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Posts posted by Bellosh

  1. aaDdTV6.png


    Following the introductory question, Filthy Rich felt the debate settling into a quagmire of policy discussion. He believed the fundamentals of the race remained unchanged: that this election would be decided not by how good of a campaigner Strong Copper was, but by how much Spoiled Rich could refrain from being her worst enemy. And Spoiled’s answer on civic involvement left much to be desired; somepony was gonna’ have to tell her that ponies don’t take kindly to condescending speeches about what they needed to do. Mrs. Rich couldn’t get away with scolding adults the same way she used to do with Diamond Tiara.

    But a couple questions later, and things suddenly became... personal. Live on stage, Mr. Copper arrogantly implied that Filthy was the sort of stallion who’d funnel questionable money his wife’s way! Mr. Rich was livid; why, a century ago, such a grievous slight would have gotten Copper a challenge to a duel!!! Dueling may have been outlawed in modern times, but that wouldn’t stop Filthy from demanding satisfaction!

    “Excuse me sir,” the middle-aged stallion addressed Strong Copper with a collected yet stern glare as he rose out of his seat, not caring that spectators normally weren’t allowed to interject in debates. But by that same token, audience members weren’t usually accused of foul play by debate participants! “Are you insinuating that I, the owner of Barnyard Bargains, would partake in financial shenanigans? Because I’ll have you know that we don’t take too kindly to slander around here in Ponyville.....”

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    “True,” Filthy Rich mused; “You can convince ponies to try shiny new things every now and then. Especially if they’re tagged with flashy on-sale stickers, heh heh heh! ...But I also know from experience that ponies ultimately put their trust in dependability and in what they’re already familiar with. Unless Mr. Copper turns out to be Equestria’s best salesstallion all along, my wager is that Ponyville will still elect you darling even if the Mayor herself can’t give out any endorsements. Having Applejack in our camp will go a long way to make townsponies see you as the Dependable Choice.”

    “Frankly, the only way this election becomes remotely competitive is if Mr. Copper can build excitement around his campaign. And honestly, let's just say he doesn’t strike me as the sort of fella who’s ever taken a marketing class at business school.....”

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    As expected of both a prominent citizen of Ponyville and a faithful husband of a mayoral candidate, Filthy Rich was in attendance at the Debate, sitting in the front row alongside his daughter. Mr. Rich and Diamond Tiara acted as Spoiled Rich’s trusted campaign advisors, so as such, it had been their family duty to prepare Mrs. Rich for her debate performance. In particular, Filthy delicately coached her on how to answer... let’s just say ‘potentially problematic questions’. Essentially, anything that could make Spoiled look like the beneficiary of wealth inequality or otherwise paint her as a snob, which the husband had secretly feared could prove to be his wife’s downfall, given her oftentimes sometimes prickly demeanor in the past.

    In general, Spoiled Rich was advised in such instances — and other suitable occasions — to point out that the Rich family were the biggest donors to charity in Ponyville (nevermind the inconvenient fact that Filthy was the pony of the Rich household with the charitable heart); and to contrast the Rich family’s generosity to the out-of-touch elites of Canterlot and Manehattan — always easy targets to go after in humble Ponyville. Of course, whether Spoiled would actually fully commit to that populist route was another story entirely, but Mr. Rich felt confident it could be a winning strategy for sure.

    However, the one other bit of Rich Family strategizing which Spoiled might actually have had the heart to embrace wholesale was reminding the townsponies of her years of civic leadership, chairing all manner of boards and committees. Sure, some ponies might have griped about Spoiled’s abrasiveness here and there... but Strong Copper had none of that civic experience whatsoever. It was the biggest qualification Spoiled had; even in the instance if Mayor Mare refrained from endorsing a mayoral candidate, Spoiled RIch could still honestly claim that she worked with Mayor Mare on a wide range of issues..... and to most ponies, that would be enough for them to consider Spoiled to be the (popular, we must remind you) Mayor’s heir apparent. Or so that’s what Filthy’s marketing calculus predicted.


    Things appeared to be going well for the Rich Family camp so far. Had Diamond not been there, Filthy might have taken a shot when Strong Copper brought up the Everfree Forest; it always seemed to be the subject he pivoted back to the most. Filthy quietly chuckled to himself when Spoiled gave her opponent that clever zinger about not actually asking locals their opinions. If Mr. Copper could be successfully labeled as the aloof outsider, then Filthy was all but certain that his town would rally around Spoiled Rich come Election Day.....

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    Like a young filly drooling over cakes on display in a store window, Sunset Shimmer pressed her face against the museum display separating the outside world from one of the most important scrolls in wizarding history. Here indeed was a treasure beyond her wildest aspirations. Back in more ‘innocent’ times, Sunset hoped that she too would produce such seminal works that would leave as big of a lasting impact as those of Starswirl the Bearded. But well... growing up happened, and it taught Miss Shimmer that childish daydreams couldn’t always be fulfilled.

    For now however, Sunset wasn’t reminded of that disappointment. Instead, she joined in the chorus of gushing over a thousand-year-old piece of paper. “You know Twi, ponies would *kill* to possess something this priceless,” She suddenly turned to give Twilight Sparkle a look of dead-seriousness; Mares like you and me...

    .....It took all of Sunset’s willpower to avoid corpsing right there and then, and it was blatantly obvious to anypony who knew the look of somebody holding back laughter that she was doing so.



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  5. You know, since that Feng piece came out awesome..... I think it's time we got an art of his employer (and primary love interest) wearing her "work attire"..... in a manner of speaking. :P


    May I request art of Empress Yuè with a hair style (as best you can anyway, I know those horns can be tricky) and red dress as seen here? Can't really find a specific hanfu reference pic I like, but you probably get the basic gist.


    Reference material for the Empress:



    • Like 3
  6. FutyNZo.jpg?1


    That mention of Prince Lián was enough to elicit another subtle twitch of Empress Yuè’s eye. Her twin brother might have been prone to the occasional act of imprudence, but he had also been the one being in this wide world that the qilin mare could unconditional trust and rely on. But hearing that Lián kept Yanhua’s identity a secret from his very own sister — that in truth he did not reciprocate Yuè’s trust in him — that would be a blow to any psyche who had learned from a young age to always keep their heart guarded to all but a very few.

    A part of the Empress even hoped that this fox spirit had actually bewitched the Prince, as Yao-Guai are known to do, if only so she can continue believing in the comforting myth of her brother's filial fidelity.

    Yanhua went on to be so audacious as to call out the royal qilin’s attempt at regal composure. Further confessing her deepest motivations... did her few favors, although the fox should still be glad that Empress Yuè remained unable to grasp what caused her recent feelings of possessiveness concerning the certain longma that Yanhua alluded. Nonetheless, if the Yao-Guai desired candor..... then candor was what she would receive.

    Long ago, Empress Yuè’s court tutors impressed upon her the virtues of stoic gracefulness, but they had also trained her in the acceptable ways in which to channel one’s emotions should the mask fracture. Should an occasion arise that forced courtly pleasantries to be swept aside, project unwavering resolve and catch the offending party off-balance, while ensuring that they themselves didn’t feel they had the upper hoof... or just cause to feel offended. An imperial sovereign that mastered this art possessed a true Heart of the Dragon... and Yù Yuè had no intention of letting her ancestors and predecessors down..... 

    After several moments of silence, which the Empress used to keep her gaze coldly locked with Yanhua’s, she spoke once more. “I hope to not offend with a simple recollection of the tales and legends of mortal beings,” Yuè began, but now with a faint hint of nonchalant airiness in her voice which expressed passive-aggressiveness; “But it is widely believed in the Dragon Kingdom — even to this day — that the Huli Jing are habitual tricksters who take wicked glee in extorting rural peasants, seducing the hearts of the faithful... and in provoking infighting to rip entire families apart.

    “And of course, my venerable mother would tell me as a young girl about the Legend of the Queen Snatcher, the nefarious fox demon who once imprisoned our ancestor in the Spirit World and assumed her place. Were my ancestor’s husband a less wise stallion, the Snatcher might have very well stolen the Dragon Throne for herself, and be terrorizing Long Guo to this day.”

    “.....Surely then, you can understand why many who loyally serve under me would feel great apprehension if they knew a fox spirit freely roamed the halls of the Imperial Palace...” The Empress did not phrase that statement as a question.....

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    Professor Shimmer addressed concerns raised by a couple of the students; “Now personally, I’m more of the sort of girl who likes getting out in the field and getting my hands... uh, hooves dirty.” The unicorn awkwardly chuckled for a moment; “And rest assured, you’ll all be doing plenty of that in this class. Even so, you gotta start from somewhere when testing theories on Friendship magic, which is why it’s always helpful in general to know how to use a library. And with Twilight Sparkle no longer around to lend her bookworm expertise..... feel free to come to me after class, and I’ll be more than happy to give you extra help and advice on how to research written sources.”

    “If that just isn’t your thing, as I know it’ll be for some people... well, the good news is that your end-of-the-year project will actually be a group assignment. Each group will come up with a theory — a hypothesis — about how hearts become corrupted, or how to fight against that. Once you do that, you'll perform experiments to test your theories, and then give a presentation of your results during our final class sessions. For those of you unfamiliar with how experiments work, next week I’ll be conducting one myself in the lab to show you how it’s done... and you’ll also gain experience in how being a test subject is like!” Sunset sounded a bit too gleeful when she brought up test subjects.

    “To be more specific, next week during our lab time, I’ll have you each play a musical instrument of your choice, and I’ll be making observations as you play. Don’t worry how good you are; I’m not interested in your skill. But in the place where I live... music is a potent trigger in activating the Magic of Friendship. With your guys’ help, we can confirm once and for all whether music has that same power here in Equestria.....”



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    Sunset Shimmer reciprocated the escalation of anger on both sides as her glare intensified and her horn glowed with a fiery aura of its own. The amber unicorn swiftly lashed out; “I’ve never run away from ANYTHING!” She should try telling that to the parents she ran away from... not to mention that baby sibling of hers she never got to know the name of. “In case you haven’t forgotten, I was TRAPPED in that miserable dimension for YEARS because of that BROKEN-DOWN MIRROR!!! You know Twilight Sparkle, if you had never been such a big baby that you needed to lug your security crown everywhere, I wouldn’t have had the chance to go through with that evil plan of mine! Maybe I could have moved back to Equestria, start over with a new life, and make a name for myself without having to suffocate in your shadow!!! .....At the very least, I would have had the pleasure of NEVER GETTING TO KNOW YOU!!!!!

    It was safe to say that by the end, Sunset was literally spitting out her venom-infused words. Tempest Shadow stepped in and attempted a deescalation, but the Princess shot that down without mercy. “Pfft,” the Equestrian girl viciously mocked the alicorn that under normal times she’d consider her BBF; “As if you don’t suck at friendship yourself, Sparkle! Seriously, the only reason you’re where you are today is that you had some phony ‘cosmic destiny’ on your side.” In a display of gratuitous cruelty, Sunset added with a cruel sneer; Everything SPECIAL about you came from a RAINBOW.....”

    Having exhausted much of her initial rage, Sunset Shimmer’s fury simmered down to brooding indignation; “Success always came easy to you. No matter how much of a rude antisocial you were, ponies ALWAYS lined up to be your friend. I didn’t have your same luck..... but I don’t need it, though. I’ve always had to struggle for everything, and that’s made me self-reliant. .....It’s made me the girl I am.

    Sunset turned her back on the Princess, attempting to leave the throne room; “Just remember those words when you’ve got no friends left to count on, Princess Twilight. Let’s see you try to be a beloved hero then. But, like, whatever; I’m SO DONE dealing with this crap.”

    “Come on Temy,” Sunny wearily growled at her; “We’ve got better things to do...” All of Sunset’s fiery temper was utterly spent. There was absolutely nothing else the supposed Friendship Princess could do to antagonize Miss Shimmer further. Absolutely nothing at all.....



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    When all was said and done, Sunset Shimmer would confess she had seen her former mentor perform more impressive rune castings than this attempt by Sunburst. Compared to the awe-inspiring feats of Princess Celestia, this felt little more than a prestidigitation-grade parlor trick. Still though, it was probably a good thing that all Sunburst accomplished not much besides a brief wind gust and a moderate glow; that meant the magical results won’t be too unmanageable, whatever those happened to be.

    ...And then Sunburst waltzed right into the rune circle. Yeaaaah.....

    What had been a look of mild concern on Miss Shimmer’s face during the rune casting transformed into a gasp of horror as she saw the transformation occur. “Uhhhhhhhh, Sunburst?” The astonished mare took one nervous step backward; “The back of your head.....”



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    “Don’t worry ‘bout it,” Sunset reassured Twilight as she patted her on the back; “We need to save a conversation topic for dinner, anyway.” And with that quip, it was back to appreciating Star Swirl’s belongings, all of them most interesting. An ancient tome within a glass display seemed to catch Twilight’s attention, so the two mares were off to take a closer look at the item.....



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    “Well I’ll be darned...” For all of Sunset Shimmer’s existentialist dread about returning to the place of her birth, even she had to admire this new revitalized Hope Hollow. Despite having left home before the Great Desaturation happened, the whole town looked much more well-kempt and lively than she remembered, and that was after looking past all the assorted event decorations. This new Hope Hollow practically now had the same sort of energy as Ponyville itself!

    Based on the peeks Sunset took of the townsponies every now and then, it didn’t seem like anybody recognized her. A part of that realization stung, but then again, it wasn’t as if Sunset wanted to get embroiled in any awkward reunions anytime soon. Besides, she was a relic of a bygone prelude to a dark age; the unicorn would have been ancient history to the ponies here, for better or worse.

    At least, for most ponies, that was.....

    The familiar voice of a filly cried out from behind Miss Shimmer. She turned towards Luster Dawn; “Nah, I gotta meet up with my partner first, whenever she gets here. My friend’s literally my ticket into the wedding, so to speak.” A moment of thoughtful silence; “I’m guessing you’re off to see your folks now?” Luster DID say she came from here, afterall.....



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    Well, uhh..... that kiss from Applejack was... something? Sunset Shimmer didn’t think it needed to be as forceful as it ended up being, but whatever. It was AJ’s sales promotion, her rules. Regardless, the earth pony clearly didn’t have a good read on the unicorn’s mood if she was saying stuff about fulfilling hopes and dreams.

    “Oh yeah, sure.....” Sunset awkwardly replied, not bothering with the pleasantries or even maintaining a veneer of forced enthusiasm. “I don’t wanna’ keep the other folks in line waiting, so uh, have a nice day... yeaaaaah..... And with that, Miss Shimmer hastily levitated her filled bushel basket and made a beeline back to town as fast as she could manage.

    .......Hopes and dreams? Really??? Was this Applejack so dense she couldn’t recognize when a pony didn’t give a hoot? No offense, but for now, Sunset Shimmer would stick with the Applejack she knew best, even though she lived on a different multiversial plane of existence.....





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    Yuè was left at a loss for words as Àilóng not only sung praises of her (assumed) gift with words, but also tenderly stroked her hoof. The young mare was no fool; the Serpent King’s feelings towards her have indeed changed into something more... passionate. But then the question whether Yuè’s heart had undergone the same change as Àilóng’s has. And the answer was..... well, the very fact that she couldn’t muster an emphatic cry of ‘yes’ spoke volumes.

    Although Yuè struggled to keep her eyes fixed upon Àilóng, she made no effort to remove her hoof from the glamored stallion’s grasp either. One moment of silence later, and Àilóng changed the subject. “Oh,” the qilin regained her composure with a warm smile; “But of course, Àilóng!” Just a few more finishing touches, and the lantern would be complete.....

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    Okaaaaaay..... Filthy Rich was going to pretend that he didn’t overhear his wife just now schooling Diamond Tiara in the practicalities of unleashing a monster upon Ponyville. He would have a private one-on-one with his daughter later. At least Mrs. Rich had the good sense to recognize the proposal as a foolhardy plan, so at least there was that?

    “Uh- maybe,” Mr. Rich awkwardly interjected with great haste; “We don’t NEED any fancy schmancy schemes to beat this fella! Now let’s look at the facts here: Mr. Copper is a newcomer to town, he probably doesn’t have the sort of local friends yet who’d be willing to ring doorbells for him and help out with his campaign... and he DEFINITELY won’t have the sort of warchest that we have!” There was a strong hint of pride in that last declaration.

    “I’d say the chances are good that Mr. Copper simply flames out a few months from now. And if he doesn’t... then all it’d take to take the wind out of his sails is Mayor Mare giving you her ringing endorsement! If I was a betting stallion, I’d wager that two-thirds of Ponyville will make their decision based solely on who she endorses, considering how respected our outgoing Mayor is.....”

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    Sunset Shimmer subtly rolled her eyes as Applejack suddenly backed away and started asking questions about the way humans kissed, but otherwise did her best to maintain composure. The unicorn just wanted to get this part over with, but she didn’t want to be rude about it either. “It... doesn’t really matter, Sunset awkwardly shrugged off AJ’s worries; “Humans do it pretty the same way as ponies, anyway.” The amber mare sighed, her impatience starting to show; “Look, just plant one on the forehead, and that’ll do fine.....”



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    Fortunately for Medo, it didn’t take long for the attendant who had shown her to Empress Yuè’s chambers to come her way again and lead her to the Chamberlain’s chambers. As for the Empress herself... she had a good feeling about her new hire. Yuè was quite certain that Medo would fit into palace culture swimmingly. And if the fates willed it, perhaps a beautiful friendship could also blossom between the two mares.....


    *THE END*

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    As Starswirl started to take his leave, Sunset offered parting words; “Thank you very much, sir! I promise to put the T.D.A.R.T. to good use!” And then just like that, the old wizard was off on his way. Overall, their encounter with the Legend himself went pretty well, thought the unicorn mare.

    Twi meanwhile... went back to being Twi. “Teh heh,” Sunny jokingly elbowed her geeky friend and winked; “Why don’t we save the magibabble for later, Twi? We still have the rest of Starswirl’s exhibit to look over.....”



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    Sunset Shimmer had been so fixated on the sudden appearance of Princess Twilight that she had failed to perceive that their surroundings were noticeably different. Otherwise, mental alarm bells would be ringing right about now. As it stood, with each word Twilight spoke, Sunset’s facial expression grew more flustered and brimming with indignation. By the end, the dam burst in a wave of outright resentment.

    REALLY??? Sunset growled back; “I wasted my entire winter break FOR YOU, and this is all the thanks I GET!?? Geez, some friend you are, Twilight! And what’s with this empire horseshit of yours, anyway? Did you REALLY think that just because you grew a few extra inches overnight and got a new magical hairdo, that suddenly makes you RULER OF ALL THE WORLD?? Seriously, are you fooling ANYPONY, Twi? You act all high and mighty now, but we ALL know that the moment the slightest thing goes wrong, you’ll dance around like a headless chicken just as you always do!!!



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    Sunset Shimmer didn’t feel completely confident of Sunburst’s assurances, remember that the stallion wasn't exactly on the top end of practicing spellcasters out there. But at least he wasn’t being an absolute reckless dummy about this, so... yay? In a worst-case scenario, Sunset at least knew the Fail-Safe spell well enough to put a swift end to any potential magical disturbances before they had a chance to attempt breaking through Sunburst’s safeguards.

    When the vice headstallion finished drawing the rune, he turned towards Sunset. Without speaking a word, the mare replied with a stoic nod of her head. Hopefully, nothing bad would come of what they were about to do.....



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    That mention of the casino owner owning a freaky amulet definitely piqued Sunset Shimmer’s interest. Unfortunately, both Wind Dancer and Tempest Shadow seemed eager to not linger on that particular. Regardless, maybe Sunset would ask about it some more during dinner.

    “Ehhh, I’m not quite an ice cream parlor will fill me up,” the amber mare speculated; “But I’m sure the Long restaurant will have stuff there other than noodles like dumplings, egg rolls, and rice bowls..... Yep, I’m feeling like I’d rather go there tonight.”



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    “Weeeell...” Sunset’s cheeks reddened from hearing Luster’s encouragement; “I suppose I’ll have to give mentoring some more thought, then.....” True, Sunset Shimmer was technically a Magic School drop-out, but the amber mare might have very well graduated with highest honors had she stayed the course and not gotten herself caught engaging in “unauthorized extracurricular studies”. Academic black mark notwithstanding, Sunset could wipe the floor with the typical arcane graduate with a hoof tied around her back. With that in mind, maybe mentoring wasn’t such a far-fetched idea after all.

    But every train ride had to come to an end, and the lil’ kiddo pointed out that they’re almost there. We are?” Sunset forced a smile; “That’s uh... great.....” The older unicorn nervously looked out the window, half-expecting against all rationality that she’d find random splotches of prismatically-desaturated land that remained contaminated by hopelessness magic. Looking toward the immediate future, Miss Shimmer would just have to wing things once they got into Hope Hollow, hoping that the townsponies would either have forgotten about her or not see fit to bother her.....



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    Derpy Hooves stayed silent for a couple moments after Strong Copper asked about plastering his face all over. Lacking any sort of sarcasm detector, the googly-eyed pegasus simply answered; “.....Nah, that’s silly.”

    Lifting herself up into the air and hovering in front of the gentlecolt, Derpy explained further; “See, the way I got ponies to remember my name when I first moved here was by going to parties (we have tons of them around here), saying ‘hi’ to folks and chating with them, and then before I knew it, I made friends! And then my friends would talk about me to their friends, and those friends would do the same with their other friends, so eventually everypony in town knew about the pegasus with the bubbly cutie mark. ...Although I DO suppose there still are some ponies here who think my name’s Ditzy Do, and there’s this one pony who calls me Muffins for some reason? But I don't wanna’ bore you with the details.”

    “So uhhhhh, where was I? ...OH YEAH: FRIENDSHIP! Making friends is EVERYTHING in life!!! It’s how other ponies remember who you are! I’m guessing you got friends too, right Mr. Copper?”





    Derpy Hooves was not the sort of pegasus who attended routine town hall meetings on a consistent basis. She probably wouldn’t have done so this evening except for the fact that her previous prearranged plans fell through... literally.

    .....Please, don’t ask.

    Listening to the unicorn stallion speaking from the podium made Derpy remember why she didn’t come here regularly: because politics was BORING. Nothing but ponies droning on and on with long speeches about yada yada yada. While Miss Hooves would like to claim that she at least spends the night before an election studying the candidates and the issues, the truth was... she always forgot. So inevitably when it came time to cast her vote, the pegasus fell back on choosing whatever name seemed most familiar or which ballot initiative appeared most popular based on any posters she saw scattered around town as she trotted to her designated polling station.

    As her mind wandered off, Derpy Hooves thought about the rumors circulating through Ponyville that a couple days from now, Spoiled Rich planned on announcing her intent to get a new sports stadium built for the town if elected mayor. Now THAT was cool!!! Ponyville really needed a proper stadium! How was it fair that Appleloosa of all places has a stadium but not the bestest most amazing town in the whole world? Why couldn’t the guy at the podium talk more about exciting sports stuff and less about... price gouging? Like, was that even an issue? Derpy had lived in Ponyville practically her entire adult life!!! OF COURSE nopony here would ever THINK to raise their prices just because a few rich ponies decide to move here in the future! Because Ponyville is a close-knit community and the most friendliest of places!

    One question above all else loomed in the mind of this pegasus. Once the floor opened for questions, she was the first to raise her hoof. “Ooh ooh ooooh, well ummm.....” Derpy sheepishly grinned; What’s your name again?”

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    Sunset Shimmer was a little bit curious that the pony Applejack knew of her double-life as a human, but thought little else of it. Twilight probably must have told them all about the Mirror World by now, and how Sunset resided there. “Mmmm, it’s going alright!” the unicorn engaged with AJ’s small talk; “I’m guessing you had good business today?”

    As Miss Shimmer was levitating her five bits on the counter in advance, Pony AJ selected Fuji apples, which Sunny happily endorsed; “Yep, those will do nicely!” Guess all that was left to do was that kiss-promotion thingy, and then she’ll be off with her apples.....



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    Pleased with how much the meeting went swimmingly, Empress Yuè felt that everything that needed to be covered — both officially and unofficially — had been addressed. There was no need to hold up Medo with idle chit-chat when there were things yet for the two mares to do before the setting of the sun. “...I wish you well in your meeting with the esteemed chamberlain,” Yuè said; “He has already been briefed on your qualifications and everything else of note, so mainly you will be given orientation on palace etiquette and protocol.”

    “I myself still have work that needs to be done Medo... so I have no choice at this juncture but to offer you a fond farewell.....”

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