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SteelEagle

Generosity of Spirit (SPONSORED- Canterlot)

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Twas the night before Hearthswarming,
And all through the House,
Every creature was stirring,
From the maid to the mouse.
The garlands were hung
Through the great hall with care,
For guests great and good
Were soon to be there.
With the Prince in his best suit,
And I in my own,
Would array pretty ponies
Around the Sun’s throne-'


“Must you, Psmith?” Prince Blueblood peered at his poetically pontificating secretary with a raised brow, having paused on his way from the palace interior to the grand entryway. Having so successfully handled the decorations and logistics of the last Grand Galloping Gala, Auntie Celestia had decided to allow him to be in charge of organizing the Royal Canterlot Hearthswarming Celebration!

Naturally, his first thought had been a grand dance in pretty much the same style, only with winter-themed decor. An icy sheen on the dancefloor, which a quick bit of magic could turn into actual ice for skating; vast cauldrons of mulled cider and hot cocoa to stave off the winter chill in the artfully frozen gardens; and the grand finale planned- a takeoff of an actual flying sleigh at midnight, loaded with presents by the guests to fly over the city at midnight!

"Have you gotten the tree trimmed? The ice floor ready? The cauldrons simmering? The sleigh primed and ready to go?”
“All,” Psmith responded, preening, “Has been done to satisfaction.”
“Excellent!” Blueblood beamed, patting the unicorn on the head. “Back to your rhymes, then. I think we’ve got about… half an hour before guests stream in. I wonder where Auntie Celestia’s got to….”


Celestia hardly knew what to do with herself. It was so rare to not be in charge of planning such royal festivities that she found herself going over a mental checklist of menial tasks that she had grown accustomed to over the expansive eons, only to find her hooves idle. It wasn't a poor outcome, however. She was more than happy to hoof over the reigns of tonight to Blueblood, who had come so far and done so well that such rewards were well deserved. Plus he always had a certain skill when it came to high society functions. He looked forward to them to a much greater extent than Celestia did to boot. Really, he was perfect for tonight. The gift sleigh was a particularly nice touch and one she was hoping everypony would contribute towards.
 

The wind was light for this time of year and the snow fell gently. From her vantage point on her balcony she could see the first guests starting to arrive and behind them the larger stream starting to trickle past the guards towards the castle proper. The sounds of caroling and partying could be heard across the city as the season overtook sense and left everypony light and delighted. She couldn't help but feel the rush of joy inside her heart this time of year as well. A happy sigh eased its way out of her mouth as she raised a cup up on high. She regarded the stars silently for a few moments before downing the drink. A smile etched on, she made her way through the castle with joyful rapidity. It wasn't long before she was in the Grand Entryway just as Blue finished wondering where she was.

“Oh, I was just monitoring the festivities from above,” she said coyly. She then drew her nephew in for a hug. “You have done wonderful, Blueblood. I knew you could do it,” she released him and drew attention to the sleigh. “The gift sleigh is a wonderful idea. I think this has all the makings of a classic celebration of this delightful holiday. Ponies are already gathered out front- I suggest any last minute needs to be addressed...right now, as a matter of fact. The doors are opening,” she finished sweetly yet with a playful lilt, turning her attention to the entryway. She knew that some had already arrived and were now waiting for the days to open. No reason to tarry. She nodded to the guards and the door opened, inviting those gathered outside to share in the warmth and comfort of Canterlot castle for the evening.

Celestia smiled and beckoned them in. “Come in and out of the cold, my little ponies, and please be our guest tonight as we celebrate Hearth's Warming Eve!”

Edited by PrinceBlueblood

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In the two years since he'd joined IMAGINE, Honeywing had been busy. True, a lot of that was staying out of Prince(ss) Blueblood's way while (s)he worked, but the pegasus had taken it upon himself to ferry messages, documents, bills, and contracts to the appropriate parties to keep IMAGINE ahead of the walls of red tape that international trade could run afoul of. Which is how he'd found out about the charity event that was part of the festivities this year.

 

And in true Honeywing fashion, he'd made sure that the local foster care system had been properly primed and were ready to recieve whatever gifts were collected this evening, and had passed a suggestion along to Blueblood's secretary to split the donation centres into clothing, food, and toys. What happened instead was that he and another agent had been voluntold for the position of Hearth's Warming Helpers to collect the food donations before they hit the sleigh so that they were on top, or in Honeywing's case, to sort the clothing into neat stacks behind the toys. 

 

Since there weren't any guests yet, he was going over the last of the apple crumble plates (made with genuine Sweet Apple Acres apples) and hot chocolate donated by his father's tavern, the Avalon, meant for the guests to enjoy at the buffet lines. "This is shaping up surprisingly well." He was saying as the doors started to open and he took his position with his slightly modified Helper's vest.

 

Glitz had insisted on remaking the patterns from scratch with caribou-sourced fur lining inside and cotton he'd dyed himself. Even the hat was toasty warm with his ears tucked into it, and his mane had been done in an elaborate Prench braid tied with a blue ribbon and silver sleigh bells that matched the outfit. Honeywing'd been forced to admit that while it wasn't exatly protocol for the uniforms to be modified or remade by an agent's fiancee...GG'd done a typically excellent job.

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The first pony she saw arrive was a friend of Blueblood's and a member of IMAGINE, Blueblood's organization to help spread the joy and wealth of Equestria across all of the world. She was always proud of how Blueblood had reacted to the attack at the Crystal Faire and the initiative it took to create IMAGINE. She was also proud of the many creatures who had joined and gave their time, their effort, their money, and their devotion to the cause. Honeywing was one of many who had done so and had also volunteered to help with tonight's festivities. What a great example to be set for everypony else!

Celestia approached, a broad smile plainly visible on her face. “Honeywing, I am so happy to see you tonight! While you're volunteering, please remember to enjoy your visit today. I would hate for anypony to not truly enjoy themselves on a night such as this,” she said, levitating a goblet of spiced apple cider to Honeywing. With that she turned towards the crowd, awaiting more as the night drew on and the crowd swelled with the joy and merriment that was this holiday's calling card. She was also still deciding on what gifts to give to the sleigh- she had so many options and was leaning towards all, but that didn't mean her mind couldn't run over the options some more.

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Blueblood gave a little start when Celestia first addressed him, but relaxed soon after.  He was always a little nervous about how big events that he was personally attached to were going to go; however much character-developing progress he'd made over the years, he was still extremely sensitive and vain about his reputation.  So much so that he might have stiffened at his Auntie's hug, had there been anypony else about.  Fortunately for the two, they still had a few seconds of privacy to share an unreserved familial embrace.

 

"Well, I certainly hope so, and- eh, what?  They're here already?"  Hastily he pulled back, looking to the nearest reflective surface.  Was his mane straight?  Tail properly groomed?  Tie aligned?  Yes, all yes.  Right, now he could face the public!

 

Turning a beaming smile to the entryway, he was first greeted by a familiar face.  "Oh, Honeywing!  Glad you managed to make it up here; everything all right on your end?  Been a while since we've caught up."  He gave an appreciative assessment of the vest; it had been turned into a decent-looking but utilitarian piece of clothing to something quite respectable in its own right.  "How is Glitzen, by they way?  I still need to take him up on his offer of a tailoring session."

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A curious face, seen about Canterlot on occasion. He was an adjunct professor at the School for Gifted Unicorns. A very new and rather advanced class based around Chaos Theory and it's interactions with Harmony. Such a specialized class, the unicorn had filled the role well. Outside of the classroom he was occasionally seen wandering down Hall's, but was generally considered a phantom as he claimed to live outside of Canterlot so was, otherwise, never seen about the capital. Not that the professor would be caught dead or alive in a box within miles of the capital. It cramped his style. His.. very dorky style.

 

A thick black and white striped beard and stiff, short mohawk styled mane the professor was of dark, bronze for and clean cut, despite the jagged patches of facial fur. Tall and tones the elegant unicorn male strode into the festivities. A pair of black rectangle glasses supported the nerdy look along with an unpressed, white collared shirt, sleeve pulled up over his elbows. His sleeves sweater vest seemed to complete the package.

 

Except instead of the usual, simple maroon the sweater was a, frank, abomination among sweaters. Gaudy green with faux tinsel colored yarn along the collar. Brown pine tree silhouettes to contrast the green with gold colored snowflakes, bespeckled with glitter, dotted the body overall. What an ugly sweater. It nearly detracted from that handsome face! His brows arched, gold eyes dotted with red iris’ and black pupil. His bushy brows raised as he made his way in.

 

“What --” his hoof raised up off the ground “... interesting decorations.” Now to many he was just the peculiar and hard grading professor in Choas Theory, but to those that knew well enough… “You've out done yourself princess.” He winked at her before turning to Blueblood and Honeywing. “Professor Theory. Pleasure.” He introduced himself.

Pressing all four hooves to the ground he trotted in, a gold magic surrounding his horn and grasping onto his glasses to adjust them. He gave off this really arrogant air, but with a sweater like that it was hard to take him seriously.

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Ishi Masayoshi was the next to arrive, accompanied by his guard Niradana and his pet golem Shibo. He wore a relatively simple attire, getting a local designer to make him a suit reminiscent of the suit their Santa would wear. The kirin smiled widely as he looked around at the various decorations, chuckling as he glanced over at Shibo and saw the festive little hat he had put on the dog. It was kind of funny, really, but Shibo didn't seem to mind it. In any case, he walked into the room, taking his time making his way towards Blueblood and the princess. 

 

"{Well, Nira, didn't I say they knew how to decorate for the season around here?}" He spoke in Neighponese, smiling over at the mare before eventually stopping in front of the two royals. "Hello again, Blueblood, it's a pleasure to see you. And it is wonderful to meet you, Princess Celestia. You are as radiant as they say, if not more so." He added, bowing to the two and nodding in greeting to the others around them. "My name is Ishi Masayoshi, younger brother of Shogun Ryuichi, pleasure to meet you all. This is my guard and one of my closest friends, Nira."

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Honeywing bowed a little graciously, without using the full-wing-spread-bow that would have caused him to drop the cider the Princess handed him. It wasn't the first time they'd met, but generally he was...well, technically he was on the job now, come to that. "Thank you, your majesty, I'll do my best to enjoy things. It shouldn't be too hard with how much work the boss put into the event!" The pegasus smiled and nodded toward Blueblood, then bowed again and stepped back a little so he could speak to both royals without embarrassing himself.

 

To the Prince, he said "I'm sure Glitz would love to work on something for you after the holidays are over. This time of year is always really busy in his field of work, heh. He's been tickled pink to have so much to do, especially with some of the new materials. He got a little carried away with the uniform, admittedly, heh." He took a sip of the...admittedly good cider, even if his parents hadn't donated it. Just the right amount of sweetness, and it tasted like there was a bit of citrus. Orange, perhaps?

 

In either case, he bowed again (though less than he had for either Princess Celestia or Prince Blueblood, protocol and all) to the newcomer. He hadn't seen this gentlecolt around before, but he only rarely interacted with the academic circles beyond an occasional library delivery. Courtesy dictated that the Prince be allowed to introduce himself first, so the IMAGINE agent took another pull of the cider.

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"Excellent!"  Was about all Blueblood had time to reply to Honey before duty called.

 

Aside from Honeywing, the first guest to arrive was... completely unfamiliar to Prince Blueblood.  If he had to take a guess, this was some kind of Professor, probably from what the Prince privately called the 'Brahmins;' high-class academics who achieved a rank more or less on par with the nobility through the hierarchy of the academy.  Princess Twilight Sparkle technically came from this class, though her father had significantly less arrogance than this professor.  The Prince wasn't sure if he could have carried that same attitude himself in that kind of sweater.

 

"Ah, Professor.  Charmed that you could make it.  I, of course, am Prince Blueblood."  His eye kept being drawn back to the sequins.  Dear Celestia, that was really distracting.  Were those supposed to be trees?  And flying Reindeer?  Wait... were those reindeer actually flying across the cloth, or was that just his imagination?  He shook his head; couldn't be rude, staring at other ponies' clothes like that.  "Have you brought a gift for the foals?  We're collecting them tonight, in case you hadn't heard."

 

The next face was a more familiar one; the Prince recognized the Eastern visitor from an earlier Princely convention.  "Ishi!  Glad you could make it.  I have to ask, do they celebrate Hearthswarming in Neighpon?  Or, is there some other Wintertime holiday more bound in the local history?"

Edited by PrinceBlueblood
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Standing behind and to the side of Ishi was his kid ryuma sister Kaze, wearing a simple red scarf for winter attire. Having reached the age where a filly of her position was to be exposed to the world beyond Neighpon, first Kaze was sent the Imperial Palace of Long Guo... which didn't quite exactly go uneventful. Nonetheless, here the little one was now at Canterlot Castle meeting the royalty of the west. And as a bonus, Kaze would get to experience Hearth's Warming Eve in the land it actually originated!

 

It was said even as far away as Neighpon that Princess Celestia made an impression on all who beheld her. Kaze was no exception to this rule; the Equestrian ruler might have very well been the most pretty mare in all existence! Tha-that HAIR!!! No wonder the Imperial Family over in Long Guo were sooooo enamored with their silly shimmersilk, trying pointlessly to match a mane seemingly infused with the power of the cosmos.

 

Filled with energy as always, the ryuma filly interjected and introduced herself rather than wait for her elder brother to do it. "And I am Kaze;" she nodded eagerly; "Ryu's youngest sibling!" Notably, her Equestrian was less stilted than it was during her Long Guo visit. "We celebrate Hearth's Warming a little bit in Neighpon," Kaze addressed the other mundane prince in the room; "...Well, at least they do in Polohama. I got to go see the winter decorations there last year! Traditionally though, we save most of the celebrating for the coming of the New Year....."

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Celestia looked over the 'Professor' with a keen eye, though her expression didn't change. She knew who he was. He could always help out but there was a not insignificant chance of some sort of trouble developing out of it. For now she smiled. “Oh, Professor, how wonderful it is for you to show up. I trust you have a promising crop of students?” She asked, knowing full well he did. She then looked over at the sleigh. “Oh, and I can't wait to see wait you add to the sleigh! I know you can add so much, do so much good,” she said hopefully. The message was important to get across and she hoped the recipient was open to doing what was right as opposed to what he wanted to do.

A new trio arrived. Neighponese- an interesting Golem, a guard, and the Ōmetsuke himself. Celestia bowed as they arrived. She was so happy when foreigners arrived to attend an Equestrian celebration. She guessed that many of them may have experienced larger, more bombastic celebrations. But she had been to every great national celebration in every land and she knew that nothing held a candle to the warmth and love that permeated an Equestrian Hearth's Warming Eve. She was happy to share it with all. <“Welcome one and all to my home for this most festive of occasions. You look great yourself, Overseer Masayoshi. Please, partake in the night's joy. A pleasure to meet you as well, Nire. And Kaze- I have heard a little of you as well! Tell me how they celebrate Polohoma. Can't say I've had the pleasure in the last two decades, and never during Hearth's Warming Eve!”> Celestia spoke in perfect Neighponese, wanting greatly to make the guests comfortable.



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“Tra-la-la-LA!”

Rarity entered wearing one of her finest winter ensembles, with a faux trimmed white on blue-white layered jacket and some fashionable, soft winter boots. She was smiling- that sort of smile that spoke of success, confidence, and more than a little excitement. Behind her trailed a few stallions carrying carefully wrapped gifts. She parted ways with them at the door, observing them as they approached the sleigh. “Be careful to ensure that each one lays just so. They must be in the order and manner that I showed you- don't want them to get wrinkled now, do we?” She asked and demanded, hopeful at the night's festivities producing something worthwhile for everypony. Not that she had any doubt about just how great this night would be.

She was going to donate an entire collection. She had been working on it since the announcement about the theme had crossed her ears. Such a splendid little idea, done big because that was how Canterlot demanded it. She had made five different sets of clothing- one for foals, one for fillies, one for colts, one for stallions, one for mares. It had taken her a little while to settle on the designs but once she had she made sure to make more than a few copies of each. Hopefully the needy would feel as comfortable as they deserved and as beautiful as they wanted to be in them. They would be warm and svelt ! A delightful way for her to help others in time of need. A great theme! She had to really give it to Blueblood. He had done a great job.

She wouldn't necessarily call them close, but any sense of the animosity that had once existed between them no longer found purchase in her mind. He had come so far. After the events of the Crystal Faire and the establishment of IMAGINE he had really put all of his weight behind good causes. How could somepony not be respectable after all that? She approached him. “Well, looks like you have done a simply smashing job setting this up, Blueblood. This should be fantastic!” She giggled internally. “I'm making my own small contribution. Tell me, when do the festivities begin?”

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Hearth'e Warming was here! Glorious Hearth's Warming! This was by far the favorite holiday of Snow Dancer, a perfect start to the winter season. While years before she could only go to events at her home in Cloudsdale the older filly now was able to travel to other cities. This year she was able to fly to Canterlot for something truly special, a party in the castle! She flew among the clouds gathering droplets of water on her body that froze on contact, before diving down to the castle. As she made her landing, she circled the area in the front of the castle creating a little snowy contrail behind her. Soon the doors were open as she flew low inside bringing in the snowy trail behind her. 

 

"Hi everypony!" she said as the icy drops slowly melted from her body, "and happy Hearth's Warming Eve!" 

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"With you here, Miss Rarity," Honeywing said, finishing off his cider and putting the empty mug on a passing tray while flashing his most cheerful grin, "I do believe they already have." He shook his mane a little, setting the bells to jingling, and threw a quick glance over to the gift sleigh. Since it looked like the new gifts were being properly sorted and handled he declined to intervene just yet, but he'd helped GG rotate stock often enough to get nervy around porters. 

 

The snow swirling in the entryway, on the other hoof, caught his eye. Thermal shock was always an issue with marble, and he'd accidentally cracked more than one tile in his failed attempt at Weather Corps. The floor seemed to be holding up well, however, and it didn't look like the cold weather was going to reach any of the glassware. Good. 

 

"Miss Rarity's becoming a household name in the fashion scene, I'm told, setting all sorts of trends in Canterlot, Ponyville, Manehattan, and beyond." the pegasus confided to Professor Theory. "To say nothing of her exploits as one of Princess Twilight's Elements of Harmony. A mare to watch, my fiancé says. Aaaand a few fashion icons like Photo Finish according to the magazines."

 

Granted, Honeywing's own efforts to secure a trade deal with the caribou was likely to cause a splash once the furs were able to fully reach the market. Technically anyone could order some, but not many seemed to know it was available yet, and the gold-feathered pegasus was content to keep his name out of that particular footnote. 

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Oh, now this was new!  The Royal family of Neighpon was sending its youngest scion out on a world tour.  And little Kaze seemed to already be mastering the language!  Considering how different the two tongues were, that was quite impressive; Blueblood himself could only manage short, simple sentences, though he'd managed to get the tone and accent done quite well.  "<Pleased to meet you.  That sounds lovely.  I might visit next year.>"  Phew, that took a bit of effort to remember.  Gonna have to watch this filly, she's going to be quite the presence on the diplomatic scene when she grows up...

 

And here came Rarity!  Blueblood was quite glad they could now meet without experience irritation on the one end and dread upon the other.  There were rewards for getting one's act together, for sure!  "Just as Honeywing said, we only awaited the grace of your presence.  For now, I greet the newcomers while they warm themselves up with mulled beverages and sweets, hopefully reserving a dance or two.  Oh, would you save one for me?"  He still owed her, if he recalled a right, from the rather ruined one way back them (of course, that was partially Pinkie Pie's fault.  Reformed or not, there was no way in Tartarus he would lower himself to do the 'Pony Pokey!)

 

And now came another guest, to whom he bowed, wrinkling his nose a bit as a snowflake fell upon it.  "Ah, ah, Ah-choo!" He sniffed, glad at least he had manners enough not to have the sneeze boom and echo in the ballroom chamber.  "Ah, yes, happy Hearthswarming!  Welcome, do partake of a few refreshments, and don't forget your donations!"

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Ishi smiled warmly as Blueblood greeted them and Celestia even greeted them in neighponese! She was quite good at it, but he supposed she had plenty of time to practice. Ishi patted Kaze's head gently as his sis introduced herself and answered the question from Blueblood before he could. While Celestia's neighponese may as well have come from a native, Blueblood's own efforts made the kirin chuckle, patting his fellow prince on the shoulder a bit. 

 

"I can give you some pointers, later, Blueblood, if you wish." He chuckled again, whispering to the unicorn. That was about the point that the next couple guests entered the scene, a filly and a unicorn accompanied by several others whose sole purpose here seemed to be carrying the presents she was donating. Oh, right, he had almost forgotten about that.

 

"I shall be right back." He said, bowing to the group before heading over to deposit his own gifts onto the pile, being careful to not knock the pile over or anything with the various packages full of neighponese toys. With that task completed, he headed back, pretty sure he heard the name Rarity when referring to the unicorn mare.

 

"Did I hear that right? You are named Rarity? It is a pleasure to meet you, I am Ishi Masayoshi." He smiled to the white unicorn, bowing slightly to her. It was always nice to meet new people, and these events certainly allowed for those opportunities.

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"Ok, let's get this done already..." Rainbow huffed as she entered the castle. She would have much rather been in Ponyville right now. But, she couldn't let her friend down. When Rarity had asked herself and AJ to model some of the clothing from the line she was donating she wouldn't take no for an answer. 

 

"Why in Equestria did she ask us to model for her?" Rainbow asked her farm mare while flying above her. "I hope the Cake's can handle Zappers and the little ones tonight..." Rainbow took to fretting. 

 

She was usually so much fun but right about now she was being annoying and whiny beyond all reason. "Can't we just go back to Ponyville AJ? I'm sure Twi could use our help," She glanced at the cart of cider they had brought along. "Plus, I'm sure they could use the cider more there than here...snooty ponies don't even like cider!"

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~~~Niradaña~~~

 

 

 

Equestria. Niradaña could honestly say that she hadn't been there before. Her training and her occupation had kept her in Neighpon for most of her life. There was the short period where she was with the military, but even then She had been stationed in Long Guo for a bit. Now that she was one of the personal guards of a royal family member, her opportunties to leave neighpon were pretty much gone, unless Ishi was also heading to the Festivities such as the events were tonight, or rather this week. The Trip here from Neighpon was a long one, and she could say that she wasn't really too keen with the concept of a ship. As far as she was concerned they weren't safe. It wasn't that she doubted the construction of the craft. She knew that everypony put hard work into making sure they were as safe as they could be. However, enemies of the Royal Family would have no qualms killing an entire ship of innocents in order to strike at the heart of the shogun.

 

She reluctantly agreed to accompany him on this endeavor though, and much to her surprise there was no attack on the ship or anything. Everything ran surprisingly smooth. PErhaps they didn't know that he was on it or something. If that was the case, they could continue not knowing. That was perfectly fine with her. It was then that she heard Ishi address her and mention how he had told her that they knew how to decorate this time of year here. She could only nod now as she looked around. Lights were strown everywhere that the eye could see in some sort of design, yet every design different from the last. It was truly a sight to see. As they pressed forward, they paused in front of a white unicorn, and then in front of one of the Alicorn Rulers themselves. Celestia... she thought her name was. That was the white one right? When she heard her speak though, she was surprised, and impressed. She spoke fluent Neighponese. She however remained silent until asked about how they celebrated in Polohama. Perhaps she was the wrong pony to pony to be asking that question. She loved the holidays, but for the most part, it was just her, Ishi, and maybe a couple of the other guards. She did know the basics of how it was celebrated though.

 

"{Well, back home the focus is more on family than anything else. There are decorations, and the royal house tends to go a bit extreme, but otherwise most decorations are simple and family oriented. Equestria seems to be much more involved in their decorations for the holiday than from what I've seen back at home. I am a royal guard though, so I don't generally leave the Royal Grounds that much.}" Nira spoke in Neighponese, answering the princess. At this time Ishi had brought his gift over to the gift exchange and placed it on the table and she did hers as well. She didn't really know what ponies here likes, but she didn't want to be rude and bring nothing. She only hoped that what she got they would enjoy.

 

 

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As much as Medo would have rather had been at home to spend Hearth's Warming with her own family and her sister. There was simply no way that she could get hom and back in the ammount of time that she had off between the semesters here. Plus there was always the chance of delays like what happened the last time that she tried to go home for the Cherry Blossom Festival. She got stuck in Kyomo instead of being able to go home, so while she got to be with her family for a bit, she missed the holiday entirely. True, she ran into one of her old friends there, which made it easier, but it still stung. Truth be told, she came to this event much like how she had come to the Gala. She was here in hopes to make some friends. Being all the way over here in Equestria, away from her family was starting to dwell on her, and the fact that she had no pony that she could really call a friend yet here... it was starting to dwell on her a bit. Most nights she just stayed in her room studying, waiting and hoping for a knock that somepony might be interested in maybe going and getting tea or something.

 

It's been the opposite however. Her aptitude in her classes, while making her one of the top students in her classes, had also apparently earned her some ire from the other ponies here. She would be more than willing to help them if they were to ask politely but instead would rather make fun of her for her intellectual advancement. She didn't pay any mind to it for the most part, but the loneliness again, pulled on her. She made her way up to the gate in the same shimmersilk dress that she had worn to the Gala, and a second shimmersilk dress inside her gift box for whatever pony managed to obtain it. She only hoped that her gift wouldn't end up going to a stallion... that would be embarrassing. Unless that stallion was able to give it to his special somepony! then she might have just made his day! After all, Shimmersilk was expensive, and very hard to come by in Equestria. The Dress she had was straight from Neighpon! Everything would turn out fine, she was sure of it!

 

Slowly she made her way up through the line before pausing as she heard the very fluint Neighponese from in front of her. When she looked up, she spotted one of the Ōshitsu... and his guard speaking with the princess. She didn't know what it was about these events and attracting royalty to them, but it seemed to be a common thing. After all, the Empress of Long Guo herself was here for the Grand Gallaping Gala. She wasn't really sure what was going to come of this event now... at the very least there were no phoenixes having a territorial battle of sorts and creating an explosion that scattered through the ponies all over. She shook her head of the thoughts. No way was something like that going to happen two royal events in a row right? Surely that was just a fluck and things weren't always that chaotic here in Equestria. She patiently awaited her turn to enter as the line moved forward. 

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He could feel the glance from the dollar princess. A few lifetimes was naught without gaining a bit of foresight. Her hindsight was as atrocious as ever, but ever the entertainer. Even when it was his fun she made sure not to spoil the game. Looking to Blueblood, who was peppered with praise from his aunt, gave the disguised spirit a greeting. He still had much to learn it seemed. Well better later than sooner. He needn't break out in caution at his every visit. His ears swiveled forward as this dark eyes peered down into the lenses.

 

“My I've heard the rumors but in the flesh?” He seemed tickled pink that Blue took notice of his sweater. He worked hard on the illusion. The reindeer was never in the same place twice. Sometimes the golden snowflakes seemed to fall into the yarn landscape. “Ah why yes, something I think they will delight in.” He spoke with an impeccable sense of self worth that seemed to come natural to the Canterlonian high society, but his -- well his seemed…

 

With the way he cocked his head when he spoke and pursed his lips was intensified by his piercing stare and rugged features. It seemed along with the little Neighponese he met an time and away ago another popped up. He could swear the foal budded right off Ishi with how she slid into existence. The tall unicorn glanced down at Kaze. The mouthy foal seemed to really take advantage of his youth. He listened as the young sprout went off, in an authoritarian manner, that their two groups were, indeed, different. He could appreciate such acknowledgement. It was rare for ponies to see, to remember, they were molded to fit some perfect puzzle. He couldn't help the snort that escaped his muzzle as his magic’s aura began to, once again, shimmer around his horn. He reached into his sweater and pulled from it a rather small box, no wider than a horseshoe and no taller than his snout was long.

 

A rather pathetic looking gift.

 

It had a plain and simple pink wrapper with a lacey blue bow. He dark eye turned up toward the Celestial mistress. Her question stirred up all manner of bumps along, beneath his fur. He'd nearly visibly shiver at the open invitation to -- put a little chaos into the festivities. Tempting. But this… he held his gift to levitate beside Tia’s head, was perfect. He lowered his head in a polite bow as the object in question would be placed into the sleigh where it would bounce a few times before settling somewhere in the middle of it all. Placing his forehooves together he stood to his full height.

 

“Why, there is no doubt. I must say it does me well to see so many fine po.. pupils take the class. Wile a scant few excel at the course, I can assure you that one may even pass this semester.” Both presenting a negative and positive state of possibility in the same sentence.

 

He rolled his eyes at her showing off. So she learned Neighponese. It isn't as if he couldn't  if he didn't  want to! He stepped back upon hearing more hooffalls all but parade in. Well it seems he wasn't the only one who liked fanfare. Leave it to Rarity to cause a hullabaloo! Generous she may be, but her altruistic and high spirited nature rubbed the -- professor the wrong way. He hated competition, even if it was to do good! He reassured himself his gift was perfect! A brow would arch as the cider sipping stallion offered a whisper of gossip. Hoo, was she the big talk these days? Perhaps he should visit with Tom and see how she's doing. His head canted a bit to return the soft spoken tone to Honeywing, without having to resort to the harsh whispering of school fillies.

 

“She has a boutique in Canterlot, correct? Perhaps I should stop by with a friend. Huge fan, he had a short fling with her a while back, I heard. Though business got in the way of things.” He reached his hoof up to place it on his chin, brushing his beard as ponies got around.

 

The snowy entrance of Snow Dancer had not what caught his attention, nor the colorful couple -- without a little Zap in hoof they were hardly a gpancing focus. He was disguised so it won't do to blow his cover … just yet. Blueblood was rather on point with the speed and accuracy in which he greeted guests. His ears pinned back against his head, white striped, black tail flickering behind him. Yet another Neighponese budded from Ishi, but his eyes caught a speckle of green in the distance. Was thar--? His jaws parted before he craned his neck to look in Celestia's direction. His brow arched, making sure no others were looking his way. He spat out his tongue at the princess before settling beside her.


It was hard to tell if he teleported or walked over. His movements had been smooth and mimicking that of a shadow. “I wonder just how many ponies you've lured --” he held his jaws apart before turning his skull a bit away. “...invited, to tonight's festivities. My gift will surely knock more than a few stockings off. You'll be so proud.” Sometimes the busy body mare got on his case about wanting to be … good.

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Despite her improving proficiency in foreign tongues, Kaze appreciated the switch back to speaking in Neighponese, although she had to hold back laughter when the Prince beside Celestia attempted to do likewise. Hey now, it was uplifting to know the little ryuma wasn't the only one struggling with this sort of thing! While brother Ishi left to deposit their gifts under the tree (the Shogun's siblings jointly picked them out), Kaze stayed to elaborate on Neighpon's Hearth's Warming to the Equestrian royals, this time sticking with her mother tongue.

 

[Well if you ask me, they really go all-out decorating in Polohama, mostly around Shiruku Road and Tech Town. And yet... Hearth's Warming in Neighpon is nothing like how it is here; it seems everywhere AND everyone in Equestria has... well..... the same spirit we usually reserve for New Year's, I guess.]

 

All the while, Kaze took stock of everyone in the Ballroom. The filly saw two pony mares she thought she may have recognized from somewhere, but no names came to mind. Kaze never did pay much attention to foreign affairs; there were always more exciting things to do. Speaking of excitement, what exactly did Equestrian ponies do special during their Hearth's Warming Eve? Maybe Kaze will get to find out soon enough!

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OOC- If I missed you I am sorry. Discord message or PM me.
 

Applejack couldn't help but stifle a giggle at Rainbow's expense. She was just so dang uncomfortable right now and so put out. It was like watching a cow in a rodeo, real out of place. More like a bull being milked considering how upset she was! And all this for trying to help out a friend. Truth be told she did share some of Rainbow's concerns. These weren't supposed to be fashion statements. Just simple clothes to keep those who needed them warm. But of course Rarity never did anything less than a thousand percent. “Probably 'cause she knew we'd make her designs sparkle all proper like. Don't want a fancy high society model makin' her designs look all foolish. Naw, she needs them on mares who know wat work feels like,” she emphasized that last bit as she pushed the cider in place.

“As for the cider- why don't you have a cup and calm down, Sugarcube? Zap will be alright and we're gonna have fun. Do a little modeling ta help out Rares and we'll be on our way. 'Sides, Ah have it on good authority that this here ain't no high society shindig. Ah'm sure plenty of ponies will want some nice cider. An' if they don't,” she finished installing the keg, then poured two cups, “more for us, right?” She said, knocking mugs with Rainbow before starting to set the mugs and other necessities up. It was always like her to focus on the work before the party and as long as there was requirements to be met she'd be the mare to meet them.

 

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Oh, what a charmer! Rarity was always pleased when somepony went out of their way to show a deal of care for the effort she put into everything she did. And to do it with flattery was an even sweeter prize on top of the rest. “Well then, I hope these sweet words and kind tidings are yours and not the requirements of your position,” she laughed, tapping the jingling bells that hung from his head playfully. “I'll have a little to do with tonight's festivities but with stallions like you helping Blueblood run things, I'm sure it will go swimmingly,” she offered pleasantly, knowing full well that Blueblood had an exquisite taste in all things- so why would he stop at friends or helpers?

Speaking of, he still ad a bit of that Princely charm. She couldn't have imagined anything grander than a Prince to complete her fairy tale but as she had grown older- a few years felt like decades with everything she had experienced. She no longer wished for that but a dance? Well, she could spare a dance. “Oh, I think I can save a dance for the fine Prince. I must say he has come quite a long way- and look at this party! So elegant. Your taste hasn't changed, even if everything else has,” she allowed the pregnant pause to carry the conversation at that point.

Besides, she had a new conversation partner. Ishi, was it? She didn't have the luxury of knowing many creatures from that side of the water but she delighted in the chance every time it was offered. “Oh, what a beautiful name! Yes, I am Rarity, fashion designer of some repute and somepony who always likes making new friends,” she said with a respectful curtsy. “All this way- such a distance! What brought you so far?”



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Celestia had seen Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash enter but had decided to not disengage from her current conversations just yet. They all looked like they had tasks set up ahead of them and far be it from her for her to get in the way. Besides, she had delightful company with her right now. Little Kaze explained the decorative traditions practiced in her foreign land. Niradaña added, reflecting that they focused more on the core values of the holiday- namely family- rather than the decorative efforts so common in Equestria.

“<That is good to hear. All holidays hold special meanings to those who celebrate it, yet we so rarely try to focus in on the core values. Tinsel and trees, ornaments and songs are all excellent reminders of the warmth and joy we feel when we come together to share our love and the light of friendship. But they are symbolic only, while the meaning behind them- namely, friendship and love, kinship and care for all- are sometimes lost. I am pleased to hear that those who celebrate this holiday in Neighpon do so with the important values held dear,>” she said warmly, always nearly overjoyed at the how universal the light of friendship was.

It was the cornerstone of Harmony after all, something she cherished so deeply, so terribly close to her. Anything that upset that delicate balance would set her alarms off. And the Professor would set those alarms off very loud had she not a perfect understanding of who he was. She had no doubt that his constant reformations and lessons would degrade his willingness to make a mess of the festivities but was always pleased to hear him devote himself to the milder forms of mischief for the cause of others. And somepony may even pass his class. Well, that was good she supposed. Mostly. Truth be told she would rather ponies fail that specific class...
The present could be something entertaining to see, she believed. Eons ago she stopped trying to guess the manner of gift he would give. The ancient irony and cruelty that dominated his mind were long gone, but that didn't mean they were replaced by benign benevolence. Even in kindness, chaos.
 

“I am very excited to see what that is. And what of this student, you say one may pass? Professor, your lessons must be getting dreadfully dull if you're allowing them to pass,” she teased. Mostly teased. She was worried to some small extent but was willing to allow the joy of the holiday remove worries of any real note.

A guard flew up to her and whispered. She nodded. As this happened several cakes and other desserts were wheeled out to join the multiple cider kegs and cookies already out. On the stage a few musicians began playing soft instrumentals while heavier, louder equipment was still being set up.
“Well, I have something that needs tending to rather briefly. I'll be right back- save a slice of the cake for me, if you could be so kind?”

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"Oho? I'll have to meet this stallion. Anyone good enough to keep Miss Rarity occupied long enough to qualify as an old flame is bound to be a pony to watch. She's very generous, and anyone trying to woo her had a lot of admirers to need to stand out from." Honeywing answered the professor. He wasn't sure he actually caught what the other had said he taught, but given the fact that the sweater was snowing it was probably magic theory. And distracting.

 

Honeywing chuckled and shook his head at Rarity's return volley. "While it helps, no. My silver tongue is a gift I give freely of my own accord. If anything I'd call it vicarious professional honesty, my better half is Glitzen Glamour." He told the mare. "While the founder is responsible for the pattern for all of the helpers' outfits, GG did the actual work and modifications on mine, as well as the 'coiffure'. We're both looking forward to seeing what you can do with some of the exotic materials about to reach the market here."

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"Much appreciated."  Blueblood whispered out of the side of his mouth to the offered language lessons from Ishi.  He hadn't yet made any official, or unofficial, visits to Nieghpon, a lack he was going to have to remedy at some point.  Speaking of, there seemed to be quite a few visitors from that country.  There was Kaze, of course, talking so fast in her mother-tongue that Blueblood had trouble following her.  He got the general gist, of course, but didn't trust any further response besides a smile and nod.  Ishi's guard, too, spoke up as well, echoing the themes of family and togetherness, a lower-key celebration.  "Yes, I was with my... well, in-laws last year for the same reason.  I don't have much of a family of my own, anymore, so it's been built out of anyone who's willing to let me be a part of theirs, right Auntie?" 

 

He gave a smile to Celestia, before the Professor took up his attention again.  The gift certainly didn't have external impressiveness, but who was he to judge?  Books and covers and all that.  "Well, thank you all the same.  And I hope you have a good time, here!"  He couldn't linger to chat just yet, though, or rather, he couldn't let anypony monopolize his chatting.  Too many guests to greet, after all.

 

"Well, if it isn't Rainbow Dash and Applejack!  Come to help a friend out, have you?  How's your son?"  He hadn't seen Zap since... well, since the last time he was a colt himself, surprisingly a short time ago.  As the one responsible for that situation was so near, the hairs on the back of Bluey's neck began to prick up.  But, as he was still unaware of the Professor's true identity, he dismissed it as a sudden draft of cold air.

 

Greeting RD and AJ did, of course, bring him back to Rarity.  Juggling so many conversations would have normally driven anypony crazy, but he was Royalty!  This was what he was born to do.  "Well, thank you.  I shall look forward to it.  In fact..."  He spared an eye towards the musicians in the corner.  "It looks as if the dancing will start in a few minutes!"

 

One last check-around, did he miss any guests?  Yes, one green unicorn in the corner!  Stepping over to her, he bowed.  "Welcome, and Happy Hearthswarming!"  Stepping back to look at Medo, he took in her style, and guessed that she was from rather further afield than Canterlot.  "You've come a long way, but you're just in time for the dancing!"

 



We've sort of moved beyond the initial greeting phase; so if ponies want to find dance partners, now's a good chance!

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Tongue Twister touched down outside the castle, then walked in with the other guests while running through a mental checklist.

 

"Mane and jacket presentable ?  Check !" she mused as she smoothed them out after flying for quite some time.  Her heavy jacket was white, with blue snowflakes of various sizes scattered about on it.

 

"Gold rat hieroglyph pin shiny ?  Check !" as she briefly polished her favorite gold and black enamel pin.

 

"Donations for the Hearthswarming Eve sleigh ?  Check !" as she looked in her saddlebag at the six large, brightly colored alpaca wool scarves she'd brought back from her research in the Tenochtitlan Basin.

 

"Ace and Deuces safe at home with mom and dad ?  Check !" as they would have to be, since the scarves were in the saddlebags where they would normally be.

 

"Arriving a few minutes later than everyone else, to avoid crowding, the mad rush, and overwhelming the hosts ?  Check !" she noted as she cheerfully made her way to the donations.

 

"Wow !  What a crowd !  Are those Ryuma ?  Very far from home ..."

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“Well, I have been in Equestria before on business during the season, but I have never had the chance to actually see how you celebrate over here.” Ishi replied, smiling warmly at Rarity. “This party just offered me the perfect chance to do just that, and bring my sister and friend along for the ride! Besides, it’s always nice to see my fellow princes.” He said, adding the last part with a small chuckle. The kirin fell silent after that, observing the other guests for a few seconds before some nagging feeling made him open his mouth again. 

 

“You know... I feel as if I have met that professor somewhere before, but I can’t put my hoof on it...” Ishi hummed in thought, tapping his chin a bit. “Maybe I am mistaken, I don’t know.” 

 

It was about then that the mare in the shimmersilk caught his eye. It was certainly tempting to go say hello... 

 

“Thank you, Miss Rarity. I hope you have a wonderful time. Perhaps we shall talk more later, or even dance.” He nodded to her, smiling widely before trotting off to greet the newcomer. It seemed Blueblood was beating him to it, but that was no reason to not do it. 

 

“<Welcome to the party, I am Ishi Masayoshi. I hope you enjoy your time, Miss...?>” He ventured, hoping he was right to start it off with Neighponese. Perhaps he should’ve just used Equestrian, but too late now! Aaaand now his ear was twitching. Something about there being ryuma?

 

”Well, yes, there are ryuma over there, like my little sister. I am a kirin, however.” Ishi said, looking over at the mare that asked the question. 

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The trip here had been embarassing enough. Having worked so hard with starlight to create that new swapping apparatus for her friend Dunder to help him better get used to the challenges in the change he was going to go through magically was done out of the kindness of Bevel's heart.  Once it was all done she decided to finish up the touches on the emergency cancel switch in case 'Dunnie" or her needed to swap back in a pinch for any reason... Then a certain someone had to come along and steal the parts for a pocketwatch: A certain chaotic someone, in fact. So now Gearbox as he was calling himself was stuck in this unfamiliar yet somehow familiar body having to walk through Canterlot to hopefully find the spirit in possession of the parts for the device.  

 

Thankfully he had decided to come to Dunder to deliver the device for the test run, otherwise he would have been having to travel all the way from Aquellia to try and find the spirit of Chaos.  Now that he'd arrived at the castle all he had to do was just find the blasted being. How hard could it be to find a long, noodly manifestation of chaotic magical energies? 

 

The gates to the castle were apparently open to the public so going right in was just what Gearbox did. At the center of a growing crowd was the familiar face of blueblood and if she recalled right one of Twilight's friend's. This was going to be an awkward encounter but Gearbox couldn't help but feel like it was like ripping of a bandaid (like the one on his nose): Best to do it quick and painless. Finding a part in the crowd the stallion slipped in and spoke up, "Um Excuse me. My prince... Miss Rarity. " His voice sounded off with a noticeable prench accent as he spoke, "Have either of you seen Discord? I've something very important to speak to him about."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 12/14/2017 at 3:06 AM, PyroBlaze said:

“<Welcome to the party, I am Ishi Masayoshi. I hope you enjoy your time, Miss...?>” He ventured, hoping he was right to start it off with Neighponese. Perhaps he should’ve just used Equestrian, but too late now! Aaaand now his ear was twitching. Something about there being ryuma?

 

”Well, yes, there are ryuma over there, like my little sister. I am a kirin, however.” Ishi said, looking over at the mare that asked the question. 

 

After a moment, she replied "<My apologies if I have offended you.>" in rusty Neighponese, "<It was not my intent.  I am Tongue Twister.>"

Edited by NiktoBarada
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