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Vanhoover, the City of Gardens. For Squall the colorfulness of the view outside the window was clashing with grimness of the task he was presented with. Unicorns gaze shifted towards the papers that were laying on the table. Copies of numerous reports made during the last three months. About three dozen cases of missing pets and four missing ponies - all unicorns - around norther Everfree region. No direct witnesses and little evidence was found, but what was discovered was...unsettling. No wonder that EPIC came to be involved. The circumstances would be enough, but there were also sheer numbers. Whatever was the reason for those events it had to be put to an end. Now. Swift walked away from the window and sat in the armchair, checking the papers once more. Having at least an apartment in every major city had advantages. This way he could proceed with investigation with much fewer worries. That said, during the last three days he was in Vanhoover the information he collected proved.....inconclusive. The only thing that remained was to look for this apparent 'beast' directly. Of course noblepony was no fool. During his past as the sell-sword he faced many monsters - and he knew that Everfree was simply thriving with them. Finding the specific one, one that was responsible for this incidents required preparation. And backup. Higher ups apparently agreed with his request. This morning Squall received information that his backup was on the way, and he should expect it the very same day. All that remained was to wait for the other agent that was dispatched for assistance. Wait and.... Was that knocking that he just heard?
The moon was in the middle of the sky, bathing Vanhoover in a pale glow as a group of ponies stood in an alley, stealing glances at the bank opposite them. They were speaking about something in harsh whispers, leaving it clear that they were arguing even if the topic of discussion wasn't entirely clear. The small, hovering drone which floated unnoticed above the alley, was only catching snippets of the conversation. As a general purpose unit, that it could even get a few words at this distance was a minor miracle, but it was no matter. BROODMARE, the closest thing the drone had to an operator, already knew why those ponies were there. They were here to rob the bank across the street. She was here because they were going to do that, or more specifically how. They'd found a new tool, that they were planning to use to break through the vault, and while the android didn't need the tool itself she did need the parts. Now BROODMARE was just waiting for them to make a move. She was patient, she could be here all night, but she didn't think the same could be said for them. They were bound to make a move soon, and BROODMARE wanted to be able to move when then did. She inched the hovering drone closer too them, while she herself crept from her spot one building over to the adjacent rooftop. [I'm alright with pretty much any character joining, with the caveat that I'd like to at least start things off at a lower scale. So that means none of the really powerful characters, or if they are involved have them just be observing, or for some reason or another not fighting at full strength.]
Daffodil Bucket stood by the town square, wondering what to expect. After having been asked by one of the regular bulk buyers of her farm's flowers to show around a business acquaintance, she didn't know quite how much use she was going to be. Her business was conducted entirely from her farm, so she wasn't really in the know about things like setting up a shop in town, despite having worked at many of them. Still, at least a walk around Vanhoover showing off the sights wouldn't hurt. She bounced on her hooves a little, looking around, curiously.
Vanhoover - City of Gardens Nestled in the foothills of the Hasufel Mountains between the Everfree Forest and the Great Nimbusgait Lakes, the city of Vanhoover is surrounded by natural wonders. With lakes, mountains and the mysterious Everfree just a short distance from its boundaries, ponies from all over Equestria come to take in its beauty by camping, hiking, and climbing. Among residents of the city itself, many artists take inspiration from their surroundings, and the Vanhoover Art Gallery boasts one of the finest collections of landscape art in Equestria. Vanhoover's citizens also take pride in their bright and colourful gardens of both edible and ornamental flowers found growing around every residence, and in containers or hanging baskets on every street and building. The area now occupied by Vanhoover was originally explored by pegasi from nearby Cloudsdale, who would deposit excess rainclouds over the lakes when not needed. Over time, word of the area as a natural retreat spread, and earth ponies and unicorns began arriving with the intention of living there permanently. Because the city can only be easily accessed by sailing across the lakes or flying, Vanhoover has remained relatively small compared to some of its neighbors, but the locals consider this part of its charm. Residents of the city have gained a somewhat undeserved reputation as nature-loving layabouts, but in truth, the ponies in Vanhoover have since the earliest days made every attempt to be self-sufficient in as many ways as possible because of the few routes that can be used to get there. Numerous artisans create items for locals and tourists alike, and several surrounding farms keep it from relying on imports in all but the worst years. If there is one downside to this otherwise idyllic setting, it comes from the city's close proximity to the Everfree Forest. As the weather in the forest is uncontrolled by pegasi, residents of the city frequently find themselves underneath heavy rain clouds that inexplicably drift out of the forest in the direction of Vanhoover on a regular basis. The rain tends to let up in the summer, but returns during cooler months, causing a great deal of extra work for local weather ponies. While the large amount of rainfall does wonders for the growth of the trees, crops and flowers, a few ponies speculate that the sheer number of clouds the city sees are the Everfree's way of expressing its disapproval at the location of the city. - The Hitchhiker's Guide to Equestria