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NiktoBarada last won the day on September 21

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About NiktoBarada

  • Rank
    C-Mark Crusader
  • Birthday 06/14/1965

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    Pittsburgh, PA
  • Interests
    Science, science fiction.

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  • Main Character
    Tongue Twister

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  1. TT had learned many things from her years of field research; one of which was hills. Every time you crested another hill was a chance of discovery : what was over the hill ? So far today, the only thing on the other side of the hills was yet ANOTHER hill. But she noticed that the hills were getting smaller. The inclines and declines weren't as steep. The hilly terrain was leveling out. And, upon cresting one hill, she looked out and could see what she assumed was the rest of the course - the Whitetail Woods. She found herself in a shadow as a cloud passed overhead. She glared up at it and sighed. "It's going to be quite a long time - if ever - for me to be up there again." Refocusing her concentration, she began trotting along the path. "No choice but to trudge ever onward !"
  2. Tongue Twister trotted ever onward, enjoying her time in the open air and sun. "I wonder how the others are doing." she mused to herself, "It was a lit trail through a dark forest, not a jungle expedition. I hope no one tried to show off how wondrous and special they are by wandering off on their own - that would distress the ponies researching the delicate ecosystem down there. Imagine : a whole forest growing in minimal to no light ! I wonder if the plants there can tap into thaumic fields for energy instead of using sunlight. That - is a question for another day." She smiled to herself, as she knew how the one traveler felt : "The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." She chuckled to herself, and then felt happy enough to sing a merry tune ....
  3. Tongue Twister trotted along at her usual pace, expending the same amount of effort going up hills as along level ground. True, that caused her to slow down, but wasn't exhausting herself. "Hmm - most ponies' instincts when confronting a hill is to attack it. To spend more effort to maintain speed. Which tires them out faster ! Now, what to do when going down hills ? Most would expend effort to slow down. What would happen if I bounded instead ? Like a boulder down a ravine ? Redirecting the motion instead of resisting it ?" The good news was bounding off one leg at a time enabled her to reach great speed; the bad news was bounding off one leg at a time enabled her to reach great speed - much faster than she was ready to deal with or properly control ! She tripped and instinctively tucked into a roll. The next hill she encountered moments later acted as a ramp, tossing her into the air. She slid to a stop on her chest atop the next hill. "..." "Ow." she stated after she spit out a mouthful of grass, still lying on her stomach. Once the world stopped rolling, she sat up and took a look around. As a pegasus, she'd crashed far harder than that a few times, so she was able to shake it off. "Wow ! I covered a lot of distance on that foul up !" she noted, "BUT I AM NOT DOING THAT AGAIN !! Bounding might be a good way to go down hills - after a few months practicing the maneuver so the speed doesn't rise out of control !" She got to her feet and started off again, making sure to just stay light on her hooves going down hills instead of trying to bound down the slopes. She looked around as she trotted along. The countryside was quite beautiful. Very few ponies around. "Wait ? Did everyone else take the other route or something ?!" Oh well ... I guess I'll run into the rest of the herd later, on the road to Whitetail Woods. As long as they don't get lost in that dark forest. Or eaten by a grue." She was NOT looking forward to seeing the Whitetail Woods again.
  4. Goin' OVER the Hills "Hmm - these must be the Roundbottom Hills." TT thought to herself as she trotted along, "We're more than halfway done ! All that is left is Whitetail Woods, then the home stretch to Ponyville." She came to full stop and sat down, in order to plan her next course of action. "Those are some rather steep inclines for hills. Still better than that ravine, since you can run up and down inclines without worrying about something falling on you. Let's see - we have a choice of going through the hills via the shorter but dark and foreboding path, or stay up here in the longer but sunlit path. Aaaaand it looks like the front of the pack chose the short, shadowy path." she mused as she watched Tempest, Strong Copper and that Jade Beaker mare head straight for it. "Well, since nothing I do from this point on is going to make much difference, might as well take the longer path over the hills. But how to do that ...." she mused as she scooped up the dirt to make a series of ridges. "Now, if the hills were corrugated like this - zero degrees from my path - the best idea is to stay in the valleys. In this case, going up any hills would be a bad idea !" She recrafted the ridges so they were perpendicular to their original direction. "But if the hills are corrugated like this - ninety degrees from my path - the only way through is constantly trudging up and down the hills. But that's assuming perfect corrugation ..." she continued as she poked a few gaps into the ridges, "... and very few things in nature are THAT perfect !" She sighed with a frown. "But even in this case, staying in the valleys would increase the length of the run greatly. Like make it four, five or MORE times as long ! And turn what should be a relatively straight run into a Drunkard's Walk simulation. Sooooo - trudging up and down the hills it is." she groaned as she got up and started trotting along again at her usual level of effort. "Maybe that not be such a bad idea at all." she realized, "I'm expending some amount of effort X to move forward at speed Y. Going up an incline, some of that effort is used to go up, and what's left over goes to forward speed. Conservation of energy. So, by maintaining the same effort, my forward speed Y will drop, but I will not get as exhausted as those ponies that see a hill and 'attack it' ! Trying to maintain the same forward speed against an incline would exhaust me ! It is EFFORT that should be maintained, not speed !" "You should let me take over." the Abomination offered, "The amount of effort I can maintain is easily a hundred times your pathetic attempts !" "Bad idea times three." TT replied, "One : no magic allowed for the race. YOU are magic. Therefore, I can't use you. Two : You may be able to provide the power, but would my body survive the strain invoked by using it ? I sort of like my tendons intact, my hooves not beaten into dust and by bones not shattered into powder ! And three : No. I am NOT giving you permission to use my body !" "So you're really going to settle for middle of the pack when we could easily win ? Are you a pigeon or a pegasus ?" TT growled with rage, but quickly tamped it down. "As I said before - I really don't care where I finish. True, it would be nice to win, or even place highly, but I really don't see that as a real possibility. Two of the best runners took the short route - if I took it too, they'd still be ahead. There is no legal way to gain. And this is my first race. Why should anyone expect me to do really well ?"
  5. TT listened closely to the sounds around her - it seemed a bit quieter. "I guess the ravine is running out of rocks." she mused to herself, "There can only be so many ready to fall; critical and supercritical states and all that." She risked a quick look behind her. "Hmm - looks like about half the runners have good sense. I am not in that half. I .... am not quite sure what to think about that." She winced in pure sympathy when Apple Bloom got bounce slammed into the side of the ravine. "Oh, good ! There were some sensible ponies taking shelter right there ! She'll be taken care of, no problem !" TT continued on for a bit, getting closer to Pinkie and Strong Copper before she realized something. "Yo ! Pinkie !" she shouted, "Where'd that little colt get off to ? The one that was with Apple Bloom at the bridge ? We haven't seen him for a bit. Did he go home, or did he have the sense to stay under cover ?"
  6. Tongue Twister observed the falling rocks around her. "That one's bouncing away from me. Ignore. That one's going to land off my path far to the left. Ignore. Those two ..." She juked to the right to avoid one rock, then stopped dead - as a large flat rock slammed into the ground where she would've been had she kept moving. She hopped onto it and looked around briefly. "Why are you standing still ?" "The odds of another rock hitting this exact spot is virtually zero !" she replied to her inner pest before noticing a shadow growing very quickly - and jumped off to the left as a large stone bounded down the ravine and struck where she'd just been. "Aaaaand as mom would say : 'Virtually zero' is NOT zero !" she continued as she went along her way, keeping her eyes and ears open and in constant motion.
  7. "Well, THIS is a change of pace !" TT groused to herself as she trotted along towards Rearing Ravine, "The bridge is solid and the surroundings aren't ! Oh joy - our vibrations that were knocking the leaves off the trees is knocking rocks loose from the sides of the ravine ! Hmm - so our choice is to either look for shelter against the stony storm, or make a run through it." She thought for a few moments. "I'm going to run through it !" The Abomination replied with "Wait - WHAT ?! Are you insane ?" TT laughed on the inside. "A mass of evil dark magic inside my head is asking me if I'm insane ! Yeah. Obviously ! What's your point ?" "There is a good chance you'll be injured or killed ! Aren't you afraid ?" TT's internal copy gave the Abomination a sideward glare. "I was corrupted by an ancient sorceress ! Compared to THAT, all other threats barely qualify for a 'meh'." She picked up a bit more speed as she headed in - slow enough to maneuver easily, but fast enough to get through the area ASAP. No point staying in a dangerous region longer than necessary. "It's easy to see where the middle of the ravine is." she continued her inner lecture to the Abomination, "That will be the safest area, since rocks falling from the sides will lose most of their energy and speed bouncing and rolling from their falls. That will thin out their numbers and keep them low to the ground - easier to evade by jumping over. Then all I have to do is keep track of many objects moving through space at the same time - something pegasi are good at ! All good fliers can do that instinctively. I've dodged stuff like that for years in my linguistics research; some of the 'temples' weren't in the best condition, nor reachable by anything but an avalanche prone ravine." [running through the avalanche]
  8. "The fact you still live and are reasonably intact is rather impressive." TT replied, "Manticores can be extremely dangerous even when they're not rabid. Being a very large carnivore means they have to eat quite a bit. We used to work for the Manehattan Museum of Natural History as a linguist." TT stated, "Wandered about temples in Tenochtitlan, pyramids in Pharoah's Vale, and anywhere a sample of ancient languages or cultures could be found !" She sighed heavily. "But we were downsized at the museum, so for now we are unemployed. So now we're trying to set up a consulting business; the ability to speak all languages - even Bureaucrat and Legalese - should be of value to somepony. We don't know who, but we don't have to. We just came to town to set up a post office box so clients can send requests and payment." "A rather enjoyable run so far." TT answered, "This is our first year running. We've heard about the race, but since we're here, and have time to kill, we thought 'Why not ?' And that was some good work at the bridge." she continued, "That could have turned out - very badly. Are foals that young supposed to be running in this race ?"
  9. Tongue Twister trotted along at her moderate pace as she watched the other racers that took the long path filter in. The aerion Midnight Oil. Berry Punch. A unicorn mare that gave her the creeps for some reason - like the dying echoes of a near forgotten nightmare. The unicorn mare took off at full speed, and Berry Punch did as well. She noted a pale yellow/orange unicorn stallion ahead. "Ah ! That's the unicorn at the bridge that helped those two youngsters. Looks like he's trying the slow and steady routine too." She noticed his Cutie Mark - a magnifying lens over an unusual animal print. And quite a few scars. "A few of those cryptozoological mysteries get a bit testy upon being discovered ?" she simply had to ask him. Not going all-out.
  10. Hidden Texts - dad had trouble with busybody. Turns out antique book had clues to untouched vault in Tenochtitlan. They went there, but got in trouble. TT had to rescue them. Datum : parents Caveat Emptor, Shady Dealer. Caveat is a 'curio merchant' (kind of the Stan Pines of Equestria); Shady ships packages (can get things from point A to point B fast, safe, or under the table, depending on how much you want to spend). Used to be a card dealer in Las Pegasus decades ago. Math Cutie Mark (probability/game theory). Shops in Canterlot (where the money is). Polar Vortex - pompous pegasus that stole the treasure from the vault : a sample of Primal Clay that could be used to create or repair any living thing. Why TT was trapped in Maretropolis for a week or two. Where she returned after being corrupted by Hou Shuren. Picked up a few useful books and a few quirky artifacts. Dad set up the Devil's Business Card enchantment for her; the mailing address to contact TT is a post office box in Ponyville. Currently running and open, due to Right of Survivorship (everyone else sorta disappeared/stopped posting) STAR, Shadow Of Ice, Hidden base north of Las Pegasus - few misadventures while working for this group. Datum : TT may or may not have been an agent for a secret organization (at least 3 looking for whatever was in that vault in Tenochtitlan) Currently running and open, due to Right of Survivorship (everyone else sorta disappeared/stopped posting) Dark Rendezvous - encountered Hou Shuren Datum : tried to observe the conversation between Hou Shuren and Sombra; got caught and corrupted. White on bottom third of legs now black; wings now made of mystic mercury - can shape into anything EXCEPT a functional pair of wings. Currently has a mass of dark magic living in her head (since it took over one of her tulpas, she can't expunge it just yet) Thread actually ended ! Running of the Leaves, 2020 - where she's currently at.
  11. Bridge "Wow. A lot of ponies chose the bridge ..." TT noted to herself as she trotted along, "Quite the crowd here ! And - ARE THOSE FOALS ?! How did that colt get ahead of us ?" "You must be more pathetic at running than we first surmised." the Abomination offered. TT internally glared at the collection of dark magic inhabiting her head. The bridge was becoming more unstable by the moment - a unicorn stallion announced that they shouldn't stay here. Once the colt was safely one the other side, he took off down the path. Soon followed by Tempest and the rest of the crowd. "Perhaps we should take the other route." Abomination stated, "I see no point in risking our lives for this, and since you don't care about winning, what's being a few minutes behind the others that already took the long way matter ?" "I chose to go this way. So this way we shall go." TT replied as she took a few deep breaths to focus on a technique she learned, completely shutting out the outside world. She then strolled towards the bridge, one hoof perfectly placed in front of the other in a precise straight line. Oddly, when she strolled onto the bridge, there was no sound of her hoofsteps. Or the boards groaning from her weight. She stayed near a wall as she walked forward, since that is where the strongest support beams were. If the bridge were unmaintained for decades, the outside spans would be the only parts left. "The Leaf Drifts Upon the Wind ? Where did you learn this technique ? " "I spent a few years in Neighpal. Trying to get what was left of my mind back together. Picked up a few things." "I thought you were too straight-laced to cheat !" the Abomination chided, "The rules specifically stated 'no flying' and 'no magic' !" "This is a mental discipline. Not magic. And thanks to Hou's corruption, I certainly cannot fly !" After a few moments of focused walking, she reached the other side of the bridge. Bridge crossed.
  12. Bridge Tongue Twister looked up to the cloudy skies and groaned as she trotted along. Even though her heavy cape was made from alpaca wool and virtually waterproof, there were limits ! "Well, SOME pegasi really messed things up !" she groused as she glared at the roiling, rain-laden clouds. Further down the trodden path the way diverged into two routes : the main route across a bridge, and another route that went around the long way. She could hear rushing water from somewhere behind the trees in the distance. "That is most certainly NOT the bubbling of a brook !" she mused, "All this water must have flooded it ! Oh joy. So now I have a choice : the long, safe way. Or the short, risky way ..." She smirked before laughing maniacally. "I spend months every year wandering through jungles ! Searching ancient temples, tombs and vaults all over Equestria for examples of ancient languages ! Faced down all sorts of tricks and traps both magical and mundane ! I rescued my parents from a Tenochtitlan vault just a few months ago ! 'Risky' is a relative term - and my baseline is a bit higher than most others ! I am NOT the incompetent Nothing everyone thinks I am ! Or wants me to be !" she continued before defiantly heading for the bridge.
  13. Tongue Twister had looked around a bit to familarize herself with the town. She noted a mare selling bon-bons, and made a mental note to buy one or two boxes from her after the race. TT's dad's birthday was coming up in a week, and that stallion does love his sweets ! She swiveled her ears a few times, and smelled the breeze. She looked thoughtful for a moment, but got over it. "Good thing I'm wearing this heavy cape then !" she mused when the race coordinator stated there was some poor weather in Whitetail Woods. She remembered a rather recent and - unpleasant - encounter in Whitetail Woods. She was off into a fast trot once the coordinator blew his whistle. After a few moments, she blinked, and her eyes changed to gold with vertical slit pupils on oily black. She blinked again, and her eyes returned to normal sky blue with round pupils on white.
  14. Sounds like something She Who Should Not Be might do for fun while she's in town. Tongue Twister signing up ! https://www.canterlot.com/topic/23213-tongue-twister-ready/?do=findComment&comment=599243
  15. Tongue Twister disembarked at the Ponyville Station, and looked around for the Post Office. Finding it rather quickly (for despite being home to five of Harmony's Chosen, the town wasn't all that large or busy), she made her way over, keeping her corrupted wings hidden under a large, dark blue cape. Setting up a post office box for her new business wasn't difficult - for just a few bits a year, she had a valid mail address so others could contact her. She pinned one of her 'Phantom Consulting, Inc' business cards on the bulletin board, since it never hurt to advertise. And it could be quite some time before she got a response from that "Devil's Business Card" enchantment her father had set up with her. She meandered off to the closest restaurant for something to eat. While waiting for her order of a daisy sandwich and some hay fries, she pondered what she was going to do next. TT looked around the infamous town of Ponyville. "There must be something interesting going on around here somewhere ..."
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