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Lope Lighthoof Lope sat on the train, reviewing the case file for what must have been the four hundredth time. Tangent insisted he be able to answer any one of her questions about the mission by the time they arrived on scene, and she had a knack for being able to inquire about obscure details he was sure the writers of the file themselves weren't aware of. Garden Gait, three missing ponies within the last week, two earth ponies, one male one female, and one pegasus stallion. The only reason S.M.I.L.E. was being called in was because the circumstances seemed to suggest that these may not be ponynappings done by ponies. Something seemed to be snatching the victims up with greater power. Perhaps even monstrous power. Regardless, the two were warned that other agents of the crown may be investigating in the same area. They were instructed to cooperate, but avoid giving up their organization if at all possible. Their identities were to be preserved, and they were to erase memories if their involvement with the League became known. He quizzed himself over the names of the missing ponies again, and reminded himself where each had gone missing. There seemed to be a pattern to the disappearances. All took place at night, though the exact time of night was unknown, as nopony had been around when it happened, and all took place near the edge of town, specifically on the eastern side (Tangent suggested this may be because the eastern side of town catches more shade during the sunset, allowing whatever creature they were looking for to come out earlier). It seemed ponies in this town were responsible enough to tell others where they were going at night. That was highly useful information. In lieu of the disappearances, the mayor had issued an order prohibiting anypony from leaving their homes after dark. Tangent and Lighthoof would be taking advantage of the fact that no one would be able to enforce such a curfew as the townsponies didn't have nightly guard. As the train reached the station, Lope retrieved their luggage from the compartment above their seats. "Ready to rid this town of its night terrors?" he asked as the train finally arrested. Tangent Line Agent Tangent didn't have her case file out. She knew everything she needed to know. And from the sounds of it, Lighthoof did, too. She had conditioned him well. He was beginning to absorb debriefing content almost as well as she did, though she'd never tell him that. She didn't want it going to his head. She gazed out the window, watching the countryside go by. Strange to think that a beautiful area like this could be plagued by such a terrible monster, whatever it was that they were here to neutralize. This was going to be just like the last mission they were on, in Ponyville. Late nights, lots of sneaking around and chasing shadows. Though, hopefully they wouldn't run into any interference as they had last time. Though the griffon and unicorn stallion had been helpful, she would have preferred they stay out of it. S.M.I.L.E. was a serious organization. She hated when she had to work with freelancers or privateers who were only in it to earn the extra bits. It gave a bad name to the profession of monster hunting. She knew it was likely other investigators would be in the area. She was just hoping to Celestia that when the chief had said "Investigators", he hadn't meant "S.T.A.R. agents". She didn't think she could handle a headache on top of this case. S.T.A.R. jurisdiction battles could get intense. As the train reached the station, Lighthoof retried their luggage from the compartment above their seats and made a comment about ridding the town of it's night terrors. She gave a slight smile, unable to help but catch a bit of his positivity. "As ready as I'll ever be. Hope you got a good night's sleep last night, because tonight is going to be quite long," she reminded him as she rose and levitated her bags from him. They exited the train and started off for the bed and breakfast where they would be nesting for the next few days.
From the album: OC ArtSo someone told me today that they couldn't find this picture in my gallery, leading me to realize that I failed to reupload it after the server reset. Hnnnrgh. In any case, here's a speed paint of Garden Gait's iconic flower meadow along the East Road, or at least my attempt at it. And also featuring Mei sitting upon a boulder, because. Please re-Like if you Like!
[colour=#FF8000]It was a day without worries for Spitfire the Wonderbolt. She decided to fly down from Cloudsdale to Garden Gait on her day off. She planned to give her wings a rest, perhaps go shopping or stop for lunch. Whatever it was, she would be walking, relaxing her wings and giving her hooves an overdue exercise. She lived in the clouds, she trained in the clouds, and all too often her hooves went weeks without touching solid earth. The cool stone streets felt nice against her hooves, creating a light clip-clop as she walked. She glanced at the different shops, looking for something to catch her interest. The walk was nice, no doubt, but she hadn't been out and about for a few weeks now, and there were some payday wages burning a hole in her saddlebags. That was when Spitfire spotted a coffee shop. Yes, that would be just the thing to get her up and going this afternoon. Of course it was afternoon—Spitfire had gone to bed earlier than usual the previous night, but had still taken the opportunity to sleep in. No sense wasting a day off in getting up early. Spitfire opened the door, and a little bell above it chimed to announce the arrival of a customer. The fire maned Pegasus took in the menu before ordering her drink—a chocolate latte. She sat down to enjoy her coffee, breathing in its scent and then letting out a breath, allowing herself to be calmed before she took a sip of the beverage. Today was starting out good.[/colour]