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NiktoBarada last won the day on May 17

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About NiktoBarada

  • Birthday 06/14/1965

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  • Main Character
    Tongue Twister

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    Science, science fiction.
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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Crazy Oatmeal

Crazy Oatmeal (4/9)



  1. By now, most of the laborers and hired workers had arrived, and wandered in. "You consider a pool of slime to be an obstacle ?" a cocky pegasus stallion scoffed after surveying the scene, "Why is anypony even concerned about this ?" "Well, you're free to fly across and check things out - if you can." TT replied with a smirk. With a mighty "harumph !", the pegasus strode forward, but stopped with a look of abject horror when his wings simply would not unfurl. No matter how hard he tried, all his wings would do is quiver uselessly at his sides. "This place is a vault." TT began, "The builders didn't want any creature wandering around in here. So they probably enchanted the whole complex with a 'No Fly' spell, much like the pyramid in Somnambula. We'd surmise they also applied a teleport scrambler to ensure there is no easy way to evade the traps." "Then there must be a secret lever or a button or something around here to give us a way across." her younger employer stated as he began looking about. "Why would there be an easy way across ?" TT asked, "Again, THIS IS A VAULT. It is not an obstacle course built to give ponies a chance to show off how great they are, or how clever or observant they are." "But there were always secret levers and doors and bridges in all the Daring Do books !" Tongue Twister sighed. "Four things wrong with that : Firstly, Daring Do is an adventurer, not an archaeologist. Secondly, the stories were most likely embellished and edited a bit to make them more entertaining. Thirdly, she mostly 'acquired' artifacts in the Tenochtitlan basin; this is Saddle Arabia. Different culture, different time. Fourthly, this is a vault. NOT a temple. NOT a tomb. A vault. Which means every way the builders could think of (within their budget) to slow down or stop intruders was used." "So how do we get across ?" the younger boss asked, "We have planks, but none of the ones long enough to cross will fit through the corridors !" "And just nailing them together end to end would leave them too flimsy to support any weight." one worker offered, "The nails would break loose the moment anypony got halfway across." "Did you happen to pack any rubber rafts for a desert expedition, uncle ?" "Just one. But it'll be kind of slow to move everyone over to the other side." he replied. "Keep thinking up solutions. We're going to stroll over." TT stated after she rummaged through her satchel to find the Winged Slippers of Comfort. "And just HOW is wearing silk slippers with little wings on them going to be of any use ?" her younger employer asked. "The slippers grant both Cloud-Walk and Cloud Creation." she replied as she began walking, a small platform of clouds forming under her hooves before her and vanishing behind her. "Since we are neither flying nor teleporting, the usual protective spells won't activate." She walked on a small cloudbank a foot above the surface of the slime, and easily reached the other side. The floor was made of white marble, with a few obsidian tiles with writing on them. There was also a line of blue obsidian tiles bordering the edge, about a yard back. "Well, that's useful." she noted to herself before telling everyone else to get away from the edge. She pressed down on one of the black tiles. There was a loud 'click', then the slime pool began to churn. From the depths of the slime rose several wide square columns that formed a bridge across the slime pool. "I thought you said there wouldn't be any easy way across the pool !" the younger employer complained the moment he got to the other side. "There aren't - on THAT side !" TT replied, "The controls for summoning the bridge are on this side. Better security that way - any defenders on this side of the pool have absolute control over whether the bridge is available or not. Thus giving them an advantage over the intruders who would be coming from the outside." "Fascinating." the older employer deadpanned before asking Tongue Twister if she could translate the message written on the wall above them. "Of course. Give us a few minutes." she replied as she retrieved her notebooks. The other workers wandered around, looking at the immense fortune in gold coins piled high in columns around them. And sneakily taking a few. Well, MORE than a few .... "Translation is done." Tongue Twister announced, getting everyone's attention. "That plaque says : Welcome fools. This is the vault of Theth-Ka. Grandson of Teti-Ra. He Who Shaped Souls To His Whim. If you made it this far, you are worthy of a Deal : take only what you can carry. Then go. Never return. For beyond these doors there is nothing but death and despair. This is the last and ONLY mercy that I shall grant you." "Well, that's a peculiar curse !" the elder employer noted, "Most of the time they say 'touch my stuff and die a horrible death !'" "That's because it's not a curse." TT replied, "It's an example of Contract magic. An old, very complex system that, if done right, has the power to bind gods." "Well, all the gods they could bind are probably long dead by now." the younger employer stated before motioning the workers to cart off as much as they could. Ten minutes later, they all came back to reload. "What are you doing ?!" TT exclaimed as she tried to shoo them back, "By returning, you broke the deal, and invoked the penalty !" "Don't worry about it." the younger stated, "All our workers have protective amulets that prevent any outside spell from targeting them. They can loot this place without fear of repercussions." TT was about to voice an objection when one fully loaded worker crossed the blue obsidian line. He screamed and staggered, before falling to the floor as a faint shadow engulfed him. The gold coins were cursed with a life drain spell. Individually, they couldn't do much harm. But the combined power of hundreds at once was quite effective - he was reduced to a barely alive, desiccated husk lying on the floor within seconds. The others were soon to follow. "What's that sound ?" the older employer asked, "It sounds like coins falling." It was. All the coins they had taken before poured through the door, bounced across the slime pool and piled upon the cursed workers. Ending their lives. But the worst was yet to come. The gold coins piled upon the corpses began to liquify without heat and form around the workers' remains. They arose as relentless zombies encased in magical golden armor. Their only mission : eliminate intruders. Their baleful red gaze fell first upon the uncle and nephew that hired them when they were alive, then onto Tongue Twister. Determining that TT was the greater threat, they all turned towards her, and started shambling her way.
  2. After wiping her hooves at the door, Tongue Twister looked around. "This is ... a fairly impressive 'starter lair'." she noted to herself upon seeing the NON-decrepit state of the interior, and all the books. Judging from the field of odd plants outside and the alchemy equipment, she figured Dark is probably a 'mad scientist' or 'angry vigilante' type of villain, since those types tend to make their own equipment. And being out here in the swamp, well away from town stops nosy ponies from interfering with this work. And gives a bit of lead time to get to town for help in case something goes wrong or escapes. "Some rope, a canteen, compass, climbing tools, bedrolls. That's the standard Adventurer's Starter Pack from O & O." she chuckled to herself and smiled. Then she noticed the rose in the cage. It wriggled and squirmed. "Excuse me, Dark Core ?" she asked, pointing to the caged plant from a safe distance away, "Did you find this plant, or did you create it yourself ? It looks a bit like the Vampire rose dad keeps around his warehouse to keep vermin away."
  3. "Yes. We are 'mul.ti.lin.gual' " TT replied, "We can speak and read almost every language known. All it takes to become a linguist is the desire to put in a lot of time to study and learn languages and other cultures. And get a few highly advanced academic degrees from schools. Your mom speaks Griffish ? That's not a common language. Nor an easy one. We are impressed." Another adult showed up ! A pegasus with a lot of bottles and some exquisite bleach work. And one that Dark Core knows, apparently. Judging by the numerous secured bottles, he's either an alchemist or a potion maker. Securing all those bottles doesn't sound like a problem - Dark Core has room in his cape, Dizzy has 'bag space for miles', and she can make some room in her wagon if needed. As a pegasus like her mom, Tongue Twister didn't like overly closed or tight spaces. She tilted her head at Dark Core - that 'cunning linguist' remark stopped being funny when she heard it for the third time. Twenty years ago. "Is he even old enough to know what that wordplay even refers to ?" she mused to herself as she hitched to the wagon and started walking after Dark Core.
  4. Tongue Twister smiled as Muziki - little ones were always a bundle of fun. "A pleasure to meet you as well." she began, "A linguist is someone that studies languages. How to speak them. How they're related to each other. How they change over time. 'Linguist' is not a common word, so we are not surprised you haven't heard it before. You speak Ponish very well; how long has your family been in Equestria ?" she asked. TT thought about it for a bit. "The trees are about the only things that DON'T get up and chase after you. Some of the vines there will grab anyone that passes too close if you're not too careful. Piles of sticks on the ground might just be a resting timberwolf, ready to form up and pursue. Or those stepping stones across a pool might just be a cragadile waiting for a meal to come by. There are a few rather spectacular magical creatures in the Everfree, but if one is careful, they can be avoided. Or outrun. We've even heard that a zebra has been living in there for years with few problems. "
  5. Tongue Twister was slightly surprised that other ponies showed up. She was slightly perturbed by the fact that she was the oldest pony there. Their 'intrepid leader', the one that set up the artifact hunt to the Sea of Ruin - was a unicorn colt. But, then again, Cozy Glow was just a pegasus filly. That nearly ended all magic in Equestria. So it may be best to NOT underestimate him. For now. One adventurer was an extremely exuberant zebra filly with a cutie mark for music. Which seems slightly odd - musicians aren't usually the sort to go off on adventures on a whim. Unless, of course, she's a bard. Then it'd make sense - bards are always looking for new songs to sing, new stories to tell, and new adventures so they can have tales and songs to tell about it. Not sure what to make of the older pegasus colt though. Puberty hits ponies in different ways, but it looks like puberty was using him for a punching bag. Nothing wrong with that. She remembered a cousin that was all knees and elbows for a few months, but she filled out just fine. She listened as Dark Core laid out their possible routes, and thought for a moment. The third option was the worst - chartering an airship to go to anywhere but a city is expensive, and usually needs a week or two (or more) leadtime so a company can find somepony to make the trip. She doubted Dark would have the money on hoof to purchase boarding for himself, much less four ponies. The second option took a bit of a detour to the Crystal Empire. Everypony would need cold weather gear just to make that detour. "What time were you planning to leave ?" TT asked, "One trick to getting through the Everfree forest is to go through as fast as possible during the day. So starting there around dawn would give the most daylight. As a linguist, we've spent months at a time in the Tenochtitlan Basin studying and learning the languages. So at least that part of the journey should be simpler."
  6. Tongue Twister was trotting back to her wagon after visiting the Post Office to see if she had any mail. There were a few job offers that she'll sort through later. She stopped short. There were posters on her wagon ! It had only been a few minutes, and somepony had plastered advertisements on her wagon ! She sighed. "I hope it's not another 'Buy One for the Price of Two !!' sale on widgets ..." she groused to herself as she took down the posters to read them more closely. She quirked an eyebrow upward as she read the notices. "A self proclaimed 'Master of Evil' plans to set off into the Badlands to look for an unspecified relic ? With a departure date changed four times. On a notice written by hoof. And only later decided to 'grant' some sort of incentive to actually go ? That's - a disaster just waiting to happen ! Throwing together a quest like that will usually end in failure; heck, even quests with weeks of prep can end in failure. Most likely, we'd have to send a search and rescue party after him. And 'unspecified relics' can be troublesome. Nine out of ten magical disasters happen when some unfortunate goober finds Something That Should Not Be Found. Hmmm - we could potentially save Equestria from a disaster by going along to keep an eye on things. Well, at least we can write that on the Expense and Reimbursement forms for STAR ... 💲" With that, she put her mail inside a drawer in the wagon and adjusted her heavily enchanted gear : the blue and silver Second Chance cloak to hide her altered wings, her saddlebags, and the four necklaces she'd taken a habit to wearing. Three of them look normal - the 1st place medallion for winning the Running of the Leaves, a small Klein bottle full of a smoky blue liquid, and a good luck scarab necklace she bought while on a 'mission' in Saddle Arabia. The fourth necklace, on the other hoof, was by no means normal. It was a small, roughly cubical thing that looked like somepony was carving something they'd never seen before, without watching what they were doing. It was a Fair Play charm from Tenochtitlan. She put on the harness and pulled her wagon to the northwest exit of Ponyville. "Let the madness commence !"
  7. Dark Core's misadventure sounds like a disaster in the making, and TT (in good conscience), simply can't let that happen. So she'll help where she can. Also curious as to what's going on, and roving equinologists are notoriously curious/nosy ...
  8. Tongue Twister pulled her Vardo into Ponyville. Even after a few days on the road, she was exhausted from a horrible job in Saddle Arabia. So here she was at the Ponyville post office, to see if she had any new job offers in the mailbox. The pickings were very slim, but she wasn't desperate for funds just yet. She had other things to do : go to Las Pegasus to file a report. STAR might want to know that one ancient horror has been sort of dealt with. And she'd heard a rumor that someone was going to search the ruins of the Castle of the Two Sisters. Hope they got someone competent at surveying and archaeology - the last thing anypony needs is for a group of 'brave, stalwart adventurers' to go rampaging through the ruins, ripping it apart looking for treasure, only to have the whole thing collapse just as they 'heroically' escape.
  9. TT thought for a bit. "Yeah. We can just stick a light crystal on the front of a helmet. That should do. Always has before. But there's no way to trail a safety line. So somepony's got to squeeze through the crevice to the end." "That somepony would be you." the younger employer stated, "That IS what you were hired for, is it not ?" TT glared at him for a moment. "Yes, it is. And being the most experienced with this sort of thing points to us going in as well." She thought for a bit. "If we're not back two hours from now, carefully search for us." she stated, before heading in. One hour forty two minutes later : "By the seventh Ring of Raggador, that was HORRIBLE !" Tongue Twister exclaimed as she wobbled into the camp, quite dirty and roughed up. "Did you find a way through ?" the elder employer asked. "Yes." she replied. "And fortunately, nopony else will have to go through that !" she exclaimed as she pulled out a piece of chalk. "Behold ! The Villain's Shortcut !" she stated before whirling once counterclockwise, drawing a perfect circle. Then repeating the action to make a smaller circle inside the previous one. Then drew a few arcane symbols at various points. The elder employer tilted his head at the circles and asked "A thaumaturgic circle ? Where did a pegasus like you learn something like that ?" "We're a linguist." TT replied, "We study ancient languages. Ancient folk wrote about a lot of subjects. Many different cultures had many different ways of using magic. And our dad is a curio merchant that likes to collect strange items and bizarre spells. So we grew up around oddball and forgotten magic." With that, she rummaged inside her vest and pulled out a large glowing crystal, and placed it on one of the symbols. Then reared back and crushed it into dust, causing the rings and symbols to glow. "That gem must have been worth a thousand bits !" the younger employer shrieked. "Fifteen hundred actually." "And you DESTROYED IT ?!" "Yep." "WHY ?!" "To activate the transport circles." Tongue Twister replied, "All types of magic have advantages and disadvantages. The First Magics were versatile : you could do virtually anything you could imagine, as long as the results could be sufficiently defined. The disadvantages are the magic is inefficient, slow, and rather expensive. For somepony that needs to use magic several times a day, it's not worth using that style of magic. But, for normal shlubs that only need a special effect once or twice a year at most, it is, well, adequate." "Was it truly worth the expense to avoid the crevices ?" "We'll let you decide that for yourself !" TT stated with a smug grin as she walked forward, hopped up into the circle while pulling her hooves together, then 'VOOP !'. She dropped through the ground. A few moments later, she and her employers were in a large cavern the size of a buckball field, dimly lit with illumination crystals. The only things in the room were a heavy ornate door in the middle of the wall, the twin of the transport circle TT drew, and two other larger transport circles at each side. "This is a staging area." TT stated as more workers vooped in, "Constructed so workers and equipment could get here without the massive hindrance and delay of the fissure path. Those two other circles were drawn a few millenia ago. Transport circles only work in pairs; one here, the other on the surface. Once work was done in here, all they'd have to do is destroy the matching circles topside, and there is no other way in except the hard way." Her employers looked about. "What were they protecting that needed this much effort ?" the elder inquired. "Not sure. The way to the ACTUAL vault is through those doors." TT replied. "Wait - the ACTUAL VAULT ?!" the younger shrieked, "Then what is all of what we've gone through ?" "The outer perimeter of defenses." TT replied, "The actual vault is the standard cut and dressed stone architecture common to the era." With that, the group opened the door and went inside. It was a small landing with a narrow ledge on this side of a large pool of bubbling, glowing green slime that was brighter than daylight. On the opposite side was another landing, with what looked like huge piles of golden coins and treasures on each side of a door. Above the door acting like a billboard was a dark blue rectangle with gold hieroglyphs, which couldn't be read due to the glare and sheer distance. "Manaluxia algae." TT noted. "Instead of using sunlight like normal plants, it uses ambient mana. The visible light is essentially just a waste product." "Is is dangerous ?" a worker asked, grimacing at the smell that just wafted from the pool. "Not exactly." TT replied, "The algae grows a very thick, slimy coating of mucus around itself. Swimming in it is even more unpleasant than you'd care to imagine. It is very tiring, and with the glow coming from all directions, it becomes hard to tell which way is up. You couldn't see more than a fraction of an inch before your eyes in there. The slime is also mildly digestive." she continued, "You'll develop a rash a few days after exposure. And most of your fur will weaken and fall out. It's not deadly, but very, VERY annoying to deal with. So try to NOT spend any time in the slime pool if you can help it." The younger employer looked confused for a moment. "You said the light it emits is just a waste product. But to get a glow this bright ..." "Yep. We're facing major league magical power." TT interrrupted.
  10. "Well, any ideas about how to get past that seal ?" her younger employer inquired after TT had been investigating an instant photo of the seal for a few minutes. "Despite its immense size, it's just a cylinder lock." she replied, "The key used to fit in that triangular recess right there. But they broke the key off inside the lock ! To ensure any tomb robbers would have a difficult time proceeding further." Her elder employer mused for a bit. "You say it's just a cylinder lock ? Meaning that if the cylinder the lock fit inside could be turned, the lock would open ?" "Yes." she replied, "But getting enough leverage to turn the cylinder in such cramped space will be rather difficult !" "Well, if all that is required is simply turning a cylinder, we should have enough unicorns to do the job." the younger employer stated. "Ah. Good point." TT stated, before asking how far away they could stand and still do the job. Turned out that, with enough lighting, they could all see down to the alcove and just make out the lock. "Do you suspect yet another trap ?" the younger employer inquired as she was still snooping around that seal. "This would be the perfect place for one." TT replied as she retrieved a tool she bought from a dentist friend - a small mirror on a short, thin rod. Just the thing to look behind close or tight corners. "Yep. One more trap." she stated after a few more moments of checking. "There are four very large springs behind this seal. As soon as it's opened, the restraining bars retract, and the springs shove the seal violently forward, shoving anypony standing in the way either down the shaft, or crushing them into the opposite wall. So NOPONY MESS WITH THE LOCK UNTIL WE GET UP THERE !" Once safely on the surface, she stood back while the unicorns in the group focused on turning that cylinder. After a few moments of turning the cylinder with great difficulty, the trap activated, slamming the gigantic metal seal into the opposite wall with enough force to make the ponies topside wobble a bit. Tongue Twister was listening, waiting to hear the sound of the the seal falling into the pit; but all got quiet once the echoes died down. Looking down the shaft showed the seal was embedded in the wall. True, the stone was one of the softest stones, but it was still stone. She headed back down the shaft, and into the alcove where the warning seal used to be. There were four holes on the back wall where the springs powering the trap used to be, and on the ceiling a crack just big enough for a pony to fit inside. "That would be the way to the vault." TT stated, "In order to find the way in, you have to set off the main trap." She investigated a bit, and found the route was truly horrible - the shaft was just barely wide enough for a pony to squeeze through, without a millimeter to spare. No room to flap wings. Or even turn around. And since it meandered in slow curves, there was no way to see what was ahead, so no way to teleport. No way to tell where an unexpected sound came from. Or what made it. Or how badly echoes are altered - a gust of wind could sound like breathing right behind you. No way of knowing how far the shaft went; could be in there for minutes or hours. And with no light, it would be home to any number of spiders, scorpions, centipedes, snakes, or other vermin ready to scamper unseen over your hooves. Or drop on you. There don't need to be any traps in the tunnel, since the intruder's own instincts, paranoia and claustrophobia are the traps. The tunnel will give you the willies so badly that no one would willingly venture into it. "You going to have enough room to use a light crystal or a safety line in there ?" the elder employer asked, looking to Tongue Twister.
  11. Two days later TT was writing down all the measurements she'd taken in her journal, and organizing the rolls of film she'd taken (to be developed later when she had the equipment and time to do it right. The other workers were pulling out buckets full of sand - the quarters were too tight to take more than a little at a time. It was a primitive measure to ensure ponies would have a really hard time reaching the vault proper, but an extremely cheap and effective one. She noted the laborer's safety line on the floor. Not tied to anything. TT sighed. She warned them there might be more traps, but no pony seemed to listen. Suddenly, the worker at the bottom of the shaft screamed, and his safely line began rushing down the hole ! TT just mananged to grab it with her teeth and brace herself for the slide - hooves don't get much purchase on polished stone floors. She managed to catch herself at the lip of the shaft and hold on for a few moments for help to arrive. "What happened ?" she asked the fortunate worker once he'd been pulled up. "I don't know !" he replied while still catching his breath from the fright, "I just relayed up another bucket of sand, then the floor fell away !" Tongue Twister turned on her lamp and tried to look down the shaft. She didn't see the bottom where it should be. So she rummaged through her satchel and pulled out a flash grenade. She centered it in the shaft, then let it fall as she began counting. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. Four seconds. Five - then a flash of light. "Hmm. Distance roughs out to sixteen feet times seconds, squared. Sixteen times twenty five is four hundred feet. More or less." she stated, "The safety rope was only a hundred feet." "So ?" her younger employer asked. "It was another trap." TT replied, "A drop shaft at the bottom of the access shaft. Any worker not tied off would have fallen three hundred feet. We wonder if the bottom of the trap is just sand, stone, a pool of acid, or has metal spikes ..." "WHY do you want to know that ?!" "Morbid curiosity." TT replied as she scribbled a few more sentences into her journal. "I thought you were an expert at this sort of thing !" another laborer stated, "You OBVIOUSLY missed a trap !" Tongue Twister glared at him. "Did we ? Why do you think we insisted on everypony going down the shaft to dig wear a safety tether ? Floor collapses are very common, even if they weren't a purpose-built trap !" Her employers glanced at each other before the elder spoke up "Perhaps you should investigate the site further ? Ensure there are no other traps ?" "Well, that is what you hired us for. Be right back." she replied as she jogged outside, to return a few moments later with a large rectangular suitcase. She opened it. Inside were two crystal balls on a velvet pillow - one bigger than a pony's head, the other the size of an orange. Both had one half painted flat black. She took the smaller one in hoof and held it aloft, moving it around while watching the scene in the larger crystal. It was displaying what the smaller crystal 'saw'. "A remote viewing crystal set ?" the elder employer asked, "Didn't know there was such a thing." "Well, it's a moderately difficult spell, with exacting material components." TT replied, "It's a niche item, so not many ponies would know about it." she continued as she put on a pith helmet, then carefully stuck the smaller crystal into a clamp mounted on the helmet. She lit up an illumination crystal and carefully rappelled down the shaft. About a hundred feet down, she encountered a ring of stones where the floor used to be. There were deep alcoves opposite each other. The one to the back just had old ropes and the dusty remains of chisels and hammers partially buried in sand. The other alcove led to a pair of doors made from a pale greenish-gold metal. The doors were sealed with a pair of thick bars going through a gigantic disk. There was a symbol on the disk. Her employers yelled down to her, asking if she knew what that symbol was. She climbed back up to tell them. It was the sigil of the Unnamed God, Keeper of Secrets and Mysteries. The ultimate 'DO NOT ENTER !' sign. "There must be something really valuable down there !" her younger employer stated with a flicker of greed in his eyes, "Why else go through all this trouble ?" "To protect ponies from something dangerous." TT replied, "A vault can hold many things. Sometimes, it's riches. Other times, it's death and misery." "A vault, you say ?" he asked as he mused about riches beyond imagination. "Yes, a vault !" TT answered. "Most constructions like this are either tombs, temples, or vaults. Temples are places constructed for worship. As such, usually every square inch is decorated with iconography. There is no sign of that here. A tomb is the final resting place of some creature's body. As such, they are usually decorated with stories of the entombed one's life, prayers to the dead and so forth. There is no sign of that here. That leaves vault." she continued, "A place to keep very valuable or very dangerous things. Although at this point it's hard to tell which it is." The younger employer sighed. "Daring Doo never had to deal with stuff like this !" Both Tongue Twister and the older employer sighed. "I keep telling you that those Daring Doo stories aren't real !" the elder said. "Well, that's not entirely true." TT replied, "We've spent most of our career studying the languages of the Tenochtitlan basin. Many of the places in those books exist. So did many of the artifacts. We've seen them, but had the sense to leave them alone. Since, you know, they don't belong to us ! The point isn't that the stories are made up or overly exagerrated - it's that Daring Doo isn't an archaeologist. She's an adventurer. A completely different thing !"
  12. She waved her hoof to dismiss the tulpa, and it dissolved back into mist. And for a very brief moment, it formed into something truly terrifying, but who would care about such things ? She looked down field, estimating the distance, and she continued to muse to herself. TT smiled as she set up the device to toss a pumpkin at the bullseye while quietly singing a song for the Nightmare Night season. She managed to get the angles right, but didn't quite know how strong the launch springs were - the pumpkin hit the target, but well below the bullseye.
  13. "Perhaps." TT replied after a bit of thought, "But after that encounter with Hou Shuren, we may be too foul and toxic for even you." "As for a candy treat ..." she rummaged through her satchel to see if her dad packed any treats (instead of eating all of them). She found a large bag, looked inside, and grimaced. He'd packed animated gummy critters. The candy insects and spiders will animate and skitter away if out of the bag for more than a minute or so. Generally grabbing a piece of candy to take back with them when they returned. "We'll be getting to earning some candy now !" she stated while shoving that bag back into her satchel and backing towards the pumka pults.
  14. TT mused a bit at Luna/'Nightmare Moon' 's question. "Wandering merchants do need to protect themselves from all sorts of things." she finally replied, "Not sure if we have anything for vampire ponies with us ..." She rummaged through her satchel and pulled out a few packages of salt and pepper that you find in at a fast food restaurant. "Well, salt is good against certain kinds of ghosts, but not vampires. We doubt this is sufficient even against a ghost sensitive to it.." she stated. She briefly examined a sphere the size of an apple, with a slide switch and numbers in a ring around its middle, but put it back in - pretty sure a grenade designed to release smoke that irritates the eyes and nose would really be the best thing to use in a friendly crowd. "Ah ! We got it !" she exclaimed before taking a few deep breaths and placing a hoof on her Klein bottle necklace then concentrating for a moment. Thick, dark smoke poured out of the odd bottle and formed a diffuse cloud around TT. Every once in a while, a tiny portion would condense into an eye, which would look around before dissolving back into mist. Occassionally a strand of mist would condense into a long mouth filled with shark-like teeth, only to vanish again. "Would this be sufficient defense against a mere vampire pony ?" Tongue Twister inquired smugly.
  15. "For unique, one of a kind items, you pretty much have to take what you can get." TT replied with a shrug, "So 'no refunds' is sort of standard practice. If a customer notices something wrong with an item, dad will most likely give a discount. But once the sale is made, any and all problems are then the buyer's responsibility. As they say : Caveat Emptor - 'Let the buyer beware.' So far, nearly all of the creatures that bought an 'Alicorn Amulet' from dad are in prison. They tried something nefarious, believingthey were nigh invincible. They weren't. And so were readily caught and arrested. Apparently, the fact the amulet was a fake does not diminish the intent behind using such a thing very much." TT listened to the instructions of the pumka-pult. There were a row of bullseyes set up quite a few dozens of yards away. And nothing behind them - the last thing anypony would want is a stray pumpkin launch splattering against their house. Or going through a window and splattering all over their living room !
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