a noise in her throat, intrigued. Neither she or her sister planned on there being music at this party, but if somepony wanted to supply it.. then it would be nice to have. In the ebb and flow of conversation, Sombra seated himself upon the grass and glanced back over at the other partygoers again, curiously noting Luna's interaction with Buck before he'd moved off to speak with Ice, and Sombra momentarily met Celestia's eyes. He couldn't help noticing the attention she gave the quiet little filly again, and reflected upon what they'd discussed in private during her vacation. If Celestia intended on asking him later about taking care of her.. Sombra couldn't begrudge her it during her birthday, though Celestia knew he had no interest in foals. The umbrum averted his eyes to Buck, who was complimenting Ice's dress. Sombra grunted softly, taking a sip of his wine.
  16. Elysium may have misunderstood Gray's question about the armor. When they'd left Maretonia, they'd simply kept it. They'd had no qualms about taking something they felt now belonged to them, not when it was fitted so well to their body. "I recreated it through illusion the best I can, but nothing could compare with the physical thing," they replied, somewhat apologetic. They'd tried. "In Maretonia. I never participated in any wars. I.. suppose were used for little more than general enforcers when anything happened at all. Merely guards, outside of drills." Elysium shrugged. "Occasionally we might've been required to defend against a threat." It wasn't exactly peaceful like Equestria was, especially with the way the three pony species were separated the way they were, but.. it wasn't terribly exciting either. Some part of them wished there was something they could do to put their skills to use before they could grow rusty, but it would cut into the time they spent pursuing their hobbies and interests. "I can imagine," Elysium mused. Traveling with the one you were meant to protect, or simply settled in some tavern.. and having to fight off an assassin, or some stray threat.. Ponies, creatures, they were all unpredictable. It was to be expected of intelligent, sentient creatures. "So, are you headed to.. Hoofington?" they queried, curious. Gray appeared to be heading in the direction they were coming from; they lacked something more interesting to ask Gray and instead settled on this question. "What do you seek there?"
  17. Elysium could only nod their agreement. They were rather large cities, though Canterlot wasn't quite as big as the others, being that it was built on the side of a mountain. It was an impressive feat of architecture to have managed such a thing without it all.. falling apart. They had to wonder how it was maintained to keep its supports from growing weak from time and wear.. The curiosity was set aside in favor of Gray, who had asked them a question. "I was, and.. I did. I didn't think they would disallow me something like armor. I can understand the concern they'd have over weapons, though. I left mine behind, since I don't have much of a need for them." Elysium tilted their head forward, indicating their horn. "I.. don't have a picture, but I still have a means of showing you." A little glint had appeared in the unicorn's eye for a moment and their horn lit up gold. Using their magic, they managed to make a transparent illusion of their armor on their body, and they held it there long enough for Gray to get a good look, and once they were sure he had, they let the spell go. The illusion disappeared, leaving Elysium dressed in their black outfit again with their saddlebags strapped over it. "I don't use it anymore. There's no need to. I'm.. glad there is no need to, but I keep it for the memories and.. I guess, for that 'just in case' moment." Elysium nodded to Gray, quietly indicating something that he'd said- that chance he might face off against a foe for a last time. "Being a.. bodyguard must have been an interesting experience for you."
  18. The sight of King Sombra strutting across the middle of the party and kissing her sister square on the lips was a baffling sight- Luna hadn't any idea that they were.. this close. Celestia had told her she fancied Sombra earlier that day, back at their old castle, but this- to see it, was still quite a shock. Seeing the king in a setting like this in general was still.. startling. The only time she'd ever interacted with him was fighting him for the Crystal Empire with Celestia. Now he stood here among them casually, embracing her sister and staring up into Celestia's blushing face with a certain softness that Luna never would've expected to see on his. The voices of the others and the twins' telepathic questions washed over the stunned alicorn until she finally registered that they were speaking and tore her teal eyes away from the lovestruck pair to focus on them. "Y-Yes, it is my sister's birthday," the moon princess replied, struggling to hold back a frown when they'd asked if she was the one who'd made the mistake. "No, I did not. That would be my sister's doing, as she made the invitations." Luna spared a look for her sister, making an effort to ignore Sombra, though her eyes did curiously linger over Ice Storm and Raven's closeness with a curiosity before her attention returned to the twin ponies. "Indeed? I.." Luna trailed off, surprised by what she'd been told. It wasn't just their lack of voices, but their expressed interest in attending her own party, if she had one. "Well.. I was considering it, but I was not entirely certain if I would. Perhaps, I might. It is.. fascinating that you speak the way that you do. A clever use of your magic." In the midst of this conversation, of which Sombra paid little attention to when all of his was on Celestia, the umbrum moved to rest his side against Celestia's with one of his trademark smirks. "How could I help myself?" he replied with a low rumble, "I was excited to join this little party of yours and offer you the best present I could possibly give to you: myself." He chose that moment to look over at Ice Storm and Raven, delighted to see their reactions to his display- Raven's little spit-take especially. The strange twin ponies hadn't even seemed to register his entrance in the least, something that mildly disappointed him. "So, you want to redeem me?" Sombra asked Raven, a dark brow arching as his eyes swept away from the twins. Movement near him caught his eye, and he found the foal he'd spotted before staring up at him- at least for the briefest time before they wandered off. The question what's with the kid? lingered on his tongue, but he never thought to ask it as the foal approached their next party guest. Even Luna's eyes followed the little filly's wandering for a moment, after being looked up at. Sombra recognized him, and took a moment to recall his name, Thunderbuck, while Luna only saw another mysterious stranger, one who she couldn't help seeing a little of Sombra in.. somehow. Mostly the coloration and the horn. "Welcome," the dark princess greeted. Sombra merely looked on, curious, before his attention shifted back to Celestia and the others, with Ice briefly gaining the focus of his attention. "Don't think I'm lying about anything now, do you?" Sombra teasingly asked as he turned in place, his gaze flitting away towards an object of Celestia's focus: the cake. And, there was the sun, which he only watched the lowering path of out of the corner of his eye. In the other direction, the moon slowly rose as Luna chose the moment to bring it forth. It fascinated the former tyrant to watch it.
  19. "Elysium," the unicorn simply replied with an unenthusiastic little nod following Gray's amazement over Maretonia. Personally they never did like it much, especially the cities- they were too restricting. Their entire life in Maretonia had been too restricted, but now they were free here. Free to do as they wished, pursue what they wished.. and they had the freedom to find out who they really were as a pony. It was difficult when they hadn't really gotten to figure themself out when so much had been stifled; a reason that they were always so outwardly calm. "It's certainly been.. nice, and so few dangers. I've noticed that things get worse the further away from the capital one is." Pausing, they thought about the places they've visited thus far. "Manehatten, Hoofington recently.. and a few of the smaller towns. I did get to see a little of the capital but I never stayed long." They quietly made a mental note about the distance that they'd have to cover to reach the Castle of Two Sisters, glad to know that it wasn't terribly far now thanks to Gray's answer. "So, you were an ex-bodyguard?" Elysium asked, their interest piqued. "How.. curious. I was once a soldier, but I escaped that life.. for the most part. I daresay I could never forget how to fight, and that some part of me yet still itches for that excitement." It didn't scare them, nor did any form of magic; the latter fascinated them deeply, and wielding that which ponies called dark had always given them a certain thrill. Learning it thrilled them. "My armor has come with me, though it currently rests at the cabin I'd moved into."
  20. Princess Luna merely shrugged and stood, the chilled grass crackling dryly under her bare hooves. "It's nothing to worry about, I suppose. It's little more than training equipment. Easily replaceable. Anything of any worth is still back in the barracks, though.." Her teal eyes flitted towards the shattered equipment, thoughtful. Perhaps she shouldn't be too quick to dismiss it all; there might be a few legitimate weapons and armor among them. Surely not enough to be of much of a loss? She couldn't worry about it too much. As long as no ponies had been harmed, then everything was fine. "It has, indeed, given me an idea of what to expect. These.. opalus spheres of yours certainly magnify your power in an impressive way. I can only be glad that they are nothing like the Alicorn Amulet; if they could corrupt you, well.. you would have made an impressive enemy. As it stands, they aren't, and you're always in control of yourself." A faint smile pulled at the corners of her lips and she opened up her wings. Her excitement was mounting. Ice Storm had shown her what she was capable of and now, it was time for them to spar. Without a word, the alicorn launched herself skyward with a powerful sweep of her wings. No immediate action was yet taken as she focused her efforts elsewhere first, desiring to do something about the weather first. It wouldn't do if she were caught at the wrong angle where the sun blinded her sensitive eyes. She used a trick she once used to merely make an entrance and exerted her power over the weather- clouds grew dark and stormy, casting heavy shadows over the field as they swarmed across the sky. Luna knew well enough that Ice Storm might not have as much trouble seeing in the gloom as most ponies might, being that the mare seemed nocturnal, but.. Luna was aware that Ice Storm would alter the terrain to suit herself. She was just as willing to do the same- plus, it would give her a weapon to use that she hadn't had a chance to put to real use in a long time. Laughter bubbled its way out of her throat and she dropped down through the clouds, her horn alight, and thunder softly rumbled as if in echo. Her glittering mane streamed out behind her; she was a speck of color against the deep greys of the storm clouds, occasionally lit from above by the occasional flash of lightning. Luna was just showing off, putting on something of a display for Ice Storm, but she wasn't entirely sure how she was going to go about this- she'd have to put holding back out of her mind, to set aside her hesitation. This wasn't a friend she'd be attacking without cause, but her opponent. Spreading her wings, she pulled out of her dive and struck the ground near Ice with a beam of silvery magic; some encouragement. "Come! Test your might against me then!"
  21. Elysium still couldn't be sure if they'd run across a potential threat this day, even if the stallion had been friendly enough thus far, and they judged him by his response. "Maretonia," they replied. "I've been in Equestria for some months now, merely exploring." They weren't sure why they were spilling some of this information to him, not that it had any worth or use. It just felts right. They shrugged. "Ye.. Yes. I've found a few already and I can't help but find myself intrigued about this Castle of Two Sisters I've heard about. Perhaps you could give me more information about it? About its location?" Elysium queried, sounding a little hopeful. If they got more information, then perhaps their journey to it wouldn't be as difficult if they had a better idea of, well.. everything. "There must be a lot of old Equestrian.." they trailed off, struggling to think of a proper word and failing, "stuff left in their castle. Old spellbooks. I wish to see what I can find." The unicorn couldn't help but leap into asking about what drew them most, but.. Elysium didn't feel like they were wholly into it. Like they were simply going through the motions since they'd run into some stranger out on the roads. Almost.. pointless. The unicorn frowned to themself, angular gold eyes averted from the stallion's green ones; it wasn't just because they found it difficult to hold eye contact with ponies, but because they were uncertain about what they were meant to be doing, here. "I.. suppose I should ask, who are you?"
  22. "You have it wrong," Sombra replied, trying to correct her. "My power wasn't stunted. They sealed it away in order to slip me out of the prison. Rabia unlocked it when I found the red crystal. My power is under my control in full force." He shook his head and waved his hoof, dismissing it. There wasn't much of a reason to keep correcting her on every little detail when there were other things they could talk about; he was just being too particular. Sombra had gained enough of an idea what sort of things Black Ice had seen and experienced across this land and others compared to most ponies living peacefully in Equestria. It was nice to know that she wasn't nearly as naive as he thought she was. Moving on.. "We can plan a trip sometime," the king put in, twisting a little in his seat to rest on his left hip, and lean on his elbow. Once he'd made himself comfortable again, he lounged. They'd already talked this topic into the ground, from his point of view.. What else was there for them to talk about? "So, I think I've done enough talking, as much as I enjoyed it. Tell me more about yourself? I think all you've told me was that you were, what was it.. abandoned? Among a few other things, like living, homeless, in a park and.. whatever else it was. I don't know. What else could you tell me?"
  23. After the tables were set up, Luna was happy enough to stand back while the food was brought out and watch her sister create some of the decorations. Celestia looked so happy, and Luna couldn't help being happy for her. It was the first birthday they'd gotten to really celebrate together in years, and seeing how good a mood Celestia was in was enough for Luna to allow herself to relax after their earlier, more serious talks. Movement caught her eye as the first of the guests arrived, and Luna was pleased to see it was Ice Storm. "Ah, Ice! I am glad you've come!" she exclaimed. "Not that I thought you wouldn't," she added teasingly. The compliment Celestia had given the icy mare was one that Luna could agree with: it was, indeed, a lovely dress. Ice Storm didn't have to get so dressed up for so casual a party as Celestia was throwing, but the effort was nice. A smile played around the dark alicorn's muzzle as she invited Ice closer with a wave of her hoof. "Afternoon," Luna put in after Celestia's own greeting. She wasn't normally very social at parties, or any sort of social event, but for such a party as this, she would make herself speak a little more than she normally would.. even if they were just hellos. "'Tis nice to meet you, Raven." House Dupone.. Luna was certain she knew of that house; it was a very old one. Her attention shifted towards the movement of a pair of ponies who were the next to appear at the edge of the area, and she was surprised to find that their voices were projected telepathically. Luna might dare to guess that they were mute, or.. they simply preferred to speak that way, seeing as they were both twins. It was a little jarring to see twins, as it was Luna's first experience seeing them, as well as exciting to see something so unique. The alicorn did her best to offer them a smile. "Good afternoon." The mention of a typo caused her some concern and her brow furrowed ever so slightly. She was certain she hadn't seen one when her sister showed her what she'd written.. Alas. As Celestia moved off to greet a small foal who had appeared, alone, Luna found herself as the sole princess present in the middle of four ponies. She tried not to fidget and took advantage of the lack of her sister's very social presence to mention to one of the castle staff, who were setting the food up on the tables, to fetch some pillows and rugs for the guests to rest on and turned back with a smile for her sister and the foal. She had questions, but they'd have to wait. Some distance from the party, the castle's garden-side doors were opened and out stepped King Sombra. He didn't need an invitation to know about the party and he'd decided to come on his own terms; besides, it wasn't too far from where he'd been residing recently. For the occasion, he'd freshly bathed and groomed himself, though he wouldn't admit to doing so, and left his trademark cape behind in favor of a deep red ribbon wrapped around his neck, the bow just off center. His long, wavy mane was swept back in its usual style and his sideburns were neatly brushed, framing his strong face; though today, it lacked its usual, sour expression. Sombra sauntered proudly across the grassy clearing, closing the distance between himself and the party, tall and confident as if he belonged there. While he was aware of the other guests who'd arrived before him, two of which he recognized, he only had eyes for Celestia. She was who he'd come for. He strode past the other ponies without so much as a greeting and walked right up to Celestia, leaning up to plant a firm kiss on her lips.
  24. Princess Luna took the askrwood suggestion into consideration for more durable targets, though she'd never had any experience with the caribou and their land. She wasn't even sure how they might be meant to approach them about such a thing. Still, she filed it away and quietly allowed Ice Storm to move forward unhindered to test her might against the magically reinforced targets set up on the field. The alicorn observed the way Ice chose to change the terrain with her magic, that if they were moving targets, they'd have trouble keeping their footing. It would normally be a pretty useful tactic, she thought, against all save winged opponents- and she would be just that, once they got into sparring. It hadn't escaped her notice how Ice's body language changed, either; it was more firm, serious. She could sense the way Ice's magic felt as much as she could physically feel the way the air dropped around them as the cold mare fired her magic at the targets. It surprised Luna to see how her physical appearance was affected by her magic, and with the opalus spheres magnifying it. It was fascinating to watch, and it gave Luna a means to judge how strong Ice Storm might be and what she might be up against. In the chill emanating from the mare out on the field, Luna did not shiver. She'd known a special kind of cold during her banishment and it hardly phased her, but magic could make it dangerous. She marked how many Ice Storm had managed to obliterate, and how many she hadn't quite destroyed- had they been ponies, it still would've caused a lot of damage, if not killed them outright. The moonbringer made a noise in her throat and twitched her wings, upon which frost had settled, and winced when the next attack shattered the weapons on the outskirts of the field. Those would.. take some replacing, though they were little more than training tools. "You've done quite well," Luna stated at last, "and you'll make quite the sparring opponent. Mind you, the targets you were up against were stationary and weaponless. If you feel you have a good judge of your limits, then.. perhaps we can move on to the spar." She couldn't help admitting to herself that the prospect of it, of going against somepony so potentially dangerous, was thrilling. The first action she would get to see in years that didn't involve somepony catching her entirely unawares.
  25. The unicorn's expression was a neutral one in the face of a smile given their way by the stranger, who had finally closed the distance between them and returned their greeting. One of their ears twitched back as they struggled how to respond- socializing had never been their strongest forte, and to know that they were in a foreign kingdom made them self-conscious. A hoof idly scuffed at the worn wheel rut in the road as they gathered themself. "Seeing more of Equestria," Elysium replied. "It's been an interesting experience for me, and it's given me a chance to learn more about it on a more.. personal.. level than books, though I do not entirely shun them, and hear all the legends that ponies believe in here." Their simple answer helped them find something to mention, something they thought might be of a passing interest to a stranger that was out on the road like themself. And, Elysium wouldn't admit it, mentioning it just to see what this gray stallion thought, a look into what this pony was like. Besides, it didn't hurt to use one of many things they were interested in as a topic of conversation in the absence of anything else to say. Though, Elysium wasn't sure how much this stallion might care to hear about their studies of magic.
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