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[Sponsored] The Spire


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OOC- This is an open thread for the Crystal Empire event in the Crystal Spire. Please limit yourself to two characters.

The Crystal Spire shone I the sunlight most days. Even with an advancing storm front to the north it was beauty to behold, and that fact didn't diminish when you went into the interior of the castle. Hallway after hallway littered with partygoers and murals of the ages past went by as any guest who sought a deeper audience had to push on through to the inner chambers for the more exclusive party had to fight a growing crowd inside and outside of the Spire. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing that the Spire was seeing so much activity this year but it certainly made security almost impossible to do effectively. They weren't expecting any threats but it had to be done somehow. How? Well that wasn't for Twilight to worry about. Her bother was on the case.

For her own needs, this was a far more laid back Faire than the last one had been. No saving the Empire with Spike to worry about, just a meet and greet while she got caught up with her relatives. That was the plan, anyway. Who knew if she would even get the time of day with them at the rate this day was progressing. First the train had arrived three minutes and twenty two seconds late, which pushed her scheduled meeting with the Guards by five minutes. Then she had to spend an additional two minutes and four seconds waiting for the all clear after a particularly drunk pegasus mare had caused a ruckus in the skies above the faire. All of it added up to her being late enough to the Spire's opening that she did not have a clean break into the inner chambers, allowing her to get mobbed by suplicants.

She wouldn't dare give citizens less of her time than they deserved so the following hour was spent in an impromptu meeting with more than a dozen ponies beseeching her aid or simply wanting to talk with her. It had been an ordeal but not necessarily an unpleasant one. Meeting all sorts of ponies from every walk of life and helping them, if only with her words and promise for more, was special to her. Still, she was incredibly late and fighting through the crowd didn't help matters much. By the time she made it into the inner chamber where she was meant to be, Twilight was beat. But no matter. There was bouund to be all sorts of ponies to meet here as well, and getting caught up with family would be nice as well. All in all, a tired Twilight tried terribly to tell herself that she had more than enough energy for this- and succeeded. Time to party!

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For a student and researcher of geological sciences, the reemergence of the city of Crystal Spire was a singular event. For Maud Pie, to hear of the empire's return had brought a joy to her face seldom seen for the few with the ability to adequately discern it. An entire city made of nothing but crystal was truly a unique and marvelous thing, something which the modern pony were far from being able to duplicate. In her first several visits to the empire, Maud had been very curious about the techniques used to create the glorious city, but even the crystal ponies who returned with the city did not know the full detail, the city being built many ages before them.

To attain her rock sciences doctorate from Rockwington University, Maud needed to complete a lot of research out in the field. This had so far meant frequent trips to the Crystal Empire, which had become in the past few years, a very important site for those involved in the study, but there were typically limits. Maud had been able to walk the city streets examining all the structures and the material used to construct them. She had even been permitted to approach the Crystal heart itself with a magnifying glass in hoof to examine its minerals. What she hadn't yet had a chance to do however was walk into the Crystal Palace itself and examine it all from the inside.

The Crystal Faire this year was her key to do just that. The Palace was open to visitors who wished to enter and greet the princesses and partake in festivities there in the palace. Maud didn't have any real interest in such things, but a chance to examine the crystals used on the inside of the palace was not to be missed. With a notebook and pencil in her hooves, she made her way through the corridors, making note of the gems she found. Some were surprisingly rare in the modern era.. not the sort of thing one would expect to see used in construction. Maud proceeded with a fervor and fascination perfectly invisible to any who might see her.

In time her research lead her to the inner chamber where a large crowd of ponies was gathered. Ignoring them, she took to studying nearby pillars and making notes about them. She only tore herself away from her work when her eyes happened to spy a familiar face.

Twilight Sparkle was one of Pinkie's treasured friends. She had had difficulties adjusting to Maud's demeanor and didn't have an ear for poetry, but Maud could feel at least some accord with her. Though she was dressed and regaled as a princess, this pony was foremost a student and researcher just as Maud was, only her field of study, magic, happened to be a far less fascinating and important one than rock science. After the ordeal with Pinkie right before Maud left the rock farm to pursue her degree, Maud was happy to call this pony and the others she had met in Ponyville her friend.

As involved as she was in her studies, she supposed it was not so much trouble to greet a friend. That decided, she stuffed her pencil and notebook in a saddlebag and approached the princess dressed herself in her usual drab frock.

"Hi..." she said, completely impassive to the ear.
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Sunrise was... enjoying this, actually. It had been a while since she had taken part in the upper levels of society that she had grown up in. Too long, it seemed. She had missed this without even realizing it. The orange-coated unicorn was dressed in a fancy dress of her own design, the fiery colors set to complement her own. A fiery look for a fiery mare, that's the kind of thing she liked, creating clothing that matched the pony wearing it. Unfortunately, personalization becomes hard when working for a large company.

Oh well, no time to think on that now, she was in a party! Sunrise mingled with the ponies, slipping back into the nuances of higher-class ponies fairly easily. She looked around after she had finished with another pony, her eyes stopping on one of the princesses herself. And next to the purple alicorn was an earth pony in a terribly drab piece of clothing. Walking over, she looked between the two, not wanting to interrupt if they were having a conversation.

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The crystal palace positively shimmered with light and reflections as it bustled with ponies from all around Equestria. Its high arches reached up to the sky as the echoing hallways burbled with the conversation of the guests. It was all so magical and, crystal. Glimmer was enthralled by the sheer beauty of it all. Seeing it from the train was one thing, but getting to see it up close and to walk around in it. That was something else. The decorative displays of the Crystal Faire turned, what could have been called cold and clinical, into a dazzling display of colour. It lit up Glimmer's heart and served only to bolster her excitement.

One might wonder what a simple pony like Glimmer was doing in the high society party. The answer was simple of course, she was here to work. Network, to be exact.

Her agent had managed to score a number of tickets for his clients, which naturally got dished out to the best actors and models he had. Unfortunately, Glimmer wasn't on that list. It had taken a great deal of persuasion but finally, Glimmer had convinced him to reserve her a ticket. Naturally this meant paying for the trip, buying a new dress as well as paying for accommodation, all of which was not cheap.

Glimmer had spent a great deal of time preparing for this party. Arriving two days before so she could scope the place out and have sufficient time to beautify herself. She had made her mane and tail shine and had buffed her coat for the occasion. Another sore feeling in her already dwindling bank account. The dress she had bought was only just out of season, a light pink dress with a modest assortment of rose quartz gems on the floor of the dress. It was modest, affordable but to a trained eye probably looked a little tacky. Glimmer wasn't happy with it herself of course, but it was the best she could do with the funds she had.

Now though, as she stood in the entry hall, all her worries were swept aside at the sight of the crystal hall. She was here, it was all coming together. Glimmer looked fabulous and her dress was coming into it's own thanks to the light of the crystal. She was going to meet a designer or a talent scout or something, then she would be one step closer to her dream.

Glimmer stopped staring up at the crystal palace and turned her attention to the ponies gathered. Of course, there was the Princess of Friendship herself. Glimmer couldn't help but smile to herself at the sight of the alicorn Princess. Being in the same room with royalty, well, that was a bonus for sure. Glimmer kept her mind on task though. As much as she'd love to talk to the Princess, it would be unlikely she would be worth the Princess's time. After all, she was here to network and the Princess was hardly interested in fashion or helping her in her career.

Stepping forward into the hall, Glimmer looked around to see if she could spot anyone that might be worth networking with.

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Of course, whenever and wherever there was a gathering of the cream of Equestrian Society (or whatever you'd call the stuff that floated to the top), there you would find Prince Blueblood. It was a kind of law. Magical Scholars had theorized that the stallion would actually generate spontaneously in the presence of a sufficiently catalyzed group of the Great and the Good. Like most of their theories, it was complete horseapples, but one had to let them have their fun.

As a point of fact, the Prince's calm demeanor belied a frantic past couple of days to clear his calendar and secure timely transportation. The whole "Crystal Faire" was a new affair on the Social Calendar, hardly part of a Canterlotian's routine. But he could hardly afford to miss it, oh no! Not if he was to maintain his premier position!

Thus, in the end he had to rely upon a quickly-commissioned airship ride, though Blueblood always had a secret fear of flying. He'd hardly had time to sleep upon arrival, either; he'd arrived the night before, and there were still hours of preparation to do! Getting his clothes clean after being discretely airsick on the way over, for example.

At last, however, there he was! Resplendent as any Stallion could possibly be, in the middle of a city which he liked the more he saw it. No so-called "rustic charm" here; these ponies at least knew what sort of architecture was appropriate setting for Royalty. Being tired kept him from looking too impressed, naturally; and the surprisingly plebian character of many of the guests also dampened him somewhat. It was the same with what had happened with the Grand Galloping Gala...

And here was a perfect example of it! Some bourgeois mare had thought to dress up, was a season behind in fashion, and no doubt thought herself as fine as the Duchess of Manehattan. 'Twas ever thus, and Auntie would be upset with him if he went out of his way to humiliate her, but still...

"Oh, hello, I don't believe I've seen you before...?" He remarked casually enough as the tides of the party brought him close enough to approach Glimmer. It was an innocuous enough remark, but it would shake somepony who was too self-conscious to think they belonged here. Blueblood knew that if he mistook the character of this mare, he'd pay for it, so he would give her a little opportunity to prove herself to him...

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The Crystal Empire was a place of amazement and enchantments to Ja-er… Voronoi Fractal, seeing as he has to use his actual name to get into such a location that he is right now. Not to mention he was also upholding to a bet with a Prince. When he was a more energetic… than he is right now, as a foal, he always wanted to see such a beautiful world. The entire land, even flowers, even ponies, and perhaps the birds themselves, made of crystal! Such an incredible thought!

And naturally he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to have a reason to visit such a place! But alas, all the train tickets were all sold out. So his transportation was a little more grand than he could care for. Oh yes, he came in by air. Flying his own personal air-ship, Dhoruba Moja, he had landed in the kingdom the night before.

And… to the curious gazes he had received from the crystalin locals… when the stallion flies his airship, he only does so under one rule. “It can go anwhere, with the only rule being it has to be really cool or interesting.” That being said… to an overly caffeinated stallion, and we are talking of caffine levels that is only possible by the dragon standards, the crystal city proved to be over-stimulating. In fact, there were small rumors being passed around about an earth pony who was running in circles for several hours with his jaw dropped. Can’t blame him. Everything was sparkly and colorful.

And back to where he is now. He was dressed for the occasion, like he would be for the Gala. While he never cared for an exotic wardrobe. He always kept something special just in case. The stallion was dressed in a much different waist coat this time around. One that actually spoke of quality, rather than utilitarian. It was a golden color. And etched carefully into it with a color of dark brass was an atlas of Equestria, with the compass rose placed on the right side of his chest. And over that was a nice trench coat. Other than that, he still kept his goggles draped around his neck for the case he might need them. And his hair was still a mess. Trying was all that mattered.

And so here was Voronoi Fractal. A Noble. And a well known scholar and engineer amongst academics, more so for his work… than his over the top nature. Making his first appearance to a major noble social for the first time by his own will. And shortly after stepping through the doors, the lone scientist had already caught sight of an old Princely friend of his, passive-aggressively accosting a poor mare with a common attack. Well not on his watch! Heck not like he cared who she was, he barely knew any of the Nobles here. The scholars? Yes. But reading people was simply part of an engineer's job! It helps to know how to explain things, or give exactly what ponies want when you see their first impresson. He knew Blueblood all to fondly for his creative ways to rip away a pony's shread of dignity, and he can easily recognize when there was a fish out of water. But he can give the mare credit. She's doing a better job than he is, and he's actually supposed to be used to these sort of parties.

“Oh come off it, Blueblood,” Voronoi rang out with a smile. His hooves drawing him near the two. His baritone voice lilting with a playful grin. “Take the stick out of ye rump, and just enjoy yourself,” He had raised a hoof and made a circular gesture, before pointing the mare, and adding. “And let her enjoy herself too!”

The stallion then held out his hoof to the mare in a gesture to shake her hoof. “Voronoi Fractal. Anywhere else, just know me as Java. That name’s much more efficient and easier to pronounce!”

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Never had Zecora ventured so far from her home in the Everfree Forest until now. But curiosity got the best of the Zebra upon hearing tales about the rediscovered Crystal Empire. Even better, there was a festival going on which celebrated the city's heritage. And so she boarded the train and journeyed north to the Empire. It was quite a shock for her to experience such cold weather, far colder than the winters of Ponyville. But upon passing through the gate of the Empire she was transported into a nice springtime climate devoid of snow. Upon wandering her way through the city proper, taking note of the crystalline buildings and ponies that were in the area. In her amazement the Zebra had found her way into the castle and to the topmost point where she learned a party was going on. She assumed that the party was for anypony yet when entering she saw mainly royalty there, fancy ponies dressed in their finery. Well at least she saw one familiar face in the crowd, Princess Twilight Sparkle whom she continued to be close to.

"Hello," Zecora said to a pony in a pink dress, "I know this question to you may seem silly, but is this meant to be a party for royalty? I believe in my wandering I stumbled upon this scene."

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Glimmer was busy looking around for one of the designers on her list when she heard the voice of a stallion, "Oh, hello." He began, "I don't believe I've seen you before?"

She turned to greet him, whoever he was. Glimmer had to confess to herself that she only knew the designers and the agents that were going to be here, she certainly didn't know who everypony was. "Oh, hello," she started. "Oh, no, I'm..." but before she could finish her sentence she was interrupted by another finely dressed stallion.

"Oh, come off it Blueblood," he called with a smile on his face. "Take that stick out of ye rump and enjoy yourself. And let her enjoy herself too"

Wait a second? Blueblood, as in Prince Blueblood? Fortunately the unicorn managed to hide her sudden recognition, as well as a slight chuckle. Of course, she'd seen him before in the papers but she hardly paid much attention to the politics of the royal court. Naturally, she'd heard some stories about him, Glimmer knew enough to know he was bad news, but she had never placed the face to the name. In that way a name can be infamous, but a face cannot. It certainly never occurred to her that she'd be talking to royalty, why would they bother with her. She was just a small town pony trying to maybe get a connection, or a job. Like some ponies, she did not know as much about those at the top as she should.

She was shaken out of her thoughts by the other stallion offering her a hoof. Naturally she took it and shook hooves as he introduced himself. "Voronoi Fractal. Anywhere else, just know me as Java. That name’s much more efficient and easier to pronounce."

Glimmer smiled at the friendly introduction and replied with, "Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Glimmer and I'm an actress." She didn't know this Java, he certainly wasn't on her list. Still, he might know someone in the performance industry. If he knew Prince Blueblood well enough to joke with him then he might have connections.

Right then Glimmer was surprised by the arrival of a third figure in their little gathering. "Hello," came a deep, but feminine voice from beside her. The unicorn looked over to find that the figure was a zebra. Of course, she'd never met a zebra before. That made her quite curious. The zebra had black and white stripes, like all zebra, as well as a distinctive mane cut that set her apart from the rest of the guests. "I know this question to you may seem silly," she began, "but is this meant to be a party for royalty? I believe in my wandering I stumbled upon this scene."

The unicorn shook her head in assurance, "Nope. Not just royalty, I'm not with the royal court for a start. I'm here because of my agent." Glimmer gave the zebra a welcoming smile, her curiosity getting the better of her. She moved aside so the newcomer might better join the other gathered ponies.

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The party in the Spire was more subdued than the festivities that slithered up and down the avenues of the city as a festive snake but that didn't make it any less interesting, nor did the fact that Cadance and Shining weren't there. She was expecting Flash however- she had said if he wanted to take his date auctioned sanctioned date at the Faire then he would be more than welcome to do so. In the end she supposed it didn't matter, as soon after entering the room she was beset by ponies she knew well, only a little, or not at all. And that was just fine by her. First there was Maude. Maude was a pony Twilight could understand better than most but understanding Maude was still an impossible task for anypony besides Maude herself.

“Oh, hello Maude. I wasn't expecting you here! Are you here for the Faire itself or for your research?” Twilight asked Maude, more than pleased to note the appearance of any studious pony. It was the one thing she shared with Maude- a serious academic interest in something they were supremely talented in. Some ponies may have enjoyed learning magic or learning the geology of the planet but it took a special type of pony to see in these things something worth devoting your life too even if the rewards were restricted to the happy few. And while they were among those happy few, it was the joy of discovery that propelled both of them. In that small way she understood Maude. Soon however something else stole her vision.

Twilight didn't have an eye for fashion. It was as beyond her as cooking was, much to Spike's chagrin. But you didn't have to be a pony devoted to the art of fashion to recognize beauty when you saw it, and a new pony had entered the room wearing beautiful dress. She had made herself up rather well too, even if Twilight couldn't tell who she was there was no doubt she came prepared. Not a local by the looks of it and not on the short list of VIPs, though that distinction seems to have been discarded by the overwhelmed security many moons ago. You didn't come off of the train ot airship looking that good, so she must have come earlier and prepared. If that was the case then she wasn't just wandering in, she had intentions. Twilight enjoyed that sort of spunk. “That is a beautiful dress! Can't say mine is anywhere near as good. Rarity gave me something but I was running so late...anyway, nice to meet you Miss...?” Twilight asked, sticking a hoof out just as the dyamic shifted.

Zecora showed up, eliciting an immediate smile from the Princess. She didn't get to see the mysterious zebra half as often as she would have liked but that didn't change Twilight's admiration. Not only did she live in that evolving nest of chaotic unease known as the Everfree but she was an expert in the art of potion making, which itself was such a vast base of knowledge that it took most a lifetime to equal the knowledge that Zecora had on tap naturally. Twilight wanted to spend more time researching potions and wanted to dip her hooves into it more than she could now, but her schedule was so full and Zecora herself so out of the way that it was nearly impossible. Seeing her here was thus a welcome change of pace and who knows, maybe schedules could be reconfigured to give them more time together. “You're fine, Zecora. The guards who were supposed to be keeping this limited to VIPs seem to have lost all control, and I think that's to our benefit. How have you been?”

Twilight was happy keeping to these three for as long as possible. Blueblood showed up and while Twilight didn't hate Blueblood, he was as vexing a pony to be around as he was resplendent and he was quite resplendent. Resplendent is not the word she would use, but it seemed to float around him like so many of his high opinions. An overly excited stallion came around and knocked the arrogant Prince off of his high horse a bit and Twilight mentally patted the stallion on his head. An energetic noble, Twilight didn't know Fractal well but she knew him well enough to know she liked him enough to favor him over the Prince. She bowed her head slightly in acknowledgment and smiled, happy to note how easy the party was so far.

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Maud just looked at Twilight, a seemingly blank look on her face. "There is more pink star diamond used in the construction of this palace than has been unearthed and accounted for in all the modern Equestrian era. Its value is immeasurable..." she said to in her own distinct way answer the princess' question.

Twilight turned from the conversation then to speak to some others. She addressed a pony in an elaborate gown, complimenting it at the expense of her own dress. Maud, who had an interest in fashion and how it enabled one to express oneself found she could not quite agree with Twilight's assessment. No one she saw there in the crowd quite understood the beauty of simplicity as Maud herself exemplified with her choice of wear, but Twilight's dress was something she could appreciate.

"I prefer your dress, Twilight..." she said, completely monotone, expression unchanging. "It suits you..."
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While his own testimony soundly repudiated the theory that he spontaneously generated, Blueblood would have been willing to give more credence to a similar theory regarding Voronoi Fractal. At any rate, the Prince was at a loss for coming up with an alternative explanation for how this stallion kept dogging his heels at every turn. While he despised vulgar neologisms, the word "frenemy" was somewhat apt for what Java was to him. Blueblood doubted whether there were any in high society, or low, that knew him quite so well as the half-mad stallion, but they got on each other's nerves too much to be fully amicable.

In any case, he was greeted with the by-now typical raised eyebrow. "As it happens, I am enjoying myself very much, but I am pleased for your concern on my behalf." Really, he had no intention of actually demolishing Glimmer here and now, just to satisfy his curiosity on how easy the task would be. You never could tell; the most naive romantic waif in a second-hand dress could be a proto-grande Dame, not to be crossed with impunity.

It didn't seem promising, though, this specimen. "Just wandering in"? Here because of her agent? What even was this? But if there was one thing stronger than the Prince's sense of class, it was his sense of social dynamics, and as he watched Zecora, and later Princess Twilight approach, he sensed a change in the party. Whether inadvertently or no, Glimmer had put herself at the center of a group with two Royal figures, a prominent noble, and one exotic Zebra. She was turning heads, and making waves in the crowd.

Blueblood changed tacks and veered to the wind. "Oh? An agent for what?" His tone was now bleached of any latent hostility, and leavened with a soupcon of interest. Besides, he did have various interests into which his inheritance was invested; perhaps this mare might be directed into one, in a mutually beneficial arrangement...

A curiously flat intonation drew his attention to what he would have unironically described as a Social Nonentinty, and it was not improbable that Maud might have agreed, her interests lying far outside such things as dinner parties. Still, as the Prince had a strong aesthetic sense of his own, and the remark struck him with the sense of contrast between the Princess and the... aspirant? "My own tastes run to the splendid rather than the austere, but the latter does suit you better, Twilight. Something... classical, like the muses."

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Voronoi "Javasun" Fractal

Voronoi's eyes wondered away after his ears detected a strange exotic voice. His wide eyes curiously studied the many different patrons inside the room, till he found the one that painfully stuck out. Why it's a Zebra no less! The stallion smiled to himself after remembering very distinct stories from Ponyvile about some horrible misunderstanding. Naturally he'd just place it off as sheer stupidity and ignorance. But given what the country side town has seen in the past - varying from Night Mare moon, the return of Nightmare Moon, and various other problems- he was more than willing to pass the misunderstanding off as a reasonable suspicion.

Naturally, he'd want to go meet the Zebra himself! It's been so long since he's seen one.. and that was when he was a mere energetic foal whom found a small vacation in Ulsyai a fun adventure full of pony eating plants. With the word 'fun' being far from sarcastic of course! But... he felt he's better off leaving her be for a moment. It's best to not overwhelm her! As more than likely, she will suddenly be swarmed by hundreds of interested Noble Ponies, or Crystal Ponies, or... well any creature really. It was a rarity to see them in the province of Equestria after all!

Plus! It'd be rude to leave his new acquaintance. Now what was she again? Oh yes an Actor! Like all actors, he barely even recognized a large majority of them! In fact he was lucky if he even remembered more than two! It was something the stallion didn't consider important enough to make a part of his life dedicated to it. Like most pop-culture, it was just useless data to the mind of a scholar. That's not saying that he doesn't have connections however! That much is privy to only those who can ask for it.

"Don't mind Blueblood! The rumors you might have heard of him are......... well... hit and miss," Voronoi chimmed with his eyes rolling and wearing a knowing smile. Most of them were true. And few were actually false. "He's a good guy when you know him a bit better. It's just quirks standout more under careful scrutiny of a gossipy crowd."

That being said, the stallion did appear to be regarding the mare for a moment. His hoof was tapping his chin as his eyes danced around her form. First her dress. His mind ruminating over the details for a moment. True! He might not be the best in fashion. Heck! The waist coat he was wearing was only picked up because it had a function to the stallion! An embroiled atlas that actually helped him get here. It only happened to be that it went well with his brown coat, and near black mane. And his trench coat and goggles? Completely utilitarian! Nothing fashionable in his decisions! But he could tell what costs were, and he knew what most stereotypical actresses would buy. And this one... seemed to be holding her own image! A cheaper dress, but a well made one! The gems on her dress might not be the finest cuts, but imperfection does have it's own beauty to the stallion. And was something more respectable!

Next his eyes flickered between her mane and tail. Why was it so shiny!? The stallion was mentally baffled by the idea that hair could practically become a mirror. At least the coat had a more recognizable amount of luster. His eyes flicked between the rest of the Nobles, and soon he tossed that idea out. Turns out some of the other mares had reached the more ridiculous levels of cleanliness. Probably wrapped themselves in polyesterine wrap to keep themselves 'fresh'.

And lastly, his eyes met the mares own. Though they were friendly, and maybe with a mixture of daftness, energy, and curiosity - they were sharp and piercing. More so that the stallion was trying to read her for a moment. And the results? Well... he came up short. He hadn't quite learned how to read an actor, so maybe she was just the more practical kind?

"Mmm... I am trying to search my mind to see if I recognize you from any works I have seen. It's..." the stallion frowned. His ears folding back as he looked away after drawing a sharp breath through his teeth. Partly from embarassment, and mostly in the realization he might have to apologize. In fact, he felt like he had offended the mare at that very moment. "... inconclusive."

The stallions expression quickly defaulted back to it's happy go lucky nature. "Well! No matter! If you've got the brovado to step past those doors when most other's would only shyly look in, then you have my respect, and earned your way here if it was my say! And it doesn't seem to matter anymore~ Which is fantastic!" The stallion then allowed his eyes to drift away to the mass with a tired expression. His hoof once again rubbing his chin while his eyes scanned over the crowd full of nobles, business icons, actors, song artists, and anything that fits refinery. He was actually wishing some more 'commoners' would show up to liven things up. Or at least some loud ones, like the couple of ponies he had the pleasure of reveling with before his trip here. "Besides... this isn't my comfort zone. Sure, I am of what they call "breeding", but this isn't my crowd. I'm actually a bit of a recluse when it comes to high society. You're doing better than I to say the least!"

The stallion's gaze returned to the mare when something finally clicked in his head, wearing a large grin. "A mare with a mission and motivation! I like that!"

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Sunrise was looking over at a mare that had been surrounded by two stallions and a zebra, taking in the mare's dress. It was a bit out of date, but it didn't look bad on her at all. The designer gave a slight hum as she mentally began creating a dress for the mare. Even if she would never make it, the process of figuring out what was best for them was something she enjoyed. Her thoughts were interrupted however as the princess spoke, complimenting her dress at the cost of the one she was wearing herself.

"Don't be so hard on your dress, princess, it fits you quite well. This Rarity must be quite the talented designer." Sunrise said, giving a slight bow to the princess. After that her focus turned to the other group, and her eyes took in the stallions. The unicorn was obviously a noble, though she couldn't quite place the face. Thankfully, the other stallion soon supplied it. Blueblood! Of course, Prince Blueblood, how could she have forgotten him? She blamed her long absence from the upper class scene.

And then there was the other mare nearby her, the one with the drab clothing that the princess had called Maud. They must have been fairly familiar with each other, as Maud had not used the princess's title. And her voice... it held no expression or emotion... Well, it certainly fit her choice of clothing.

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Glimmer smiled at the other stallion as he gave yet another remark against the Prince. She certainly didn't know if the stories were true or not. Either way, she'd rather not get involved. Glimmer loathed to think what kind of things were going through that one's head. Whatever they were they weren't good. Recalling the research she did on nobles of the past she had played in productions, she could work out more or less what to expect from him. Best not to get involved, certainly. Unfortunately, she was already involved and you don't just ignore somepony like a Prince. So what could she do?

Her thoughts were interrupted as yet more figures joined the party. Low and behold, it was Princess Twilight Sparkle. Glimmer didn't quite know what to make of it, she certainly didn't expect any of the members of royalty to pay attention to her, let along two. What could be better? She was accompanied by the designer Sunrise Skies. That was somepony on Glimmer's list. Excellent, she had a designer, now all she needed was to give her a business card. Though between royal politics, attention from Princesses and zebras that task was going to be far from easy. The unicorn was so focused on the approach of more royalty as well as replying to everyone's questioning she barely noticed the drab looking earth pony behind the Princess.

That was when she heard the Princess compliment Glimmer's dress over her own. She took Twilight's hoof and shook it, introducing herself. "Miss Glimmer, Princess, I'm an actress and part time model." She felt she needed to add that last part to try and attract the attention of Sunrise Skies. Although there was an absence of a bow there was hardly the space for it among all these ponies. The best Glimmer could do was shake the offered hoof and remain on form. At which point everyone else offered their own opinions on the pair of dresses, though Glimmer certainly had to disagree with the Princess. Her dress was quaint, modest and had a charm of it's own right. Not to mention it was made by the designer Rarity, and being worn by a Princess it didn't matter if it was still in fashion. They were the ones who set the trends after all. To those with an eye, those facts made all the difference. "I'm afraid I have to disagree Princess, you look splendid. My dress is coming out of season," she pointed out the obvious flaw in her own dress. "It was the best I could do on such short notice," she added. Maybe it wouldn't be the best idea to point out that the dress had cost her the rest of her savings and that she was betting a lot on this gambit.

Still, Prince Blueblood had asked her a question, she felt she had best respond before he thought she was being rude. No doubt he could wreak all kinds of havoc on her if he wished, something she'd rather avoid if she could. "My acting and modelling agent, Starfinder. He gets me jobs when he can. I'm an actress, and part time model." Of course, the Prince might have heard of Starfinder. He was of reasonable fame in the business and had a number of top of the range clients. Unfortunately, Glimmer was not counted among that number. Not yet anyway. Still, the old stallion seemed to be quite friendly with Glimmer.

That was when Java asked if he'd seen her in anything. "Oh," Glimmer replied. "I doubt it. Though I was in this year's hearth's warming performance up at Canterlot," she remarked. Being in that play was a big thing for her, even if she'd only had a small part. "Un-named Unicorn Duchess number two, I was in the scene where the three tribes met. When they started to have the big argument and storm out, my character had to shout 'pegasi ruffians' and stalk off in disgust alongside Princess Platinum." She smiled at the memory. Sure it was no big deal for the rest of them perhaps, but that was probably the biggest production she'd been in.

Sure enough, Glimmer seemed to have attracted the attention of most ponies in the room. Not just the ones she was currently talking to. She liked the attention, but not in an arrogant way. It was more that she liked belonging. Ponies were paying attention to her and were listening to her, that gave her confidence and assurance that she was doing well. After all, not just anyone could walk in here and start having a chat with the likes of these nobles. Maybe it was just her actor's training, maybe not.

Glimmer listened to Java's remark that he was not himself comfortable in high society and that she was doing well, despite the fact she shouldn't be here. That made her feel comforted, even if she had as much right to be here as everyone else. After all, she did have a VIP ticket. Then that's where it finally clicked for him. Glimmer was a mare on a mission, that was true. "That's right," she replied with a happy tone in her voice.

The mare took a brief moment to study him. Although she was sure he was friendly, she didn't know exactly who he was. Well dressed, slightly awkward as he'd remarked, the factual way in which he spoke. "And forgive me if I'm wrong sir, but you're an academic are you not?" Glimmer asked. It was a bit of a leap, but all the attention had given her confidence.

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Now the Crystal Fair was open to /ALL/ Equestrians! All of them, every last oooone, so that was exactly why there was a Diamond Dog in the Crystal Spire, she had come in with a Pink Pony that seemed equally impressed with the place, though the Lady (as Kalime had taken to calling her) was more interested in mingling, and for right now? Kalime was just slackjawed! If there wasn't the several diverse and gorgeous ponies to look at, her eyes just went up, and up, and UP! Taking in the beauty that was that spire!

"...Oooh Celestia.." She had been hanging out with ponies way too long, her father would NOT be happy to hear those words out of his daughters mouth that was for digging sure! But she couldn't help it! "Kalime has never seen anything SO beautiful in Kalime's ENTIRE LIFE!" She threw her arms up and grinned "Pretty spire! Pretty Ponies! YAY PONIES!"

Too enthusiastic? NAW!


Lady followed after Kalime, and her breath was taken, but not because of the decor The high class ponies that were there was what took her breath away! Why there was Her Majesty Princess Twilight Sparkle! There was the dashing and Charming Prince Blue Blood! Why there was even Ponyville's own Zecora! "I do declare!" She said in a breathy whisper...she had no idea how anyone went about introducing themselves to a room of total strangers, but Lady took a few hesitant steps forward, about to introduce herself properly to the good folks..

"Yaaay PONIES!!"

Lady's ears drooped and she facehoof'd rather hard, ugh she had forgotten that while Kalime was very polite, very kind, and very friendly? She was a diamond dog and not in possession of the most delicate social graces...

" Kalime dear, remember what we said about inside voices?"

"Kalime is SORRY! She forgot!"

Oh LUNA today was going to be difficult..

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Blueblood had to get used to being needled in the company of Java; even in his compliments there was something backhooved. Of course, that was par for the course as far as conversation went among the upper crusts of Canterlot. It didn't bother him much, therefore. This wasn't some out of the way place where he could count on no succor, and had to breathe an atmosphere unfamiliar, and sometimes quite pungent. No, this was home for him, and he was chatting with his equals and... not so equals.

Glimmer was, to his estimation, an up-and-comer. True, she had been graced with peculiar luck, to be talking to him and others of his rank right now, and her candor was a little off-putting to one of his stripe, but overall he would say that she would be here next year, whatever else happened. It would do no great harm to be a patron to her, in so far as his power lay, and he had to confess to a not entirely unselfish desire to see what she could do with a really fashionable outfit.

"Well, I'm not well-connected in the theater, but I have some knowledge and experience in fashion myself." He posed, subtly, showing off his own outfit in the best light, "You might let old Starfinder know that I could pull a few strings; I'm funding a little trade show for several designers coming up." There, the seed was planted. Of course, Voronoi had to inject his own two cents into the matter, but it did provoke a reminisce from the actress that rung a bell with him.

"I do remember that line, actually! The emotion behind it struck home, particularly as I later had to stand next to a certain wonderbolt while he was eating a pie, and that was a sight I shan't forget easily. The crumbs went everywhere." He accompanied this memory with a shudder, but that was nothing compared with what came next.

The bursting into the room of the Diamond Dog was greeted by most everypony present, but especially by the Prince himself, by a look of utterly flabbergasted crogglement. He blinked. Did that just happen? No, that could not have happened, because that sort of thing does not happen.

As the drinks tray was passed around, he set his own small flute of Crystal Berry Champagne down upon it decisively, and refused any refills. Clearly, he had had quite enough tonight.

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Zecora smile as Glimmer explained that the party was indeed for everypony. She was glad to have not made such a social error and that she could now enjoy herself.Her presence though was one that received much interest from the mare who most likely never seen a Zebra in her life. To her memory, Zecora had not seen one of her kind either in her travels.

"Thank you for telling me that this isn't a party just for royalty. Zecora is my name. What is yours if it is all the same?"

Just then Twilight Sparkle confirmed the Glimmer's information. It was a welcoming sign to see the newly crowned Princess of Friendship as it reminded her of the many times that she met with Twilight. These days because of her busy schedule the Alicorn hadn't stopped by her hut for tea or a discussion on potions or the flora or fauna of the Everfree Forest. Being in a place where ponies ever since they were fillies or colts not to go also didn't help the fact of being so isolated but the forest in its own way was charming. Perhaps though that there would be a time that Twilight and Zecora could meet, if not at her hut then the Zebra was more than capible to venture across town to the castle.

"Hello to you too Twilight. I am pleased to say that I am doing all right. You seem to be healthy if not having a life that is busy. Are you now acclimated to your new space? The castle certainly from what I've seen is a very big place."

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Voronoi visibly winced as he listened to the mare's explanation of one of her works. She could have at least played it off a bit more, in the stallion's opinion. But stating it so bluntly was like saying you were cursed to get second hand jobs that no other actors possibly wanted to fill.

Why do you ask? Well, the high chance that you will be suddenly out-shined by a pony with a larger role, because literally... you are just a one-shot rifle for the scene! You are on stage maybe once or twice. Say something incredibly minor, and get tossed into the waste bin like yesterday's old tomatoes.

And what threw the scholar for a greater spin, was that Prince Blueblood was practically eating this up like it was candy. He was sure the Prince's ego would get the best of him. But no, he apparently has a far superior appreciation for theater arts than he does. And something against... a Wonderbolt with a pie... what!? Even his mouth was slowly mouthing out the phrase, 'crumbs went... everywhere'. Was that a thing? Is that some sort of expression he's missing?

The prince was receiving an expression that was a mixture of bafflement, displayed by his eyes, and utter confusion, revealed by his slightly agape jaw.

Soon he closed his jaw, and reached out with a hoof for a nearby bottle when a porter passed by. The look he received went ignored. He was going to need this later on tonight if he was going to ignore the familiar pains of an aneurism. While there was some silence between the three. The stallion gently placed the bottle on the ground, and reached into his coat with the same hoof.

From his coat, he produced a pair of spectacles, which were immediately donned over his eyes. The next was a small notebook and a pen. Voronoi gave a show of abnormal dexterity with a bovine appendage. The book held in one hoof, was easily flipped through many pages without any signs of visible contact. And for the pen, it was twirled about the other hoof. First going underhoof, then over, then into the air, till it landed in a grasp in the stallions wrist. One more flicker, and it was flipped onto the stallion's hoof. To make things a little more odd, it was being held in place as the stallion began to jot something down in the book.

He only paused when he heard an inquiry about his profession. The stallion smiled, and gave a soft chuckle. “Why yes! Yes I am~” he said with punctual accuracy. But, there was no hint of braggary. It was just stated like a fact.

“One with research and various solutions and developments that left many boggled. I could ramble senselessly on for hours if you really wanted to. But the truth of the matter is, I am not particularly interested in explaining things in detail at the moment. Besides, that won't matter much to you, I assure ya! Plus... I probably forgotten most of the details already... and some things I have discovered... I'm a little... ah... off my rocker."

The stallion then ripped the page out with his jaw, and offered it out to the mare. “Here you go, dear! Where the prince might not be able to help you in the field of theater. I can provide some assistance! I have a friend in the heart of Manehatten city, a Griffon you see! Known him since I was a foal! He's knows a lot of the big daddy producers, and actors. I'll send him a letter, letting him know I sent you his way~. Oh! And... do leave your agent behind when you go meet him, or when he takes you to go meet somepony. There's a few really good reasons, but the most prominent one is... if you don't show up in person to meet him. Then clearly you didn't find it important at all.”

The stallion grinned, before quickly snapping his head around to look at the sudden outburst that came from... a diamond dog?! The stallion was now beaming happily! One hoof now making a slight pumping motion in the air as he giggled like a mad hyena.

There really was a higher figure listening to Voronoi's wishes! The party was growing more lively! And he had a bottle of... what ever high society rubbish. Now... if only he could find his special somepony tonight.

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(sorry everyone this is just going to be a short intropost)

Tigrus Gemshoe, one of the foremost detectives in the Crystal empire... well hadn't slept. Apparently several Ewes went missing a few days ago and the petting zoo owner requested them found post haste. Naturally considering that the petting zoo was one of the main attractions for little fillies Tirus could not decline. So naturally he found most of them within the first few hours, the last one however... well she was an elusive one. Jump forward a few days and Tigrus having found all the ewes and being successful, hadn't actually slept very much. He was a mess, his mind was a scramble, and no matter how much he tried to do up his hair nothing was happening. Honestly it would probably take the ceremony and rejuvenation of the crystal heart to fix this bad hair day.

Tigrus stumbled into where he thought it would be quietest. The only place guarded by... well guards... They didn't seem too interested in stopping anypony from entering though so Tigrus was able to get into the Spire with ease, hopefully in his mind, the guards still deterred ponies and it would be quieter than other places... Not sleeping didn't afford him the ability to listen to loud ponies.

Upon entering it didn't take long for Tigrus to determine a few things... There was one pony seemingly obsessed with crystals whom also seemed to be acquainted with one of the princesses.... I'm pretty sure that is the newest princess... Twilight Sparkle, the princess of friendship. Perhaps if I am lucky I'll have made a friend with her as well as a few others from mainland Equestria. There was also a zebra, something he had only read about in books, and a diamond dog... Prince... He didn't even remember his name, but he did rememer his royal pedegree of the pearly white pony. Well this was certainly an interesting mix. Tigrus wasn't sure where to start, and wasn't sure of the diamond dog.

Tigrus approached the group at the center, especially intersted in the grey mare. "You have quite the eye for gemstones. That is possibly one of the rarest gems in the world... Do you think it true, they originated in the Crystal Empire?" Tigrus stopped realizing that he forgot to introduce himself. "Ah forgive my rudeness. I am Tigrus, Tigrus Gemshoe."

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Maude definitely knew her stuff. Twilight admired anypony who could latch onto any one piece of academia and Maude's ability to not only latch onto but really push through into being an expert of some of the more unusual aspects of Equestrian learning was special indeed. Of course, Twilight didn't understand what a pink star diamond was, but she understood the importance of the Spire. It was built when the Kingdom was in its infancy and was a symbol as much a home, the shining beacon of what the beleaguered Crystal ponies could do and achieve in their at times brutal land. Still, the fact that there was more used in just the construction of the Spire than in all of Equestria spoke volumes as to how much was available of the Pink Star. “Ahhh, interesting. I guess that would seem to indicate that there must be an abundance of it in the Empire, correct? And what makes it such a good construction material?” Twilight asked, honestly invested in the knowledge she was about to receive.

Just as she was learning more about this mare named Glimmer. She had rather easily moved herself into the discussions around the Princess and the Prince, becoming in some ways the center of attention. Less of a shock than it may seem if only because everypony knew what they knew and could ever know about royals it seemed from tabloids. But this was an interesting one. She seemed to be constantly looking to meet and greet and get her name out there, creating connections like a socially pliable viral organism. It was impressive and she was kind enough, even though as an actress Twilight couldn't tell if she was putting on the airs or was honestly as good as she appeared to be. Twilight was definitely intrigued and stepped further into the possibilities.

“Nice to meet you, Glimmer. I am always excited to meet an artist, no matter the art. Have you been in anything I may have seen?” Twilight asked pleasantly as the conversation continued to rotate in place to meet another face, another name.

This one was far more familiar and it was soothing to hear that Zecora was well. Twilight would admit to a bit of worry for Zecora, so isolated from help that if anything was to happen to her she would be without any sort of backup or extraction for some time. All it took was one bad day and while Twilight would never ask her to move she would jump in to help her do so at the risk of ruining her infinitely woven schedule. Of course, getting to know her own castle better helped the Princess work the schedule if only because getting lost cut minutes out of her schedule daily. It had taken some sussing out but she loved it now. Nothing could replace her old home but nothing enabled her research like the castle. And that- well, she was a simple mare at heart. Research was all she really needed.

“I am doing well. Did you know that one wing of the castle can withstand six thousand four hundred eighteen point seven-two megajoules of aural energy explosive force? It is very exciting stuff. If only it could be harnessed without losing over ninety percent of its explosive force it could be used to build roads through mountains! Oh well. Research continues. How has the Everfree treated you lately?”

A few ponies complimented her on her dress, a few too much for her tastes. One even though this was a Rarity? Yikes! Talk about flattering because of her station and not because of her looks. Twilight laughed and waved the compliments off. “Now I know I'm being buttered up. I said Rarity gave me something to wear but I couldn't because I was running late. This is just something I got out of the closet in a panic! Though to be honest, I do find it very comfortable. I don't even have a corset on! I think Blueblood is familiar with those. They aren't comfortable at all, are they?”

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An actress? Ah, well, that was interesting! Sunrise listened silently as the mare was offered help from both of the stallions, though this Glimmer seemed to recognize her somehow. Hmm... Maybe they should have a conversation later. For now though, the princess had responded, saying the dress she was wearing was not actually from Rarity, but rather was a dress she picked randomly from her closet. Sunrise frowned slightly at that, putting a hoof to her chin and tapping it a couple times.

"My apologies, princess, I misunderstood. Still, for a dress picked out the way you describe, it fits you well." She said, bowing again to the alicorn. Really though, she should have had her dress picked out already, not waiting till the last moment. She remained silent after that, seeing as how nopony was talking to her directly and she had nothing more to insert into the conversation at that time, though she did chuckle inwardly at the image of Prince Blueblood in a corset. She floated over one of the glasses as the drink tray came around, wincing and almost dropping it as the loud voice of the diamond dog assaulted her ears. She looked over at the doorway to see that the dog was accompanied by a mare, who tried to quiet the dog down some.

Sunrise let out a short breath through her nose before taking a sip of the beverage, looking over as a stallion with a terrible-looking mane began speaking to Maud.

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Suddenly there was a flash of purple that intruded into the scene. A series of squeaks coming from the fluttering purple creature before it could come into focus. Celestia only knows what a fruit-bat was doing out here but soon it began fluttering about and inspecting the various ponies at the spire. This particular little chiropteran tourist had gotten away from it's master and was just relaxing and enjoying the scene... but right now he seemed to be looking for something in particular. Once his little eyes fell upon A certain purple Alicorn he dove straight toward, Looking almost like he was about to dive-bomb the mare. Just before he presumably slammed into her face he stopped and then landed on her horn, soon flipping upside-down in the usual bat method of hanging out until he was now hanging in front of the well dressed princess's eyes, his leaf-like ears brushing over her snout as he flicked them around. Soon those little leafy ears ceased and the little creature rested comfortably on Twilight's horn.


It had been quite a long tome since her last visit to the Crystal empire. Her most recent trip to it was not really so much visiting the empire as performing a service for it's current rulers. In that particular venture she'd joined in on a sort of deep caving expedition lead by a Stoic mare by the name of Maud. That adventure had it's ups and downs and twists and turns, but in the end as usual, Pressy had a good time. Once she arrived in the empire she couldn't help but marvel at the incredibly beautiful, shiny, exotic, (and did she mention Shiny?) and utterly amazing architecture;This place was even more incredible than she'd imagined.

In preparation for this event, Presteza had made sure to wear something nice; Her dress from the last Grand Galloping Gala. She'd done her mane up in a different style than her usual and wore a small mane-clip that bore an image of her Cutie mark that was now hidden by the luxurious garment that was her Dress. On he head she wore her usual Straw hat that shielded her from the sun. While The young freckled painter was fond of this dress... she had to really think about bringing it by Rarity's boutique again to see if she could get her dress Taken out; It's been a while since she'd worn this gown and she'd grown a bit this year after all.

At her side was her trusty saddlebag, holding her usual assortment of scrolls, brushes, ink-pots, paint-pots, and palettes; all for painting. There was one more thing in her Saddlebag... or more accurately, one little passenger. A tiny pink snout soon emerged from one of her pockets and following it came a grape colored body and some ears like leaves. So many new sights and sounds for this inquisitive little creature to see! And more importantly, Delicious exotic fruits for him to munch. The small, purple passenger soon took a look around and excitedly flapped off in the direction of the Spire, his owner galloping swiftly after him.

The young mare kept her mischievous little friend in her sights, at least until she bumped into an old friend who wound up being dragged along...


"Gotta knock a little harder... Gotta knock a little harder..." cooed a certain Mare strolling down the streets of the faire. The Music on her headphones more or less pounding at her ears; Pretty much how she liked it. Rose was visiting the Empire on vacation. Her employers were saying that she deserved some time off considering how much time and money her particular talents would save the deconstruction company she worked for. The spell they'd been requesting her to use to demolish old buildings in Manehattan had left her a bit drained, but it could sure as sugar reduce a building to ... well, rubble in a matter of seconds. Her choice to attend the Crystal faire was purely out of curiosity; She'd never been to the Crystal empire before, so why not check it out for once.

The Trip there was pretty uneventful. She'd mostly slept on the train because she wanted to be as energized as she could be for this trip, She didn't want to cause any trouble by accidentally breaking down walls in her usual absent minded entrances. Once she stepped off the train and caught a look at all the impressive stands and attractions, it might take a bit to decide what exactly she wanted to see first.

While she calmly walked about in the crowds she soon ran into a familiar face; That of her cousin, Presteza. She'd told her that pet had gotten away from her and she was trying to catch him. Despite more or less being the equine equivalent of a train with a cowcatcher, Rose was pretty much a pushover who easily went with the flow... and so the hunt continued.


Eventually the two finally made it to the spire where Fresco had flown over to, Pressy having gone far ahead of rose and galloping over until she saw her companion resting on Twilight's horn. The young artist skidding to a halt... or at least she tried to; the collision with a certain coffee scented earth pony had stopped her from moving alone at least. For a moment the two ponies were left rolling forward until the cream colored unicorn soon stood above an earth stallion on his back, "Oh, Hi Java! How've ya been?"

Shortly after the silver maned pony came in and crashed into one of her fellow tourists, a red maned mare followed along.Honestly this was a change of pace, The Demolition mare was usually the one who wound up crashing into some scene; It seemed that position was filled by her cousin at the moment. She calmly walked up to Twilight and said in her usual calm, listless tone, "Hello. You have my cousin's pet on your horn. We came to get him back." When she looked to a dark grey earth pony nearby she looked over and calmly said,"Hello."

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Looming large to one side of the room, Bulk Biceps was not accustomed to feeling self conscious. As his gaze swept across the room, seeing ponies that were most definitely among the most prominent in Equestria, however, he couldn't help but wonder if he looked as out of place as he felt.

Coming to the Crystal Empire for the faire was, for Bulk, an opportunity to see what he had missed the last time he was here. He had fond memories of competing in the Equestria Games, but the time was mostly spent either in training, or in workouts, or in early heats of the aerial relay itself leading up to the finals. In the end, he realized, the only part of the Empire he had really seen in any detail was the stadium.

Once he arrived, however, it seemed that while Bulk Biceps was never a pony that could easily blend into a crowd, he was positively overwhelmingly recognized in the Empire. He'd almost found it strange - usually no one remembers the pony who won the silver medal - until he'd heard for the first time what everyone who wasn't immersed in athletics at the games had already known. Bulk's team hadn't even been expected to qualify, let alone come within a fraction of a second of a gold medal.

And, evidently, somewhere among that throng of fans he had had an admirer in bureaucratic circles, as he found himself with an invitation to this very event thrust into his hooves, along with something whispered about the athletic legacy of the Empire's hosting of the games being represented through his attendance.

So, here he was, wearing a hastily acquired and even more hastily altered collar, bow tie and dinner jacket, trying his best to look like a guest rather than a bouncer. Still, if he was going to play the part, he decided, he should at least look the part and do as the upper crust do at gatherings like this.

And so, steeling his resolve just as he did before his performance in the aerial relay, deliberatly, and with purpose, he headed for the hors d'ourves.

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"It is diamond," said Maud blankly at Twilight's enquiry about the pink star. She would have thought Twilight understood this much at least. "Which means it is very hard. It is distinguished only by its color and purity."

"As for abundance, there is no record of any major deposits of pink star diamond in this area or any other, though surveyors are uncovering long untouched caverns with increasing regularity," she explained, her expression staying perfectly even.

Just then a dishevelled crystal stallion interjected into the conversation about the gem. Maud just looked at him. "Maud," she said simply after her gave his own introduction. "And yes, their abundance in this palace would have me believe so," she answered his question, perfectly direct.

Maud glanced away from him and observed as Twilight dealt with some of her other greeters. Her eyes stuck on a particular one of them, a zebra, only the second such creature Maud had ever seen. This zebra seemed to have a curious habit of rhyming her sentences.

"Rhyming..." she said, stepping toward the zebra. "I prefer free verse personally but some of my poetry does rhyme. There are a lot of words that rhyme with rock."

Before anything else could happen, a unicorn mare walked right up to Maud and said hello. "Hi..." Maud replied. Her eyes went to the little bat on Twilight's horn and then they went off into the crowd. "I know her..." she said as she spotted Presteza, a pony she had once gone on an expedition with in the distance wearing a nice dress.
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Glimmer wasn't sure why Java looked a little downcast upon hearing her most well known role. It had been a big thing for her after all, even if it was just one line. He did explain though that he was indeed an academic and that he didn't want to go into his work in detail. It was understandable, she doubted she would understand it anyway. "Of course," she replied, "I was just curious. My brother goes on archaeological expeditions so..." she trailed off.

As Princess Twilight seemed to repeat Java's question she thought it best to embellish a little, "Well you might have seen me in last year's Canterlot Heart's Warming performance in the scene with the meeting of the three tribes. I was an unnamed unicorn duchess who shouted 'pegasi ruffians' as the character had to walk off with Princess Platinum." She decided to let that sink in before she recounted some of her less well known work. "I've played more important roles of course. Last year I had a role as supporting cast in a production based off the events of the origin of Hearts and Hooves day. I doubt you would have seen it though, it was done on a budget at the Manehatten Public Theatre for Aspiring Arts."

She turned away just as a fruit bat landed on the Princess's horn and there was a loud shout of "Yay, ponies." Glimmer's ears went back at the sudden noise and she turned to see, to her surprise, a diamond dog. Her face turned into a mixture of surprise and confusion. The unicorn wasn't sure why they'd let a diamond dog in, then again the dog was accompanied by a pony and if they had tickets...

Glimmer turned back to the group and was delighted to hear two offers of support. Naturally she was thinking something along the lines of, yes, this was worth it. Though her face read something akin to, oh wow, thank you. She smiled at the Prince, though inside she was dubious about his offer. While working for a show financed by Prince Blueblood would certainly be a boost to her career, it might end up being more trouble than it was worth. "Thank you sir," she replied sounding pleased despite her misgivings. "I shall certainly convey your message." That meant she had to chuckle at his anecdote of course, channelling her gladness in being remembered into the energy of the laugh itself so as to not make it sound completely fake. Though the image of crumbs going everywhere sort of reminded her of her apartment. "An unpleasant experience, I'm sure."

That was when Java offered her a piece of paper from what appeared to be a notebook. As he said, it was contact details of a griffin in manehatten. If he knew producers then Glimmer was certainly interested in meeting him. "Oh thank you sir," she replied, taking the piece of paper with her hoof. "I'll be sure to let your friend know you sent me."

She was certainly being insightful today, that was for sure. Must be all the attention from such important ponies. Still, she didn't notice the other three ponies walk in. Too pre-occupied with getting her name out there. That was her main goal here of course. Which by the looks of it, was an outstanding success so far.

Still, she managed to find a few moments for the zebra too. "Nice to meet you Zecora," she greeted her. Glimmer put Java's page in her purse then held out her hoof for Zecora to shake. "I'm Glimmer, I'm an actress and part time model."

The unicorn's thoughts turned to the designer, where did she go in this crowd?

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