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Everything posted by Hippo

  1. "Bright morning sun so far and wide... ...uh... ...The greatest feeling of being by yer side!" Applejack finished her improved lyrics at Coloratura's introduction to the morning. She had been working a skillet flipping pancakes. Even though the ingredients for these flapjacks were different than the ones she was used to back at Sweet Apple Acres, they flipped well in the pan all the same. She chuckled. "I don't know, that doesn't sound like too bad a melody does it? What's that now, forty-six songs now? Maybe we don't need any more songs." Applejack made a final flip of a couple pancakes onto a plate and slid it towards her recording partner. She also slid over a bowl of chopped fruits and a glass of apple juice. "Eat up, Rara. Don't worry they're gutton-free or gluten free, or whatever it is your dietician suggested."
  2. Unknowingly missing the ceremony, Fluttershy continued to be enamored with the large security creature who posed himself at the front door. "A game?" Fluttershy questioned. Considering the strangeness of the request, it wasn't like Fluttershy to miss out on the wedding, but she had become so distracted with the sphinx that she was willing to play along for whatever education of his kind would bring to her. "Um. Sure! What kind of game?"
  3. "Mount Aris!?" Silverstream exploded again. "I'm from Mount Aris! Well, actually I'm from Seaquestria which is in the sea adjacent to Mount Aris, but my family is from Mount Aris! Do you have any hippogriff friends?"
  4. Zap began to drag his hooves and drag his wings. Now that he saw that his mother had no intention of him learning how to cloud bust today, he wasn't so excited to go anymore. Regardless, he obeyed his orders to go to the washroom. He watched his sister clean herself, with slight distain for her attitude, but was really just deflated at the idea of not being able to cloudbust today. After Ambrosia dried her hooves and made her way back downstairs, Zap laziness rinsed his hooves in the sink and dried them off with small amounts of effort. He made his way back down the stairs but stopped short of the front door where everyone was gathering to leave. He decided to make an unhappy stare at his mother, so that she could understand his mood when she next looked at him. Today's mood was now grumpy.
  5. Being the boss was fun. It was also extremely exhausting. Considering Zap had had a lot of fun overall today, after his excited little spin and tumble, his mood kicked in to remind him of how much energy he might actually have in store, and while his happiness didn't suffer, his ability to zip around like he had was beginning to wane. He slowly got up from his dizziness and responded to Gallus. "I'm okay. I think I want to take a break." He took off his whistle and started making his way down stairs, leaving the mess around the room behind for the adults to clean up, if they so chose. Zap's deflated energy seemed like a problem, although it wasn't obvious if he felt bad about something and wanted to leave the situation to avoid embarrassment. Silverstream stopped when Zap got up and headed downstairs. She shrugged and looked at Gallus. She reached out a claw to help him up. "Is he alright?" Silverstream asked herself out loud.
  6. And older Remington danced with Moonlight momentarily, but before long, the floor fell out from both of them, sending them hurling into an unknown abyss. As they fell, Remington become devoured by a shadow that kept him from being seen by Moonlight. Eventually, the abyss below brightened up, and gravity slowed to a halt where it met the ground on the side of the road in downtown Manehatten. Manehatten looked normal, faceless ponies walking around being rude to each other, the light from the sun peaking through the large buildings that towered over the streets. A small pony jump out of a dress store and stared. "Valen! Are you coming in or what? The competition is about to start." She danced with Remmy for some time before it felt like in a moment the scene changed. Manehattan. Loud, ugly, beautiful, striking, distracting, wonderful Manehattan in all of its variations and forms repulsively gaudy and seductively promising. Kind of like Valen, who turned when the other pony called his name. The fashion-obsessed colt smiled, though his brows were furrowed. "Oh, how exciting. Yes yes, I'll be there in a minute," Valen said as she adjusted her mask, "but I'm not Valen," she continued as she made sure the mask fit snug, "I'm not," she said with a deep breath, "I am..." She shook her head. Valen had more important things to worry about than a fraying mask. He had a modeling job, pretending to be somepony while pretending to be somepony was very hard work! Once inside, several young ponies were lined up waiting their turn to walk onto a stage on the other side of a large curtain that spanned the room. They were in some kind of backstage. "Valen! Glad you could finally make it." A filly said sarcastically. Her smarmy attitude stained her otherwise dazzling attire. "We're already for the show." She looked him up and down. "You're going to put something on, right?" Valen would be offended by the attitude but it was the attitude that so many top flight models had that he couldn't begrudge them. She could, but he couldn't. After all, they were all living a lie, weren't they? Of course their masks weren't like her masks. She made sure of that, as she resettled the Valen mask on his head. "Just got caught up looking fabulous," he said with a wink, though the mask didn't move. She moved to examine the dresses. the beautiful, beautiful dresses! "My my, how everything looks so divine. A real shame it is that I'm not Valen. I'm not. I'm..." he continued before picking out a dazzling little black number. "Where's Remington?" She asked nonchalantly as she took her place in line, in avery conversational tone. "I'm beautiful. I'm not Valen. I'm a liar. Oh, look at your mane. You're going to knock them dead! I'm not dead." The cluster of young fillies were getting ready to show off their outfits on a runway ono the other side of a curtain. They didn't pay Valen much mind, seemingly trying to disassociate with him for unknown reasons. And older filly stepped forward in front of the models and looked them over. She nodded patiently. "Ok. Good, good. Everypony get together, Miss Prim Hemline would like a word before the show starts. Oh, here she is now. Listen up, everypony." Stomping sounds grew louder and louder as a pony entered the room. An older fashion pony towered over the young ponies, intimidating to even the bravest of fillies. She stared at the foals, what they were wearing, how they were practicing their poses, and inspected their style. She huffed, and the screamed her demands. "Only bangers from now on! Only angry mental moans!" Prim stooped down and eyed a filly wearing a dress fashioned with cheap buttons that easily fell off. "You foal I'm rich!" Prim tore off the cheap dress and threw it into the corner where a pony skeleton was reclining. "Splattered the bag, emptied the crypt!" Another filly was trying to straighten out her dress, which was heavily starched and stiff. "You foal, I'm rich!" Prim tugged on the dress angrily, causing it to frill up and dance in the artificial wind generated from a fan across backstage. "Flap like a flag, script-ed to flip!" Prim stormed away and waited for the show to start to see the show she predicted would be a disaster to begin. The other older pony spoke up. "This is a very important show, fillies. Don't mess this up." She eyed Valen for a moment, and then walked away. Meanwhile, the fillies were lined up backstage waiting for their turn to walk the catwalk. Valen was used to a number of things. The first, he knew to expect others to disassociate from her. After all, he was always lying to them about who she was. First it was out of a sense of feeing like a failure, then it was out of fear of what they would think if they knew the truth. So he didn't really pay them much mind, and she allowed herself to keep working on making himself look the best she could in the dress. The second was being judged. He liked that. She felt like she did well under judgement so when the sentient fire breather that was Prim Hemline did her thing, he remained confident. And the mask, as masks are, stayed the same, belying any confusion inside as she waited for the show to start. "oooh, maybe Remington is watching and I'm me!" She said excitedly to one of the other models, not that she cared. During the nervous underpinnings of the backstage and before the shows music began, a young filly trotted over to Valen to talk to him in order to express her subtle contempt for him. "Valen, its funny to see you here! Never thought you'd return once I took the spotlight." She eyed him around in a condescending way, inspecting the garb he was wearing. "How long could you keep up with it, before you jacked too many licks and caught something you couldn't kick?" She said with sass. The music started playing and the young models started filing out to the stage one by one. And unfortunately for them, the audience was not receiving them well. Some were booing softly, and occasionally scraps of waded paper were thrown onto stage. The antagonistic filly looked out on stage and smiled back at Valen. With malice, she expressed her desire to see Valen in a tough spot. "It's no surprise you came and begged me for a second chance. Pathetic hat in hoof, now that I'm bulletproof." As the audience continued to display their displeasure for the show, Prim yelled in anguish to the remaining models, "Give me substance, give me something!" Behind the curtain, the young malicious filly got behind Valen and pushed him onto the stage. Valen's blood ran cold as this nemesis of his started to pick at her, every little word and action having some hidden meaning that only now could he imagine. She came in leaden with the sense of impending failure that dominated the mask-wearer, the liar, at all times, hidden beneath whatever front was applied that day whether it was mascara, blush, or a bruised ego. She wanted to respond as he felt one of the strings snap, wanted to respond with some strength, but could only reply meekly and defensively: "You foal, I'm rich..." After all, how could she fight the filly who had shown him how far he needed to go to be her true self? How long could the mask keep up with all of it? The filly pushed the liar and the charlatan out in front of the crowd and he nearly tripped before instinct took over. She was a professional, knew what to show and how to show it. This was the model Valen wished he could have been, before she proved to the world he was a bucking joke, before she had his chance and choked. Before she tried to pull one over on them all. Honestly, he'd always known she'd prevail. It's biology and Valen was born to fail. The mask's strings broke and Valen's face, long forgotten, started to fall as the model that was Moonlight continued to put on her show. As soon as Valen began walking the catwalk, with his mask and outfit on, the audience paused and stared. They were perplexed by what they had seen. It was a break from the catastrophe before him, but what it would become was unclear. After a long pause, the music stopped and the lights froze. Eventually, a spectator pony in the darkness expressed her viewpoint on the most recent development. "Booo!!!" After the pony yelled her displeasure, everypony else followed suit, and began throwing trash and vegetables at Valen. "Boooooooo!" "Booooooo!" "Boooooooooooo!" The house lights in the auditorium were fully raised, and Prim Hemline was seen standing up and storming out in frustration. From behind the curtain, the young filly who taunted Valen earlier walked up to him. She seemed to revel in his misery, as if she felt slighted by his existence. She felt Valen was a threat to her reality, and thus decided to teach him her dominance. "This is the moment you wish you'd woke, before you proved to the world you're a stupid joke, before you had your chance and totally choked." The filly raised her voice in slight anger. "Before you tried to do me over." The ceiling of the auditorium began to collapse, and panels and lighting fixtures were falling onto the stage, smashing holes into the catwalk and causing damage around them. The rival filly trotted around Valen during the commotion and taunted him more. "Honestly, you've always known I'd prevail." She leaned in and eyed his nether region with a smirk. "It's biology, and you were born to fail." Valen had continued to model for a bit as the trash and vegetables flew in, trying her best to do a good job. She was so good. He was not so good. He was failing. And within moments it all came crashing down just as Valen did, falling on and crushing an orange and laid out on his back as the crowd stormed out. As Prim Hemline stormed out. As Valen was left exposed in the lights for everything she wasn't and he was, mask-less and true while still living a lie. Then she came and turned the screws on him as the auditorium came down around them, the facade that was his aborted career crashing down around him as the sinister voice spoke and spake and let him know the truth ten times over with every word that came venomously out of her. Whimpering, scared, confused, he simply crossed his back legs and tried to stand up, tripping on her fraying dress as the stage itself started to fall away from him.
  7. Silverstream was stunned for lots of reasons, not the least of which was that a friend of hers not known for swimming found himself bubbling up and into her newly acquired underwater sphere. It would kind of perturb her that she couldn't necessarily get away from her friends because she was leaving such a mess in her wake, but the jokes from them disarmed any ability for her to be angry. She rolled her eyes at the idea that Sandbar was currently being digested in Smolder's belly. "Really!? No, you're joking! Um, yeah. This is a place I found under the school about a week ago." Silverstream realized there was no easy way to explain this. Fortunately for her, she loved explaining things, and would proceed to go on a long tangent while in a dark underwater cave with only small glow stones lighting the room. In time, everyone's eyes would adjust. "So, for about a month I've been having a problem. I love being at the school and I love making new friends and learning about new things. But I realized that some day it'll all end, and we'll all be on our own, maybe even without each other. And it scared me. So I went to Councilor's Starlight's office to talk to her about it, and she recommended to me that I should make the most of it by trying to make as many connections as possible to improve the lives of the students that are here, and students that will come in the future." Starlight had actually suggested that times would change and thought Silverstream could use her energetic energy for the school, since she loved being apart of it. "She also told me I should live here!" She did not, however, tell her she could live here indefinitely. She implied that some student aides may become full time faculty even after they graduate, and Silverstream interpreted it as she could live here if she started helping others. "So I found this underwater area and decided to pull out some of the water with the bubble hose we used in Professor Pinkie Pie's workshop last Tuesday. And well... here I am!" Silverstream said sheepishly. She knew her idea was awesome, but having to audibly explain it to her friends made her self-conscious of the reality of the project. She curled her ears back threw her fins up in an attempt to gain sympathy for her ambition.
  8. Silverstream carefully listened to the shy pony while she slowly danced her tailfin to the subtle changes in the lake's temperature. When Aquaria seemingly finished her short explanation, Silverstream showed her excitement without fail. "You're from Haywaii!? That's so awesome! I've never met anycreature from Haywaii before! Or any pony for that matter." Silverstream swirled around a couple times before settling back and rubbing her neck. "But uh, where is Haywaii?" Despite genuinely being excited to meet someone from a different place, Silverstream felt embarrassed she had never heard of this place before. Just when she thought she had covered the entire map of Equestria, another place was put before Silverstream. There was so much in this world for her to explore, and there would always be more. And today, that exploration would come to her.
  9. Silverstream hung on every word, and once the stutters were done, she expressed her gratitude. "Oh, wow! You have a seapony mom!?" Silverstream leans into Aquaria's ears. "Do I know her? Do they live in Seaquestria?" Silverstream gasped. "Are we cousins!!??!?" The fish around reacted to the watery motions she was making with her fins and tail. "I have so many questions! But before we get to that, what are you doing down here? How did you get here? We're a long way from the ocean. Do you live around here?" Silverstream never introduced herself. Maybe once her curiosity was sated would she ever think to do so without being asked.
  10. Silverstream slowly swam around them, examining the uniqueness of her features. "You're amazing! But... what are you? Have pegasus ponies been able to breathe and talk underwater all this time and I didn't know about it?" Silverstream feared embarrassment from being left out of a common anatomical knowledge. She rubbed her head with a hoofin in thinking about what she was seeing. "You're some kind of seapony with extra legs, maybe?" Silverstream thought it best she keep playing the guessing game, since the shy creature wasn't immediately willing to introduce herself so far. However, anytime they would interrupt Silverstream's rambling to cut to the chase would be fine by her. "Did Headmare Twilight perform an experimental spell on you?"
  11. The swish of water alerted Silverstream to turn towards the movement of what looked like a... pony? And behind the pony was a disgruntled octopus shaking his displeasure with his tentacles. Silverstream swam closer to the pony in the water to get a good look. Risking scaring her again, she leaned in and noticed the gills along her neck. "You're a seapony!? But where's your fin? And you have wings? I don't have wings. Well, I do have wings but not like those. I have feathered wings when I'm a hippogriff. See I was born a seapony and then turned into a hippogriff, it's a long story, but WOW!" Silverstream couldn't help her excitement grow. Discovering new things and new creatures was one of her favorite joys in life. Hopefully for her visitor, it didn't scare her. "So I see you have a mouth. Do you talk, too?" Silverstream pried, hoping the curiosity can be reciprocal.
  12. Zap took any comparisons of him to his rainbow mother to be a compliment. Because she was the best. Except if he was with Applejack, then she was the best. If both of his mothers were with him, he need not worry because they would face each other in a best-off, in which Zap would slip away unnoticed to do his own things that he is best at. Once back at the orchard, Zap did his best to pretend like he didn't have more chores to do and called on Jack, his puppy he got for Hearth's Warming a year and a half ago. "Jack! Come 'ere boy!" Zap grabbed a stick on the ground and flew up above where Jack would show himself, just outside a doggie door to the inside. Zap threw the stick as far as he could. "Get it!"
  13. Silverstream started humming to herself a song her mother sang to her when she was really little. Whenever Silverstream got sick or had a sore gill, she was comforted by the presence of her mother and the song that always came with her care and attention. Whenever she heard the song, it reminded her of home. Today she recited the melody as the bubbles continued to fill the artificial cavern, thinking to herself about how she might decorate it, where she would put her belongings, and what colors she would paint it, if any. When she started humming the second verse of the song, she heard an avian gasp for air, followed by the sound of Gallus comically making his reaction known. She spun around as a seapony and faced him, holding her tail up to her chest like she was covering something up. "Gallus! Wha- what are you doing here!? Were you following me!?" Behind him came Smolder, who popped out of the water and started looking around in the very dimly lit dome. "Smolder!? You, too?" How long have you been following me?"
  14. Silverstream swam after the creature who swam away. It seemed she had spooked them, but she didn't mean to frighten. She swam around the rocks and lakebed she knew so well and looked for the obvious places to hide in. "Did they swim out?" She thought out loud. Her blue fins slow-danced in the calm lake water as she looked around wondering where the timid creature had gone.
  15. Silverstream finished cleaning the cave and leaving reusable materials behind in their place and started walking towards the mouth of the cave. The morning waves crashed their reminder of where they were. The breeze was refreshing and smelled of algae and fish as it poured crosswind of the cave. Silverstream held her wings up to test the wind before darting into it. Once out of the cave, she unfolded her wings again to send her higher. She looked back to see Gallus follow her and then she responded to his question while maintaining a light flight tempo. "My dad?" She rolled her eyes. "Is really energetic! Everyone jokes that I get it from him and not Mom. He didn't want to stay in the water once we were allowed to go back to Mount Aris. My brother and I stayed with Mom most of the time, but we spent time with Dad often enough before I went to school. Terramar told me he hated having to choose, but then realized they he could just do both. And he's old enough now, he can take care of himself." Silverstream paused. "I think." Ahead of the two flight buddies was the incline of Mount Aris. Having already left the oceanside and flown over the port town, they followed the lonely path up to the main city. The path was small and overgrown because it was only used commonly by flightless tourists who added Mount Aris to their list of destinations. A large stone wall used in ancient times and still used today encircled the city, which for a time protected it from historic foes during battles long since been forgotten. Today, they act as a statement of hippogriff architecture and accomplishment. As the two neared the city, Silverstream had to get a reaction from Gallus. She knew he had seen it in books, and even seen it from a distant last night at dusk. But when one got this close to the mountain, the walls had a sense of making you feel less significant the more you approached topside. "So!!? Whatdaya think!?"
  16. Zap began prancing in place with a wide smile. He was having fun ordering others around. It was as much fun as it had always imagined it would be. No wonder Mom likes being Mom. While the two were finishing their orders, Zap started chasing his tail to add to his own entertainment. Anyone getting a view of the three through the window would be completely confused as to what was going on. Before long, Zap started getting dizzy, slowed his spin, and stumbled to a fall. Silverstream finished her jumps fairly quickly. They were short bounds after all, not aggressive high jumps. She could feel a little burn in her ankles, but she was ready for the next phase of the workout. But as soon as Zap fell from his dizziness, Gallus seemed to be struggling with his wing-ups. "Gallus are you alright?"
  17. Zap slurped and gulped and licked and chugged. He did not mind making a mess, but would generally keep his place clean, at least when one of his mothers was looking. After hearing his sister make an open jab at him, he took it upon himself to give her question a proper answer. "Oh, I'm hungry, I just like to save my energy so I can be fast when I'm awake!" He began chewing with his mouth open at her, making quick exaggerated chew noises as he did so. He then drank a large swig of milk, sat back and belched. The amount of noise that a little colt like Zap could make was pretty incredible, even to him. And he would flaunt that talent whenever given the chance, to whomever would be entertained by it. When he heard his mother respond to his excitement, he paused, swallowed clear and asked, "Heading to town? Is that where the cloud busting exercise is? Don't they usually do it on the outskirts?"
  18. She took a large swallow of her own saliva and made her mouth so dry, her squeaks from her voice sounded wheezy. But she quickly gathered composure once she realized the creature was reactionary and non-hostile. Her eyes grew large as she looked around Nilaavin curiously. "I've... I've never seen a sphinx before. You're such a large creature, you must need a lot of food to keep that tummy satisfied." Fluttershy examined him like a piece of meat. A piece of meat she appreciated and found interesting like few others could at least, but she could not hold back her curiosity. "No wonder the Prince was so eager for me to see you. He didn't mention you were so large though. Are sphinxes usually this big?" Fluttershy piped down when she looked up at Nilaavin, who could only hide his intimidating-looking teeth from behind a wall. She lowered herself again. "Oh my gosh, sphinx isn't an offensive word is it. Would you rather be called something else?" Fluttershy through her fear did her best to hold her intuition on how to properly take care of creatures on an emotional level, sentient or not.
  19. Applejack continued her pace with Coloratura, holding a reply after her musical friends explained herself. After a few dozen strides, she responded. "Well I think that's just dandy. I thought we was about ta record some songs or somethin', but if this is what you need to do, then go for it. I don't really feel like runnin', so I'll head inside the next lap around and make a nice drink for you when you're ready to come back in. And I'll go tune my guitar. I think one a Aunti Golden Delicious' cats messed with the strings." She said all this with barely a hesitation in her breathing and without breaking a sweat. Once the track met the path back to the studio home, Applejack peeled off it, slowed to a trot and entered back into the musician's large villa. She walked up stairs and started strumming her guitar and listening for casual imperfections.
  20. Zap Apple gave a wing-aided jump up to the plate of cake his aunt was giving him. He eagerly grabbed it and continued to flutter a glide down and away to begin his execution of devouring his slice of the wedding dessert. As if he was hiding something, he kept his wings up to guard off any intruders on his piece of pie. "Why, thank you Apple Bloom!" Fluttershy said softly. "Oh, Allie, Crocky, and their little one Tator joined the sanctuary last Friday. They were a little scared but they are fine now." Fluttershy giggled in between her explanation at the thought of the behavior of the younger animals that find their way to her temporary custody. "Little Tater started making friends with baby elephant Ellie when Ellie was trying to bathe in the water. Hehe. Tator spit water at her to try and help." Fluttershy stopped breathing normally and chuckled as her sense of humor overtook her story. Remington thought it strange that Moonlight was having trouble breathing while trying to respond to what he had said. The drink was probably the cause. Or maybe it just traveled down the wrong tube. When she reacted to what he had said about his old friend, it was obvious to him she didn't hear his name correctly. So Remington decided to make sure she understood. "Valen. It's Valen." He looked into her eyes and lifted his chin so that she could see the enunciations. "Val. Lin. Valin." He removed his stern corrective expression and took a casual sip of his drink, smacked his lips a little and said, "Mmm, it is good."
  21. Silverstream towed the hose underwater, first in light of sun piercing through the water, but then into the darkness of the lake one would have to feel around in order to know where the rocks were. She swam down, across, and then upwards into a cavity that seemed to host a large cul-de-sac of space. Once there, she unhooked the nozzle of the hose and air bubbles began to pour into the cave, creating a pocket of breathable pair at the top of it. After a few moments, the air pocket was big enough for her to pop her head into, and test the environment. It was dark and dank, but her hippogriff nature could tell one could indeed breathe down here. As the air bubbles continued to pour upward into the pocket, Silverstream wondered what kinds of things she could put around the cave in order to make sure that lightning was not a problem. Because without the sun, it was pretty dark down here.
  22. Silverstream minded her own business looking at the different bits of information in her book when suddenly she heard watery voices coming from the depths of the lake. From inside the cave, the bubbling voices seemed odd. They sounded much like the ones you'd hear in Seaquestria when seaponies were talking underwater around those out of the water. But this wasn't Seaquestria and there weren't any seaponies besides Silverstream. Were there? Silverstream dropped her book, and popped her head into the water from the airy cave to see if she could see where the voices were coming from. In the distance, she could see a pony talking to fish that were curious about her existence. Silverstream gasped air bubbles out of her mouth, but then took a deep breath of water. She directed her friendly water-filled voice towards the stranger. "Who are you, and..." Silverstream stared at her lack of fins. "What are you!?"
  23. As Apple Bloom explained who Zap Apple was, he perked up when she mentioned how much of a troublemaker he was. He giggle maniacally, stood up on his hind legs, and started making flatulent noises using the pit of one of his front legs. When Apple Bloom changed her tune and suggested that Zap would be well behaved, Zap paused silently, and then continued to make more flatulent noises, laughing while doing so. Zap wasn't really sure what to make of Flurry Heart. Even his aunt seemed to be perplexed on the proper way to address them. It was like talking to Princess Twilight Sparkle, except the princess was less kind and smaller in size. Instead of pondering it too much, Zap mostly resorted to just being himself, constantly looking around at things to distract him from the moments of boring things older ponies talked about.
  24. It was indeed geeky stuff. Though it wouldn't be a big deal for Moonlight to witness just how far down the path of comic book fandom Remington had gone, it was likely in his best interest to keep it to himself considering how well this evening had gone. Moonlight would find out in time what his primary interests were, but him explaining the detailed fantasy and lore of his favorite magical girl action comic book stories would have to wait another night. Remington kept the books and magazines out of sight as if he was embarrassed by them, but he honestly just wanted the momentum of this personal night between them to stay focused. "It's uh, it's nothing. Listen, let's just get cracking then on the studying." Remington put the box away, took a drink of his grape-flavored soda, and opened his book to the page he would need to study on. He shifted through a few notes and started detailing his task. "So we're on chapter thirteen which is all about customer service in retail, but the lectures are really about how to treat people when dealing with priced goods. It kind of makes sense, but the complexity of making a deal while being generous is something the professor would always stress and I just never made the right connections." Remington began reading. "Like right here it says the customer is always right. Does that mean that if I'm talking to someone I need to be generous to, that they are always right? What if they are wrong? What if I don't think they deserve being generous to?" Remington was facing his book, eyes darting around the text to look for clues to help his confusion, with not much success. A few seconds later, Remington noticed the typical perky responses from his new girlfriend were not happening. "Moonlight?" Remington looked towards the bed where Moonlight was lying and noticed that she had lost consciousness, the rest of her cherry soda staining the floor by the bed. Remington stood up shocked and jumped to her side. She looked peaceful. "Moonlight, can you hear me?" She wasn't responsive, and Remington was confused as to why. But she had just taken a huge swig of the soda she grabbed. Remington started going through his mother's gift box and pulled out the letter he neglected to read. It read: 'Hey Kiddo, I hope everything is going well at school. Here are some comics that came in the mail and some snacks. The red soda has a minor sedative in case your narcolepsy is causing you to have sleepless nights. Love you! XOXO' Remington turned white. His girlfriend of five minutes was just inadvertently drugged by his mother in his dorm room. A short amount of panic started to make it's way into his mind, but he slowly calmed down when he realized that cooler heads would prevail here. Moonlight would probably only be out for an hour or two, maybe longer if she is a real lightweight. Until then, Remington would need to make sure she is breathing properly and that no one sees her like this as suspects something worse. He grabbed a spare blanket from, his closet and covered Moonlight on the bed with it, making sure she doesn't get too cold. "I guess we'll just hang out then." He smiled, still having to deal with the reality of the situation. He sat back down at his desk and started looking at his book, but after a few moments got bored. The room was quiet, Moonlight's graceful snoring filling the room with the only ambient noise. But Remington decided to break the silence. "Let's listen to some more music." He suggested to his sleeping companion. Remington pulled out a record with the name 'Afterburner' by Prance Gavin Prance and set it up on the turntable. Once the machine was rolling, the music started. He turned it down so that it would not be too loud for his neighbors. As it played, Remington smiled at Moonlight. He admitted to himself she was adorable in his bed. "When you get up, Moonlight, we'll continue our studying." He stared for a few more seconds at her, then started meditating on the music, bobbing his head slightly to the beat.
  25. After a few silent moments, Remington's voice could be heard overhead, as if it was in the air above Moonlight. His voice echoed hauntingly, and spoke with urgency. "Moonlight? Moonlight can you hear me?" A few moments of silence later, a door opened not too far from where Moonlight was standing and searching. The door was embedded into a foothill, as if somepony had built a small home into the hillside on top of the bluff, but it seemed to have just appeared out of nowhere. Light from inside showed brightly. And then suddenly, the clear night sky was completely enveloped in dark clouds, and it soon began to rain and claps of thunder beginning to warn of the deluge to come. Moonlight looked around in confusion and terror as Remington's voice echoed facelessly across her whole world. He seemed scared and that only made the situation more desperate, more dire. "Remington? Remington, where are you?!" She asked in a clear panic as she wheeled around, the beatific vision of peace and serenity that had existed atop the world becoming a prison of height and emotion. It was during one of these spins and swings that were draining her of her balance that she saw a white light. She stopped as best she could and gave it a good look, her desperate mind racing for some sense of normalcy. It was a door. An open door. She was too afraid initially to approach it. None of this could be real. This felt like one of those fairy tales or fables she was told in her youth, when Valen tried to be a thing. Was this punishment for sneaking out? The karmic values upheld in those olden tales didn't seem to hold much weight in the modern world but as the weather turned against her in a final act of cruelty this paradise threw her way, she decided that something must be wrong with her because those olden tales held a great deal of weight now. She ran towards the door and the light, and the waterlogged unicorn breached it panting in more fear than exertion. Rain kept pouring from the sky, drenching everything as if it had been wet for hours. Before Moonlight approached the door, a dark figure stepped into the doorway from the inside. It took the shape of a pony, but was wearing a cloak and holding a lantern that lit the now dark stormy environment. From just inside the door away from the downpour, the unknown pony figure said aloud to Moonlight in a masculine voice, "You are welcome here but you must come alone. You know everything is everywhere is home." The dark figure moved aside to let Moonlight walk in, posing as inviting, but remaining shadowy and obscure. Moonlight made her way at a gallop as the weather took a turn for the worst. In her way, a stallion? A colt? A figure? Her brain had trouble truly putting it together. All she knew was that it wasn't Remington, whose concerned voice still echoed in the over-active recess of her imaginative mind. The light washed him out only vaguely, as if half-painted with a spotty brush. Nonetheless, she made her way in. She didn't know why she wasn't afraid of this menacing figure, and she certainly didn't know what he was saying, but she did know that she didn't know where Remington was and that was a trite more important. She whipped her mane back and forth to get some of the water out, shivering down her body to do the same as she turned to the mysterious figure with a look of panic only scarcely concealed by an attempt at being authoritarian. "Where is Remmy? What did you do to Remmy?!" The dark hooded figure motioned to Moonlight to follow him into the next room. When they were both in the next room, he held a lantern up and pointed at the wall. The wall was poorly painted, with several chips and scratches in it with seemingly no attempt to repair it. But, also painted on the wall was a black symbol of a theater mask. The floor by the wall was covered in several masks a pony would wear for all different kinds of occasions. Some of the masks looked like they were intended for Nightmare Night, while others seemed to be ambiguous and creatively odd. Without warning, the mysterious pony exited the room leaving Moonlight by herself and asked her, "Do you see it?" The door to the room slammed shut, and the door and all four walls around the room fell away and revealed that the room was indeed a large cage, with vertical metal bars. The dark figure was joined by several other mysterious stranger ponies, all who seemed to have glazed eyes. They approached Moonlight and reached into the cage with their dirty hooves. In unison, they seemed to chant to her, "Prisoner, prisoner, we found you. We feel you breathing. Are you there? Can you hear us calling you? We'll never judge you." The creepy audience seemed entertained by the exhibit, having a cheery and playful tone as they reached towards Moonlight. Moonlight was a filly of many tremendous talents. The least of those was her patience which was being sorely tested by this strange, weird figure. She was happy to be out of the rain- she seemed to dry very quickly, Twilight thank her coat- but his weird evasiveness wasn't holding her pleasure much. And so, she did the thing she did when she didn't get what she wanted. She whined. Wait, she didn't do that when she didn't get her way, did she? "Whaaaaaat happened to Reeeemmmmmyy?" She whined and stomped her hooves lightly. Gone was her anger, her emotion switching on a dime in an odd fashion. She continued her pleading, because she could so rarely get things done her way otherwise. "Pleaaase, like, just tell me where he is, pleaaass-" she was interrupted by the switching scenery. Gone? The masks that lined the walls and the strange art that her mind could scarcely understand let alone fully appreciate. It was a strange mix that she was not smart enough- she certainly felt stupid- to fully grasp. But instead of that, a cage. A room sized cage. And a bunch of creepy ponies saying creepy things reaching in, creepily. It was creepy. But for some reason, she didn't respond to it with fear. She was being watched from every angle, all of her audience wanting a piece of her. And so she did the one thing she knew to do with a crowd. She posed. She walked up and down a runway only she could see. She lost control and played her part, though she asked at the end of every walk, "where is he?" In a pleasant, inquisitive tone. No anger. No worry. Just a model strutting herself, and vaguely aware that she was here for a reason. Between Moonlight's catwalk turns, the dark figure stood in the way of the unicorn's path. When she approached with her seductive attempt at reasoning, the dark figure paused her with his hoof, and then took his hood off. It was Remington. He appeared as a much older pony, as if he had traveled from the future, adorning facial hair and a posture that lacked the youthful energy students at the School of Friendship are known for. He did not smile, but he seemed pleased to see her. He began speaking words that seemed to be an attempt at making sense of what is happening. But he kept it simple. "Nothing's in a vacuum. Space-time has no value. We're all connected on this wave." Remington held his hoof out, with the intent for Moonlight to lend hers. It was Remington! Her Remmy was not so young anymore, it looked like. It seemed like a lifetime ago that she had entered into this weirdo place looking for him after he...vanished, was it?...but her joy all came back. She didn't know what it was about him, but he was really mature. Maybe it was the utter nonsense he was speaking that totally made sense or maybe it was the fact that the audience left. She didn't know whether or not this was right or wrong. All she knew was that she dug it. She reached out and gave her Remmy her hoof and pulled him into a big hug, then began dancing with him. Something weird and ominous was about to happen of course, but in this moment it was dandy.
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