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Posts posted by Pretzelparty

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    Yanhua was astonished at this sudden good fortune. The nimble fox dashing past Sunset and speeding down the alley. It wasn't until Tempest called her out from the rooftops, the pony keeping pace with ease. This wasn't going to get her anywhere. With how exhausted and sore, Yanhua felt she knew running wasn't an option much longer... and with Tempest above her there was no chance she'd be able to outrun them -and- not be spotted again. 


    ... and those taunting words. Something about this pony really was irking her. If Yanhua couldn't run, She'd have to try and deter her pursuers. She was using magic before most of these ponies were even thoughts of their parents. Most of her flames may have been used up, but before the day's end she'd have them back to their full strength. For now.. There was always illusions and the more vanilla skillset. 

    Already her muscles were burning. There would be no more running. Instead, She spun around in a smooth movement to face her pursuers. Her eyes seemed to be glowing the same color as the flame that clung to her tails.  Those eyes met with all three. First Sunset, Then Feng, and finally Tempest on the Rooftops. "If she wants to see what I can do, I'll show her and all of you! ... And if you want to help. No more CHASING!" Her voice sounded shaky, like she was trying to sound more confident than she was. The Fox took a deep breath and let out a rather hoarse sounding scream-like howl. For the trio it sounded much louder than it actually was... enough to make them wince. But when they opened their eyes things were... VERY different.


    Suddenly this quarry seemed... bigger. Much Bigger... Big enough that she was towering over the various cottages. The sound of a howling wind met all of their ears. A now gigantic fox stood in the clearing between mostly vacant houses. Tails seemed to wave and thrash about like whips across the horizon. The green flames dancing off her fur and pelt as this monster of a yokai bore it's teeth at her hunters. She did not move from her spot and instead looked down at the three, "You... Wish to Help?" As she spoke, the trio could see wisps and motes of flame escaping her maw...



    Can you spot the strange thing about this?


    • Like 2

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    This was not going well at all. Having already made her way into the tall grass and trying her best to lose Feng, She was still tired from her earlier climb. At first she thought that she might have caught a break when Feng wasn't able to just tackle her to the grass... but this wasn't the first time she'd been chased. By the time she realized she was being led somewhere she was already scampering through the town. A shadow repeatedly flitting across her path drew her eyes up until she saw the outline of the broken horned unicorn leaping from wagon to rooftop! What kind of ponies were these equestrians?! Was everypony a borderline super-equine athlete?


    Out of the corner of her eye she spotted an a path  she might be able to make a quick turn. If she used some of her remaining non-fire based magic maybe she could slip away! That was a good a plan as any. 


    Before she could execute it she was cut off by a flash of light and swell of magic as Sunset teleported right in front of her. With all the adrenaline pumping through her system, "Yanhua" was incredibly rattled and at first was terrified when the mare called out... and only panicked further when the unicorn reared and let out what to a scared fox sounded like a vicious warcry. Thoroughly spooked, Yanhua's tails stiffened and frizzled out. All eight spread apart in a perfect radius and giving Sunset a presentation not unlike a frightened peacock. She looked back to see Feng still coming up behind her, then the ominous silhouette of Tempest Shadow above and the sun colored unicorn in front she tried to come up with some idea.


    ... She tried to slip herself past  Sunset and make it to the end of the alley to the field.



    • Like 2

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    "A raider?" Hogosha hugged indignantly at the accusation, "How rude. Raider's don't wear such nice coats... Do they?" He asked looking over to Pocket with a somewhat worried expression. Having the appearance of a raider or bandit was certainly not the angle that this spirit wanted to go for. 

    Upon Pocket's introduction he would approach the mare and lower his head in a little bow. "Your Coltfriend sounds like he must hope to be an adventurer someday if he suggested the basin as a spot for exploration. " He looked to Pocket, "Maybe we should offer to bring her to the jungle's edge first. More landmarks seem visible once you slip out from beneath this thick canopy... although if we're in a race against time with bandits... perhaps I should go ahead and try to draw some attention?" The wolf looked up to Wind Whistler, "Do you wish to stay with us while we deal with these looters?"








    Yanhua had been scurrying away at a steady pace, but was still just within earshot. The last words she heard were tempest's and if anything they only made her more frazzled. This was terrible. They really were going to hunt her? Did Feng remember the stories back home about her told back in the palace and by talespinners back in the capital? Why were things turning out like this?! She knew by now it wasn't right to hypnotize a queen and take on her looks to get a good,free meal, but to be sealed up for so long just for that... She couldn't go back to being imprisoned in those woods. Or whatever woods they had in this area...


    Wait a minute wasn't some spirit imprisoned as a stone statue not long ago? This was equestria, what if that was how they punished rogue spirits here?! If there was anything worse than being stuck in the woods with no magic, it had be frozen in place for eternity.  She had to run and get back to normal now, Just come back to the group as Yanhua. Tell them it was some sort of weird prank or some mean fox foal-napped her! ... They'd only seen a few glimpses of her tails, right? If she could turn back now she could make something up!

    She got low into the grass, trying to keep her extremities out of sight as best she could. looking back up to the group behind her through the tall grass, she could make out the magical one talking at length about something. While the fox couldn't put her paw on it, something about this pony seemed unique in addition to the magical gifts emanating from her.  This Sunset seemed very astute. She could only just barely make out what she said by reading her lips in between the wind stirred blades of grass...


    The first thing made her panic spike again as she thought she read "Head on a wall..." Were they not even going to bother with the imprisonment?! This seemed like such a pleasant country! Were the ponies here really so secretly brutal to their enemies?  As Sunset's lips waggled Yanhua only felt more restless, enough that she started to back up further and further into the grass. Something inside told her she should start running. If one of them got close she had at least one spell she could use to defend herself and inconvenience them...


    In her fear it seemed she failed to notice one of her tails drifting above the upper limit of the field of grass. Feng took the lead and as much as she knew she could use some magic on him and he'd be unscathed... she couldn't bring herself to cast it. The Fox turned tail and ran as fast as she could towards the mostly empty town, heart pounding away in her chest and sore muscles pushing her to flee. while she was surprisingly swift, her time on the wall was catching up to her and Feng was finding himself gaining on the vulpine runner.

    • Like 3

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    This was THE worst case scenario for Yanhua. 

    Alone, undisguised, and exhausted in some Foreign land. She could only hope that the spectators and judges didn't notice her failing glamour. She hadn't taken account of how much her shape had shifted back after being so rattled. She remembered her paws and pads were back but she was sure she kept her kirin face and body together for the most part. Had her tails already shown during the dive back down the rock-wall? Honestly, she had no idea. The very thought of it only deepened her panic... and the more panicked she got, the harder it was going to be to go back to what the palace knew as 'normal'. 


    Currently Yanhua had gotten a fair distance away from the Iron Pony grounds. It took some special magic to be able to manage that. Needless to say, A fox as big as a pony with eight long, glowing tails was hard to hide in the middle of a festival of ponies. Some distracting lights, and some illusions here and there gave her the openings she needed to slip through gaps in crowds and behind stalls. One thing managed to escaped the crafty cook's notice as she booked, the tracks she left behind in the grass. When you're in such a hurry to find some place to hide on such short notice, such mistakes were easy to make.


    Now she was catching her breath by a tree away from the grounds. The Fox taking deep breaths in the hopes of steadying herself, until she heard a very familiar voice...


    "Thanks for helping out here, Tempest."'


    ... and just like that her heart sank. After all the work she'd done trying to get out of that festival, Feng had managed to track her down?! He wasn't too far away, just out of earshot for a normal pony. Tempest? Wasn't that the moody looking unicorn by the pavillion? The sound of her voice confirmed who it was, and then a third voice certainly made Yanhua arch a brow? Was she the other mare who had approached Feng and Tempest back there as well? Another spike in fear as she considered why he'd bring someone so tough. She noticed that Tempest was clearly a strong mare in many areas, almost as many as Feng... and that other mare she radiated magical energy like a tiny sun. They'd imprisoned another spirit in this country already, hadn't they? 

    No, Feng wouldn't do that to her. Well maybe not to Yanhua... or that really old friend of his. Did he even remember her back in the forest that long ago? She had the same face and expression as back then but to the young feng of those days she was just an overly large Fox who could talk. Not an eight tailed youkai who could breath magical fire... She had to hide, to think of some bluff that could get her out of this. She could hear hoof-steps getting closer. 

    The Fox took a deep breath to conjure up some of her hypnotic wisps of Fox-fire... only to get a few flickering embers. Oh no. Between her longtime glamour as a qilin, the intense worry brought on by the rockwall, the big display in the cupcake contest, and the hypnosis she'd inflicted upon the fairgoers who came across her she was exhausted.  WIth how close the party was getting all she could try to do was outrun them. If she could calm her nerves she might be able to raise her disguise again, then things could go back to normal again! ... at least she hoped.

    Before the group could get too close she broke into a dash out from behind the tree. An orange coat stuck out like a sore hoof in the green grass. The fickering green flames clinging to the end of her tails made it especially hard to hide so she tried to use some tall grass as a cover to get to somewhere she might be able to hide more effectively. With everyone so busy with the festival, she might be able to make it to the town and hide out in some shop... though that was all assuming she could even lose two of the fittest equine in the land while she was still sore from her climb.



    • Like 3

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    Hogosha nodded along to Pocket's words. Of course those books would draw young explorer's all the way out here. It was an exotic local, filled with territorial ponies, wild animals, ancient ruins, and booby traps. What Adventurer worth his saltlick would pass up all that, especially in Equestria. That bit about filming in this area didn't sound like the smartest idea for any Equestrian movie company. Equipment could be so easily lost in this place... and one could imagine how temperamental your average actor might be in this place.

    Now Huddled down close to the ground, Hogosha tried to steady his breath. It wasn't easy with such thick, humid air.  In addition to all these smells in the air , the moisture it in it made all of them so much easier to trace for this brave wolf. Just as Pocket yanked all those branches over them, Hogosha gave a forceful exhale to try and clear his muzzle of distracting odors. He did it just in time for Pocket to pull the cover over them and for that pegasus to land in front of them.  At first Hogosha was able to keep himself completely still, not moving a muscle as the pegasus inspected this suspicious bush before her.


    This unfortunately would not last. 


    One of those branches that Pocket had snagged had found itself hovering just above his companion's head. The end of said branch was leaning downwards and was just above the wolf's nose. Leaves were left brushing back and forth across the yokai's nose. Between the myriad scents of plants, fungi, and now the repeated tickling of the leaves from this branch, Hogo-sha scrunched his muzzle. He tried his best to fight off this cursed reaction...

    "Hhh-Hhh! ... HHHah!" 

    The tribal pony arched a brow at the weird sounds from the bush before...



    The makeshift branch cover pocket put up was blown apart with all of the materials soon strewn across the jungle floor. Birds suddenly fled fromt he canopy nearby, and the great gale Pocket's friend produced had sent the Tribal pony rolling back from the wind. Thankfully, with pocket beside him the adventurer was entirely out of the line of fire. His friendwas left huffing and puffing from his little outburst. "Uh... hhgn... G-gomena-- ahem! Sorry about that..." The wolf wrinkled his muzzle and produced a hoofkerchief from , seemingly from thin air. He levitated it to his nose and looked to Pocket Change, "The breath seems to run in the family." He sniffed and tentatively approached the flopped pegasus. She wasn't hurt, but she was most definitely dazed from being hit with was like a miniature squall. "M-maybe you should be the face that greets her? They're probably going to know someone's here now..."

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    *This Post submitting for judgement*


    After some time to herself, Yanhua concluded that downing cupcakes probably wasn't the best way to get Feng's attention. If Nensho's crush could handle that obstacle course despite being kept behind a desk so often, This cook could climb some silly wall. While Yanhua had been mostly cooped up in the royal kitchen back home, She was still a nimble creature by nature. That, and being stuck in that forest for so long (traumatic as it was) did give her the chance to do a lot of running: Usually from the odd predator that entered the forest to make a meal out of something. If she lost some ground she could probably bounce herself back up, easy peasy.

    That announcer's warnings and allusions to the wall's trickery couldn't possibly be something to worry about. Yanhua's family were remarkable tricksters in their own right. If she could be outdone by some enchanted rocks, she'd have to turn in her tails!

    The Crowd let out a cheer as the kirin approached the wall. Yanhua flinched when she got close, Magic was thick on this thing. Who had enchanted it?


    More importantly why was that familiar scent meeting her nostrils. It was some odd mixture of a scent she was very familiar with: The smell of Woodlands, of a horribly tranquil and lonely forest. Memories of her time back in those woods some came to the forefront of her mind. Scurrying around in dirt, grime and tall grass, left only to her wits and with none of the magic she'd nurtured and practiced. If Feng were watching in the stands he'd have seen the cooks eyes wide open in shock for a few seconds until she rapidly shook her head about to try and center herself. When she looked back up she noticed something at the top of it... Was that her star-ball? She brought her hoof to her ear to check. It was still there. The one on the top of the wall seemed bigger and it that old Fulu that past spiritual advisor had left on it.

    "Is this wall making fun of me?" The cook took a deep breath to steady herself, "Calm down... It's just a wall, nothing serious."  Once she properly steeled herself she 
    lowered herself and approached the base of the wall. Then came the whistle.


    Yanhua go to a steady start as she gripped the rough surface of stone and pulled herself up, using muscles she'd not had to make use of in years. As she made her way up, the walls effects seemed to continue on. The familiar sounds of that hateful forest still surrounding her. That familiar drone of the cicadas, the calls of birds above in the trees, Every little rustle in the dark she could recall that woke her in the night. Still, Yanhua persisted. Then she heard the grinding sound of stone against stone. 

    Looking up above her to the next level she saw all the spots she could have previously set hoof on swapping and switching around on the stone wall. When was one low and close to her, suddenly it was a two or three steps above her and then below. This certainly stalled her, Yanhua left trying to focus on staying tight to the wall and looking over the switching surfaces of the rocks above. Watching this constant swapping, Yanhua eventually noticed a pattern. It was a very short window, but there was a path of easily reached spots she could quickly move through. Timing would be important. 

    The cook took in a deep breath and tensed up her muscles, like her body was becoming a compressed spring...


    Three... Two... One!

    In a slick, smooth motion Yanhua seemed to almost run up the wall past the switching stones and then hang on tight to the calm spot above. The Sudden exertion leaving her huffing and panting but then pushing on again. Vertical climbing like this was so tiring, why on earth would ponies do this? Jumping from ledge to ledge would be so much easier... but this chef had promised herself she'd get through this by the rules for Feng and she was going to do just that! 

    The further she went up the wall the more the sounds it made seemed to change. Forest smells were replaced by the scent of the imperial palace, though not from the present. It was a scent tinged with a heavy nostalgia. As Yanhua went higher up on the wall she could swear she even heard the sounds of lively conversation by the voices of Long guo nobility from the past. "Why would someone make a rock wall of psychological torment?!" She screamed internally as she tried to push onward... only to see something snaking across the crags above her. 


    Were those vines?


    Soon several green tendrils came rushing down to try and smash something into her face! She slid down from the first smack and then blinked as somethign splattered over her face. She then had to wipe what remained away and grimaced as a familiar taste met her tongue.  Peppers. The same super hot kind that had blown her cover back in the capital so long ago. It was almost painful to experience this taste again. The raw power of the spiciness already made disguise start to slip, thankfully it was just around her teeth. At this distance nobody would notice... and this may just be her saving grace.  When the next vine came to her she jumped forward to meet it, more pointed teeth  shredded through it and with a tight grip she used it to pull herself up along her newly acquired "rope".

    Just getting this far made the chef feel exhausted. Her body was aching and even with the image of Feng in her mind she was starting to regret this choice. But, she could see the wall's chosen finish line for her. The fake star-ball just so tantalizingly close. With a couple more bursts of strength she made it , huffing and panting as she got to the top. Place her hoof on the end point the wall had made she immediately felt faint and had to steady herself before raising up her hoof to the crowd as cheers came. Something felt off, though. Feeling the wind on her pads shouldn't feel so od-- Wait. Pads? She brought the hoof to her face and noticed the bottom of her foreleg was no longer the bottom of a cloven hoof. In a panic she felt her face, it was still in a kirin's visage: thank goodness. 

    All the exertion was wearing down her glamour. Why did she had to show off so much as the cupcake eating contest?! Rather than accepting the reward the Kirin Jumped down behind the wall in a hurry. When the pony who blew the starting whistle went to check on the contestant... she was gone!

    ...And somewhere behind the bleachers a fluffy, orange tail zipped out of sight.

    • Like 7

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    Well, that was something to take note of. Evidently her name was something a sore spot for her. Yanhua nodded slowly at Tempest's outburst, "I see." She'd never seen so much anger on a pony's face before. This mare must have a story to tell, a very intense one: Though not here. Among a crowd of strangers wasn't the best place to lay one's past bare for all to see. That was something Yanhua had been avoiding doing for the past couple years for the sake of one special pony.


    Now that Longma was giving her an apologetic look before heading off. The chef's brow furrowed , but she nodded once and turned back to Nensho. With Feng out of earshot and tended to the emotionally wounded unicorn she spoke more openly with the disguised Okami, "Hm... Well I think you've better chances with  your friend than I do with mine... I hope that the things you love about them aren't what keeps you away from them." She looked back to Feng as he tended to Tempest and heaved a conflicted sigh, "Is this special wo--pony what brought you all the way to Equestria, Nensho-san?"


    • Like 4

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    *Post submitted for Judging*


    It felt great to have all that muck and pie off of her after that doozy of an obstacle course. She'd hoped to have just come out of it with mud on her, but thanks to her allergies she ended up with pie on her face too. One tablet and shower later and Tokkuri was ready to continue on with these festive trials. Hm... The barrel weave. She remembered doing things like this when she was younger as part of her fitness training. The set she'd been trained with back home used flags instead of Barrels. Getting around those was surely easier than these sizable barrels.  At first she was starting to doubt herself, but seeing how swiftly Nensho made his way through pushed them to the back of her mind. He wouldn't want her giving up in this competition because some sealed casks spooked her!

    As she concocted her approach to the course she let her eyes wander over to the cheering audience. Huh, seems that Feng's personal cheerleader was still there for his run. It was oddly cute seeing someone so eagerly cheering on a friend like that. She couldn't help but notice how the orange maned kirin seemed to lose some energy once that fellow eastern competitor finished off and yelled out that his run was for somepony named 'Yue'. Oh-ho! She could smell tension in a relationship a mile away and whatever story was behind was sure to be spicy.  

    Nensho's run was more or less how she would have taken the course. Hoping not to look like she was trying to copy her friend, Toboe  decided on a less flashy version of what he'd tried (with no spinning). She got down low and just as the flag waved she jumped  forward to one side of a barrel, weaving between each one with a diagonal jump while keeping her eyes ahead and steady. It was almost like she was bouncing between the barrels. Her agility training over the years had paid off. the only close call she was having on the way was her tail just nearly brushing across the surface of the barrel at the opposite end. The kirin whipped around and repeated the process smoothly back to the finish line , panting softly  as she finished.

    There were exuberant cheers from the crowd, which Tokkuri  offered a simple bow to before making her way over to Nensho at the finish line and offering him a high hoof. "Great run, Nensho-Kun! Hope mine wasn't too similar!"


    • Like 3

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    "Hmmm... I'm sure I have a spare on my coat somewhere." The wolf magically searched his coat until he produced a clean square of cloth for Blueblood, "I do not have much in the way of healing, Your Highness. I can at least offer you a tissue for your trouble." It was times like this when Hogo-sha wished he'd taken some lessons on healing spells rather than all the other things he'd made use of.  Lightning and winds weren't too useful when it came to disinfecting things.

    "I apologize for not catching that book. I'll stay close for the rest of the journey if you so desire."


    The wolf flinched as he felt a sudden flare of magic somewhere in the castle. He was ready to try and sniff it out but it seemed Sombra had already gotten an idea where it was! Thank goodness. He wouldn't have to run into another dusty floor.  The Wolf looked to Blueblood and when the prince got ready to go , Hogosha was right alongside him keeping pace with ease.


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    It was looking as if the other competitors were getting wrapped up in their own conversations now. Yanhua already felt rather demoralized  after Feng's repeated mentions of the empress. Truth be told one of the reasons she'd come along was the chance to spend some time with Feng, but even so far from the courts it seemed his mind was off his duties and his beloved empress. As these thoughts swirled about in her head, Yanhua ended up exhaling a puff of flame through her nostrils: a tell tale sign of her being miffed.


    The still nameless pegasus seemed keen to offer pastries, but rather than eat any of them Yanhua simply looked over them. They looked nice enough, but like Feng she wasn't in the mood for more sweets.  When Nensho formally introduced himself, wheels started clicking. "Hm...  You came with that pony kirin with the blue and purple mane, didn't you?" She thought back to the familiarity he had displayed with another one of the contestants who seemed to have left the obstacle course considerably messier than some.


    She took note of Feng's tone when addressing the mare with the broken horn, "Is Miss Berrytwist shadow supposed to be somepony important?" If there was one thing Yanhua knew little about it was Equestria's recent events, " Are you some war hero who lost their horn in a great battle?" She asked rather bluntly as she leaned in  a bit closer towards the lightly seething armored mare.

    • Like 1

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    Yanhua was hoping to involve herself in the conversation but as soon she got the words up, Feng brought up the empress and felt as if somepony just shot an arrow in her side.  Her eye twitched, though it was difficult to notice: seeing as both eyes were still closed. When Feng continued that thought about the monsters, much of the wind was sucked out of her sails.  "Y-yeah... I'm... sure the herbalist would know." Tempest might be able to feel the gaze on her from the kirin with the unopening eyes, particularly on her horn for the time being, eyes momentarily opening when she saw the sparks. 


    She casually took a step back from the possibly dangerous mare. Eyes only barely opening as the possibility of Feng being harmed crossed her mind... But soon something caught her attention: Some Scent on the wind. The mare sniffed softly and perked up a moment, was that... wolf? Another wolf? She'd smelled someone like her in this town since she'd arrived but it was one she knew. This one seemed different.  She turned her head a moment towards Nensho on his lonesome. The stallion was making his way over, seemed she'd been noticed as well. 

    A whisper, thank goodness. She'd hate to have been outed by a possible friend beside her crush, "Seems that we do..." She whispered back. Another mention of the Empress Made Yanhua shudder. The words feeling like a bludgeon that dealt a blow right to her gut. This was getting Stressful, having a troubled mind was a surefire way to have her disguise start to tear. "If you don't mind, friend. I'm under cover at the moment... but it's been too long since I've gotten to speak with another so like myself. Well, there's one back home but we're still a bit different."Somewhere in the palace Wuya had probably dealt with a sudden sneeze, "This whispering will probably start looking suspicious so..."

    She turned to Nensho and smiled, "I don't think you were around for my introduction. I'm Yanhua, Chef of the Long sun Dynasty. This is Feng of the Watch, Tempest Berrytwist Shadow and ... I don't believe I've gotten our earthy friend's name."


    • Like 1

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    Unlike a certain imperial guard, Yanhua was finding herself fairly content after gorging herself on cupcakes earlier. She always did seem to have  a big stomach even when she was little.  Now with the fresh chance to see the world more she could expose herself to more food and recipes! Such aspirations would have to wait as she caught wind of her dear friend Feng down by the pavillion. She qualified as one of those competing , even if she did only really do the cupcake eating contest. 


    She took her time walking up, enjoying the sight of the stallion's stretches. The chef could just be admiring his form while exercising... she needed a role model after all if she was going to work off those cupcakes later. That's it... and nothing else. The sudden belch caught Yanhua off guard. What started out as a stifled snicker soon turned to a short fit of laughter that completely gave away her presence. Once all those chuckles were out of her system she made her way over to the tuckered stallion. Soon noticing that some dark purple unicorn approached him first. Something inside her flared up and she picked up speed... only for another mare to join in. 

    Only really paying enough attention to hear parts of Feng and Tempest's conversation, the cook finally arrived to hear something from the earthy looking pegasus. "Nonsense." She sauntered up with her usual smile and unopening eyes, "If we ran into such a worm I'd scare it away. That is if Feng hadn't already intimidated such a beast with his natural presence."  Now in range, she dipped her head to the pair of equestrians. "Yanhua. Head chef of the Long Sun Dynasty. It's a pleasure to meet you."

    • Like 3

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    This was probably not the most elegant of competitions that Yanhua could have inserted herself in, but some part of her (the chef part) couldn't resist trying some Equestrian confectionaries of various styles. Some of the tourist magazines she'd been going through had said that Ponyville was home to one of the best family of Baker's in the country! Nevermind that little spot in the pamphlet seemed to have been paid for by the Cake family. Still, the corrupting influence of advertising aside, She couldn't really resist the delicious scent on the air. 


    Perhaps such an display of her 'iron stomach' as the announcer so eloquently put it,  might not be the best impression of the eastern lands she was supposed to be representing along with Feng today. On the other hoof: Free food and a chance to see if there was something she could learn from the westerners. Pushing any anxieties on Feng watching her aside, Yanhua approached the stand and made her application. Then took her seat at her table, the competition was pretty stiff it seemed. Two dragons in the running? Dragons in Equestria were supposed to be able to eat minerals. She could only imagine how quickly they'd be able to tear through warm dough and she soon didn't even need to let her mind do the work as Smolder and Spike began. 


    "Oh my..." She said almost sounding intimidated, "Speed hm?" She seemed to be wrapped up in her own thoughts for about a second before the announcer pony asked her if she was still up for continuing.  With a mischievous chuckle she nodded, "Stand back a moment please."  


    Yanhua sucked up a deep breath through her nose, her chest puffing up before she unleashed a large puff of minty green colored smoke and flame. It wasn't hot and didn't even seem to hurt. It functioned not unlike a unicorn's telekinesis and with such 'oomph' put into it the kirin  managed to launch the table up into the air  few feet... along with the big pile of cupcakes! The crowd at first had a bit of panic but soon that mass of green flame rose up above the kirin turning into a flashy miniature vortex that caught the falling cupcapes. At the small bottom of this funnel of magic sat the kirin with her mouth open. 

    One popped out and she chomped it down, noting each flavor that met her tongue as it came down and swiftly chewed then scarfed them down with a surprisingly ravenous intensity. The magical whirl of fire diminished along with the cupcake pile held inside. In no time at all it was down to the final mote of flame and the final pastry that was snapped up with a contented smile from the royal chef. 


    "Those were amazing! Do you have any I could take home? Oh! could I meet the bakers. I'd love to get some pointer---... Oh, Hang on." She noticed a rapidly growing shadow appearing on the announcer's nose. Just as it was about to come down on his face she lunged forward and snapped it up with a grin, "There we go!" 

    • Like 5

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    Hogo-sha blinked at Anu's rather casual admission of a throne stolen from him. He was surprised at how easily he was able to say such things. Were such people so common around here? 


    "A stolen throne? Are you and unjustly exiled prince?"  HE asked as he curiously circled once around Anu, "I'd only heard such things from books. I never imagined to run into a real one, let alone two princes in the same day!" Hogo-sha smiled and dipped his head down before Anu, deeper than before in the efforts of showing respect proper to Anu previously held position. "But yes, we should stop obstructing those wishing to use the road..."


    When the group left for the park, Hogo-sha promised to meet them there. He knew he'd not be pleasant company on the back of the great cat. While he didn't have a ride, the noble looking dog somehow managed to arrive at the park in the same timely manner as the rest of them. Still with kerchief in paw he waved over to the group with his free one. Once the big cat was settled along with everyone else. The well dressed pup decided to sit a bit away from Nilaavin in the hopes of keeping his allergies from flaring up any further. When Blueblood brought up Anu's predicament again, Hogo's tail started to wag. " You must certainly do, your highness." He smiled at the princes words,  "Perhaps we may even be able to assist in reclaiming it for him someday!"




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    *This post submitted for judging*


    This long vacation had been quite the experience. Thank goodness, Nensho had talked Toboe into some time off... And helped her concoct an alias to play in this contest under. It was nice to run around in a look that wasn't so tiring to maintain around ponies. Now she could just walk around and not worry about any cameras or journalists from back home trying to make a bit or to by making some story about her. If word got out she was playing in these games the effect on her reputation would be questionable to say the least, especially if she lost. Well, all of that was irrelevant now.


    She'd come out of her favorite dress shirt and felt oddly exposed without it. It made the stretches she was doing at the starting line feel rather... embarrassing. Thank goodness most of the attention and cheers she could hear from spectators came from one weird looking kirin in an apron waving little flags. When she looked closer she couldn't help but notice that mare had her eyes closed while she cheered and those little flags seemed to bare the image of that Longma that went before. Was she his marefriend or something? No-no... Focus. Focus on the goal ahead. That Folksy pony announcer was sure to be introducing her soon enough.

    "Seems we got another visitor from way outta town...a Tuckered Hay-me?"

    "It's Tokkuri Hime!" She barked out in frustration, "That was only funny the first time!" The Kirin huffed through her nostrils and took her last couple stretches, then got into her her starting position. Her body like a tightly compressed spring of steel: Every fiber in her being ready, focused, and primed to burst through this course and take home whatever prize was to be won... even if she'd only started actually training herself in any serious capacity about a week ago. Much as she loved the work for the family and time behind a bar counter, she hated what it did to her physique sometimes.


    When that little red flag swished about she zipped right forward with a small cloud of dust behind her. Dust that soon became bits of dirt, and finally splashes of Mud as she met the mud pit. She snickered as she felt the thick mire surrounding her body cover her up to the shoulder, If there was anything in this course she knew she'd be able to handle: It was this. Memories of her and Nensho hopping around, playing in the rain came immediately to mind. For the sake of propriety back home she had to stop indulging in the simple pleasures of muddy puddle hopping. In her adult years it seemed she'd finally get to have a bit of fun in the mud again! Her speedy gait had been slowed somewhat , but only just barely as she was out almost as fast as she went in. The kirin looked almost disappointed when it was over, yet she moved on to the next trial with bits of mud still splashing off her now eighty percent brown coat.


    WIthout breaking her stride 'Tokkuri' moved on ahead to the barrels. Climbing them wasn't going to easy, at least not with mud still caking her hooves and an earthen paintjob that hadn't fully dried caking her coat. 


    Not one to back down from a challenge, she hunched down and leapt from one barrel to the next. Stumbling at first from the layer of mud on her hooves, her balance off for some leaps and threatening to tumble down. On the worst stumble where she was sure she'd end up tumbling backwards she dug down and leapt to the top barrel. She felt the container wobbling under her weight and uneven distribution. In the hopes of steadying herself and stepped about... and then the barrel along with her rolled back down the hill of barrels with a series of wooden thuds that made the barrel roller cringe all the way to the bottom before leaping off and hoping that such a display wasn't considered disqualifying. 


    With the longest part of the stretch coming up, the kirin realized she may as well use up the bulk of her stamina for it. She was more familiar with running with her head low so she ended up with a couple confused looks from the crowds as she ran forward with a great burst of speed,  already panting and huffing in her excitement. She left quite the trail of dust behind her that an ill timed wind blew towards some of the spectators, leaving what appeared to be Feng's most passionate fan hacking and staring daggers into the runner's back.  Feeling that glare 'Tokkuri' gave a dismissive snort, not that anyone would see at this point. 


    With what she considered the most fun part of the course over and done with, the kirin moved along to the table of pies and with a swift motion of her tail brought each one onto her back. She knew that this wasn't going to be her best moment: She may have tried to carry herself with some grace back home, it was never something she felt she was inclined towards. She could already feel those pies starting to wobble on her back as she carefully marched along. She'd been raised to carry herself a certain way but her siblings were always so much better at it then she was... She could think of three of her siblings who could probably do this part of the course without batting an eye. Instead, 'Tokkuri' was here shakily weaving in between the poles. She had to freeze for a second on the first and seconds turns when she thought one of the pies was about to fall.


    On the third turn she flinched as she felt her muzzle itch. She cursed the season in her mind before hurried made her way to end with all the pies still on her back... though the crusts on top of the two bottom pies seemed suffered some minor damage. With a small smile the kirin let out a sigh of relief, "Well. That wasn't as hard as I'd tha-HACHOO!" The sudden sneeze made the participant reflexively buck and then the pies went up into the air... and feel back down on her, rendering the contestant a bigger mess than before. 

    At first she was speechless but she quickly licked off some Apple from her nose and shrugged, "Hm... Still tasty! Anyone have a towel?"



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    At first Fiver only heard Daze's voice as no louder than a whisper when contrasted with the roaring winds around the group. She tried to look around but those same winds stung her eyes when she turned into them, making the mare wince and turn away from the sound of Daze's voice. Fiver was about to try and take flight herself to get closer to the athlete, but Daze's quick flight then rough landing brought out a sigh of relief.


    Fiver offered her hoof to help her fellow former passenger back on her hooves, "Glad to see you're okay, Daze."


     Hearing Zelda and Loose Cannon voice their thoughts on the situation, Fiver was left in thought. She turned towards the direction that their car had just sped down, "There could be a cave or something at the base of the mountain. If the train car is in good enough shape at the bottom... we might be able to find some signal flares in it for emergencies. " She looked back to the group, "We still have our luggage right? Did anyone bring any emergency supplies? There could also be some shelter in towards the mountains... and the first rule of waiting to be rescued is to stay where you are... or at least close to it."

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    Hogo sniffed at the air a few times. With all the myriad scents in the air it made it difficult to really tell. The smell of foreign flora, musk of unfamiliar Fauna, and odor of ancient primal magics buried beneath centuries of rainforest all meshing together: like the olfaactory equivalent of looking at a messy watercolor painting. Through all of that, the wolf could smell something very close by. "It almost smells like... Ponies." He said as he continued to sample the air, "It's muddled with the smell of the jungle, perhaps they might be natives?" 


    Just after he raised that possibility, the dui could hear the sound of drums in the distance. A steady, Rhythmic beat echoing faintly through the canopy. Hogo-sha may have been fairly well educated (even it was by his own paw), but his knowledge on the local tribesponies was lacking. To this dapper canine it could have been welcoming drums, the background music for a coming hunt, or maybe even a marriage ceremony. He turned to Pocket as he made his way to some thick bushes nearby, "Any idea what those drums might be for?" He asked as he lifted up some of the large leaves to let the unicorn have free entry. Hogo's magic shrouded him for a moment to make himself a bit smaller so that he wouldn't stick out so much... and he even managed to turn off the little lightning bolts too. 

    He crouched down beside pocket, listening carefully in case he could hear any hoofsteps coming close...


    Hogo-sha did not back off from Tempest's hook he took it full on as came in... just as he'd been Hoping. Bringing her antlers in for the headbutt might have seems a good idea but while her opponent ws fast with his fist, he was faster with his teeth. Those jaws snapped down on Tempest's antlers and Took hold tight. In a swift motion, Hogo-sha lifted up the cow in an arc in a grapple then tossed her back down to the ground on her back. Once she landed, the dog brought up his foot and tried to bring it down hard onto her stomach with great force. The Dog was already smiling down at her, still enjoying this bout.

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    "I'd love to speak more about this with you, Miss Raven. I'm sure I've plenty of stories to share with you. I'd also be glad to learn more about your friend Sombra." As Raven made her way to inside alongside Sombra, Hogo-sha looked down both passages of the hallway. Was this dark in this corridor previously... he could have sworn that it wasn't, but then again he'd had his nose to the floor until a moment ago.


    Hearing Sombra's bedgrudging admission that he found something was good enough for Hogo-sha. The wolf's tail began to wag behind him at the words of praise, some instincts never fade it seems. "I can assure you, friend." The wolf took another deep breath and sniffed a few times at the doorway, "If there's is any notable magical disturbance than this is the room it shall be in he--." And then a book soared off a shelf and collided with Blueblood's Muzzle. Hogo-sha's hackles rose and he let out a deep growl towards the bookshelf, the yokai having a dramatic staredown with the ominous bit of furniture/storage space. When No other books came out to meet the group he turned around  to face blueblood, "Are you alright?" He asked as he circled once around the stallion. He seemed to be alright, save for the bloody nose and even that wasn't terribly bad.

    Before Raven and Sombra came to inspect, Hogo-sha leaned in and took a curious whiff of the book. He flinched and had to back up, bringing his paws to his muzzle and fighting the urge to retch. His tone was tense and hurried, "It... Definitely has magic around it." It felt to the wolf as if he'd walked into a perfume store. For a nose so sensitive and in tune with magical auras it was like a massive sensory overload that made his stomach turn from the shock. 











    The floating head beside the body calmly nodded as Ossia went on to describe the world that their adversary had come from. Sounded pretty standard. The usual dark future, something gone wrong, attempted dimensional invasion. Hardly anything She'd not heard of in the newspapers since she'd awoken. Despite Lus' earlier bluster she knew that she wasn't strong enough to take on an alicorn level threat on her own so she'd let the villainess set her sights on The charging cyborg.  Those energy discs were impressive a sight, one doesn't often get to watch a villain on par with a natural disaster fight. 

    With remarkable speed hte enforce dodged the energy discs earning an impressed whistle from the Hexxer, "Huh... seems she's getting faster. I guess I'll just have to get up close and try and keep her in place while you try and take her down. I'd tell you not to hold back, but I know you won't already." The body and head charged forward as shadowy tendrils emergers at her hooves. Each one striking swiftly and wildly at the cyborg, the myriad shadows being used to keep her busy while the body thrust forward with her umbrella in an attempt to pierce at a weakspot in that chassis.










    Hogo-sha gave a solemn nod to Sombra as he made his way inside. The wolf clearing his sinuses with the kerchief until both Blueblood and Raven made their way around the corner: He'd hate to look so uncouth around his new companions. His pride would never allow such a thing. With a wrinkle of his muzzle the kerchief was stowed away in his coat pocket, after being swiftly folded into a neat square. The jacket was firmly secured on his back by some harmless static cling. 


    Raven's approach made him smile and puff himself up a bit to try and look as regal as he could, the stalwart princely look his was going for lessened a bit by  a reflexive sniffle at the dust still in the area. "Most of my kind are able to change our form, In my experience it's sort of like learning to walk." He rolled his shoulders as he got comfortable out of his disguise, "At first it took concentration but eventually it is as easy as thinking about it! It's easier for some than others. As I'm sure I've demonstrated we can be jostled out of them by a strong enough  disturbance... in my case a dust bunny attempting to make a burrow out of my muzzle. I can do others forms but the diamond dog shape is the easiest for me to maintain normally." He cleared his throat and bowed his head, "A pleasure to meet you as this face, Miss Raven."



    Blueblood had most assuredly been worn out by the introductions. This hadn't been the first time his disguise had been blown around the prince(ss), "I'll be happy to answer any further inquiries once we finish the investigation." Hogo-sha took a deep breath through his nose and exhaled some wisp of plasma that soon floated up beside him, functioning as a lantern that lit up these darkened halls around him for a few feet. "Shall we continue before I end up opening up another door with an overly loud sternutation?"

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    Fiver was the last off the train, at first trying to figure out the why. Did someone on this train not want any of them to get to the empire? Was someone here more important than they were letting on? Noone in their cabin seemed to be hiding anything while they were getting to know each other. She looked closely at the damaged coupling closer, trying to memorize how it looked before she grabbed her luggage and jumped out into the frigid winds. 


    Having her suitcase in hoof made her stumble in the air, her balance offsuit by the heavy case. She tossed it to the side of the tracks as the car sped backwards down the tracks. It landed beside Zelda's in a snowbank that was only growing with the increasing amount of snow coming down. Fiver rushed over to the rest of the group as the winds continued to howl. While they were loud, at least they weren't so booming as to prevent anyone from talking. 


    One didn't get into the Wonderbolt academy by panicking, Fiver certainly didn't. In times of emergency like this she needed to keep a cool head as best as she could. IN this frigid wind, no problem at all... hopefully. She could already feel her teeth started to chatter. "I-is everyone okay? Nopony-- or griffin- injured?"




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    "Hmm... shortening my tail? I've never tried that before." He thought a moment, "I'll give it a try when we reach. Just give me a reminder in case we end up getting chased by something big and menacing." The wolf laughed a bit as the pair strolled through the rainforest. While, Hogo-sha's  interest had always lain in his kind's magic and martial skills, he coudl always take a moment to appreciate an exotic locale such as the basin.  Some of these plants were particularly interesting to watch in passing. One of them seemed ot just snatch a big dragonfly out of the air. 

    "I hope we don't end up meeting a bigger version of one of those." He shuddered at the thought, "In regards to shapeshifting. There are many who are better than me, my family is friends with a fox who may as well be one those O&O Mimics." Somewhere in Long guo, a chef sneezes out of the blue and panics as she has to start over on the dish she was working on. Back in the basin, Hogo-sha's ears twitched in sync with pocket's own. Hogo-sha lowered himself a bit and raised his head to sniff curiously at the air, hoping to find some hint in the air what might be approaching. Glowing eyes flicked to pocket as he mulled over the scent approaching, "Should we take cover?"

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