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PrinceBlueblood

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Everything posted by PrinceBlueblood

  1. Blueblood, being slightly more sensitive to the opinions of the nobility at large, set a hasty pace towards the academy. "Well, more or less. Auntie's school has grades from Magic Kindergarten all the way up to Graduate Studies, but it's mostly colts and fillies. Still, some of them are rather precocious. But if you want advanced magic, you'd best ask the teachers. I heard that Starswirl the Bearded himself popped back up from a thousand years ago, bit like Auntie Luna, apparently. Don't know if he's actually giving lectures these days...." The Prince blinked, realizing how bizarre that must have sounded. He tried to figure out how to explain it, but his own muddled knowledge of magic was failing him. "I don't know, there seems to be a lot that happened a thousand years ago, and now all sorts of ponies and whatnot are coming back from that time. At least, they are here; does that sort of thing happen in your county?" They had arrived at the campus during the discussion, though out of a kind of habit Blueblood was entering through the gardens rather than the imposing facade. "Most foals come in through here; they originally built the school when marble architecture had to be cold and impressive. This way is much more welcoming." Indeed, the path was lined with many bright flowers, with little sculptures of unicorns reading or casting spells around a fountain. The whole scene presented the impression of learning as a fun adventure, bringing friends along to romp through the world of the arcane. Some of the statues looked as if they had been recently added to form this particular impression. "Never came here myself as a colt. At least, as a student. I'd sometimes meet Auntie here, before we'd meet to play together... hm, though that was only twice I can remember." Blueblood wandered the gravel path with the slow care of melancholy nostalgia. "I had... much different dreams and ambitions then."
  2. If there was anything that could dislodge the effect of shock from the Prince(ss)'s mind, a second shock in the opposite direction was it. Upon realizing that the sudden alicorn was not his disgustingly sweet and heroic "cousin," but the true form of the absolutely charming pegasus that they had been in the process of wooing- wait, hadn't it been Ossia doing the wooing? Regardless, the pair had between them at least once successful woo. "Oh..." Platinum breathed out as the initial impact of the revelation passed, leaving a feeling of sweet, cool relief along her previously-sweating withers. "Let's shall!" Perking up immediately, her ears and tail held high, she offered her new companion a crooked forearm with a smile. "A nice stroll down the boulevard with a beautiful, powerful mare is exactly my idea of a good time!" And with that, she would take her 'lady' down into the depths of the Museum's vault cellar. Unlike the exhibits above, no maps were available for this place. The philosophy seemed to be, "If you don't know where you are, you shouldn't be here anyway." Platinum Gem's horn glowed, both with a mild golden light spell, along with a simple magic-finder. Jewels were all well and good, but she wasn't after beauty now, but power. After all, she had all she wanted of the former already!
  3. All had been going according to plan. But whatever spirit of luck this royal scion had offended at birth once again struck her at what should have been a great moment of triumph. Just as her henchmares were sacking the exhibits, she planned to acquire the truly valuable relics down below, in the cellar vaults of the Canterlot Museum. Every adventuring do-gooder who encountered an artifact of power would inevitably think, "That belongs in a museum!" This eventually led to a situation where the bookish institution had to invest in security systems that would put most banks to shame. Truth be told, Platinum Gem had but a vague idea of how she was to get inside, figuring that the big distraction would just buy her time to think of something clever using saltwater. But the best laid plans of mice and ponies... "C...c...Cadence? What in Tartarus!?" Not quite the right name, but Blue could hardly think of any other pink alicorns with the strength of a hundred stallions. The sheer power radiating off Nerezza hit the other mare like a wet comforter dropped from three stories. An oppressive, but not necessarily painful, atmosphere. Brain sent scrambling by the kiss, and the sheer ripping of the vault protection from its hinges, Blue could only gape for a moment, before taking stock of what was revealed. A staircase, headed down. Good sign, the corridors below help the good stuff. Stepping forward automatically, she got three steps down before turning over her shoulder. "I... hope you will find this satisfactory." *Please don't hurt me. Oh faust, she knows, she knows! I'm doomed...*
  4. With pursed lips, Bluebelle listened to Icy's assessment. The newly-ennobled Ice Warrior was new to the public relations game, but her reading of the situation did ring true to the Princess. "There's a lot of truth in what you say, and I know full well what it's like to have a past incident blown out of proportion and haunt you like a tantabus. One little incident with cake at the Gala, and did anypony let me forget it? Sure, I snubbed the wrong mare, mea culpa, but to read the tabloids and the rumor mill, you'd believe that I was some monstrous lech plotting in the background to overthrow my Auntie in a coup. Although," Her brows furrowed in puzzlement. "How they got from me rejecting a mare that I was a lech is beyond me; must be journalism logic or something." The waitress came by at that point, interrupting the Princess's flow. "Oh, I'll have a small coffee... and a small tea, too. And for you all?" Once the other mares had given their orders, Bluebelle began listening again, nodding along to Raven's going over of her past. "I see. One could say that social circles don't change all that much when we grow up, they just become more subtle and sophisticated. That said, I don't think they're all that bad, once you learn how to manage them. But so few ponies do; I only learned myself the past few years. Part of the reason I'm offering these lessons, you see; I wish I knew then what I know now. "To return to Auntie Luna... well, part of the problem is that there really aren't any good stories to crowd out the bad ones, even to fill the vacuum. Which is the same problem I faced, and I have to admit, I wasn't doing myself any favors at first. Turns out, buying controlling stakes in major tabloids doesn't do much good if you can't give the editors anything to work with. You're part right, Icy, when you say that having a group of friends to champion you is essential; but I think what's even more essential is to have a group or cause to be the champion of. It was when I started making public efforts to forward international peace that public stock in me began to rise, but what took me by surprise was how well ponies responded to my... well, to my non-standard gender identity, once I went public with it. Turns out, there were a lot of ponies who were very encouraged by that, and I try to look after their welfare now whenever I turn my attention to domestic policy. "I think Auntie Luna could do something similar, at least tactics-wise. I have a whole network of assets that I could put at her disposal, if she asked... but she doesn't. It's so frustrating, sometimes!" She banged the table with her hoof, immediately wincing as her pedicure hit the crystalline fixture. "Oof! Sure, it's uphill battle, or campaign, really; you have to be in it for the long haul, but it's winnable. I know she could do it, if she thought it worth doing." She sighed, slumping in her chair. "It's tough, really; I sometimes think that neither of my Aunts really value what I can bring to the table. I know it can't have been fun for you, Raven, growing up with the pressure to be as great as your ancestors, but have you ever thought what it would have been like if other ponies thought everything they worked and sacrificed for... wasn't really all that great?"
  5. Bluebelle nodded in relation to Icy's remarks on Princess Luna. "You're right; it is a pity that her public perception has not fully recovered. Although, I have to say, she hasn't been doing herself all that many favors by disdaining the social elements of royalty. It's all very well to say that judging flower shows is beneath your dignity, but who ever had a nightmare about the judge of a flower show?" She shook her head. "She and I aren't really that different, now that I think about it. We both feel that reverence is due to our station as royalty, but we're not always willing to do the unglamorous work to earn it." There was some evidence supporting that in her actions, as the Princess did put away the fewest books of the three of them. Nevertheless, true to her compass rose cutie mark, Bluebelle had a good eye for navigation and landmarks. "If it's the one down the eastern street, you most certainly did. Shortest walk of any I saw. Better get there as soon as we can." She took the lead out out of the library, pausing for a moment as she entered the sunlight. With a practiced gesture, she tossed her mane and swished her golden tail, catching the light of sun and infusing her alabaster coat with its warmth. She looked so good it was almost infuriating, though few knew the hours of effort it took every day to make such a gesture appear effortless. "Well? Come along!" In but a few minutes, the trio would reach the little cafe, with the Princess seating at one of the small tables under a striped awning.
  6. "Sounds like we have a plan, then!" Bluebelle smiled brightly, closing the atlas she had in front of her. "I'd have offered to pilot the permission papers through myself, but seeing as you have royal connections yourself, Icy, I'll probably just open up the sites I have access to and co-sign on them. Take note of that, Raven; never feel ashamed in using personal connections and unofficial channels. That's part of the reason that we're kept around, as a class, so that channels of communication at high levels don't become fully bureaucratized. Of course, that also means that one becomes fully and personally responsible for the consequences of their actions; no passing the buck to a faceless organization or committee." The Princess was smiling as she gave her first 'lesson', though she grew concerned at Raven's complaining of cold. "I... don't feel any different." Frowning, she looked out towards the street. "Should get something warm to drink, at least. Heat and hydration should both do you good, whether you're ill or not. Now, where is the closest coffee shop?"
  7. Hallo, Sleipner/Belle! Hope to see you on the boards!
  8. Berry's smile widened as the crowd of treat-seekers gathered around her door. Such adorable costumes! And pretty darn good ones, in the case of Wind Walker; the mare would hardly have recognized the little filly if not for her voice. "Why, the little mistress of the night herself is gracing my humble little shop! Well, I've brewed up something I think you will find truly to your tastes!" It was perhaps... insensitive to let out a little cackle at the sight of both Valen and Spike as they followed up, flanking the young 'princess,' but Berry couldn't help it. They both looked so simultaneously funny and adorable in their get-ups! What was it, these days, with these boundary-breaking get-ups? Was Rarity responsible for spreading the love of dresses beyond their typical bounds, or were the fashions of Canterlot blowing a rogue wind into Ponyville? Berry wouldn't have said she favored crossing over herself (though suits could produce some rather... remarkable results if tailored correctly). Still, weirder things happened in this small little town, so much so that the Spirit of Chaos magicking up a costume for a kirin in the group was hardly to be blinked at any more! "My, my, and here I thought that being respectable was the very antithesis of chaos, yet look at you handsome fellow!" And then there was Big Mac. Well! Color Berry surprised at the sight; sure, she'd been in that shared dream along with the rest of the town, but her own part in it was by no means so impactful to her as it seemed to be for the big stallion. Still, of all the crossers present, she had to say that he pulled off the look better than most. Of course, being Ponyville's resident hunk meant that quite a lot that he did was viewed positively by the mares of the town, herself no exceptions. "Your majesty, I am always glad to be graced by your presence!" However! Now was not the time to retreat into dreamy daydreams of dreaminess; it was night already! Nightmare Night! And she had a candy to produce. With a flourish of her hat, she reached down and whisked out a small rectangular cardboard box, colored in black, blue, and orange. "Now, my little colts and fillies, behold my new creation, JuicyJam! All the sweetness of the fruits you love, condensed down into an intense box of flavor!" Having a candy the size of a normal lunchtime juicebox already put Berry at or near the top-tier of candy distributors tonight, but she was just getting started! The second part of her demo was key. One thing she had observed, both as a parent and caterer to foals of all sorts, is that food to the younger crowd was both nutrition and entertainment. It was one thing to make something delicious, but if you could make the way you at it fun, you had a winner on your hooves! "Now watch carefully, because there's a special trick to this." With dexterity shown only in the hooves of an earth pony, Berry poked a hole in the top of the box, sliding in a short straw, before giving it a quick squeeze. Immediately, a bright red stream of super-flavored cherry goop squirted straight up into the air, arcing sharply to descend into Berry's open mouth, which closed with a satisfied, salivating smack. "Mmm, now that's the stuff, alright!" She licked her lips, shooting a wink directly at Candy Cane. A notorious flirt, she had already identified the newcomer as the most fun of all possible targets. Seeing mares and stallions blush and stammer never got old, and neither did coaxing them out of their shells, if any ever got the courage to do so around her. It was a public service, really; shame and shyness only got in the way of a good time! Her demonstration over, she handed out the boxes, starting with the spidery kirin. "How do you get all those legs to work?" She asked, genuinely curious as her mind already filed away an idea for next year's costume...
  9. The golden bells of the Princess' laughter rang out yet again. "I would say more like Raven's kiss than yours; the more juicy I make it, the more likely the tabloids will run with it. Though the rags will take scraps of most anything and spin it into iron pyrite, fooling just enough ponies to keep selling their issues." She sighed, though not heavily. Rather as one who had made peace with a routine burden of her station. All nobility had to deal with the gutter press sooner or later, and some even decided to buy part ownership in some papers, just to get something out of the mess. Not to mention siccing reporters on rivals... Blueblood's family owned shares in almost all of them, and the alabaster unicorn had found his journalistic influence to be a useful asset on many occasions, though they couldn't silence every embarrassing story about themselves. But in cases like these, shouting enabled more secrecy than silence. Eying the sparks off Raven's horn, Bluebelle returned to the atlas, musing aloud. "You know, there are some old crystal mines underneath Canterlot, and I inherited a legacy share in them. They're not tapped out, either, it's just that further commercial excavation could undermine the structural integrity of some of the city. Still, if you were just doing research, I don't think it would be impossible to obtain permission to set up a lab down there. Would have the benefit of not placing you so far away from your marefriend, after all."
  10. As Icy began to elaborate the... classified nature of what might come under discussion, Bluebelle cast her eyes from side to side to watch for any eavesdroppers. This was, after all, a public library, and voices carried far in a place like this. "Well, an advantage to being royalty is that no one asks questions about why you're in a palace. Like Raven said, between nobility lessons, friendship, and IMAGINE business we won't lack for any reasons to meet if anypony asks. One piece of advice, though; the less we act as if we have anything to hide, the less others will try to find us out. Though, if worst comes to worst, I could always kiss one of you in public. That will throw 'em off the trail, for sure!" She giggled, more comfortable with the duplicity involved. Having been born and bred into the modern form of aristocracy, Blueblood had internalized its quirks, even as he felt superior to them. Recent changes did not press upon Blue any need to drop them from his/her toolbox.
  11. Trick or Treaters! Berry Punch had been looking forward to greeting them this Nightmare Night, and not just because her little Ruby was somewhere among their number. No, the burgundy mare was taking this opportunity to introduce and promote a new, experimental product, inspired by one of her daughter's lunchtime favorites. Normally not in the candy trade, Berry still fancied herself a dispenser of treats, though not usually of the sort that foals could partake of. Wines and fermented fruit beverages were her main stock in trade; though not apples, as competing with the resident masters of that fruit would be crazy in this town! She still made and sold normal juices for little colts and fillies on their way to school in the morning, packaged in boxes instead of bottles, which was where her idea came from... But that would have to wait until this first party was finished with Mister Candy Cane. A newcomer stallion to this town, it looked like. Rather cute too, if the earth pony mare's opinion counted for much. Opening the top half of her shop door, she leaned out to catch a glimpse of the party outside, orange candlelight from within outlining her costumed form in shadowed silhouette. She had chosen an outfit that, coincidentally, was remarkably similar to Spike's! Just a little darker in tone, less frills, and stockings designed to attract attention to equine legs and thighs. And unlike the poor young dragon, Berry did have the body to pull it off. "Ahahah, So wonderful to see all you lovely children here. Don't worry, momma will have treats for you when you're ready, even if you're.... only young at heart." She shot a wink at Discord and Cane in turn, leaning out of the open half-door.
  12. Bluebelle was slightly taken aback by the Venom in Icy's voice, though on reflection she really shouldn't have been. As much as Icy reassured her that she had gotten over the hurt, for the most part, the wounds and rifts had not fully closed yet between her and the ponies Golden Hoof separated her from. Nonetheless, the Princess continued, in a lower voice. "You'd have to dig up his grave if you wanted to do that; he passed away a few years ago. Coroner said it was natural causes, but..." The alabaster mare sighed. "He was a serial family-breaker. It all started after he discovered he was infertile; triggered a divorce that went thoroughly nasty. Press, lawyers, suits and counter-suits, the works. He was made a pariah, and pretty much denied the possibility of ever having a family himself. Turned him bitter, and he used what money he had left to deprive other ponies of what he couldn't have himself. Died penniless, and nopony asked too many questions as to how." Having finished her story, she followed, still not really sure why she had said it. The explanation was important, she was sure, perhaps to show the common equinity in even the most vile of characters. It was important to her as a diplomat that other ponies understand that, though whether Icy would bother to take that to heart, or even if she could be fairly expected to... Settling down on the pillow, she idly leafed through some of the books the other two weren't reading. "We could rotate who hosts; nopony really questions Canterlot mares taking tea with their friends in any case." She looked up. "I do like to think of you as friends, at any rate."
  13. Bluebelle chuckled, trying to reassure Raven with a light pat to the withers. "I don't imagine I can fit it in all over one teatime, anyhow. There's a lot to learn, if you want to get the most out of it, so I don't see why I couldn't pay each of you a visit once we're back in Canterlot. We can just do a slight overview, nothing formal, just a general chat. I'm sure you could take the opportunity to teach *me* a thing or two about magic! Never studied it deeply myself." Taking back the laminated article, the Princess filed it back with a firm closing of the drawer, as if glad to be rid of a disturbing piece of evidence. Having little else to do, she felt like sticking around the pair; friendly and familiar faces, and all that. Not that the Empire wasn't warm and welcoming in every aspect, but... well, one can only last so long in a sea of strangers without scanning the horizon for a liferaft, as it were. Helping to pull out a few books, she ruminated on the name Icy had dropped. "Golden Hoof, Golden.... ah, yes, I think I remember now. I know the family, or rather, I know of them. I... can tell you that there is a story behind why he did what he did. Not an especially pleasant or satisfactory one, I will admit, but... if you want to know, I can tell you."
  14. (sorry for taking so long, guys. Thesis work keeps me busy) Goldy could only blink at the latest developments, clearly going beyond her ability to control as a hostess. In such circumstances, hospitality demanded no show of tyranny, but adaptation to the situation as it stood. "Well, dear, I don't think you care that this is going to be dangerous, and I certainly can't say it will be boring. Not to mention, having the favor of the Princess would be a blessing to this house and no mistake." A habitual genuflection at the words revealed her as a mare full of reverence for the ruling authorities, however augmented in number they may have lately become. Psmith, meanwhile, continued to pet Taira absently as he mused on Roan's question. "Map...? I don't know if we have much of the way of them in this house. Ah, wait a moment!" He slapped his hoof on the table as it occurred to him. "Psmithy! Our dear son, Wordsworth, is currently employed in Prince Blueblood's manor as personal secretary, and that bounder's sailed all over the world. Surely, he's got the goods, when it comes to maps and charts and the like!"
  15. Bluebelle laughed, just under the volume that would earn her angry glares from the Librarian. 2,000 years and 2,000 miles mad no difference to the ancient practices of that guild, the guardians of the books. "Oh, I think your Manor's a little far to nip over to for afternoon tea, but I will take you up on that invitation sometime." Her smile faded when she saw Raven begin to withdraw into herself. There was something there that reminded her of a day some time ago, when a young colt, not quite done with schooling, was informed by a grim-faced servant that his title was now Prince Blueblood... "I'll be happy to lend a hoof. The truly noble need to stick together, you know?" She said in a softer voice, suiting the gesture to the word. Turning to Ice, she gave a half-smile, half-smirk as she listened to the unicorn's complaints. "The life of an aristocrat is full of service and sacrifice. If we cannot remain patient in a boring conversation, how shall we react when greater trials come? But I can sympathize as far as Upper Crust goes; I'll have to introduce you to a better circle than that. Although, I think you know the Walkers already; have you met the Duchess of Fet Loch?"
  16. Unaware that her secret identity had just been drastically compromised, Platinum Gem slipped through the dust and rubble, bringing with her the aura of salt air about her. Nautical atmosphere? It must be a part of the relic's power; probably not the relic that transformed the Prince into a mare though. Out of the corner of her "third eye," Ossia might have detected the gathering of minions, all dressed as maids. So, that little announcement had been a signal to rally her forces? Apparently, and from the fact that the mare was certainly going towards the museum, it wasn't intended to be a blatant diversion. Perhaps it was a double-bluff; sometimes the forces of law and order acted stupidly through being too clever by half. In any case, the museum's paltry security was no match for the sudden meido rush that overwhelmed the lot of them. At least they had the common courtesy to give each of them a good-night kiss after knocking them out... "Alright girls, split like I told you in the plan. Stick to the buddy system, and meet me by the gift shop; we got some souvenirs to get!"
  17. It was cheering, at least, that Bluebelle had found a like-minded mare. Icy was a new induction into the nobility, but more active than most who had held onto their titles for generations. And together with House Dupone as well... plans began brewing up in the Princess' mind. Plans which, however, would have to wait until later. "Be more than happy to discuss that with you. Both of you, in fact. Over tea, perhaps?" Best to focus on the issues of here and now, research into crystals and magic. "Well, I'm afraid I won't be much of a resource for that; House Platinum has birthed few scholars, and I didn't buck the trend. Old tories and social butterflies, the lot of us, with a few capitalists thrown in." She paused, tilting her head at Icy. "Er, I don't think anypony's told you how the power of the Houses are informally classified? It's helpful to keep things straight in the Canterlot social scene." "Anyway..." She turned back to Raven, offering a smile. "What I can help you with is in the organization of the thing. Paperwork and the like; research and documentation takes secretaries as much as scholars, and I know where to find the best. You can't have him, though, he works for me full time," The Princess giggled, "But he has a long list of recommendations."
  18. "It's quite alright, really..." Blueblood's protest was a weak one, not really one to object to Taira's nuzzles. Really, if the big shaggy stallion wanted to be affectionate or impressive, who was one unicorn Prince to stop him? And sure enough, the kirin was impressive once again, bounding from carriage roof to carriage roof, leaping at last to snatch the kerchief away from its brief dreams of becoming a flag. Huzzah! "Wow! You demonstrate quite the ability, although..." Blueblood paused awkwardly in his congratulations to spare an eye towards the bounced-on carriages. The owners and drivers had stopped in shock upon hearing, and feeling, the sudden impact of the heavy stallion. That stoppage now was backing up traffic, leaving quite a few high-class ponies in a lowering mood. "Er, yes, perhaps we should best get going! Auntie won't be in at her school, it's not in session today anyway I think, but that means we won't be bothering anypony by showing up! Anyhow, let's be off..."
  19. There was a somewhat bittersweet smile on the Princess' face, as she heard Icy recount her deeds in the Spire. "That's significantly more of a contribution than I made to either, at the time. Like I said, it's what inspired IMAGINE. But... while you and I both remember and keep close ties as we can with Whitescar, the fact that memories of cruelty rather than kindness are the ones we perpetuate reminders of troubles me. Here, let me show you what I mean." She levitated over the laminated bit of newsprint she had been reading. It was cut out of the editorial page of the Canterlot Chronicle, from an anniversary memorial edition. The author of this piece was Earth Writer, a reporter who had been on the ground when the invasion happened, and participated in the defense of the Heart. Bluebelle's glowing magic highlighted a particular part of the article: Leaving the article with the blue mare, she turned to Raven, with hopes of speaking on more cheery topics. "Well, I can't speak to the property markets; I've work enough on my hooves managing my estate as it stands without adding to it. Did you hear about the exorcism I had to conduct on my summer home? Boy, that was less than fun, I'll you what. Not to mention the concurrent flood and fire. Ah, the joys of homeownership, eh?" The Princess wore the laughing expression one holds for troubles in the past which won't be returning.
  20. I think this one would be more a sister than a brother
  21. "As it happens..." The Princess sighed, stepping out from behind the reading podium to get closer to the two mares. "I was here to memorialize as well, though in writing rather than statuary." Blue eyes flickered between Ice and Raven, triggering an upward quirk of Bluebelle's lips to break her somber visage. "Seems to me you two have more grounds for visiting Cadence than I do right now." She took Raven's hoof in a gentle shake, appraising the mare. "Crystal research, eh? Well, I suppose this is the right place. And honestly, it's only fair to say that my major philanthropic efforts only came up recently. I'm not sure... if I hadn't seen myself so much destruction and death, that I would have been quite so motivated to put something better in the world. Though, I think it important to remember also, that close on the heels of the attacking caribou were the clans who came to assist with the rebuilding. They aren't memorialized enough, if you ask my opinion; ponies seem much quicker to forget their healers than their harmers."
  22. The sudden, explosive sound of Taira's sneeze triggered deep reflexes within Prince Blueblood. Namely, he leaped up into the air with a decidedly un-masculine shriek, before landing on his hooves again, panting and quite insensitive to any potential transformations in his friend. To be fair to the unicorn, of course, his nerves were completely shot by the collapse of the scaffold. Taira would understand, right. "Right, that's it, we're getting out of here. You need clean, fresh, non-dusty air!" Smoothing down his mane with a few quick strokes of his hooves, he led the way out of the market atrium, blithely waving away any concern over the kerchief. "Like I said, I have plenty. Take another, if you ever need it." Sure was nice being rich and famous, eh? Emerging into his Auntie's sunlight, Blueblood stood blinking for a bit, before turning back to his guest. "Well, that sort of heroism puts a permanent claim on my hospitality, not that I'd refuse if you asked, at any rate. You seem a good, strong fellow, and I rather think I'll enjoy your company today. Is there anything in particular in this fair city that you dreamed of seeing? I, of course, will be your guide, as there is nowere, not even the Palace itself, that is barred to me!"
  23. On a bright and sunny day like this (as most days in the Empire tended to be, in fact), it was rare to see very many ponies populate the library. You had the scholars and the bookwoorms, plus the little colts and fillies here to pick up a bright and colorful foal's book to take home and enjoy. So too, would visitors sometimes approach to delve deeper into the Crystal Empire's history, bowing their head over the archives, perhaps with a librarian or two to assist them. There were also those who came, not to receive information, but to donate it. After all, the library did have 1,000 years of the outside world to catch up on! Near the entrance, Ice and Raven would have seen a visitor-archivist pair of Crystal Pony and unicorn outsider. One rather familiar unicorn, in fact; a rather fetching mare with alabaster coat and golden mane. Currently she was wearing a pensive frown, reviewing a laminated bit of newsprint, though the potential threat of premature wrinkles were dispelled by the smile she showed the pair upon their entrance. "Well, hello Icy! Fancy meeting you here. And who's this with you? Oh, Lady Dupone? What brings you to the Crystal Empire?" Bluebelle tilted her head slightly in inquiry.
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