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Everything posted by DerpRavener

  1. Ponyville. Naj wasn't sure why, but she always seemed to gravitate toward coming here, ever since that fateful day all those...well, her sense of time was one of the things she was hoping to get back soon. That first time she knew exactly why she'd ended up here, it was just the right mix of dangerous and unimportant to someone in her position at the time that it was a place she could stay where no one who might recognize her would find her. Or so she'd thought, at least. The other visits though, she couldn't fully account for. There had been an individual reason for each, but the general trend remained unexplained. As she waited in line, she idly wondered if it was just another manifestation of Ponyville's oddness. The town seemed to be a magnet for odd things, maybe she was just another example of that. The line. It wasn't a very big line, and truth be told Naj wasn't entirely sure what she was in line for, though she was conscious enough to pick up that it had something to do with apples, and therefor naturally the mare who sold them. The changeling knew that apples wouldn't really be something she needed right now, but they could make for a nice treat all the same. And the line, the line made for a sort of order and social interaction. She'd been told it would be good for her to mingle, to help the readjustment process. She'd...struggled with that suggestion though. The line had presented her a sort of compromise that she wouldn't pass up. She was there, she was participating, even if she wasn't really interacting yet. And so Naj waited, smiling contentedly, if a little vacantly. Though as a unicorn came back the other way, she noted with what wasn't quite a frown that there were only two other ponies left between the changeling and front end of the line.
  2. Let me take a shot at it. And I'll note I'm open to discussion on any of these ratings, as I'm still not entirely sure where the ends of the scale are. Detective Stalwart Tier 3 when going all out, due to some things they keep hidden, will typically behave as a tier 2. Intelligence: 5 Strength: 3 Speed: 3 Durability: 3 Energy Projection: 0 Fighting Skills: 5 Bulwark Tier 4, though limited enough in scope to function as tier 3 at times. Intelligence: 4 Strength: 6 Speed: 2 Durability: 6 Energy Projection: 4 Fighting Skills: 5 BROODMARE Tier 3 when she's limited to her pony-form chassis, tier 4 when she has access to systems or materials to work with. Intelligence: 6 Strength: 4 Speed: 3 Durability: 5 Energy Projection: 4 Fighting Skills: 5 Pursuer Tier 4 Intelligence: 7 Strength: 4 Speed: 3 Durability: 4 Energy Projection: 6 Fighting Skills: 5
  3. I came up with a scale a while back, that worked roughly as follows. Note that the lists are not exhaustive, meant more to give examples than encompass the tier. Tier 1 is approximately civilian level, generally low level or improvised capabilities. This would include wild animals, militia, petty criminals and the like. Tier 2 is that of active combatants, including your average soldier, higher skilled or more specialist police, and would probably lump in people with (atypical) powers or magic who are otherwise untrained. Tier 3 is where you get into more specialized or empowered combatants. I would expect 'typical' superheroes and supervillains to fall into this tier. Specialized and particularly trained military or magic users would also fall into this tier. Tier 4 is the start of the extreme end, where you get low grade or localized reality warpers, or people whose abilities while smaller in scale are much wider in range. Examples are a little harder to come up with for this tier, though I think things like demons, AIs (say in control of a facility) or large mecha could probably fit into it. Tier 5 is the top, including the most extreme sorts of things like physical manifestations of gods, ancient wizards who can raise armies of constructs or level cities, or AIs in charge of an entire fleet or a country. I'd also be up for using Tacobob's chart, though it'd be a little more involved. I'd also like to either get or come up with a scale for that one, to get a sense of what a given number means for a character. It might almost be worth using both, Tacobob's to be extra description that could be applied to characters, and mine as a means of shorthand for what level a given thread is intended or expected to be.
  4. I had a few more: Bulwark, Pursuer and BROODMARE. Strictly speaking they're all heroes, although Pursuer and maybe BROODMARE were intended to be a little morally ambiguous. (And in conflict with each other.) Also, I'll note I'm currently potentially open to threads, or at least open to having my characters in them. I'm not sure if that's enough to count as active though, so they could be either direction in that regard.
  5. Naj would be interested, provided it doesn't interfere with any of her other duties. She'll be moving (back) to Ponyville soon it looks like as well, so it might be perfect timing.
  6. Had Clef been a more experienced and savvy adventurer, he might have picked up on Night Prophecy's posturing and been able to work out some things significantly earlier. Unfortunately for the siren, he was not his mother. As such, it was just now that he was starting to pick up that maybe not everything his new friend was saying was on the level. For someone who claimed to regularly spend time on land, Night sure seemed to be struggling with it. It made Clef start to wonder if there were other things his new friend had said that weren't entirely the truth. He didn't see the need to call Night out on it though. No reason to ruin a perfectly good, if still new friendship, and he had to admit a bit of curiosity around why Night would lie about things that seemed either small or could be easily helped if asked. Heck, Clef wondered if maybe it would even be good for him! His upbringing in Melodia had been fairly sheltered, all things considered, and part of the point of this whole journey had been to prove he could survive on his own. This could be a good opportunity to test himself, or failing that, to learn. As the two of them made their way down to the beach, Night explained what it was they should be looking for in a shell. The key aspect was apparently time, the shells needed to have a certain amount of time in the sand, which seemed like it would be a tall order for someone without any divination magic, but apparently one could tell because they weren't faded in colour. “So, just look for the vibrant shells. I think I can do that.” There were, as it turned out, a pair of ponies were selling seashells by the sea shore. Clef took a moment to lightly smack himself for thinking it. He could tell they were there, because they were announcing it loudly, to the whole beach. Something about it seemed off to Clef. At first it was bristling against the idea of selling seashells at the beach, but when he considered he realized there was a more pressing concern. How would they know whether a shell had been under the sand for long? What's more, he'd heard of ponies painting shells before, could they be sure the vibrant shells were that way naturally as opposed to being made more pretty? Clef supposed it couldn't hurt to ask. If worst came to worst, and it didn't look like these particular ponies would have what they needed, they could always go somewhere else. Clef moved toward them. He looked over the assembled shells, but he wasn't really sure which ones would be suitable at a glance. He thought about asking if they had any applicable shells, but he honestly wasn't quite sure how to phrase the question, so instead he settled on something else. “Hey Night,” he called back, “do any of these look like what you're looking for?”
  7. Their foray onto land started off well enough, but before long Clef noticed his friend scowling. Paired with his... awkward method of travel on land, combined with a big of mucus. Clef made a face. While Night was of course very comfortable in the sea itself, the sea air apparently wasn't treating him as well. “Are you sure-” the siren began, misinterpreting his friends reaction as being to the land. He was interrupted by Night suddenly bursting out with a claim that his own geomancy was much better than any kind of weather control. Clef didn't really see what the two had to do with one another, weather magic was almost a bureaucratic thing, making sure everything was running smoothly with the weather it needed as best one could. And, from Clef's observations, making up for when things inevitably went wrong anyways. He didn't see what that had to do with predicting the future through stones, although the ability did sound very impressive. “Yeah, I could see how that could be very useful.” He still didn't get how it worked, but then he was no mage. “I'd like to see that sometime, too. I-if you'd be okay with me watching, of course...” he trailed off a little. This did sound like something important, maybe Night would prefer to keep it hidden from outsiders. Clef considered going back to his earlier concern. Night had seemed to suddenly encounter difficulties when coming on shore, was it really alright for him to be up here? Then again, he had stated very definitively that he was no stranger to land, and talking about geomancy seemed to give him his energy back. Clef held a look of concern on his face for a moment longer, but decided it was something he didn't need to worry about right away. Night made for the beach, forging on ahead, which hadn't been Clef's original plan. On consideration though, maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to check there first. Night had gotten a little ways away while the siren was lost in thought, forcing the latter to sprint for a moment, or at least the rapid shuffling which sirens did in place of sprinting, to catch up. “Actually,” Clef said once he'd caught up, “I'd been thinking to ask ponies on the docks if they'd found any shells worth looking at. But looking over the beach first is probably a better place to start.” Clef's eyes scanned the sand, but he didn't fully know what he was looking for. “So what exactly makes a good shell for geomancy?”
  8. Ahh, now I see what you're going for. It's a decent idea, but I'm not sure it would really work in this thread (though admittedly the reason probably isn't clear from the description here). My plan was essentially to have Naj stick to Ponyville, barring specific offers from other characters, so I don't see her needing to travel except already in the company of the character who offered her a place to stay. I'm loathe to deny a character, but as it stands I'm not sure how he would fit into this thread. Let me know if you have any further ideas, though.
  9. Hmm. It could work, but as is the reasoning seems a little thin. By this description at least, it doesn't seem like he'd really have much stake in this thread, as it doesn't seem like he'd either be looking for a place to stay or have one he would be interested in offering. Am I wrong in that? What sort of ideas did you have for how he'd get involved in the thread?
  10. The thread is still open! Just note that we're just getting back into things after a several month hiatus, and things are going a little bit slowly.
  11. Naj shared Tehengu's chuckle for just a moment. She knew how it was, as she should being in the same organization, that of course she couldn't expect him to be around whenever she might show up. “Heh, well thanks anyways. I might take you up on that at some point, if only to catch up.” She did think it was a nice gesture, and something for her to keep in mind. However, in the end that didn't really affect what she was doing here today. It was easy enough for her to find a place to sleep with a roof over her head, what she was hoping to find here was a home. Naj hadn't been expecting the Mayor to be so prepared to meet her needs, given the particulars of it, although a part of her felt she shouldn't be too surprised. Mayor Mare had held her position in Ponyville for as long as Naj was aware. Presumably, if she had anything it would be a knowledge of the rules and a knack for getting a pony or otherwise through them. The changeling's situation may have been a little stranger than the usual resident, it apparently wasn't enough to faze the mayor. “Thank you! This is a big help,” Naj said, at the first convenient opportunity. She felt like she'd want to do something for the mayor later, although what she could do she wasn't sure. She decided it was an idea she'd have to revisit later, for now she had other things on her mind. As the mayor turned to address the room, and Naj had found herself in the company of more ponies than she'd expected, Swift Squall took a moment to get her attention. He offered to help with the paperwork Naj was working on. Naj hesitated, worried she was asking for too much help already. At the same time, she was still getting the hang of the Equestrian way of doing things. And important though it may be, she didn't enjoy the idea of doing a bunch of paperwork. It took her a moment to reply, but eventually she said “...Yeah, I probably could use a bit of help actually, at least with the paperwork. I appreciate it, though uh, I probably won't be as particular as you would.” She hoped he wouldn't get too invested in what was ultimately going to be her place to live, although she wouldn't turn away the help either. She slid a couple pieces of paper, partially filled out, across to him. Naj thought for a moment. “I do like the sound of that, though I'd rather see all of what's available before committing to anything. I'd be happy to have you along either way though, we can look together.” She smiled at Rose before turning back to the page in front of her. “And hopefully that will be soon, I don't think there's too much more to fill out...”
  12. As they stepped into the bookstore, Naj started to get the uncomfortable sensation of being out of place. The truth was, this wasn't really her field of expertise. She did like books, more than the average changeling, but the sort she tended to enjoy tended to land squarely in the realms of fiction rather than anything of historical or magical significance. Much as she did like the idea of seeing Coltson in action, the truth was she was likely to be as much a liability as an asset in this situation. And, to tell the truth, it sounded like the supposed source of the troubles here was somepony they knew before and hadn't been so bad. That is to say, somepony who it might be best to talk down, rather than smack down. While Naj did prefer a peaceful resolution, and was as happy to talk as anyone else, her skill set was focused on the direct approach above all others. She'd been building up other skills, but a mare would always have her specialty. It turned out she had a perfect excuse to get out of the was as well, and thanks to what she'd established to be her cover, not only would it fit but she wouldn't even really have to lie about it. “I just remembered,” she said, when there was a lull in the conversation, “I actually have a few reports I have to make at the castle, while I'm in town. So, rather than getting underhoof,” she added, with a bit of a grin, “I'm going to get to it.” She turned and trotted out the door, calling “good luck!” back to the ponies inside as she left the shop for the streets outside, trotting away toward her destination.
  13. Okay, apparently I'm still getting back into the swing of things. But I think progress is being made. I am pleasantly surprised there's still this much interest, given how much time has passed. So, there are two ways which come to mind that we could go about this: @Pretzelparty would have been the next person to post, however given that it's been so long that it might make sense to restart the posting order, in which case I'd try to get a post up by this weekend.
  14. Clef found Night Prophecy's doubts odd. Why would the ponies think either one of them had beached themselves? Ponies from central Equestria maybe, but most of the dockside ponies could be able to tell the difference between something which had gotten itself stuck on land and something which went there deliberately. Besides, Clef was perfectly comfortable on land, and Night said he was too, so why would anypony think they couldn't make it while out of the water? Needless to say, he hadn't noticed that his new friend had reservations about venturing above the water. Or at least, Clef didn't until Night immediately followed his first foray above the ocean with a very wet cough, and it was only then that the siren finally had some doubts of his own. Just how long had it been since Night had been on land? The latter clearly wasn't used to this sort of thing. Yet he had made it clear he was perfectly capable of it, very confidently in fact. Clef frowned, but didn't know what to do about it. Perhaps his new friend had spent too long away from land to be used to the air. Perhaps he would just have to keep an eye on said new friend, lest something happen which neither of them were quite expecting. Clef glanced in the direction Night had been looking. “Hmm? Oh, I've gotten that in a few places.” Well maybe not quite the same reaction, but close enough to matter. “I wouldn't worry about it too much, they just aren't used to seeing seaponies around. They'll get used to it in a few minutes, I'm sure. Or at least find something else to draw their attention.” The fact that a number of ponies' gazes remained fixed on the two of them did nothing to dissuade him. “The best place?” Clef paused for a moment, and thought about the question. “I've never been here before either, but the obvious place would seem to be the docks.” Clef pointed a little ways away from where they'd surfaced. Unfortunately, there hadn't been a closer place for ocean dwellers such as themselves to get onto land, at least from what he'd seen. “I imagine most things picked up from the sea would pass through there, so if that doesn't lead us to what you're looking for we're bound to find somepony who can.” As the two started moving that direction, Night revisited the question of divination, suggesting it was a lot like what pegasi did with the weather. Clef considered that for a moment, thinking it sounded reasonable but that something didn't quite fit. After a moment he replied. “But pegasi study clouds because clouds are a big part of weather, I'm pretty sure. I'd think studying stones would be something more like...” he absently waved his hoof in a circle, looking for the word, “geology or something. How do rocks tell you about the day?”
  15. I think Grim Solace could make either a good suspect or a good witness. He's an odd pony, often seen doing suspicious things, which could make him work as the former, and then for the latter he's often seen talking to himself from other's perspectives and can get questionable but relevant information from dubious sources. Looking at roles yet unfilled, the rival team/prosecutors seem to be the biggest one. I don't have the best characters for that, but I might have a couple that could fit. Naj has the mindset and the connections to the REA that I could see her being a part of an official investigation. Just note that she wouldn't be one to try underhanded legal tactics. She might accidentally pursue the wrong person, but she wouldn't be the type to seek a guilty verdict at all costs. Nosk meanwhile might be a little convoluted to get there, but he could work. He could be trying his 'hoof' as a prosecutor (probably with some kind of cover identity), and he's got a mischievous streak that could see him try some underhanded tactics. I imagine he'd see the whole thing as yet another very dangerous game. (Also I know that's more than two, my thinking is that I offer up extra for options and then we can figure out who among them is the best fit and set aside the rest.)
  16. Welp, I was looking through old threads and I remembered/rediscovered this one. I think I've got myself a little more organized now, so we could take another crack at this one. Before I commit to that though, I'd like to see: would people have an interest in trying to continue this, or should we leave it where it lies?
  17. Grim held no ill will toward his teammates. Perhaps, in better circumstances, they could have had a nice conversation. As it was however, priority was to be kept on resolving the current situation, the game, such as it was. He was fully intent on doing just that. However, he was stopped by what one might describe as a screeching in his ear. His companions could get... excitable, when the wanted got something in their heads. “No, that is unnecessary, I am sure they are perfectly capable of-” he was cut off by more rapid chittering. He looked back, only to find that he'd made too much distance from his teammates, who were no longer in comfortable earshot and where enacting their own moves. “...It's a moot point anyways. The only way to talk to them now would be to go backwards.” More chittering. “Well, do you want me to play the game, or sabotage my own chances to tell them that?” This time silence followed. Grim stopped himself from saying 'that's what I thought' as he came across a pair of nobles, loudly arguing over who should move and capture a hapless delivery pony, caught up in this whole mess. By holding his tongue, he was able to sneak up with them unawares. He got into position just in time to hear another red-tinted pony shout for the would-be victim to jump over his aggressors. When the pizza pony finally listened, Grim made his own move. He tensed for a moment, then took a galloping start before leaping over the second noble could react to something other than his friend vanishing. Grim landed heavily on the opposite square, which brought him to a space adjacent to the mare who'd spoken up. A voice in his ear helpfully reminded him this meant they couldn't capture each other, with neither able to move in a way that would put the other at risk. Though filing away the information, Grim pointedly avoided reacting to the voice, and that was only partially due to the reaction he might get. With nopony immediately ahead of him, he took a moment to assess. He had planned to ask the red-tinted mare if she had merely been generous or if she too wanted the game to end, but with the other nobles dealt with and the pizza pony away, she had moved on. Just as well, perhaps. The voices were muttering again, though this time Grim couldn't quite tell what they were on about. He took a step forward, intent on getting a slightly closer look at his surroundings, only to stumble a bit when his hoof landed further ahead than he expected it too. Oddly enough, the lane seemed... smaller... hmm.
  18. Grim Solace didn't typically come to Canterlot. His typical practices were frowned on particularly harshly by the ponies that lived there, and for that matter his attitudes likely weren't received well either. Granted, all that was mostly speculation on his part, but what little time he had spent in Equestria's capitol supported the assumptions, even if it hardly made for a complete account. He wouldn't turn away from a situation in Canterlot that needed his attention, but that was the most he could say for the city. He had no other reason to come here. Well, almost no other reason. As much as Grim Solace prided himself on his ability to be independent, he could not do everything on his own. There were a number of rare materials that he lacked the time or expertise to acquire for himself, and of the two remaining options for magically active materials, he much preferred academia to the black market. Grim Solace had spent most of the day inside thus far, and so while he had felt the tingle of some sort of large scale magic, he hadn't known what it was or what it signified until he stepped back out onto the street. The moment Grim left the doorway he immediately noticed the change, or at least one of them. This was not the part of town he'd entered, let alone the building or door. This was a part of town he didn't recognize. A shift of location would have been irritating, but easily solvable. If only that were the only thing affecting him at the moment. His coat seemed to have changed colours, now a dark shade of blue instead of his usual grey, though it still managed to be somewhat sombre. The ground was similarly...'decorated', covered with alternating colours of squares. Trying to move, having not yet decided if he would aim to escape or to confront the source, he found he couldn't, unless he shifted diagonally. Just as Grim's confusion was reaching it's peak, a paper floated conspicuously down to his hooves, and he finally had an explanation: checkers. A foals game. He vaguely remembered playing it sometimes when he was young, but that was ages ago. It was perhaps fortunate that instructions were provided, even if he would have far preferred not to have need of them in the first place. Grim's 'companions' were chittering in his ears, just as anxious as he but not as skilled at containing it. “Hush,” he muttered under his breath, “this is only temporary. If not meant to be, I will make it so.” He noticed he wasn't the only pony so affected, perhaps it would be better not to speak with his usual company unnecessarily, lest he start getting funny looks from his teammates. Speaking to the apparently empty air was the sort of thing which got one remembered. Indeed, Grim wasn't the only pony affected. Already, another blue-tinted pony was calling forth a charge of sorts. Much as Grim didn't like charging forward without a plan, the only way out did seem to be through. And besides, what's the worst that could happen? Being captured could only mean one was out of the game. With a nod toward the other pony Grim began walking forward, stepping on such spaces as the game allowed him, in a steady advance toward the castle some ways distant.
  19. It turned out that there was a method to Tongue Twister's madness, in that she'd left the room to give Naj and Coltson a chance to speak. “Oh...Oh!” Naj said after a moment. She waved a hoof, as if brushing away the issue. “I did get to speak to him a little, but it's nothing so urgent. Actually, if anything, I was hoping to get a chance to see him at work. Most of what I might want to talk about is, ah, kinda boring. And might take a while, so it can wait.” Strictly speaking, that was all true, although whether or not security plans were boring was a matter of opinion. Coltson caught Naj's attention as Twister mumbled to herself, indicating to the muttering mare. She wasn't quite as good at lip-reading as he was, her specialization was in more direct sorts of interaction, but there was enough there to be concerned. Her thinking though, rather than worrying about a civilian, was that maybe Twister wasn't as out of the loop as they might have thought. Though that too was a complication, and until they knew more about the mare it was something to keep any eye on. The complications didn't stop there. Coltson's idea for Naj's cover wasn't quite what the changeling would have used. And much as part of her was tempted to try to play along, she wasn't sure it was a ruse she could maintain if it came down to it. Fortunately, she had a way to play things off and resolve the issue, hopefully without rousing any suspicion. “Heh 'Purveyor',” Naj chuckled and shook her head. “I work with the REA, and lately I've been doing a lot of 'artifact recovery'. Sometimes dangerous items pop up which are best kept out of unknowing or unscrupulous hooves. To that end, it's helpful to know somepony who works with rare books.” She looking meaningfully toward Coltson. "Though I suppose,” she reflected after a moment, “I have been working with antiques a lot lately, so the confusion's understandable.” The train pulled to a stop just as Naj was finishing what she was saying. They had arrived in Canterlot. Equestria's capitol had a lot of personal history for the changeling, being both the site of one of her greatest regrets and her greatest triumph at different times. But today this wasn't her adventure, she was just along for the ride, which brought its own sort of interest. Naj stepped off the train and then turned to her companions. “Alright, where to?”
  20. Clef sat back as Night Prophecy went through a range of expressions, each indicating a different emotion or mood, without actually saying anything. It was a curious thing to watch, seeing his new friend go through so many moods at once, but Clef couldn't bring himself to interrupt. Whatever Night was thinking of was evidently a private matter, else it would have been shared. Besides, it was the siren's belief that everyone deserved a few eccentricities. When he finally did respond, Night seemed affronted that Clef would even ask him such a question. The siren for his part thought it was a perfectly reasonable thing to ask, given that his current companion was from a previously unknown ocean-dwelling civilization. But, he supposed this was its own form of answer, even if Night had an odd way of expressing it. If the sea pony was so sure of himself, who was Clef to argue? Night finished by suggesting that finding a good bit of shell or coral would be a reason for him to return back home, and that would in turn be excuse enough to bring Clef for a visit. That was it then, it was decided. There was a way for each of them to find a mutually agreeable outcome. Clef nodded to himself, and then started looking for the quickest way up out of the water. It wasn't easy, with all the boats coming in and out the surface of the water was choppy and a little hazardous. There were docks, but those were built for travelers going to and from floating on the water, rather than the water itself. Clef swam around a bit in lazy circles as he looked for a way up. It took him a minute to spot something. Near some of the private docks was a wide staircase, which lead from the land into the water. Clef didn't get the purpose of them until he spotted a filly run down the stairs and splash into the water. He started swimming that direction, before remembering he was supposed to be getting Night onto land as well. He waved the seapony over, before continuing to move toward the stairs. Clef poked his head out of the water on reaching the stairs, accidentally startling a few ponies in the process, and looked around. He took a moment to get a view of the city from above the waves, but not for long. It was simple enough, with a small application of a natural siren ability, for him to get himself out of the water. He turned to make sure Night Prophecy was still following, and as the latter made his own way out of the water Clef asked a question of his own. “So divination, how does that work? Or is it the sort of thing you can't tell laypeople?”
  21. Celestia could see Applejack's point. If she went to any official medical centres, questions would inevitably to be asked about what caused her injuries. Another pony would have a chance of concealing the truth with some risk, but for all her capabilities one thing Applejack could not do reliably was lie to other ponies. It was regrettable, but it apparently unavoidable. Yet another unpleasant surprise, the one positive development that could be taken from this was a lesson learned. The farmpony should not be called on for a certain sort of task. Applejack took offence, of a sort, at Celestia's own criticism. She naturally did not outright insult the princess, though the inherent displeasure was very evident all the same. The alicorn supposed she could understand the farmpony's perspective. Applejack had an innate understanding of herself and had a confidence in that, and as such she 'knew' she could accomplish the task they had undertaken without putting her child at risk. She'd thus accused Celestia of passing judgment despite not being the most knowledgeable pony on the subject. Strictly speaking that was true, Celestia thought. She didn't know Applejack's body as well as the earth pony herself did. What she did know however, indeed what she felt herself an authority on, were mistakes. Over her centuries she'd seen how even the most durable, resolute pony could be laid low by a stone where one didn't expect, or an opponent moving faster, or even slower than one would expect. She also knew what could be lost, when those small mistakes were made, particularly in high intensity situations. Indeed, she'd made a great number of mistakes herself, some of which haunted her for a thousand years. Applejack had taken a risk she wouldn't have dared taken herself. However that was, ultimately, out of Celestia's control. It had taken her effectively several lifetimes to truly learn that lesson, and Applejack was known to be a particularly stubborn pony. She doubted Applejack could be convinced without indisputable proof, which she hoped the mare never found. This was yet more to the lesson the alicorn herself would have to take away from this, but beyond that there was little more to do here. Celestia smiled back, if a bit sadly, and after a moment she spoke. “Yes, to happier meetings.” And then, with a flap of her wings, she launched herself into the sky and flew off.
  22. Naj had heard of a new changeling hive, one which vaguely sounded like the one belonging to this 'Thorax'. Beyond that though, she didn't know anything about it. Her job meant she didn't get information the way normal ponies did. In some cases this meant she knew more, while other subjects would fall by the wayside. This was one of the latter. However, she had not been expecting the question, and while she was thinking of a reply Tongue Twister had run off, leaving Naj and apparently Coltson watching her exiting form in confusion. “Me, if I had to guess,” Naj replied, with a sigh. “It would hardly be the first time I've caused this sort of reaction.” A changeling in the open was, she had to admit, a strange and potentially disturbing sight for many ponies. Those who got to know her were generally able to acclimatize easily enough, but she could hardly meet everypony in Equestria, and that meant there would always be some one new to disturb. Granted they'd come a ways so far, but Tongue Twister had hardly spoken to Naj during that time, and sometimes there was a delayed reaction. “I can say this though, she ran off, which means she doesn't need me kicked out. Or at least, she doesn't want a confrontation.” That was good, she could work with that. Some ponies just needed time. Naj was a little more subdued when Tongue Twister returned, but tried to finish her reply all the same. “To answer your question, I don't really know much about Thorax's hive. I cut ties with mine some time ago, and since then I've kept out of contact with other changelings. Well, with a few exceptions.” She smiled with what she hoped was a disarming smile.
  23. Just as they were on the verge of reaching civilization, Applejack began to remove her armour. Understandable, as this was meant to be a less public operation. It did however make Celestia think back to everything which they'd left behind back at the castle. Yes, the books they had come for had been recovered as much as they could be, but in their place was now a fair amount of sophisticated arcane weaponry, albeit rendered inoperable. Then again, anyone who would be able to get to and make use of the debris would either already know how to build such things, or would be more than dangerous without them. It would be good to clean it up eventually, but for now she could set the thought aside and focus on other things. “And a doctor too, I should hope,” Celestia was quick to reply. She let the words hang for a moment, before following up on them. She shot Applejack a meaningful look. “I mean that. Your resolve is unquestioned, but those injuries are not trivial.” She hoped Applejack would listen, but knew the farmpony was stubborn. She considered sending her personal physician, just to make sure Applejack got some medical attention, although she didn't believe that necessary just yet. Or at least that had been how Celestia felt, until she noticed the faint bulge around Applejack's stomach as the earth pony's armour was removed. “Applejack, did you...?” She trailed off. It took her only a moment to puzzle out what was going on, and much of that was because she would not have expected it from the farm pony. “You're pregnant,” she said finally, before her expression and voice hardened. “And that means you've done something very, very irresponsible. Did you not even think of your family, before answering my request?” Her expression gave way to concern. “I would hardly be much of a princess if I couldn't find a pony to help me, or a way to do without.” Celestia sighed. “Though, I suppose there's nothing for it now. What's done is done.” There didn't seem to be any point in getting worked up about it, any damage would have already happened. Now it would just be up to them to deal with any consequences that arose. “I do appreciate the help,” she admitted, “even if I don't agree with the priorities which drove it. Just, make sure you speak to a physician, alright?” She turned to leave. “I'm afraid I can't stay, there is much yet to do. I hope next time we see each other, it's under more pleasant circumstances. Farewell.” She smiled back at her friend, before beginning to walk away.
  24. Night Prophecy didn't react the way Clef might have hoped. Not that the siren would know exactly what kind of reaction to expect, but exasperation was never a good sign. If he had to guess, he'd overstepped his bounds. Maybe asking to be taken to someone else's home, essentially inviting himself, was going too far. Night hadn't turned him away, and indeed had introduced himself and asked about any questions, but perhaps it would be better to stick to the present. That Night Prophecy introduced himself as the court wizard of Okeanos proved to be something of a mixed blessing in that light. Much as it was exciting to not only find a member (arguably) of an lost civilization but one who was so close to royalty as well! However, Clef was also fairly certain he wasn't making a very good first impression, and if the pony he was talking to was so important then that made it doubly bad. Clef realized it would be better to focus on the present. Helping with the issue ahead of him would probably go a ways toward fixing that first impression he'd made. He listened intently, as Night Prophecy first asked if Clef had any questions, before once more explaining the situation with the coral. “Ahh, well...” The siren scratched the back of his head with a hoof, and looked away for a minute. “Honestly, I'm not even sure what I'd want to ask. It's just, almost nothing is known for certain about Okeanos after it fell. It's almost a lost civilization!” Hopefully Night could see why that would be such an exciting find. Clef moved on either way, to the issue of the now-missing coral. He considered for a moment, then looked up, towards the surface of the water. “Say, how well can you travel on land?” Realizing that his new foreign friend might not understand the way Equestrian civilization worked, having potentially not really encountered it, he added something else. “I'm sure somepony up there either knows where we could find, or knows where we could buy some.”
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