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PrinceBlueblood

Oh Kitty, what a pity, you don't understand... (Canterlot, OPEN)

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"Make way, make way!"

 

Never let it be said that Prince Blueblood didn't have a flair for spectacle and making an entrance.  His showiness was often only restrained by an aristocratic sense of dignity.  Some occasions, however, were sufficiently large as to overwhelm any hesitation, and this, well...

 

This occasion was as big as the Sphinx the Prince was currently riding on the back of through the cobbled streets of Canterlot.

 

"Behold, Citizens, the great Marvel of the Southern Desert Lands!"

 

The Sphinx's name was Niilavin, and Blue had encountered him while accompanying the Sultana of Saddle Arabia on an archaeological dig.  Apparently, one of the old Pharaohs had enchanted the great desert cat, and subsequently petrified him upon his own death.  By donning the amulet that had been used control Niil, Blueblood had broken the petrification spell, and become Niil's new master.  

 

As the giant cat hadn't yet adjusted to the new norms of civilization quite yet ("No, we don't eat our enemies, we befriend them! Bad boy."), it had been decided that the safest thing to do would be to keep the enchantment going, while the Prince took Niil back to Equestria, more or less to housebreak him.  Blueblood being Blueblood, however, he couldn't help but use the opportunity to show off his status.  

 

So, taking a few souveniers home to dress himself similarly to a Pharoah of old, he now Paraded down the main streets and squares of Canterlot, showing of his new pet and his new bling to all and sundry.  Faust only knew what the papers would make of this...

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Today the citizens of Canterlot were treated to more than one oddity on their streets. While he was nowhere near as impressive as a creature of legend walking down the square or as glamorous as the "pharoah" riding on the beast's back, A well spoken diamond dog in a fancy coat and a wooden sword was still quite a sight for the natives to behold. He'd been here a couple days so far, partly drawn here when he noticed a particularly familiar scent coming from the town. By the time he'd caught wind of it though it seemed the one who had caused it had moved on to somewhere nearby... he hoped that old goat hadn't found himself in some trouble of somekind. That rumor about some giant creature winning second place in the running of the leaves had gotten him worried.

 

While the oddly regal Diamond dog strolled through the street he paused as his muzzle began to wrinkle up. The dog pinched his nose shut in time to stifle a harsh sneeze, "Huh... A... cat?" Against his better judgement, Hogo-sha took another few whiffs of the air. After a short fit of sneezes he realized something very strange about this scent on the wind. He'd scented out Nekomata and Bakeneko before back home... they had a feline scent tinged with magic, but this: This was something very rare. 

 

HE'd been relaxing by the backstreets with a book when he noticed a tail flick by behind the roof of a building. This was something EXTREMELY unique, and very big evidently. Large knuckles made a pass over his damp nose and grimaced, knowing he'd probably be regretting this all week. It seemed despite the spectacle, not much of a crowd had formed yet, So Hogo-sha slipped into the masses, following along carefully as he scoped out this massive creature. "A... Sphinx? I thought they were all extinct." He looked up and down over hte creature, "Hm... Oka-san made them sound so much bigger. Maybe this one's a runt?" He muttered aloud to himself.

 

 

 

 

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Anu was, for all intents and purposes, baffled. Where had this creature come from? And why was it here with some pony riding on it? The dark-furred diamond dog watched from the roof he had been resting on, keeping a close watch over where the Sphinx was going and what it was doing. 

 

The former pack-leader had made his way into the city earlier that day, rumors of something powerful about drawing him in. Maybe this was what they meant? Or perhaps it was whatever the pony was using to keep it under control. He couldn’t tell for sure from here, but he doubted any Sphinx would be this calm with such a crowd around it. Maybe once they’d acclimated, but he would’ve heard about them well before that happened. 

 

Regardless, he needed to get closer, so he began hopping from roof to roof as much as he could to get a closer look at this thing. He eventually came to a stop on a roof nearby the crowd around the Sphinx, looking it over some more. 

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Niilavin walked down the street with his head held up and ears pricked. He was much taller than everypony around him yet he was not even close too fully grown. By his races standards he was rather young but he held himself to much more demanding standards than to act like some kitten. He wasn't after all.  Swaying his tail side to side he gazed down at the peasants before him, gasping in shock and awe. It made his pride swell even more as he did his best to hold his chest out and show off just how strong and powerful he was as his muscles move and fixed underneath his hide. He was nothing short of a show off, something his new master seemed to enjoy much to his own enjoyment.

 

“[Look at them Master, they look on to us with such wonder! Fitting of such dregs is it not? We are as undeliverable and wonderful as the gods there self walking amongst theme.]” Niilavin says with a sharp grin, to all on-lookers his words were utter gibberish. An ancient language known only to the most learned scholars of history. Yet his master Blue understands every word of it clear and easily. Something that may be for the best given Niilavins attitude to just about everything that was not his master or himself. His superiority complex put the one Blue use too be known for too shame. But it made Blue all the better to be the one to help the cat learn how to live in this new age as his new master understands such complexes better than most.

 

“[But given your power to change master… God is fiting in some ways.]” Niilavin added with rolling of his powerful shoulders. He’s yet to fully understand how his master changed… genders like he did. Blue did try to explain it but even with that it was hard for the cat to get his paws around the concept so easily. Something seemingly so fixed, appointed at birth to death, yet there it was. Changed and broken like a new outfit. In his eyes it only proved how peorfull his new master must be to so easily break something like that and wave it off as something so trivial.

 

Sniffing the air the big cat tossed a gaze down at something most odd. A dog? All dressed up and walking about? How odd. More odd was his smell. Something magic was in the air about that dog, he just can’t put his paw on what. [“And now mutts dress up and speak. This age is already disappointing me.”]

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Was it a bad sign that the first citizens to welcome their new feline wonder were canine?  Prince Blueblood sincerely hoped not; he had neglected to ascertain Nilaavin's opinion of dogs.  Nevertheless, he waved down at Hogo-sha from his perch, keenly aware of other eyes from the rooftops.  "Greetings, sir!  I see from your garb and bearing you are a dignitary; it is good to see I was home in time to meet you!"  Homecoming or not, the diplomatic work was never done.

 

However, housebreaking his new cat would have to take first priority.  "[We are first amongst equals, not gods amongst mortals.  Auntie will be very upset if she catches you talking like that.]"  Could Auntie Celestia actually understand Nil's ancient language?  Probably, actually; she had lived for just long enough to have conversed with its last living speakers.  Well, second-to-last, now.  All that being said... Blue had pretty much given up by now correcting Nil's impression as to his own power levels.  Modern magic was quite a strange power, compared to what the ancients could muster.  Plus, actually getting the sphinx to shape up would take every bit of authority the unicorn could muster...

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Hogo-sha couldn't help but notice that derisive look from the big creature. What was with his attitude? Hogo-sha had grown accustomed to looks like that from the Canterlot nobility he occasionally passed by, but on a gigantic mug like that it somehow felt even more annoying. He gave a roll of his eyes at that giant creature and just gave a somewhat dismissive sounding laugh, one of those laughs that you knew was laughing at you: When someone isn't even bothering to take you seriously or with respect.

 

The visitor's ears perked up at the sound of a voice from up above. Seemed this large kitten's master had decided to address him, "Good Morning, Your Highness! I'm flattered by your assumptions, but sadly the only high rank or office I could hold is only in a very small pack on a mountaintop back home. I do hope to represent my people in a greater capacity someday! All I am is the son of an old dog."  Seemed the gaze of the sphinx had managed to unnerve a few ponies that they parted around the Dog. At least this gave him some room to bow his head towards Blueblood. If anything, Hogo-sha was not going to let this overgrown feline make him forget his good manners. 

 

"I've never gotten to see a Sphinx in anything other than pictures in books, Your highness. Could you ask him if the others of his kind are as large and mighty as the legends say they are? Is there a chance he may grow bigger in time?" 

 

 

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Well, the sphinx didn’t seem to even know he was there. Or it was just ignoring him. Either way was fine by him at the moment. Turning his attention more on the pony, Anu looked over his pharaoh-like choice in accessories with a slight frown. 

 

Being from that area of the world himself, it was kind of annoying to see others dress like that. Regardless though, none of the accessories were jumping out at him as what held the control spell. While he was loathe to admit it, maybe this unicorn was powerful enough to pull it off on his own. He’d have to keep a closer eye on this situation...

 

Not that he thought he could take control for himself even if it was an artifact giving the pony control. He had no idea how it worked, for all he knew taking the artifact to serve no purpose other than angering them both, and he was in no hurry to face a sphinx in battle, even one this size. 

 

As for the pony’s conversation partner, this other dog seemed strange to him. He couldn’t quite put his paw on it, but he just felt off. His nose told him the smell was canine, but it wasn’t like any other diamond dog he’d met before...

 

The jackal-like dog was actually pretty obvious in his origins, for those knowledgeable of the area. Between the markings across his body and the ankh hanging from his neck, it didn’t take much to figure out his homeland. His robes were not exactly conducive to stealth or fighting, but as he needed neither at the moment, he kept them on. 

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“[You call them equals yet we come first. They are not peasants yet they pay cash onto us for the honor of living in are land and to work. Workers. Even in the grand city we saw at the coastline… with buildings so tall. They lived in small homes. The powerful lived in the grand, the equals below them in small homes. Packed like fish in a net. Smaller towns looked not so different from my time. More colors, different buildings… but so similar. And here. The heart of it all… sitting above them all in keep of white and gold, towering over the land so small below sits the leaders. I see nothing equal but the belief they all are equals. And for that I have nothing to give but my utter respect.]” Niilavin speaks in a calm but powerful way, his words flowing one in to the other with wisdom. It is hard to know if he really was or if it was just the power of his race to sound like they knew best to play with the minds of others.

 

Sniffing the air some more he gazed back down at the dog speaking to his master… magic was in the air. Leaning down he looked at the dog more close. “[Master, we have skin changers in are shadow. I recommend slaying one rat before it is five. They bring nothing but troubles and steal from my… Are land. Food. goods. Servents. Nothing more than a rat stealing grain but let to many live and you will have no grain to eat.]”

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"[There is one other major difference you are forgetting.]"  Blueblood gently reminded Niilavin.  "[Your old masters are dead, and we are not.  If we say we are superior, that would inspire jealousy of our majesty; if we say we are equals, they see themselves in our majesty.  It is wise to allow everypony as much dignity as one can, for if we strip it all away.... well, you remember what happened to your last master.]"

 

That, Blueblood felt, was sufficient catfood for thought, and his sphinx could be safely left to chew on it as he addressed Hogo-sha.  "Dignity is granted by how tall you stand, not how wide you rule."  A wise, but not unmotivated saying; the Prince's rule not being particularly 'wide' as far as actual power went.  "And Niilavin can understand common speech as well as you or I; it is simply that he is not always comfortable with using it.  But that is a good question; how large can a sphinx get?"  A good question, but again, not an unmotivated one.  Right now it was feasible for Niil to live in Blueblood's back garden, if he didn't mind converting the rock patch into a litter box.  But if he grew to legendary size?  Canterlot could hardly hold up under him!

 

The Prince's worries were compounded as the sphix confided further.  "[What, you mean changelings?]"  Blueblood still couldn't help that small tingle of fear down his spine, in spite of the fact that half the hive were now multicolored hippie bugs, and the other half were at least following a Chrysalis who was not pursuing an invasion plan.  At least, she said she wasn't, being content to run a tropical resort that 'farmed' love.  But was Blueblood wise to believe her?  Probably not, actually, considering the Queen's known penchant for deception.

 

His eyes scanned the crowd, then the roofs.  A useless exercise, for a disguised foe.  But, of course, it may all be a false alarm.  After all, there were good changelings, and it wasn't only changelings that could shapeshift.  Blueblood had met, and befriended, at least one Yokai.  "[We are not hostile to all such populations, Niil.  Some, yes, but not all.  Don't cause panic yet.]"

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That saying gave the dog pause... the foreigner seemingly mulling it over before smiling up at the pony atop the sphinx, "Those are wise words, Sir."  He said with a short bow, "I see now why you have the privilege of riding a top a sphinx." He wrinkled his muzzle in the presence of the big cat as it looked down upon him in spoke that curious language, "Sorry to say I can't understand your words, Nil-san. I do think you should consider growing past your reluctance to speak common tongue... some can find it rude if it becomes to often an occurrence." The  dog fumbled his pockets for a moment  before picking up a book labeled: Equestrian for beginners.

 

"I had a hard enough time getting ponies comfortable around me looking like this... I can only imagine how rough it could be for you being the size of a small building." Hogo-sha proffered the book in the Sphinx's direction, "If the print is too small for you to read then perhaps your master can help you out?" Seeing how large the creature's paw was he thought for a moment, "Maybe I should just offer this to your master instead--" Something on the wind caught his attention... Was it bacon?! no, of course not. He was more than civilized enough to avoid a tantalizing scent like that. Instead it was something the smelled of Saddle Arabia. 

 

Hogo-sha turned towards the source of the scent and took note of a curious looking diamond dog on the rooftops. That little ankh hanging from his neck brought a smile to Hogo-sha's face. In a couple bounds, the black dog hopped from the nearby canopy to a roof in front of Nilaavin. Now he was eye to eye with Blueblood... and was easily able to see the dog nearby, to whom he waved offer. "Excuse me, Sir!" He called over, "You seem like you might have some knowledge of the prince's new servant. Perhaps you have some insight?"

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Anu hummed slightly at Blueblood’s little saying, sighing after a bit. While true, it still required something to rule over, something he had yet to regain. The reminder of his current and past failings was not an enjoyable one, setting his mind on a trip back down memory lane. 

 

Thankfully, the other dog’s words knocked him out of it, and he made his way over so they stood nearby. Turning his attention back to the sphinx, he hummed a bit to himself before speaking. 

 

“All I know of his kind is from books and stories, likely little more than what is already known. While his kind have been recorded as being larger than this, he will not necessarily get any bigger. I have seen full-grown dragons smaller than the average pony, a sphinx stopping at this size wouldn’t be out of the question.” Anu stated, nodding slightly as he looked back to Hogo-sha. That dog still smelled strange to him, but perhaps the unusual scent of the nearby sphinx was clouding the results. A problem for a later time, he supposed. 

 

“As the apparent master of this sphinx, is there anything you’ve learned that you haven’t found in books?” He asked Blueblood, focusing his attention on the pony as he once again tried to discern what was holding the spell. 

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“[Why do you think I am impressed at what you have done master? I did not say you must be like my old one. You played the game smarter and so did the twin queens. There are no equals but you made them believe it so.]” Niilavin says back. “[Something I am taking to heart, if I ever gain freedom I use this system… it seems to work well. The twin queens, if they are old as you told me, lasted so long using it.]” He flicked his ears, looking at the mutt talking more and waving some book at him… what was that even and how dare this dog wave it in his face? With a rather agitated hiss he raised a paw up smacked the book out of the dogs hand well he was distracted. “[Why do you allow such mutts to speak to me master!? Or allow one being a skin changer! Hostile or not, I will not let such vermen speak to me and flint papers under my nose.]” his words had a angry cat like hiss to them, cleary getting upset by growing bravery of the onlookers.

 

Looking up at the roofs he spots the other dog… wonderfull. “[There are more of them? Uhg. Master, i deeply dislike how you will not allow me to hurt such things. But it is your will…]” He rolls his eyes but looked more at the odd dog… hold on… “[A world away and one of them is here? The mutt is from my land! Master, do tell him to go back, no need to follow my kin even more! Can us cats not have a land to are self?]” The big cat ruffeld it's wings and looks away, it's anger going way in to just sounding upset, allmost like a young colt not geting his way. "[And I will get much biger master, in time. I am young, but in time my power will grow and so will my size. One day I will be big as a pirde king... then I hope to be free.]"

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As much as Niilavin said that he admired the way in which Equestria gave dignity to the lower classes, he still had an insufficiently broad definition of those to whom dignity was to be afforded.  Of course, it would take some pretty powerful juju on Prince Blueblood's part to overcome the natural hatred between dogs and cats, but for the sake of avoiding mass hysteria, something had to be done.  "[Enough of that.]"  Blue gave an ineffectual but symbolic bap between his sphinx's ears.  "[You shouldn't let your irritations define your actions, that only lets them control you.]"  Not exactly an order, so the magic might not compel Niil.  But if discipline could be instilled, then the magic would be redundant.  *I really ought to see about hiring an obedience school trainer...*

 

Speaking of which, there were the dogs.  "Apologies."  He dipped his head to Hogo-sha.  "He isn't quite... housebroken yet."  Was that an unintentional slur to diamond dogs?  Or... was Hogo-sha actually a diamond dog?  A Changeling?  No, they rarely adopted bipedal form.  Perhaps a yokai?  Was that still insulting?  Gah, it was stressful being a diplomat.  

The anubis newcomer was only complicating the situation.  Good grief, had the Prince brought home a nationalist?  Shaking his head, and resolving to ignore Niil's little snit, Blueblood addressed the Saddle Arabian canine.  "I heard little of his kind; he will grow larger in time, though that will be some years off, sphinxes being quite long-lived.  Truth be told... I'm not sure if any yet living remain besides he.  I freed him from a petrification curse when accompanying an archaeological dig; he was buried with the pharaoh that had ensorcelled him."  He decided against revealing that the amulet was the source of said ensorcellment.  Didn't seem like the safest policy to go about leaking that information.  "By the way, I don't believe I ever caught your name...?"

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The black dog itched his muzzle a moment on the roof. Nilaavin's fur still bothering his senses and that paw smack earlier not having helped.  He fished around the inside of his coat until he pulled out a kerchief and brought it to his nose. "Thank you for the insight, Friend. " The sniffling diamond dog gave a bow, "I am Hogo-sha of the east. Have you come to this land in the hopes of broadening your horizons as I have?" He pressed the true diamond dog on in conversation, in part to distract himself from the scent of cat in the air and also out of genuine curiosity. Hogo-sha was not a real diamond dog,  but meeting a genuinely civilized one was always something that he tried to to take advantage of...  and Anu was certainly not one he had ever run into before.

 

Regarding  the sphinx, Hogo-sha couldn't help but feel a bit insulted.  Not just by the rude dismissal of his offer of help through literature,  but somehow through the ancient words he could tell that whatever Nilaavin was saying: it wasn't at all kind. A huff of annoyance escaped the dog as he looked back at giant cat, "Dare I ask what he thinks of us, Your highness?" He looks back to Blueblood, "It is alright, Your highness. It is a waste of time to hold grudges over one's life ... or prejudices." He glanced back down at the cat then back to his master, "In my travels I had once heard that the wisdom of a sphinx was like an Oasis in the desert. I would tell him 'expect poison from the standing water.'" Those with a knowledge of poetry may recognize that line was from a work by some semi-obscure poet of the equestrian canon.

 

 He spoke through his handkerchief at his muzzle, "I may not speak  his language, but I feel as though I can hear the tone of contempt in it. It worries me.... but while he is in your care he must be in the best of hooves." 

 

 

Edited by Pretzelparty
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Ah, so it was an artifact holding the control, not this pony. That still left the question of what the artifact was though, and if it was even on him right now. At the various questions coming from the two he could understand, he nodded slightly. 

 

“In a manner of speaking, yes. I am searching for a way to regain what was taken from me.” He said, giving a sigh to suppress the growling he could feel building from the memory. “Apologies, my name is Anu Hur.”

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Niilavin flinches from the bap between his ears. His claws dig in to the road but soon pull back as he relented. “[My actions are justified… But Fine, I will stand… them being here. But I will not tolerate such dregs within are home Master.]” He says looking away from the mutts, he’d not dignify them with his look. “[I can’t help but pick up on the fact I seem to be rare… Its making me worry master. I can’t be the last can I?]” He asked with a hint of worry as he did fear this. It seems absurd that he’d be the last one but yet… its been a vary long time.

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"I shall pass on the wisdom, rest assured, my friend."  Blueblood gave Hogo-sha another smile.  In most other circumstances, he would have invited him over for tea; whatever his political status, he looked to be a good and useful fellow to know.  There was something... heroic, in the Diamond Dog's stance; and heroism was always in demand somewhere.  Be good to send him on with a referral at least.

 

But, right at the moment, he had a huge cat with him, and the Prince was conscious that he ought not to push things too far.  Let Niilavin get used to the idea of dogs existing before actually inviting them to share a house, even for teatime.  *Do sphinxes drink tea?  Must make a mental note to ask.*  While doing so, he flashed a charming smile to Anu.  "Well met, sir!  I see from your bearing and breed that your family come from Saddle Arabia, or thereabouts.  Are you an immigrant, or a traveler to our fair country?"

 

Thinking about whether or not he should get back on the way home soon, as traffic was beginning to build up behind him, Niil's sudden question gave him pause.  "[I... have never seen one of your kind in the flesh before.  Nor has anypony I know.  That proves nothing, but... another sphinx may be hard to find.]"

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The foreign hound bowed his head in Anu's direction with a smile on his muzzle, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Anu Hur. ... Did you say you had something stolen from you? Is there anyway I can be of help?" If it was something recent he would surely be able to help, a nose like his could surely scent out some stolen trinket in this town. Well, so long as he kept upwind of this darn cat nearby.

 

Speaking of this giant feline, Hogo-sha couldn't help but notice that hint of worry from his words (even if he couldn't understand them). He hoped that his words hadn't cut deep, or was there something else bothering the ancient creature. Perhaps it was the growing build up of carriages and pedestrians growing behind him making him uncomfortable. Hogo-sha cleared his throat once and looked behind Nilaavin, "Maybe we should take these conversations to a place where we can truly relax... we probably shouldn't hold up the rest of Canterlot and interrupt your exhibition, Your Highness."

 

 

 

 

 

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“Yes, I grew up over there, and I plan to return some day. For now, I am traveling in search of new experiences and hopefully some souvenirs.” Anu responded, nodding to the two of them as he answered Blueblood’s question. With that out of the way, it was time to address Hogo-sha. 

 

“What was taken from me is not as easily returned as you may think. It is no simple matter, retaking my throne from those that have defeated me in the past.” He said simply, watching the other dog. Hogo-sha could be useful in that, but it was not time for that yet. “Yes, perhaps we should move and stop blocking the road.”

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