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IceStorm

Retracing Old Hoofsteps. (ATTN: Alvida, PM to join)

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Raven led the way, her keen interest in books and her project only barely held her attention more than the mare beside her. She wasn't sure how it could be possible, for some-pony else to almost feel like an extension of yourself. If she ever got an audience with Princess Cadence, she would have to ask her. It didn't matter, however, It made Raven feel happy, that's all that was needed. As they neared the library, she gave Ice one more nuzzle, before trotting into the building. Once in, she went to the librarian to ask about geological surveys of the frozen north and a few other things, going into full research mode...

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On a bright and sunny day like this (as most days in the Empire tended to be, in fact), it was rare to see very many ponies populate the library.  You had the scholars and the bookwoorms, plus the little colts and fillies here to pick up a bright and colorful foal's book to take home and enjoy.  So too, would visitors sometimes approach to delve deeper into the Crystal Empire's history, bowing their head over the archives, perhaps with a librarian or two to assist them.  There were also those who came, not to receive information, but to donate it.  After all, the library did have 1,000 years of the outside world to catch up on!

 

Near the entrance, Ice and Raven would have seen a visitor-archivist pair of Crystal Pony and unicorn outsider.  One rather familiar unicorn, in fact; a rather fetching mare with alabaster coat and golden mane.  Currently she was wearing a pensive frown, reviewing a laminated bit of newsprint, though the potential threat of premature wrinkles were dispelled by the smile she showed the pair upon their entrance.  "Well, hello Icy!  Fancy meeting you here.  And who's this with you?  Oh, Lady Dupone?  What brings you to the Crystal Empire?"  Bluebelle tilted her head slightly in inquiry.

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The stroll to the library seemed to be endless, but at the same time, felt like it was over much too soon. The way they trotted and playfully bounced off of each other and nuzzled as they walked was probably either a sight that made others awe or gag around them, depending on how mushy the ponies that were watching them were. Of course, Ice didn't pay attention to the reactions, she was too fixated on the mare that was next to her. In fact, she didn't even realize that they had gotten to the library at all. She quickly followed Raven up the stairs and made her way inside.

 

When she stepped inside, she was greeted by a familiar face. It was Princess Bluebelle! She seemed to have been in thought over something at first but she seemed to pick up a bit when she spotted them. She approached and addressed Icy first asking who was with her before recognizing Raven herself. "Hey Bluebelle! I was up here visiting the memorial, and while I was up here, I got to know this wonderful mare more," she said to Bluebelle. "I suppose you were up here visiting Cadence? I had meant to pay her a visit before I left myself and make sure everything was recovering okay. I still remember that dreadful day quite vividly," she added. She had no doubt that Bluebelle would remember that day as well. She wasn't Bluebelle then, after all, but regardless of which ponysona she was at that time, something like that would stick with you.

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IRaven frowned slightly as she looked at the new mare. Somehow, she was recognized but this pony was not one she knew. When Ice spoke, everything clicked into place. "Ah, Bluebelle. We've not had the pleasure of meeting. I must say, I find something about a high noble who helps others out refreshing. I can honestly say, the pleasure is all mine." She answered as she held out a hoof. "I'm here to set up a way to research the crystals that naturally grow here. I think they might be used to counter damaged horns, such as my own. I bumped into Ice here, and it's like she said. Anyway, I figure there might be some charts and geological data, even if it may be slightly outdated." She giggled slightly at her joke...

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"As it happens..."  The Princess sighed, stepping out from behind the reading podium to get closer to the two mares.  "I was here to memorialize as well, though in writing rather than statuary."  Blue eyes flickered between Ice and Raven, triggering an upward quirk of Bluebelle's lips to break her somber visage.  "Seems to me you two have more grounds for visiting Cadence than I do right now."

 

She took Raven's hoof in a gentle shake, appraising the mare.  "Crystal research, eh?  Well, I suppose this is the right place.  And honestly, it's only fair to say that my major philanthropic efforts only came up recently.  I'm not sure... if I hadn't seen myself so much destruction and death, that I would have been quite so motivated to put something better in the world.  Though, I think it important to remember also, that close on the heels of the attacking caribou were the clans who came to assist with the rebuilding.  They aren't memorialized enough, if you ask my opinion; ponies seem much quicker to forget their healers than their harmers."

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The smirk on Bluebelle's face when she mentioned that herself and Raven had more grounds to visit cadence than she did made Ice both smile and blush. "Hehe, perhaps a bit. Kinda hard not to be happy though around an amazing mare like her," she giggled pushing some of the fun emotions onto Raven. Besides, Raven blushing was adorable. Bluebelle also addressed the research that Raven was wanting to do, adding that if she hadn't been here when the events happened... she may not have been as motivated to do something about it and put something better in the world. She also added that it was important to remember that right after the attack the other clans came in and helped with rebuilding. Ice nodded.

 

"Oh, I'm very aware of that. In fact, I have a pretty solid relationship with Sigrin, jarl of clan Askr. We aren't as close as we were when I was actively doing missions in Whitescar, but I'm well aware of their assistance in the recovery of the Empire. I would have done more myself to assist in the recovery myself if I hadn't used the uncelestial amount of magic that I did just to get us out of the spire before it collapsed. Even then, it was thanks to Java's airship that we made it out... if we had to try to scale the entire building to get out, we would have never made it, and there's no way I could have cushioned that much force. Even with what magic I used, I spent three days in the hospital and was unable to use magic at all for about a month," she added. It was all worth it though and she'd do it again in a heartbeat. Although know she probably could prevent the collapse of the spire entirely or at least make sure that no one was hurt. She wasn't a slouch in magic before, now... she was quite prolific with it. If she had this level of magic then, she could have shifted the fall, into an unpopulated area of the empire. No pony under their floor would have been hurt, and no pony was on the upper floors at that point. Still though, was was then was then.

 

When Raven mentioned her research, Ice nodded again. "Yeah, I was coming to help her. It was the least I could do for her for how good of a special pony she is," she giggled fully expecting Raven to have something to say in revenge, but still smiled. "I was also going to look for around the archives and see what properties were available. I figured I could help a bit up here but opening one of my parlors here. After all, everypony loves ice cream."

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Raven blushed, her mind going blank. It was a good thing too, seeing as it seemed Ice and Bluebelle were talking about the old spire. When Ice mentioned helping with her research, she nodded. "Yeah, I mean, it's so much easier for my Icy here to travel through the snow and ice so I figured she might know of some places that are better than others..." She said, smiling and nuzzling Ice as she did...

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There was a somewhat bittersweet smile on the Princess' face, as she heard Icy recount her deeds in the Spire.  "That's significantly more of a contribution than I made to either, at the time.  Like I said, it's what inspired IMAGINE.  But... while you and I both remember and keep close ties as we can with Whitescar, the fact that memories of cruelty rather than kindness are the ones we perpetuate reminders of troubles me.  Here, let me show you what I mean."  She levitated over the laminated bit of newsprint she had been reading.  It was cut out of the editorial page of the Canterlot Chronicle, from an anniversary memorial edition.  The author of this piece was Earth Writer, a reporter who had been on the ground when the invasion happened, and participated in the defense of the Heart.  Bluebelle's glowing magic highlighted a particular part of the article:

 



The Strong do what they can, the Weak suffer what they must.  It is a hard lesson that we have to learn, and shame on us if it takes more than the Red Jarl to teach us.  We received a bleak reminder that it is force, at the end, which decides the matters ultimately of life and death, war and peace.  But are we willing, as a herd, to take up that iron burden?  I look at our current leadership, and wonder.

 

Leaving the article with the blue mare, she turned to Raven, with hopes of speaking on more cheery topics.  "Well, I can't speak to the property markets; I've work enough on my hooves managing my estate as it stands without adding to it.  Did you hear about the exorcism I had to conduct on my summer home?  Boy, that was less than fun, I'll you what.  Not to mention the concurrent flood and fire.  Ah, the joys of homeownership, eh?"  The Princess wore the laughing expression one holds for troubles in the past which won't be returning.

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Ice furled her brow when she read the article that Bluebelle had given her. While he wasn't wrong, and there were things that needed to be done to help secure the peace that everypony knew, you couldn't just question the leadership. Actually, they could but not the princesses directly. It was often times that the higher ups took a wait and see approach to things. This was especially true with the EPIC agency. And the focal point behind the article was something that she was directing, but again, they couldn't be open about it either. The princesses needed plausible deniability. Princess Luna knew about STAR, but that was about it. When Bluebelle spoke of IMAGINE, Ice gave pause. "Perhaps there is a way that we can work together with that. After all, It seems like IMAGINE, and a little something that I've been forming would work well together. A public library is hardly place to discuss covert operations though." she said nodding to Raven.

 

"I hadn't heard about the exorcism on your summer home, but it sounds like it was quite a fright. Thankfully I've never had to deal with Fire or floods. I'm just waiting on the letter telling my that the casino in Las Pegasus is completed so I can go cut the ribbon. Then my real operations can begin and I can begin to change things. The article itself and the message behind it isn't wrong. As a heard, no. There are many that can't pick up the iron. Those who can would need to be trained or would just be fodder, and even then, there's a lot of things they would have to be able to do at once. It's up to the ponies like us that can make a difference to do so. Just like at the Faire, if something happens to the guards, it becomes the job of the populace to protect the princess. I'm a lot more potent now than I was then, and being a part of the Lunar Guard now, I have royal combat training. I can guarantee something like that won't happen again."

 

"Onto lighter topics though, as we digress. Finding any research that has already been done on the properties of the crystals here is most pertinent. The more information we can find out that is already known about how they can harness or focus magic, the better. Raven's not the only one in methods of repairing a horn. In fact, my second in command is one such mare that could benefit from that and she's already scary without her horn. I would love to see what her full power is. I also know a few locations where we can get a good sample size of crystals, but would require a small endeavor into the Frozen North. I know exactly where though, so we don't have a risk of getting lost in the tundra." she said pausing to get input from the other two.

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Raven smiled as Ice seemed to take charge. She'd never really been all that outgoing, first throwing herself into the training and regimen her mother had provided, followed by independent study after her accident. "Yeah, and I wouldn't be doing this if it was just me... I mean, I can still somewhat use magic, albeit in a weird, hard to explain way... Plus, while the focus is going to be on horns, I will emphasize that almost all avenues of research will be taken. Honestly, how many aspects of crystals and their magic are well known? I say it's high time to catalouge them!" She gave a light stomp of a hoof, the motion coming across as cute rather than angry. She gave Ice a nuzzle, before turning to speak to her directly. "Actually, if you don't mind, I was hoping for some kinda mine or something. A place with plentiful crystals..."

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It was cheering, at least, that Bluebelle had found a like-minded mare.  Icy was a new induction into the nobility, but more active than most who had held onto their titles for generations. And together with House Dupone as well... plans began brewing up in the Princess' mind.  Plans which, however, would have to wait until later.  "Be more than happy to discuss that with you.  Both of you, in fact.  Over tea, perhaps?"

 

Best to focus on the issues of here and now, research into crystals and magic.  "Well, I'm afraid I won't be much of a resource for that; House Platinum has birthed few scholars, and I didn't buck the trend.  Old tories and social butterflies, the lot of us, with a few capitalists thrown in."  She paused, tilting her head at Icy.  "Er, I don't think anypony's told you how the power of the Houses are informally classified?  It's helpful to keep things straight in the Canterlot social scene."

 

"Anyway..."  She turned back to Raven, offering a smile. "What I can help you with is in the organization of the thing.  Paperwork and the like; research and documentation takes secretaries as much as scholars, and I know where to find the best.  You can't have him, though, he works for me full time," The Princess giggled,  "But he has a long list of recommendations."

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"A lot of caves can actually turn into mines fairly easily. In fact, a lot of mines start out as a cave that somepony discovered something in, and by looking for more, well, a mine is formed. Finding a cave with a plentiful source of crystals would be more beneficial than finding an abandoned mine because while the mine has been worked, all it really is, is a cave that is self navigating. A cave that hasn't been touched yet, who knows what we could find in it, possible even new crystals that haven't been found," Ice said in response to Raven saying that she was hoping to find a mine. Ice knew where one of those were too, but a cave that had natural formations in them that hadn't been touched yet could give many more answers.

 

"As far as talking over tea, I think that would be lovely. I'm not sure of what places here would offer a private refuge in speaking about these things," she commented as Bluebelle started talking about some of the houses and how the power of the houses were usually kept classified. At least informally so. That it helped keep things straight in the Canterlot social scene. "They have not mentioned anything. Really though, I actually don't pay too much mind to the Canterlot Social Scene. Really I might go to a few events here or there, but between everything I have going on, both in and out of Canterlot, and in and out of Equestria for that matter, Going to social occurrences and listening to Upper Crust preach about how everypony else is beneath her or suck up to whatever pony she's made friends with that day," she replied and waited for Raven to speak on the information about the scholars and the secretaries that Bluebelle mentioned. That would be more of her thing because Ice was more of a front like action kind of mare. She didn't do well with book work even though she did have to do some of it for managing finances.

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"Oh... I suppose that makes more sense... I should of focused more on geology in my studies it seems..." Raven said as she listened to Ice's explanation about the cave and mine. When the talk turned to the nobles of Canterlot, she was prepared to zone out like she always did when dealing with their kind, but something stopped her. She wasn't sure if it was because she had started to realize she needed to put herself out there for her goals, which in a way made her no better than them, or because she technically was the head of a noble house now, but she felt she needed to know this too.

 

"I... I could offer the services of my home in Canterlot. It's really just me there, and I could use the lessons in the power of the nobility myself. I mean... I know House Dupone is noble, and not very high up, but that's about the extent of my knowledge..." She offered freely, if a little hesitantly. Bringing others into her home wasn't something she often did, and the friend of her and Ice's had been an exception, both due to her curiosity, and her need to help others. "Oh! And you needn't worry about me taking your secretary... I'll try to find my own, so at worst I may need to borrow him till then... Wow... I'm seriously underprepared for this... any of it." Raven's eyes opened wide with the sudden realization that maybe, studying her family history and magic almost exclusively was a bad idea. She didn't know where to begin looking to find good secretaries, of how to 'run' a noble house or research labs... Suddenly she was afraid, afraid of it all coming crashing down, and she started to draw in on herself, doing her best not to let Bluebelle see...

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Bluebelle laughed, just under the volume that would earn her angry glares from the Librarian.  2,000 years and 2,000 miles mad no difference to the ancient practices of that guild, the guardians of the books.  "Oh, I think your Manor's a little far to nip over to for afternoon tea, but I will take you up on that invitation sometime."  Her smile faded when she saw Raven begin to withdraw into herself.  There was something there that reminded her of a day some time ago, when a young colt, not quite done with schooling, was informed by a grim-faced servant that his title was now Prince Blueblood...

"I'll be happy to lend a hoof.  The truly noble need to stick together, you know?"  She said in a softer voice, suiting the gesture to the word. 

 

Turning to Ice, she gave a half-smile, half-smirk as she listened to the unicorn's complaints.  "The life of an aristocrat is full of service and sacrifice.  If we cannot remain patient in a boring conversation, how shall we react when greater trials come?  But I can sympathize as far as Upper Crust goes; I'll have to introduce you to a better circle than that.  Although, I think you know the Walkers already; have you met the Duchess of Fet Loch?"

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"Oh it's not the boring conversation that bothers me In fact, I would like to be able to interact with it more. It's just that most of the elites in the social circle of Canterlot try to spend more time one upping each other than actually trying to help things, and any circle you can introduce me tow would be leagues better than hers," Ice Storm spoke before turning to Raven. "I at some point would be delighted to see your home in Canterlot, and I would love for you to see mine as well! Mine's hard to miss though, considering it's also a part of my shop. It's also in Canterlot, so not an option for today's tea, but I'm sure we can fine something close by a bit later," she smiled noticing that she looked a bit down. This wouldn't do at all. she lifted up Raven's head with her own.

 

"The only thing that truly matters is the ambition. I myself started from absolutely nothing. Homeless in the streets of Canterlot to now a prolific business owner and member of the Lunar Guard. And besides, you're not completely unprepared. Plus you've got me and I'm willing to help anyway that I am able to," she smiled hugging her lightly before turning her attention once again to the Bluebelle. "Yes, I do believe I have! I, unfortunately can't remember her name because of everything else that was going on, but I believe I met her here during the faire before everything started going down hill. I knew that she was nobility and that she had definitely left me a better impression. Also, I don't know what family Golden Hoof Came from, but hopefully the rest of them aren't as destructive on families as he was. After all, he was the reason why I was homeless in Canterlot as a filly," she responded. Mild irritation could be detected in her voice from even mentioning Golden Hoof.

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Raven frowned even as Icy leaned into her, trying to cheer her up. It was a false frown, as she wasn't really upset. "I just thought that for a lesson, a more... comfortable and reserved atmosphere would be best. Any tea house would have other customers to disturb us..." She trailed off before smiling and nuzzling into Icy.

 

She blinked as the.converstation once more ran over her head, so she started scanning books she could see from where she was at. She wasn't sure what she needed, but figured general history and maps of the surrounding area would be a good start...

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Bluebelle chuckled, trying to reassure Raven with a light pat to the withers.  "I don't imagine I can fit it in all over one teatime, anyhow.  There's a lot to learn, if you want to get the most out of it, so I don't see why I couldn't pay each of you a visit once we're back in Canterlot.  We can just do a slight overview, nothing formal, just a general chat.  I'm sure you could take the opportunity to teach *me* a thing or two about magic!  Never studied it deeply myself."  

 

Taking back the laminated article, the Princess filed it back with a firm closing of the drawer, as if glad to be rid of a disturbing piece of evidence.  Having little else to do, she felt like sticking around the pair; friendly and familiar faces, and all that.  Not that the Empire wasn't warm and welcoming in every aspect, but... well, one can only last so long in a sea of strangers without scanning the horizon for a liferaft, as it were.  

 

Helping to pull out a few books, she ruminated on the name Icy had dropped.  "Golden Hoof, Golden.... ah, yes, I think I remember now.  I know the family, or rather, I know of them.  I... can tell you that there is a story behind why he did what he did.  Not an especially pleasant or satisfactory one, I will admit, but... if you want to know, I can tell you."

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Raven made a good point as she brought up that any place here would likely have customers and where there were customers, was the chance of somepony she didn't want overhearing such discussions could be present. The more ponies that knew about any of the secret agencies of Equestria the more that would put ponies in danger. Bluebelle also brought up that she didn't think that their discussions would only take up one tea time as it was. Ice nodded. It was likely that they wouldn't only be one meeting, but at the same time, the more times they met randomly, the more attention it would draw. Unless they turned the tea time into a regular weekly thing, or bi-weekly, whatever may have you. "I would be more than happy to teach you what I can about magic. A lot of my magic though, I bet you couldn't guess, is ice based. So naturally, I have to do things a tad bit differently, but the basics should be easy enough," she replied. "As far as lessons go, I would be inclined to agree. Any place there is less commotion and is more relaxed would be the better option. I simply prefer solitude for the meetings due to the highly classified materials that we would cover." Ice added.

 

Then she heard Bluebelle mention that she actually knew the story behind Golden Hoof. Why he did what he did and that it wasn't pleasant or satisfactory by any means. That she could tell her if she wanted to know. "As much as I want to know Blue, it's probably for the best that I don't. If I heard something like that, I can't make any guarantees I wouldn't hunt him down and rip him apart myself, and I've worked far too hard to get what I have now in spite of him. Besides, he might have succeeded in ripping apart my family, but I dare say that I'm the pony that ultimately won in the long run. I have ponies that care about me now, and have made my own name for myself. He can't take that away from me, and I dare him to show his face to me. I still own him at least one hoof to the face," she stated bluntly, the small orbs in her necklace illuminating a bit before she took a deep breath and calmed back down.

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Raven heard the venom in Ice's voice, and couldn't stop from rushing to her side, and giving her a reassuring nuzzle. When she was done, she softly spoke. "I've spent much of my life learning magic, though out of obvious reasons, I've had to... modify... the spells a bit..." She frowned in thought, her nose scrunching up cutely. "Well... I... I might have a solution... I mean, we might be able to borrow a room in the... in the spire... I've talked to Prince Shining about setting up the research station, I'm sure if I asked, and explained about needing lessons on how Canterlot's nobility worked so everything stayed in working order..." She was hesitant to mention the spire, the castle of the Crystal Empire, with her companions' experience with it.

 

Deciding that their conversation would be best continued sitting down, she threw a foreleg over Ice, and started leading the way over to where some pillows had been laid near a table. She floated a few of the books, her magic sputtering as it usually did. She gently set the books down, and laid down, patting the the pillow next to her. "So... So where do you think would make a good place, Icy...?"

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Bluebelle was slightly taken aback by the Venom in Icy's voice, though on reflection she really shouldn't have been.  As much as Icy reassured her that she had gotten over the hurt, for the most part, the wounds and rifts had not fully closed yet between her and the ponies Golden Hoof separated her from.  Nonetheless, the Princess continued, in a lower voice.  "You'd have to dig up his grave if you wanted to do that; he passed away a few years ago.  Coroner said it was natural causes, but..."  The alabaster mare sighed.  "He was a serial family-breaker.  It all started after he discovered he was infertile; triggered a divorce that went thoroughly nasty.  Press, lawyers, suits and counter-suits, the works.  He was made a pariah, and pretty much denied the possibility of ever having a family himself.  Turned him bitter, and he used what money he had left to deprive other ponies of what he couldn't have himself.  Died penniless, and nopony asked too many questions as to how."  

 

Having finished her story, she followed, still not really sure why she had said it.  The explanation was important, she was sure, perhaps to show the common equinity in even the most vile of characters.  It was important to her as a diplomat that other ponies understand that, though whether Icy would bother to take that to heart, or even if she could be fairly expected to...

Settling down on the pillow, she idly leafed through some of the books the other two weren't reading.  "We could rotate who hosts; nopony really questions Canterlot mares taking tea with their friends in any case."  She looked up.  "I do like to think of you as friends, at any rate."

 

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"A room in the spire might be a good.... actually no... If there was a way to do it without having to ask Princess Cadence or Shining armor about reserving it, that would be okay. However, I would rather that another princess, and the Captain of the guard have even a suspicion that something might be amiss in Equestria. That... an unseen force will be taking shape, and will be the ultimately be the unwavering defense of everything we hold dear. I think that all of us here understand that the best defense is a good offense. That's as much as I can say in an open area though, and even that could be a bit much," Ice Storm started. "Though playing it off as Nobility lessons would be a good cover up. If either of you think that you can get us a private room without a bunch of questions or an audiance with either of them, then I would say go for it," she continued as she watched Raven pat next to her, and she quickly joined her laying next to her.

 

Everything froze though as she heard Bluebelle mentioned the reason that Golden Hoof had done what he did. Every word that Bluebelle spoke filled her with rage. AS much as she tried to surpress it, the knowledge that everything he had done was not only done intentionally, but done to multiple families. To hear that he had passed... it didn't help to much, but as it was, death is the ultimate atonement... He couldn't be responsible for anything anymore.... but he could also no longer be held accountable for the crimes he had committed against Equestria and her ponies. "At least he was able to atone for his crimes, weather by natural causes or somepony took matters into their own hooves. As you said, he made a lot of enemies, and there were many ponies a lot more powerful than me between now and when I was a filly. At the very least... it's closure on the hardest part of my life. My only regret was that I wasn't able to see his face as he passed," she sighed as she began to clam down once more. "I think Rotating would also be a good idea for any of the meetings that would take place at beyond this first one. However, to keep ponies from trying to track it, we should make sure the rotation never stays the same, but one place wouldn't be visited more often than another. Ponies tend to be quite curious."

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Raven knew not what to say, so she kept silent as Icy spoke. It worried her, and some of that showed on her face. She finally gathered the courage to speak, though it was in a quieter voice than they had been speaking in. "I... I mean... I'm not sure... I mean, I know that Prince Shining knows of my project, and I'm fairly sure I could borrow a room to consult with some advisors... might... might be good... good cover for our tea times... bonding over shared experiences... I mean... that's what friends do, right?"

 

She dipped her head down, keeping her eyes on the atlas in front of her. She knew Icy was talking about their clandestine activities, and it was clear she wanted no ponies who didn't know to be in the know, but Raven wasn't used to this kind of behavior, to sneaking around. Even when she had her parents, and they were teaching her to be in the REA, she was taught to keep her head high, and face things head on. It was part of the reason she didn't like, or know, many nobles in Canterlot. They all said one thing, meant another, and did a third... It made her head swim at times. Why couldn't things be like the journals of her ancestors, where it was either peaceful, or a clear threat to face...?

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As Icy began to elaborate the... classified nature of what might come under discussion, Bluebelle cast her eyes from side to side to watch for any eavesdroppers.  This was, after all, a public library, and voices carried far in a place like this.  "Well, an advantage to being royalty is that no one asks questions about why you're in a palace.  Like Raven said, between nobility lessons, friendship, and IMAGINE business we won't lack for any reasons to meet if anypony asks.  One piece of advice, though; the less we act as if we have anything to hide, the less others will try to find us out.  Though, if worst comes to worst, I could always kiss one of you in public.  That will throw 'em off the trail, for sure!"  She giggled, more comfortable with the duplicity involved.  Having been born and bred into the modern form of aristocracy, Blueblood had internalized its quirks, even as he felt superior to them.  Recent changes did not press upon Blue any need to drop them from his/her toolbox.

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"Of course it's what friends do! Sometimes they do even more than that once they get closer to each other too," Ice Storm said with a wink to her marefriend. Any chance that she had of making Raven either blush or smile she was going to take. Plus she wanted to get the conversation to something that would be better suited for a public library as well as one that Raven could participate in. It seemed that she was having a small issue with the topic on hoof, and she really couldn't say that she blamed her. She never liked being tongue and cheek. She'd rather say what she had to say and get it over with. It was one of the reasons that Her and Tempest worked well together. They were both like that, and it lead to efficient tactics and understandings.

 

Then Blue mentioned about the advantage of herself already being royalty, and that no pony generally asked questions about why she turned up somewhere. She also confirmed taht between the lessons, IMAGINE, and friendship, they wouldn't have a lack of reasoning for any of their meetings that should take place in the future. She couldn't help but blush a bit when she heard her mentioned about kissing one of them to keep up the image. That it would definitely throw anypony off the trail. Ice smirked once more and took this opportunity to do just that. Without missing a beat, she turned her head and planted a kiss directly on Raven's lips, and then giggled. "You mean like that?" she blurted playfully.

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Raven smiled warmly at Icy, unable to keep worrying with her Marefriend giving her a kiss and teasing her. "I don't know Icy, I don't think that was convincing enough..." She said with a giggle, before boldly capturing Icy's chin in her hoof, and giving her a kiss, the kind that would grace the covers of the romance section. It sent a familiar electric tingling running through her, and up into her horn, so she broke the kiss off. This left the energy crackling around her horn, slowly bleeding off.

 

While this wasn't a common problem for her, she didn't think it would be a bright idea to use any magic till the charge was gone. So, she sat there, turning pages idly by hoof, a silly grin on her face. Finally, the charge dissipated, and Raven's goofy smile returned to one that was more normal with a shake of her head. "I'm not sure I'll get used to that, so hopefully that stops happening, or at least, I learn to control it a bit better..." She said with a slight groan, the soft, but warm, smile returning...

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