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Found 85 results

  1. This thread takes place during the events of Season Four of FiM, hence the title "Memories" The sun was beginning to rise, illuminating the Canterlot observatory better. For the first time in more than two hours, Twinkle Dawn looked up from her parchment. She had been charting stars and trying to write horoscopes all night to submit to the local newspaper, but nothing was coming to her. She looked around at the decor and the large telescope. It was the best one in Equestria, so they said. Adjustable scope, extremely powerful, and decorated in beautiful gold and polished wood. She had been using it for years to talk to the heavens. But now, it seemed the heavens had closed to her. It had been more than three months since her discharge, and she still was having trouble with her predictions. It seemed they relied largely on her confidence in her own abilities, and tonight, she just hadn't had any. She sighed, balled up the parchment, and tossed it into the nearby wastebasket. The day workers would be here shortly to open the observatory to the public, and she usually liked to be gone by the time that happened. Oh well. There was always tomorrow, right? She perked up, trying to stay positive. If her visions and predictions relied on confidence, then she would just need to fake it till she made it! Still, the nagging doubt remained with her... She before closing up the observatory, she felt that she should check one last star in the sky. It was Venus. It was rising with the sun, and she decided to rotate the roof and telescope to get a better look at it. After studying it for several moments, it slowly faded away with the rising of the sun. She wrote down her impressions and then studied what she had written. "Today is a good day to make a new friend." Well, it wasn't much, but it was something. She supposed she could stay up a little longer if it meant following the guidance of the stars. She closed up the observatory and looked over a note she had exchanged with her cousin, detailing the location and time for the first meeting she would have with her potential followers. In a week, she was going to be giving a speech in front of at least fifty ponies, trying to convince them that she was princess material. She needed to get her confidence up before then. Otherwise, no one would believe her. For now, though, she needed to focus on following the stars. They had sent her a message. Make a new friend. Simple enough, she reasoned. Canterlot was full of ponies. All she had to do was talk to one. As she opened the door to the street, she came face to face with one. The pony seemed to be here to visit the observatory. "I'm sorry, the observatory doesn't open for another hour. Can I help you?" she asked, assuming the pony's intentions.
  2. Twinkle Dawn yawned as she put her eye to the telescope. Three of the Galloplean moons of Jupiter were visible tonight, an impressive number. Europa, her favorite, was unfortunately nowhere to be seen. She had a feeling that was a bad omen. And her feelings were usually correct. She jotted some notes down in her journal, even deciding to make a quick sketch, though she had to reposition the telescope several times for that to be possible. All the while, she checked her watch. Her horoscope had said to "Expect a strange visitor today," which is why she had been up all day instead of sleeping like she usually did. When the stars called, she wanted to be ready, and if that meant welcoming a strange visitor into her home, then she would be awake and ready to have them as soon as they knocked. But they hadn't knocked. She considered not coming in tonight, but had a feeling she should. Clients didn't usually seek her at the observatory, but then maybe that was what would make this visitor strange. Perhaps she -- or he -- would come to the observatory at this uncelestial hour seeking the guidance of the stars. She yawned again. Whoever it was, they'd better hurry up. It was almost midnight, meaning the day was almost over. She couldn't be wrong about this. The horoscope had been so clear. There was no way she was wrong. She wasn't normally wrong. Especially with horoscopes. She always checked and rechecked horoscopes because that's what most of her clients asked for, and the thought of their disappointment was too much for her. Ever since being dismissed from her position as royal astrologer, she had suffered a degree of anxiety over her predictions. Luna and Celestia had dreamed Tirek's coming and she hadn't. That was a huge fail. She couldn't allow herself to make another mistake like that again. She took some deep breaths to calm herself and flipped to the table at the back of her journal to look at her orders. Several ponies requesting horoscopes, nothing out of the ordinary there. One pony wanted to know how compatible he was with a mare he had his eye on. The stars usually didn't have much to say on that regard. The two pony's signs would tell her everything she needed to know. But she liked to consult the sky as an added measure anyway. Her train of thought was interrupted when she heard the observatory door open. That was weird. She could have sworn she locked it... Visitors weren't permitted at an hour like this. She descended the steps from the main telescope, stopping once she could see the entryway, where the silhouette of a tall unicorn stood. "Can... I help you?" she asked as she lit her horn to try to reveal more of the pony. Was this the strange visitor she was supposed to expect?
  3. At long last, she was finally here! Cloudfeather pressed her face to the window of the airship as the towering buildings and attractions of Los Pegasus came into view. Sure, it would have been cheaper and easier to fly herself, but then she would have missed out on the experience that all other ponies got when they made the journey to the most toured city in Equestria! Her wings flapped involuntarily out of excitement and anticipation as the airship crawled slowly towards the city. She gathered up her bags and items and prepared to exit the airship, though an attendant informed her it would be at least a half hour before they landed. When at long last the doors opened and the platforms descended, Cloudfeather shot out of the ship like an arrow, flying as high as she good to get a perfect view of the city. It was amazing! Everything she ever could have hoped for! She saw eager tourists of all shape, size, and species wandering about, chatting excitedly! Flashing lights and sounds, a wide enough variety that it was liable to give a pony sensory overload! Buildings taller than she had ever seen! As quickly as she had bolted to the sky, she tore for the ground, landing quite ungracefully yet still maintaining a bounce in her step. Anypony else in her situation would be singing an improvised song, complete with self-harmonies, full instrumentation, and even some cool choreography right now, but Cloudfeather decided to keep the song in her heart and her head. Her coworkers tended to dislike it when she sang (something about being "tone-deaf"), and she doubted the Los Pegasus ponies were any different. In any case, this did little to decrease the spring in her step as she jaunted to her hotel and got checked in. Oh the sights she would see! She tossed her bags onto the bed and then flew out the window, surveying the town to decide where she wanted to go first. After a few moments' deliberation, she decided on the building directly across the street. Down she dove and directly into the building, leaving the rotating door behind her spinning faster than the eye could detect. The building was essentially what she had expected: an arcade full of ponies eager to trade their bits for the chance to win tickets. All sorts of entertainment floated between the machines, including performers, ads for shows, and of course, portraits of the owners, Flim and Flam. What to do first! She supposed she could see a show... Her wage as an engineer afforded her plenty of bits for the journey, so she didn't want to blow them all on the slot machines and arcades just yet... Looking around the room, she spotted a poster advertising "The Greatest Dancers in Equestria!" Now that was something she'd pay to see! She exchanged her bits for tickets and was entering the auditorium in no time at all.
  4. Being in Ponyville always brought some... very conflicting feelings up in Bevel. The memory of the type of mare she was before she even came here was still fresh in her mind and it an image she dearly wished she could forget. Thankfully, she managed to schedule something that could keep her from being completely alone with her thoughts on this trip: A tour of the (relatively) new castle of Princess Twilight, and the company that would be with her for it. In this case it was her good friend Dunnie, who had come to her with a problem that Bevel was able to find a treatment for. Now the treatment evolved somewhat to where her friend was able to keep her new look indefinitely so long as she kept her bracelet on. The guide for this tour was someone Bevel had come to know through a regular customer of all things. When they'd first met the inventor knew she was a guard, but she definitely didn't realize that she would soon become more literal example of a royal guard: Being a guardian to none-other than princess Twilight herself. A couple letters later she managed to arrange a trip through the castle... aren't connections wonderful? Bevel had decided to go for a more casual look today, for once she wasn't seen with a bandaid across her nose. Instead, she was wearing a pair of thick eyeglasses on her muzzle. Normally she might have worn her contacts or goggles but didn't expect anything particularly troublesome or exciting to occur. With a small yawn the prench pony looked to the friend at her side, “So um... how's the bracelet been working since the modifications?”
  5. Stormstride watched as she walked beside her brother. Of all the places she did not want to come, this had to be the top of the list. Canterlot itself, seat of Equestrian power and home to no less than two princesses at any given time. This place was a magnet for all things she disliked. The mare wore her armor, though her helmet hung from a hook on her sash. The heavy clack of her metal clad hooves on the cobblestone street echoed softly as she watched. Her mane glittering in the sun, the silver hair blowing lightly in the breeze as they passed by vendor stalls and shop fronts. They needed a place to park their cart. She was searching for an Inn or a hotel. As she was looking, Buck trotted along quite happily as he pulled the cart. His large stature letting him see over the tops of most of the crowd and his cheerful smile offset the rather irritated demeanor of his sister. He greeted every pony he passed with a cheerful tone and a bright look upon his countenance. While he wore no armor, the stallion was wearing saddle bags and the hitch for the large cart. He walked on a powerful set of legs, displaying the fact he was used to manual labor. Though when he spoke it was with a slight accent. "Sister, smile. We are only here for a few days! There are so many places to see! new foods and music for us to try, and a chance for us to catch up on the news we missed these thirteen years!" He gave a light skip, lifting the front of the cart up an inch as he did. Chuckling he watched her roll her eyes before finally smiling at him. She could never keep a scowl on her face with her brother around. The pair walked until they spotted a hotel. Pulling up front, Buck looked for a place to park their cart while Stormstride walked inside. Buck finally found a spot just across the street. It was an empty lot, with a few carts in it, but it was right beside a school. Buck figured it was for public use, because he did not see a sign stating otherwise. As he moved the cart into position, he paused to look up at the school. IT was really no different than the school he attended when he lived here in Equestria all those years ago. Though it was larger and likely better equipped than his school had been. Smiling to himself he unhitched form the cart, moved to the back and lowered the gate. Sitting himself on the edge, he pulled a an acoustic guitar from the stack. As he strummed over it, he began to smile brighter. His hooves danced over the strings, coaxing out a rather happy melody as he hummed at first. Then he began to sing, and his deep, soothing voice lifted into the air with a crisp loudness that was audible over the city sounds around him. He could already hear a few ponies talking and looking his direction. Which was fine, he wasn't hurting anything and always loved an audience. In the hotel, Stormstride turned an ear to the door as she heard her brother begin playing. Though she was focused on the clerk behind the counter and trying to work out how many days they were going to stay. Stormstride was also inquiring about local places to eat, purchase supplies, and the like. She would need work done on her armor soon, and would need to restock her supplies for caring for her weapons and armor. As the Clerk was trying to think while he registered their room, Stormstride just set the bits on the counter for him to take. She expressed that she needed to run an errand very shortly and would return within an hour to pick up the room keys for herself and her sibling. The clerk nodded and eyed the stack of coins rather happily. Stormstride stepped out and crossed the street to the cart where her brother was playing. She smiled brightly, always loving to hear him play. It was especially so when he sang like that, so full of life and energy. He could coax the sweetest notes from any instrument he picked up and that old guitar was his favorite. She had seen him work it over so well, and his hooves danced over the strings like a ballerina. She could hear other ponies coming to them now and moved to the side of the cart. She tossed out the hat that Buck set out to collect bits. Then she returned to tapping her hooves along with the tune. (OOC: This is the song he is playing. He isn't playing multiple instruments at once, just playing the piano parts on the guitar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNRVm2tEL3A&t=0s&index=5&list=PLeW50pl1e2-u3aTDaPSrH3tOyB97CivH6 )
  6. Buck stopped the cart just outside the town, looking at the sign. He figured it would be best to park here where the road was rather than try and find a place to park it in town. He looked over his shoulder at the mare slumbering in the cart. She was still in her armor, and likely uncomfortable. Nodding to himself, he pulled off the road and into the open pasture. Bracing the cart against a rock and putting the brake on, he moved to the back and pulled out their tent. It only took him a few moments to levitate it in place and secure it. One it was up, he levitated the sleeping mare and took her into the tent. Helping her to get out of the armor and lay back for a proper sleep. That done, he came back out and picked up the guitar case from the cart. HE had no worry of any creature bothering the cart and tent. They were small, barely noticed, and protected by a few small enchantments. As he walked into town with the guitar case on his back, he looked about for a place to set up. He needed a clear space to set up and play. He could leave the case open, or drop his cap on the ground to collect the coins if ponies threw him a few. He was fairly happy with the way their life was, and gladly accepted their lot in the world. Finding his way to the central fountain in town, he levitated the case to the ground and left it open. Sitting on the rim of the fountain basin, he turned the guitar for a moment before closing his eyes. His horn lit up, casting a single spell to amplify the music and his voice to let it float all over town. The last thing he did was levitate a harmonica next to him, but not to his lips. Instead he used his magic to play it in time with guitar, allowing him to play both at the same time. As his hooves began to dance over the strings, he sang softly. A gentle song of love and peace. It was an old song many ponies would know, and many likely loved. As his voice carried over the town, he began to notice ponies drifting his way. They were attracted by the music, listening to him play and a few even tossing a coin or two in his open case. His voice was low and gentle as he smiled and sang to them "See the west wind move...Like a lover's sooooul upon the fields of Barley...Feel her body rise, when you kiss her mouth...among the fields of gold... I never made promises lightly, and there have been some that I've broken... But I swear in the days still left, We'll walk in the fields of gold..." The stallion sang clear and clean like fresh wind. His body rocking softly back and forth as he played. His eyes dancing over the crowd around him. His pale green eyes gleamed brightly as his silver tangled mane blew in the breeze. His dark gray coat seemed to soften and sway over his muscles as he moved a little at a time. He was a large stallion for a unicorn, and much more muscled than most. He was used to physical labor. But as he sang, one could tell just how much joy and life there was in him. How much love he had for the world around him.
  7. @PrinceBlueblood @moonshineTheleocat --------- And so it was Discord was on the hunt once more. For such a peaceful chaos spirit he sure had a sneaky streak. After a bit of fun and games with Slim Chance he had himself a little rest and decided to visit other Canterlonian citizens. Blueblood was his next target. After their winter fling involving spaghetti and flying meatball monsters it was safe to say that he owed the poor noble a normal bowl of pasta. This time the meatballs were not tiny gremlins, but the bowl as a whole made amusing flatulence noises whenever you opened the tupperware. Pfft. “Hehehehe. He’ll enjoy that.” The spirit amused himself with the dish. Soon he floated his way to the property in question. Curling his tail he would give the door a knock twice over before pushing in with a bellow and cheer. “Good evening fellow ponies!” He removed his hat and placed it aside, making sure to scrape his boots, which he suddenly had in the midst of a muggy summer’s day… and tossed them aside henceforth!
  8. The large hanger was quiet, and still for the most part, and considering the hour, it was hardly a surprise. The Office of the Gijutsu-sha was the most varied among the Primary Shogunate, and this hanger was only one of many similar compounds located underneath the Palace Castle. This one, in particular, held only a small open space relative to its size - most of its room was dedicated to smaller, sectioned areas filled with workbenches and miniature arenas, built to allow members to design and test out their inventions. Other hangers were dedicated to the massive, gargantuan titans that were kept well functioning and maintained in the case of a national emergency, and - in all honesty - he would have much preferred working in one of those others, sitting underneath a silent colossus while he worked. Being overshadowed so thoroughly tended to give one a sense of perspective in this world. There were a few stragglers, working right up into the weekend, but they all afforded the Shogun of Neighpon a wide berth, and why shouldn't they? If not for his station, than for the stormy look that had remained an almost constant fixture on his face ever since the afternoon. An instance right outside the walls of the Palace Castle - some upstart, would-be fool of an assassin that had tried running through the gates with a convoy, only to be immediately apprehended just inside. A minor incident, startling but completely beneath his notice. If his younger sister hadn't been returning with her guard just around the same time. Koeda-san - otherwise affectionately known as Mr. Twig - lay unresponsive on the workbench, the source of his life and manufactured spirit laying dormant nearby. Ryuichi frowned as he studied the yellow petals on the construct, pliers held expertly in one hoof as he carefully began rearranging the golem's features. It wasn't often that he got the chance to indulge his love of golems in a hoof's on way - one would think that the Shogun of Neighpon could get more reprieve to play around with expensive toys every once in his ancestors-forsake while - but what might have been a time of relaxation and indulgence was instead tinged with slowly-simmering fury and determination, leaving the Ryuma's dark frown firmly in place as he bent closer over the construct. "Not enough input," the Shogun of Neighpon muttered to himself, hardly noticing the very last of the stragglers quietly making their exit. "The toxin needs to be resourced through the head...a complete rewiring...and some nerve-inhibiting properties too..."
  9. Ishi was pacing around his office, trying to get some work done while he waited for his guard to finish preparing for the trip. He was pretty excited for it, really. He hadn't been able to take a vacation for a while with all the work he had piled up, and he hoped this could be a chance for them both to relax. Now that he thought about it though, maybe he should've been more specific than she should pack for a trip... Oh well, it was probably fine. She was a smart mare, after all. After a few more minutes of pacing, he sighed, plopping down at his desk and resting his head in his hooves. Shibō, curious as to what the problem was, moved over and nuzzled his side. "Hey, Shibō! That tickles!" He laughed, pushing on the golem to get him to stop. "I'm fine, buddy. Just a little too excited to focus on work right now."
  10. To say that her day had been hectic would be putting it politely. In the privacy of her own head, however, Dēnglong Xiu felt safe to think some very unflattering thoughts about the entire situation, from the extra-vigilant guards that watched her warily as she hurried past, or the extra-frantic healers who maintained vigil over the Empress. As well as they should be, too, because it wasn't exactly common practice for the ruler of Long Guo to go tumbling down a mountainside during the middle of the Long's equivalent of a temper tantrum. Entirely understandable, that the entire Imperial Palace was in an uproar, regardless of whether or not the severity of her injuries actually measured up to the spiraling rumors that had started ever since the bedraggled group had been picked up a ways off from Huangjing. Which was probably the worst part in all of this, being tugged in two directions - mentally, not physically. Physically, all efforts had been poured onto the Empress and the visiting Shogun, wringing her hooves as she had carefully monitored the effects of each and every Breath she had breathed upon the royal. Mentally, she had been just as fraught with concern as the rest of the Palace when she'd entered the private rooms, the visible blood causing more than enough alarm...until she had learned of the others that had been caught in the Long-induced storm. Only then had the mental war started, one Xiu had valiantly pushed to the back of her mind to focus fully on the well-being of her Empress. That had been ages ago. Now, however, with the Empress and her guest resting and recovering in the privacy of their rooms, now she was free to be elsewhere, leaving the apprentices to keep vigil. They would summon her if something happened, but for now, Xiu could return to her infirmary...which would undoubtedly be empty save for at least one soul, or perhaps two. It wasn't unnatural for all available healers and physicians to be called in to treat a wounded Emperor or Empress, after all - the more the better - but Xiu held out hope that the two bodyguards that had gone down with the chariot had received at least some semblance of medical care. And one most especially, most particularly. He couldn't have been left to silently suffer while the rest of them ensured the health of the Empress, right? Right? With her mind running in a different million directions at once, Xiu tried to keep a cool head as she rounded the last corner, the familiar doorway entering her vision. As she'd suspected (dreaded) the infirmary was quiet and still, moreso than normal, and Xiu bit down hard on her lower lip as she approached one of the mats in the far corner of the room, its occupant looking blessedly familiar. And at the same time, not. "Fēng?..."
  11. Celestia’s sun painted the sky a beautiful red and orange as the dawn pulled the cool night away. After weeks traveling across the desert Dusty was more than ready to spend some time in a town… No, not just a town but another home. It’s been many years and Dusty hoped they'd forgotten him and what he did the last time he visited Appleloosa… And the times before that. Honestly he felt nervous about walking into that town but it’s only fitting the first town he visited after all this time be the first town he ever did a robbery in. Swallowing old pride Dusty pushed on from the night's camp and started walking as he played out all the events that may happen. Worst case? He’s going to jail for past crimes. Best case? No pony in town remembered him and he’d get a Appleloosa welcome with no pony knowing he use to be a Gang boss. With some luck and time on his side it will be the later of the two and he’d get to enjoy the town and not have to worry that some sheriff with a old grudge was going to slam a chair over his head. ---- The walk was short as Appleloosa pulls closer and Dusty stops shorty to look the town over. It looked bigger! Hardly surprising seeing how long he’s been gone and how fast it was growing back then. But even with new buildings he can spot the bar he so loved to visit with his gang. The train station was just like he left along with the train pulling away. How many Trains did he hold up? Too many. Shaking off the last of his fears Dusty pushes onward “Hope ya missed me Appleloosa, ah shur did.” He whispered to himself with a small grin, now or never too see if Appleloosa was friendly as it used to be! Not like they can miss somepony like him walking into town. How often does that even happen? Most come in from train far as he remembered and even less look’d like him... What vary well may be a bad thing, all it takes is one pony to remember and start shouting for the sheriff to make things go south faster then calling a Minotaur scrawny.
  12. "Hey, watch out there, Coconut!" The red stallion called out, laughing as he leapt over the sprawling tan mare on the ground. "When you challenged me to a race I thought you could at least walk a straight line!" The mare gritted her teeth and surged to her hooves, kicking the loose stone that had betrayed her footing and then racing after the stallion who had just claimed the lead. "I just felt like taking a quick break!" she called back, "After all, not like I'm worried about you winning!" The two ponies raced through the jungle, ducking under low branches, blindly plunging through leaves and ferns, laughing as one, then the other would take advantage. Frond slipped round a corner faster by running up a fallen log to leap over the boulder they were circling, and then Coconut got ahead again by diving through a narrow gap between trees to avoid going around the grove, leaving a few hairs from her coat behind, the fit was so tight. His larger form would never have made it through. Their taunting didn't last long as they soon needed all their breath for the race, neither willing to give an inch to the other. Finally they burst out of the jungle into a clearing, stumbling into a ten foot tall statue of a pony, broken and half-covered in vines. "Whoah, whoah!" Coconut gasped, sliding to a stop, and Frond circled around the clearing, desperately sucking in air. "What is it?" he asked, once he'd gotten in a dozen breaths or so. Coconut circled around with him, looking up into the sky. "Where exactly are we? I've never seen this statue before! Why's there a pegasus statue in the middle of the jungle?" Frond frowned, and craned his neck to try to look past the jungle. "Which way's the volcano?" he asked, also realizing that he had no idea where they were. "I thought we'd have come out on the beach again before now." "Are you sure you were supposed to turn left back at the stream?" "I was just following you." "You turned left first!" "I was just avoiding that spider web that you ran into!" "You're just trying to make excuses since I'm two races ahead, and only one race from a hundred victories!" "Pfft, you wish! I'll take these next three races easy! If we can figure out where we are..." Their playfully bickering voices sounded through the jungle which hadn't seen ponies for at least a decade. Birds took to the sky to fly away from the unfamiliar racket, and prey animals went quiet, waiting to see what these strange creatures would do. And a small, blue lizard stuck its head out of a hole in a tree and skittered along the branch and down the trunk into the bushes. It peeked slowly out of the leaves to see what the ruckus was all about. "Hey, check it out!" Coconut was saying, poking her hoof at the ground, and prying up a long rod. "I think this is a horn." The stone horn was broken at the base, and looking up at the statue, they could see that it fit perfectly onto the rough, broken part at the forehead. "Hey, it's not a pegasus statue ... it's an alicorn statue!" Frond exclaimed. "Let me see that!" He reached out for it, and Coconut drew away. "Hey, I found it! I can put it back!" "I'm the better climber!" "Yeah, and maybe you climb up on it and it breaks under your weight, huh?" They both scrabbled for the horn, which slipped from both their grips and went tumbling into the bushes. Both ponies went diving for it, and there was a terrible shrieking from the bush as they stumbled onto the small blue lizard, which went scampering backwards, eyes glowing a bright silver. "Hey, there's the horn!" Coconut cried, not even noticing the lizard as she squeezed into a narrow space to reach for the broken bit of statuary. There was a sudden silver flash, and suddenly that narrow space was even tighter than before ... Coconut couldn't get out; could hardly breath! The blue lizard scampered away safely, the tan pony unable to reach it now. "Nnngh... Help!" Coconut rasped. "stuck!" Frond grabbed hold of a hoof and pulled, small hooves scrabbling helplessly in the dirt. "Wait," Frond said, confused by the odd angle, voice light. "I think I'm in a hole here..." There was a brief pause as all Coconut could hear was a throat-clearing. "Hole here... hole... what's wrong with my voice? I ... uh ..." Coconut grumbled and planted large tan hooves against the ground, pushing firmly, and with a sudden pop, pulled out of the narrow space and landed heavily on Frond, who collapsed under the larger pony. Coconut stood up, brushing off his large form, "What the heck was - " he started to ask with a deep voice, then stopped. "What the ... why are you so small ... why am I ..." He looked over himself again, and at the pony beneath him. "Why are you a mare?! Why am I a stallion?" Frond stood up, shaking her head to clear it. "I'm a what? What are you talking abou-" she stopped and looked up at the now-taller stallion opposite her, then down at her own leaner form. A set of paired cries of confusion and dismay sounded through the forest, and the lizard grinned its little lizardy face as it slipped away. It looked up at a parrot above it, and its eyes glowed silver once more. Suddenly, the parrot dropped down to the ground, and the blue lizard took off into the sky on brand-new, rainbow-colored wings. There were new creatures in the jungle! Creatures she had never seen before! She wondered what sort of interesting new abilities she could take from them ... It had been a week since their last stopover, a week on the endless sea in a tiny little floating cart. And Doctor Whooves decided that now was the perfect time to teach Trixie how to run the self-propelled contraption."No, see," he tried to explain for the twelfth time. "First you throw this switch. Then you pump this doohickey. THEN you pull this lever once you've brought the pressure up on this gauge... " He waited as Trixie did just as he said, then continued, "Then, when it fails to start, you give it a good KICK!" The words weren't even out of his mouth before Trixie was kicking the engine. "nonono, you don't just kick it without waiting! First you have to wait for it to start for a couple seconds! Then, after a couple heartbeats, THEN you kick it!" He sighed and brought his hoof to his face. "It's all in the timing!" He was so caught up in trying to teach her how to use the cart that he didn't even notice the thin wisp of smoke on the horizon, coming up out of the peak of a volcano just barely visible. ​
  13. Exactly how this had all gone down, Inkbrand still wasn't entirely sure. But really. What else could he expect from Ponyville? To say he'd been surprised when all the other colts and fillies and reverted back to their adult ages sans Applejack would be a huge understatement. And given the one, glaringly obvious thing that had really separated the orange filly from the others, Inkbrand supposed - in hindsight - he should've seen it coming. But he hadn't. He really, really hadn't. Which, in turn, had meant a guilt trip the size of bucking Equestria, even though there had been no possible way he could've known a tattoo would interfere with the spell's ability to draw into the pony's natural cutie mark and revert them back to their proper ages. Like, seriously. Weren't cutie marks suppose to overpower any other magic on a pony's flank? They were magical and rot! Apparently not magical enough. Thank buck he had morals and hadn't gone with a permanent tattoo. The unpleasant revelation had still, however, left a lingering question of who. Unless a pony of immense Magic-Canceling Power - was that thing? That should be a thing - swooped down on them to effectively erase the tribal apple, Applejack was going to be stuck as a filly until the tattoo washed off on its own, in a couple of months. And considering the filly's real family was off doing buck all during Hearth's Warming, well...he'd been left with a choice. Glowing horns and menacing glares had ensured a fairly quick decision. "If I never have to buy a bundle of holly again," Inkbrand lamented to the orange filly as he fairly collapsed onto his modest couch, dropping bags upon bags of decorative material, "I can die happy." The tree had been hastily delivered - and he'd been bucking lucky there'd been a decently sized tree left to purchase - yesterday, but was still standing silent and empty in the corner. Spending the holidays with his family as he normally did, his Ponyville home was woefully unprepared to celebrate the Heart's Warming spirit, which had meant a rushed trip with Applejack to purchase decorations, food, supplies... Anything and everything a filly was used to for Hearth's Warming. It was already the Eve though, and while it was still light out, decorating took a buck load of time. With a groan, Inkbrand forced himself upwards from the couch, eyebrows dipped in concentration as he rummaged around the myriad of shopping bags. "See the candy canes anywhere, Apples?" the tattooed stallion questioned, nose stuck in a particularly large and seemingly fathomless bag. "For me, not for decorating. Need a sugar kick - oh buck! Don't tell me I left the - nope, got it!" Seriously. How the buck did Mom do this every year? He was ready to strangle himself after just shopping for the stuff!
  14. Dash felt that thrill in her bones that only came from the anticipation of true adventure! Of excitement! Of glory, and a quest to be won! She zoomed through the air with a bright light in her eyes, a song in her heart, and a dedication to NOT BE TOO LATE! Her friends needed her! Danger was ahoof! Doors were so boring, and besides, she caught a glimpse of tri-color purple mane through that open window. With a dramatic flourish, she burst in through the window and struck a pose. "The game's ahoof!" she cried at full volume and bravado without actively shouting, her wings flared and her head back defiantly. "You won't defeat us!" As Twilight's fur, feathers, and hooves all started to settle back down from their shock and surprise, Dash went on in a more sedate manner, "I brought my miniatures, I got some dice, and I brought some Rainbow Smoothies from Cloudsdale. Oh, and your triple order of hay fries, of course! Got here fast enough that the Smoothies won't have melted yet! You can keep 'em cold long enough for everypony to get here, right? Who all is coming?" She set her saddlebags down - what room was this anyway? This palace had so many rooms, and they were all so fancy! "Ohmygosh Ohmygosh Ohmygosh! I can't believe we're finally playing Daring Delvers! I have my character all made and junk! Is Daring Do actually part of the game? She's gotta be, cause she's part of my character's backstory. It's a masterpiece! I'm not too early, am I?"​
  15. Bramble Rose sat at the table in the cafe, sipping a cup of mint tea, then taking a small bite of his clover danish. While he looked calm and collected, his stomach was churning with butterflies. He was going to see Foxxy again! Ah, Foxxy. Back in high school, when he'd had his goth phase, he'd had such a giant giant crush on her. Then there'd been that little problem with Black Mesh, and all the drama around that, and he'd just stopped going to the goth meetups. They'd tried a few more times to go out visiting old abandoned Canterlot buildings, but school had started, and then ... they'd just drifted apart. Still, it was amazing how old emotions resurfaced when he'd heard from a friend of a friend that she was looking for someone to guide her into the Everfree Forest. He was dressed in a simple dark green vest that nicely complimented his lavendar coat, and came with a lot of very useful pockets. He had his long, long silver mane all bound up into a tight braid that he had gathered up behind his head. He wondered what she'd think of all that hair. Last she'd seen him, it'd still been pretty short - well, it'd been a mess. Not the hacked-off barely-there cut when she'd first met him, but not fully grown out yet, either. And he'd still been dying that black streak to it. What would she think? At least she was meeting him now that his career was finally taking off. A research project in the Tirak waste. No more delivering flowers and modeling stallionwear for catalogs and advertisements, no more serving drinks or other small, odd jobs to get by and scraping up the bits for self-driven research. He was a real, honest-to-goodness scholar and researcher, now. That'd impress her ... right? Augh, why did he care? It'd been ages! They'd never even been dating in the first place! It'd been an unrequited crush, and she probably met somepony else in the meanwhile! He dropped his head to the table. Why was he such an idiot? This was about research! Whatever research she wanted to do in the Everfree! That was all! ​
  16. It was about time his skill got some royal recognition. Even if it was from the newest addition to the family. The letter sent to his home was most welcome indeed. Needing a guide through the Everfree? To look for something mystical? He certainly wasn't going to disappoint. This might be his shot to really get in big time! He made it far in the Army, he's doing pretty great as an adventurer, but if he could become the princess' go-to guy for artifacts and relics! He'd REALLY live it up then! He contained his excitement as best he could. He was early, but fashionably so. Sitting by the entrance to the Everfree, he was looking like he was ready for some guerrilla stuff. His usual outfit came with the addition of a nice black cap, the same red patch of the 13th recon on it. A little bit of camo paint here and there, and strapped to his back was all the supplies he would need for traps and things of that nature, as well as supplies in case they needed to set up camp. Oh, and a set of binoculars around his neck. The trees were so thick he might not need them, but he'd rather have them and not need them than need them and not have them. This wasn't his first time in the forest, but the Everfree was a beast of its own. Everypony would have to keep their wits about them here, and take the utmost caution with every step they take. This was a place where just looking in the wrong direction could result in a pony's end deep in the woods. Trailblazer was prepared. He just hoped his charges would be.
  17. Sweetie Belle was sooooo excited! She brushed out her pink and purple mane, giving it just the right curl, like her big sister Rarity had taught her. Her coat was all clean and white, and she had given a special polish to the buckle on her saddlebags. With a flourish, she pulled out her aaaaabsolutely fabulous scarlet Cutie Mark Crusader cape, freshly cleaned so that the gold silk liner shined extra bright. This was going to be an absolutely magnificent adventure! A map, hidden by her own big sister Rarity, with a secret treasure at the end! She had found a small diary in the chest along with the map, and a cache of the first ever jewels her big sister had ever found, when she had gotten her cutie mark! The diary had told all about how Rarity had tried to find the treasure when she was little, but had never been able to figure it out! The map was only half the map, and Rarity had never been able to find the other map! The clues said the other half was supposed to be in the library, but Rarity had searched the library from top to bottom without finding it! Sweetie Belle carefully tucked away her preparations. A lightning-bug lantern, some carrots and apples for snacks, and the grilled hay and cheese sandwiches for lunch! She was getting so good at this, they were just barely burnt! They were all going to go to the library and search it for the other half of the map! With all three of them, AND Sunrise Beach, they'd be sure to be able to find it, no problem! But just to seal the deal, Sweetie had asked Grim Tales to meet them there! He loved writing so much, and books, he must surely know how to find a map in a library! She trotted out of the house, with her dam calling out behind her, "why, you have just a gee-golly good day, Sweetie Belle!" and happily munching on one of the leftover grilled hay and cheese sandwiches. Sweetie Belle just couldn't wait for lunch! Just like her dam makes them! She had a spring in her step as she stepped out to the library. The other night, the princess tea party had been such a disaster... Scootaloo had obviously been bored senseless, and everyone else had played along well enough, but it just had seemed so much better in her imagination... Well, fine. Good, safe ideas were boring? Well, she didn't want to lose her friends because she was too boring. She'd just have to change who she was! Today, she wasn't taking it safe! She was gonna ... gonna be more like Scootaloo! She was going to have an awesome adventure, and just charge in! She was going to - Walk straight into something because she wasn't looking! She sat there on the ground, her eyes swirling dizzily, and shook her head quickly to clear her vision. Snips and Snails! What were they doing coming out of the library? A piece of paper floated through the air and landed on her nose. Her eyes crossed as she focused on it. It was her map! She looked again. No, wait! This wasn't her map! This was the OTHER half of the map, the one they were looking for! She jumped up into the air excitedly. "Ohmigosh! Where'd you find it! This is JUST what we were looking for! Oh, thank you, thank you!"
  18. Eeyup.Nothing like a good long walk to another town to organize the thoughts of a complicated red stallion. Or so he would, if it wasn't for sister Applejack walking with him, sharing his thoughts in feeling. The two pony minds resonated together as their common link as siblings aligned their reactions to the nature around them. They did a lot of things in unison without even thinking about it. They predicted the weather the same, they got hungry at the same time, heck they even stepped at the same time. But they were not the same pony. Big Mac's quiet demeanor contrasted with his sister's slang and charming voice. He was resistant to actively seeking advice or companionship, while Applejack was very social, even sporting a coltfriend to lean on and make fun of whenever she felt like. And Big Mac was stubborn, but not nearly as much as his sister, he reckoned. Although if you ask him about it, he wouldn't admit for a moment that he was stubborn himelf! The Apples had a delivery to make to Garden Gait. A secluded part of the woods south of Canterlot. The village always got a regular delivery. I mean, who wouldn't get their fair share of Equestria's finest apples? But this time was special in particular in that the village needed the order rushed for an unknown reason. Maybe they were having a party? Hard to say. Not much was known about the village, and it wasn't really suspected to be the type of place a lot of Pinkie Pie-style parties would originate from. Regardless, Big Mac and Applejack tasked themselves with delivering the order, each with a full cart of apples in their tow. They walked at a leisurely pace, which was good, considering the last time they tried this Applejack made haste on account of her fear of Apple Bloom endangering herself when she was left alone. Big Mac breathed deep. It was always good when the air was crisp and without need for worry. ​
  19. _____________________________________________________________ From all over the Crystal Empire and Equestria, creatures of all sorts are flocking to the Triple A Convention. The Applied Arts and Artisans Convention is a highlight event for many artists throughout the lands. From sculptors to painters, traditional to modernized, clay modelers and supply sellers - there is no end to the myriad walks of life that came to learn, teach, and simply marvel at the spectacle. Several booths have been set up along the streets, a large number of them occupied with ponies attempting to promote their latest and greatest supplies, be they paints, inks, sculpting tools, and much more. Others are set up in demonstration, showcasing their newest chiseling technique or whisper thing wax paper over the base layer. Ever more stalls have practical courses set up for convention goers, challenging ponies to showcase their own talents in various events. A fair few stalls, here and there, simply stand to sell food and drink to the hundreds of ponies milling around the area - there is certainly no shortage of any resource an artist of any medium could ask for. Programs are being given out left and right as well, detailing a schedule of lectures and seminars. Many are practically and thoughtful, lectures such as 'The Effects of Magically Induced Animation on Inanimate Works of Art', 'How to Manage Clientele', and some tutorial courses, like 'Becoming a Self-Sufficient Artist.' Whether a pony is attending to learn, lead a seminar, or simply get out of the house for a couple of hours, the Triple A Convention is guaranteed to appeal to whatever a pony could ask for. _____________________________________________________________ While he wasn't, and never would be, a scholarly kind of pony who learned from seminars and textbooks, well... Alright, alright. He was hooked. Barely thirty minutes into the convention, and Inkbrand could admit defeat. Not that he hadn't wanted to go in the first place - it'd been his idea after all, one which Zelda had easily agreed. Which, was rather lucky, considering he'd already purchased their convention passes and train tickets...but that was besides the point. The point, was that, although he'd been interested in looking up some of the fresher techniques to just see what he was competing with, Inkbrand hadn't really been expecting all that much. And then the Triple A slapped him in the face for being so unbelievably stupid. "There's a demonstration on tattooing inks using correctional brushes to merge vibrant colors together!" the grey Earth Pony exclaimed, head tucked into the program that detailed the available seminars and lectures to attend. "Buck, that would save me on supplies...and look babe!" he continued, pressing into the black griffon's side so he could wave the program in front of her face, "a study on generating an artificial light source for sculpting purposes." Not that that one excited him as much, but Zelda was a sculptor, probably able to appreciate much more of these seminars than Inkbrand would be able to. Which was...well. Why they were here, maybe. Zelda was about as great a marefriend a stallion could ever dream of nabbing...and that, Inkbrand had found out passively over the last months or so, was turning out to be a problem. He could appreciate the chill and relax attitude Zelda had over near every aspect of their relationship - and oh, buck could he appreciate it, far more used to clinging mares who wanted to spend every waking minute together - but at the same time, such casualness prompted nothing in return, causing the spark of a new relationship to wane thin. Inkbrand was positive the griffon wasn't looking to settle down and start a family or any of that rot, no sir...but well... What was that they said? Too much of a good thing? Something as. Whatever it was, said casualness worked out great for Inkbrand, and had obviously worked out great for Zelda - meaning, that the 'casual' in 'casualness' was going on the track to fulfill its course soon. The tattoo-clad stallion was ninety-two percent certain that a break-up wouldn't result in the griffon attacking him in the middle of a convention site - she had accepted the casualness of their relationship as easily as he had explained it - but that didn't equate to a quick note scrawled and left on her doorstep. Zelda was better than that, and deserved better. Hence, one more date. One more fling. And then after that, well. Passion could only carry a pony for so long. But that would be later, maybe, and this was now, and there was bucking too much going on for Inkbrand to be completely still. "I need to take a look at some new paints, too," the grey Earth Pony continued on blithely, his tail automatically coming up to drape over Zelda's backside as they strolled on through the convention grounds, "been runnin' low. Maybe even a new brush set." That, likely wasn't going to happen...but when it came to tattooing supplies, Inkbrand had about as much self-control as a foal did in a candy store. "What about you babe," Inkbrand said after a moment, a smirk on his face as he leaned down to nudge his snout against the silken black head lightly. "What's on your radar? My treat!"
  20. To say Inkbrand was happy right at this moment would have been…just a bit of an understatement. After all, it wasn't often he got this sort of alone time with a mare of such standing. When her brother had mentioned her, the grey stallion hadn't thought anything of it, just a family member of an acquaintance mentioned in passing. Meeting the mare in question herself, however, had had him thinking about little else. Which, made Inkbrand abruptly realize that he was thinking entirely too much for a stallion in his position. "Alright there, doll?" he murmured lowly as he pressed himself a little bit closer, not really doing anything in particular as opposed to simply dominating the space he had her trapped in. Not like she had anywhere else to go - even a trained mare like her couldn't push through the solid wall Inkbrand held her against. The tattoo-clad stallion slowly dragged his mouth against the side of her head, intimately rubbing cheek against cheek as he trailed up to breathe lightly against her ear in a teasing fashion, delighting in every shiver, quiver, and gasp he could rile from the gorgeous mare in front of him. Oh, yes. He could happily stay like this for the entire evening. Which he wouldn't, of course - they did have their night on the town to attend to, after all. But that didn't mean Inkbrand would give up their cuddling beforehoof. Who knew, maybe she'd want to skip the entire evening and simply stay indoors, because she was just so entranced by him. The thought made Inkbrand's eyes heat up as he pulled back slightly, to press a - so far - chaste kiss to the corner of her lips, light and feathered.
  21. In all honesty, finding the little shop had been the biggest challenge. But given its location in the midst of similar office-type buildings, he supposed anypony would've had a challenge on their hooves, and he had most certainly not stumbled upon it by sheer luck after breaking into three other different offices. It was the one on the first floor. Go figure. Stil, Xiphos wasn't really bothered by his wanderings, considering that he liked to wait until dark fell to commit felonies anyways. That, and the funny little wind-up clock he'd swiped from the second office had made the entire escapade worth it, sort of. The Aerion absently tapped said clock on its surface, a grin lacing over his face as the little caricatures inside went haywire, and continued languidly lounging against the windowsill as he looked around the office space. The Earth Pony was closing up shop in the other room - small place, that. Reception and an office, that was it - which gave Xiphos plenty of time to take in the myriad of different lights, patterns and...crystals. Surprising for a non-Crystal pony, sure, but Xiphos supposed to each their own. His sharp green eyes eventually, and inevitably, wandered towards the crystal ball sitting on the mare's desk, his own rhythmic tapping against the windup clock growing a bit more aggressive, more sporadic. Platinum...and diamond? The pedestal was more interesting than the crystal ball. And shinier. There would be plenty of time for stealing later, but that didn't stop Xiphos from leaving his comfortable perch to trot closer to a crystalline figure seated on a bookshelf, curiously running one hoof over the delicate looking structure. No need to rush, and the Aerion remained calm and steady as he patiently waited for the shop owner to finish saying goodbye to her last customer of the day. And if his tail twitched once or twice in aggrieved boredom, well. That was his own business.
  22. [[ Banner art belongs to unknown artist ]] [[ This is the OOC thread for The Legacy of Yemaja, a Skype-based adventure/puzzle RP set in the wilds of Unyasi. This thread isn't for sign-ups or discussion - it will be used to present certain information for the Skype RPers who are participating in this RP. Please do not post in this thread - if the participating RPers have any questions, comments, or concerns, please use the Skype OOC chatroom we have set up. Thank you! ]] [[ On-going Skype Log ]]
  23. in a dark room in an old, creepy looking cottage there was barely a sound being made. The only continuing rackets that could be heard was from the constant scratching of a quill on parchment, some rather disturbing giggling that occasionally devolved into a whimper. Alone at a desk there was a pony hurriedly writing something down as a dark and ominous aura began to glow around them. Just as the author of the letter finished the last sentence and powerful wind blasted through the house and sent the paper flying far out the window… Not long after the gust there was a loud sound that could have been heard all the way from Canterlot. Following it was a surge of mysterious magical energy that erupted from the lone shack and spread all around it soon engulfing the entirety of the town this house was adjacent to in addition to some of the woodlands nearby. Around the borders of the magical anamoly there began to form a thick fog, dense enough to completely obscure any attempts to peer through it, magical or otherwise. Just outside the borders the wind brought the written message to a mailbox just as a mailmare came to it… ---Canterlot, Spellbound Guild Hall--- A fairly loud snore was ‘gracing’ the guild hall this afternoon. The owner of this snore being a cream colored unicorn with a straw hat covering her face and resting in a hammock she’d set up a few minutes ago. Presteza had tuckered herself out from the long night of magic practice the guild had. Spellbound hosted a whole bunch of magical experts with unconventional talents owned by sometimes even more unconventional ponies. There were equine here who if given enough time, could built an entire castle made of ice. a mare who could level entire buildings in a matter of seconds. A student of the arcane sciences who could dance like a ballerina whilst teleporting all around the room. They had one member who could summon up and dance with flames. There would probably be even more impressive individuals to join the guild’s ranks one day too… The impressive displays she’d seen the other night had stoked her creative furnace, The snoring mare had spent the better part of night sketching pictures of the various members at work honing their skills… something she should get around to doing sometime. Soon there was loud couple noises, a rumbling noise and three sharp knocks. The mare was shocked out of her sleep and slipped out of her hammock on to the floor, slamming her face into the floor. “Ow…” She said rather flatly before getting to her hooves and rubbing some of the sleep from her weary eyes as the knocking continued. “OI! Keep yer bloody shirt on, I’m comin’!” Shouted the mare, a bit grumpy from having her rest interupted. Soon the door was opened, “Alright, wot’s the hurr--” *Boom!* The painter stood there a moment as a wind carried over a piece of parchment that hit her square in the face. Once she took the article from her visage she looked around and saw everything looked fine outside… where the hay did that explosion come from? The mare slowly stepped back inside the guild hall and shut the door before scanning over the letter… Her eyes widened suddenly before she looked back to the depth of the guild hall and shouted, “EVERYONE! C’MERE, YA GOTTA SEE THIS!” ---The Area Formerly Known as Hollow Shades--- The letter had said that Hollow shades was in trouble and colt did that seem to be an understatement. The area were the town stood as now engulfed by deep, dark, intensel thick looking fog. Every few seconds there was a series of purple electrical arcs spreading over it’s surface before vanishing into the banks of the -for now- unmoving bank. Around it there were various ponies, many of them scholarly looking and with magical instruments trying to discover the nature of this event from outside. So far there were quite a few things that were observed by the ponies who just stuck a hoof into the fog; one pony who had done so froze in place and once the hoof was withdrawn, a cut on it had fully healed and the pony’s mane had grown a bit. Any of the pony’s who had left the borders of the fog bank would notice that suddenly their entire sense of timing was now either slower or faster than they had been before, although this eventually healed itself. The trip here seemed strangely quick to those who had joined them, fortunately Hollow Shades wasn’t very far from Canterlot (probably why that boom was able to be heard from there). The ponies who had come were, Javasun, Moondance, Presteza, and Pocket Change. Moondancer was the leader and founder of the guild. Javasun was an exceptionally intelligent engineer. Presteza was a prodigious and prolific painter with some unusual magic at her disposal. Pocket change was a junior archeologist and experienced adventurer. The Artist of the group gulped as she looked over the sight before her, “S’pretty forebodin’ ain’t it?”
  24. Raffles always enjoyed the attention of Flash Sentry; especially the kind that helped out a good cause. For this particular story, the good cause was having Royal Equestria Army serviceponies raise funding for the non-profit Canterlot Army Historical Society, so it can continue preserving the honored legacy of the REA. As it turned out, the higher-ranking supporters of the fundraiser had enough clout and persuasive powers to convince Princess Twilight Sparkle to offer herself as the grand prize of sorts. Technically speaking, whoever got first place would win a date with Equestria’s latest alicorn princess of friendshippy magic. As it just so happened, PFC. Sentry happened to be a really big fan of Twilight’s. He wasn’t foalish enough to assume that anything more would come out of a single potential date, but all the same, that didn’t stop the stallion from purchasing a couple dozen raffle tickets at least. If Flash lost, well he still would have immensely helped the CAHS’s noble efforts to expand their museum. Fortune favored him however, for the lucky pegasus did indeed managed to get first place in the end. Flash Sentry earned the privilege of taking Twilight Sparkle out on a night on the town! Flash tried his best not to let jitters get the better of him. This would be his very first date since enlisting in the Army. Would he make a fool of himself in front of royalty? Was his dress uniform up to regulation? What happens if an emergency happens in the middle of the date? Questions ravaged the stallion’s mind, but as the appointed time drew knew, he learned to keep unproductive thoughts at bay. He oughta' do fine enough if he avoided coming off as an attention-starved fanboy. Due to Flash Sentry’s current assignment in the Crystal Empire, arrangements were made to have Princess Twilight travel north. It didn’t take long to travel from Ponyville to the Empire anyway. Over at the train station, the uniform-wearing Sentry stood at attention waiting for his alicorn date to arrive. Despite brimming with positivity, Flash couldn’t help feeling quite nervous too. Like if he was just about to commence a dangerous combat mission.....
  25. Ingrid Marie so desperately wished she’d never have to fly in an aerial wagon. Despite those things being large enough to hold five passengers and all their luggage, those things were cramped beyond all belief. At least the drivers were skilled enough to make sure the wagon didn’t sway terribly from turbulence throughout the flight. And just where Ingrid Marie and her group were going to? Why, to the alpine village of Marelia, to spend a winter vacation with several of her friends. It had started about a year ago or more with her first encounter with Cheerilee, a dedicated teacher who ran the schoolhouse in Ponyville. Sharing a passion for mentoring students, the two hit it off fast at a birthday party for one of Ingrid’s distant nieces. Next came Bramble Rose and Apple Bumpkin, two ponies the magic counselor met later during the last zap apple harvest. Apple Bumpkin was a farming relative of Ingrid’s, and a very close friend of Cheerilee’s as well. Bramble Rose meanwhile worked as a magic researcher, and his acumen proved a valuable asset to solve a crisis that nearly stopped the harvest dead in its tracks. That event brought the four ponies closer together; though they couldn’t visit each other too often, they maintained their bond through heavy written correspondence. So when it came time to take time off for Winter Break, a lightbulb turned on in Counselor Marie’s head. Why not take this band on friends to a vacation in Marelia, a winter resort she always wanted to go back to ever since she was a little filly. For a week, they could ski the slopes, skate on a ice rink, or just kick back in the lodge by the fire. All they’d have to do to get there was to travel by aerial wagon, because passage on hoof through the mountains was nearly impossible. Despite being squished on the voyage to Marelia, Ingrid at least stayed relatively warm. Thanks in no part to her smart choice of winter garb, but all the ponies crowding against her also ensured a source of body warmth. Now that the wagon was on its final approach for landing, snow-covered peaks could be seen in every direction. the middle-aged mare used this moment to take a look at how well her friends were doing, along with that one guest Bramble Rose brought along.....
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