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Everything posted by PrinceBlueblood

  1. Despite the overall jovial nature of their conversation, Flying Brick couldn't help but click her tongue over Raven's concern about her equipment. "That is problem when you not by Stalliongrad-made! In my city, can send any table for swim in arctic ocean, and still will work! Plus, they spark and zap for most entertaining of light shows to go with the musics!" Brickie, it seemed, was clearly a mare with a strong, near-chauvinistic affection for her home town, though it was so over-the-top to be more funny than offensive. Hearing assent to going to the cafe, she shot back a grin to the two foreigners. "Hoping you are catching up! Hunger waits for nopony!" In truth, even if they had lost her, the walk was short enough for them to have found the cafe anyway. The quick pace would help them stay ahead of the pedestrians now looking for shelter in the rain. "Table for four, garkonski."
  2. If Earth Writer was intimidated by Ice Storm, he didn't show it. Heck, the veneer of jaded cynicism he'd brought in with him had barely cracked in the cold. "Getting your hooves in a lot of different pies, I see. 'Course, the more you share a secret, the more it isn't a secret. I'd honestly be surprised if I was the only one to put enough pieces together to suspect, if not to know. Granted, they probably wouldn't have enough to prove anything in a court of law, but I somehow suspect the courts have very little to do with our area of operation." It might have been a little soon to use the collective first person, but to say a thing is partway to making it a reality. Upon hearing that the eventual plan was to become a military branch in her own right, Earth Writer had to raise an eyebrow. "Really? I grew up in an REA household; my dad was an officer, high up enough for me to get a good look at the Joint Chiefs and their ilk. I would pay good money to watch you at a General Staff meeting." The results of which he hardly dared to speculate, but the clash would no doubt be incredibly entertaining. Seeing the hallway stretch in front of them, the stallion pursed his lips somewhat. "I don't suppose we could stop for lunch before we take that long a walk? I'm not opposed to roughing it, but I only had a small cup of hotel coffee this morning."
  3. Tabloid lines of-? Oh dear. Earth Writer sighed; while Ice Storm was right to be suspicious of the narrative peddling of journalism, the rabbit hole went far, far deeper than that. "I find it kind of ironic the way you disparage tabloids and come up with a conspiracy theory in one breath. Without any evidence otherwise, I would say that the reason that no letters are being received is that none are written, and none are written because the populous has been trained to see nothing wrong. The power of newspapers isn't merely their appearance of authority to the individuals reading them, its the fact that when ponies sanity-check their impressions of the world, nine times out of ten they're talking to ponies who haven't witnessed anything, only read it in the newspapers. And it's from the populous that the guards are drawn. That's not even touching the social, undisclosed connection to intellectual and cultural centers that discretely promote or suppress ideas. I don't necessarily blame the public for any of this; that's just social dynamics at work, and the tabloids themselves are a fine example of what happens if you decide to not sanity-check your ideas. But I'd hope that there's at least someone in authority who'd have a way of knowing better." His words were less an argument, and more an exploratory criticism; on the whole, he didn't think it worth the effort to dedicate too much adversarial thought. After all, they basically agreed that some fundamental problem was affecting the country they called home, and the former reporter wasn't going to try too hard to tear down any potential solution the mare was offering. And her credentials were, as he had taken the trouble to find out, impeccable. "I did indeed do my homework, which is why I did not take the incredibly stupid course of action in trying to blackmail you. As it stands though, I'm desperate enough to have considered it under other circumstances, so..." Packing up his file, he trotted to catch up to Icy. "For three meals and a roof, I'm in. The rest, as they say, is gravy. You have my pen, if whatever Fellowship you're putting together wants one."
  4. Ossia's remark about the elevator, while perhaps apropos considering the usual utilitarian nature of similar fixtures in other buildings, rather went over Blueblood's head. Mostly because the decor of his manor was similarly luxurious, and all the fixtures were simply ordered to match. Including, as Ossia would find out to her great pleasure, the bathing facilities. The sleeping arrangements weren't too bad either... The morning after a thorough use of both, the Prince found himself slowly swimming up from the depths of sleep. He only made any great effort to return to the land of the wakeful when the sight of the mare confirmed that yesterday and last night had not been a mere, pleasant dream. "Good morning indeed, We aim to please." His grin with the use of the royal we slipped a bit, as he recalled that today marked his return, after several long and largely fruitless years, to the world of education. Wonderful. Ossia could flavor it with compliments all she wanted, the whole thing was pure kale salad. But the Prince wouldn't have the figure he did if he didn't know how to diet. And after the binge of 'sweets' the night before... it was only fair. "Let's see that list." He cast a bleary eye over them. "You're not going to ask me to translate from the native language, are you? I never did that well back in school." Truth be told, the ponies he got to do his homework for him didn't do it all that well. There was only so much money could buy, at least the money of a student not yet come into his inheritance. He bristled a bit at the remark about his password, though on reflection, using his own name was rather a bad idea. 'Hiding in plain sight' didn't really work as a cryptographic principle. But Applejack- ooh, there was a reason that mare had a file in his notebook already. "I first noticed that she was resistant to the effects of the Glamour Garnet; not only does that gem transform the wearer into a beautiful mare, it makes those around the wearer more susceptible to seduction. Not her, though. Pity, as the muscular mare's my type, in many ways, though the lack of wings are a bit of a knock."
  5. "If you want to know why communication is failing," Earth Writer pointed out, "You should probably look at the institution which shows up at most everypony's doorstep in the morning to tell them what's going on in the world, or at least what's going on that they ought to care about. I could tell you thing or two about how the Fourth Estate works. Or doesn't, as the case may be." He finished with a sardonic smile. If anypony was in a position to know how the news business was failing in its mission, a living embodiment of that failure was one. Now that the room was slightly warmer, Earth Writer settled in. "Well, there's two bodies of evidence. One was the trail that led to you, and the other is everything about you that makes my supposition plausible. The first starts with a remark that a zebra clerk made over lunch. He works for one of the Unyasi tribes that got rich from mineral exports, talking about one order he processed for bilithium. About the only industrial use for that is the lining of airship engines, but what was unusual about this order was that it was unpaired from any other mineral associated with airship construction, which his tribe also offers with a bundle discount to public and private dockyards. But the order was much larger than what one would expect for any experimental lab use. Well, it might be nothing, unless there were other isolated orders for those minerals and parts...." Here he drew the first sheaves of evidence from his folder, copies and photographs of invoices. "Had to do some gumshoe work, and not every part is accounted for, but it all adds up to a dreadnought, at least. But no government agency or known private company is associated with any of these transactions. Curious." "And many of the minerals come from the same part of Unyasi, but they entered our continent by different ports, some quite distant from each other. But, if we assume that they all come to the same destination..." He pulled out a map, circling all the Equestrian and Aquellian ports where the minerals had come in through. Rail lines were marked by average travel time, and the ones converging into Los Pegasus were circled in red. "Minimizing the travel time between all ports of entry, this is the closest transport hub. Not to mention, not five miles out of city limits, desert and badlands begin, where few residents or tourists ever venture. Enough wealth and wealthy ponies pass in and out of this city to afford to buy and transport all that stuff, so as a potential build site and secret base, it makes sense. So, that's the what, where, when, and how. As to who... well, there was only one major move in shortly before all these purchases were put on the record, when a plot of urban land was transferred over from a certain Swift Squall to one Ice Storm."
  6. "Traveling? Is great coincidence! Flying Brick has no roof to call her own, and scarcely ever shares that of others. Save when it rains, then sharing commences! On note, would be grateful for sharing over the night, as rain is imminent." Indeed, the sea breeze was already carrying clouds from the vast ocean where weather pegasi did not patrol. The mare's spirits remained undampened by the threatened weather, however, sweeping up her half of bits with one sweeping bow. "And there is nice cafe three blocks down which piles on the stroganoff like Mount Canterhorn! You are following, da?" The question was directed at Toboe and Nensho, who seemed inclined to stick around, even as the crowd had dispersed back into the chattering, scattering masses.
  7. Taking a seat at the table, Chrysalis' plate was empty. Her literal, material plate, at least. She planned to fill up her metaphorical feeding trough from the emanations of love from the loving couple, but first she'd have to clear out the weeds of business and mere intellectual curiosity. The trick was to do so with finesse, and not mash their faces together like a preteen filly making her dolls kiss... Shaking such urges out of her head, the Queen smiled as genuinely as she could. "Your icy lover has it right in one, Raven. It's also worth pointing out that few of my children are intrinsically literate; infiltration and glamour magic allows us to take on the basic skills of our targets, without needing to study hard to build up a library of, say, languages. It's a fantastic shortcut, but it leaves us rather lazy when it comes to taking up new skills. It's why a lot of my children in this environment are disguised, even though some of your kind have grown quite comfortable among us. They simply cannot operate in a civilized society on their own knowledge." She sighed. "With some exceptions, of course, but not enough to make an actual, independent kingdom with." Leaving aside the thanksgiving, she simply rested chin on hooves and watched the pair of mares. "But enough of such heady subjects! Tell me, what are the sort of things you enjoy about each other? I am endlessly fascinated by the subject of attraction; there are so few general rules, so many individual quirks. Had we libraries, I would rather put records of those in books than sad, sordid historical narratives."
  8. A city like Manehattan may never rest, but mortal ponies eventually must, and nopony here was an alicorn. It had been a bit of a strain on Brick, not so much the dancing itself, but restraining herself from pulling in the batpony DJ in for an impromptu number. Granted, whatever number it would be was likely to be more "club" than "ballroom", though the earth pony's high kicks and leaps were almost 'ballet.' Once one knew her origins, of course, that all made sense. Stalliongrad was known for dance, both high-class and lowbrow. Having finished with her signature cultural move of duck-walking high kicks springing into a somersault on top of the table, Brick took a bow in the shower of bits, shooting a wink back at the thestral. "Is of pleasing day to meet you! I am Flying Brick, name and nature in one." The growl of her stomach in response to Ruby's food question prompted a laugh from the boisterous mare. "Ahaha, will be glad to be joining! We split check as we split profits, da? To each according ability, from each according need." The crowd was beginning to disperse as Brick dismounted, though as usual some individuals were coming up to meet the performers. "Bwahaha, Of course we are! Lifelong friends since three songs ago!" She punctuated this paradox with a hearty slap on Ruby's back, which must have felt like a half-brick in a velvet sock. "Stalliongrad mare makes friends quick! Never know when might be needing, or if ever see again. Time is not to waste."
  9. The pounding of Ruby's base soon became the dominant rhythm guiding Brick's hooves, pulling them across the street as she danced around traffic, at one point taking a standing leap to clear a cab roof, rebounding off to stick the landing in front of her! The stunt prompted a foul look from the cabbie as he drove off, but the audience loved it, tossing bits towards the now-paired up performers. '"More where that come from, tovarich!" The earth pony shot a grin over at the thestral, her tones betraying a far northern origin. She was, as she would put it, "Stalliongrad built, strong like bull!" Not fed well enough these days to bulk out, but the lack of any fat on her showed off lean muscle as well as a textbook. "So, what is next number? Bring the beat!"
  10. There was a rhythm to every city, if you could hear it through the cacophony of traffic and advertisements, feel it through the thrums and rumblings in the paving stones, loosen yourself to let it carry you through alleyways, up and over walls. It was a dance, a dance of life through a jungle of concrete and bricks, asphalt and cobblestones, steel and glass shining in the morning and evening lights. And during the nights, you could take a boat out to the harbor and see that the very stars themselves had left the sky, clinging to skyscrapers to be led in a waltz through the city that never slept... Were Flying Brick a poet, she could have made a decent living crafting these thoughts and feelings into words for those ponies who could only live through books. But she was not, she was a dancer with a simple voice, who could only touch the sublime through movement, barely scraping by on the bits thrown by ponies brave enough to face the light of the sun intensified by a hot, bright sidewalk. Her hooves, tough and calloused, cared not for the heat of the surface, dancing in the street where the musicians busked. While she could feel the city through her hooves, more often she would dance according to the music being played. Syncing up with her fellow street performers often ended in them getting more pay together, and hey, a mare has to eat. Colored Dark umber and rawer red-orange, the colors of old and new bricks, the Earth pony mare could dance, jump, and flex like few could, in a free flowing movement for a measure, before breaking up into staccato steps, on four hooves and two as if it made no difference. And so she did, pitching an ear to the sky for the next guiding strains of music...
  11. Earth Writer briefly considered disputing Ice Storm's allegation of 'slander'; that wasn't a term any journalist took lightly. Legally, slander was defined as a defamatory false statement of fact, as distinct from opinion (even wrongheaded) opinion presented as such with reasons for the author coming to it. He had never been guilty of slander against Equestria's rulers or its citizens (dissidents against Heart Stopper were another story). Ultimately, however, he decided to let it pass; it wasn't as if it would be worth her time to prosecute him for damages, and if she sued the Chronicle? No skin off his back anymore. Against her claim of being uninteresting to him, however, he had to speak. Laying out his folder, he picked out a sheaf of note-paper that had been ruined by an ink-spill. Scraps of barely-legible shorthand were visible, enough for Icy to recognize the interview notes. "I knew you wouldn't believe me if I just told you my fountain pen exploded. But without that contextual fact, your conclusions regarding me and my character were off. It's possible that I lacked similar context myself when I wrote that article on the sisters. Part of the reason I wrote so provocatively was in the hopes that somepony would take notice and provide the factual context. Editors print letters from the public for a reason; I never received one that answered my objections to my satisfaction." While Ice Storm may not have written such a reply at the time, she gave it her best go now. The stallion couldn't call himself wholly convinced. "If we lived in a democracy, that argument would be admittedly unanswerable. But isn't the whole point of supporting a monarchy on the public dime for them to lead, rather than follow? Especially when we're all being idiots, as I well know we often are." He shrugged. "Eh, I could argue forever on this or most any position; I'm a veteran of the Veiled Garden debates. But that's a bit beside the point; if you're aim is to solve our security problem with a bit more than love and tolerance, I'll try to restrain myself from pointless gadfly bickering." Finding his teeth starting to chatter, he shuddered. "Um, I'd be glad to go on, but there's a lot-t-t of det-t-tails I collect-ed t-to go through.... Could-d you let-t the room get-t a litt-tttle warmer? Please?"
  12. As much as Niilavin said that he admired the way in which Equestria gave dignity to the lower classes, he still had an insufficiently broad definition of those to whom dignity was to be afforded. Of course, it would take some pretty powerful juju on Prince Blueblood's part to overcome the natural hatred between dogs and cats, but for the sake of avoiding mass hysteria, something had to be done. "[Enough of that.]" Blue gave an ineffectual but symbolic bap between his sphinx's ears. "[You shouldn't let your irritations define your actions, that only lets them control you.]" Not exactly an order, so the magic might not compel Niil. But if discipline could be instilled, then the magic would be redundant. *I really ought to see about hiring an obedience school trainer...* Speaking of which, there were the dogs. "Apologies." He dipped his head to Hogo-sha. "He isn't quite... housebroken yet." Was that an unintentional slur to diamond dogs? Or... was Hogo-sha actually a diamond dog? A Changeling? No, they rarely adopted bipedal form. Perhaps a yokai? Was that still insulting? Gah, it was stressful being a diplomat. The anubis newcomer was only complicating the situation. Good grief, had the Prince brought home a nationalist? Shaking his head, and resolving to ignore Niil's little snit, Blueblood addressed the Saddle Arabian canine. "I heard little of his kind; he will grow larger in time, though that will be some years off, sphinxes being quite long-lived. Truth be told... I'm not sure if any yet living remain besides he. I freed him from a petrification curse when accompanying an archaeological dig; he was buried with the pharaoh that had ensorcelled him." He decided against revealing that the amulet was the source of said ensorcellment. Didn't seem like the safest policy to go about leaking that information. "By the way, I don't believe I ever caught your name...?"
  13. It didn't take long for Earth Writer to get a gauge of Ice Storm. True, he'd done his research beforehand, and carried it with him in a stuffed manila folder, but a lot of scattered facts crystalized into a clear picture of the mare, her opinions, and her intentions from the few words she said in opening. Truth be told, the reporter wasn't all that impressed by her reserach; all of that information was published publicly, most of it had his real name in the byline and the headline. Compared to the digging he had to do, it was small potatoes. Still, he had to acknowledge the thoroughness involved; it would make his explanation a little easier to furnish with context. But first, some evident elementary confusion had to be cleared up. Starting with the article he published on the Crystal Faire attack. "Ah, now what you have there is what we in the business call an editorial. Specifically, an opinion column, the sort the Chronicle begin with 'The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Chronicle etc., etc.' Which context I note has been clipped off, so if you want to talk about propaganda techniques..." He chuckled, unable and frankly unwilling to keep condescension from creeping into his tone of voice. "I was asked to give an opinion on what happened and why. I believed, and continue to believe, that Equestria's historically soft foreign policy made us tempting targets to foreign adversaries, and encouraged excessive complacency at home. This has increased the frequency of attacks, and decreased our preparedness for them. The result, as you said, is the death of hundreds. Like most right-minded citizens, this event disturbed me, and I wished it to not happen again. As I am not a soldier, but a writer, I could only identify the source of the mistaken policy, which must in a monarchy ultimately be the monarchs, and call them out for their wrong decision. I was far from insincere, note how little I cared how much offense I gave to the readership. A propagandist takes more care in such matters. Honestly, though, a change on the sister's part would satisfy me; I'm not out for their overthrow. I would just not dismiss a proposed change in management out of hoof. And honestly, I'm not sure they would, either. But that's another topic." "Now, if you want an actual example of the fine art of propaganda, I recommend my later work." Exchanging the articles with a wry smile, the condecension in his voice morphed into self-deprecation. "Note the care in the chosen verbiage, neutral-sounding adjectives subtly valenced into positive and negative conjugations, making Lady Heart Stopper out to be the Good Mare in every possible confrontation, no matter how tribalist her actual attitude. This implants doubts, but no more than doubts, into the minds of those schooled into integrationism by our history teachers. And through slowly growing doubts larger and larger horseapples can be lodged into the mind, until finally..." He pulled out the last article of his that ever appeared in the Chronicle. "We have this lovely stinker, for which the editor should have been fired along with me for putting into print, I wasn't even pretending to be objective. I think I was drunk, to be honest. She gave good wine. Good stuff all around, hence why I wrote so well concerning her." He took a deep breath. "Well! I wasn't expecting to be that honest with you, but at the end of the day, Truth is your only defense against the facts." On that cue, he lifted the manila folder he brought with him. "So... I'm thinking you'll be wise to respond in kind."
  14. Las Pegasus, and life in general, looked much different from below. That simple fact could so easily be forgotten by the high-status ponies as well as the high-altitude ones, which was why writers of the irreverent bohemian type were laudable and necessary. That, or something like it, would be Earth Writer's answer if you asked him to justify his existence and recent actions. The pony himself looked to be the sort of stallion in need of justification. The tan unicorn's black mane and tail were overdue for a trim, stubble coated his muzzle, and his hat and shirt had a general travelworn and neglected air about them. Life had hit him hard in recent years, that and bad decisions, if Earth was being completely honest. Which wasn't always, these days. Hence the bad decisions. Once, he'd been a star reporter of the Canterlot Chronicle newspaper, traveling the world, seeing the major events up close, and reporting the action to all the ponies back home. But, the influence had gone to his head, leaving him in an unsober state when a powerful foreign mare sought to corrupt his pen for her own interests. The whole sordid scandal left him without his position, or any visible means of support. He took hack jobs, now, little pieces from customers who didn't mind an author whose reputation for honest dealing was shot to pieces. Not the most savory of company, and he well knew that if he kept this up, he wasn't ever going to get out of this morass; it would suck him under like quicksand. Enough cash to not be dependent on those ponies anymore... Desperation of this kind often brought ponies like Earth Writer to this city, but he wasn't here to play the slots. No, he was about to sit at a higher-stakes game than baccarat, with what he hoped was a winning hand, gathered through gumshoe work at docks and shipping ports, late nights at the public archives, and a few bummed rides out with desert barnstormers. Those were flights he'd never forget, though the pictures were amazing... His meager clothing was not enough to suppress the chill from entering Ice Storm's casino. There was something altogether... comic book-y about the aesthetic, but that wasn't uncommon on the Los Pegasus strip. Up through the ice castle our fearless hero went, to confront the princess in her front office. Suppressing his discomfort, knowing full well this conversation wasn't going to be the most pleasant he ever had, he nonetheless put on a polite smile and tipped his hat. "Good morning. I'm Earth Writer, I take it you're familiar with my work?"
  15. "[There is one other major difference you are forgetting.]" Blueblood gently reminded Niilavin. "[Your old masters are dead, and we are not. If we say we are superior, that would inspire jealousy of our majesty; if we say we are equals, they see themselves in our majesty. It is wise to allow everypony as much dignity as one can, for if we strip it all away.... well, you remember what happened to your last master.]" That, Blueblood felt, was sufficient catfood for thought, and his sphinx could be safely left to chew on it as he addressed Hogo-sha. "Dignity is granted by how tall you stand, not how wide you rule." A wise, but not unmotivated saying; the Prince's rule not being particularly 'wide' as far as actual power went. "And Niilavin can understand common speech as well as you or I; it is simply that he is not always comfortable with using it. But that is a good question; how large can a sphinx get?" A good question, but again, not an unmotivated one. Right now it was feasible for Niil to live in Blueblood's back garden, if he didn't mind converting the rock patch into a litter box. But if he grew to legendary size? Canterlot could hardly hold up under him! The Prince's worries were compounded as the sphix confided further. "[What, you mean changelings?]" Blueblood still couldn't help that small tingle of fear down his spine, in spite of the fact that half the hive were now multicolored hippie bugs, and the other half were at least following a Chrysalis who was not pursuing an invasion plan. At least, she said she wasn't, being content to run a tropical resort that 'farmed' love. But was Blueblood wise to believe her? Probably not, actually, considering the Queen's known penchant for deception. His eyes scanned the crowd, then the roofs. A useless exercise, for a disguised foe. But, of course, it may all be a false alarm. After all, there were good changelings, and it wasn't only changelings that could shapeshift. Blueblood had met, and befriended, at least one Yokai. "[We are not hostile to all such populations, Niil. Some, yes, but not all. Don't cause panic yet.]"
  16. Ever the diplomatist, Chrysalis let no other emotion cloud her face, save perhaps a slight, casual air of boredom as she stretched. "Mmm, history, really? We have as little need for that as for tradition. After all, it wasn't very pleasant to experience, and less so to recall. Suffice it to say, I wasn't the first queen, nor was I the only one. I really can't say how long we're supposed to live; no changeling queen ever dies of natural causes. Unless, of course, you count the effects of malnutrition. I plan myself to live forever, talk to me later on how that turns out." With a bit of a hissing chuckle, the Queen got to her hooves. "Enough, we have fed, but you have not. How rude for a hostess! Please, allow me to lead the way to the dining table." She gestured to the guards to open the door wide, as she led them out in a small procession out the door. As she walked, a bit of sway in her hips as much by habit as anything else, the flooring and walls slowly became more bamboo and less chitin, until coming to a room that let in actual sunlight, dappling a table laden with plates piled high with tropical delights! The sweet smell of mangos and pineapples hung in the air, batted hither and thither by the salt breezes.
  17. It was of some relief to know that he wouldn't have to deal with potential psychological disintegration or personality re-writing forever. Altogether, the prospect of being an apprentice was more and more appealing to Blueblood, which he expressed through a grateful smile. As his teacher crafted her disguise in front of him, Blueblood watched with interest, and a bit of frank relief as the wings were ultimately preserved. "Thank you; if I can help in your practice of dexterity, that will at least be something towards paying back everything you're doing for me." That was actually not an irrelevant question; what was Ossia getting out of all of this? A place to stay and cover for her identity, naturally, but that seemed hardly sufficient for what she was willing to invest in this relationship. Was it, perhaps, the Prince himself? The unicorn would certainly be flattered to think that was the case, though perhaps the full implications of that hadn't fully sunken in. It was a bit hard to be contemplative, in any case, in the presence of an alicorn, even a disguised alicorn, that continually brought to his mind her sheer physicality. Just the touch and feel of her musculature was a unique sensation in and of itself; and Blueblood couldn't help but infuse his caress with a bit of reverence. They had to break for now, but he would gladly lead her upstairs, to his manor and the bath, where no doubt some closer acquaintanship would be developed. In the meantime, no harm giving her a good view of himself. "Alright then! Just into the elevator here..." The doors slid open, cracks in the rock parting to reveal a fairly lush scarlet interior; a portal to a much brighter future, the Prince couldn't help but think.
  18. Was it a bad sign that the first citizens to welcome their new feline wonder were canine? Prince Blueblood sincerely hoped not; he had neglected to ascertain Nilaavin's opinion of dogs. Nevertheless, he waved down at Hogo-sha from his perch, keenly aware of other eyes from the rooftops. "Greetings, sir! I see from your garb and bearing you are a dignitary; it is good to see I was home in time to meet you!" Homecoming or not, the diplomatic work was never done. However, housebreaking his new cat would have to take first priority. "[We are first amongst equals, not gods amongst mortals. Auntie will be very upset if she catches you talking like that.]" Could Auntie Celestia actually understand Nil's ancient language? Probably, actually; she had lived for just long enough to have conversed with its last living speakers. Well, second-to-last, now. All that being said... Blue had pretty much given up by now correcting Nil's impression as to his own power levels. Modern magic was quite a strange power, compared to what the ancients could muster. Plus, actually getting the sphinx to shape up would take every bit of authority the unicorn could muster...
  19. The deal-cutting done for now, Chrysalis began to switch to another mode, one that she enacted more often in her "Island Queen" disguise; that of the generous hostess. Generous in accommodation, knowledge sharing, and of her beauty in general. Of course, this was more than mere courtesy; charm could smother suspicions yet unvoiced from their previous conversation, after all. "Why, certainly! Though, I have to admit what we are now is rather different from what we used to be. We're a very adaptable species, and while we don't have a lot of native traditions, aside from due reverence and obedience to the Queen," She preened a bit at the remark before continuing, "That in fact allows us to adapt flexibly to whatever circumstance we face." The queen gave a light laugh at the mention of physiology. "My, my, that's a rather forward request, wouldn't you say? Not that I mind..." She leered at the pair, before laughing again. "As for ethnicity, well, there's not much to say. We're all one color and kind, or at least we were until recently." The sour look didn't linger on her face, but would have been obvious to all observers nonetheless.
  20. Catching Tiger's whistle with a wink, Berry did another small sashay. "I wouldn't mind staging that little contest, if you've got the bits to pay the hosting fees. Neutral ground, as its in my bar, and not yours. Just remember, you break it, you buy it!" That sort of thing did constitute a risk for her, a greater risk than she would normally consent to, but at this point, anything that could potentially drive business was worth a shot. Plus, couldn't hurt to have a handsome stallion and a striking mare about the place, eh? Speaking of... Pinkie had a very interesting suggestion. "I thought sponsorships worked the other way, with the businesses offering to put their logos on the uniforms and such in exchange for paying the athlete. I think its called an 'endorsement' when the athlete gives to the business. That said, I'd love to have Rainbow as an endorser! I could come up with something special for her, let's see... going off her cutie mark coloration... strawberry-blueberry-lemonade? Yeah, that could work!" Struck with inspiration, she immediately bent over to retrieve the bottles to whip up a quick sample. Measuring out by cutie-mark guided instinct, she shook up the three juices in a canister and poured out a bit into a small glass. "Mmm..." She popped and smacked her lips. "Yeah, that's a good base. Might want to see about getting some electrolyte powder, I think she'd like it to be a sport drink, as opposed to a straight fruit punch."
  21. Blueblood received his teacher's admonition over relics with a wry look. "That assumes that it is only the will of the user controlling the artifact. It's not uncommon for the reverse to be the case. And then where are you, if you can't verify that your thoughts and desires are your own?" A sobering thought for sure, one that may well have caused the Prince pause on his own feelings concerning Ossia. That is, if she hadn't at that point removed her bodysuit, showing off her form in it's full glory! Blue thanked his lucky stars that he had been born a unicorn, for if he had been a pegasus, it would have taken a full half-hour to get his wings tucked back in again! Everything about her form was pushing all his buttons, from the strength evident in her physique, the charm of her large wings, or the mere fact of her height; these all blew any doubts and second thoughts about his future plans straight out the back of his skull. He blinked, unsure of why she had hesitated. "I think you look wonderful!" He blurted out, before realizing that her striking looks may well give them both a bit of trouble when seen in public. "But, yes, you'll want to get into some sort of disguise, I suppose. Er, did you want a hot or a cold bath? I can have either drawn."
  22. Meet Prince Bluey's new kitty! 


    1. PyroBlaze


      I was expecting an actual cat... This is good too though.

  23. "Make way, make way!" Never let it be said that Prince Blueblood didn't have a flair for spectacle and making an entrance. His showiness was often only restrained by an aristocratic sense of dignity. Some occasions, however, were sufficiently large as to overwhelm any hesitation, and this, well... This occasion was as big as the Sphinx the Prince was currently riding on the back of through the cobbled streets of Canterlot. "Behold, Citizens, the great Marvel of the Southern Desert Lands!" The Sphinx's name was Niilavin, and Blue had encountered him while accompanying the Sultana of Saddle Arabia on an archaeological dig. Apparently, one of the old Pharaohs had enchanted the great desert cat, and subsequently petrified him upon his own death. By donning the amulet that had been used control Niil, Blueblood had broken the petrification spell, and become Niil's new master. As the giant cat hadn't yet adjusted to the new norms of civilization quite yet ("No, we don't eat our enemies, we befriend them! Bad boy."), it had been decided that the safest thing to do would be to keep the enchantment going, while the Prince took Niil back to Equestria, more or less to housebreak him. Blueblood being Blueblood, however, he couldn't help but use the opportunity to show off his status. So, taking a few souveniers home to dress himself similarly to a Pharoah of old, he now Paraded down the main streets and squares of Canterlot, showing of his new pet and his new bling to all and sundry. Faust only knew what the papers would make of this...
  24. There was a slight pause right after Icy set out the details of her offer. Partly this was because Chrysalis had a near-terminal flair for the dramatic, and partly because the Queen's mind was spinning rapidly, attempting to capture all the possible contingencies and align them. *There it is. She's giving me what I want. Can it really be that easy? To have a literal army of infiltrators right in the heart of Equestria's secret line of defense? Sure, one has to sign a non-aggression pact, but since when do these ponies trust me to keep them? Is it because we give good massages? Honestly, I ought to take them over for their own good...* All the justifications for conquest were lined up for their parade, but Chryssie shut them down. Now was not the time, not for a while, given her lack of any capability for such thing... at the present time. Breaking into a sudden grin, she accepted. "Agreed! It is a great pleasure doing business with you. We can arranged the details later, before your departure. But for now!" Stomping her hoof three times on the floor, the door opened to admit two drone servants. "Our guests must be hungry, and it is only fair to bring them a nice fruit salad after feeding vicariously off the happy couple, hm?"
  25. Berry smiled at Opal as she asked about the acronym. "Yeah, Strawberry-Orange-Grape-Sugarcane Punch, SOGS! Not the most appetizing of acronyms, I suppose, but GOSS wasn't much better, and OSGS is very hard to get right!" The burgundy mare laughed, turning around to give her tail a shake for her guests while she put away her bottles. Bit of a flirty move, but she was in a good mood, and liked the looks of all her guests. "And I'll be sure to have those barrels ready, Pinks! Hm, 'gives you wings'... that sounds like a pretty good motto, actually, though not sure how it would play with pegasi. They'd probably just make fun of it, until they tasted the punch, of course!" She could almost hear Rainbow Dash asking, "Why do I need some kind of fruity drink to make myself more awesome?" But then the cyan mare would drink it, and- Huh, yeah, that was actually a really good idea for an ad. Berry made a mental note to talk it over with her later. Now that Dashie was a bonafide Wonderbolt, there would probably have to be negotiations and arrangements made to use her likeness. Speaking of which, it seemed that Toboe was open for opportunities, and Berry was a savvy enough businessmare not to let those slip. "Funny you should mention that, but these Glasses come from Opal right here!" She pointed at the Crystal mare with a grin. "Genuine crystal, from an Empire craftsmare! You don't get any better than that, I can tell you. She does custom designs on them, too. I'll bet she could work out something nice for you; maybe a howling wolf, with the howls coming out as a music staff with notes? Be more than happy to supply what'll fill those glasses myself."
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