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[Age of Heroes] Love and Disdain. Again. [OPEN]

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.......The feeling vibrant green grass under her stomach. The shining, clean, cerulean sky above...

 

And the air. So fresh. So....alive....

 

She was back. After so long she was back!

 

"Ufufufufufu...AHAHAHAHA!" Ossia laughed in triumph as she got back on her hooves. So much effort, so much frustration....but finally her endeavors were rewarded!

 

"This is wonderful! I can feel power surging within me just by being here! Now I just need to..." she mused before pausing.

"No....this attitude is what forced me to go through so much trouble in the first place. Just because I am supreme beauty doesn't mean I can underestimate those gnats like before." she reminded herself "Speaking of gnats..." Ossia added before turning back.

As expected, the anomaly in space time - a gateway of sorts, one that she tore by herself was still there.

"Despite everything, I wouldn't be able to get through if not for the 'fabric' getting weaker from this side as well. A fortunate circumstances indeed...although I wonder how it happened that they aligned with my actions so well?" di Nerezza pondered as medalion around her neck started to glow. Slowly, with great effort she extended her will towards the rip in space and time before herself. Seconds extended into minutes, but finally the bridge between worlds was closed - Ossai learned well from her past defeats, no one will be showing her the door this time! She will be staying until she discovers the reason for gaining so much power in this world! However....

 

"<Pant> This was....<pant> more taxing then expected. To break is far easier then mend...." pink mare reflected. With the most pressing task taken care of, it was now time to explore her surroundings. Where was she now, exactly?

 

With the confident stride Ossia approached the cliff-side to gaze at the sparkle in the distance. It was....

"Canterlot. Of course." she said to herself. That said, it was somewhat different from the usual Canterlot's she visited. Oh sure the same could be said for many other versions, but those usually were distinguished  by various states of ruin and decay.,

This time the city was different. Absent was it's trademark castle, instead replaced by what appeared to be university of sorts. The city also appeared to also sprawl farther - not limited to plateau like its counterparts but also hugging to the cliff-side and ground below - this Canterlot had to be as big a Manehattan. This was something worthy of checking out. That and to - if she wanted to accomplish anything here - get information about state of things in this dimension. However she couldn't go as she was now.

 

"The though of concealing beauty such as mine is a revolting, but it can't be helped. If I would descend as I am now, everyone would be overwhelmed by my radiance - making any efforts at subtlety impossible." Ossia mused to herself as she approached a nearby pond. "There is also a chance that my entry was detected. Who knows how much time passed since my last visit? Perhaps denizens of this dimension became more alert in-between?" she further mused as she begun casing the concealing spells. When she finished and leaned to look over the water, it wasn't her pink visage that stared back - but instead a slender and tall gray pegasus mare with a white mane.

 

"Hmph...this will have to do. Well I found my way here...." Ossia said before adding with a sinister smirk...

 

"Let's see what else I can find."

 

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Canterlot was, as always, a scene of beauty.  Both the stones that built the city, and the ponies that populated it, all tried to live up to the aesthetic standard and reputation the city bore upon it's shoulders.  That included stallions, as well as mares.  Or, at least, one stallion in particular.  

 

*So nice to not have to do much of anything today, save letting the world gaze upon me.*  Blueblood remarked to himself, as he went upon his constitutional.  It was indeed a peaceful day for him; no public political duties, no social appointments, and no... secret plans populated his calendar.  The fact that this placidity triggered no alarm bells in his mind spoke poorly of his survival instincts in this world of superpowers and general weirdness, but hey, not everypony was a winner in the cortical lottery.  As far as the tradeoff between brains and beauty went, Blue was gifted in the latter, and wasted no time, though a whole lot of effort, in showing it off...

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Ossia had to admit, Canterlot always was aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Even when turned to ruins it retained that sense of haunting beauty that drew ponies towards it.

 

So it was going without saying, that in this dimension - when Canterlot was still standing tall and proud - visiting it was even more enjoyable experience.

Ossia touch down in the middle of Canterlot many squares, which immediately drew attention from the passerby's.

And who could blame them really? Ossia may have masked her real appearance, but it didn't helped much with avoiding attention. Her good looks were simply too splendid. As such she only managed in downgrading herself into simply gorgeous, attractive appearance she had now, instead of unremarkable form she was aiming for.

"Now, where should I go?" di Nerezza pondered why subconsciously raising her hoof to flip her mane.

"Library seems like a good choice. It would never hurt to expand my knowledge about this realm. But wouldn't this require a proper documentation? Hmmm....?" Ossia train of thought was derailed as she noticed the familiar visage passing through the crowd.

 

"is that...Blueblood?" di Nerezza quietly mumbled to herself. Why, it was indeed doltish Prince Blueblood on the other side of the square! One of the few remaining descendants of Platinas dynasty, as well as adoptive nephew to Princess Celestia...in few other dimensions that is. Was she his 'aunt' in this timeline as well? The lack of Royal Castle in the city suggested otherwise, but with her limited understanding of this reality it was hard to tell....

 

"Besides..." Ossia thought as a smirk crept on her face. "Even if he isn't, he's still a Prince. A noble from ancient and rich family. It wouldn't hurt to use that wealth to build a bridgehead  in this world." she thought. And for all of his lack of brain cells, he still wasn't bad looking. Oh, that things she could tease him with...!

 

With this in mind, still disguised di Nerezza followed Blueblood from the distance, waiting for a suitable moment to wrap him around her tail...

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It wasn't until the Prince stopped to take yet another admiring look at himself in a shopfront window that he first caught sight of di Nerezza.  Her reflection stood out to him, no small feat to a stallion so normally obsessed with his own.  Her presence immediately shifted him from narcissistic to neurotic, his flawless demeanor suddenly becoming positively rife with flaw.  *Gah, I have strains of mane out of place!  Is my tail brushed?  Oh Faust, what is that between my teeth?*

 

A few hasty moves of hooves and magic sought to put these all straight, after which he took a deep breath.  Right, attractive mare behind him.  Attractive, beautiful, gorgeous, pegasus mare.  Boy, he could only imagine what those wings would look like fully splayed....  Deep breath, deep breath, and he started off again, taking peeks into storefronts again, watching for the approach of a reflection not his own...

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Oh dear, did he noticed her ? He did!

"Look how flustered he become, it's adorable" Ossia thought to herself. "It's so easy it's cute, I don't even need my magic for this. But I want him to become more then flustered..."

The important thing to rember was to pretend that she didn't noticed that he noticed. Also, subtle things. A little more wiggle in her walk. Her eyes, half closed as if saying 'Come hither!'.

One more flip of her mane, just for show. Already, some stallions that she walked by were panting like dogs. Unfortunately for them, only the puppy she had her sights on right now, was the one with royal linage before her.

 

Oh, did he paused in front of another shop? Perfect!

As if she guessed his earlier thoughts, di Nerezza paused and spread one of her wing wide open, apparently to preen some misplaced feathers. In reality of course to make Blueblood heart beat even faster. Despite being disguised, the spell maintained her proportions, so there was a loooot of wing to cover...and a lot of wing to show. Alicorn didn't hurry, instead giving Blueblood's imagination time to do the job for her.

 

Okay that should be enough. Ossia peaked above the edge of her wing - using it as a makeshift fan - while staring at Blueblood directly. She slowly folded her flying appendage, and titled her head to the side, openly judging his looks as if she just noticed him. While Prince's skull was mostly stiff with air, the rest of the package was looking delicious❤︎. If everything would go as she hoped for, she would see only the good parts of this stiffness by the end of the evening. Those thoughts made corners of Ossia's lips go up.

 

She proceeded to trot forward again, still wearing this inviting smile. Blueblood was ndoubtly frozen by all that teasing. And who could blame him? Nopony knew more about love the Ossia, and love opens all paths.

Even making it's way to the mind of stallion as self-absorbed as Prince♪.

As she passed the unicorn noble, Blueblood could feel the tip of her wing tracing along his flank and the side. But Ossia didn't stop for Prince just yet, oh no. Instead she turned towards the stairway that lead to one of Canterlot famous gardens. Only when she took the first few steps - which make her body stretch in all the right places - Ossia gazed over her shoulder towards the Prince, giving him a swish of her tail and another smile to encourage him to follow.

 

"Come on, handsome." she whispered. Too quietly and too far for Blue to really hear anything, but the massage that she gave was clear regradless.

Oh, she had that in the bag❤︎.

 

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Hooked?  Poor Prince Blueblood was harpooned.  Di Nerezza had hunted her white whale with aplomb, though the figure-conscious Prince would hate that figurative title.  He'd rather be pretty and caught than ugly and free.  And with the enticing nature of the disguised alicorn, he certainly wasn't going to remain free much longer...

 

The brush of feathers across his flank was the straw that broke the pony's back.  The mere touch summoned forth a flush that creeped up his neck, pinkening his face with the tell-tale sign of victory for the mare.  To his credit, Blueblood did manage to keep the rest of his demeanor calm, even feigning pleasant surprise at her first words towards him.  The pace he had to make to keep up with her was somewhat less dignified, but he made it work.

 

"I do beg your pardon,"  He said, once he was close enough to not have to raise his voice.  "But I couldn't help but notice that a new arrival had graced our fair Canterlot!  And one, if you don't mind me saying, that is a compliment to the city of my birth.  Ah, but where are my manners?"  He bowed, plucking a bloom from a rosebush they were passing in the gardens.  "I am Prince Blueblood, of House Platinum.  And you?"

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"Like bee to a honey." Ossia thought, barely stopping herself from licking her lips. As expected, the dorky Prince had no means to resist her charms.

Oh the things she will do to him❤︎.

 

"You will be begging yet cutie boy." she said in her mind in response to Blueblood first words. Of course she still knew better then say this aloud, and instead allowed Blueblood to speak. So proper, so reserved. Ossia wondered how cute will he be once his inhibitions were off the leash.

 

"Oh...oh my!" Ossia masterfully faked her ignorance. "I just got here in this fair city...and I already ran into a fair Prince!" she quickly added, and at least this part was not false.

"I am Ossia. Ossia di Nerezza. I wasn't born in Equestria, but you could say my roots are in this nation." she introduced herself before taking step forward and leaning a little. Now her gray eye were in the same level as Blueblood's, fluttering saucily for added effect. Prince could feel her warm breath on his neck, that's how close she was

 

"I very much like it here but everything is still sooo confusing! And I want to know more, all I possibly can about this country! History, customs, it's ponies! Would you mind being my guide for today, handsome? It wouldn't be too inconvenient for Prince of the nation, isn't is? I would be very, very grateful. Especially to a stallion that's so easy for the eyes❤︎." disguised alicorn said, with a seductive gaze, smile and pose that were clear what she meant by gratitude.

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Blueblood's ears perked at the unfamiliar name.  "Oh, I see.  Of Equestrian origin, but Roaman extraction?  I've had a particular affinity for Itaily..."  He struggled to keep composure under the onslaught of her proximity.  Breath, sight, scent... it was a gentle, but thorough assault upon his will.  For all his urbane empty-headedness, though, the Prince was a Canterlot native, adapted to the environment.  If he was the sort that mares could easily bend to their will, well... he could hardly have remained so eligible a bachelor this long, now.  Resisting, however, would take every bit of ego and self-confidence that he could muster...

 

*Of course, any foreign noblemare would seek me out.  Richest, most handsome, of the very best lineage... it's only my due.  I needn't act as if she's doing me a favor.  Quite the opposite.*  Clearing his voice, he straightened his bowtie, idly slipping the rose he plucked into his own buttonhole.  "Hardly an inconvenience at all, and even if it were, noblesse oblige."  He extended a patronizing hoof.  "We can start with the gardens here, if you like, or do you prefer the amenities of civilization to the beauties of nature?  We all well versed in both, in this country."

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Ossia giggled when Blueblood mentioned Itaily. And - rare for her - it was a chuckle devoid of malice, driven instead from amusement that the two of them - despite such massive difference - could have similar tastes. Who could have guessed? Also, apparently the Prince had some spine after all! This will only make ensnaring him all more delicious ❤︎.

"Same. I rather....fond of the work and arts coming from the region. They can be very...inspiring..." she said with a glint in her eyes.

 

"Oh how kindly of you ." she chimed and took Blueblood's hoof without hesitation. Allowing the some small victories should make him overconfident...."Oh, how firm grasp you have Prince. I hope hooves aren't only things you grasp with such....enthusiasm."

 

"I not sure..." Ossia mused, pretending to ponder over Prince's question. "From what I sampled...it would be a crime to put one above the other. I want to see E~v~e~r~y~t~h~i~n~g." she said with feeling, while gifting the Blueblood with another smile and half-lid gaze.

"Surprise me, Fair Prince❤︎." he added while tilting her head to the side. Gosh, teasing him was soooo fun!

.

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Oh, boy, was Ossia ever laying it on thick.  Were Blueblood of lighter mettle, he probably would have blushed.  Still, her attitude was not exactly unprecedented, for a mare around a stallion of wealth and influence.  As he had said to himself before, there were dues owed to rank... "Everything, hm?  Well, I do hope you will be staying with us long, then.  I hate to end such sweet encounters prematurely."  Once having taken her hoof, he kissed it, before drawing her on through the garden.

 

The Canterlot gardens really were a remarkable showcase, not only of nature, but of art.  Besides the normal topiary sculptures that were seen in rich neighborhoods the world over, the results of combining the super powers of this world with horticulture were on display.  Size manipulation, with tiny trees and huge flowers, with strange and wonderful moving blooms of firey hues, sedately swaying though no breeze ruffled their leaves.  "Quite the show, eh?  The Academy ensures that its students do community work, along with their... heroic training."  A rather flat tone in his voice suggested the Prince had his own opinions on the collection of ponies (and other species) that supposedly made up the next generation of heroes.  Or, perhaps, at the concept of heroes in general.

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"Oh, there is no need to be worried Prince. I have no plans of leaving anytime soon." Ossia said with emphasis. "Not when there is such...perceptive company to be around." she added with a smile as noblepony planted his kiss on her hoof. The disguised alicorn couldn't help but feel a pleasant shudder passing through her back - this was surprisingly enjoyable. She couldn't help but imagine how good he will prove to be with all other kind of kisses she planned for him to go through.

 

Ossia studied the garden carefully and with great focus. The plans there...their changed and twisted appearance was a result of powers that even her great magical skills would have hard time to replicate. Which she didn't found all that surprising really. Her prior visits to this realm had already pitted her against being with wast and strange capabilities. That said it never hurt to do your homework - di Nerezza made a mental note to revisit the garden in more quite hours.

 

Alicorn's transfixion  was broken when Blueblood spoke again. And while her outside appearance still wore the same enigmatic smile as she did through this entire meeting, inside she felt herself grow with excitement. She already knew about those 'heroes' and the connotations this word brought in this dimension. Ossia remembered some members of Hopesguard referring about themselves using it. It was this 'Academy' that was still mystery for her. This could be an invaluable opportunity to learn about it! But she had to play her cards carefully, otherwise Prince would become suspicious. Perhaps she could use that tinge of disdain she heard in his voice to her advantage?

 

"Ah yes we have few of those back from where I came from too. They don't amount to much when it comes to big picture however." she said. It wasn't a lie either, now that she though about it.

"....It seems you aren't an big enthusiast on the concept either. Do you wish me to lend an ear Your Highness?." Ossia added, and to her own surprise, she felt a twinge of sympathy towards the white stallion.

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Blueblood gave a mirthless chuckle at Ossia's comment on the unimportance of heroes.  "Lucky Itailia; but they're everywhere here.  It seems every week or some big incident happens with some hero or other swooping in to save the day."  He wouldn't have elaborated on the point, but the mare looked sympathetic, and did ask.  With a surprised and genuine smile, the Prince assented.

"It's not that I don't mind having a cadre of powerful ponies around to knock whatever property-destroying monster shows up into next week, it's just... they're so sanctimonious about it.  As if their power had anything to do with their virtue."  He snorted.  "And, of course, they never stop long enough to clean up the messes their fights cause.  Do you have any idea how much it costs to upkeep the cleaning crews in this city?  It would turn your mane grey.  But do the common ponies care?  Nope!  As long as they aren't actually within the blast radius, they're always willing to cheer the destructive explosions as long as it's one of their heroes doing it."

 

It was not an uncommon complaint from the upper class of Canterlot, at least, those without powers themselves.  Of course, in Blueblood's case, the complaints were somewhat hypocritical, given his own... "side activities," but that wasn't likely to come today.  No, he had much more pressing things on his mind, such as this lovely mare in front of him!  "But enough of my kvetching, do let me treat you to a light lunch, at least."

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"So that how You feel hmmm?" Ossia mused as Blueblood put into words his gripes with heroes. While she could somewhat sense that it was not the whole stroy, nothing that Prince said was untrue - so she chose not to pry further for now. "Well said. Although I have feeling you wouldn't find my mane silver Your Highness..." she added while flipping strands of her hair teasingly.

 

 

"I...well I have a different issue. I told you that from where I am from....'heroes' doesn't matter much did I? Well the fact is, even that what they do....makes no difference. As you said they leave a mess but never have enough class to clean after themselves. And for example...." Ossia waved her hoof towards the image of Sunlight Sentinel that was hanging from the skyscraper in the distance. "How long she was around. decades? Centuries? And yet nothing she did resulted into any lasting changes, doesn't it? Could use all this time on something more productive I assume" disguised alicorn stated.

"Never a permanent solutions, only a band-aids, quick fixes. And for what? To maintain those moral high ground of theirs? To make themselves feel good, superior? Ha!" Ossia didn't bothered to even hide her mocking anymore. "Hypocrisy. They may fight monsters as you pointed out Prince, but at least those are honest in their desires. And as time goes on you begin to wonder....does the monster inspired the hero, or the hero inspired the monster...?" she mused before pausing, giving Blueblood something to mull over.

 

"Oh...sorry, your right. It seems that I did some wherriting myself didn't I? Shall we?" she asked before presenting her hoof to Blueblood, allwoing the stallion to lead the way.

"Oh my, how considerate for you! Although I hope it's not the only meal we end up sharing." she said, to noblepony's proposition.

 

They didn't gone far however before ground shook with such force that even she felt herself sway on her legs. Gripping Blueblood firmly, she prevented him from falling over.

Just before them was....

"Oh splendid..." Ossia said, her word dripping with sarcasm. "One of those messes you mentioned in the making....." she commented upon seeing few ponies and non-ponies in the costumes clashing against mountain of muscle of the dragon....

 

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Ooh... Did Ossia know, when she pointed at the image of the Sunlight Sentinel, just what sore spot in the Prince's psyche she had put her hoof upon?  Two hours' research into his family history and relations vis-a-vis the solar alicorn might have revealed it to the curious and empathetic; Blueblood for his part didn't exactly advertise the fact.  But this mare... she had been so understanding and sympathetic... perhaps it wouldn't be too much to reveal a little bit more of himself on the way to the cafe.

"Oh, her?  The Academy's her biggest legacy, and that's certainly stood the test of time.  Year in, year out, she still plays the part of headmistress, barely time for anything else these days, family included."  The stallion gave a large sigh, lamenting lonely hours as a young colt, cooped up in a big house with stuffy servants... a bit of care on her part might have saved several ponies many headaches down the road in his misdevelopment.  "But you're right, no real permanent solution.  And this whole place does stand as a sort of challenge, doesn't it?  And we just let them come to us."

 

There was a valiant attempt to shake off the topic, a bit of chit-chat on likely little lunch destinations along restaurant row.  The Prince had a surprisingly broad palette, taking it as point of pride that he could acquire a taste for any cuisine.  "I'm a sailor by hobby, and I have to take what hospitality is on offer at every port.  I like to think it is me giving even the roughest or hottest dish a cooling, elegant touch by my patronage."  He chuckled, but such shallow talk as skated over the surface of conversation was broken like thin autumn ice over a pond when the ground began to shake.

 

"Oh dear, not again..."  He murmured out loud, grateful for the bracing hold of Ossia to keep him from an inelegant stumble.  While outwardly dismayed at the dragon, once it came into sight, the Prince was secretly calculating his opportunities.  Were he not escorting his date, this would be the ideal time for, hypothetically, a glamorous and flashy villainess to pull of a relic heist while all patrolling heroes were busy with beating off a dragon.  However, Blueblood was not alone, and he was loath to let go of this intriguing mare, even for the long-term purpose of increasing his power base.  Perhaps if some convenient distraction were to appear-

 

And lo, as though the dragon had heard his secret prayer, an arc of his breath fire arched above the sky, aiming to hit the cobbles right in front of them.  "Ossia!  Watch out!"  Giving her a shove towards the shelter of an alley, he rolled away as if struck into the smoke.  A quick dash into the alcove, a donning of the Glamour Garnet and the Aqua Marine later...

 

*Ka-BISH!*

 

A jet of water from the busted main under the street suddenly doused the flames, sending up a great shrouding cloud of steam, in which the silhouette of a captivating mare could be seen, with faint red and blue sparkles from the gems set around her neck.

 

"Fools!  Now that they are all distracted by the mere giant lizard, the Great Platinum Gem shall rob the Canterlot Museum from right under their very noses!"  A captivatingly beautiful voice of a femme fatale rang out from the mists, because of course villainesses would always loudly announce their plans right before doing them.  Narrative law of the Universe, certain and dependable as gravity.

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