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Ciraxis

The Visits (Open)

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Swift Squall put aside another document, one of the numerous many that were now laying on his desk. As an owner - and for a time CEO - of three fledgling companies on Equestria southern coast he had to deal with lot of papers. Still if things could be said about noblepony, hard worker was one of them - whatever mentally or physically.

Unicorn horn lit up, and he was about to reach for another page when blinding light hit his face. Swift squinted his eyes in displeasure and moved the armchair he was sitting in slightly aside. Now that he was no longer blinded it became obvious what was the source of this interruption. It was the sun, and from the looks of it, it was on the sky for some time already. The branches of the tree that grew just outside the study obscured it until just before now, which would explain why Squall didn't noticed earlier. Unicorn glanced in confusion at the grandfather clock standing under wall left to him. What he saw made his lips twist into displeased frown.

Nine A.M. He unintentionally pulled another all-nighter again. It always was like this when Fire was out of Squallcoast Manor. Since Swift returned from the 'dead', his sweetheart could finally officially ditch the barracks in favor of living with him. Her presence, made his previously erratic sleep schedule much more stable and nightmares that previously haunted him almost every night, were now seldom when his love was at his side. No doubt that the former influenced by the fact that - as a mare from a Walker family - she had generations upon generations of practicing this in her blood. Squall own experience with the military loosened to such a point that, as a factor, it was non-existent.

 

Of course Fire was still officer of REA, and from time to time her duties requested her being away. Swift of course understood - he himself was no better, his 'death' being prime example. Although what he did he himself wouldn't call a duty, rather.....a responsibility. Still that probably help from getting a mouthful from his love. After all, from the note he got from her, Squall already knew that her absence ends today.

 

A sudden rumbling in his stomach took unicorn away from his thought. Of course, he was due to eat something by now. But as stood up, and was halfway towards the door from the study, they happened to open, and his butler - Oak Branch - walked in with a breakfast.

"Stayed up late again Master Squall?" sad the old servant. It was clear it was question that earth pony already knew the answer for.

"You know me Oak." Swift answered, offering no defense. Branch knew him since the cradle, he would see from any half-hearted excuse right away.

"Mistress Fire will be upset. I guess her favorite Pint Noir would be in order I guess. Should send for a dinner in Hidden Dragons too. She recently expressed interest in this Long Guo cuisine" butlers mind was already at the task of uplifting crimson pegasus humor.

"You already call her Mistress....." swordpony noticed Oak choice of words.

"Young Master, when you will live as long as am I you will notice inevitability of certain things." earth pony answered with a smile.

"There is no such thing as fate Oak." Squall said, even if he didn't minded at all turn of events that his servant was suggesting.

"You always say that Master Squall."

"Because it's the truth. The fate or destiny, is nothing more then excuse. One used by those fearing to admit that their actions have consequences. And some beginning lawyers. I outgrew need for both."

"Of course Master Squall, you only deal with scarred grizzly veterans, who sit around the fire and tell tales about their gruesome battles in the courtroom."

"Har har, very funny." Swift answered in deadpan tone. However his eyebrows rose when he noticed that Oak wasn't quite finished. "There is something else?"

"Well, kind of." Branch answered and finally put the plate with a breakfast on the desk. "Mr. Bubble managed to convey to me that we should expect visitor, or maybe visitors even."

Conjurer Bubble was previous owner of Squallcoast Manor, and now it's resident friendly ghost. Despite Swift reclaiming his family ancient home after it was in outsiders hooves for so long, Bubble decided to stay and help, instead of passing into whatever afterlife was awaiting him. Fire believed that Bubble may not be an actually ghost, but some magical guardian that took late pony mannerism and characteristics in some way. Swift didn't shared that belief but regardless of what he was, Bubble proved very useful and brought some 'life' in otherwise empty massive mansion. Despite being mute, Conjurer managed to communicate by using his still remaining, enormous talent in illusion to create real life rebuses.

"Visitors? We never get visitors. We so out of the way that  not even solicitors bother."

It was true. Squallcoast Manor was so huge, and manor grounds so large that it was outside a city proper, on the cliff-side that slowly shifted towards the expanse of the Strand. While the view outside the windows were stunning - towards the sea on one side, unobscured grasslands from other and the back, and finally Fillydelphia and Manebrush River down below. Of course that also meant that it was much, much more time saving for Squall to call air taxi then walk to the city, shopping had to be done in a bulk and with hired help to bring it back home and postponies loathed when the had to visit with mail or the package.

"Alright, fine. Did he...errr said what kind of visits that could be? I swear to Harmony, if that would be ninjas again I will lose my patience." despite Squall rebuke of fate, he knew better then dispute with Bubble's predictions. If something happened or was about to happened on Manor grounds, than he would know it. Ghost thing apparently.

"I afraid not."

"Well at least he forewarn about that much. I need to finish this quickly." unicorn glanced at his meal  "And probably put on something neutral. Knowing things someone could be knocking at the front door any minute now....."

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The first one to arrive was an armored stallion, looking at the building with a mix of scorn and jealousy. He had never had anything so opulent, and he had never needed it. Xieye walked towards the door after another moment of staring, muttering under his breath a bit as he checked his blades.

 

"[Wonderful, a house of a noble. I need a place to rest, but did it have to be here? I may protect the nobles, no more than anyone else, but I have never liked them.]" The longma paused in front of the door, considering his options. He needed to rest, but could he try to find somewhere else? Probably, but he had already come this far. Steeling himself, he knocked forcefully on the door. Knowing his luck recently, there would be nopony home and he would have to move on anyways. Truth be told though, that was a bittersweet option.

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Swift Squall was halfway through his last croissant when he heard knocking to the door. Back when he started renovating the manor Swift thought that it would be a good idea to enchant the front door, so any potential guest could be heard from any part of the estate. After all Squallcoast Manor was stupidly huge, and he was about to add to it, so idea looked sound.

Now he started to regret that decision.

"Brongth! Brongth?!" unicorn called with his mouth half full. Why was the Oak...oh right. He was in the cellar, preparing for their potential guests. And so t happens that underground was only place in the estate that was soundproof, even from ones amplified by magic. Not for any noise that could get there, more like for any that could escape from there but....well that was the side effects.

"For Celestia sake...." noblepony thought before rising up from his seat. He managed to snatch one more lettuce leaf before he rushed through the corridor and the downstairs towards the door, still wearing the same bathrobe. That reminded him that he didn't had time to take the morning bath, or even the shower, which only caused him to grimace even more.

"Coming!" he shouted while halfway through grand stairs. He should really consider installing a slide, much less time consuming. But on the second thought no, Fire probably wouldn't like it. And considering that she started to add little spins on her own since she moved in...

Well that could wait for later. Right now there was something waiting at his doorsteps. Count took the keyring that was laying on the nearby shelf and opened half of his double doors. Those things was impractically big, more in place on cathedral or the castle, but for his defense Squall could say that at least those weren't his idea. One can't choose their ancestors after all.

"Ugghhh finally." count growled when he managed to deal with the lock and open the door. "Welcome to Squallcoast manor how can I heeee...?!" he started before trailing of. Well that's not what he was expecting. Maybe he shouldn't invoke the ninjas so lightely, seeing that while this traveler certainly wasn't wearing black pajamas look-alikes, he was clearly coming from the same region. The armor and weaponry was clear proof of that. Oh and the fact that the wearer was longma. Not what he was expecting indeed.

That said, Swift surprise didn't lasted for long. He eyes narrowed back after initial widening and he spoke with returned composure.

"My apologies. We vary rarely have any guests, and so far none were either bushi or ryuma. Again, how can I help you?" it was visitor turn to be surprised....

Because now he was speaking perfectly fluently in Xiêyè native tongue. And without hint of accent at that.

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Xiêyè had been examining the large doors as he waited. He was about to leave under the impression that there was nopony inside the obscenely large mansion when he heard someone calling out and the door soon unlocking. The Longma turned towards the opening door to find something he did not expect. A unicorn stallion, that was to be expected from this land, but what came as a surprise was the stallion's attire. A bathrobe? And he could speak the language of Long Guo fluently? Well then. 

 

"[You speak my tongue well, good.]" He said simply after he managed to recover from the separate surprises this meeting had come with. "[I am Xiêyè Fēngbào, traveling swordfighter, and I am in need of a place to stay and rest. I am willing to trade labor or protection for a room if need be.]" He added, his chest puffing out a bit with pride as he introduced himself. 

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((Pardon my intrusion, I hope another play partner is not minded))

 

Skyscrapers, that was what they called a building that pierced the edges of clouds. Walls of glass and metal, wonders of magic and technology. The physical labour, the magical exhausted was something these ponies experienced creating this city. It was a true metropolitan city. Ponies here lived their lives. It was a bit more stressful than most places under Equestria's rule to live day by day, but traditions and strong, generational herd bonds kept tribes strong. Families stretched back over a hundred years,  occupied the same streets their great, great grandponies did.

 

Over his lifetimes, the spirit of Chaos has had many faces and been to  many places. Exposure to the most primeval lifeforms to the most advanced gave one a perspective on just how insignificant time was. Driven by the piety of his existence, the spirit did not often dwell in one place. Traveling was a simple result of his nature. Change was inevitable,  destiny but the result of the choices one was bound to make. The only way to ensure change took hold was to allow anarchy to take hold. He was not as cruel as he once was, but compared to a pony's existence he had only been cruel for a microt.

 

Pandemonium had been the staple of life until Harmony instilled order.

A monster in disguise. Among the dusty, grey streets of the maze-like avenues and boulevards, grey hooves scraped across the concrete streets, lurking towards its destination. As the figure passed streetlights began to hum. Some changed color from a white light, to reds and blues, sometimes rainbows. Critters native to the cities would tu k back into dumpsters as the shadow grew against brick and stone walls, as the dark form filled the dimly lit alleys.

 

Chaos moved from place to place. Where ever there was peace, disorder would soon follow to relight the spark in a pony's heart. The spirit would never admit to doing good deeds when he could. He would assert it was merely a decaying sense of pity he had for the hapless pones. He lied to himself often. He didn't yet accept hid limitations, because to him: chaos was limitless. 

Just like the skyscrapers couldn't go on, or risk bending beneath their weight, so could the spirit not continue his old ways, lest bend the patience of his friends. But there were times when he simply could not flee that sensation. Mischief was his middle name. 

 

A grey ear perked as what came around the corner was far from a draconequus, but an ordinary, grey pony that was easily forgotten. Am ordinary face and no special features. He had a short, black mane and a cropped tail, badly groomed. By his horn he was a unicorn, but was he even there? Red eyes turned toward the occupants at the door. Hid hor lit up with a unique, white aura that grasped a nearby raccoon by the tail. It let out a surprise bark.

 

"Now, now… just run on in and you'll get a reward." The raccoon chittered and the grey unicorn rolled his eyes. "Yes, yes. Two chocolate bars." He would set the raccoon free in hopes he would dart into the door in order to distract the pair.

 

His goal was to sneak up, unnoticed. He moved forward, moments after, whether they focused on the critter or ignored it he would approach, hooffalls nearly completely silent. His ears would pin back, lips  curling. A small snaggletooth peeked out beneath his grey lips. His movement had an obvious limp. It looked to be an old wound on the stallion, but instead it was merely the imbalance of being on all fours, one of his hind legs being a bit shorter in his true form. The limp was compensation to the shorter leg.

 

"My what a… unique gathering." He would express in no clear accent. "This is quite a place." What had lured the ancient spirit here? The chance for a game…?

 

……or destiny?

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"Well yes I sometimes do that.  Not lot occasions for practice though. I blame all the water being in the way" Squall spoke in turn "Also happened to guess profession already. That 'edgy' bits are kind of a give away." Squall waved his hoof towards the sheathed katanas. "And not turning you away but it's 9 A.M. as may noticed. At that point most would start their day. Unless you been on the road all....Oh. Ooooooooh!" Swift once again trailed off when the realization hit him. He paused for a moment before shouting inside.

"Oak! OAK! Did you got yourself out of the cellar already?"

"As a matter of fact I did. What is it Young Master?"

"We have a guest."

"Color me surprised Sir."

"Once again 'Har Har'. Look we need bedroom, dinner and bath. Preferably one with jacuzzi."

"You meant breakfast Master Squall."

"I know what I said! And I mean something fresh. Sent the order letter through fireplace to the...oh I don't know."

"May I suggest that new Pizzeria Sir?"

"I am philanthropist Count billionaire. Why for Luna's Crescent Flank would I resort to pizza as the first choice, and look like miser because of it?"

"Young Master, everyone likes pizza."

".......Fair enough." swordstallion reluctantly admitted.

After this shouting conversation across the mansion Swift once again focused on Fēngbào.

"So what an extras you want? Because there is a lot to choose..." once again unicorn wasn't allowed to finish. This time raccoon of all things attempted to ran past the noblepony and inside into the mansion. Of course unicorn snatched the critter into the air with his magic before it could get to far. He pulled the creature within his eyesight before rising an eyebrow.

"Well today's the gift that keeps on giving. This is new, and not a lot of those here either, grasslands and everything. Usually animals run away from me. Nature respect and all but we just don't mix. Except the ones with maws like knife exhibits. Those ones tend to be exhausting." Squall rambled, unintentionally switching back to Equestrian.

That somewhere made him miss an appearance of an another stallion. One that despite the limp and bad dental plan managed to sneak up unnoticed. Noblepony couldn't help but answer with sass at new pony first statement.

"Yes. A gathering. Of three equines. Pretty sure my enochlophobia would start acting any moment now." he said, before adding his spin own on the other unicorn's observation, although thankfully this time sarcasm was directed at someone else. "Well you know those nobles of old. They liked to build big, as if they were compensating for something. Be descendant of some and you don't have much choice but to roll with it. Say happened to be in Pharaoh Vale, Saddle Arabia to see all those tombs and pyramids back there? To this day I don't know whats bigger, the bills for building those things or the egos of guys that ordered them made in first place."

Of course his casual demeanor shifted into a one a tad more serious when he pulled a raccoon higher into the air to show it to him

"Also is that yours? See I don't mind preparing another bedroom at all. There are literally forty of them back there, and that just the finished parts of the house. But if it is yours and it leaves something somewhere inside the manor, neither myself or my staff are cleaning that up. I have litter box if you want or need it. Also a crunch, quite a selection to be honest. No offense but you look like you could use one."

Surprisingly, quite an amount of genuine care managed to slip into Squall last words towards the newcomer.

Which were followed by more shouting into the mansion

"Oak Branch. OAK BRANCH!"

"Yes Master Squall?"

"Remember the visitor part?"

"I do Young Master."

"Make it plural. Two so far."

"So far?...Oh you expect more Sir."

"Nailed it Branch.

"Thank you Master Squall."

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Xieye raised an eyebrow as the stallion spoke, as if it should have been obvious. After that, he simply waited as the stallion spoke to another pony somewhere in the building. He was by no means the best when it came to the Equestrian language, but it sounded as if he was being granted a place to rest as well as a meal of some sort. What was a pizza?

 

"[Extras?]" He asked as the stallion turned back to him. Of course, the conversation didn't go any further as a racoon tried to dart into the building only to be picked up in the unicorn's magic. The longma was too distracted by a feeling of something coming to really pay attention to what was said next. He was wound tight, waiting for whatever was approaching to get closer, not that he could really tell how far away they were.

 

When the new arrival spoke up, being much closer than he had thought, Xieye spun around, two blades out in a flash and poised to take the stallion's head off. The swordfighter managed to keep himself from hurting the stallion though, aside from maybe a couple shallow cuts on the neck area. He sheathed the blades again after a moment, settling back down onto all fours as he listened to what was being said. There was something about this gray stallion that put him on edge, he would have to keep an eye on him.

 

"Should we go in?" He asked as the unicorn that seemed to own the building finished speaking. He preferred to use his own tongue, but he supposed that was partly due to comfort on his part.

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The grey unicorn had a strange air to him, but by his very nature he was plain, ordinary, and easy to forget. He didn't stand out in any way. His cutie mark was the same color of his mane and tail; his entirety was a dull monochrome existence. His red eyes were noticeable against the white sclera, but with a stature that was a bit smaller than most unicorn, he seemed the picturesque little unicorn. His magic was hardly extraordinary as it displayed basic levitation. 

 

He brows raised as that small horn lit up with its white aura, the poor night mammal getting handled like some hunter's prize. This better be worth two whole candy bars. The disguised spirit parted his jaws and levitated the nocturnal critter atop his head. The raccoon stiffened when knives were suddenly thrust out, but was there any attempt to make contact with the grey pony's skin, the blades would find themselves embedding into apples, sticky juice spilling if any puncture was made. 

 

He did not skip a beat when the critter was offered. "Oh, why thank you for locating my hat." He prompted, this the raccoon lay himself on the old pony's head.

 

Age was evident by the patches of grey just beneath his chin. He raised a hoof to adjust his 'hat' as the critter resigned to his fate, for now. The offer of being let inside a manor, off the cold streets certainly intrigued it. The 'unicorn' resisted rolling his eyes to the back of his head, lips pulling back into a smile as his eyes pinched closed. Nobles and their long winded speeches. Sizes, room numbers, privilege… it was really all so inconsequential in the face of what the universe had in store. Oh but it was interesting. Not only was the Longma a curiosity for the --ah, grey guest, the statehood of the Manor would need a bit of a pick-me-up. After all flights of stairs were so last season. And so many rooms… think of all that could fill them?

 

The grey menace waved his hoof. "Ah, well since you're offering, who am I to turn down a place to stay. Name's Dark Strife. Contrary to the looks, I'm a private detective." He assured, raising his left hoof to his chest, a tick left over from his true form.

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"So...you don't know what's pizza. How misfortune of you Fēngbào having yet to encounter the most flexible of all foods. This will be corrected today."  noblepony assured the nonplussed longma. "By extras I mean, what kind of things you have the greatest preference of when it comes to meal. Flowers, herbs, vegetables, fruits, maybe fungi? Any combination of those? You will find that there are few things that couldn't be served on pizza. I will say more, Aquilians, our western neighbors tend to eat it with meat or seafood."

 

The any further talks about the meal were quickly postponed after Xieye upon arrival of the others pony. While Squall could too feel the unusual aura coming from the other pony, that was not reason to resort to weaponry.....yet.

"Wow there, kind of on a hair trigger you are." Squall mused. Swordstallion waited for a moment before speaking again after ryuma sheathed his blades.

"Calmed yourself? Good. Mr Fēngbào I am a...hmm...well you can say warrior myself, and as such I can understand this reaction. And seeing like elder looks unharmed I will overlook this display. But now I am also a host, and good host's duty is to make all of his guests feel safe, among other things. As such in case your temper happens to get better of you without good reason, and you resort to using arms unjustified I will be forced to ask you to disarm yourself. I hope all of this is clear Mr Fēngbào. After all host, aside of duties has also privilege of dictating the conditions allowing the attendance under his roof."

 

With this said it was once again a turn to focus on the gray unicorn. The little amount of his mannerism already told Swift with who was he dealing with. Either he was senile, or was bonkers to begin with. But having a few screws loose is not reason enough to turn away vagrant.

"I....well I can't say I would choose the same headgear as you, old one." Squall said diplomatically.

Noblepony couldn't help but to raise his eyebrow as the gray pony revealed both his name and profession.

"A private eye? You indeed could've fooled me Mr Strife. But you sure look like someone who saw a lot through his years. I hope you are not against sharing a few of those stories, sitting next to fireplace and over a cup of coffee arabica."

Suddenly, noblepony has realized that for all of those words that were shared, he still didn't invited those two inside.

"But enough talk at the doorstep, come in." he said while turning in the spot. During his twirl both Xieye and Strife could caught a glimpse of Swift's cutie mark. A sword, surrounded by emerald tempest. Which ironically would give the Squallcoast Manor owner something similar with both of them.

 

The enormous foyer fused with grand stairway that both of the visitors stepped into looked like something almost be located in Canterlot Castle, if not for the fact quite darker. It wasn't surprising really, the old houses tended to be dark, almost like if reflecting their long history and this Manor was no exception. But while the room would appear completely symmetrical at first glance, it was clear that the pony who lived here did much to make it not so. Wherever the gaze of either the longma or unicorn would land, there was some kind of memento or souvenir there. Replica of Grand Palomino Buffalo totem standing in the corner, spear and aspis coming straight from the Hippostion hanging on the wall, the sculpture the could only be work of an Aquelian artist or skeleton of raptor ready for the attack, Neighpon painting. All of those and many more, coming from all over the world.. And topping them all was full-szied Polyneighsian canoe, hanging from the ceiling. There was little to doubt that most of the mansion was decorated in the very same way.

 

"Welcome to my house. I hope you will feel yourself cozy here. If you don't mind I will shoe both of you your rooms first. Oh and don't mind Bubble. Despite his state he is full-fledged resident of this place."

At those words - as if he was summoned - a pony ghost popped out halfway out of the ceiling. Bubble gave both of the newcomers an upside-down smile and hoofwave before dispreading to probably do some ghostly things.

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Xiêyè looked at Swift as the stallion spoke of pizza and requested that the Longma disarmed before going inside. He was reluctant to separate from his weapons, but he eventually gave in and nodded to the stallion. 

 

"[Very well. It is your right to dictate rules for your home and it's visitors. My blades shall remain in my room until I plan to leave your house behind me.]" He said, looking to the other stallion for a moment. This Dark Strife still rubbed him the wrong way, but he couldn't tell why. 

 

As Swift led them into his home, Xiêyè caught a glimpse of the stallion's mark. It was interesting, but he didn't get much time to ponder it before the decorations in the room grabbed his attention. There were many different cultures represented from what he could see, including the cultures of Neighpon and Long Guo. Either this stallion was well-traveled or he had more money than he knew what to do with. Perhaps both. 

 

"[There is a spirit that stays in this house?]" Xiêyè asked in surprise, looking at where Bubble had been before disappearing. That was unusual, living with a ghost like that. Perhaps he was an ancestor of the stallion, in which case he could understand the arrangement. "I am ready, yes."

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"Oh, why thank you, it's a rather old hat," the raccoon chittered in annoyance at the insulting measure of its age. "But such a fine pelt, I couldn't ignore the style." He grinned at the professional pony. "Oh, I would love to regale you in the many tales of my youth, maybe learn you young ponies a thing or two about living a proper life." The spirit could not help but chuckle, his ego enjoying the idea of telling tall tales and embellishing his achievements. 

 

Discord -- ah, Strife, did enjoy pizza and all the odd condiments he could add upon it. The raccoon upon his head chittered and looked to the grey unicorn. His ears pricked up, eyes drifting towards the inside of the manor. The apples that had been used to deflect the strikes were nibbled upon, the white aura of his magic wrapped around them as the perfectly sliced pieces of fruit levitated into his muzzle. A piece or two were hovered up to the raccoon in question, whom graciously accepted the food payment and nibbled. Grey hooves pushed him forward, carrying him into the extravagant place. He was not very patient to wait for the Longma and squeezed in, trotting forward with the obvious limp. The short, frazzled tail of his was perked up as he nosed around here and there. While he seemed a little touched in the head, the old pony made sure to look around and know his surroundings. What better to play pranks?

 

"Spirits you say?" He murmured as he lowered his shout to prod something that looked rather delicate. "You may want to get that checked out." He leaned back and looked up as the raccoon began to chitter and squeak an extensive string of noises. "Ah, my hat wants anchovies on his pizza and I want peanut butter on mine." That was the request. The raccoon barked. "Both?" Strife questioned, before nodding. "Both. Both is good." Anchovies and Peanut Butter.

 

Alright! 

 

After a moment he turned to his host as they spoke of their collected art and arched a brow. There was a chuckle that escaped him, the apples he had been eating with the 'hat', now gone. A hoof came up to his chin as he seated himself against the ground. The place had a ghost, did it... That meant it was rather old. It was not uncommon for old homes to creak, rattle and sometiems come to life. A plan was set into motion. He could certainly loosen that uptight Longma and give this manor a bit of color. Places like this were always so dreary to him. Full of artifacts and dusty tapestry and paintings that were always the same. He looked to the totem before glancing off. Good. He would wait until they moved to their next destination before standing. The totem, in question, would watch the Longma if it were to move or walk off in any way and shift back to normal before it was noticed fully.

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"Mr. Xiêyè you misunderstood me so I will clarify." Squall spoke after longma's begrudging agreement "I am follower of a way of the sword myself, so I will not take your blades from you after just one demerit - I was on the other side in similar situations to know how it feels like. Only if something like this happens again I will ask you to hand me our swords for safekeeping. Until then feel free to take them wherever you like." unicorn sad in an effort of improving bushi's mood.

 

Of course Bubble sudden appearance raised some questions despite Squall assurance that everything was fine.

"Yes, although  wouldn't use plural form. Bubble - by his own accord - is an only one staying here. And I assure you that there is nothing to check out Detective Strife. You see this manor belongs to my family by right, but I am first Squallcoast to reside here after two centuries. Years ago there were more noble families in Fillydelphia, mine being one of them. Due to circumstances my ancestors were forced to leave this place. Squallcoasts became nobles in name only during this exile - something that in the long run did much good, teaching us the humility among other things. In the meantime local government took possession of it before seeling it to the private hooves. The ownership was passed from pony to pony....and so it happens that Conjurer Bubble was the last owner of it. When I arrived to Filly it was shortly after his passing due to old age. With a help of few freshly made friends we managed to find his remains and give him proper burial on the manor grounds. He however refused to move on, instead opting to remain on this earthly realm to assist me in my endeavors and keep me company - something that I am very grateful for." Swift explained in a rather lengthy monologue, before smiling for the first time since two stallion arrival.

 

Dark's wish for ingredients made nobelpony raise his eyebrows and open his eyes slightly higher, but after this initial surprise he simply shrugged.

"Who am I to judge?" he stated before looking around. Seeing that pony that he was looking for was nowhere near sight he shouted once more.

"Oak, did you made the order already?"

"My apologies Sire. I am trying to find Mistress Fire favorite stemware."

"Did you checked the pool? She usually leaves them near it. And don't worry about the pizza alright? I will take care of it."

"Noted Master Squall."

"Alright then. Where did I left the notebook?" he asked, a lot more quietly before checking himself. "Pocket, got it. Have to remember to to send it through fireplace. Speaking of meal, anything preferred for a beverage. I am keep myself away from the stronger stuff  but there is no reason for others to do so, so I heave quite stocked cellar. Or anything else really, cold or hot, whatever you wish." Squall assured as they started to climb the stairs. In the middle stairs split to the left and right, with trio going up the right ones.

"Oh and in case you prefer it over the bathtub or shower, there is indoor pool, with a gym next to it at the first floor. Feel free to enjoy both if it's you thing." he mentioned as they arrived on top. After opening the door both guest could see...well not a hallway. Rather it was long gallery. What was striking was how long and colorful it was. While some parts like doors, few pieces of tapestry and chandeliers reminded it was part of the same old manor, the rest was quite mismatched. The wallpaper looked like the crayola factory exploded on it, the colorfulness further highlighted by the large windows. Art was as bizarre, historic portraits were just next to those that representing cubism, surrealism and probably two dozen of other art movements. The sculptures were equally mismatched as the paintings and, sometimes it was hard to say what you were looking at. Only the furniture itself kept classical look, expected for a dwelling called 'Squallcoast Manor'.

"Well not much to say. You have bedrooms to the right. Feel free to chose wherever one you want. Each is decorated differently." unicorn said as he waved towards the long row of doors.

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Xiêyè gave a small smile to Squall, nodding once in thanks. He preferred to be ready to fight at any time. He didn't know when a threat would rear it's head after all. 

 

The conversation then turned to the spirit inhabiting the house, who was apparently the previous owner of the building. At least there was only one, and he was friendly. The feeling of being watched distracted him however, leaving him gazing at the totem as the other two began to move on. Satisfied that there was no attack coming, the Longma caught up with them and followed Swift into the hallway. 

 

"Is there one like my home?" He asked, looking at the doors as he passed them. "[As for a drink, I will take cider if you have it.]" He added, speaking in his native tongue to make sure he got the words right. "[I have always been partial to spicy foods, if that is an option.]" 

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Fire Walker awoke from a deep sleep, but found it rather hard to get out of the rather massive and obnoxiously ornate canopy bed. It had been created to maintain the ultimate night’s rest. Crafted by griffon crafts-folk from long ago, the bed was made up of several types of wood, including one known she believed to be called the ‘Truffula’ that was long extinct.  The red mare couldn’t help but notice her beloved stallion never made it to bed. She glanced over a the other side of the bed with an annoyed grunt. He was at his desk when she arrived and was probably still there! She wanted to be upset, but found it hard to. He was working on something that was very special to him and in turn very important to his beloved city of Fillydelphia. This at least was better time spent than say, yelling at silly ponies like Punk Walker or Dawnguard.
 
After a few moments, the Pegasus pony managed remove herself from the 'bed of ultimate restfulness'. It almost felt like there was some sort of low level enchantment on the bed that called out to her. Rest a little longer! She would, but she had things to do! She wanted to spend some time with Swift Squall...Maybe separate him from his work just long enough for a bit of breakfast. The she needed to head off to the local garrison to have a chat with the head of the guard. The R.E.A officer had been a rather busy pony during the last week or so. After attending the 'Grand Galloping Gala' with Swift, she spent the next few days in Cloudsdale with her father. The current guard needed some extra training, especially after a recent incident where some crazy pony managed to nearly destroy all of the equipment in the weather factory, causing the weather to go kablooey. Not only did they help retrain the current guard, there were a few newbies that also needed to be worked with as well. The officer also managed to squeeze in some sister-time with Wind Walker. The pair caught some Wonderbolts action at the Cloudeseum and later a tour at the recently refurbished Weather Factory.
 
After a quick shower, the mare fixed up her mane and slid into her uniform. One could not just walk around Squallcoast Manor naked, like some sort of animal! A few more moments later, the Pegasus pony was ready. She slowly made her way down the stairs and.....maybe she could get a map of this place? Where was her stallion? It took a few rooms, but she was eventually found the place her beloved had been spending the last day or so in. There appeared to be an rather roguish looking stallion in armor there with Swift and what appeared to be a raccoon? Did her Swift get a pet? What an odd pick. She assumed he would have ended up with something more suitable for his personality. A rare Germane Wolf-Dog. Or a lion? But a raccoon? Well, whatever floats his boat. Or...wait a second? What was going on here? Why was the little critter on a unicorn's head?
 
"It appears you have made some friends my dear.", the armored mare entered the room with as much grace as one could in plate.
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The 'detective' stared at the pony as he spoke. The moment his muzzle had parted, deep down, the spirit in disguise knew what he was in for. There was a temptation to just roll his eyes and slap a bandaid on those lips of his, but the chaotic twitch was pushed away in lieu of the possibility of a much more fun game. The idea was twisted. Perfect for entertaining himself whislt he traveled about the lands in search of a more vaguely curious goal. The dark circles around his eyes showed off what appeared to be a pony who had sleepless nights kept going by ungracious amounts of coffee. Red pupils stood out against the white sclera, bit nothing incredibly uncommon, red eyes usually the result of a rich amber hue, right? Nevertheless he seemed boring. No markings to speak of, or apparent discoloration from hybridism. 

 

All in all, an ordinary unicorn.

 

His expression seemed to match his 'hat's', the raccoon atop his head finding the lengthy explanation rather -- confounding. Thin brows drew over the pony's grey features. The stiff mane was an obsidian coloration, cropped in a way that made it seem that he was used to cutting it on his own. The blank expression painted the outwardly appearance that the detective was flabbergasted, when he had, more simply, become bored. So he had a pet ghost! Didn't all rich ponies have them?

 

"Pfft," he vocalized. With his lips. "You are quite generous. I must say I am impressed…" by your foolishness! His lips pulled back so he could present his grin. "Allowing a weapon wielding swordpony and an old P.I. into your place unescorted?" He must have nothing to, do. "Your kindness knows no bounds." Cheeky little…

 

There were a number of strange and peculiar objects Dis--, ahh Dark Strife could play with. So wonderful! Surrealism was truly a forgotten art. He had to resist the demented laughter crawling in the pit of his stomach. Strife smirked as he raised a hoof to his chest, a very bird-like stance, before he stepped to turn and face the noblepony. There were a few paintings that seemed to shift in movement, but a trick of the eye, no? At the offer of a drink everything stilled.

 

"Oh? I'll take chocolate milk if you have."  His hat chittered. "Ah, and some water for my hat." His (and his hat's) ears perked as a set of hooves seemed to make their way toward to small group. The line of magic he held over the objects was quickly released, a questioning expression drawing over his face. 

 

As a unicorn his magic did visibly activate around his horn, but as a god of chaos… he did not necessarily have to show that off when it wasn't pony magic. His 'hat' chittered. He had to agree with it! An unexpected addition to their game. The strange totem down by the entrance had become his preferred target. It was just so hideous! As he shifted his body and turned to face the fiery mare his ears pinned back as a smile drew up on his features, showing off that snaggletooth of his. When he moved -- so did this totem. With a scree against the ground it too 'turned' to face a direction.

 

"Greetings~!" He bade. "My you've a number of guests this day." Unaware just who this pony may have been.
 

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"Sure it is. But the point of the journey isn't to experience what we already know, isn't it?" Squall answered Fēngbào's question with one of his own. "Of course this is just my suggestion. I don't intend to impose anything." he added.

 

Noblepony then shook his head in denial after Detective Strife praise.

"Generosity? Kindness? I am afraid I am not. I know how it is to have nothing. And now that I am posses some much, sharing even a tiny amount is just....decency." Swift said in somber tone. "And also I have to disagree with with that unescorted part. You are escorted. By me." unicorn said, his gaze gaining a certain sharpness for a slight moment.

 

"I will make sure yours pizza is spicy. And yes, I have a...cinder." noblepony gave a long sigh after speaking this. After Fire moved in, how cold he not have a supply of the stuff? Dark request on other hoof needed clarification. "Which chocolate? Milky, dark, white?" Swift asked. He rose his eyebrows however noticing the dark circles around other unicorns eyes. "You look tired Mr. Strife. Are you sure you don't need anything else?"

 

All of this however was pushed to pushed aside for a moment with sudden appearance of Fire. Noblepony was so focused on his guests that he only noticed her presence when she spoke - making the Count jump slightly.

"Moto?! When? H-how?" he mumbled in a rare moment of lost composure. But in few seconds, he managed to pull himself back together.

"Oh I know, don't answer that." Squall quickly realized that Fire used a certain 'back entrance'. Next he eyed his mare, noticed that she actually was wearing her full gear.

"Sweetheart, and what it is with that armor?" unicorn asked for explanation.

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"[I have experienced plenty in my travels, and there will be much more. I simply wish for something familiar to surround myself with.]" Xiêyè replied to Swift's question, looking between the doors to try and find the right one. He really wasn't paying too much attention to the rest of the conversation between Swift and Strife, which actually helped him notice the approach of the armored mare. He looked her over a bit, her armor appearing to be the kind of the Equestrian guards. 

 

"I am Xiêyè Fēngbào. Hi." He said, giving her a small bow to show his respect for her choice of a warrior's life. 

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“I’m a bit more than a guest.”, the red mare tried not to stare at the strange unicorn’s hat. What was his deal? She knew the more mystical of pony-kind tended to be a tad more idiosyncratic than their cousins. Considering they were born with an magic siphoning tool rammed in their brains, they probably couldn't help but be a little odd. This one was a bit more unusual than most. Thankfully, the young officer was a polite pony. Although chocolate milk? Yuck! She had lost her taste for the sweet treat after having what was probably a swimming pool's worth of the stuff dumped on her a year or so ago. Candy floss clouds and chocolate rain. It probably wouldn't be that bad, but it wasn't refrigerated.
 
"It's a pleasure to meet you both.", the Pegasus pony returned the stallion's bow. "I am First Lieutenant Fire Walker, of the R.E.A". What was Swift up to? An odd unicorn and an armored stallion. Maybe he was gathering a group of heroic adventurers? Was there some grand quest they were about to embark? It had been a while since she was a part of something exciting like that. Not since the day the Caribou were poisoned and later transformed. Or maybe he was hiring them to be a part of his project? A powerful, but slightly odd spellcaster and an honorable swords-pony.
 
"Sorry to disturb you dear.", Fire Walker did not wish to mention that she had already spent the night at the stately manor. "I need to head over to the station later today and work out a few things with the head of the guard there. Nothing to important or interesting..", she really wanted to leave it at that, but she was a vey curious pony. "So..erm. What's up?" Ooooh. Real smooth.
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Ruby eyes drifted between the occupants, their distraction a delightful tool he could use to his advantage. As the ponies greeted one another, the previously passed totems were brought to life. Life, while an objective term, they certainly were no longer complacent sitting around downstairs. How would a totem wish to live, were it more than wood? Would it take up a sport, or lay about and sleep? Archery was always a fine hobby when one had arms and fingers. His thoughts were distracted by the mare's mention of being part of the R.E.A.. Why was that familiar? Though in his thinking he had let go of his magic, no longer controlling the totems below. They now moved about on their own.

Dark Strife seated himself, one hoof, his left hind in particular, stretched out from beneath him. His forehooves settled between his haunches whilst his ears perked up. The pony seemed to ignore the host's rant, but he was quite more focused on the details that existed between lines. It seemed this mare was fancied by the fellow, my my....

When the female finally spoke up she was as awkward as they came. His 'hat' gave a chitter, only for the discordant demigod to grin. He pushed to his hooves and limped over. His movements were positively serpentine. He leaned his head forward when he stepped and cocked it as he came to a halt part way between the stallions and mare.

"We are having a sleepover! Really just out of the blue, but my these stallions are intriguing, especially the art. Why if I didn't know any better I could have believed myself in an art gallery. The ancient stone work, the surreal, abstract art!" He motioned a hoof to a perfectly normal portrait, nothing abstract or surreal about it. "I am hoping they wheel around the popcorn machine." The old pony had expectations.

It was quite interesting visiting the home of a pony at random, and to think he would so open the strange, old ah -- detective. What was more intriguing was the serious nature of the longma and the snobbish resolve of the host. While he tried to be open and hip, frankly it fell short. It was like Celestia trying stand up comedy. A for effort. He sat back on his haunches and raised his left forehoof to motion as he spoke.

"I must say, so far, the service here is fabulous! I feel like I'm on a cruise. Except without the life preservers." He held a bag of peanuts in hoof, his hat eagerly partaking in the mid-flight snack.

It did honestly seem like the old pone was on a vacation. Normally one did not wear life vests unless the ship was already sinking or in threat of. secondly they did not serve peanuts on a cruise. He was an odd bag of nuts, but quite an amusing, old unicorn. His smile was wide, and that snaggletooth needed a bit of dental work, but otherwise he was alright.

He turned to face Squall. "So, Squall, was it?" the crooned. "What is it you do? I mean holding open-door slumber parties really takes prestige!" He declared as he finished up his peanuts, ruby eyes watching the other, foreign warrior with a cheeky grin

 
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"If you continue walking this path then you find more then you can imagine." said noblepony, in a voice that could only suggest a seasoned wayfarer.

 

"She is. Infinitely more." Squall added to Fire's statement with a smile, but didn't elaborated further. However his expression shifted into that of annoyance when she explained her occupation. "Still a First Lieutenant." he murmured, again without bothering with explaining. Still the peevish way that his tail was waving was enough of a cue.

 

"You didn't bothered me at all dear." Swift assured his love "And the Guard business part I get - even if I hoped that you will stay until dinner at least. What eludes me is, why you needed to bother with a plate for this? There is your uniform, waiting in the dresser. More then one actually. That new one you asked for, happened to arrive while you been away."

Squall informed his sweetheart.

 

However what Strife said next, prepossessed from Swift's good humor after seeing his beloved. When he spoke next a hint of anger was heard in his voice, despite his best attempts to hid it.

"Mr. Strife, name this...gathering however you wish...." noblepony started as his tail wagged in annoyance "...But do not mistake hospitality with servitude." he growled. However after a short pause Squall was compelled to add "But there indeed is a popcorn machine in the manor, yes."

 

Swordpony looked upon both the longma and the unicorn before continuing. "Now then...there are about twenty-three rooms here. If none of them happen to be to your tastes then...."

Squall again, paused. This time because of the banging coming from the stairway that the three climbed to get where they were now. The sound seemed to be ascending.

"What in the..?" he murmured in confusion before realization hit him.

"Oak! OAK! One. Bottle! Just the bottle, not the whole barrel! She's not even mad!" Squall shouted as the noise was getting closer. A few seconds later when a door to the stairway was busted open, it was clear it was not Squall butler that was making the ruckus. One of the animated totems was now standing in the doorway, leading to an awkward stare-down between it and the group.

".......Oh for the love of...!" Swift grumbled as totem started to move towards them, hopping like an oversized wooden sparrow.

Noblepony response was like his namesake. Before the suddenly living objects was halfway through the gallery, a massive zweihoofer hanging from the wall was picked by unicorn magic and hurled tip first at the thing. Massive blade flew just inches from the muzzles of others before impaling the totem mid-jump, carrying it along and finally pinning figure to the wall.

Squall was not far behind it. After hurling the zweihoofer, he rushed towards now immobilized idol, picked up two other - shorter - swords from his family coat-of-arms before striking the 'buffalo' totem with it. He didn't stopped at it earlier, continuing to hack and slash relentlessly at figure until it was mostly the splinters and all signs of false life left it.

"...I knew that I should get myself the real deal, not one of those substitutes from Appleloosa." he muttered, grimacing at the mess he made when dealing with the false totem. It will take mor ethen new wallpaper to fix this.

Swift turned around to face Xiêyè and Strife and gave an annoyed sigh.

"I assure you, this is new. Usually it's just ninjas or other unpleasant fellows." he said with straight face.

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Xiêyè stood where he was, patiently listening to the conversation between the others. When the mare asked her question, the longma narrowed his eyes in confusion, gazing upwards for a few moments before remembering what that little question actually meant. By the time he looked back to Fire, Strife was already answering in his eccentric fashion. He sighed at that, smiling slightly at Swift's response. 

 

And then there was the banging from the stairs that Swift seemed to assume was that other pony with a barrel. He could not claim to know what a barrel sounded like going up their stairs, but there was no sound he could hear suggesting any form of liquid sloshing around. 

 

Turns out he was right, as one of the totems suddenly arrived in the hallway. The surprise of it kept him from acting at first, though that quickly changed as he drew two of his blades. Before he could move though, the large sword flew past, narrowly missing his face. The longma decided to let Swift handle things, sheathing his blades as the unicorn hacked away at the wood. 

 

"You... are attacked often by ninjas?" Xiêyè questioned, blinking a bit in surprise over what Swift had just said. 

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Swift was acting awfully curious about her job tonight. What was with that? And the unicorn was really starting to bother her. Sleepover? She assumed he was trying to be funny.  "I'm going to need my armor dear.", there was a rough edge to her tone, "I will be spending the night in the underground. Apparently some nut job is hiding out there and has been sending strange little automations or golems to harass ponies. And while he's only been a bit of a nuisance so far, word is that he is planning something big. We have had no luck fining his location, so they have contacted two brothers who apparently skilled in hunting down magical misfits. I am to meet them later on tonight." She glanced at the other two for a moment before looking back at Swift, "Didn't want to say anything because of company."
 
And while she knew her night was going to be an 'unique' experience, she had hoped things during the day would be pleasant. Oh, how she was very wrong. The oddball unicorn was already more than enough, was he suffering from some form of mild dementia? Then something even stranger confronted the group. "What the hay?", she glanced at the strange creature and before she could extend her twin blades from one of her horse-shoe gauntlets, Swift managed to take it down rather swiftly..
 
"What is exact ally going on?", she asked her special some-pony, "Since I told you what I was doing, it's your turn to spill the beans. What's going on?"
 
 
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Throughout their encounter, Dark Strife, had maintained a consistent use of his magic. There would be no bizarre use of spells that transmogrified neighbors, or turned butler's into candlesticks. As tempted as he was to regard the ideas that floated in his head, he retained his stand that it was all a game. He would only use his magic to pick things up, and put them down, sometimes in that most delicate order. Since his present company did consist of at least one, confirmed, magic user: the crooked old pone did not press his luck. He was not sure in the case of Longma, if they were capable of magic, but for the time being: he was safe beneath his ruse. At least for the time being. He couldn't keep hold to his disguise much longer. Such a fantastic game forbade it. Yet still he felt absurdly unkempt in such a guise. He had to maintain it, if only for a bit longer.

 

The old pony would like you to think he wasn't all there. It was, in that instance, part of the game. What was more conspicuous? An old pony who seemed a little off or the deranged presence of an overly powerful wizard who had raccoon familiars? There was a reason he was considered a demigod amongst the mortal populous. As irritating as it was to confess: he did have flaws. Far more complicated to attend to as opposed to a simple bad mane day. He wasn't out to harm anypony in his jokes, but these serious sorts really needed to loosen up! Life was too short for mortals. They should have more fun!

 

Looking to the female as she spoke of villainous sorts living underground, he would sit and raise a hoof, waggling it. "Be wary of those that live underground. They are never quite sane. That is why I live in a box filled with my things." While that sounded questionable: most pony homes were indeed boxes. 

 

Be it of brick, stone, or wood: homes often had shapes resembling boxes and the sort. He could never understand a pony's desire to live in these places, so permeant and never changing. He stared at the mare, pulling his lips back to display his crooked grin, that snaggletooth presenting itself. His hat patted his cheek and chittered, the curious sound seeming more the warble of an animal than intelligent questioning. Spending enough time with Flutter shy, Discord could admit to learning a thing or two. He was hardly fluent though.

 

"That makes sense." He noted. "Of you want to outsmart a pony, you have to think like them, perhaps even become them, but that would be no good. You'll end up with two of the pony you're trying to be rid of!" He laughed out, rather madly before he perked up when Swift Squall acted, well, swift!

 

He could only watch in intrigue as the male unicorn dove doen in an act of heroism to fend off his animated totem sets. The old, grey P.I., and raccoon, looked over in surprise. He trotted over the the edge of the steps and seated himself, before pushing on his hind legs so his forearms could hook over the banister to better see. He wrinkles his muzzle with a chuckle, wondering what else could he do. Oh it was not to cause undo duress, but sometimes ponies needed to loosen up and not be so work focused. Armored sorts like this mare were prime example. Who would pass up 9on a sleepover?!

 

He cropped tail gave a flicker as he chuckled. "My what an exciting event. Are all your sleepovers this way?" The old coot offered with a nicker of amusement. "Come now, there are no such things as ninjas. That is quote foolish. Next you'll tell me there's such a thing as faeries or toasters." Actually he had heard of the Breezies from Fluttershy. 

 

But there was no way one would convince him of ninjas! With their dark and shadowy ways. How could one trust them, especially with stories of them always fight..ing… That.. gave him a fabulous idea! They were also called ponies of the shadows right? Turning his head he set his forelimbs back on the ground with a clippity clap and stood. Something would jump from his shadow and along each of the visitors, were they vulnerable to casting a shadow or felt given to participate. From their shadows would jump ninponies, though not your average sort. They were made of the very shadows to sprouted from, having battle rapport in equal measure to their counterparts.

 

Four, wait five? Oh, right. Raccoons had shadows. That particular shadow was half the size of the other four. The new menace had appeared in the open foyer, wearing armor of the formerly destroyed totems. Each wore a different color, particularly the favorite color of each member in the group. Dark Strife himself fancied magenta, for rather outward facts that would come about later. The raccoon clearly fancied green. Instead of deadly weapons each ninpone would be armed with pillows.

 

 

 

((Feel free to control the NPCs, they will be duly named after the colors you choose))
 

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"Ohh...." Squall said, deflated. "I like when you are in the uniform, it really brings up your....errr never mind youdidn'theardanyofthis!" he quickly added.

 

"Wait underground nut job? Which one?" noblepony asked for clarification "I mean there is this one under the University...and the other under Fillydelphia Royal Hotel. Oh and you recall that Botanical Gardens I was sponsoring? Well turns out one of those lunatics has taken residence under its as well." Swift added, his tone clear that he wasn't pleased with this recent development. "Well, regardless which one of them it would be, tell me if you need a hoof. I had a similar job way back, in Manhattan. And I assure you Love, Big Orange underbelly is much bigger then one of Filly."

 

However Xiêyè 's lined with disbelief question interrupted all of this sewer speak. And surprise surprise, Mr.Strife wasn't exactly convinced of shinobi existence.

"Often enough to be weary of them, yes. Although as long as they are numerous it's little more then annoyance. Things turn dangerous when only one shows up." Swift spoke to the longma as he pulled out the zweihoofer stuck into the wall  "What you believe is inconsequential, when confronted with the truth with your own very eyes Mr. Strife. And as Sir. Fēngbào can surely attest - seeing that he hails from the parts of their origin - ninjas very much exist . Try to stick into any, barely political situation in the Neighpon or parts of Long Guo, and you can be assured that you will gain your proof. And not that of the non-existing 'pajama' variety as shown in comics or movies. No, I speak about the real deal." count said ominously.

"And to answer your question Mr. Strife, no. Sleepovers I take part in are usually much less eventful. Field trips on the other hoof...."

 

However the next question was coming from Fire. Her accusations made him reel back, clearly surprised.

"Hiding?! I...Do you...Do you think I would hide something from You?" he answered, clearly hurt by the accusations. After all Fire was confidant of the secrets he didn't tola his own parents about "I was trying to be a good host, that's all! Bubble told me that we should expect visitors and he turned out right. Some less civil then the others..." Squall gazed at the heap of splinters that was a minute ago an animated totem.

 

And then the ninjas appeared. For a moment Squall appeared unmoved by this turn of events. Then one of his eyes twitched, and his mouth twisted into a scowl. This much ridiculousness in ten minutes was too much for him.

"No. Definitely no. Certainly no. NO! No, no, no, no, NO, noo, nonononoNONONONO! What is this? WHAT FREAKING RUBBISH IS THIS?! PAJAMAS?!! Is that a joke? What...WHAT is this? Four freaking ninja wannabes...and a midget? This a joke right? RIGHT?! Because if it is, I WANT A PUNCHLINE!" Squall broke down into a rant, alternately talking calmly and screaming.

Apparently the 'ninjas' took the last part literally because as soon as he finished, they jumped the noblepony with their pillows raised. Swift only managed to make a surprised "Ack!" before he and the assailants disappeared in a big ball of violence. After lot of cuss words in several languages from the unicorn, and lot of feathers and one (clearly non-pony) shoe that were sent flying, shinobi scattered across the manor. Squall meanwhile was left sprawled on the floor, thoroughly pillowed and groaning. It was hard to say if it was from the whooping he received or from sheer irritation.

"I....I don't want anymore punchlines...."

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Really now, ninjas coming out of their shadows? He definitely didn't know the extent of their abilities, but he doubted that was one of them. That, coupled with their ridiculous choice of weaponry made it entirely obvious they weren't real. They were apparently real enough to beat up Swift though, which was strange considering he insisted they were less dangerous in groups. It was true that lone ninjas typically had more skill though. 

 

The longma had a blade in each front hoof, and was in the air the moment the ninjas broke off from Swift and scattered. He looked around for a moment before shooting off down the hall in search of the red one that had appeared from his shadow. 

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