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Ciraxis

On The Page Edge (PM for Invite)

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Squall was a pony who always welcomed the challenges that could provide him with some kind of adventure. But there were times where he felt like reconsidering his career choices.

 

Like right now, when he was blown out from the exploding airship at high of over ninety thousand hooves. Air thinness was definitely not something he was prepared for.

 

"Loosing....consciousnesses...." he managed to think as lack of oxygen during the fall blackened his vision.

"Must...activate...." Swift added in his mind, as he reached his hoof towards the one amulet that could help him avoid becoming a bloody smear on some sidewalk. With a titanic effort unicorn managed to sent his magic towards the relict in his pocket. The faint glow that indicated it's activation was the last thing his brain temporarily shut down....

 

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When Squall woke up the first thing he saw was....paper? After squinting his eyes Swift recognized the text on the page. It was a part of 'The Raven' poem....in Maretonian of all languages. This probably indicated that he wasn't laying at the hooves of the pearly gates. That alongside the feeling of wooden floor beneath him. Nobelpony rolled on his stomach with some effort. He was bruised and hurting all over, but somehow nothing seemed broken - which was an improvement over the usual state he found himself after his escapades. The Barrier Talisman was responsible for that, but judging from the clinking coming from his pocket, that was relicts last performance. His sword on the other hoof survived undamaged.

 

Squall pulled himself on his hooves using some piece of furniture, before giving a first real look of his surroundings. The first impression was - Books. Books everywhere, on every single shelf and on every table. The only surface feer from them were chairs.

".....Did I crashed into a library?" swordstallion said aloud in confusion before looking upwards. The color of the sky that he could see from the hole indicated that it was still a early afternoon. That meant that he was unconscious for few minutes at worst. But that still didn't told him where in Tartarus he was.

 

Swift limped to the closest window. - one look through it was enough to confirm where he was.

"Ponyville...why am I not surprised?" orange stallion mused to himself in a deadpan tone. Of the all quirky events that happened in Equestria, at least two thirds either ended or started in quickly growing town in The Heartland. That was also a reason why most insurance companies put a black mark on the place. In Swift's opinion it was a nice place to visit, but a poor one to live if you wanted to have some piece and quite. Especially for a pony like him, where he needed some cooldown period between his travels and adventures.

 

"....Wait...didn't Ponyville had other library already?" Squall realized before giving the interiors another glance. The building seemed to stand in the out of the way place. Away sprawl of the center, an odd location for bibliotheca. It didn't seemed like new construction either. It certainly was here for a decade or two, so it was present by the time that Golden Oak was blown up.

And third, it didn't seemed to be built like library at all. Too many doors, too many tight spaces. Perhaps it was just a house of some book enthusiast?

 

Nobelpony walked downstairs, and the desk as well as the plaque he saw confirmed that it was library alright. If he were to guess, it had to be a private residence , before being repurposed.

Either way, it seemed that there wasn't anypony inside right now, Squall was certain that his crash wasn't the quietest one. Oh, it was Sunday. And the first one after payday.

That reminded him....

 

Noblepony reached inside his pocket and proceeded to write a check. Enough to cover the repairs, as well as extra as an apology for the inconvenience. That should be all, and unicorn wasn't really in the mood for further exploration of the building. Better leave if he didn't wanted to be mistaken for a burglar.

But as he reached toward the door handle with his magic, unicorn stallion realized that leaving might be problematic....

The door was closed.

 

Swordstallion could only give a weary sight. Should he try windows upstairs? Well, pegasus robbers weren't exactly uncommon - it was almost certain they were closed as well, and Swift didn't wanted to inflict more collateral then he already did. Businesses-stallion groaned when he realized that his only quick way for leaving was the same one he arrived through. The hole in the ceiling.

Resigned Squall started to climb the stairs, when suddenly, his ears caught the sound of the key turned in the lock...

 

Ooooh dear....this is going to be awkward.

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Moonlight was fast asleep under her covers. Currently she was having a wonderful dream, about laying down in a field. "Ah this is nice.." she mumbled to herself. Moonlight closed her eyes, putting her front hoofs beneath her head for cushion. All of a sudden, the ground shook, making Moonlight wake up very sudden. Moonlight swiftly came out of her covers and realized what had happened, "Someone broke in..!" she ran to her closet and quickly took her sword, that lay on a holder above where her cloths lay. Picking it up with magic, Moonlight held it beside her, taking it out of the cover.

 

Moonlight sprinted out of her closet and slammed her door open. Sprinting beside the railings, Moonlight quickly stopped herself, seeing the gaping hole that lay in her ceiling. That was definitely  going to take a while to fix.

 

Moonlight went down the stairs, mouth gaping open as her ears went against her head. Papers, were everywhere. New books, she had been planning to store in her shelf's for ponies to view, ripped. Whoever did this, surely was going to pay. Moonlight walked through the mess, careful not to crumble any paper. That's when she spotted a stallion close to where she stood. Moonlight held her sword in her snout, and sneaked behind him.

 

She did this carefully, not wanting to be noticed by the Stallion who had basically tore apart her library..and her home. Moonlight kicked him to the floor, and held a hoof to where his neck was. Now, holding her sword with her magic, she levitated it over his head. Moonlight was PISSED.

 

"Who are you?" she hissed, pressing a bit harder on his neck, "Why did you DESTROY my library?!" she yelled this time.

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"%^&*!" was what has gone through Squall's head as he was swiped from his legs and rolled down the stairs before being pinned down by a very angry librarian.. Yup. Awkward.

"Alright Miss...." he started before seeing the sword tip of sword pressed to his neck.....

 

.....Was book theft REALLY that much of the problem these days? Next thing he know, there will be readied ballista behind the doughnut shop counter. Swift didn't wanted to know what she did for overdue returns.

Where was he? Oh yes, the threat of having his throat punctured by a sharp object. It was a Sunday alright. Before Swift could really get into explaining the mare started yelling at him.

"She isn't really listing..." flashed through stallions mind.

The next second Squall disappeared from under Moonlight, only to appear at other side of the lobby. Teleportation was hard to learn but it's usefulness was limitless.

"Look, Miss." Swift started politely as he dusted himself off. "I don't want to sound condescending, but one hole in the ceiling can hardly called 'destroyed library', it isn't raining. Besides I already written...."

Nobelpony wasn't meant to finish, as a furious mare rushed at him with a sword. Squall's own weapon had barely enough time to jump from it's scabbard to block incoming strike.

This mare wasn't just angry. She was ABSOLUTELY LIVID.

 

This wasn't how he pictured today afternoon. Volunteering to stop WRAITH smuggling of weaponized artifact, only to end dueling sword wielding Ponyville librarian once they were all blown up. To add to this, after fighting all the WRAITH goons, and surviving fall from seventeen miles noblepony wasn't in the best shape. All of this worn him out, while she was fresh. And lastly, the tight space around them wasn't best suited for his acrobatic fighting style. Willing or not, Squall prepared for a long haul.

 

"Miss..." he pleaded while sidestepping a vicious thrust. Her attacks were unpolished, but Squall could see a lot of talent behind them "Miss, please!" he tried again, to no avail.  After making a dive roll under a very aggressive slash Swift caugh a glimpse of librarian Cutie Mark.

 

Ah, that made sense. It was her special talent, but a librarian wouldn't have much occasions to make use of such skill. That likely meant that she wouldn't know how to pace herself in her aggravated state....

 

Knowing Squall steadily retreated, staying on the defensive and using the library layout to limit librarian offensive options. Noblepony made only a symbolic, and easily blockable counters. While they were both weanling their weapons through magic, Swift was larger and more muscular the the blue mare. That mean that more kinetic energy was transferred to his sword with each attack. Thus, parrying his attacks - as few as their were - was more taxing for her, while Swift used his years of real combat experience to do the same with minimal amounts of effort.

A minute of battle extended to five, and then to ten and further to fifteen. Slowly but surely unicorn Count was wearing the librarian stamina down. It seems that his bet on winning this through endurance was paying off...

 

After backdashing out of a range of mare's vertical slash - that he could only describe as 'brilliant' - Swift rushed forward. Using a rising strike to pop her weapon up and loosen her magical grip on it. He then twisted around in a spin kick, hitting the flat side of mare's blade with his hoof. This send the sword into the wall, driving it through it up to the hilt. She could easily pull it out of course, but Swift gambled on the disarmament being shocking enough to allow him to talk her down.

 

"Got that out of your system?" he asked her while catching his breath. After a whole day of fighting he was inequinenly exhausted, but from the looks of it, so was she. She was at least as talented as he was, and despite her inexperience, she kept him on his hooftips. All that orange unicorn wanted right now, was a long hot bath in a tub, but the mare deserved some explanations first. Intentionally or not he indeed did some property damage.

 

"Good. Miss, please think for a second. If I was a burglar, would I really chose to break in by collapsing part of the roof? That isn't exactly the most subtle of methods." unicorn pointed out "Besides, what one could steal? Books? I am sorry, but most robbers aren't exactly bright enough to know which ones to take, and the really valuable volumes are usually locked at much more secure places then at some public library - no offense. Believe me, I had to go to much length to secure rara avis in my manor's library."  headed while sheathing his weapon. to show he meant no harm.

"And third, Ponyville isn't a best place for a robber, period." Swift added with a wave of his hoof, lampshading the amount of craziness that rolled through tow every week.

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Moonlight growled softly. She wasn't really in a mood to talk. It was either get out, or face the wrath of being cut by a sword. Moonlight stepped backwards defensively as he teleported away. Cleaver alright, but Moonlight had more tricks up her sleeve(that she doesn't have). Moonlight couldn't really control herself, it was like her body just swiftly moved to deflect attacks and make them.

 

Moonlight could tell, this stallion was quite strong, seeing his muscular body, and that he was very good at what he did, seeing that it was also his special talent.

"Weird.." she thought to herself. She had never really discovered another pony with a cutie mark similar to hers. Well, that certainly was the first. Moonlight could tell my the long minutes of swordplay, that this match certainly was interesting. "He seems exhausted. A hard vertical slash should finish this.." is what Moonlight thought, while getting her sword kicked away by a jump kick.

 

Did she just..get beat? By a simple, Stallion? No no..this can't be right. Moonlight couldn't really think about it. She was also exhausted. Moonlight just woke up, and it was five in the morning. Yes Moonlight had to open the library, but that opened at nine or so, leaving her with extra sleep time. Panting, Moonlight nodded in reply. She sure got that out of her system!

 

It felt..good to fight another pony like that. Well, yes she has fought another pony before, but swordplay? And she got beat? This got Moonlight interested. Maybe they could get to know each other. Moonlight thought about his long speech for a bit, then shook her head and chuckled. "You are quite cleaver. Thank you for the fight. It felt good" she smiled then continued, "As for the mess and hole, I guess I could fix that in maybe a few days..or so," she thought about this. Moonlight could tell it wouldn't take that long to fix it. It was a mere hole. Not that bad.

 

She pulled her sword out from the wall with her magic and held it beside her. "Well, now that that's out of the way," Moonlight hesitated but gave in. Holding out her hoof she spoke, "Moonlight dawn,".

 

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"Well at least one of us enjoyed it. No offense, but I am way too drained to really savor the experience." nobelpony said while massaging his temple. Usually he would have took much fun from such scramble, but circumstances and exhaustion robbed that feeling from him.

"Days? Oh right, we have Sunday today." Swift recalled. "......Give me a ten minutes, something to write with and a fireplace and you will get everything done by tomorrow evening. Heck, probably have whole roof replaced for good measure." unicorn explained.

 

When the mare offered her hoof, Squall didn't waffled. His own hoofshake right now was weaker then noblepony would have liked, but at least he was still able to stand.

"Swift Squall Squallcoast, Count of the Fillydelphia, billionaire and occasional adventurer....although I don't do the latter as often these days...." Squall introduced himself.

"May I?" he asked while pointing at Moonlight's weapon. Without waiting for the response he sized the blade with his magic before examining it closely.

"Hmmm this is Roamanian steel....the slight hue gives it away. And those patterns....Vaccari or Stavola?" he started, speaking with tone of the connoisseur "Oh wait there's slight mithirl coating on the edges. Definitely Stavola then. Too bad he passed away five years ago, he was great master of the craft. Ponysonally, I prefer mine's made from admantite or sungold....." Swift paused, recalling that most ponies weren't in possession of spareable few thousand bits to buy themselves equipment made from the stuff.

"A-anyway...." stallion said awkwardly. before continued examination "And here.... hilt has a vey delicate curve. Gives the blade slightly different striking angle - design usually favored by griffons, poor choice for earth pony or pegasus. The length...hmmm..." orange stallion gave Dawn a quick glance "...seems about right. But the weight..." Squall made two quick practice swings with a blade. "Thought as much. When we clashed I had an impression that each strike was going slightly further then you wanted it to. While a very good sword, it's too heavy for a mare of your stature." businessespony deducted before returning the sword to Moonlight. "This wasn't custom made. A gift? Something you inherited?" Swift podded, his curiosity picked.

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Moonligth hesitated a bit, but ended up handing her sword over to him. Maybe he had something interesting to say?

 

Moonlight chuckled to herself a bit, as Swift Squall told her many things about her sword. He seemed to be an expert, from how much information he got from her sword. What steel was used, hue, the weight, and even things Moonlight didn't know herself..! This colt sure was impressive. Nodding, Moonlight examined his a bit. It actually seemed to suit him.

 

Using her magic, Moonlight held the sword close to her. "Well..the sword was actually a gift from my parents before uhm.." Moonlight stopped, her ears going down. 'Stay strong Moonlight..!' She told herself. Blinking, Moonlight masked her emotions. "Anyways..how did you even get here?" She changed the subject. 

((My computer was glitching, so I wrote this on my phone. Apologies for the dialogue not being colored))

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"I...see...." Swift said, and tactfully decided not to press further. He could guess how the rest of the story goes and the this mare had enough stresses for today. Being skilled with blade was a rare talent for a Equestrian - Swift could number no more then nine ponies who had Cutie Mark related to that, and one of them was his mother.

 

"Well then, I would encourage you to find a replacement sword if you want to further explore your special talent." Squall advised "It being an important memento is yet another reason to put it in display cabinet." he further added.

 

Already familiar with parts of  first floor layout thanks to their duel taking both of unicorns all around it Swift waked back into the reception area.

"Through the roof." noblepony answered the question that Dawn gave him. After a moment of awkward silence Squallcoast sighed and added.

"Fine. I was on the airship. It kind....well you would've' read it in newspaper tomorrow so....it blew up. Impact threw me away from the vessel so that's why I am not in the pile of twisted metal and fire. It wasn't the first time I had such long fall so I had some precautions for situations like these...." he explained while showing Moonlight remains of now broken amulet. "Although I activated it late enough for impact to knock me out for a few seconds. Not a rib broken strangely enough. It's almost a running gag for me by now." he added before looking around.

"Now since we have a hole in your ceiling that needs patching, can you point me to your fireplace. Unless you don't have one. Then, I guess, we have to start bonfire outside." orange stallion mused.

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Moonlight nodded, "Well, I guess I could look into it" she shrugged. Maybe getting a new sword wouldn't be that bad. It would probably get her practicing her sword fighting again, since she hadn't been practicing for quite a while. Moonlight followed him to the reception area and raised an eyebrow.

 

From what Moonlight could tell, Swift seemed like an interesting pony. Being able to sword fight, going on dangerous adventures. It sounded like.. fun. Well, except for the part of him breaking a few ribs. She examined the amulet a bit then nodded. "Clever using the amulet. Wouldn't want to break any more bones?" she cracked a smile.

 

"And yes, I have a fire place near the chairs over there " she turned her head in the direction of the room. Moonlight began walking to the fireplace then turned her head to speak once more, "Oh and, as for the ceiling, you really don't need to fix it..I guess I was over reacting a bit,".

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Squall was silent for a moment after Midnight shrug. It looks like she wasn't against the idea but rather have no clue where to start. "....You know what, I have a friend that can arrange for just that. She's more into artistry these days, but the way I see it it's yet another merit. It guarantees that it wouldn't be a rush job and instead something truly unique. Do you have a busy schedule? I believe I have a free day two weeks from now so we can visit her. I can also gather some rare materials by that time." he mused. It appeared that this stallion had some connections.

 

"Honestly I am quite used to pain and being injured by now. That said my Sweetheart isn't exactly happy with this. Few years back you wouldn't be able to look at my back without getting nauseous. She nagged me to get it fixed for months until I caved in." Swift said, smiling at the memory of a 'massage' that came with said 'fixing'.

 

While Dawn dismissed the notion of having her ceiling fixed, noblepony could only shake his head in disagreement.

"Overreaction or not, the fact that intruded on your home and damaged it still stands. Bedsides I won't be the one who will get the fixing. I could construct you a raft but carpentry isn't exactly one of my talents." Swift said before sitting on the chair as he started writing something on the piece of paper. Once he had finished the unicorn approached the fireplace. A simple spell was enough to start the light it, but it was what he did after that was unusual. Reaching into it duster once more, Squall pulled out a jar with strange looking powder. The stallion grabbed a hooveful of it before throwing the sparkling dust into the flames. And instantly the flames turned green!  Was that dragonfire in the jar? It seems so, because Swift  then threw the letter he written into the fireplace, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

"I guess we have some time to kill then. The renovation team should be here by by tomorrow." noblepony announced "Along with the architect and archivist. I assume you wouldn't mind expanding your collection of books? Or a living space for that matter? A 900 extra square hooves wouldn't hurt...." he said.

"So Midnight, since we have a whole day before all of that, can I help you with something else? Maybe you have some questions? I am not in hurry and besides I have to stay here until my employees arrive." Squall mused.

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