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Ciraxis

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Posts posted by Ciraxis


  1. On 10/11/2019 at 6:22 AM, Bellosh said:

     

    Princess Cadence’s ears dejectedly flopped downward; it seemed like some ponies still had the Crystal Faire Invasion fresh on their minds. And... was the Crystal Empire REALLY that remote of a realm? Crystal Spire could easily be reached via a several-hour long train ride, for Celestia’s sake! Regardless, it wasn’t in Cadence’s nature to be confrontational. Accepting that the Count was dead-set on having the honeymoon elsewhere, the princess meekly replied with a glum sideways glance; “Oh... I see.....

    Upon seeing how dejected the royal couple was, Swift defiant expression softened. How could he be frowning when they tried so hard?

    "Well...." he started before taking a quick sip from his glass "....if it's any consolation for you, honeymoon destination was the one thing that was set in stone for a while now. And seeing that Empire won't get tropical sun, crystal clear lagoons and golden beaches anytime soon, there wasn't really a way you could change our minds." Squall revealed.

    On 10/9/2019 at 6:10 PM, tacobob said:
     
    "I probably would have never dared to ask her." That would have been weird. Asking your boss to help set up your wedding on your very first day at work. "But the moment I mentioned I was getting married, she just volunteered. Both the castle and her services." And how could one ever forget a wedding with royalty? This could all change with the passing time. She could not help but grin when the Alicorn mentioned her own 'Empire.' "We really need to visit your homeland. The last few times I was there, it was for work, so I didn't get anytime to wander about.  Oh.", she caught the brochure, "It would be the first time I'll really get to visit and not be on the clock..", she paused to glance at the advert, "Hmmm. Flag of many hues and a petting zoo with tiny ewes. " The mare had her mind set that her honeymoon would be more sandy and less fidgety.
     
    This was the moment her beloved spoke up.  "Well, generally you want a wedding venue that has a special meaning to your life...", she quickly added, "And is within reasonable distance from your family and friends. All who have full time jobs and in many cases, kids." Most of her friends were not swimming in bits, so a trip somewhere fancy where everything cost a zillion bits to stay would not be wise. "They also converted the old family estate in Canterlot, into a rental. It's being used for weddings...Bed and breakfasts and such....My bunch'a'greats Grandfather Lord Maximus married my buncha'a'greats Grandmother, Lady Labyrinthine there...And wow, what a wedding.", she bounced, "Right before they were to take their vows, the home was seized by Maximus' mortal enemies, the dreaded 'Gloom Brotherhood'.", she lowered her stance as if she was about to get into a fight. "I read the battle lasted for hours and if you ever went into the basement that leads to the wine cellar, there are an assortment of really creepy Ossuary down there..Made of pony, griffon and even a few minotaur skulls....Those aren't fake.."

     

    Fire decided to add into conversation, bringing up a quite interesting story about one of her ancestors. Huh, he was yet to hear that one amd it was neat. Have to ask her to retell it in detail when they tuck into bed.

    "That's some killer wine your forefathers made then Dear, if it could turn the battle." Swift scoffed afte he finished his glass. "But back on track, of all things, funding travel and stay of our guests is the last of our issues, don't you think?" noblepony pointed out. Being rich solved some problems, bit nopony will sent invitation cards for them. Oh the woe of having a big wedding!

     

    "And seeing that you want to bring more tourist's to Empire." Swift returned his attention to Shining and Cadence "A few ideas....." noblepony started again while finally starting to dig into his meal. "....First of, increase the number of railroad tracks. Yes, the the ride from Saraneighvo isn't long but it's only direct connection by land you have. Now you have two, one going to Empire, and one going from it. Make it four, or better yet six. You never know. Maybe the train on one will get broken? Or rails may get iced, forcing trains to run slow, you get the idea." Swift pointed out. Any other time, unicorn's would sound patronizing like he usually did when giving tips - especially due to a very deep voice of his. But seeing Miss Mi Amore so morose made swordstallion speak softer and with more caring.

     

    "Second, built a travel hub in the East, on the coast. One with the both port and airfield in it. Believe me, many will appreciate the fact that they don't have to squeeze through Stalliongrad to get to your realm. Not to mention you will save a lot of money in the long run. Airships may bring goods directly, but the combination of ship and railroad is so much cheaper still, especially for overseas stuff. And not all visitors from foreign lands are wealthy enough to get by through air. This alone should give you a much bigger influx of visitors. I saw the coastline near your home, many natural ports there. Use them."

     

    "And last, you should give those visitors more reason to go to Empire then 'time-displaced' and 'unique architecture'. Don't get me wrong, both are great selling points, but having more of them is always better." another bite and gulp from the unicorn.

    "Hosting the Equestria Game was great idea, but you need to double down on it. For example, you have eternal winter just beyond the door. Capitalize on that. Your sportponies can practice all-year long, which is something that even Stalliongrad can't do. Host Winter Game, or even World Championships, with enough funds you can become winter sports capital of the world." Swift advised

     

    Something that Presteza said caught Squall's attention.....

    On 10/8/2019 at 3:35 AM, Pretzelparty said:

    "C'mon, Fire... Between you and Flash here you're gonna turn my cheeks into tomatoes." With a smile she gave Fire a side long hug, "I don't know too much about being patient. I still get seized by the urge to paint somepony on the spot sometimes. That's how I met the Empress!"  For now presteza was happy talking with her friends, and gradually her attention drifted away from the noblestallion's conversation. It was remarkable how well he could manage to talk to so many at once, he truly was a noble to the core.

     

    "So let me get this straight. You saw the Empress, decided to blitz-paint her and she hired you on the spot? That's...not very Long Guo-like...." unicorn vocalized his surprise.

     

    On 10/8/2019 at 11:41 PM, Bellosh said:

    As the dinner portion of the evening wrapped up, Pres’s mention of her meeting the Empress of Long Guo caught the servicepony’s notice. “How’d you manage that?” Flash asked his date; “Scuttlebutt from buddies of mine is that Long Guo's empress is surrounded by an army of bodyguards and handlers wherever she goes. Apparently they are, hmmm, how to put this diplomatically...  hard to work with. And as the old saying goes; ‘One does not simply pop in on the Empress’.”

    It seemed that Swift and Flash Sentry wee on the same, because Corporal decided to say aloud what Count already pondered over.

    "Thank you Mister Flash, that! What, did you caught her skinny dipping in the waterfall or something Prezz.....?" stallion inquired.

    "Besides that, now that you are free as the wind again, where are you will be going for inspiration Pretzy? New Changeling Kingdom? Seaquestria? Whitescar?" Swift asked while also trying to guess.

     

    On 10/6/2019 at 1:10 AM, PrinceBlueblood said:

    "Let's see now, I think I see the beginning of something beautiful over there, Cady."  He pointed the pink Princess towards where Aegis was meeting up with Reckless.  Couple-spotting was among one of their favorite things to do together.  "Not to mention, there's probably a good story over there."  He pointed out where Sparkles and Licorice were sitting.  "In fact, the only one I see alone is... oh dear, one of mine."  He pointed out Aquamarine, recongizing the signature on her regalia marking her as part of the Crystal guard."

    "That's....Miss Aquamarine Gleam isn't it?" Swift re-joined the conversation. Being a part of it, Swift knew nobility well...."I can't really recall her title. Not that they would care. One of few aristocrats who actually belong in REA...." he summed up. "If I recall one of her ancestors got famous after she decapitated three foes with one sword swing during the Battle for Appoum." Swift remembered some more military trivia.

     

    Just then, the more classical music ensued. Squall groaned again.

    "Half of my wealth for Aneightem to materialize on stage. Or AD/FD. Or Deep Violet. I am not picky. Just some music with life in it." noblepony practically begged at this point.

    • Like 1

  2. Cold.....

    when was the last time he felt....so

     

     

     

    ...cold...?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    "<GAAASP>" Swift's eye suddenly flashed open. How long was he out?

    With great effort, slowly, he started to drag himself upwards. Just as he finished, noblepony felt a wave of nausea wash over him. His vision was a little blurry, and he felt like throwing up. Swift refused to be overcome by this rebellion of his body. Through the gritted teeth, and using breathing exercises he learnt not so long ago, the rebellion in his body was quickly squashed.

    Now....where was he....? And what happened?

     

    Well, that crimson stain on the snow, where he was laying moments before. Carefully, Swift reached with his hoof to the back of his head. A sharp, if brief, surge of pain confirmed his suspicions. He received a nasty blow to his head. Probably from piece of airship when the vessel was torn apart by the northern winds. Probably got a concussion too, if nausea and blurry vision was any indication. Then again, he wouldn't be able to think clearly if that was the case. Perhaps snow acted as the compress that reduced swelling?

     

    His thought were interrupted by a sound of distant thunder. Swift took his eye from his own spilled blood and looked at the source of the rumble.

    A wall of low hanging storm clouds, stretching across the horizon was the source of that noise.

    "So near Rimestorm Line......?" he muttered to himself with a raspy voice "No...." Swift added while shaking his head. ".....beyond it. This tempest dragged us so far north?"

     

    The implications were grim. 'Rimestorm' was a barrier of perpetual thundersnow that barred entry from further northern lands.....Not that there was anything to explore according to common opinion. Most believed that behind the 'Line' was nothing but a frozen wastelands. Well, at least frozen part checked out, seeing that Swift was on what could be described a large stone shelf - so large he couldn't judge extent of it's size - protruding from the mountainside...

     

    The chattering quickly reminded the noblepony that this was a poor moment for sightseeing. His jacked wasn't adequate as the protection from elements but maybe something in his pockets....?

    "Oh..." Swift gasped when he pulled out and ignited one of his spellsabers. The pleasant warmth and emerald glow it emanated should keep frost at bay - for now. Not the intended use, but beggars can't be choosers.

    Speaking of beggars, the fragment of airship that was near him was the one with window...and the expensive looking crimson curtains. After some modifications, Squall was now equipped with somewhat unusual cloak. The rest of the fabric was now wrapped around his legs, to protect them from snow. Unicorntook the other one with him as well. Fire will surely need protection, seeing that she didn't brought her trusted, element shielding armor with her for this trip. Of all time when it could be useful....

    "I am coming Moto...." Swift muttered while he followed the trails of debris. Fire had to be nearby one of the fragments right? Right?!

     

    But noblepony didn't walked far before two silhouettes started to be visible thought the falling snow. Only one kind of creature could cast that shape so far north. An arctic worg, a behemoth of the wolf that - out of necessity - didn't shied from any kind of meat. Including that of the ponies.Those two....if Fire was hurt and they were next to her....!!!

    "Over my dead body." Squall muttered, pulling out his second spellsaber as it buzzed into life. His step quickened, as he charged forwards, preparing to meet this new threat head on!

    • Like 1

  3. On 9/26/2019 at 3:21 AM, Pretzelparty said:

    "Isn't that the truth?" Presteza responded with a soft chuckle, "Long Guo is beautiful, but it's somehow a little bit more turbulent than I thought it would be. The palace is so... lively!" Indeed it was, From her time in Long guo she'd gotten to know many a face in the palace. Some she could tell were hiding secrets. There was one certain Empress that came to mind who may well be hiding a secret from herself: one about her feelings for a certain member of the watch. Even now, Presteza couldn't help but wonder how that would play out... and hope that her very stressed friend could come to terms with her true feelings. Hopefully Pressy and Yu's letter correspondence would lead to some good news on that front.

     

    "Is that so? From rumors I heard, Long Guo as a whole wears a tight corset of tradition, which is supposedly tied in capital tighter then anywhere else. Perhaps those tales regard the previous ruler sitting on the Dragon Throne?" Swift wondered. It's a good thing then that Presteza returned to Equestria. Her first hoof account of the Empress views could be very valuable when it comes to expanding his business empire overseas. But that was secondary concern. What mattered was the fact that He and Fire could hang-out with their mutual friend again!

     

    On 9/27/2019 at 6:27 PM, PrinceBlueblood said:

    His attention was drawn back to Swift, whom the captain was pleased to note was familiar with O&O.  "Oh, I cut my teeth on second edition; though we did try to retrofit our campaign into three-point-zero when it first came out.  That was... probably a mistake, but we still had fun."  He laughed at the memories; nerdy as his hobbies could be stereotyped as, that was the one and only occasion where he had deployed a spreadsheet in the service of amusement.

     

    Squall simply nodded when Captain reminisced about his tabletop experiences. Unfortunately noblepony couldn't really say he had memories like that of his own. While he knew the rules like a back of his hoof, Swift wasn't really a player, merely a collector of game books, and he possessed them all. Why he didn't play? Well, he was pretty much friendless before he reclaimed Squallcoast Manor, and after this other hobbies and duties consumed his time entirely. Not to mention he didn't had anyone to play with. None of his friends or acquaintances were interested in such things...at least he thought they didn't. Heck, even his Sweetheart dissmisissed such activities as 'nerdy'. Et tu, Fire?

    Still, imagining - say - Ice Storm or Spring Breeze with character sheets and surrounded by game books was an amusing picture.

     

    On 9/27/2019 at 6:27 PM, PrinceBlueblood said:

    "I don't disagree."  He replied, as Swift mentioned the probable usefulness of returning to a more defensive stance in the capitals.  "Trouble is, the necessary retrofits could take... decades, possibly.  Not just the architecture, but the whole organization of defense forces.  I made the mistake of presenting my ideas of re-organizing the REA to better match the hero-focused point balance of Old Equestria armies in Tabletop Battleforge to General Pummel back when I was a Second Lieutenant.  Of course, given how we've actually countered most threats since then, I think that's been more-or-less justified.  I mean, it's how we've always fought, as a country and a culture.  Trying to import a foreign military standard just isn't going to work as well.  You can give a pony a katana, but that doesn't make them a samurai.  Nor does the uniform and drill make them an Aquellian Marine."

     

    "Yes, for all his virtues, General Pummel isn't big on coming with military innovations." Swift admitted. That said, Pummel seemingly realized this and at least tried, a few times, Suntrot being an example. "And with all due respect Captain, time is no excuse. If anything it's a reason to start immediately. I say that if those reforms would come to pass after reappearance of the Empire, we would be half done by now. But please don't assume I am nor aware of certain...roadblocks when it comes to implementing those. I hope your sister will have less patience for snobbish Canterlotian nobility then Celestia ever did." Swift said. Many of the military officers came from Equestrian aristocracy. Their ranks....were not always justified.

    "And if they will give her some trouble? Well..." Swift send Presteza a knowing glance "...At least some nobles have her back." he reassured the Shining Armor. But wrong would be one that would think he was done with the blue maned stallion, oh no.

    "Also I would debate how much we 'countered' those threats. I don't have to remind You the one time when certain cockroach captured every merited pony in the realm with nopony wiser, only loosing due to simple overlook, which can be regarded as luck." Swift pointed out. Before giving a heavy sigh.

    "And yes, I can't argue with results. But I would be far more pleased if Equestria bag of ticks would be a bit deeper. Too often failure was too much for comfort." swordstallion expressed his concerns.

    On 9/27/2019 at 6:27 PM, PrinceBlueblood said:

    Realizing he was beginning to ramble, he caught himself.  "Eh, but I guess we shouldn't go on like this here.  After all, we're here to thank ponies, not to critique anypony but ourselves.  And, er, I think Flash was a Private when last under my command; I honestly forget if he was promoted before or after transferring.  It was a... confusing time."

     

    Shining Armor proved to be a very insightful conversation partner, so his desire to cut this particular talk short was bit disappointing, although Squallcoast understood his reasoning.

    "Very well." noblepony condoned to Captain's wish. Ah, so Flash Sentry was Corporal after all! "Don't worry. I, to this day, catch myself thinking about Pummel as Colonel. And Fire was lieutenant for so long ,that she has to correct herself every other time."

     

    On 10/2/2019 at 9:29 PM, tacobob said:
    “No date yet....We need to make sure our schedules don’t clash...I have my special duties and he has his businesses and hobbies.” Can't miss out on the hobbies! She knew of some of them. Like his need to toss on odd costumes and go on adventures under an odd name. The red Pegasus was no stranger to fun little Daring Do style missions. "I believe...And I'm not one hundred percent sure, but so far there are ideas of having it at the 'Castle Of Friendship' with the good Princess Sparkle.", sweet Celestia's perfect hooves that sounded corny. Normally she would have said Princess Twilight..But Sparkle? Sounds like a character in one of her little sister's shows she says she doesn't watch but does in secret.."She would also work as the officiator....Although that might change considering all the changes that are going on...There is an non denominational pastor in Ponyville named Pipe Down who could fill in that spot."
     
    "As for the other questions...Erm.", she sighed, "Originally I wanted a small wedding, but I would be the first mare in my family to be married, and Swifty here is an only child...So this might end up being rather large....As for the rest...Still in debate.", wow, she smells really good! What perfume does she use? "I'm sure once we have a proper planner, things will be settled.", she lowered her voice. "Bachelorette party has been mostly settled....Wild Stallion Saloon in Las Pegasus....Just trying to figure out a way to ask the good purple princess." She also needed to make sure they picked a day there Great Giovanni would be performing.

     

    "Next two of three months if all goes well. For my Moto here I am willing to make few sacrifices." Squall said before giving his other half a smooch on the cheek.

    "And yes I guess it's appropriate for Sparkle to do this, seeing she's Fire direct superior...." orange unicorn gave the winged mare a meaningful look "....but I am definitely against the Castle of Friendship. Who in the right mind marries at their workplace?! Even if it's as pleasant for the eyes." noblepony expressed his opinion. "There are so many other interesting and safe places! Calnais, Marelia, Le Trec Plateu, Silversand Isle.....! And that's just Equestria." he said.

     

    "Also....." Swift gave the royal couple a royal couple a sympathetic look. "Your pitch isn't bad, but to be honest, access to Empire leaves much to desired. And as Fire mentioned, wedding more then likely will be big. We not hungry for bits either. Regarding the honeymoon....." Swift made an grimace. "Last time we were this close to Crystal Heart, I was doing my best to not get my head looped off by caribou berserker. And Fire had similar experience and then some." swordpony recalled, with one leg extended. Seconds later however, his face softened somewhat.... "Although we don't rule out going on vacation there soon." Squall added under his breath. Perhaps this will get the Princess of Love out of their ponysonal space? Perhaps something else to take Cadence attention was in order.

     

    What's this? A certain mare familiar to all of them walked in! Swift just hoped Applejack will not mind this.

     

    "Oh would you look at that. Isn't that Miss Applejack with her marefriend? I wonder when they will marry? I mean, they have a kid together already....." he pointed out.

    • Like 2

  4. 20 hours ago, tacobob said:
    "Maybe it's more like switch...With a gentle tug, I can make you go from grouchy to feisty..."

    "I believe I have separate switch for that Dear." Swift kept the banter going "Although you can tug my switches all day long if you want to check that first hoof." he added in kittenish tone.

     

    20 hours ago, tacobob said:
    "I'm sure it was just a temp job...", she whispered back.

    "Most likely. Nopony needs permanent painter, unless they are extremely narcissistic." noblepony agreed. "Although painting frescoes could take one artist a couple of years. Still, I don't think Pretzy would have patience for that kind of endeavor. And I have yet to see her working on something other then canvas" Swift mused in whisper of his own.

     

    On 9/21/2019 at 11:20 PM, Bellosh said:

    But no matter: the night was still young! Flash Sentry’s perked up his spirits just in time for Capt. Walker’s companion to drag her on over. And almost right from the get-go, Squall directed an awkward question Flash’s way. “Errr,” the flushed servicepony rubbed the back of his neck; “You might have. A lot of us were s-

    Flash stammered a little when it came to answering Swift's question, but noblepony understood. This was a day that was supposed to be recalled fondly, but actions of those with dark hearts made the very opposite happen.

    "Yes. The many brave ponies that were, and less then a hour later, they were not..." noblepony said solemnly before reaching with his hoof and patting him in a reassuring gesture.

    "There, there Corporal. Red Jarl's head will be removed from his shoulder's soon enoug...."

    Swift wasn't able to finish his words of encouragement before being interrupted by herald once again. This stallion had the worst timing!

     

    On 9/21/2019 at 10:18 PM, Windwright said:

    Another card arrived and the herald picked it up and eyed it, then shrugged and stepped forward.  "PRESENTING! SERGEANT LICORICE WHIP OF THE ROYAL GUARD! HE IS ACCOMPANIED THIS EVENING BY ESTEEMED ENTREPENEUR, LEADER OF THE RUBY HEART PACK OF SOLSTICE HEIGHTS, SPARKLES THE JEWELMASTER."

     

    "Oh for Tartarus sake! I know it's his job but this is so distrac.....Oh, that's not kind of guest that you see at those kind of parties every day." noblepony started to complain before being...well....distracted by his curiosity. If this was a party thrown by nobility, the guest's would certainly cal foul at diamond dog entrance. Luckily, although Squall could say that Equestria military had a lot of issues, tolerance was not one of them. And besides, this 'Sparkles' certainly knew how to look the part, if his chic clothing was any indication.

     

    On 9/22/2019 at 12:32 AM, PrinceBlueblood said:

    "You might as well add Level 25 Paladin to my list while we're at it."  He added to Cady's gentle teasing, before turning to view the guests coming up to them.  It looked like a group of four; he recognized Fire Walker from his service days, and Flash was... well, all too familiar to him.  Their respective dates, less so; he knew Swift and Pressy more by reputation than by anything more substantial.

     

     

    "I think the Canterlot voice comes back to the days when the capitol was still a fortress, and one needed to shout orders to be heard over any potential din.  It's actually kind of nice to see the tradition be kept alive."  He paused, as the herald chose this appropriate moment to announce two more newcomers, whom he spared an interested glance before turning to the male pegasus of the group.

    "Which edition?" Swift asked. he wasn't sure if the three at his side were understanding his question (and Fire was bound to call him 'geek' again) but at the moment Squall's attention was on Shining Armor. "Second, Three-Point-Five, Fourth? Because if this is Fourth, then level 25 is only somewhat impressive. 'Epic Destinies' rubbish...." unicorn muttered the last part under his breath before taking another sip of his juice.

    "Also, Canterlot could use at least some fortress elements being re-introduced. For...reasons..." Squall added, his tone pointing at the elephant-in-the-room that was Capital tendency o being invaded or infiltrated. He politely decided not to mention that Empire could do the same given it's similar track-record. After all, following the deed of seemingly tightening the security, the Crystal Spire was still infiltrated, and the couple that now stood before him captured along with their only daughter. Luckily the conversation shifted onto something everything could agree on, namely: Fire's brother latest anti-achievement.

     

    20 hours ago, tacobob said:
    "Punk just got back the other day...And he has not learned a single thing.", she groaned. Where would Pummel send him next? Ghastly Gorge patrol? The Gates Of Tartarus? Hayseed Swamp? It only was going to be worse...

     

    "Dear, I wanted to prod you about it for some time. Why is he's a soldier in the first place? Does Punk even enjoy it?!" he asked. The talk shifted towards his old mentor. Well, one of his mentors.

    "General's no sadist. He may be very strict, but his also fair...." unicorn gave his fiancee a meaningful look. The way each of them seen General Pummel was one of few things they didn't agree on. Whenever Fire found herself in the mood to complain about Pummels methods, Swift was quick to remind her that he helped to shape noblepony a stallion she loved, and thus a reason why they were together.

    "....if he ordered reassignment like this, Punk had to really 'work' on it." the orange unicorn said with conviction.

     

     

    21 hours ago, tacobob said:
    “Corporal”

     

    On 9/22/2019 at 12:32 AM, PrinceBlueblood said:

    "At ease, Private."

    Swift quickly shifted a confused look between Shining Armor and Fire Walker.

    "Wait so is he Corporal or a Private?" he asked in confusion while leaning out to see Flash's distinctions.

     

    1 hour ago, Bellosh said:

    Briefly, Cadence’s attention was grabbed by the Presenter’s voice announcing more guests, but before she could see who they were, the alicorn heard Capt. Walker utter that most beloved of F-words, and gasped! “THE TWO OF YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED???” With excited wings spread out and hearts in her eyes, Cadence unwittingly shoved her husband, Flash, and Presteza out of the way as moved to give Fire a quick celebratory hug; “CONGRATULATIONS!”

     

    Upon letting go of the pegasus mare, Cadence bombarded her and Count Squall with questions; “Do you have a wedding date set? Where’s it gonna’ be? How many guests? Is there a theme? You have a wedding planner? An officiator? Where’s the honeymoon-?” And so on and so on.....

     

    "Yes we are, and soo- GACK!" swordstallion answered before being forced to backdash to dodge an excited mass of royal pink that took his wife-to-be into almost a bear-like hug.

    Upon letting her go, Swift moved next to his love, quickly ensuring that crimson mare's organs were still in right places. Next that he knew, both of them were assaulted by almost literal hurricane of questions that quickly got uncomfortably ponysonal.

     

    Swift has faced cruel dragons, throat-cutting pirates, manticore's from Unyasi jungles, a literal oni and some horrors that didn't even had a name. But this mare? This mare, in such state? She scared him.

     

    Wide eyed, Swift made aside glance over his sunglasses at the Prince Armor - who probably knew better then to get involved.

    "She's always like that when it comes to those, isn't she?" noblepony guessed, even his unease not being enough to stop his sarky comments.

    • Like 2

  5. "Yes! Exactly!" Swift proclaimed upon seeing that Applejack 'got it'. His excitement however quickly diminished as as the orange mare kept going. By the time she finished he felt kind of bad.

    "......I am sorry Miss Applejack. I guess I didn't show my host proper respect by underestimating you yet again. It's just......." Swift grimaced before he continued. "I am so used to dealing with ponies who stuck to their old ways just because they old. The ways that is...." he said with now bared frustration "...that running into somepony who wiser than that is...unexpected. Although not unwelcome." he flashed the farm-mare a slight smile. "I guess there's a reason for this. In the last decade we saw more change in the nation than in last three hundred years squished together. Some are able to adapt to that, embraced this change and some....can't. So they double down, sticking to what they know - even if it's not something that doesn't make much sense." noblepony mused before smiling at Applejack once again. "And here I am, getting way to verbose again. Just like moments ago, when I simply could said that I believe that that concept those two came up with CAN work, if only it wouldn't be put to life by such schmucks like them....." Swift sighted "How come they aren't behind bars yet?" stallion asked.

     

    "Leaving that issue aside, let's move to the one that ties to it...." Squall put his reading glasses on and levitated Applejack's ledgers back into view. "....Namely, the supply and demand problem you seem to have. Too many ponies, and insufficient amounts of cinder - and we both agree you can't hope to be stuck int cinder-making competition year after year. And as with all such problem's there are two choices. Upping your supply would be..difficult. Not only it would require more of the resource, but also more hooves to process it. Hiring more would be counterproductive - you are trying to rise money here. And as we discussed there is no Cinder making machine so far that wouldn't be unreliable piece of junk. Multiplying is a solution...." Swift glanced at the picture of Applejack and her colt that hanged from wall...."...but a more long-term one the way I see it. Therefore the most available solution you have now is to rise your price." noblepony summed up.

     

    "And how long botanical gardens cane be kept running? Make no mistake Miss Applejack, this would be commitment - but the one that would require less of your time as the work goes on and you familiarize yourself with it. It would be worst at the beginning, at least two visits a month, more if some serious issue would pop-up. The City of Fillydelphia would probably like to receive regular reports. After all this will be a public venue - I myself am only a sponsor - even if very...involved one. Of course any traveling and accommodation expenses will be taken care of by me....It's even possible to give you a private flights straight from ou estate if you agree for it" he explained.

    "Sooooo....forty-five thousand a month?" Swift proposed cautiously.


  6. "It's not a button. It's a dial Moto. And there is no off option on it. It simply goes from 'Low' to 'Shut Up Already'." noblepony corrected his fiancee while adding some self-shade.

    "Well not my kind of relaxing...." Swift grumbled in muted protest. Then again it was probably him. Not many other ponies would find, say, bungee jumping as a refreshing experience.

    Events like these in comparison, absolutely bored him.

    "And small talk about what Dear? So far besides you and me there is nopony else that I kno...."

    On 9/19/2019 at 10:58 PM, Pretzelparty said:

    "Oh-Oh!" She waved her hoof excitedly in the other couple's direction, "Fire! Fire! Over--- uh." She blinked as she realized just how badly that could have been misunderstood by the rest of the attendees. She cleared her throat and called out in a more relaxed tone, "Fire Walker! Squall! Over here!"

     

    Oh thanks Harmony! His prayers were delivered! If only some of his fellow EPIC members could show up, this event would get even more bearable. Than again, EPIC was not an official formation. Did they even count as a, military? A commando unit like Honor Guard perhaps? Come to think of it, most of members were the civilians, even if they had prior experience in REA or REIN, himself included. He needs to talk with Sparkle about this. seeing that soon enough everything will be in her hooves, perhaps she has few ideas to reorganize things a little.

    "When did she came back? Wasn't Pretzy....a Court Artist for Long Guo Empress?" Swift was asking real questions here....

    On 9/19/2019 at 6:55 PM, tacobob said:

    "No...No drunk royalty here. Not even sure Alicorns can get drunk..." The closest thing she saw was Princess Twilight before she became a 'princess' dancing at a Canterlot garden party she was standing guard near. The purple pony had been either dancing drunk or just wasn't very good at shaking her flank. "Just relaxing music....Pleasant conversation. And oh, look!", she pointed to one of the servers. "I requested they serve  Bon Marché, and here it is....Nice red wine. Perfect for an relaxing evening with friends." , she curled her eyes up in pure bliss.

    "Probably they can. Everything counts in large amounts." Swift answered unconsciously. "Wait what am I saying?! And why we are sitting here? Let's join her!" swordpony was so hungry for social activity that he bounced from his seat, pulled Fire from her own and proceeded to move through the crowd while dragging their meals (and his suitcases) through the air. Thankfully his large stature made this easy, with him to move akin to icebreaker through the mass of other guests, allowing Fire to follow him without trouble.

    "Pretzy it's been....how long exactly? Well, too long the way I see it." he greeted the painter, with a very delicate shoulder punch "Knew you couldn't be tied to one place forever, even if it was nice one like Huangjing's Imperial Palace. Wanderlust always get better of us." noblepony mused before leaning to Fire. "Family trait Dear. In-blood for at least 500 years. Our ancestor married quite an explorer, Miss Chart Smart, and it's from her that we got it." Swift dropped some trivia about his and Presteza shared lineage before taking sip from his glass. Thankfully, Fire Walker knew his habits well and despite the color suggesting otherwise, it contained a simple grape juice. Of non-fermented kind.

    "And who is this gentstallion that invited yo......Wait, didn't I saw you somewhere? During.....Crystal Fair?" Swift addressed the Flash Sentry.

     

    But before he could get his answer the herald had to announce the arrival of the latest guests from Crystal Empire, just like he did when he and Fire came in. His eardrums still ringed a little from that one.

    "So the Empire strikes back....at least now we know where Celestia's Canterlot Royal Voice goes when she's not using it." Squall commented. "And Cadenza businesses card has to be very long indeed. Or it uses small font, which is low blow to the elderly." noblepony didn't omitted to make a playful jab at Mi Amore long list of titles. "Also Pretzy? You BFF calls you Miss when you can't hear her." he added while pointing at Fire and taking another sip of juice.

    The snark. It never ends.
     

    • Like 3

  7. "You know Dear, this is not exactly what I was expecting....." Swift said to Fire Walker while shooting disappointed glances left and right. "Is it like that every year? Because if it is, I am starting to understand why Celestia is bored out of her mind with G.G.G. I would retire too if I had to sit through another rerun of the show I watched over nine-hundred times already." noblepony said, smoothly moving from a question to the jab at event itself. For a thrill seeker like Squall, event like this was like laying in the bed of nails.....Even more so seeing that he had to attend 'balls' like this every other business meeting. His fiancee knew it too, but being a Captain of the Twilight Guard she couldn't weasel out from being present. And since Squall didn't wanted to let down his Love, he had to go as well.

     

    Perhaps due to this, despite the recommendations, Swift decided to dress as casually as he could get away with. Jade sunglasses, mane tied into a low ponytail and white bomber jacked in the style that would get Equestria Air Forces approval. Except snow white, with furred collar and with some added silver and emerald bling here and there - he was a Count after all. Swift also lugged around two long suitcases. The security was quite surprised when they saw their content, but seeing that it was in no way hazardous the let him pas with his baggage. The other attendees gave noblepony weird looks, but stallion couldn't care less. Even his Darling didn't knew what was inside, with Swift muttering that 'it's a surprise'.

     

    "And the music Fire, the music." unicorn shook his head like a complainer he was "Don't get me wrong, I am fond of classics. But if I wanted orchestra I would get us tickets for for 'Der Ring des Neighbelungen' tonight. Actually It's not bad idea, I think it's performed in the Hoofington tomorrow...."  Swift recalled before going back to the topic. "....I was hoping they would at least get Keen Logger to perform tonight since Wonderbolts are attending. To get some themes with more buck, but nooooooo......has to get all official." swordstallion rolled his eyes as they closed to their table. He would pay millions for Ashened Coopers being here right now.

    "This is like those parties that nobles like to throw up. Of the most effete kind." he mumbled while moving back the chair for Fire. Squall took his seat next, and immediately moved to dinner card, only barely holding off yet another groan of disappointment. He hoped that at least his taste buds will have something to enjoy - but nope! All the dishes Itailian, not a single thing from Unyasi, Saddle Arabia or Long Guo. This was patriotism taken too far!

     

    Businesspony didn't had time to check the available meals before the event, leaving the choice to Fire. Perhaps if he did, Swift would save himself from at least this letdown.

     

    Noblepony silently put the menu down, choosing to not vocalize his complains  he figured that he annoyed Fire enough already with his whining.

    "Dear, is there anything to look forward to today? Besides drowning in your beautiful eyes that is?" unicorn asked his fiancee while also buttering her up to stave off any potential frown crimson mare could display.


  8. In the hindsight, opening the door without warning was quite a poor idea. So was standing slack-jawed when chronal magic poured into the room.

    Swift believed knew what he was talking about when he commented about time magic. Being actually hit by it confirmed that he really, really wasn't. And why Sparkle advised haste.

     

    Swift was at high of his physical prime, and each splice of the second only brought him closer to the beginning of it. That should make him, giddy, perhaps even happy. And yet, each moment also seemed to strip him from something. Sparkle's expression indicated that she felt the same way.

     

    But there was no time to waste, whatever it was the actual one that moved forwards, or their ponysonal that moved backwards. The trigger had to be destroyed!

    Even without initial input from purple princess, Squall knew where to move the RC golem. In the middle of the room - from which was the shortest route to whatever he needed to go next.

    Then, her whisper came.

    "Ceiling, directly in the middle!"

    Above?! the thought flashed in his head. He could do that much, he certainly could!

    Just then Swift felt the sudden change of aeather, like a tug of the rope . Why did the revers aging slowed? Oh no. Sparkle, you stupid, stupid STUPID....!!!

    As his armor steadily became too big for him, his drone jumped rapidly. First on the table, the onto shoulders of one of Mycus's larger golem, control crystal.....

    Small drone launched itself at the trigger, claws extending from two of his limbs, aiming at the target.

    Noblepony didn't waited so see his last command executed. He didn't witness the golem's appendages cutting through the pipes and trigger alike. No, he knew his aim was true.

    Thus as the remotely controlled minion made his last jump, stallion grabbed the Sparkle and moved, turning both of them into the black and purple blurr.

     

    Every unicorn had a spell that they could call their own. This was his, burst of speed so great that most ponies would liken it to teleportation. Before the caribou attack on Crystal Empire Swift dismissed it however, seeing it as impractical, a last resort to be used when backed into the corner. It was to taxing, on both his aeather reserves and body. But after close proximity to Crystal Heart eruption made his magical stamina so much more impressive....

    Not that it mattered. He had to get Sparkle away. As far away as he could from that trap, even if it's magic started to die down. Even if his now younger body wasn't fit for it.....

    He hit the wall of the antechamber, next to the door they worked so hard not to open. His armor shielded him from most of the impact, just as he did wrap himself around the Princess to do the same to her. The spell didn't reached that far back yet, and seeing that chrono magic started to recede, it never will.

     

    Noblepony clumsily climbed onto his legs. The suit was now few sizes too small for him, but he managed to control it well enough to stand upright, despite to searing pain emanating from his overtaxed muscles. His now youngr body wasn't yet trained to withstand such abuse.

    "Screw you Mycus....Just.....screw you!" swordstallion finally allowed himself to vent his frustration, after danger of being reverse-aged out of existence passed. His usually very deep voice was much, much higher now, giving his words the tone he didn't heard in years "....Mycus you Sick ,Sick........Sparkle?" the realization hit him like a ton of bricks. She shielded him, at the cost of h e r s e l f. With the armor's visor being too high now, all he could see a purple blob sprawled next to him. No no, no nononononono......!

    "Sparkle you dumb, DUMB Princess! That was needless! I was playing piano since I was little colt, my hoof control is superb! Get up! I say get up! Elixirs, where are my elixirs?!" his anger quickly turned into panic as he started to search his satchels. She is alright, right? RIGHT?!

    She has to be! He can't explain to Fire that her boss is gone. Or the Royal sister's that their retirement is indefinitely postponed! What words he would use?

    "Soooo, I hope you have the spare Princess at hoof Your Majesties. The bookish one isn't really usable anymore...."


  9. On 9/11/2019 at 5:50 PM, tacobob said:

    Fire Walker who is currently part of the Twilight Guard would have to come

     

     

    She would go with Swift Squall...But if for some reason he's not able to attend, I could see her attending the event just to hang around and see friends. The idea of her best buddy Pressy going on a date makes her very very happy. <3

     

    I'll need to hear back from Swift's player before I fill out that form...

     

     

     

    Swift will absolutely attend. Mostly to humor Fire and ask questions. Questions like 'You guys still didn't do any reforms?!'.

    Also, Squall at one time was a trainee at the military, deserting just before graduation. Any guard character is free to recognize him as an old colleague, 'Sharp Carrot'. And before anyone asks, he was cleared from all charges for deserting the military.


  10. "At least you self aware. Good. You have no idea how refreshing it is to see that." Swift said with a smile before his expression turned more serious.

    "And since you was honest with me and myself, I in turn will be truthful to you. Now before I begin I should tell you. I not going to say to you how you should run your estate. Frankly, I wouldn't know where to even begin.  But my grandfather made billions, so did my father and I only added to the pile - I know something about business so to speak. What I have is some ideas - as a gift - to improve your lot. You can take them, or leave then, your choice." unicorn said  before pausing to take his reading glasses off.

     

    "First? Let's back to that machine. Yes, yes, I know, I know but allow me to be a Devil's Advocate here. Let's start with the unicorn thing. It doesn't work like that. Or at least, it shouldn't." Swift revealed  "My TEMPEST works a lot with magic powered devices so I can say this from experience. Only some really heavy machinery requires for horned ponies to be near or inside it all the time. Tunneling machines, strip miners - we are working with machines so large you would think they come from some Neighponyse anime. But Squeezy? Nothing of such size should require unicorn presence for a whole day, just an initial pouring of magical energy and that's it. Maaaybe another one in the middle of the day if the work was really intense. And let' be frank, being responsible for keeping Squeezy running gives no power to that hypothetical he or she. You still own the machine, materials and product. Anypony would start something funny, and any lawyer would eat them alive. And with such large family, you certainly have one or two relatives that deal with law to fall back on, for a minimal fee, right?" noblepony said with a smirk "And besides, it's not like you would leave that unicorn without supervision anyway. Your family is too smart for that." Swift pointed out before pausing again to make Applejack digest this information.

     

    "Second, that odd growing thing? More common than you think. I myself had issue like that to deal with when I started my TEMPEST. Renovation job of Baltimare historical park ruined lawns, henges and so on, seemingly out of blue. Reason? Machines itself were fine, the problem was who build them. Turns out you it's not the power source to blame either. Heck, you could even enchant them no issue. But all the other parts? When it comes to dealing with, well, plans?" Swift waved his hoof "Has to be made by Earth Pony. Every. Single. Bolt. We had to scrap a lot of equipment when we found out. At least we got some money back for raw materials...." swordstallion reminisced "So yes, again, that Squeezy machine as a concept was fine, it's just, well, made by Them." Swift gave a deep sight. "Would also explain maintenance problems you mentioned, they probably made everything as cheap as they could. I just can't wrap how much of an idiots those two were. Think about it, they made three - correction - FOUR machines in one." Squall said.

    "A picker, a sorter, squeezer AND a hauler. One wouldn't need to even have make cinder with this one...... It could turn for you Applebucking Season into Applebucking DAY. Those Flim-Flam brothers were absolute fools Miss Applejack. They could have made fortunes, fair and square, by turning the thing into four separate machines and marketing it all across Equestria. But instead....they drove around the realm, conning ponies into cinder-making races. Idiots, complete idiots!" noblepony lamented the lost potential while facehooffing.

    "Sorry....I am just...allergic for such things" he apologized before straightening out. "Errr...where was I? Oh yes, the quality thing. Well, clearly your family makes the best cinder in all Equestria.....But they gone head hooftip-to-hooftip for most of the race didn't they? Don't try to deny it Miss Applejack. As I said earlier, I got details from Sparkle beforehoof. Heck, they were so confident they have this in the nag,  that the bent rules a little and allowed you to get *ehem* 'honorary family' to help. It's only when they panicked and they overclocked the Squeezy that the quality tanked." Swift pointed out before his voice darkened.

    "Also, I don't know if you realize how close of the shave that race was. If they served the FIRST cinder barrels they made of that batch instead of the LAST....." he pointed out, allowing for terrifying realization to sink in. "And if the machine was made with quality materials, they could best you even with all the help you got. Did you ever wonder why pegasi manufacture so much weather in factories, instead of making it by the hoof like their ancestors did? Same reason."

     

    Since his first 'advice' turned out to be quite a mouthful, Swift decided to leave rest for them for later and refocus on what he wanted to hire Applejack for.

    "Yes, all internally,. We used quite and amount of tricks to work around the issue, but it's better to explain them when we get to the site.I failed to mention it, but we about 70% done with the first floor I think, we may expand if it will be deemed necessary, so the garden may turn out even larger in the end." Swift said, before continuing upon seeing Applejack's reaction "The garden itself is on the first floor. On the second it will have botanical branch of Fillydelphia University, as well as paleontologist museum that will focus on extinct plants. Maybe another one dedicated to honor scientist and explorers responsible for breakthroughs in that science field. On the floors minus one to minus four we planning to have laboratories dedicated to research uses of various plants. Floor minus five will be dedicated seed bank, with another one build in the frozen north, beyond Crystal Empire."

     

    Swift shook his head when Applejack proposed to take make things work through correspondence.

    "Miss Applejack while I appropriate the offer, this is something we could hire any of your relatives that live closer to do the same. No, what I need is......dedicated inspector for the garden itself as a whole." Swift said before explaining.

    "It has to be an Earth Pony, for obvious reasons. It also has to be one that works with plants - again, that goes with out saying. It also has to by somepony known for diligence and being honest opinion." Swift gazed intensely at the orange mare "And you Miss Applejack are a Honesty as far as the World is concerned."


  11. Swift could only roll his eyes when Fire got all coquettish on him. "Like I would lie about that. Besides...." he waved his hoof. "...you of all ponies should know how conservative I am when choosing my clothing." he lampshaded.

    Thankfully the conversation shifted from what he was wearing that day, to what ponies were wearing on the catwalk when getting paid.....

    "You do wonder why exactly it costs ten grand. Certainly not for materials or coverage, when roll of toilet paper can provide more of both." noblepony shook his head

    "I don't see my company ever investing into fashion. Most of the time it walks too close to the edge of madness for my liking."

     

    Unicorn shook his head in disagreement when Moto mentioned the possibility of returning to Pre-Princesses system of leadership.

    "First of, if crown was abolished, you can bet that the Equestria nobility would size power immediately after. And I don't have to explain how shady oligarchy is when you look at Aquelia and Kastort." Swift mentioned two nations who were examples of just that. "Second...well I am sorry to say it, but most ponies can't face throwing a punch, much less dealing with hard decisions that would affect lives of millions..." noblepony paused to take a deep breath. "And third - for being your boss, you give Sparkle very little credit Moto. She's far more insightful then others assume. Just smart enough not to spill how much she knows when it would be harmful, because she is aware that knowing is half the battle. She's 'cornered rattlesnake' type of leader Dear. At first she will panic and freak out, but after the threshold is passed she shows how truly capable she really is. Also noticed how strong ties she and her friends managed to form with Seaquestria, New Changeling Kingdom, Yakistan and Griffonstone. The last one may be at price of Aquelia getting much colder with us. But then again, you say they aren't much of an ally in a first place, seeing that they didn't lift a talon when Storm King invaded. At least Whitescar has justification of dealing with a civil-war in all but name....." Swift mused, finishing his political rant.

     

    "We had similar discussion in the past Dear. The only difference is, it was third time he was 'outright blown to pieces'. I want to believe it sticks this time, but won't be surprised if it doesn't."

    Swift could only smirk when crimson mare described their kin. Pretty accurately actually.

    " The term denizens of Long Guo would use would be 'Silk Hiding Steel'.......does that mean I am not allowed to teass and snark at your brothers anymore?" he joked.

     

    "..........." Swift pondered what Fire said about this another 'Sombra' with troubled expression. but no matter what, he couldn't get an fitting answer besides a rather flimsy theory.

    "....Perhaps...he only believes he is Sombra. Dark Magic can do some...disturbing things to you, even if not used with malevolent intent. He could be unicorn that used it so much that he started to look and believe himself to be a tyrant." Swift proposed.

    "If he really was him, I am sure he would recognize and acknowledge you, even if just to torment you further. After all you ran into him twice before, which is more then most can say....."

     

    While Swift didn't commented on Fire's mention of Crystal Heart, he followed her gaze. Kirin? Quite a distance for their homeland. He would much sooner expect to bump into one in Manhattan or Canterlot than on the way to Empire - especially since it was still relatively new, for an 'attraction'. Not many foreign tourist-guides mentioned it yet.

    That aside....as he stared at the two, Swift couldn't help but feel some familiarity with one of the two, the quirin mare. Noblepony tiled his head in contusion.....have they met before?

     

    His thoughts were quickly disturbed however, when he saw Fire's serens smile being replaced by wide eyed look of horror.

    "What? WHAT? Is that something I sa....." he stopped when he realized what it was.

    "Oh come on Dear....Narrative Causality?  This isn't a play we watched last week. Unless Gramps put spell on us thinking it would be funny. Wouldn't put it above him." he said, and as if on command , airship tildes on the side by 30 degrees.....

    ".....Perhaps he did, seeing that we going to go down, but it's no reason to believe it has relation to what I said earlier....." a 'groan' of metal could be heard from the outside, followed by a loud scrunch and flashing of large shape near the window.

    "......or to dismiss it.....See? This was clearly one of the rotors. Clearly a shoddy job, wouldn't have happened if my TEMPEST build this vessel. I mean, how old it is? Ponies these days are trying to cut costs at everything." Swift mumbled before he got up and turned around to addressed the room.

    "Attention please. The bad news is that we going to crash. The good news is, Me and My fiancee been through this before - few times in fact - so we will walk you through. The even better news is, nopony is going to die. Unless you are a lawyer. Or tax collector. Or your term of retirement is coming shortly. Also, all of you you probably should put something warm on." stallion said.

     

    And then airship was TORN IN HALF, by the rough winds, and Swift fell into unconsciousness.....

    • Like 1

  12. Applejack may have assumed that noblepony was indifferent towards all that management talk. But while Swift was a noble and a warrior, he was also a businesspony.

    As such, when the orange mare brought up notebooks, Swift ears perked up in genuine interest. So much so, that he pulled out his reading glasses from one of his pockets. After all, keeping orchard running was a business. A vastly different one that his own, but still a business. And Swift was keen to compare work of  one professional with his own.

    "My, my...." he mused as he sized few of them with his magic to study few at once "....I seen actual accountant books less detailed than this. This is assiduousness to be respected." Swift said admiringly.

     

    Swordstallion could only groan when his host called him for the meal.

    "Yes, like I never heard that one before, O Miss Lad-ette...." he snarked as he got up from the piano stool. As he moved to the table, Swift noticed two pinches of cinder placed on it. His brows raised in confusion before the realization that dawned on him added frown to his face.

    "I am sorry, It's my fault. I have strict no-drinking policy. I should've mentioned this when we stepped inside." he said, genuinely apologetic as he took the seat.

    "....Although that and and all those number reminded me of something I wanted to ask for a long time. I read the story from my copy of the Friendship Journal, and got recount of the event from Sparkle. But I also wanted to hear your thoughts Miss Applejack. About that Cinder Squeezy 6000 machine...The more I pondered, the more i wondered why didn't you bought it. Ye, you would've have to hire an unicorn to keep it powered but..." he paused,, weaving hos hoof to encourage the answer from the orange mare. In the meantime he occupied himself with the soup. it was really, really good! Easily worthy of 5-Star restaurant. It was clear that Applejack practiced making this dish a lot!

     

    "Imitator......not the description I would have used. I would say it's more of the...homage." he mused while way more fruits flew from the basked. Judging from her expression, Applejack recognized them all. Mammee apple, cashew apple, iceapple, wax apple, thorn apple, sugar apple and much more. All of those soon found their place on the table alongside Caimito he pulled out earlier.

    "Durian is often called king of fruits, but if this is true, then it's clear there is a grey-eminence behind it's throne that really calls the shots...." Swift sent a meaningful gaze towards all apple-shaped decorations around the room.

    "...Just like there is more agriculture oriented families out there. Some may be bigger, others richer and others are louder. But if you want something to be done efficiently, you know to which Clan you want to turn.The no-nonsense professional among them..." unicorn stallion continued with buttering up, while sending Applejack meaningful gaze.

     

    "Oh you can say I will be growing them. Along all of those too...." he waved at the batter of fruits he brought. "And you are also right about BIG part as well. Twenty thousand hectares big to be precise." he explained before he leaned over the table. His gaze becoming even more intense more intense.

    "Miss Applejack, I am funding the largest botanical garden in the world. And whole of it. Under.Roof. And not of the glasshouse variety" he said before returning to his seat.

    "And I need You, to ensure it will also be the best." he pointed at the earth pony mare.

    • Like 1

  13. "Then I will rely on your expertise in the matter Sparkle. Although I have a feeling you would've been very excited if Mycus's work proved you wrong." Squall said, showing teasing and showing respect to purple princess in one phrase. "....We both would've be...." he admitted second later.

     

    Noblepony mouth formed thin line under the helmet when Twiligh mentioned how prevalent aeather energies might had potential to mutate local wildlife.

    "....I get a picture Sparkle. I can still recall WRAITH's 'work in Askr......" Swift said. This wasn't a pleasant memory. "Yes, we can agree it's better if we don't stumble onto some pony-eating mole abominations."

     

    "Well 'later schoolarship' didn't had access to Rye Wind journal like we did. You re-evaluated his rank after getting through it I bet." Swift pointed out while using one of his spellsabers as a flashlight to illuminate some of room's darker corners "....I assume he was at top ten of most cunning and clever too." he added while scanning the room for more clues or secrets.

     

    Swift felt all warm inside when Twilight expressed delight seeing TEMPEST new, potential product. Knowing that his employees hard work were appreciated by non-other but one of Equestria's five - soon to be three - Princesses made him feel great. Especially when one in question was pro-progress Twilight Sparkle, who certainly had mental acumen for the untapped potential new technology brought.

     

    "Wait till you see our experimental ATT. We believe that manually controlled golems can have all sort's of potential uses. Although they don't really golems anymore when you think of it. We just didn't coined good, tongue-rolling term yet." he commented.

     

    Twilight however expressed hesitation when it came to controlling the 'golem', excusing herself with insufficient skill. After as second of thought Swift had to concur with purple mare, but not without some encouragement.

    "......Yet. I believe you will become good with all kinds of things in the future." Swift mused. "But yes, this is probably poor place for first lesson in 'golem piloting'." noblepony agreed before turning around and opening the door with a blast of telekinetic force.

     

    Seconds later, beneath the armor, his jaw dropped.

     

    Unlike the room they were standing in, the next one was certainly NOT decayed.

    Although it was bigger then Canterlot's Castle throne room by a magnitude of six, the two ponies could already see all sorts of wonders from where they stood. Glass like floor, beneath which was miles upon miles of tubes through which flown academical liquids and gasses. Rows and rows of bookshelves filled with volumes, most of which certainly no longer existed anywhere else, stretched across one of the wall - while the one of the opposite side was filled with doors. Above each doorway was a description, written in Old Unicornian describing it's purpose. Over three dozens of loooong tables, each one filled with notes, flasks, condensers, beakers.....all sorts of the academical glassware!

    Through the air glided incredible amount of crystals that could only come from Crystal Empire. Some as large as the adult minotaur bull, hoovered between the furniture, with smaller ones circling above them. Here and there the pair could see magical circles inscribed with arcane writing. Some on the, were on the walls, floor and even the ceiling.

    But most of all - golems! So many golems of various shapes and sizes among around the room! Some flew, some walked, and some stood still. Those that were in motion however moved with precisely, dedicated to keep the place running as their master wished. They seemed totally apathetic to ponies presence, their task occupying them completely.

    Swift was kept so captivated by the sight of it all. So muc so that that he didn't even move when pair of large bipedal ones walked through the door, past them and started tidying the classroom they were in.

    "..........How does this aeatheric trigger look like?!!!!?" Swift asked, barely able to contain his excitement, while he grabbed the controller and sent their little scout forward with utmost haste.


  14. "Well, it isn't that I didn't deserved it...." Swift mused. He had to admit to himself that his obsession with besting Sig...himself get a better at him at times. And when it does, almost all the logic and reason is thrown to the wind. But even then, Fire at least deserved a latter of two didn't she? A simple "I am okay." sent from Long Kong or something. Not that he was IN the Long Kong during those three months, passing through it on the way notwithstanding.....

    "Dear we been over this. My 'suit' was already a bunch of rags! Lěngfēng Highlands are really not kind for Equestrian clothing...." this was true. When he appeared in Ponyville Squall looked like a hobo. At least he had a little sense to wash himself before getting itto the competitions, but still. He still recalled mare's shriek when she saw his unkempt beard...Of course she ordered him to shave it post haste....although Swift wondered if the groomed one would look good on him?

    "Well I guess we overdid that a little....." noblepony admitted when crimson mare mentioned the ruined furniture. He was banished to the couch for the few days, but since they really missed each other.....

     

    "I have to ask her how she is going to do this. She can't exactly tell everypony in Day and Night Guard 'Whelp, you fired.' does she? Is she going to merge them with Twilight Guard? Does that mean there will be three Captains? Are you going to take shifts?" Swift was quick to ask obvious questions.

    "But honestly....I don't really believe they 'retiring for good. How can you exactly retire when your life expectancy is measured in geological terms? And Luna wasn't at the job even for a decade since her return! Sure, we might not get to see it, but give it generation or five and they will be back. Their sense of responsibility won't let them lay on their sunbeds forever, no matter how well Sparkle will fare." unicorn mused.

     

    Swift however got a wee bit less relaxed when Moto mentioned Sombra.

    "What do you mean like him but not him? " stallion asked his voice low. Well, lower. "Is he multiplying? Are they now multitudes of him? How many time you have to slay this bastard?!" he asked in frustration.

     

    But if anyone knew how to soothe Squall's nerves quickly Fire Walker. Noblepony quickly abandoned his own coach to join his sweetheart's.

    "Awww that's nice...." he expressed as the cuddled. He didn't gave two bits that they were in public sitting area. "....But if we will be like that forever , we won't get anything done, wold we?" Swift pointed out.

    "This will be Best. Vacation.Ever!" he annouced, second later however in his eye appeared a glint Fire knew all too well...."And after we get back, I will finally go to Whitescar, so I can finally beat Sig.....!"

    <DING-DONG!>

     

    <"Attention all Passengers. We just now left Equestria air space, and are currently over territory under jurisdiction of Crystal Empire. Due to difficult weather conditions, we will be following alternate flight-path. We apologize for a delays and inconveniences resulting because of it.....">

     

    "Splendid....." Squall groaned, ignoring rest of the announcement. "I should've known better and use one of my own airships for the flight. We could easily flew OVER that bad weather." noblepony whinged.

    • Like 1

  15. It was so nice to get a time for yourself once in the while. Squall wasn't usually a pony who sought vacation often, but it was about time he and Fire got to spent some time together - especially since their wedding was approaching soon, which would be followed by honeymoon in more...exotic locations.

     

    Of course he had to convince her first. After appearing in the middle of the Iron pony competition, noblepony was chewed out by his other half for disappearing with barely a word for three months, coming back like it as nothing, and looking like a beggar when he did so. After much repenting on his part on his part, Squall managed to pacify the winged mare with promise of the long delayed vacation. At this point both of them really earned it.

     

    And what better place to combine far-away and familiar then Crystal Empire? The two of them didn't had a chance to visit it since the disastrous Crystal Fair during which the northern kingdom got attacked by nefarious alliance of viking caribou (later revealed to be part of separatist faction) and Ex-King Sombra (who seemed to be unkillable like a cockroach),

    While Squall - being the billionaire he was - regularly sent aid in both finances and resources, it was about time to see in person how much Empire recovered since then.

     

    "You know Dear, relaxing isn't so bad once you put your heart into it." Swift mused while while stretched on the most glorious couch and sipping pineapple juice. While the pair decided to use public transport this time, Swift nearly bottomless wallet meant they could easly afford the First Class tickets.

    "Come to think of it...we never really toured the place, didn't we? It was either Festivals or disasters, or something else getting in the way. For once we can go as simple tourists......" unicorn said before pulling out what was Guidebook for their destination. "We will make so many photos, buy so many souvenirs...oh and I heard their cuisine is really unique. It's going to be greeeeeat!" Swift announced, clearly in high spirits. And why would he be? Squall was always looking for new experiences, and Crystal Empire was one of the places that this globetrotting pony didn't scoured top to bottom - due to obvious circumstances.

    • Like 2

  16. Sixty-five hundred acres.....That equaled one third of the Squallcoast Manor and the estate surrounding it. The difference was, most of the grounds around Swift's own residence was greenfield and woods. Sweet Apple Acres in comparison was an orchard. ALL OF IT, their own house and bard excluded.

    "That....that would be equivalent of 2600 rugby fields.....And you work on it....with just four of you. With one pony being senior, while other is not out of the school yet!" Swift said, being close to completely flipping out. Even if you disregard that various apple cultivars were harvested at different times......

     

    How in Tartarus....how in Tartarus this mare didn't dropped dead from overwork yet?! And how could he put himself in position of demanding anything from her? At this point he should shake her hoof, rain money on her and then go to Canterlot to DEMAND out of Celestia to award this orange earth pony with Equestrian Medal of Diligence! And this wasn't her only responsibility wasn't it? She was also Guard AND a parent!

     

    Alright, calm down. After all he knew precious ZERO how much work they needed to put into the orchard. After all this wasn't like a wheat field right? Where almost all of the harvest processed before being usable. And after all this was a family that did it for generations. Very extended family. One would assume that various branches of it would devise clever tricks to lessen their workload, and pass them around to each other.

    "S-Sorry...I was distracted by math of it without considering...well, anything else." Swift apologized for his reaction.

     

    "I bet you wouldn't....." noblepony managed to answer to Applejack's explanation about her family ties....before pondering his lot as the sole remaining heir to ancient Squallcoast line.

    Applejack own family was numerous and diverse, while his own closest family - aside from his parents and grandfather - consisted of Blueblood, Presteza and their own amilies...and even then, their last common ancestor lived two and a half centuries ago. Calling Pretzy 'Cousin would be a bit of a stretch.

     

    Squall nodded when brought up her own history knowledge. All of those was true.

    "....Not to mention Applewoood, Los Aerioness and other settlements." he added "But you see Miss Applejack, Manhattan and Fillydelphia are the first, the oldest cities at the southern coast. And as such their rivalry is more ponysonall, more intimate and at times more....petty" unicorn explained.

    "Many assume that it was development of air travel that made events go as their did...but no. After all Fildelphia has so much more space then Big Orange to build enormous airfields, does it? The true answer answer is Aquelia. Or rather how much closer Filldelphia is to it. And that was...not a good thing during when we joined the Second Sparkling Sea's War. Yes, Celestia managed to squash that conflict quickly with her superb diplomatic skills, but back then big business in Filly had no way to way to know that. And so - in fear - they relocated...farther from the potential front-lines. To Manhattan. Events turned less scary then they predicted, but rapid relocation weren't really....affordable. And this Miss Applejack, is one of the reasons why Manehattan is as big as it is, along with it excellent localization and few other factors. You can imagine Fillydelphia is a bit....bitter about this turn of events. Sure, in time it managed to find some pride in being Equestria's granary, but some resentment remains. Recall every hoofball game event where  teams from each city played against each other for example. They are are more...volatile then other match-ups aren't they?" Swift pointed out.

    "Sports, literature, art, universities, film. The horn measuring contest continues in everything Miss Applejack. With one notable exception. Grand, monumental city hallmarks, and I can tell you that. I may be Count of Fillydelphia, but I was born and raised in Big Orange, ya know?" Squall said, effortlessly slipping into Big Orange accent mid-sentence.

    "Becuse it's home to so many  miloneeres, Manhattan has wallet deep enough to afford such projects. While Filly simply does....not. In fact, I am the biggest investor that decided to set up shop there in centuries. And even I had other, ulterior reasons to do so. But because of those reasons I care. Not about that petty rivalry, no. But making something, big and grandiose would create hundreds of workplaces, bring prestige to Filldelphia and most important of all - show that the City of Sisterly Love is a place worth of investment again. Not to mention educational benefits that will come with that particular project." Swift explained.

    With his magic, noblepony reached towards the gift basket that he brought, and pulled exotic looking fruit out of it, before passing it to her.

    "Have you ever been in botanical garden Miss Applejack?" Swift asked with a gleam in his eye.


  17. Squall didn't liked Twilight's assumption at all. Not because he was looking for a fight, but because Sparkle assumed that she was 100% correct. Yes she was the alicorn. Yes she was a Princess of Magic/Friendship. But weren't they here precisely to seek secret of alchemy and sorcery lost to passage of aeons?

    I can's see, feel or heard it so it doesn't exist!  Swift found this attitude annoying. Although luckily she seemed to realize that too. Claiming that she hoped to avoid trouble was acknowledgment that she may have made an error....and that was comforting.

    "Hold on to that thought . Rye Wind admitted in her diary that Mycus didn't taught her everything, so we have to stay alert nevertheless." he reminded her. True she was well experienced adventurer herself, but some anvils just had to be dropped. "Besides , there may be no enemies now, but Thrice-Blessed was master evocator. No doubt there is some countermeasures that will summon guardians from other plane of existence as answer to our trespassing." noblepony added.

     

    The room they were in was in rather sorry state. Squall noticed Twilight's expression and he had to agree with her thoughts, this decay was very suspicious, especially seeing all of Mycus's measures to prevent just that. That said, this room indeed didn't seemed that important, with tools and ingredients no more awe inducing then what what he already saw in the past or what was commonly available. Then sudden realization came, why all of this was simple.

    "Sparkle.....I think...I think this is a classroom." he expressed "...Perhaps first of many, the most elementary one.....relatively speaking that is." Swift mused.

    Purple Princess however was already focused on potential threat....namely the room beyond that was intended very dangerous for unprepared pony.

     

    ".......Time magic requires enormous amounts of magical power to cast. Even if bound as activated on-circumstance enchantment." Swift recalled before turning to Twilight "Thrice-Blessed had to be at least as powerful as your unicorn self or your friend Starlight Glimmer." stallion measured.

     

    Squall listened to Twilight, her plan was a sound one and could very much work. However as they stared at the door Swift realized something.

    "Sparkle....take a look at the door." noblepony pointed his hoof "Those scratches around the knob, the dents from being hit by various items.This chronotrap while impressive has one logical weakness - it only affect living beings - it has to. Otherwise the very room and everything inside would age itself backwards into non-existence, including the surface that trigger has to be put on. No matter how powerful is the enchantment, if it's physical anchor is destroyed it goes along with it....." Swift said.

     

    "And no mind, no matter how great, has enough foresight to account for all advancements of the future." he announced while reaching with his magic to detach device at side of his armor.

    He put it on the ground before them....and it unfolded into six-legged golem resembling somewhat a cross before crab and spider.

    "I wanted to wait with this until later, but necessity is necessity. This is something similar to what I brought to Neighpon - I assume you read reports about that Mission. It's faster, more durable, with better operation time and more manipulator tools - far more then simple scrying jammer. But most important of all, it's gone away with golem's main weakness - being able to perform only so many tasks it was created with in mind. And that's because it doesn't have a 'mind of it's own...." Swift than pulled out what was an arcade controller. Above it appeared the visuals what the golem had to 'see'.

    "...It's manually controlled." Swift said before smirking under his armor upon seeing Twilight's reaction.

    "So You Highness...." the controller floated before the purple mare. "...Want to take it for a spin?"

    • Like 1

  18. When Applejack threw the fruit at Squall he couldn't help but smirk while catching it. "Well, well, well.....You listed so many cultivars that I thought you ran out of space on your demesne. And yet, once a again it's Me who ends up surprised." he admitted. "How big is your estate anyway?"he prodded while taking big bite from the fruit.

     

    "It does." Swift agreed then the apple mare described the planned course. "Apple fritter I assume?" he asked, even if answer was obvious. He was IN Sweet Apple Acres after all, so of course their meals will be dominated by their own products. And when in Roam, do as Roamans do.

    Besides he really shouldn't be the pony to complain. This will be the first comprehensive meal he had in month - jumping all around Equestria and beyond didn't left time to kick back and enjoy breakfast, lunch or whatever.

     

    "Must be nice to have siblings....." Squall mused, his voice calm but with a grimace of envy on his face. This always came up when Fire mentioned her sister or one of her numerous brothers, and now when Applejack did the same it was no different.  Good thing she didn't saw his reaction.

     

    Fortunately, the music he spun was enough to dismiss those vexatious. It perhaps relaxed his a bit too much, seeing that Applejack unintentionally sneaked up on normally very alert stallion.

    "WhattheintheTart.....W-What?" he snapped, almost falling from the piano stool before he was able to process farm-mare words.

    "Oh....That? I wasn't really focusing to be honest. It was more muscle memory than anything. I was actually taught in very young age, got some very talented tutors. Soon music became one of those things I came to enjoy, seeing I had a talent for it. Just....not the special one." Swift said, and his expression made it clear that Applejack should push for further details, at least for the time being.  His face quickly softened when he begun reminiscing about more pleasant past experiences.

    "...When I was hired to be bodyguard for 'Ashened Coppers' I picked up electric guitar, bass and drums as well. Couldn't ask for better teachers, those guys are so laid back when not on stage. I still keep in touch with them, you know? They insist that I should've become their sixth member....." he mused while scoffing at the idea. His life would surely make a very different turn if he would've picked their offer back then.....

    ".....But enough about tales of mine....." Swift said with a wave of his hoof and half-spin on the stool to better address the orange mare.

    "Miss Applejack, how familiar You are with rivalry Fillydelphia and Manehattan have with each other?" Squall asked.

    • Like 1

  19. Squall conjecture was validated as soon as water droplets started to rain down on the Ponyville. Lo and behold, Applejack was returning from whatever activities required her presence.

    And judging from her disheveled look look, that were some taxing tasks indeed.

     

    "It's alright, think nothing of it Miss Applejack." he said while shaking his head. "I can tell your afternoon was as strenuous as it is without worrying about that." Swift continued while conjuring force-field above their heads to serve by makeshift umbrella.

     

    Once they were inside noblepony continued with giving his surroundings a curious glances.

    "Please, you don't have to apologize. As you yourself said earlier, it was an emergency." Swift answered, although he raised his eyebrow when she mentioned a meal. Oh right,  she DID mention it, didn't she? And he expressed interest in her culinary skills. How shortsighted of him, it only added more work for already tired mare.

     

    That's said, Squall knew better then to tell her to not to bother. Seeing that he himself was a stubborn pony, Swift understood full-well Miss Applejack wouldn't acknowledge refusal - after all, that's how he would react if their situations were reversed - both of them wanted to be a perfect host for their guests.

    "I would take Mutsu, thank you." unicorn answered while moving to the living room. Stallion set the very large gift basket that he brought on the floor, before making himself comfortable on the couch....

     

    Well, not THAT comfortable. After all, Squall's thoughts were already circling around wok proposition he had for the apple mare. He also couldn't help to feel a little guilty. The young mother's was already overburdened, and he planned to only add to that. At least Swift could take solace in fact that he wouldn't make her do that work for peanuts. Unless those peanuts were cast from solid gold. Then he probably could pay her with that......

     

    "So......" Squall started, in an effort to keep conversation going. "....I must admit, I expected your residence to be more...lively. Especially at that late hour." swordpony mused.

    Only then he noticed piano standing in the room. Strange, Twilight mentioned that her friend could play guitar, but not that instrument. Was that a new feature? Something they inherited from the relative? Or was this something they were temporarily holding on as a favor for somepony?

     

    Regardless of the reason of why it was here, Squall couldn't pass the opportunity to pass time in more creative manner.

    Stallion pressed first few keys - as it turned out, the instrument was well tuned. This made the count smile before he proceeded to render Applejack's cooking task more pleasant.

    • Like 1

  20. "Less savvy when it comes to it then I sound." Squall admitted "I am but an eternal learner you see - because I have policy to know about what I am spending my money on Sparkle." noblepony added. "That's why my TEMPEST actions are not on on Stock Market, and why I don't have anyone from Sales or Marketing on my board of directors. Also why I am not reaching for monopoly on certain markets. Although I have a feeling you would have something to tell about it if I ever tried." Swift said with a smirk. What followed were his musings about managing a business.

    "Here's what so many companies don't get - Competition. Is. Good. This arms race to bring new contractors, new customers. And it makes you know what you are selling. Imagine you are a product pony in a company that makes, say, instruments. So you make a new, better flute. So what? When you have monopoly market share, the company is not anymore successful because of that. And as such, the ponies that rise the sales are from sales and marketing, with them ending up running said companies. Product ponies are driven out of decision making forums. And so product sensibilities, that genius that made them make great product is rotted out - by ponies that have no clue what is good product or bad product is, and have no idea how to turn craftsmanship into profit." Squall summed this short lesson up before he started donning his suit while Twilight worked on her sorcery.

     

    When Twilight managed to conjure the portal, Swift grimaced under the helmet. Couldn't it be a little bit bigger? She was messing with him, wasn't she?

    "The last time I saw a portal, a very angry, and very malicious oni tired to squash me like a grape." swordstallion recalled a certain secret mission to Neighpon where he and his EPIC teammates stopped WRAITH nefarious scheme. The suit also added quite impressive reverb to noblepony's already very deep voice.

    "Fine...." unicorn spoke after a pregnant pause "But I swear to Aeather, if you mention this part to Fire, you will be smeared in newspapers all around Equestria for a whole week." Squall threatened the purple princess.

     

    "..........Audentes fortuna iuvat." noblpony mumbled before leaping into the air and diving down into magical passage. And as expected he got initially stuck. Well, no surprise there. After all, this armor bulked him out considerably, even if it's build didn't limit his agility at all. What followed wat a rather impressive display of contortions. Few knew that Swift had skills rivaling those of Equestria Games gymnasts - with only Fire Walker having regular insight into Squallcoast capabilities in that regard. Businesspony was certainly glad that his hindquarters were heavily armored right now.

    After a minute of energetic.....wiggling.....Squall manged to squeeze through the portal. Luckily Sparkle had enough insight to open the other end high - giving swordstallion enough time to twist midair and land on his hooves. Even before his armored limbs touched the floor, four swords of his were already drawn, with stallion ready to face any potential guardian ready to intercept the intruder.

     

    Luckily his caution proved unnecessary - at least for the time being. The light given by two of his spellsabers revealed that he was in what could only be a massive antechamber.  The enormous relief the stone walls depicted cloaked ponies, their robes covered in alchemy symbols, as they worked over various apparatuses. The enormous door that was on his left far overshadowed the much smaller one on his right. It surely had to lead further into Mycuses laboratory. While he had no idea what was behind the door that Twilight magic allowed them to skip, all of his instincts told him that opening it would be a very poor idea.

    "It's alright Sparkle, it's safe." Swift said, certain that royal pony can hear him. "As safe as it could be for two ponies diving neck first into the unknown that is."

     

     

    • Like 1

  21. In those few hours since Squall and Applejack met at the later's apple stall, the weather have turned foul.

     

    Not that Squall was bothered by it. Befitting his name, he rather enjoyed the dark clouds, buffeting wind and sound of rumbling thunder coming from over the nearby Everfree Forest. Being in good mood, he hummed to himself the melody of one of his favorite symphonies, while the gift basket he brought levitated next to him.

    "If only a rain would come with that. This scorcher lasted far too long." Swift mused as he entered the Sweet Apple Arces grounds.

     

    For all his travels - to Ponyville, around Equestria and even beyond realm borders- this was a first time he was in 'Honest to Aeather' orchard. Ranches? Yes. Farms? Absolutely! Orchards? Well, about time he checked out that one.

     

    As such noblepony made curious glances left and right, taking mental noted and making comprehensions to places he visited before. After all this was a new experience, and Count Squallcoast was always hungry for new experiences.

     

    Finally he passed through small archway in the fence just before the house. That's odd. Twilight - because of course he sough Sparkle counsel before this visit - mentioned that upper part of the door were usually open, bad weather or not. Unless no one was inside that is.

    "Certainly she didn't forgot.....?" Squall turned around shoot a question to a surrounding space, but predictably, it didn't rewarded him with an answer.

     

    Squall again faced the door, and rose his hoof to knock, but hesitated. Instead he respectfully touched the house entrance. The multiple layers of old pain he could see. Numerous scratches around the keyhole, the signs of wear on stone pathway made by a thousands of hoofsteps. This place was old. And yet no signs of crock or rust, the latest paint layer no older then a year, and everything was clean. This told him a lot. Yes, this place was old, but was cared for, loved. Swift smiled slightly. Honestly he should expect nothing less.

     

    This time he didn't pause. Noblepony knocked at the door a few times, but the silence was all he could hear. Swift waited for two minutes before knocking again, this time stronger - yet the result was very much the same.

    "......Are they out because of weather....?" swordstallion guessed. For Squall, physical efforts was always a welcomed way to spent his time. Yet he had to admit to himself, he had little idea how it could be applied when living in the farm. Was this weather necessitated actions to protect the crops, explaining Applejacks and her family absence?  There was only one way to find out.

     "Perhaps I could lent a hoof..." he murmured at he directed his steps deeper into orchard grounds in search for a hat bearing mare.

    • Like 1

  22. "Hmphh....I wonder if you ever find question you can't answer." he pondered before deciding to drop the topic for now.

     

    "The question is what broke the seal. Certainly not some sinking of dirt and rocks mixed with water, I refuse to believe Mycus didn't foreseen that. Especially since his time didn't had an unified weather control as it is today, to prevent that sort of thing." Squall pointed out.

     

    All the questions about reason of that phenomenon had to take a backseat in the face of very discouraging, even explosive evaluation done by Twilight.

    ".........I think I prefer to have Everfree 2 spontaneously sprouting around us." he answered in deadpan tone. Right, another location in danger of exploding. For Swift it seemed like a rerun of that one adventure in Unyasi....

    "....At least there is no lava this time around. Or insane cultists...." he mused aloud as he begun to lead Purple Princess to where his staff kept more unusual equipment in.

    ".......In regards to your question - I actually have three....." he said while opening the massive container. What Princess witnessed was perhaps the most expensive collection of gadgetry in Equestria.

    "Oh don't give me that look. I am sitting on 57 billion bits Sparkle, and that's only counting liquid assets." he commented while rummaging through gathering of magical gizmos.

    That took several minutes.

     

    "...THERE we go...." noblepony finally exlaimed while he laid two Aetherage Slippers on the table.

    "We may as well take additional one, just in case. And speaking of precautions...." Squall took another quick look at the report they received earlier.

    "I am worried how high aeather saturation supposedly is down there. Don't get me wrong, I have full faith in you spellcraft Miss Twilight, protective or otherwise. However if something goes wrong, you alicorn physiology will allow you to shrug aeather pressure...at least for a while. I on the other hoof am but an unicorn, and for all that we know, Mycus could kept something with properties of Chrysalis's throne in his lab. Thankfully I have something that will act as additional layer of protection..." he mused as he walked to what was a circular metal container.....

     

    The metallic casket opened at stallion's touch, to unveil a suit of full body armor - a very advenced, high tech armor judging from it's looks. What followed was a lengthy rundown made by the Swift.

    "This is something that Bevel and Zelda cooperated to make, the XA Suit. Flexible enchanted adamantite plates overlay a liquid crystal from the Crystal Empire with sungold particles and powdered Whitescar wood added in. Underneath that is moonsliver dipped tri-weave mesh made from Laval Moth silk. The crystalline layer absorb all unwelcome aeather which also power's up suit's enchantments and any additional equipment I decide to bring with it, thanks to modular construction. The liquid also harden in response to impact granting unrivaled shock absorption without limiting mobility. Not only that, but in unlikely case the adamantite will be pierced the liquid fully crystallizes around the wound to stop the bleeding, while moonsliver acts as the dis-infectious and antivenom dressing. The metal parts are each enchanted individually, with strength increasing spells and were submerged in alchemical formulas to enhance their durability without adding weight. The muzzle-plates act as the filters to all harmful gaseous substances, and dragon jade lenses...." Squall could kept talking about capabilities of this armor, but meaningful look from purple mare made him pause in his tracks.

    "R-Right. I guess you get the idea. So ummm, feel free to take anything else you could judge as helpful..." swordstallion added while waving his hoof at he container insides. "On the house."

    • Like 1

  23. I myself may offer my main - Swift Squall. Squall is a Count of Fillydelphia and one of the descendants of Princess Platinum, but he is far from idle noble.

    Ex-solider, former mercenary,  billionaire, philanthropist, globetrotter and adventurer - if a job required the use of the sword he certainly did it in the past. He is also very business savvy, being one of richest beings in the world making him a right pony to go for economic advice.

    He has taken about himself to better the lot of ponies of Equestria, both through his business expansion -  to propel economy if his homeland thus improving nations welfare - but also as an agent of EPIC - a organization answerable only to four Princesses that deals with threats both internal and external.

    Swift takes his responsibilities seriously, but also has unquenchable thirst of adventure and thrills - this he is always on lookout for excuse good enough to pack his sword and jump into yet another quest. Here is his application, but warning, it's a quite wall of text.

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