SteelEagle

By No Means Perfect! (SPONSORED- Ponyville)

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Ouch. 0 for 2 tonight. Windy laughed a little under her breath and slipped the vial back into her medicine bag. "There's a joke I need to tell you later. For now, just think of this whole thing as a kind of game. The point isn't really to brag or set expectations, it's a way to get caribou talking to one another and introduced properly. And sometimes to get more than a little tipsy but I don't think the eggnog is spiked."

 

She canted her head upward and spread her bicoloured wings at this point, either providing cover for somepony behind her or showing off in challenge, it was hard to say. The smirk she kept on her snout was unmistakably mischeivous though, and aimed right. At. Halvard.

 

Truthfully she didn't stand a snowball's chance in Unyasi of beating him unless he'd eaten a heavy meal on the way in. She was probably a third his weight or less if you counted the antlers, but she could easily serve as extra motivation for the other stallion, Boulder, or Ejaz even. Calder was a wild card though. Most 'bou bulls could hold their drink, but Windy was used to pushing past uncomfortable sensations to swallow all manner of unpleasant concoctions. Eggnog would be a cinch.

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Okay, now Ejaz's attitude was just slightly getting on Halvard's nerves.  He felt as if he was being silently judged, somehow; and he didn't much mind the judging, it was the silence that annoyed him.  He didn't think that anyone should pass judgment upon anyone else if they didn't have the common courage to state their verdict to the defendant's face!  And if Ejaz was the sort of pegasus to shy away, both from the challenge of drink and the even steeper challenge of talk, was he really worth another second of Halvard's time?

 

These thoughts traveling through the Bull's head were broken, suddenly, as if the Spirit of Hearthwarming, wielding kindness and generosity like the weapons-grade magic that they were, had intervened.  The beige pegasus had at least come out to this party, and it would do nopony here any good to infect a gathering of joy with the cold windigoes of bitterness and pride.  Keeping his mood jolly, he called back to Ejaz, "You know, we're all willing to meet you halfway, as long as you travel the other half.  Not as if we're here for anything but a good time for all!"

 

But, enough of such stuff, there was drinking to be done!  "Well then, Windwright; bear the honor of your house like a true shaman!  I warn you, though; these are not like the potions a healer brews!"  A right enough statement, though Halvard could not say how accurate they were.  

He was happy to hear that Calder, too, would be joining in, making for a regular contingent.  "I think you're well able to hold your own; it would hardly be fair for two caribou to team up on the rest, after all!"

And, of course, there was Boulder standing in as local champion.  "Good on you!  Now, which way is the communal bowl?  Ah!"  Having the line pointed out to him, he drew out a caribou-sized mug from his cloak, stating, "We will judge by number of cup fills, not total volume drunk.  Is that a fair hooficap?"  No point in having a contest that wasn't an actual contest, after all!  He tossed Calder a slightly-smaller mug, still larger than what the ponies served their 'nog in.

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Ejaz watched Windright with curiosity (something that seemed to be happening often) and was about to say something before looking at Halvard as the Caribou called to him. Upon hearing that statement, Ejaz’s ears perked in surprise, before they pinned to his head in sadness, he honestly didn’t mean to come off this way, and the pegasus cursed his choice to act based upon the shyer and more introverted aspects of his personality, and walked up to Halvard with an apologetic expression.

 

“I’m... I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to come off that way...” Ejaz apologizes in a soft voice, looking down in self-shame before giving Halvard a small smile.

 

“Do... Do you have another mug?” The pegasus asked curiously.

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Calder ‘grabbed’ the mug as it was tossed his way with a swing of his antlers, the mug spinning about on them for a moment before stopping, this made Calder grin ear to ear. “So glad that worked.” He mattered more to himself than others in his native tongue before looking at gathering joining in the contest. “Name is Calder the clanless and leg missing bull.” He says to the gathering ponys with his thick accent, his grin holding as he mocks himself for the sake entertainment and just maybe to make the ponies feel like they have a hope of beating him. Going by the amount of cups downed rather than how much you drank did make it more fair with His and Halvard's mugs being much larger than the cups ponies used. But he has a trick up his sleeves that he knows will blow them away.

 

Moving to stand alongside Halvard, he was ready to crash some bar, pub or wearever this was going to go down and give them all a good show. He needed to step his game up and make some name here other than ‘hiding a lot from things’ as that was not the way he wanted this trip to go down… Or breaking in to song that gets somebull in jail. He heard some spicy rumors about that from a traveler and well it was funny, he’d like to not be the star of such things.

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“Really? Well fancy that! Ah’m an alchemist too.” Kojo chuckled at Windwright’s introduction, looking around at the other participants of this contest. “Ah’m Kojo, occasional farmer and brewer o’ potions and polutices.” 

 

The small dragon hopped up on the table, picking up one of the available cups and smiling around at the others. It seemed things were going well now, that was good. 

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Well, that was a turn of events alright. A large, almost blinding flash erupted through the town square. The ambient color of the explosion left little to the imaginiation as to who had been the culprit of the magical misfire. Truth be told, Ice Storm was a bit shocked. She supposed that everypony makes mistakes now and then, but it was still a rare sight to see the physical embodiment of magic have a spell misfire. Even if it wasn't a major misfire. In fact, it was kind of symbolic and she felt it was.... fitting. The entire town square had been turned into a crystal sector. The crystal patch extended far out from the square and Ice Storm also noticed that everypony that was standing in the crystallized area had also been turned into a crystal pony version of themselves. However, Ice Storm also noticed that all of the ponies that had not yet been into them crystal zone, such as herself, were not crystallized yet. This intrigued her.

 

She was ready heading that way anyways so she figured she should test her curiosity. She started to wonder if the effect was instant over the entire pony as soon as their hoof touched the surface of the crystal or if it was a portal effect that she had read about. Essentially, it would have been like walking though a portal. Any part of the pony that was in the crystallized zone would also be crystallized while the remainder of the pony outside of the zone would remain normal. She moved closer and closer towards where Sigrin and the others were conversing, seeing a sizable group of ponies around her now, and some other caribou. Some ponies, like Swift Squall, Fire Walker, and the Caribou Halvard she recognized as well. She continued up until she got to the edge of the crystal zone and paused for a moment.

 

She wanted to sate her curiosity and confirm her hypothesis one way or another. First, she decided to stick her hoof out over the crystal. She left it there for a couple seconds before nothing happened. It was apparent now that this spell had not created the portal effect that she had read about and she watched as she brought her hoof down onto the crystal floor and as soon as she did, she watched the transformation occur over her own coat. She had to admit, she liked the translucent icy blue color. It made her look similar to the stained glass that she had seen in the foyer of the castle earlier this morning. She knew that it likely wouldn't stay like this past tonight but still much worse things could have happened. She continued to press her way forward in the direction of the ponies that she recognized. As she pressed forward she noticed that the princess had found her way towards them as well. Looked like she's be able to greet everypony that she knew at once tonight.

 

She managed to stroll up to the conversation right about when she heard Squall commenting on Twilight. Ice simply rolled her eyes. she didn't bother to comment on it on it as she heard Sigrin mention the invasion when the rebels attacked the crystal empire. Ice shuddered a bit remembering that day vivdly. It was the reason why she was who she was now. She looked to Twilight. She could still remember sliding down the stairs on a ramp of ice to get her out of the spire before it collapsed. She ultimately still felt bad about that day. She saved many but knew there were so many more that she was unable to. She also remembered the second attack from the rebels on Askr itself. She was one of the ponies that went up to assist with that after they rebels had poisoned their water. The rage that it put them in... made them difficult to deal with, without causing to much physical damage. The poison itself removed the natual limitations of their muscles and cause a lot of the problems as well. This wasn't the time for the reflection of the battle itself though, but moreso the events after, the rebuilding, and how the clan has still flourished despite the attempts of their enemies.

 

"Merry Hearth's warming everypony," she smiled to her friends. Though Fire Walker was more of an acquaintance than a friend. She was certain that Fire never truly forgave her for the incident that happened between her and Dunder. While it was partially her fault for trying to rush into something that she wasn't ready for, it was every bit as much Dunder's because he never once mentioned to her that he wasn't single. The entire fiasco that happened years ago could have been easily avoided if he had just been honest with her from the start. "Fire, Swift, Princess, Jarl Sigrin, and Jarl Halvard. Hopefully your evenings have been filled with delight?" she smiled to them.

 

 

~~~~Wind Dancer~~~~

 

So far there hasn't been much for her to do here. Everypony seemed to be focused on the Royals that were here. She supposed that would make sense, but at the same time it felt a bit.... empty. She would admit that she felt a tiny bit of jealousy from the attention that they were receiving but that was really just the show pony in her. She liked the attention being on her for the most part. It was part of what made her happy. Seeing everypony smile and applaud the routines that she worked so hard on. Most of her routines were usually more legato in Las Pegasus since a lot of her shows were indoors. That way the winds were gentle and sweeping. She relished any outdoor performance though because there she could get the winds as robust as she wanted to, providing they weren't of damaging force. She couldn't remember the last time she had generated enough wind speed though to where she caused physical damage to something that she wasn't inside of.

 

Before too long though, she spotted another pony heading her way. The face looked familiar and she could have sworn that she had seen that jacket before in Las Pegasus. She couldn't pin it down exactly where, but she knew that she recognized him. When she heard him speak, mainly hearing him talk about pronouncing half of what's on the table, she smiled. "Don't feel bad. I can't pronounce most of this stuff either, I just grab whatever looks good and hope that there's nothing in it that I'm allergic to. I'm not aware of any food allergies, but never know," she said to him. "You're from the Las Pegasus area right? I somewhat recognize you, but I could be remembering wrong as well. I see a lot of faces and ponies in my line of work, and sometimes it's hard to remember them all and you get many that you think you recognize, only to find out they aren't who you thought they were," she said as she began to make a small plate with wrapped treats. They appeared to be simple lettuce wraps, but they didn't reveal what was inside. Oh well, she'd find out soon enough.

 

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Whew, that was a relief. the changling seemed to be okay. She kind of raised an eyebrow a bit when she heard her say that she had worse than this and that she would be okay. Does Rainbow have a twin changling and not know it? she thought to herself before giving a soft smile. She was about to speak up when she heard a pony behind her ask about what happened and if everypony was okay. However, yet again before she had a chance to say anything, the prospect of a drinking contest seemed to be much more important. "Oh dear... why do I see this ending poorly..." Aloe said to herself. A drinking contest lead to ponies getting drunk. Drunk ponies become unpredictable, and sometimes a bit more aggressive than they mean to and she had never seen a caribou drunk before. She had no idea what to expect from something like this. Hopefully though, everypony could keep there calm on tonight of all nights.

 

With the issue currently resolved, Aloe resumed her previous mission in getting her cart of spa baskets to the gift table. The Crowd of ponies was making it a tad bit difficult to navigate and she felt a small bump just after the encounter with the changling. She winced a bit and looked back in the cart. She didn't hit it with any speed but it was still enough to jostle the contents inside. She paused for a moment and inspected each basket without upwrapping it the best she could to make sure nothing had broken inside. thankfully she had gotten lucky.

 

As she was looking over her gifts though.... she noticed something odd... Her coat was translucent. Her mane was too. This was a very interesting development and she had no idea what had caused it. She looked down to see what it was that she had hit to cause such a jar and there was a raised patch of crystal and she looked forward and it extended well into and beyond the square. "Well... This is new.... It definitely wasn't here this morning... or at least I don't remember it being here... I wonder what caused it..." she said aloud, but mostly to herself. To be honest, she really wouldn't be surprised by anything at this point. It was Ponyville after all. The home of if anything, and that literally meant anything, that could happen, usually did at some point. So much so that she had to get a special, 'Random Events of Undisclosed Chaos Claus' On the insurance for her spa just so it could be covered under whatever Ponyville threw at it. Thankfully, she didn't have to use it this year so they should be getting a rebate pouch in the mail. That would be a welcome gift.

 

With a small huff, she started pulling the cart again and before too long she had it station next to the table. She made sure to keep the cover over the cart until it was time to hand out the gifts. She didn't want ponies trying to look into the baskets and trying to pick out the ones that had all the good spa packages in it. Although it was honestly so random, even she didn't even know which baskets had which deals in them. She did that intentionally to make sure that she didn't give any bias towards a pony when handing them out by accident. Once everything was in place. She looked around. So many ponies here... she had no idea where to start! She she start with the princess? Should she start with the ponies over by the snack tables? Should she wait here for other ponies to drop off the gifts that they brought and mingle with them? For the time being, she did just that while she was thinking of what to do.

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Lens was rather surprised at this, stood next to one of the big time stars of Las Pegasus, and she seemed to recognise him. Then again, with his work that could be either really good, or really bad, he decides to grab one of the lettuce wraps as well, shrugging his shoulders "Well I suppose my name my travel, miss. But I sure don't think I ever got enough bits to see one of your shows. Mainly just work around the Ground District doing investigative work, name's Lensblot." he says, wondering if she would actually recognise him from name, it was not often one got recognised by a celebrity, so he did not hold too much hope. He stretches a bit with a yawn "It feels so weird to be in a town where the night actually feels like night, right? No lights or loud music... How do ponies manage around here at night." he chuckles "Thinking about quiet actually, don't think I've seen your posters around as much in Las recently, you been okay?" he asks, mainly driven by curiosity.

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Bolt seemed a little put off, though Twilight was somewhat ignorant as to the cause. She was mostly just excited about his gift. It was a cool amulet of some kind. She looked it over a few times. Nothing particularly notable or magical about it could be detected and it wasn't of any great historical note either. Instead it had something even more interesting going on for it: Age and dust, with evidence of warmth and packing. All the tell-tale signs of being tossed into a horde and ignored. This was from is personal horde? Dragons were very reticent to excuse anything from their horde, especially anything that was even partially valuable like this amulet. She wud have to keep an eye on Bolt, though the events of the night were taking them in separate ways for now.

She was about to respond to Squall and his continuing antagonism, as well meaning as it was, when the Mayor arrived. Between Squall, Bolt, Naj, Lens, Fire, the caribou, Spike and Fluttershy, there was a lot of ponies to talk to. But now that the Mayor was here, hopefully all of the good that they were capable of could be brought to light.



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The Mayor was always happy to see so many people attracted to the town's festivities. She wasn't naive. She knew the attractions were the two Alicorn Princesses and without them the crowd would be more in-line with Ponyville standard. But she had learned long ago to not look a gift horse in the mouth. And when that gift horse was an Alicorn Princess, and there were two of them, you should just grin and think about all the delightful possibilities. All those ponies- so much potential for good in Ponyville at this place and time. She would do well to take advantage of it.

She set up in the main town hall segment, the open doors and light winds from the outside making her choice of vest appropriate for the evening. She had noticed the crystallization but after it was made clear that nopony was in any manner of dire straights due to it she had shrugged and moved on. The Mayor had more important tasks to attend to after all. Her aides shuffled about her, setting up several donation boxes as well as a raffle. It was a good day to have her aides around with so many small tasks needing to get done! The Princesses were in charge of the party, true, but she had permission for tonight's little task all squared away.

After they were done, the Mayor made an announcement.
“Ladies and gentlecolts, welcome to Ponyville for the Princesses' Hearths Warming Eve Celebration. I hope you are enjoying the festivities! However, as we sit here warm and delighted, the needy in Ponyville and Equestria sit cold and alone. I ask that you do more than keep them in your thoughts and, if you could find it in your hearts tonight, please donate what you can. The donation box and center will be open all night for those who need time to get something they believe is worthy. Thank you for anything you can give,” she began. After a few moments she smiled.

“On a brighter note, the annual raffle will begin. Everypony is guaranteed one ticket- the Princesses and myself excluded- with donations giving a second ticket. The winner will get a wonderful prize, something worthy of them and the night's festivities.”
 

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Ejaz’s ears flicked towards the Mayor as her announcement reached his ears, the thought of donations brought a smile to the pegasus’ face, remembering when he recieved donations when he was little. Opening his wings, Ejaz took flight and moved over to the Mayor, silently landing nearby and approaching the much older pony.

 

“Um... Excuse me ma’m?” Ejaz asks in a soft and respectful voice, curiosity clear in both his tone and expression.

 

“May I ask what the annual raffles are? And... Where the donnation boxes are?” The stallion added as he glanced around before looking at the mayor again and tilting his head.

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Windwright smirked and fluttered past her mane-care product stand to grab a 3oz beaker, which she placed on the table beside the eggnog's bowl. She met Halvard's eyes to make sure he acknowledged her meaning, but grabbed a normal mug immediately. Not that she hadn't used that trick before, it just wasn't really in the spirit of things. She filled her mug and another two like it and sat them aside.

 

She half listened to the Mayor's spiel for a few moments, enough to know the gist of the situation, but there was a drinking contest on. She'd donate a few things once that was finished. And volunteer to run the toiletries donations, since that was her stock in trade. Likewise she thought she spotted one of the spa ponies and mentally filed away her position to approach later on tonight.

 

"Very well. Pure drinking contest, one drink at a time from each of us, last mare standing wins the glory?" she asks, leaning over the snack table with a  grin that would've been called predatory on any creature that wasn't an obligate herbivore.

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Bolt sat alone at a table munching gems crushing the priceless stones crumbling under his powerful jaws. The blue dragon could be anywhere in the world in under a second yet he was spending the night in Ponyville pining for a mare whose heart and mind already belonged to another much to his dismay. He blatantly scoffed at the Mayor's insistence on donations and gnashed his teeth, he'd grown tired of fighting his instincts all night as he decided to stay out of the raffle letting his greed get the better of him. It felt good being himself again again as he breathed a relaxed sigh and wondered about Twilight. "I should have made my move before she got wings now everybody want a piece of her. I mean I could run back in time to before she defeated Nightmare Moon make my move then.....On the other claw I'm not supposed to do that anymore too many things seem out of place whenever I come back to the present."  Could Bolt really use his super speed to travel through time? He often exaggerated so who could even tell. It wasn't long before the speedster was feeling like himself again, he was a dragon it's about time he started acting like one again.


Bolt zipped up to the podium the mayor had just used and spat flames into the air to catch every bodies attention. The dancing flames flew across the sky in a brilliant wave of orange until they faded to sparks and finally embers. The dragon spoke in his relaxed and raspy voice addressing the masses. "HELLO PONYVILLE! For those of you not following the drinking game I'm going to provide some entrainment just for you. I'm going to be taking dares from the audience to really liven up his holiday bash. I'll lift anything, race, arm wrestle and yes I do my own stunts. SO LETS HEAR IT PONYVILLE HIT ME WITH YOUR WORST!" He roared excited creating a chance for himself to show off.

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"Certainly!"  Heartened that Ejaz was going to join in the party at last, Halvard tossed him an appropriately-sized mug.  The bull also grinned at Calder's catching of his own tankard via antlers; it was a bit of luck, sure, but now the young bull was giving lady luck a chance to act in his favor.  Calder had dropped out of the habit, and Halvard liked to see him pick it up again.

 

On the way to the table, he stopped to greet Ice Storm, laughing like the jolly spirit of the holiday itself.  "They have indeed, and this looks to be no different!"  

As the contestants took their places, he heard of the raffle.  Hm, wouldn't hurt to drop a nice, generous gift in the donation bucket on the way out.  The raffle prize he could take or leave; it was a long journey back home, and he didn't want to over-burden himself.

 

Smirking at the Alchemist's joke, he set down the tankards, and saw that they were all filled,  "Let's see... this is me, Calder, Kojo, Ejaz, and you all competing-"  Their start was interrupted by Bolt, a dragon who simply seemed to want attention.  He honestly didn't think anypony here would take him up on his contest, as it was clearly an opportunity for the dragon to show off with easy victories.  Unless... Perhaps Sigrun might take him up on, say, hoof-wrestling.  That would be worth seeing; take him down a peg or two.

 

"Anyway, now that we're all here, begin!"  And with that, he clashed cups with his neighbor, and began to down the first mugful of the sweet, thick holiday beverage!

 

 

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Ejaz caught the mug with a small sound of surprise, smiling at Halvard, Ejaz quietly listened as the caribou talked with the alchemist and began listing the contestants before jumping as Bolt suddenly made his loud claim. Once again, Ejaz looked at the dragon with confusion, not understanding the flying lizard’s desire for attention, and before long the pegasus returned his attention to the event at hoof. Once he heard the go ahead from Halvard, Ejaz hesitantly took a small sip of his Eggnog then paused. The taste... It was almost, no... It is exactly like.

 

Cake...” Was the only thought that went through the pegasus head before he began downing his cup hungrily, the taste almost hypnotizing him. It wasn’t long before the stallion began asking for refils.

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Calder takes his seat next to Halvard and watches as the rest of brave and maybe foolish challengers take seats. Windwright seems to be rather confident in their ability to pose a real danger to the Bulls, something worth taking note about as they may be able to back it up. So that means the table will really come down to three players for the win. At least how it seems, Calder knew better than to fully dismiss others! Sometimes even the most soft spoken, shy slave of a pony can utterly destroy a bull or cow in a drinking game.

 

Removing the mug from his antlers he places it on the table and has it filled up. “Boasting such much?” He asked to Windwright. “Think you can out drink Bulls? Well, if I drop before you I will…” He thinks for a moment as that outspoken dragon started yelling. Calder has been trying his best to just roll with things. He was told many times ponyville is very weird and… It was. He’d hate living here, he can tell already. Pushing on he picks his bet offer. “Give my gevir.” He says with a smirk, poking his antlers. “At least mail to you in spring. Get new ones than. Not axe off over this… you get when gevir fall.” He added making that clare, this was a fun offer. Not a ‘chop them off with an axe if i lose’ offer. Gotta make that clear, Calder found that the hard way before.

 

With the offer on the table he smashed his mug against Halvard's and any others that offred to clank mugs before taking the mug to his lips. He did not chuge his drink but in one movement poured it all down his throat in one shot. He wipes his muzzle and grins. One shot ‘chug’ it took him forever to train his body to do that. Just got to keep a open shot down the hatch to the stomach. Done with the first mug he fills it up again. Shame they can only use one mug, he’d love to show off and down two in one shot. But they have to make it somewhat fair to others. 

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Boulder Dash was never one for boasting, but there was something about the two royal bulls that seemed to bring out the competition in him.  Grabbing his own tankard and filling it to the brim he rightly clanked it properly with his fellow challengers before smiling proudly.

 

"When you sail the roughest seas in the land you need to have a strong stomach and a fortitude as mighty as an oak tree" he said before downing his own tankard easily with a massive gulp.  Wiping his mouth and smiling proudly he then looked right at Halvard and said, "If one can drink the royal Meade of the private stock of the Royal Minister of Agriculture for Yakyakistan, one can stomach anything."

 

Seeing he was getting a few stares Boulder Dash chuckled a bit and said, "He wanted thank us for bringing in much needed grain that the Yaks needed for their harvest.  First time I sailed an ice breaker ship and that was a wild party afterwards I tell ya'll what."

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"Oh, have we moved on to wagers?" the alchemist asked, sliding the first mugfull of eggnog down the hatch with barely a gulp. "I'll take your wager, Calder clanless, and match it with the scent of a Whitescar spring feast." she said. That was actually one of three of her favourite tricks. She wiped her mouth off with the back of her hoof and repeated the trick with the second mug, since the first round was over.

 

"In fact, I'll extend that your way as well, Halvard of Breen, and either of you stallions will get to name whatever smell you please and I'll bottle it for you." Her mouth had dropped the wager off without checking for postage, but she was...pretty sure she could manage just about anything. Boulder would probably ask for sea spray, pitch, and pine, the scents of a sailor's home, which would be easy enough, though there was a chance Ejaz could ask for something tricky. Then again, she'd produced a bottle of jade perfume for one of the visiting dignitaries once for the Gala. JADE.

 

Speaking of odd requests and events, unless she was much mistaken, that dragon's boasting was going to end in tears. She was glad her alchemical stock was insured, and the stall rented. She'd need to double check to make sure dragonfire was covered. Then again, she could probably sneak a few shed scales from any major damage, which could be worth their weight in gemstones...

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"I know. That's why I slipped through the window after you closed the door." Squall revealed to Fire. "I wanted to give 'Tempest' latest product one last fly before presenting it to Celestia. When I realized what hour it was I jumped off. And...well, THIS what I found." unicorn stallion explained before waving his hoof around.

 

"Don't worry Dear, you look great. Also, it was not permanent in Empire so it won't be now." Swift didn't missed a beat in both complimenting and reassuring his love in ne breath. However Fire's last line was apparently a bit too much to resist some snarky teasing. "Oh I see. To hear the lines before your own performance in that play." Swift teased the crimson mare.

 

"It seems I already did." Squall said in response to Naj's smile highlighted words, while his gaze was fixed on the receding purple princess.

"I don't enjoy this you know." he confessed  to the female changeling. "Throwing such words straight into someone's face that is, even if I believe them correct." noblepony eyes shifted back to the Spring.

"Thing is, somepony has to. Her friends and family won't tell her what she needs to hear - they care too much. But not speaking about the issue doesn't mean it stops existing." he mused before giving a deep sigh. "Staying contentment in your comfort zone....that's the great fault of us, ponies. Perhaps that's why we have to re-learn lessons that by all means should be interiorized ages ago."

 

Squall listened carefully to what Naj has said, but before he could really said anything in response, he was interrupted by some obnoxious dragon.

"Oh for the love of...." Swift muttered. The only other being that he knew that could compare in the field of being distracting was Discord. However at least draconequus and his antics had certain charm to it, and was smart enough to keep others entertained. Meanwhile this drake was so focused on himself that he had charisma of the wet noddle. Combined with fact that his display interrupted a little heart to heart Squall had with his friend made unicorn quite upset. Swift was sure that at least caribou didn't probably mind how loud the dragon was, but he was not nearly as forgiving.

"Quiet down, wyrm. If you came hear to boast then you chose the wrong holiday to do so. Some of us want to spent quality time with those we care about. So pack yourself up and come back when Iron Pony is around, if you're need to have your ego stroked so much." swordpony wasted no time to rip into little speech Bolt has provided.

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"Look dude It's the holidays and this is how I unwind, I can't join in the drinking game because when I get loaded things end up on fire and I'd hate to do that after all the effort Twilight and Luna have put into planning this party." Is what ran through Bolt's mind however his instincts took over as he tossed aside the podium and zipped over to Swift in less than a nanosecond. Eyes glaring Bolt took a violent tone with the swordsmen. "You got a problem with me pal? Cause I'm going to shove that little dagger you call a sword so far up your flank you'll be burping up shrapnel." He was just trying to be friendly and have a good time he really wasn't expecting somebody to pick a fight with him. He had already made so many compromises tonight he wasn't about to be punished just for being himself. "You're lucky I don't pick fights with ponies otherwise I'd blast across the world and leave you to freeze out in the Frozen North, got it? So step off Narc I'm just trying to have a good time.

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Ejaz drank and finished his second cup of Eggnog with vigor, why didn’t he try this before? This stuff was amazing, not to mention the knowledge that he was doing this in conjunction with others for fun, made it all the more better. As he begun to drink his third cup, Ejaz decided to slow down instead of downing as many as he could, figuring that it’d be better to take longer but outlast everyone, rather than upset his stomach. Then, his ear picked up something, the voices of Squall and Bolt, it was then here that it clicked in Ejaz’s mind who the dragon was, and the male paused his consumption of the Eggnog to turn his attention towards the dragon.

 

”Hey! It’s not spiked! Nobody will get intoxicated here so come on and join!” Ejaz calls out to the dragon, hoping that he’ll defuse the situation and give the fellow flying creature something fun to do. Afterall, the pegasus and the others just started, it definitely wasn’t too late to have another few join.

 

“Come on mister dragon! I’ll compete with ya!” The stallion then adds. All this fun, all this excitement, it seemed it was silencing the more cautious and quieter halfs of Ejaz’s personality, and letting free a more energetic and playful pegasus. Now what did Ejaz think of this mini-transformation that was happening to his persona? Nothing at all, in fact, the mechanic welcomed the long-missed feeling with open arms... or... wings in this case. Now he knew there was probably no way he was going to win against the caribou, or even Bolt should he join. But that didn’t matter, as long as they were having fun right?

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It never really seemed to fail that at every part there was always somepony trying to stir up drama. In this particular instance, it was a dragon that was the culprit. Ice Storm really wasn't sure about what was going through his mind. She had noticed him before when she had approached the group making his way from Twilight over to a central area. She at first paid him little mind while she was waiting for Sigrin and the others to respond to her greeting. However, before anypony really had a chance to, a loud boasting came from the dragon talking about livening up the party. Apparently this dragon had no idea what the real meaning behind Hearth's Warming Eve was, and had somehow gotten the impression that this was a bash. Sure there was drinking. There was alcohol at every major party or event for those old enough to partake in it. Parading through a tightly packed town square though that was already trodden with snow, however, is not something that could even be fathomed. She hoped that no pony would actually take him up on the offer.

 

She didn't have to wait too long though before Squall was well.... Squall and rather bluntly told the dragon off. Telling him that if wanted to boast and brag that he came here for the wrong holiday, and if he needed his ego boosted he needed to come back for Iron Pony and that some ponies just wanted to spend time with ponies that they cared about. At this point Ice would have remained content to hold her tongue still, but her instincts and training were kicking in. She saw him start to move and within an instant he was right next to Sqift and..... threatening him? This wasn't going to stand at all. A beam of magic shot between them putting a thin, yet strong wall of ice in between Swift Squall and the dragon with pinpoint accuracy. She approached the dragon.

 

"You think that because you're a dragon that we are afraid of you? Or because of your speed? What Swift said is right. This is not a Holiday bash. It is a Holiday celebration so that ponies may be able to put aside their differences and come together. A celebration for ponies to spend time with whom they cherish. This is not an event for you to run around like a Cutie Mark Crusader performing reckless stunts and possibly injuring somepony else or causing damage to somepony's store that they've worked their entire lives for. I understand that you might be bored, and that our pony holiday might be a bit underwhelming for you, but this is what we do at events like this. We get together, we mingle, and we dance. If you don't like it, don't come. It's as simple as that. Also, Do not threaten anypony else. For your sake. Princess Luna and Princess Twilight are right over there and they don't take kindly to somepony threatening to kill their subjects," Ice Storm replied just as another pegasi chimed in, offering to compete with him. She sighed. She didn't want to support the pegasi. However, it did give her a way to get them to leave the square if they were going to be rowdy, or in the situation with this dragon, potentially dangerous. "Just be warned, you both will be held accountable for all injuries and damages associated with your competition. If you absolutely must, please do so outside of the town square where you aren't going to disturb the ponies that want to spend time with families."

 

 

~~~~Wind Dancer~~~~

 

 

When she heard the pony mention that he could guess that his name would travel but he never had enough bits to go see one of her shows, she gave a soft smile. When she heard him say that he was from the Ground District. It was no wonder why she had at least seen him from time to time. She frequented the Ground District. AT least she did before she got full use of her wing back. He said that his name was Lensblot. When she heard it, she recognized it immediately. "Ah, the detective. I can't say that I've ponysially ever needed a detective for anything. But I've heard some good things," she smiled to him as he mentioned the quietness of Ponyville and then address that he hadn't seen many posters for her recently.

 

"Ah yes. I went on a small performance hiatus while I was undergoing some therapy. When I was very little, I suffered a massive compound fracture in my wing," she said showing him the scar. "I tore every ligament in the wing knee and couldn't afford the proper therapy at the time. So I had limited use of it for a while. I could still fly, but short distances and not very high. Now that everything is working as it should, My routines have become a bit too robust for any indoor amphitheater. You see when I dance, I alter wind currents. I control the winds simply by dancing. I would love to do a small perfamce here tonight, but I am genuinely afraid that if I tried, I might inadvertently cause a blizzard with the snow that's already on the ground." she responded to his inquiry.

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Bolt dropped the violent glare and shot Ejaz a thumbs up along with a goofy smile. "See this guy gets it, it's all in good fun. Really non-alcoholic nog? You ponies are just full of surprises. Alright man set em up and we'll knock a few back together. I'm buying." He said wagging his tail like some kind of excited puppy as he reached for his wallet. Suddenly when the blast of ice formed behind him he dropped the bag of bits his newly happy mood quickly fading. His head whipped around looking towards the unicorn. "If you we're smart you would be afraid of me. Obviously you've never heard of an idle threat. I'd never kill a pony that'd be stupid, what would I have to gain from that? But I'm not opposed to kicking the hell out of the ones stupid enough to insult me." Bolt's claws ignited as he dug them into the wall of ice tearing it down stepping into the shallow puddle it left behind. "I'm not going to sit here and let you lecture me when I've done nothing wrong. I wanted to put on a show to entertain the ponies at this party I don't know anybody here using my powers is a conversation starter. You could have just ignored me or I dunno politely asked me to tone it down. I have a name and it's not just dragon, the only person polite enough to ask me before they started mentioning my race was Princess Twilight. I'm starting to feel the way your treating me has less to do with the fact I like to show off and more with the fact I've got scales and fangs. Quite frankly your xenophobia sickens me, Snowflake!" He said raising an eyebrow with a quizzical expression.

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mayor_mare_sig_by_dignifiedjustice-d49ik



The Mayor smiled and responded to Ejaz's question. “A raffle operates in a simple manner. Everypony gets a ticket, and ponies who donate get more tickets. The tickets will be placed into this box,” the Mayor pointed to a box, what a shock, “and when the time comes we'll pick one out and announce the prize. There is no fee to get a ticket, though donations will get you more tickets. I can't tell you what the prize is until we are about to pick the ticket. You should feel free to donate to get some more tickets,” she suggested. Her aides were busy writing down names and putting the tickets in the box. It was going to go great!




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Twilight watched the festivities a little apart at this stage. The drinking contest was now in full swing with several ponies and the caribou trading predictions and drinks. The caribou had every natural advantage but Twilight had suspicions that the ponies involved may have a little bit up their sleep. Everypony else was busy- with the exception of Bolt, who decided he needed to challenge ponies to a contest. She allowed it. He was being coarse and yes, rude to an extent. But she knew enough dragons to know that this was simply his way of involving himself in the festivities. It wasn't ideal but the attempt was laudable. She could only hope nopony went ahead and challenged him to do something a bit too exciting for the night.

She was about to suggest a relatively simple and easy dare to set the tone, but something went wrong, of course. Swift Squall took exceptional exception to the rudeness. He said as much in far less politeness. Bot may have been a dragon but Swift Squall was a firestarter by nature. Put them together and it was bound to be trouble. Twilight was about to intervene when Bolt shot back. His reply only made the situation more troublesome. While Squall was dismissive and condescending, Bolt was far more threatening and violent. Twilight was almost surprised at how quickly it had devolved but then again, considering those who were involved, should she have been?


Somepony else chimed in. It was Ice Storm and she added some magic to the situation. Everything Ice was saying was entirely correct, but Twilight didn't think the message was going to be received. Nopony involved had tried to speak with Bolt or understand him before the situation had escalated. Being members of EPIC, they both likely had a bit more edge to their response to perceived threats than was warranted here. They would know that had they known Bolt but they did not. Of course Bolt only made the situation worse. His response was as fiery as what he used to melt the ice. And, just like before, entirely unwarranted.

Twilight teleported in between them, her emergence pushing all back. She spoke quickly and plainly. “Bolt, Ice, Swift, stop,” she said, turning to the two members of EPIC, “his name is Bolt, and this is his first real attempt at involvement in such a celebration. Bragging, boasting, and competitiveness are exceptionally common in dragon culture. I'm sure he meant well, even if we find it off base. Show him kindness and care as he learns, please,” she then turned around and faced Bolt, her brow furrowed and her voice soft. “Bolt, please do not threaten ponies here. While I am assuming it is an empty, bar-room esque threat, it is still not something ponies here will take lightly. You need to try and be less aggressive in your dealings with us. I am sure there is a voice inside of you searching for moderation in word and tone. I ask that you take a deep breath and listen to that voice. Realize that as long as you treat us kindly we will do so with you as well. You can have friends here, not worried onlookers, if you play your cards right,” she said. Twilight hoped he'd take her advice. She would hate to keep him in a pocket dimension and separated from his horde until he calmed down.

When that was done, she turned back to the assembled ponies and such. Namely, she trotted up to the drinking game because that was where all the eggnog was located. She poured herself sixteen cups and started to drink in rhythm with the game. Celestia above, she needed it.

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Lens winces slightly at the prideful dragon's somewhat violent behaviour, taking a breath of relief as Princess Twilight stood in to seperate the hostility; the dragon evidently had something for her, so wouldn't react to her like the others.

 

Looking back to Dancer he nods then laughs slightly "Heard good things huh? Sure that wasn't another detective?" he smiles, remembering the many ponies currently very unhappy with him. "Wish ponies said good things to my face instead of behind my back, always thought it was meant to be the other way around."

 

He winces heavily when she shows him her scar "Woah, that is an impressive battle wound. Don't think I have any to show oddly; I bounce more often than not." he thinks carefully, tapping his chin "Well if you want to dance, why not organize for everypony to follow you to a field a bit away so when you whip up a blizzard, it won't affect anypony?"

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Ejaz smiled brightly when he saw Bolt respond kindly to his invitation, only to flinch when Ice intervened and make things worse. The pegasus was honestly surprised at the hostility coming from both Ice and Squall, he didn’t know them well, or at all really, but even he could tell the two didn’t have the best experience with dragons. The mechanic sighed as he took another sip and was about to take a short leave, before surprise once again made it’s way onto his features, his ears seemed to have picked up a third voice in the conflict, one that was defending Bolt. Looking over, Ejaz’s eyebrows raised slightly in curiosity as he saw Twilight herself intervening before coming over to the table and joining the drinking contest. The mechanic watched the Alicorn princess with both curiosity and a bit of worry, she seemed so stressed. Like despite a lot of fairly good things that have happened so far, the bad and unlucky events that have occured have affected her greatly. Ejaz understood this kind of emotional state that Twilight was going through, he himself has experienced it on several occasions. Finishing his third cup of Eggnog and refilling for a fourth to keep up, Ejaz filled another cup with Eggnog for when Bolt joins before standing and moving over to sit next to the Alicorn, though Ejaz left plenty of space between them so that both felt comfortable.

 

“Um... Thank you miss for ending that situation before it got worse... But um... Are you okay? It... Seems to me that today hasn’t been very forgiving for you... If you would like to miss, you can talk to me if you need to, I won’t judge or anything of the sort, I’ll just listen and help as best as I can...” Ejaz asks and notes in a soft and positive reassuring voice and a just as gentle smile. The stallion hoping he could help out a possible friend release some of that frustration through a simple chat, or even a rant if Twilight needed it, Ejaz has done it himself in the past to feel better, so it made sense to him if Twilight needed to do the same. Either way, the pegasus was willing to lend his services to help out the alicorn princess. Whom of which Ejaz wasn’t treating any special, for his “miss”s and “ma’m”s were simply how he addressed those he doesn’t know the name of. To the mechanic, royalty requested only so much defaulting respect, as he wasn’t going to treat a selfish coward with any form of respect just cause he or she was royalty. However, from what he’s observed since he arrived in this area of the town, Twilight seemed like a truly good mare who cared for eveyone with honest purity (almost too much), and so, Ejaz’s behavior towards the princess changed accordingly.

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It was gratifying for Halvard to see Calder down the whole mug in one smooth motion; an accomplishment of no small worth to caribou.  Had the eggnog actually been spiked, that would only store up trouble for later, but from the first taste of the sweet holiday beverage, Halvard knew that only stomach capacity would be the test today.  That gave an edge to... honestly, probably to Kojo.  Dragons might be able to burn off stomach contents in flaming belches, or something.  Hadn't he heard something about that?

 

Ah well, it was all in good fun anyhow, as the round of betting beginning to start indicated.  Slamming down his third mug, the blue Bull grinned and raised the stakes to his own level.  "Well said, all!  I accept your offer, Windwright, and if anyone here outdrinks me, I'll fill everyone's mugs with bits and donate them to the efforts of the local Mayor!  Drink now for the honor of your lands!"  No insubstantial sum, that.  Still, it had been a good trading year, no small thanks to having Calder's help around the shop, and the goodwill it would buy could prove to be worth more than it's weight in gold!

 

And it may well have been a bet he'd have to honor, given the possible joining of a dragon... were it not for the dispute unfolding in front of him.  He sighed internally; this was not how one dealt with the rowdy at parties.  You beat them at their own games, true, and were allowed to gloat a bit more than would usually be acceptable.  But spoiling the game?  That sort of thing led to blades being drawn.  He'd have pointed this out if his mouth wasn't full, but fortunately, Twilight Sparkle was on the job!

He was impressed, even more so at the lineup of mugs she'd taken.  Sixteen would instantly put her in contention!  "Well, we have a new challenger!  Have you drunk the mead of the Yaks as well, your majesty?"

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