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PrinceBlueblood

Wolf in Pony's Clothing? (Pressy)

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The North Market of Canterlot was an ancient holdover of a time before the elites of the city had fully appropriated the haute couture of Prance.  Before the streets were lined with boutiques and cafes, the commerce of Equestria's capital had primarily taken place in places like this, a covered bazaar where stalls could be set up, rain or shine, for the ponies to conduct the trade that was the lifeblood of civic existence.  Such activity had long since migrated outward and away from the great markets, the old edifices of brick and stone eventually being sold off for hotels or taxi hubs.

 

The North Market, or the building that had once housed it, had recently come back under to crown's control, after a defunct hotelier had defaulted on his taxes.  Blueblood, on hearing of this, made the suggestion of restoring the market's original function.  It would fill a gap in the urban planning; serving as a venue for entrepreneurial merchants who were facing a huge real estate price barrier to setting up shop in Canterlot.  It would be a vibrant fusion of the glorious past and exciting future... with the enormous crest of House Platinum on the front doors.  Couldn't let posterity be ignorant of who had salvaged their inheritance, now, could he?

 

And now was the grand opening.  The ceremony had been relatively short, with most ponies wanting to get in and take a look.  The floor hadn't been filled out fully, with most of the space being taken up by food vendors.  Some very good food vendors, in fact; the wafting aromas of deliciousness had factored in quite heavily to the decision to shorten the ceremony.  And now ponies, mostly non-aristocratic ponies, were browsing wares and munching treats that they could actually afford, in an environment where the cheapness did not imply vulgarity.

 

The Prince honestly felt it as one of his triumphs, as he strolled like a potentate through the indoor bazaar.  Here and there, one could spot a high-class visitor, the curious or historically minded.  And maybe a few foreigners as well...

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It was nice to finally get a chance to leave the mountain range he called home. Lovely and mystical as it was: It was mostly barren save for the wildlife and Taira's family... thankfully they agreed to keep the place safe until he returned. For once Taira had a vacation, and he hoped to make the most of it while he could. He'd heard stories about the lands of Equestria. Tales of epic battles, the unification of estranged tribes, and the rise of divine princesses. The history of this place alone was incredibly fascinating. 

 

When he'd first arrived in Canterlot he'd noticed it even had the scent of magic in the air.  A Yokai of his age and type had a certain skill for sensing magic in the same way a normal pony might smell a good meal or a heady perfume. Most of the magic seemed to radiate from some fancy looking building off in the distance: Must be that school for gifted unicorns he'd heard so much about. The second newest princess had gone there if what he read on the brochure for Ponyville was right. That could be a fun place to stop by later on, It'd been ages since he'd gotten to see Unicorn magic used with skill rather than magitech assisted in some fashion.

 

Taira couldn't help but notice the looks he was getting as he moved along down the street. Were foreign visitors really so weird that they warranted a stare from every other passerby?

 

A sign caught his attention, "North Market... Hm." He rubbed his hoof to his chin in thought... he was a bit hungry and a market sounded like a good place to find something to eat. It smelled very nice in that direction too. In the end, it was like his father told him: When in doubt, follow your nose. This had proven a hit or miss strategy for a nose as temperamental as Taira's but seven out of ten times it ended in a mostly positive experience.

 

The first stall he came to was a simple looking kiosk, selling some sort of confections... oh was that peanut butter? perfect! The Kirin approached the stall and rummaged through his bag to place a few bits on the counter, "One small bag of um... these if you would." He pointed to a small line of peanut butter cookies and the vendor after staring at him again for a second would slip them into a bag. "Arigatou Gozaimasu!" He said before taking the bag in his maw and moving about to the next stall... only to freeze in place. 

 

There was something in the air. Something very old... something he'd not caught a whiff of in ages. "Is that...?" The foreigner's ears perked and he tilted his head back, "It couldn't be... a curse?" He muttered under his breath before he began to sniff rapidly about. The strapping stallion nimbly slipping his way through the crowds as he sniffed about. Realizing the bag of treats was affecting the tracking he placed them in his saddlebag and resumed the sniffing. Some instincts kicked in and had him following his nose and ignoring his other senses until he came up to the pale coated prince and his snout bumped right against his cheek. Before he though to pull away he took one last whiff and blinked realizing that ... this was definitely the one the cursed scent was coming from and that he'd made a bit of a social faux pas. 

He would step back and laugh nervously, "Oh! Sorry, Stranger um... It's just um. That's quite the intoxicating fragrance you've got on. What um kind of cologne is that?" he asked, trying to cover his tracks.

 

 

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Some crowd contact was, of course, to be expected.  This wasn't like a society soiree, or the Grand Galloping Gala, where refined ponies paid excessive attention to all manner of arbitrary etiquette, including regards for personal space.  This being a more common and ordinary market crowd, Blueblood would either have to surround himself with his honor guard, which would send a most unfortunate message regarding his feelings towards the citizenry, or else simply take some degree of care himself to not get into anypony else's way.

 

So far, the Prince had been successful in avoiding anything more than inadvertent brushes as he inspected the stalls and chatted idly with various members of the crowd.  However, one moment of abstraction, one distracting thought about what he might purchase himself for lunch, and that perfect record was shattered.  Quite abruptly, too, in the form of a side-swiping snoot-bump from a strapping stallion.  "Excuse you!"  Blueblood whinnied, instinctively jumping a bit, before his wits and manners recovered.  Unexpected touches always made him spook a bit.

 

Once that rush was over, however, he cleared his throat and sought to restore his social, charming persona.  "Oh, nothing much.  Just a touch of aftertrim, I think it brings out my natural aroma after brushing my coat."  That, incidentally, was something close to vanilla mint.  Ponies often had scents like that related to their coat colors; some wags of other species sometimes referred to them as 'flavored.'  In any case, Blue's natural vanity prevented from seeing anything unusual in his own faint scent, currently almost drowned by the terriyaki mushrooms being cooked in the stall not five feet away, could charm a random stranger.

Stepping back a bit, the Prince was able to appraise his newfound acquaintance.  Of foreign appearance, to be sure; he looked to be a kirin of a more than usually shaggy sort, well-built.  Possibly of high status, he carried himself with a more than usual degree of surety.  Blueblood decided that he rather liked the look of him, and in any case, it was politic to ensure that any visitor to Equestria had a good time.  "I see that you have origins far from our fair city.  Have you been in Equestria long?"

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Thank goodness, Taira was still able to cover his plot out among normal ponies after all this time. It'd been so long since he'd last gotten nervous in the presence of so many ponies. Being able to mask it was a practically a blessing now. Calming certain quirks of his true nature still were difficult as his tail was wagging about, accidentally bumping some passersby before he calmed himself. 

"Hmmm..." He pondered vocally before sniffing once more at the air, "Vanilla... and... mint I think? Certainly a sweet fragrance." He was quite thankful that this stallion went so light on it. Some of the ponies he'd passed here wore perfumes and colognes so thick he had to fight the urge to gag.  While Taira wore no artificial fragrances of his own he always carried a pleasant scent with him. He thought of it merely as the smell of home but to others they would describe it as something akin to fresh mountain mists and morning woodlands. It wasn't overpowering but noticeable to many a pony and seemed to invoke a feeling of calm.

 

At the stallion's question Taira would smile warmly, "I've only been here a few days so far. It's a very fascinating land... I have to admit I'd put off stopping by for a while." He would take a moment to rub at his muzzle: something of a nervous quirk for him. "I didn't want to wind up stopping here on a day when another big event might start up. All the things we here of back in Neighpon sound equal parts worrying and exciting."

 

He let his own eyes roam the stallion's figure, noticing the small details that were on him. The scent of a curse still laid fairly thick on him but it seemed oddly diluted or weakened in some way. From the way he spoke and the lack of wear on his hooves it was certain that he was fairly wealthy, some signs in nobility never change even across countries. Upon closer inspection though he did notice a myriad of scents from the stallion, from all over, this one definitely got around... it was always nice to meet someone from the upper crust who actually seemed to make use of their wealth in someway.

 

"Oh! Where are my manners? I'm Taira. It's a pleasure to meet you, Mister...?"

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Blueblood had not the nose of a wolf, and so found himself unable to consciously perceive the scent of the wolf.  Nonetheless, Taira certainly wasn't odiously odorous, which counted for a lot in the Prince's book.  In any case, the unicorn soon found himself feeling relatively at ease among the newcomer, who had already been classified in Bluey's mind as his 'guest.'  This pleasing impression increased at his own scent being identified and complimented.  Receiving the praise unblushingly, he replied, "Why, thank you.  And you shouldn't need to worry too much about unexpected excitement; those events are concentrated mostly around Ponyville, and about half of those come from its proximity to the Everfree Forest.  And really, it's only to be expected that you'd receive an exaggerated impression; after all, who crosses the ocean to talk about their ordinary, boring days?"  He chuckled.

 

On the kirin's introduction, Blueblood bowed.  "And I am Prince Blueblood of House Platinum.  I don't know if you've heard of me; as of yet I have not paid any official visits to your country.  Or unofficial, for that matter.  It's a bit far for a casual yachting trip."  Giving his guest another look-over, he commented.  "You look as if you'd be more at home in the mountains than on the shore, in any case.  It's the shag, I think.  Good look on you, but saltwater mists can be murder on a vibrant coat."

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That explanation earned a small sigh of relief from the stallion, "Well that's a relief. That Everfree forest just reeks of trouble... Can smell it from here." The scruffy looking Kirin's brow arched upon Blueblood's introduction. He managed to successfully obscure that fact by bowing in turn, "A prince? I haven't gotten to talk to any noble blood ponies in a ... well a very long time." IN fact the last time he could recall was when the whole neighponese royal family was first getting started. Had it really been that long ago? Time certainly can fly. 

 

Snapping his mind back to the task at hoof, "Good to meet you, Prince Blueblood. You'll have to forgive this shaggy w--stallion. I've lived most of my life in exactly the place you guessed: the mountains! My family lived up there for a very long time... I suppose to a certain degree we could be called hicks." The stallion gave a  good natured chuckle before turning in place and looking himself over, "And believe it or not I have a spell to keep the mists effects on a coat minimal... I give tours to the mountains and I learned that more than a few ponies want their coats looking nice for commemorative photos and the like." 

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"That's... quite a nose you've got there."  Blueblood remarked, beginning to wonder about his guest.  He'd met ponies with extraordinary talents before, but what he could see of Taira's cutie mark after a quick crane of his neck to get a look didn't lead him to think the kirin stallion a born bloodhound.  What gave?  "Mine is rather being overwhelmed at the moment-"  The Prince's stomach interrupted with a reminder that it was hungry, and that a mere cup of coffee did not a breakfast make, "-by the rather delicious smells."  He concluded as smoothly as he could.  "If you'll pardon me for a moment?  I'll just avail myself of the vendor's wares, and we can find somewhere out of the walkways to talk."

 

The neighponese Taira might have a few comments about whether or not the sauce-slathered soy stick wrapped in rice and seaweed was a genuine representation of his country's cuisine, but it was quickly served and tasty enough for the equivalent of street food.  Tables had been set up in the emptier quarters of the Market, where ponies could get off their hooves and enjoy their lunch at a more leisurely pace.  Blueblood led Taira to one, taking a quick and dainty bite from his wrap.  "Hm, interesting.  I think it works better with fresh fish and lighter sauces.  I've gotten rather more used to eating seafood on my travels, though you'll be hard pressed to find any in Canterlot, or Equestria for that matter."

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The  kirin would scrunch and wiggle his muzzle a moment at the prince's compliment, "You've quite a way to flatter a stallion, Sir." Taira could certainly empathize with the white stallion's remarks on being overwhelmed though. Seemed as though a bunch of chefs and vendors were really starting to get into showing off their goods. A low growl from down below made the kirin's ears perk... realizing that it came from his friend's stomach he would grin. "Don't mind me at all! I well understand how hard it can be to ignore a good scent on an empty stomach."

 

To say Taira was confused by the food that was being sold. It had many of the same ingredients as a lot of his homeland's cuisine, but... everything was just off. Things were added, more things were fried, at least they kept the meat in some of the recipes. Might have helped that the stall they stopped by was run by a griffin, "I've heard many things that come to Equestria end up changing... I didn't know food was one of them. " He would reflexively sniff at the roll before realizing the dirty look he was given by the vendor, one embarrassed smile and apology late her would bite in and his eyes would widen. It was delicious! 

 

Blueblood hadn't even gotten through his second observation before he'd see his guest's role had disappeared, a pleased smile upon the scruffy stallion's face. "I'll have to stop by this place again to try them with some of those sauces you mentioned... The food here is quite fascinating!"

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"All things change by travel."  Blueblood mused philosophically, after another bite from his roll.  "I've changed quite a bit from my visits to various places across the world.  For the better, I hope."  He ventured a smile at his guest.  "I don't know how far my reputation has spread, or what you've heard of me.  The more recent the news, I think, the better an impression you'd have.  I was quite an insufferable snob in my early days- euch, hold on..."  A bit of sauce had dripped down, staining his immaculate coat.  With an intensive application of golden magic, he extirpated the offending liquid.  "That's the trouble with street food; very messy."  It wouldn't be hard for Taira to imagine an exaggerated version of this disgust sensitivity coming off as quite a horrible attitude to anypony seen as less 'clean'; fortunately, travel and enforced hardship had beaten most of that out of the Prince.

 

Taking a few more bites to keep the dripping to a minimum, he shook his head.  "Now, where was I?  Oh, yes, recent news.  Or, perhaps, recent gossip.  Heard anything of either?"

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"All too true, Friend! I hope to go through a few changes in these travels myself... hopefully none to my looks though." The stallion would give a hearty chuckle as he relaxed on his seat, "It's been ages since I'd had a chance to just see how much the world has changed and all the strange ways ponies can live their lives." That was perhaps not the best phrasing but Taira was comfortable enough around Blueblood that he didn't feel as much need to watch his words. 

 

Gossip and recent news were really all that Taira could focus on upon his descent from the mountain. A certain friend of his had already filled him in on the broad strokes of history but seeing it's effects in person was so fascinating! Rediscovered kingdoms, resurrected spirits, trickster gods reforming, there was just so much to see! It took a couple seconds before he could really come up with a good response, "Well I've heard recently that that Discord fellow has found love in odd places... that a new school was opened up in Ponyville about friendship. It's curious what needs to be taught nowadays." 

That curious magical scent coming off Blueblood caught Taira's attention again...

"I've also heard that curses have been going around the upper crust of Canterlot. I've seen curses in action a long time ago but I thought they'd fallen into Obscurity... or maybe Equestrian curses are different."

 

 

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Taira's remarks about his appearance prompted Blueblood to take a second, closer look himself.  The kirin stallion was an altogether impressive specimen; the Prince himself already stood taller than most average ponies, but his guest had him beat in height.  Frame well filled out in muscle, though softened in outline with his shaggy, or perhaps fluffy, coat.  A long, elegant tail, impressive horn length... no wings, but then, nopony was perfect.

 

Though Blue liked to think he came close.

 

"Indeed, and I should hardly wish you to change either, if I may say so."  He finished his roll as he said so, more at peace now with the sharp pangs of hunger dealt with.  Like most ponies in his class, conversation over meals was almost entirely gossip.  Blueblood had once been in the thick of it, and indeed until recently had 'enjoyed' a resurgence in circulation, though there was little in the way of new news about him, at least anything juicy.  Not since his 'condition' had first been publicly brought to light, anyway.

 

"Ah, yes.  Interesting fellow, Discord.  I'm honestly surprised that he has romantic interests; the only other pony I know who's that old doesn't.  At least, not that I've ever been made aware.  Still, if it was anypony, it would either be Fluttershy or Auntie Luna, I suppose.  As for remedial education in Friendship, as one who had to take a few lessons himself, I'm not one to talk."  Not exactly formal schooling, but he had needed to directly approach the Princess of Friendship for help with a problem.  Help that was, as always, freely given, though later events would demonstrate the risks of relying upon one Twilight Sparkle for assistance...

 

"Curses?  Hm..."  Blueblood sipped his water, trying to think.  Was there any other noble pony that Taira could be talking about?  No, probably not.  None so prominent that word would cross the ocean about them, surely!  "In a way.  I don't consider it much of a 'curse' these days.  It really only counts as a permanent magical effect bound to me."  He didn't specify at first, because, of course his guest would have heard about it already.  Who didn't?

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The stallion's ears perked up slightly at blueblood's remark on change, specifically the prospect of change in Taira. If only the prince knew just how much change this kirin could go through in the span of a few seconds. A pleased and somewhat knowing smile spread over the foreigner's lips, "Well It's always nice to hear your own looks haven't gone out of style just yet." With a hint of vanity showing her would smooth out his mane momentarily.

 

"I don't think it's so odd for him,  I like to think that the old tend to seek out companionship every now and then... especially the eccentric ones. Who could be more eccentric than the spirit of chaos, hm?" The stallion stretched out a bit on the bench he and blueblood sat upon, "How does one apply to this school... do they have any at home courses? I've been living on a mountain most of my life and have family back home, so I have to admit that I could probably use a bit educating myself.I have to wonder if I'm too old to go now."  A slightly nervous chuckle escaped him before he looked back to his friend, "See? I'm starting to talk in paragraphs and muse too much now." 

 

Oh... and admission... and acceptance of a curse? How times had changed. Taira would grin at the stallion, "You've got such an effect on you? I'd had a sneaking suspicion..." He itched his nose habitually before relaxing once again. "If I'm not prying too much ... um what is the effect?"

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"The classics never do."  There was a certain amount of smugness in the Prince as he imitated Taira's gesture with his own mane, but any unbiased observer would have to admit that it was a justified bit of smugness.  All the work Blueblood did on himself was only maintenance of natural good looks, as opposed to making up for natural defects, as some unfortunates among the upper class spent their lives and fortunes doing.

 

He could only shrug, though, when asked about enrollment.  "You'll have to ask Twilight herself, or write to her school.  Her staff, though small, is excellent.  I think you can judge the powerful by their underlings' competency and respect of their boss.  If both are high, you've got a solid head at the top."  It spoke well of Twilight that she had both, and even of Bluey himself, though that was a more recent development.  Coincident, almost, with another recent development...

 

"Oh, you hadn't heard?  It was the talk of the city when word first got out.  A little embarrassing, honestly, but ponies were surprisingly quick to accept it."  It was either very flattering, or very unflattering, considering the nature of the transformation, but that still left his gust uninformed.  "I suppose the easiest way would be to show you... Let me just see where the drinks are served..."  A quick look and a quick jaunt was enough to find a small little kiosk selling coffee and tea, where Blueblood bought one of each.  Returning to the table, he placed both down, before taking up the tea and taking a sip.

 

The effect was immediately apparent, and the proximity of the magic may well have caused the wolf yokai to sneeze.  Right in front of Taira's eyes, the strapping stallion transformed into a beautiful mare, retaining the same coloration, but shrinking slightly in stature, her figure now framed by feminine curves rather than masculine musculature.  Tossing her mane back, Bluebelle batted her eyes at the kirin stallion.  "Well, what do you think?  Ever heard of anything like this?"

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Taira pondered quietly as he tried to imagine the school, only to be snapped out of it when his friend spoke of a demonstration of this curse. He had to admit that the idea was tempting.  Had curses changed so long since he'd last seen one used, did the curses of Yokai function differently than those of ancient ponies? So many possibilities could pop up in this very moment! The kirin tilted his head slightly as Blueblood stood himself back up and moved to approach a cozy looking stand with an old mare selling tea: He'd had to remember to visit her a bit later.

 

When Blueblood returned with his cup the stallion sniffed softly, "Hmm... chamomile?" he asked just as his friend took a sip. He was going to ask how it was but suddenly he experienced the drastic shift in magical energy that reshaped Blueblood's body. It was definitely a marvelous sight, although to a being like Taira it also came with a truly overwhelming magical scent. The best way he might describe would be like if a waiter came to your table with twenty spicy dishes that carried their aroma with them.  Being so close to Bluebelle at the moment of transformation made him feel like an entire spice rack went up his nose!

 

The kirin's muzzle began to twitch and tremble, scrunching and wiggling this way and that as he felt the tenuous control of his nose begin to waver.  Swiftly he brought a hoof to his muzzle and rubbed harshly at the angry organ.  He desperately wish to respond to the admittedly pretty mare in front of him but all he could manage at the moment was, "I a--ack... ahh! Actually ha-have! But it's behh... hehh!" Each word was seemingly being pushed aside by his body's natural reflex. The Stallion took a deep breath through his nose to quell the itch... it didn't work but it bought him enough time to get out a rapid fire sentence!

"W-wouldyouexcusemejustamoment?" Regardless of the answer the stallion would rush over to nearby alleyway and let loose an explosive sounding sternutation.

"HRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH-CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" A strong wind of magical mist seemed to erupt from the alley's entrance, a soothing cloud rolling out into the streets and then dissipating before the kirin stepped back out, his fetlock still scrubbing at his muzzle before he would let out a blissful sigh. He approached his friend again looking rather relieved , but still sniffling ever so softly between sentences as he got used to this magical presence. 

"Um Sorry about that... but yes, I actually have seem a spell like this before... although I have to admit the last pony I saw go through it didn't look a quarter as lovely." Even with his nose itching it seemed that the strange foreigner wasn't about to let this dampen his mood.


 

 

...

Edited by Pretzelparty

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Bluebelle couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at the force and show of Taira's sneeze.  Twilight told her once that dragon sneezes were firey, so did the draconic heritage of the kirin pass something like that down as well?  Would it be rude to ask?  "Gesundheit.  Are you... quite alright?  Allergic to something in the air?"  It wasn't unheard of; a certain caribou chieftain famously had similar reactions to flowers of all sort, them not being a normal feature of her homeland.  The same might hold true of the mountains as well.

 

Hearing that her guest had seen a somewhat less lovely version of the spell did please the Princess to hear, and she smoothed down her coat reflexively, bending her head down to look at him through her lashes.  Mm, he looked even more handsome through a mare's eyes!  A feature of the switch, though Blue had also found that the impression could linger even after switching back.  Interesting.  "Well, I'm willing to bet that other fellow didn't have nearly so attractive a base to be transformed from.  Beauty is conserved by the magic, at least in my own experience."

 

And then, not quite having comprehended yet what was the cause of Taira's sneezes, she continued with the demonstration.  "And, of course, switching back requires that I simply drink coffee.  Like so..."  And with a single sip, and shake of her body, the handsome stallion once again occupied the seat.  "Voila!"  Blueblood beamed.

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The stallion blushed  a bit at the question, "Something like that." The answer was actually yes. Even though Taira was a strong and well built as a pony or as a yokai, he'd been cursed/blessed with a nose as sensitive as it was sharp. He was an older wolf and that came with it's vulnerabilities as well as it's boons. He wiggled and sniffed sharply to make sure there was no lingering itches that could lead to problems later. Just thinking about how strong that last one had been he could feel his shape reverting as the sneeze roared out of him, "I'm something of a home schooled breath mage... I don't even make much flame! Just mist."  

 

A smile came to the stallion as he noticed Bluebelle appraising him. He at least recognized she admired his appearance despite his sniffling, in the past he'd known many a noble who'd turn their nose up at the closest commoner who showed any symptoms of illness. His own eyes looked over the prince(ss) and he certainly noticed the change of curves and filling out of different places. When he told her she was lovely he wasn't joking at all and whats more he'd found the original look equally lovely just in slightly different ways. It didn't hurt that he could scent even through the curse and the cologne the prince wore that he gave off a rather sweet pleasant scent.  His hoof rubbed at his chin for a moment, "He most certainly didn't... it helps that you've managed to hone your natural beauty and clearly worked to maintain it."  He decided not to mention the scent aspect as... well he'd learned long ago that most normal equine didn't comment on eachother's scent just after meeting unless if was offensive or truly notable.

 

Spending this time with this curious prince was proving more enjoyable than he'd thought it would, some passerby might have even noticed the Kirin's tail wagging about. This air of Reverie was thick enough that he barely thought of any objection when his friend spoke up about switching back. If he'd acted quick enough he might have been able to say 'he got the gist' or something similar but his friend was too quick on the sip. 

 

Taira's nose was again assaulted by the oddly spicy scent of the curse.  Blue might have gotten to see the kirin's muzzle scrunch up and wrinkle, his nostrils flare and tremble, then his jaws part as he took in a deep gasp of breath! The Kirin's muscles tensed across his form, inadvertently giving the prince a view of his musculature while his chest puffed up. The deep itch up his snout made the stallion's eyes water, a tear sliding it's way down his cheek. 

"Haaaaaah! Ah-heh!' The stallion's head tilted back until his nose pointed skyward and then with a bob of his head he roared out another powerful sounding, "HWAAAAAAh-TSHOOOOOOOOOOO!" Luckily for the prince, her friend turned way just soon enough to avoid catching him in the immediate crossfire that may offend. The sneeze however did make the kirin produce a great cloud of mist around himself that shrouded his body from view.  All that was visible in the slowly dissipating wall of mist was what appeared to be  a warped silhouette of the foreigner... although this one seemed be shaped bigger... and the tail had more girth to it. 

Inside the cloud Taira was rubbing roughly at his still itching nose, before realizing somethign was off. His hoof was moist.... and wait it wasn't a hoof! His canine nose had returned as well as his paws! Before the cloud completely dispersed, Taira gathered his thoughts and reshaped himself back into his Kirin form. When he finally stepped out he laughed slightly awkwardly, "Um... Scuse me. Are you alright?" The mist that spread over the area wasn't in anyway harmful... it actually had a soothing quality to it , even it was a bit out of place in Canterlot.

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Finding himself transfixed by the sight of expanded musculature on the stallion across from him, Taira's second sneeze caught Blueblood off-guard, causing him to jump to his hooves and shy a bit.  A few deep breaths were enough to steady his nerves back down, though; the soothing mist had quite a lot to do with that.  He blinked, taking in deep lungfuls of the mountain-scented air.  "That's... impressive magic.  Does it include illusions?"  The Prince tilted his head, peering into the dissipating clouds.  He could have sworn he saw... never mind.

 

"Oh, don't worry, I've been blown about worse by the sea's stormy gales."  He chuckled, levitating over his silk hoofkerchief.  "You can keep this, I have plenty."  Smoothing down the front of his coat, Blue gathered up the detritus of their meal and discretely disposed of it.  "Anyhow, if you're interested, I'll tell you the story of how I came to be saddled with this rather unusual condition of mine.  It might amuse you."  He went around to the kirin's side, offering to chat and walk at the same time.

 

"So it began... hm, over a year ago in fact.  I was seriously ill with some form of flu, or meningitiliti... something or other.  Possibly both at once.  Anyhow, feeling both that I was about to die and that such would be preferable to one more day like that.  So, I sent off for the best magician I knew, Princess Twilight Sparkle, to cast a bit of healing magic.  Well, she came through for me; unfortunately, right in the middle of her casting it, I gave out such a sneeze, that even you'd be proud of it!  Well, it sort of shorted out something about the spell.  Oh, I got a perfectly healthy body out of it, just the body of a perfectly healthy mare!"  He laughed, remembering back to that first day.  "Bit of a surprise, I'll you that much.  Took a while to figure out what happened, and then why I kept seeming to switch back and forth.  Eventually, we tracked it down to coffee and tea.  I don't know why, but those ended up being the triggers.  Magic, eh?"

 

Over the course of their wanderings, the Prince had unconsciously drifted them apart from the crowds, where he wouldn't have to raise his voice quite so much.  The pair were in the back of the market now, unpopulated by stalls, and in some places still under renovation, with tall, rickety wooden scaffolding creaking above their heads...

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"Illusions?... well it can be used to obscure and sooth. I can also shape it into other things... " One of the motes of mist still dissipating would cease and soon shape itself into the outline of a rabbit. The small misty construct would hop around Blueblood in small circles a few times before dissipating along with the rest of clouds the kirin had produced, "It can be pretty handy in a bunch of situation but they tend to dissipate the moment something bumps into them hard enough." He couldn't help but notice the odd stare from ponies passing by, you'd think they'd never seen a kirin making magical clou--oh. 

 

Taira smiled as he accepted the hoofkerchief, just in time too he was feeling those telltale itches on the end of his snout. "Thank you, my prince." he said giving a slight bow as he dabbed his nose with the cloth, "I can't say I've had my nose compared to the squalls of the sea... I'll take that as a compliment!"  The stallion cheerfully walked alongside the stallion listening to the tale with a look of pure fascination.  That look soon turned to a warm smile with a hint of mirthful laughter. Now wonder that magic was so potent... it's source was from an alicorn princess of all things! Whatever magic was being used clearly had been altered and corrupted in some way, hence the odd spicy scent he was picking up.  Taira had never heard of viruses creating magical alterations in this scale before so all this was incredibly compelling.

 

"Magic can certainly be wondrous and ... very confusing. I've lacked on my own studies for quite some time."

 

It had been a long while since he'd gotten so invested in a conversation like this, so much so that he hadn't noticed that creaking up above them. As the pair strolled underneath the scaffolding, Taira's tail bumped into one of the looser supports. Taira was hoping to remark further on the story but an urge came over him, his ears perks and swiveled as the sounds of whining metal surrounded the pair. The groaning materials collapsed and began to close up around them!  Taira didn't have enough room or the reflexes to snatch up Blueblood, though that didn't stop him from trying. Before he knew it the way they came had already collapsed behind them and the prince was laid across his back as he galloped towards the other end of the scaffolding. 

 

Another crash of metal fell and then the exit was left another mess of Metal. As the Rest of the structure began to fall, Taira would slide on his side to let Blueblood off then get on his back and try to force the roof of metal and the weight on top of it up with his hooves. "... Don't suppose you've got any spells that could stabilize this situation, do you?"

Edited by Pretzelparty

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The illusions were interesting, in their own way, but having lived his entire life in the capital city of the unicorns, Blueblood had grown slightly desensitized to the impressiveness of magic.  It wasn't quite fair to his guest, he would be the first to admit.  On the other hoof, the Prince was quite ready to be impressed by displays of physical prowess, and Taira obviously held the potential to give quite the show.  If asked, though, Blue probably would have wanted a show under less intense circumstances!

 

It all came upon him quite suddenly, too much so for him to think.  One moment, the pair were strolling along, chatting amiably; the next, Blueblood found himself slung across a pair of broad shoulders, clinging to the neck of the galloping stallion as he felt the muscles shift and strain underneath the shaggy pelt.  He barely had time to catch his breath before realizing that they were trapped, and that Taira's strength was the only thing between them and being crushed under the weight of wood and metal!

 

"I... I..."  Blueblood tried to control his breathing, and summon magic to their aid.  Hyperventilating would not help at this time!  "Ok... ok... On my count of three, push out.  We're going to try a breakthrough.  One..."  Golden light gathered around his horn.  "Two..."  He pictured in his mind the angles of gravity and force that would have to be overcome.  "Three!"  A burst of power surrounding three key structural components suddenly shifted them out of alignment, creating a brief opening to charge through!

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Throughout the ordeal, Taira kept a fairly calm smile. Hoping that it might ease the mind of the unicorn as he worked his spell. It'd been a long time since he'd had to maintain a calm visage in the face of potential disaster.  Last time he wasn't even wearing this face! His muscles tensed and strained as he kept up the incredible weight of metal above him. Ears perked and his focus stuck to the countdown... On one he would relax his muscles, on two he would shifted his weight, on three  and the first sight of the outside light he would push himself off of the metal scooping up the prince in the process!

When they finally got out Taira would have found himself carrying Blueblood like a newlywed bride. "You alright, Your highness?" He asked in a rather chipper tone before glancing back at the wreckage behind them. "We should probably keep an eye out in this place ... this part of the bazaar seems a tad unstable." 

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The mere sight of Taira's calmness had done much to steady Blueblood's nerves as he cast his spell, and the adeptness with which the burdensome debris was cast aside entirely justified that calm.  It took the Prince's breath away, momentarily, to be so swept up by the kirin, but being held close like that by a strong, strapping stallion... he didn't mind that so much.

 

"Hum... yes."  Blueblood replied, letting out a deep breath.  Relaxing his muscles, he nuzzled into his rescuer.  "I usually have a guard around me, but I didn't want to be too much of a bother in the crowd.  Really should be more cautious about that sort of thing, danger can strike even at home."  He gave a soft little laugh, looking curiously up at Taira.  "I don't suppose... well, I guess you already have a job or position back in your home country, don't you?"

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Taira stifled a cough after he'd managed to get himself and Blueblood to safety. The stallion let out a soft sigh of relief in unison with his princely companion, "Good to hear ya didn't get any scratches on my watch, Your Highness." Taira couldn't help but notice that nuzzle... that caught his attention. In his old pack and his current one he was often nuzzled and would give nuzzles. He'd heard that Nuzzling was a custom in the pony lands but that it was usually a  thing done between those who were exceptionally close. Was there a difference in Equestria or was he truly getting so close to the prince? 

Regardless of the answer, Taira would grin down at the prince and give him a playful nuzzle to his cheek. He thought it strangely  appropriate: His nose meeting his cheek was how this all got started after all!  

 

"Well I'm self employed at the moment, been saving up ages to take a trip of somekind. I don't think my family back home would mind if I stayed a while... and even then I've got a special idea as to how I could visit again sometime." After a moment Taira realized he was still carrying the prince and would tilt his head, "Oh... um did you want me to put you back down?"

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Surprisingly enough, Blueblood found himself reluctant to be let down.  There was something in him that liked being carried by big, strong ponies... or pony-like creatures.  Or griffons.  OK, perhaps his affinity was for the physically strong and protective in general.  It would certainly explain his attraction towards his own guards, that's for certain!  

 

That little bit of self-knowledge aside, there was public dignity to consider.  Well, after one last 'glad-I'm-alive' nuzzle, that is.  "I think I should be able to walk on my own, now, thanks to you."  Smiling back up at Taira, the Prince slipped out of his grip, setting four hooves on the floor once again.  "Um... you don't mind terribly if we go outside, do you?  I feel in need of come *cough* fresh air."  Understandable, as quite a bit of dust had been kicked up by their little shindig...

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The bulky Kirin would smile over to the prince once he was back on his hooves again, "You're very welcome, Blue-san." A faint itch forming around his muzzle allerted the older stallion to the dust. Normally this much dust wouldn't bother him so soon after being engulfed by it, but Blueblood's magical transformations left Taira's snout especially sensitive now. His hoof swiftly came up to rub harshly at his nose. He huffed sharply and held his breath for a few seconds as he fumbled for the hoofkerchief his new friend had given him.

 

"You'll geh--- get no argument from me, Bluhhh.. hahh!"

 

Taira's snout wrinkled up harshly, his baritone growing airy and desperate and his muscles tensing up over his body. His head tipped back and back with each hitch of breath until he was looking up at the atrium's ceiling. For a few seconds it seemed as if the foreigner was frozen in time , only letting out on desperate sounding, "Heh!" Then his head thrust forward and a roar of a sternutation erupted out of him.  It was like a roar of bass for a few seconds as the kirin attempted to stifle into the kerchief ... and failed terribly. 

"HHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAh-TCCHOOOO!"

 

A plume of his magical mist engulfed the room and soon rolled out of the archway like an ominous fog out into the streets. The vapor hung in the air for a few seconds around Blueblood and his new foreign friend.  Taira's explosive sounding sneeze echoed around the atrium, the structure having some very good acoustics. Taira was left panting in the mist realizing his disguise had fallen and now he had wound up resting up against blue's side. To the prince he'd feel that his neighponese friend might have become suddenly much fluffier... before immediately returning to normal.  Once the mist dissipated Taira sat there wiggling his muzzle and laughing awkwardly, " Well... how much you wanna bet I just blew away all the dust with that?" 

 

With a soft sigh he went to rub his muzzle with the kerchief, only to see it had left his hoof! He would look all around before seeing the cloth dangling off the top of a telephone pole from across the street. "Um... Sorry about that. If you'll let me catch my breath I'll get it back."

Edited by Pretzelparty
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The sudden, explosive sound of Taira's sneeze triggered deep reflexes within Prince Blueblood.  Namely, he leaped up into the air with a decidedly un-masculine shriek, before landing on his hooves again, panting and quite insensitive to any potential transformations in his friend.  To be fair to the unicorn, of course, his nerves were completely shot by the collapse of the scaffold.  Taira would understand, right.

 

"Right, that's it, we're getting out of here.  You need clean, fresh, non-dusty air!"  Smoothing down his mane with a few quick strokes of his hooves, he led the way out of the market atrium, blithely waving away any concern over the kerchief.  "Like I said, I have plenty.  Take another, if you ever need it."   Sure was nice being rich and famous, eh?

 

Emerging into his Auntie's sunlight, Blueblood stood blinking for a bit, before turning back to his guest.  "Well, that sort of heroism puts a permanent claim on my hospitality, not that I'd refuse if you asked, at any rate.  You seem a good, strong fellow, and I rather think I'll enjoy your company today.  Is there anything in particular in this fair city that you dreamed of seeing?  I, of course, will be your guide, as there is nowere, not even the Palace itself, that is barred to me!"

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