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Spring Celebrations at the Elder Tree Teahouse! [Closed - please see OOC]


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Spring is here and the Elder Tree Teahouse wants to celebrate! Come join in an afternoon of fun, tea and sweets! And if you’re brave, tackle the Tower of Tea Roses for a chance to win a fantastic prize! You could win one of three mysterious, enchanted prizes: a violin, a traveler’s cloak, or a cutlass!





What a lovely spring day! The sun was shining brightly in Canterlot, its cheerful rays chasing away the few remaining shreds of winter. Though the air was still a little crisp, the breeze was balmy and fresh, promising new life. All around Elderflower’s gardens little buds had formed upon vines and flower bushes, and the leaves of her elder tree had even begun to unfurl a little. The mare beamed happily - typically that tree, towering even above the high roof of her tea house, was the star of her garden. That wasn’t the case today, however!

Sticking up like a sore thumb on one side of the gardens was a gargantuan rosebush, its massive tea roses the size of an average pony! Today this was the star in El’s garden. Any unicorn with a keen sense for magic would be able to tell quite easily that it was riddled with magical energy. It had reached its incredible size through long spellcasting sessions and its blooms and thorns had been touched with enchantments as well. It had taken so very much work to put all of this together! The willowy mare never would have managed this on her own: she had her parents, some friends, and Moondancer to thank for the marvel towering cheerfully in her garden.

El took a deep breath, a peaceful expression on her face. The scent of the tea roses was everywhere and it made her hopeful that this day would be a success. The huge event that she had planned and advertised for months was finally here! Even though this celebration of spring would definitely bring about a much more lively atmosphere than the Elder Tree Teahouse usually saw, it would no doubt be a perfectly wonderful day. She hoped so, at least! Really, really hoped so!

Humming, the mare brewed her first pot of jasmine tea in anticipation for the day’s first arrivals. The delicate floral aroma was almost lost in the perfume of the tea roses, but it tickled her fancy nonetheless. El always had been a fan of jasmine teas. Her little fairy wren, Blue, was perched on her horn as always, trilling a cheery tune to match her humming and behind her brewing station, a table with three glass cases protecting the event’s top prizes sparkled in the sunlight. Beneath the cases were a pale and enchanted violin, a soft blue cloak that looked like water, and a black cutlass with blue runes glowing along the blade. Laid out neatly around the cases were consolation prizes: luck potions, sweets, trinkets, and jewelry. It was a pretty impressive spread! She had a certain Stalliongrad mare to thank for these wonderful gifts - the day wouldn’t be half so attractive to Canterlot’s citizens without them!

Sipping at her first cup of jasmine, the mare gave her set-up one final, scrutinizing look. There were low tables surrounded by cushions dotting the grounds, and each table had pretty ceramic cups resting upon them. Between the rosebush, the tables, the prize stand, and her brewing station, the gardens were quite full! She had no doubt things would get lively once some of her guests appeared. When they did appear at the front step of the Elder Tree Teahouse, they would find open doors and a sign which pointed them through the back doors. A short walk through the tranquil wooden building would bring them into the open gardens, where countless varieties of plants were growing, most in full bloom or covered with buds. Overall it was a peaceful atmosphere they were entering, with the one exception at this point being the massive, looming rosebush which cut into the sky. At a glance, it looked to be about 3 stories high!

And of course Elderflower herself would be there waiting to greet anypony who wanted to come and celebrate the start of spring with a bang! Her brewing station was directly in the line of sight of anypony coming through that back door, so she would be the first thing they would see. Knowing this, she bore a warm, pleasant smile that was permanently etched into her expression and a cast iron teapot waiting to be poured.

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Khamsin wasn't hugely fond of roses to be honest. Sure, they were pretty... and in a way they were kinda cool; what with the thorny defense they had. The only thing that was slightly annoying about flowers of any particular kinda was that it was occasionally overwhelmiing to the senses. As soon as he came to the garden he wrinkled his snout and sighed, "Pretty and all... but not my usual scene." The stallion sauntered through the gardens and chuckled softly to himself at the admittedly cute floral arrangements. 


His playful smirk changed to one of surprise once he noticed that shadow that towered over him as he approached the path to the rose tower. The sturdy young stallion had heard that this thing was big, but sweet Celestia, it was BIG! The stallion whistled playfully in a wolfish style, "Hello, Beautiful! now aren't you just ripe for the climbin'?" he said as he gazed up to the massive tower and walked up to the proprietor of this establishment and it's lovely garden. She was tall and sort of willowy, but Khamsin coudl tell she had an underlying toughness that showed she wasn't the type to be taken lightly despite her overly pretty tea shop that didn't seem the typical hangout for a deep down plotkicker. "Aaand it's nice to meet you too, Lady El, So... what's the haps with this?"

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Flux bounced herself along the streets of Canterlot aimlessly, humming a tune to herself that would be strangely reminiscent of the winter wrap up song for any that heard it. She would occasionally even do a little spin while she went on, enjoying herself as she moved around on the wonderful day. The bubbly mare froze when she caught sight of a huge rosebush, making her song stop as she tilted her head to the side.


"Well, that looks fun." She said to her imaginary friends, smiling widely as she now had a destination. She came to the building and stopped again, looking at the sign. "A tea shop? That's an interesting place to have something that huge... Love it!" 


And with that she bounced her way through the building, coming out the other side and looking around the garden with a wide smile as she bounced in place. Once she was satisfied, she made her way to the other two ponies, stopping by them and giving them an enthusiastic wave.


"Hiya! I'm Flux! Nice to meet you!" She chirped happily, the disguised changeling smiling widely at the two as she bounced in place.

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If there was one thing that Lore Weaver loved just as much as books, learning, or magic it was tea. Sure he drank water and various juices during the day, but tea was what he consumed the most. There was a certain routine with how tea flowed into his works day: one at the beginning during breakfast to wake him up, at lunchtime when he had the time to brew a cup, mid afternoon to carry him through the rest of the work time, and one last cup at night to unwind. So upon visiting his parents in Canterlot the stallion couldn't pass up a chance visiting a tea house he heard about. The prospect of prizes also peaked his interest as he entered the place. 


The place was an awe inspiring sight with the giant Elder Tree crowning the garden. Lore could almost picture on summer nights the tree covered in fireflies or lit lanterns as ponies danced or talked under the glow. He came by his creative and romantic nature honestly when he had these flights of fancy. But what really peaked his attention was the towering bush of tea roses. Each rose was as big as he was and upon drawing closer he could feel the pulsating magic that was put on it. Perhaps it was some growth spell to make the tree large, although Lore began to wonder if there was something else to this tree. The scent from the roses though was intoxicating as Lore could only imagine the taste of the brewed flowers. 


And there was the hostess, a beautiful mare in her own right, sipping a cup of tea she no doubt brewed from her garden. Well no sense in delaying the point any further. 


"Good afternoon," Lore Weaver said to the unicorn noticing the various prizes that were laid out on the table, "I am Lore Weaver, and you must be Elderflower I heard much about. You have a very lovely tea garden here. It must be very calming working here among the beautiful plants and scents. I too am an avid tea drinker although growing tea related plants I haven't tried as I fear I don't have a talent for gardening." 

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El’s ears pricked to attention as the first guest of the day stepped into her gardens. She couldn’t help but break into an ear-to-ear smile when he cooed his approval towards her darling rosebush, a sense of maternal pride swelling up within her. One of the quickest ways to the willowy mare’s heart was a compliment to her garden! She was sipping her tea when he turned around to address her, the fairy wren perched on her horn sizing up the stallion with a scrutinizing look before letting out an indignant little chirp. Blue had a bit of a sour personality towards ponies who (in his opinion) lacked manners, so the tealoving mare just knew her beloved pet was upset over the stallion’s lack of introduction. El laughed a little at the bird - he was just such a stuffy little brat sometimes! She smiled towards the pegasus, taking notice of his powerful physique. She had no doubt he would do well in the little competition she had put together!

“It is very nice to meet you, sir,” she replied politely before two more ponies joined them. El offered them both a little smile before continuing, “And you two as well, Flux and Lore Weaver. I’ll save the full explanation of the day’s competition for when more ponies arrive...but I will say this: if you’ve any experience trimming rose bushes, you may have a bit of an advantage here!”

Her laughter tinkling, the mare turned to Lore Weaver with a lively spark in her eye. Oh ho - not only was he praising her garden, but he was a tea drinker as well? Excellent! She only hoped that whatever he had heard about her had been positive.

“Why thank you! This garden is my pride and joy, and aside from Blue here,” she added, gesturing towards Blue, who was still happily perched on her horn, “It is the most dear and important part of my life. If you’re from around Canterlot, I would be more than happy to give you a brief lesson in gardening! And I can send you home with your own little camellia sinensis sprout to get you started as well! And on the topic of tea...”

Eyes burning excitedly, El brought up another cast iron teapot and set it on the brewing station, “I would love to serve you all some tea and treats while we wait for more ponies to arrive! I have cookies, biscuits, chocolates, and tarts by way of treats. And as for tea...you name it, I’ve got it! Most of them I’ve grown and made here. And if you need options...I’ve got fruity herbals, floral herbals, rooibos blends, some matés and guayusas for an extra boost of energy, and every kind of tea you can get from a camellia sinensis plant! If you just want to choose by taste, just let me know what you’d most enjoy. I have something for everypony! And I already have a pot of jasmine green tea ready to be poured, if that has any appeal for you!”

Well, it wasn’t hard to tell what the wispy mare was passionate about. El was typically a very quiet and mild-mannered mare, but get her talking about tea and you’d have to be blind to miss the fire that burned in her eyes. She got so excited that the words practically raced each other out of her mouth and she had to put serious effort into slowing down her speech so it didn’t all come out in a jumble. Her expression as she awaited a response was not unlike that of a puppy eager to please its owner - oooooo she just hoped so much that they would all want to try one of her teas!

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Spending a day surrounded by red, blossoming…blossoms, really wasn't what he would call a productive day.

Or, an anything day, really.

Still, Nocturne had been intrigued despite himself, when he had caught sight of that first poster around Canterlot. Intrigued enough to chase away the metaphorical "gloom wisps", as Pocket Change liked to call them. But honestly, could he be blamed? The violin, though a pretty piece of enchantment, was a trivial prize, one better suited for show ponies who wanted some trite special effects whenever they played a melody…but the other two? A cutlass that could cut through minor magical barriers? A cloak designed to keep the wearer dry under any condition? Either of the two would serve practical and useful purposes in his research - especially the cutlass. Celestia knew how many barriers he ran into, unnaturally formed around several anomalies as they pierced and weaved through the fabric of magic itself.

Then, there was the fact that he actually recognized the hostess of the entire event - a surprise in an of itself, considering that Nocturne didn't socialize much outside the academic crowd. A fellow member of Spellbound she was, and one that had put on a rather impressive display of magic during one of the guilds open practice sessions. In retrospect, Nocturne supposed he should have been somewhat suspicious of the almost maliciously tall rosebush that had been continuously gotten bigger in the past few months, large enough for him to see the furthest reaching bud from the top room of his apartment building. But the thought honestly hadn't crossed his mind until recently, coming onto a flyer and finding the same name etched out near the bottom.

Which brought him…here. Elder Tree Teahouse.

Almost immediately, the scent of jasmine hit his senses, causing Nocturne to sniff rather deeply as he walked straight through the open doors, following the signs to the event. The Unicorn wasn't exactly partial to tea, persé, but neither was he directly opposed to it. Tea was nice to have, every so often, but not enough to warrant a trip to a shop that catered directly to tea lovers - excuse enough never to have stepped hoof inside this particular building. If the owner hosted similar events like this in the future, however, he may have to visit more often.

And that raised another interesting point, in hindsight - how in Equestria had a tea shop owner managed to get her hooves on such rare enchanted pieces?

That question would have to be addressed later, Nocturne decided as he stepped out into the back area, and almost had to squint at the bright, colorful, and downright gaudy display of flora he stepped into. A few ponies were already milling around the area, and Nocturne immediately recognized the hostess, discernible by the flowers woven into her long mane and her pale color palette. The highlight of the event, the same colossal rose bush he'd seen from his apartment, towered over even the tree in the back yard, and several tables with cushions had been set up, presumably for tasting any brewed tea.

And then there were, of course, the prizes, laid out on display in nearby cases. Nocturne let his pale gaze roam over the cutlass for a moment, before forcibly removing them to look towards Elderflower, who seemed in the midst of an introduction of some sort.

No, wait, she was…brewing tea.

Nocturne Wisp let his eyelids slide downward into a lazy, half-lidded stare as he deigned taking a seat or introducing his presence like other ponies seemed want to do. Instead, the dark-colored Unicorn simply took up position near a brightly colored bush with only a faint "Hn," inspecting the petals of one bud with intense focus. The magic in the area, specially from the gigantic rose bush, near brimmed around his horn, and Nocturne wondered how terribly Elderflower would be offended if he plucked off a few buds to bring home for analysis.


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It was practically a rule in Modern Equestria that whenever something exceptional was about to happen, there would be a journalist on site to report on it.  This had landed Earth Writer in the middle of some very interesting, and quite exciting, incidents; and his skills in summing them up in well-constructed paragraphs had given a him a rising position on the Canterlot Chronicle.  The paper was more than happy to pay travel expenses to pretty much anywhere in the world, but in his heart, the unicorn still loved covering his old local beat.


*Ha, listen to yourself.  Still a young stallion, sounding like the old geezers at the editing desk.*  Well, that's what can happen when you let yourself get caught up in work; thank Faust his job let him out in the open air more often than not.  The tan pony was humming a little tune as he walked up to the Elder Tree Tea House, dressed in his cream jacket and brown felt hat, which he tipped to the owner as he passed through the garden gate.


"Good afternoon, Lady El, Blue."  He said, extending greetings to the bird perched on Elderflower's horn.  "I think this is the first time I've been here in my professional capacity!"  He laughed; of all of them, he was closest to being a regular customer.  He wasn't in town much, but when he was, this is where he came for tea.  He made it a rule to try something new on every visit, and more often than not, went home with a small satchel of whatever it was.


It wasn't strictly true that this was the first time he'd done anything journalistic here; he'd often finished his copy draft under the shade while sipping a cup of oolong or blackcurrant tea.  More lately, he'd also been involved in advertising today's event.  It promised to be a good show, given the turnout.  Looking around at the guests, he extended his customary introduction.  "Earth Writer, Canterlot Chronicle.  Looks to be a fine day."

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Celestia had been told of a quaint tea house not too far from the castle... She had heard about it the last time she had went to the spa that she enjoyed to frequent whenever she had the spare time to go out. Apparently the tea was lovely and all grown by the owner of the shop herself, so it was as fresh as fresh could get. And since the princess was determined to see her subjects more, especially with her sister back, and ability to delegate more freely, seeing advertisements for an open celebration for the start of spring piqued her interests. She had arranged for the afternoon tasks to be done by others and if necessary, reviewed by her as she returned (though she didn't think it would be necessary, but many of those that were her aids were rather persistent about her involvement in day to day affairs). Naturally, as with many social outings, she brought her faithful pet, Philomena would not have it any other way really. Since it was in Canterlot she was even able to forgo the cage. This of course made Philomena rather happy who followed closely behind the sun princess.


So with all the arrangements made she headed out to the tea shop known as Elder Tree Teahouse. Just as she was told, it was a rather nice and small tea house. It was just as she had envisioned it. In fact, she began wondering how she overlooked such a lovely place. She opened the doors to the tea house and walked in, Philomena taking her perch on the princess's back. She saw immediately the owner of the establishment, who was happily brewing tea and preparing treats. "You must be the owner of this lovely establishment. I hear you are having a celebration for the coming of spring. Do you have any seasonal teas you would recommend trying?" She would introduce herself if necessary, but she didn't think it would be necessary, she was actually more curious about the little bird flying around seemingly helping the young mare. She was certain Philomena would have her fun with another feathery playmate. 

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Lyra Heartstrings was a mare who aspired always to live a carefree life full of adventure, romance and music. Often for this reason Lyra found herself wandering off from her Ponyville home in search of excitement and mystery. On that day, her ventures happened to lead her to the capital city of Canterlot.


She had heard tell of a whimsical celebration, a competition by which alluring and fantastic prizes could be acquired, all for picking rose blossoms at a tea house in Canterlot. Now Lyra didn't really get tea--she was more of a coffee pony, especially when it was the rich-flavored coffee Bon Bon would brew for her every morning. She did love flowers, however, and also had to admit that it sounded like fun.


Then there were the advertized prizes. That was the real draw, as Lyra found herself wanting all three. One was a magic violin--not quite her instrument of choice, but one she did know and would be able to use to serenade her Bon Bon by the moonlight. Another was a sword which cut through magic itself--a fine thing for a pony of adventure like her to wear at her side while gallivanting across Equestria, following the call of her troubadour heart. The last was a beautiful cloak of water which had the magic to keep one dry--Lyra could only dream of its loveliness around her as she travelled and by its power, perhaps she could even go and learn the song of the seaponies who lived deep beneath the oceans.


They were all wonderful prizes, and while the violin was the one of the three which had prompted her trip to the city where she had once been born, she would be pleased for any of them and was in the game for all three. Excitement followed her to the teahouse that day and it did not leave her as she threw open the shop's door and bounced cheerfully inside with eyes closed.


"Drawn by the melodic call of her own romantic heart, Lyra Heartstrings has arrived here from Ponyville seeking the sweetest victory!" Lyra showily announced as she made her entrance, landing her bounce and going into a full twirl before finding all four hooves again. She opened her eyes and found a wide grin as she just so happened to see an unmistakable familiar face.


"Tia!" she called out as she pounced on the princess of Equestria's right foreleg and gave it a tight hug. "It's been so long since I last saw you! Not since that banquet---or, no wait, that time at the Running of the Leaves!" Her eyes went to the great firebird flying just over the princess' head. "Ooh, pretty! She's yours right? How you been?"

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"Hiya! I'm Flux! Nice to meet you!" She chirped happily, the disguised changeling smiling widely at the two as she bounced in place.


"Good afternoon," Lore Weaver said to the unicorn noticing the various prizes that were laid out on the table, "I am Lore Weaver, and you must be Elderflower I heard much about. You have a very lovely tea garden here. It must be very calming working here among the beautiful plants and scents. I too am an avid tea drinker although growing tea related plants I haven't tried as I fear I don't have a talent for gardening." 


“It is very nice to meet you, sir,” she replied politely before two more ponies joined them. El offered them both a little smile before continuing, “And you two as well, Flux and Lore Weaver. I’ll save the full explanation of the day’s competition for when more ponies arrive...but I will say this: if you’ve any experience trimming rose bushes, you may have a bit of an advantage here!”

“Why thank you! This garden is my pride and joy, and aside from Blue here,” she added, gesturing towards Blue, who was still happily perched on her horn, “It is the most dear and important part of my life. If you’re from around Canterlot, I would be more than happy to give you a brief lesson in gardening! And I can send you home with your own little camellia sinensis sprout to get you started as well! And on the topic of tea... I would love to serve you all some tea and treats while we wait for more ponies to arrive! I have cookies, biscuits, chocolates, and tarts by way of treats. And as for tea...you name it, I’ve got it! Most of them I’ve grown and made here. And if you need options...I’ve got fruity herbals, floral herbals, rooibos blends, some matés and guayusas for an extra boost of energy, and every kind of tea you can get from a camellia sinensis plant! If you just want to choose by taste, just let me know what you’d most enjoy. I have something for everypony! And I already have a pot of jasmine green tea ready to be poured, if that has any appeal for you!”


"Good afternoon, Lady El, Blue."  He said, extending greetings to the bird perched on Elderflower's horn.  "I think this is the first time I've been here in my professional capacity!"  


"Earth Writer, Canterlot Chronicle.  Looks to be a fine day."


 "You must be the owner of this lovely establishment. I hear you are having a celebration for the coming of spring. Do you have any seasonal teas you would recommend trying?" 


Wow, Check out all this competition! So far, seven ponies had come to try test their mettle and win this prize... and most of them were pretty cute, one being drop dead gorgeous. This aforementioned pony turned out to be none other than the one and only, Princess Celestia. Now this was going to be quite the interesting event if the princess was joining in, was she going to limit herself by not using her magic or her wings? The prospect of having been able to place in any kind of contest with the primary princess of Equestria was quite appealing... but not nearly as appealing as the princess herself. Khamsin would have to remember to say hello in a moment...


"Nice ta meet everypony too... The name's Khamsin. I run a self defense studio a few blocks away." said the stallion with a tinge of pride in his voice. When Elderflower brought up the potential edge of trimming rosebushes might give somepony, Khamsin smiled, "Well I trim some Bonzai trees back in my apartment, prolly not the same but maybe that'll help a little." the stallion gave a passive shrug before his eyes drifted over some of the mare's around him and eventually the massive rose bush in front of him. Those prizes looked pretty sweet... So far what seemed the best match for him was that nice cutlass, if he couldn't manage to win that he would aim for the fancy violin, he had a niece and occasional student that might love that as a gift.


When elderflower gushed about her garden, the blonde pegasus couldn't help but give a smirk; he LOVED a pony who had passion for what they loved. There were quite a few things that Elderflower had listed off that were edible/potable, but so far the only thing that Khamsin could think of that he -should- drink was probably that 'WHy-ooas' thing she mentioned; for it's energy giving properties. "I'd love some tea... preferably something with raspberry and -anything- you can think of that can give me a bit of vigor would be good, Abila." The stallion put a bit of emphasis on the last word, he wasn't sure if she could tell what it meant, but the way he pronounced it was surely saddle arabic. "Do you mind if I call you that?" he gave her a slight smile.


Waiting for Elderflower to address the princess's question, Khamsin waited for them to finish speaking before he adressed Celestia. "Hel-lo, Princess. Did you plan on joining in the competition?" The stallion asked with a slightly flirtatious lilt in his voice. If there was one thing you could call the young martial artist, it was gutsy. "Your highness, once everyone's done here, would ya like to see  the studio later? I've been hoping to work out an agreement with your royal guard into teachign them how to fight a bit better... And while I'm sure you've picked up quite a lot in your lifetime" The pony looked her over once and winked playfully at her, "I'd -love- to see if I can teach you Anything new... also mind if I call you Alishaba?"


Aliba= Beautiful

Alishaba= Beautiful Sunshine

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Pathfinder loved collecting relics and all sorts of gear, mostly on account of how cool th adventures were to get them. Truth be told the gear was just to sweeten the deal! But point remained- she liked cool stuff. Sometimes it was for her own use or collection. Other times it was for Snowfall or a museum. So when the word went out that this tea party to the highest caliber had certain relics that tickled her ailerons. First was some violin that did some cool but sorta fruity thing with moths and junk. Not bad but not what she wanted. Then there was this pretty dress that made it look like you were in water! She could think of a few uses for it and Snowy would probably look really nice in it, but she looked nice in everything so it didn't matter much. What really got her was this sweet anti-magical cutlass! It was of Stalliongrad design but she had seen similar designs in Hippostion, where it was a hallmark of their anti-unicorn weapon designs. Seeing it in a Stalliongrad make and model- better steel, easier to handle, less brittle- was rare and super awesome. She ran into lots of magical barriers during her adventures and cutting through them would be the bees knees.

And she adventured more than often enough to make it a worthwhile tool. She needed all of the adventure all of the time as opposed to others who wanted some adventure some of the time. There was no stop on the adventure train, choo choo towards traps, yo. Ponies couldn't even HANDLE her adventuring experience and knowledge. She was at this tea party today, would be in a ruin tomorrow, and was fighting a sky serpent yesterday. Her live tipped the radical scale something suuuuper fierce, like you don't even KNOW! She loved it. You never felt more alive than when you were dodging poison arrow traps in a ruined temple to a dead death goddess. And since she was the heroine of the tale (most of the time to some, all of the time to herself, none of the time in the eyes of the courts) she knew she was always going to be safe. The heroine didn't die! Sometimes companions did though. That was sad. But it was okay because if there was one way to go, it was ADVENTURE!

Even a mare who loved adventure needed a break in the wall of engagement once in a while. She wished she didn't. She wished she didn't have to sleep or drink or eat or do anything else but sometimes she needed to stop. That annoyed her but if she was going to relax, it might as well be in a place like this. She was sure there would be some fishy situations up ahead but even if she had to fight a pack of timberwolves it'd be a vacation compared to her normal day. She did wish the tea wasn't poisoned, however. That would be a shame. She had drank lots and lots of poisons lately and would just like to drink something that wasn't going to eat her insides. That and she was likely immune, so it would be a waste of time and taste! Though that would add to the adventure level, so actually, yes please, please poison her tea.. It would end up being super radical.


Pathfinder flew over to where the whole shebangadiddly was, excited to see huge tea rose leave things at a distance. And a Princess! Sweetness. Pathfinder was worried there wouldn't be competition for the stiff but there was an interesting collection of vagabonds and heroes alike. And a reporter! Sweet too. They were fun to play with. Pathfinder swooped down, landing with expert aplomb amongst the party guests and immediately launching into her questions. “This place looks cool! Where is the cutlass? Are there traps? Are the tea rose leave things sapient? Are they poison? Is that drink poison? Can I have some tea? Hey there Princess! Sorry I can't bow. I think one of the bones in back is all broken. Are you bigger than the last time I saw you? When was the last time I saw you? Oh hi are you Elderflower? You're pretty. Not as pretty as Snowfall but still pretty! May I have some tea? Is it poison? Hay Khammsy! Beat anypony up lately, hahaha? But seriously, what are you here for? Hey there Lyre-a! I bet you're here for that Lyre, huh? Trixie says hi! Is the tea poison? I don't know the rest of you. Are any of you bandits? Do you know where we can find bandits? Is the tea poison?”

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Flux grinned happily some more as the mare introduced herself, and the stallion followed suit after several more additions to the party. Including one of the princesses! Yay! New friends! She always loved making new friends! To top it all off, another purple unicorn had joined the party, this one a stallion! She giggled a bit as Elderflower went off on some talk about tea and treats, causing Flux to smile at the mare's enthusiasm. It was always nice to see her friends happy.


When asked what kind of drink she would want, she placed a hoof to her chin, continuing to bounce on the other three as she gave a little hum, thinking over the choices presented. After Khamsin had made his choice, she spoke up again.


"I'd like something sweet!" She declared, thrusting the hoof that had been on her chin into the air with a wide smile on her face. she remained in that pose for a couple seconds before looking back at the other purple pony, throwing a foreleg around his shoulders and pulling them close together.


"Hiya Lory! Wanna be my friend? We could be the Purple Pony Posse!" She said happily, pausing a bit and looking in the direction of a wall. "Is posse the right word?" She gave a couple nods and some hums as she listened to the response only she could hear. "Thanks Angel!" She chirped, turning away from her imaginary friend and back to Lore excitedly. "Sorry, Purple Pony Pals. Anyways, in case you missed it, I'm Flux."

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“And you two as well, Flux and Lore Weaver. I’ll save the full explanation of the day’s competition for when more ponies arrive...but I will say this: if you’ve any experience trimming rose bushes, you may have a bit of an advantage here!”


If there was one thing that Lore Weaver had very little knowledge of, gardening was it. Sure he knew of the books in the Royal Ponyville Library about gardening and even read a few, but putting it into practice was not a step he took. There was always a nagging fear that he would somehow kill more plants than make them work. Well there was a first time for everything, and seeing what he could win while doing something with roses it was worth the risk. It was worth it that he mentioned his love of tea as the mare before him brightened up instantly. Sometimes great minds did think alike! 


“Why thank you! This garden is my pride and joy, and aside from Blue here,” she added, gesturing towards Blue, who was still happily perched on her horn, “It is the most dear and important part of my life. If you’re from around Canterlot, I would be more than happy to give you a brief lesson in gardening! And I can send you home with your own little camellia sinensis sprout to get you started as well! And on the topic of tea...”


"Well I must admit that I don't have much of a talent in gardening, but I am more than happy to learn something new from you about gardening. I live in Ponyville but I do also visit here frequently as I have family in Canterlot. Oh, and before I forget your bird friend there is charming too." 


“I would love to serve you all some tea and treats while we wait for more ponies to arrive! I have cookies, biscuits, chocolates, and tarts by way of treats. And as for tea...you name it, I’ve got it! Most of them I’ve grown and made here. And if you need options...I’ve got fruity herbals, floral herbals, rooibos blends, some matés and guayusas for an extra boost of energy, and every kind of tea you can get from a camellia sinensis plant! If you just want to choose by taste, just let me know what you’d most enjoy. I have something for everypony! And I already have a pot of jasmine green tea ready to be poured, if that has any appeal for you!”


"All of that sounds excellent," Lore said as he looked at the table of treats and teas, "Jasmine green tea is fine. I do like my Canterlot Breakfast Tea and Neighjeeling and sometimes Equestrian Grey." 


It was going to be a nice day Lore could tell conversing with the pretty gardening mare. He almost forgot about that there were others with him or for a brief moment about this upcoming competition. One stallion who looked out of place admired the gigantic rose blooms like a scholar inspects an artifact. 


"Earth Writer, Canterlot Chronicle.  Looks to be a fine day."


Lore was not surprised that the press would be here at this event and the Canterlot Chronicle was a well known newspaper. 


"Yes it does," Lore replied with a smile, "I'm Lore Weaver, head librarian of the Royal Ponyville Library." 


The biggest surprise came next as Princess Celestia showed up for such an occasion. Lore was no stranger to seeing Princesses having been employed by one himself. There was also a parade of royalty and Princesses that Lore became familiar with seeing. He was further interested in the phoenix perched on the Princess's back proudly. 


"Good day Princess Celestia," he said with a slight bow, "I'm not sure if Princess Twilight Sparkle mentioned me. My name is Lore Weaver, and I'm the new head librarian of the Royal Ponyville Library. Due to her duties as a Princess, Twilight needed a pony to operate the new library, so I was pleased to be selected for the position!" 


Then another familiar pony appeared, Lyra Heartstrings, whom he saw in town.


"Hello Lyra. How are you doing?" 


Suddenly a pony dressed as Daring Do stopped in and began to ask a number of random questions like asking whether the tea was poisoned. Surely this pony wasn't that paranoid to think everything would hurt her, right?


"I don't think miss that Miss Flower would make poisoned tea, nor would she have anything dangerous here." 


His focus was interrupted as he felt a leg wrap around him and pull him over, almost knocking him to the ground. He then came face to face with a mare who was very excited at everything! He giggled as she called them the Purple Pony Posse. 


"I certainly can be your friend," he said, "Nice to meet you Flux. I'm Lore Weaver." 


There was another pony that he spotted that entered the tea garden around the same time that Lore did, a pony that explained he was a self-defense instructor. Admittedly Lore found it funny how he was very enamored with Princess Celestia, asking if he could teach her some defense skills. 


"Self-defense hmm? Well considering the recent events of monsters and whatnot I think you'll have quite a following of students." 

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I apologize for this doozy of a post. From now on I'll be dipping in with El more frequently instead of relying on a posting order in order to avoid more giant walls of text. I should be able to stick to a post order once greetings and tea have been handed out though!



Oh dear! Things were getting very lively very quickly! Pony after pony began making their way into El’s garden, and the mare was practically glowing with delight. The energy and confidence of these competitive ponies was really making the air crackle! A stallion she recognized from Spellbound - Nocturne Wisp her mind supplied - swept in shortly after her offering of tea. She had every intention of momentarily excusing herself from the three she was currently entertaining in order exchange a quick word with him, but shortly after he arrived a somewhat regular customer of hers came onto the scene and distracted the wispy mare.

“Ah, Earth Writer!” she sang out merrily, all smiles and sunshine while Blue echoed her with a cheery chirp, “How lovely to see you here today! Actually...I was hoping you’d show up!”

El was fired up again, her eyes burning with passionate confidence as she lifted a glass jar full of small, dark pearls of tea. Mixed in as well were dehydrated blackcurrants, sweet blackberry leaf, and blue cornflowers. Humming merrily, she scooped some of the blend into a ceramic ball infuser and placed it in a mug, where she poured steaming water over the top.

“There! In a few moments it’ll be ready - a new blend of my own creation inspired by your usual go-to teas!” she said happily to the reporter, sliding the mug over along with a little dish to place the infuser in once the tea had been steeped to his tastes, “Rich milk oolong, blackcurrants, blackberry leaf for sweetness, and blue cornflowers to give it an added creaminess and depth. I hope ever so much that it’s to your tastes!”

The mare closed her eyes a moment and inhaled the sweet, tart scent of the tea. Yup! She was definitely proud of this one. When she opened her eyes again she had to blink a few times. Something must have been caught in her eyes, because she was under the very false impression that an alicorn accompanied by a phoenix had just stepped out of her teahouse. Then Blue let out an awestruck, swoony little chirp and she realized that it really was a phoenix soaring over her gardens. That meant…

Goodness gracious! It really was Princess Celestia who just stepped out of her teahouse! Immediately, a pretty blush sprung onto El’s cheeks and she struggled to find words to greet the Princess with. What an absolute honour! Goodness gracious what an honour to have a Princess at her teahouse! Oooo, were words always this tricky and hard to find? The Princess had just spoken to her! She couldn’t just stay quiet.

“P-Princess Celestia,” she said quietly and politely, stammering uncharacteristically. Any regular to her shop knew that despite her quiet nature, the mare was a skilled conversationalist and never lacked in confidence - seeing her so caught off guard would undoubtedly strike any of her regulars as odd, but she couldn’t help it! She had never expected her humble shop to grab the attention of a Princess. Though perhaps the massive, magical tower of tea roses sitting in her backyard was enough of an oddity to attract anypony...Regardless. Elderflower was the owner of the Elder Tree Teahouse and the hostess of this event. It simply wouldn’t do to have her flounder now, before the fun had even begun!

“Welcome to the Elder Tree Teahouse, Princess Celestia,” she sang out, her cheer and confidence back in full swing, “And you’re right, I am the owner, Elderflower - though friends call me El. If you’re looking for a seasonal tea, then I would be honoured if you would try a new spring blend of mine. It’s a white tea base with white nectarines, apricots, a hint of spearmint, and marigold.”

Just as she began to prepare a mug of her spring blend for Celestia, two more ponies swept onto the scene, making quite a large impression! The first, a pretty unicorn, announced her arrival with an impressive, dramatic flare, and immediately attached herself to the Princess! It was disarming, seeing somepony acting so boldly towards royalty, but it was also very refreshing! If Lyra was perfectly comfortable hugging the Princess, then she must be just as kindhearted and friendly towards her subjects as El had always believed. It made the willowy mare’s smile grow even wider.

The pegasus mare who joined the scene was certainly a fun one as well! Once El had gotten her orders from Khamsin, Flux, and Lore, she smiled her acknowledgement and set to work, her skills for multitasking coming to the fore. “Thank you for the compliment - you’re quite the pretty mare yourself! And you’re in luck, my winged friend!” she said to the energetic mare while multiple jars were lifted atop the counter in her magic and scoops of tea lowered into infusers (all while she poured that cup of pre-brewed jasmine green for Lore and floated it in his direction), “There’s no poison to be found in my teas. So what’s your fancy? Something sweet, something tart? Perhaps floral or creamy or bold and bitter? And how about yourself, Lyra?”

Humming, she topped the mugs with water and slid them in the direction of each of her guests. The spring blend for Celestia, the oolong/blackcurrant blend (with a dab of honey to cut back on the tartness of the currants and bring out the creamy sweetness of the tea) for Flux, a guayusa blend with raspberry and almond for Khamsin, and a final cup of the spring blend seemingly for nopony in particular, which she kept near her.

“Feel free to steep to your own tastes! The infusers will begin to glow when the recommended steeping time has been reached, however. Now Lyra and - ah, Ms. Pretty Mare, I didn’t get your name! I will fetch both of you your tea momentarily. For now…”

El’s gaze narrowed in on Nocturne, whose attentions were completed absorbed by her tower of tea roses. She smiled back at the two mares briefly and removed the infuser from the unclaimed mug the moment it began to shine, “My princess and my friends, please excuse me momentarily.”

After excusing herself, she made her way over to her fellow member of Spellbound, carrying the mug of tea in her pale, golden magic. Blue finally flitted away from his perch on her horn, then, and darted up towards the Princess’ phoenix. He was completely smitten and hesitant to approach her, so instead he flew in wide circles around her, chirping a cautious and lovestruck hello.

“Nocturne Wisp,” El greeted softly once she had reached the reserved stallion, careful not to disrupt his thoughts too loudly or obnoxiously, “I’ll admit I had not expected to see you here today, but I am very glad you came. I take it you’re interested in getting a more in-depth look at all the magic worked into the rosebush? Unfortunately I can’t trim anything until the day’s event concludes, but once it has feel free to take as many samples and as much time as you wish. In the meantime, I do have brief notes on the history and making of each major prize here today, if you would like me to fetch them for you. Will you be participating in my little gardening challenge today?”

Elderflower wasn’t terribly familiar with Nocturne, but she at least knew that he wasn’t a particularly social pony, but he was interested in aetheric research. If he wouldn’t be chatting with the other ponies gathered here today, she could at least offer him some reading material!

“Oh! And would you like a cup of tea? This spring blend has white tea, nectarine, apricots, and spearmint. Perhaps I should have asked first...but...ah! I’m rambling...I apologize. It’s an awful habit of mine, rambling…”

She offered an apologetic smile to the stallion. He was a unicorn of few words, after all, so she doubted he was happy to have her chatting his ears off!

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"Must not. Set. Fire. To. Gardens. Must, control urge. For arson."

Oh yes. Not five minutes in place, and Nocturne was already regretting ever attending, magically enchanted prizes or no.

The scowl that was already on his face seemed to fall deeper and deeper, proportionate to the number of ponies that kept showing up. Well, with the prizes Elderflower was offering up for grabs, it was no wonder half of Canterlot seemed to have shown up - but for Equestria's sake, did they all have to be so loud? And…cheerful? It was if at least three Dazzle Dawns had been crammed into the same contained space at one time. Every which way his ears turned, ponies were yelling or greeting each other with all the exuberance of little foals, announcing their names and passions with aplomb.

Even what should have been a highlight of the gathering - the Princess of the Sun attending to watch the festivities herself - was only further ruined by the myriad of ponies that came clambering up to her like mosquitos. Nocturne Wisp's scowl took a slightly disgusted turn as he subtly watched from the corner of his eyes, taking note of the ponies that near fell over themselves in her presence.

A healthy dose of respect was fine, and appropriate…but did ponies really see the need to act like the Princess, ruler of Equestria for over one thousand years, was their best friend in the whole wide world? Whatever happened to decorum, to esteem?

Which is when Nocturne suddenly took note of Elderflower, who was levitating a mug of, presumably, tea, and…heading straight towards him. The dark-colored unicorn immediately returned his attention to the rose bush in front of him, treating the closest bud to a particularly ferocious glare, but the other Unicorn was unperturbed as she approached anyways, and began to talk in that soft way of hers.

And talk. And talk. And, talk.

Only after Nocturne suffered a brief fantasy of purposefully spilling boiling tea on legs so he could excuse himself from the competition was he able to catch a rather generous offer in the Unicorn's ramblings, causing his sharp retort to fall flat like water onto stone. "A sample from your collection would be…most generous of you," Nocturne ended up stating, pale gaze flickering just once towards the small flowers woven - braided? - into Elderflower's mane. Were they magicked, like her garden, or did she simply replace them as soon as they showed signs of withering? "I will look forward to them."

That wasn't all however, as the other Unicorn offered to provide historical notes on the artifacts, along with a mug of steaming tea. While the latter might have been rejected at any other time, coupled with Elderflower's offering of samples and texts on the prizes, Nocturne was feeling particularly out of his depth in the face of such generosity - and general amiableness. He really wasn't used to ponies he'd met once before voluntarily giving up their time and effort to…chat, with him. Sans Dazzle Dawn. And other scholars, mostly.

But not with ponies like…like her. Nocturne Wisp had to pull his gaze to the side for a moment, ears lowered slightly on his head as the other Unicorn seemed to finally realize she was rambling. "I - thanks," he muttered lowly, ignoring her newfound awareness in favor of grasping the mug with his own magic. A strong scent rose up to greet him as Nocturne brought the mug closer to his nose, Elderflower's inane explanation of the tea complete gibberish to him. Privately, he rather felt that all tea was nothing but hot leaf juice, but he had sense enough not to actually make that comment in front of the hostess.

Not when she was offering him free magical samples, for Celestia's sake.

Nocturne cleared his throat once as he regained his bearings, holding the tea slightly off the one side as he locked gazes back with Elderflower. "Hmm," the dark-colored Unicorn grunted under his breath, and his pale gaze flickered briefly back onto Princess Celestia, eyebrows furrowed at the myriad of ponies still wasting the princess' time with platitudes and tom-foolery. "Don't let me keep you from your guests." Notes on the artifacts would be an interesting read, but there were undoubtedly more important things Elderflower could be doing besides fetching notes.

Like corralling her participants into orderly groups that didn't paw all over their Princess like forsaken puppies.


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Here she was! The Elder Tree Teahouse! This was the first time she and Flourish have been out like this since they were an official couple. Amethyst had been practically grinning ear to ear ever since. In fact, her face kinda hurts. As they entered the teahouse, Ammy recalled the prizes described on the flyer. They all sounded awesome, but the one she liked the most was that cloak. The cutlass wasn't for her and she didn't know how to play the violin.


Once they made it to the back, her eyes widened. "Wow! This place is plum filled with ponies." Her eyes then landed on Celestia. "Sweet sally, the princess is here too! Was this party reserved for royalty only?" She cast a worried glance at Flourish. "Do you think we read the flyer wrong?"









Flax audibly gasped when the garden graced his vision. The invitations said something about this but he didn't expect it to be quite this impressive. Plus seeing all the plants, flora, and trees for himself always got him excited. Being a passionate Botanist and Dendrologist, he loved being surrounded by the sweet smell of flowers and the gentle sound of swaying trees. Unfortunately he couldn't get Vesper to tag along with him today. Something about crowds, loud noises, and headaches.


As a result of his party-hating friend, It was pretty lonely walking all the way here without somepony by his side. But when he stepped through the doors of the tea house and followed the signs to the back garden, he was met with countless other attendees. Including Princess Celestia! Was this party more important than he thought or did the princess just really like tea? Flax recalled seeing her on occasion but never at the same party. And being the social butterfly that he was, he's been to a lot of them. But another reason why he was here was to win that violin. He's been meaning to get a new one so getting a beautiful enchanted replacement would be nice.


Just as he was walking towards the tea stand, the gigantic rose bush caught his eye. His facial features faded into sheer awe. Sweet Celestia, those rose buds were as big as he was! How in Equestria did the party host obtain such a beauty? Flax didn't take his eyes off the giant rose as he walked. That was, until he collided with something.


Or rather, somepony.


Flax had lost his hoofing and tumbled to the ground. When he looked up, he saw a dark blue stallion with a look that could kill. In fact, the stallion sort of reminded him of Vesper. Flax rubbed a sore spot on his head and grinned apologetically. "Sorry sorry. I really need to watch where I'm going. Totally my fault."

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Do you think we read the flyer wrong?


Flourish smiled winningly at her marefriend, placing a subtle wing across Ammy's back as they walked into the gathering together. The sky blue pegasus' eyes were wide with amazement at the gathering. It seemed every kind of pony had come to the spring celebration! From impetuous looking explorers to the Princess of the sun herself! This was quite the gathering indeed. Flourish felt proud to be attending the gathering with Ammy. The purple pegasus meant so much to her! 


"Wow, I don't know...maybe. There sure are a lot of ponies here. Even the Princess herself. I've always wanted to talk to Prinecess Celestia. Maybe we should go over and say hi later. I hear she's super friendly!" She tried to get her and Ammy's mind off of feeling a little awkward because of all the special guests.


The sweet smell of blossoms and tea filled her nostrils as they walked under flower laden gables into Elderflower's garden. "You know Ammy, there's only one pony I know who's prettier than all these flowers." She winked at her friend. 


It was absolutely beautiful in the garden! Flourish spotted the willowy mare and trotted over. Once the other ponies that were talking left her a space, Flourish extended a greeting. She figured it was only polite to say hello to the host of the party.


"Hello there! You must be Elderflower! We got got your invitation and we're so happy to be here. Thank you for the invite! Oh, I'm Flourish by the way, and this is my marefriend Ammy!" She still had her wing over Ammy's back. "Everything is so beautiful in your garden!" Flourish smiled winningly at Elderflower.

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“Ah, Earth Writer!  How lovely to see you here today! Actually...I was hoping you’d show up!”

“There! In a few moments it’ll be ready - a new blend of my own creation inspired by your usual go-to teas!  Rich milk oolong, blackcurrants, blackberry leaf for sweetness, and blue cornflowers to give it an added creaminess and depth. I hope ever so much that it’s to your tastes!”



There was no doubt about it; Elderflower was a mare of passion!  And, from the absolutely wonderful smell emanating from the tea blend she'd placed in front of him, Earth Writer could tell she was the happy rarity of a pony who had expertise in equal measure to her passion.  "I'm sure it will be!  Though, to be fair, I haven't yet tasted anything from you that I didn't like."  It was true, the reporters tastes were broad, which was good for a pony that had to travel and eat whatever was available.  On the other hand, it did mean that he was sometimes unable to judge quality, particularly because he had a habit of letting his tea steep a little too long.


Not that he was likely to wait that long with this tempting blend, though!  As the hostess moved on, he took a first preliminary sip.  "Oooh!"  Too hot to taste; why did he keep doing that?  Well, while he was waiting on the tea, he decided to take stock of the guests... and competition!


*Colorful bunch.  We've got that pegasus who just opened a Martial Arts studio here... one of the Princess' Librarians.... A bouncy unicorn- where have I seen her before?... By Faust, it's Princess Celestia!... And tall, dark, mysterious mage... a Daring Do wannabe... a lovely couple.... another pegasus... and a troubador.*  Was Lyra a member of the Canterlot Bohemian club?  He thought so; she'd fit right in, and Earth knew he'd seen her at some point in the Veiled Garden.  As for the rest... whew!  Stiff competition.  


Another sip of tea.  "Ah!  Very good!"  It had cooled and steeped enough to deliver on its promise.  Levitating the tea and saucer, he carried it with him to go and talk to one of the other guests.  He decided to talk to the familiar-looking bouncy unicorn mare, who'd just come over to greet Lore Weaver.  "Have I seen you somewhere before?  It had to be pretty recent... was it at the Crystal Faire?"  He'd met a lot of ponies when he'd covered the event, and the afterparty, but sometimes the faces and voices all tended to blend together, particularly when mixed with such memorable events-


He blinked, shaking his head.  No, best not think about those right now.  This was a happy, and peaceful place.  This was home.

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It was hard to miss Nocturne’s mood souring the more she continued chattering on, so El was glad she managed to cut herself off when she did. She almost breathed a sigh of relief, but instead she beamed at the stallion when he accepted her offer. Now to respond! Very rarely did the mare ever think about what she would say, but Nocturne definitely seemed to be the type who lost his patience with the overly-chatty, so she figured it would be more thoughtful towards him to condense whatever it was she had to say.

“I can trim up as much as you’d like from each part of the bush and have it sent your way. Just let me know!”

She smiled warmly when he thanked her and mentally patted herself on the back for not getting carried away, her horn lighting up once more. Back at her brewing station, a small folio shot up into the air and over towards the two, where she held it in her magical grip for Nocturne. She had a few of those tucked amidst the mugs, teapots, water pots, and jars of tea on the off chance anypony asked for a little more information. It was a good thing she had, too!

It was then she noticed Nocturne’s attention pulled away, his expression a little darker as he gazed past her at the ponies around her brewing station. Well, there was one last thing she could do for this very...reserved individual. She wanted to give everypony some time to enjoy a cup of tea and a bite to eat if they chose, especially since it gave them a chance to mingle and check out the competition! There was certainly enough time to read through the folio before things started…

“If you’d like someplace quiet to read before things get underway,” she ventured softly, “I can have Blue lead you to one of the private rooms inside the teahouse.”

There were a few of those indoors. Many of El’s customers came to relax, unwind, and enjoy the peace and quiet with their tea. Even though the main portion of her teahouse remained relatively quiet even while it was full, there were some customers who simply wished to eliminate background chatter entirely. One of the rooms designed for such customers might just be ideal for Nocturne Wisp.

Before he could respond, however, their little conversation was crashed (quite literally) by a light-coloured pegasus. Oh dear! She hoped Nocturne wouldn’t be too hard on this fellow - he seemed a very friendly sort, if a little clumsy! She was about to attempt spiriting him away from the dark stallion in hopes of defusing the situation before it escalated when two more ponies made their way to her. Oooooo..she couldn’t complain about things getting busier but the timing was a bit off!

“Th-thank you, I am,” she managed to get out. She was a touch confused though...invitations? She hadn’t sent any invitations out beyond the posters she had spread around Canterlot...perhaps that was what the mare meant? In any case, she did have responsibilities to attend to as a hostess - and that meant giving these ponies a warm and friendly greeting.

“Such a lovely couple! Welcome to the Elder Tree Teahouse,” she said happily, still keeping her voice soft in consideration for Nocturne. She couldn’t cut herself short greeting new ponies, especially not those of a more talkative nature, but she could at least attempt to steer them in another direction! It was her duty as a proper hostess to do her very best in order to make everypony comfortable, after all!

“And welcome to you as well...ah, I’m afraid I don’t know your name,” she said warmly to the fallen stallion, to whom she extended a helping hoof in order to help him up, “If you would all like a cup of tea or a sweet before we get started, you can follow me back to my brewing station, or it would be no trouble for me to bring a cup to you-”

Oops! The plan had been to lead the others away from Nocturne, but she simply couldn’t turn off that politeness switch in her head. It just came naturally to her to give her customers (or guests, as was the case today) as many options as she could! Judging by the way that winged stallion was eying her rosebush, he would definitely want to stay put...right in this very spot...oh goodness.

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Flux's smile grew wide as Lore agreed to be her friend, not even having a problem with what she had called the two of them. Now if only she could find some other purple ponies... She tapped her chin with her free hoof, giving a little hum as she did. She looked over at the cup set up for her drink, giving the mare a wide smile as thanks.


"Thanks Eldy!" She chirped, leaving the cup there for the moment to steep some more. She looked around a bit, having forgotten about the foreleg around Lore, which was still keeping him by her side as she looked at the other ponies. One of the new arrivals drew her attention however, and she gave an excited little noise as she spotted yet another purple pony enter the garden. She was about to go say hello and hopefully add to her ranks of Purple Pony Pals, but she stopped as she both realized she was still holding onto Lore and was distracted by a pony coming up and talking to her. She gave a hum at the stallion's words, tilting her head as she tried to figure out if she had seen him somewhere before. He seemed to think he knew her, suggesting the Crystal Faire as the spot they had met.


"Hmm... Well, I was there, but I don't really remember seeing you... Maybe you saw me during that party that happened afterwards, I was there too!" She chirped, looking at the stallion with a wide smile for a few seconds, then glanced over at Lore for a moment and finally released him from his prison.


"Be free my purple pal, be free!" She joked, giggling a little bit at her words before turning back to the reporter. "Anyways, I'm Flux!"

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Lore Weaver was amazed at the outpouring of support the event had. Even a few more ponies that the librarian didn't see before arrived at the tea garden. Lore wondered how exactly Elder planned this competition. There would be a mad dash if all ponies tried to compete at once. Maybe she had in mind to have each pony go one at a time and try their luck or skill. Whatever way the stallion knew that Elderflower was a pony with a good head on her shoulders and felt perfectly comfortable in the crowd. 


He tried to retrieve the tea but found himself still embraced by the bouncy pony named Flux who seemed to adore purple ponies. Still being hugged like that prevented him from moving or seeing anypony else to talk to. 


"Be free my purple pal, be free!" She joked, giggling a little bit at her words before turning back to the reporter. "Anyways, I'm Flux!"


"Thank you for your kindness" Lore replied as he accepted the sweet smelling tea with his magic while drinking in the sights. It was the Earth Writer mentioned all the different ponies that were present and asked where he knew Lore from. 


"Yes there are certainly a number of different ponies here. I'm surprised at such a turnout myself but any event like this is nice to attend. As for where you last met me... hmm.... I wasn't at the Crystal Faire sadly as I had to do inventory of the library. I do know Princess Twilight did attend the event so she may be able to shed more light about the Faire. Now that I think about it, I believe the last time I met you was at the grand opening of the Royal Ponyville Library. Funny how I know it was only a few months ago and yet at times it feels like that happened years before. I'm happy to say that the library has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to donations and the retrieval of books." 


In order to keep up with the many ponies here, Lore will be responding at different times so as not to miss a conversation.

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Despite her earlier exuberance in front of him and the other guests, Elderflower was being quite…tolerable.

More than tolerable, in fact, allowing Nocturne's gaze to fall half-lidded, a look that anypony that didn't know him would probably construe as boredom. With a calm and low voice, the pale Unicorn seemed perfectly picturesque in the colorful and bountiful setting. He wouldn't have been all too surprised if a few birds and woodland critters wafted from the forest to come nuzzle up against her.

Alright, he would be surprised if that happened. Though at least such an occurrence would be fitting.

The offer to have her blue bird lead him to a quiet reading place also came as a surprise, having assumed the mare would want all the contestants to remain out in the garden. Had he known guests were free to peruse inside the tea shop, he wouldn't have bothered coming out until the competition actually started. Still, doing so would have meant missing out on Elderflowers offer for some samples, which was unacceptable. Nocturne took hold of the folio, alongside the mug of tea, feeling a brief spike of pleasure at the garden hostess' willingness to perfectly accommodate all of her -


A truncated bark of exclamation was all Nocturne's brain could supply for him as he quickly swiveled his head to the side, to avoid poking one of Elderflower's eyes out with his horn. It was a near thing - his cheek grazed the other Unicorn's snout as the folio fluttered to the ground, and the steaming tea splashed dangerously around in its mug, spilling over the sides and thankfully missing both Nocturne and Elderflower.

Unthankfully, as Nocturne ended up nearly snout to snout with the mare in front of him, the force of whatever had collided with his backside sending him forward a few steps.

Only a small moment had passed, surely, but Nocturne could still feel heat rising up his neck as he whipped his head away from the other Unicorn, so fast that he was faintly surprised he didn't snap it on the way. Immediately, the cause of his ire became apparent in the form of a yellow Pegasus, who was rubbing his head and smiling a vapid smile that asked all and sundry to forgive him of his misstep. It was the sort of witless smile that could charm a dragon out of a few diamonds.

'Must not. Set fire. To. Ponies. Who can't, watch. Three Feet. In front of themselves!'

Rather pleased at his extraordinary self-control, Nocturne only glared louder at the stallion as he levitated his fallen notes into his magical grasp, backing up to form a crooked triangle between the three ponies as Elderflower helped the stallion onto his hooves. The dark-colored Unicorn let out a short breath, and took in a deeper one, but just as he was sure he could manage a semi-greeting without setting anypony on fire, two new mares suddenly trotted up to the group, completely ignoring the two stallions to greet Elderflower. Well enough.

But when the blue and pink colored Pegasus made a complimentary statement that seemed to be degenerating into small talk conversation, Nocturne decided it was time enough to take his leave. A brief glance along the ground to make sure no papers had been dropped and forgotten during the collision, the dark-colored stallion sent a brief nod towards Elderflower, and glares of equal measure towards the other three, before brushing past the yellow Pegasus and into the tea house itself. Immediately, the noise from the garden seemed to drop in volume - and more to the point, no other pony was inside the building itself.

A quiet, private room would have been perfect, but being outside of the crowd served his purposes just as well, and Nocturne didn't hesitate to drop into one of the chairs in the main seating area, leaving him in full view and hearing range of the garden. He'd be able to keep track of the going-ons outside, to make sure he didn't actually miss the competition. Finally settled, the scholar opened to the first pages of the packet with his magic, eyes devouring the words as he tentatively raised the mug of tea to his lips.

Hn. Hot leaf juice indeed.


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(OOC: I lost my original post so I apologize for the [comparatively] abbreviated post)

Celestia wasn't there long before she heard a familiar voice behind her. It was Lyra who immediately greeted the princess and latched onto her foreleg. "Greetings Lyra. It has indeed been a while, I'm glad to see you are as energetic as ever." She greeted the young unicorn, whom almost immediately noticed her pet pheonix "Yes Philomena is indeed my pet phoenix." Celestia looked at Philomena "Be polite and say hello to Lyra Philomena" as soon as Tia said that Philomena perched on Lyra and nuzzled her with her beak. "And I am doing quite well. I'm able to come out today because everything is starting to settle slowly but surely. Even though my castle staff would prefer I not take leave" Celestia said with a slightly devilish smirk.


El quickly responded to Celestia, introducing herself. Celestia ignored her initial nervous demenor, it was only natural, there was no way for her to know that a princess would be in attendance... "It is a pleasure to meet you El." Celestia said with a smile and a wink. She didn't think Miss Elderflower would have mentioned her nickname if she did not wish others to use it. She offered Celestia a seasonal mix that sounded absolutely lovely. Celestia was more used to straight teas, that isn't to say she didn't have blended, but it was more of a rare occurrence. "That sounds lovely El, I'd love to try a cup if you do not mind." Before even finishing the sentence, El began brewing and produced a cup for the princess. "Thank you very much." In the meanwhile, Philomena had taken notice of a male specimen that was helping out El and at the moment flying around her. So, naturally she saw fit to introduce herself. She preened her feathers a bit before letting out a regal squawk and joining Blue midflight.


As Celestia sipped her tea, a rather forward pegasus presented himself to her. "Hello to you as well. As for the competition, I cannot say that I had any intention to participate." Celestia knew if she competed she could make a run for winning pretty easily. So for fairness, she had taken to being a spectator more often than not. He then made a rather obvious come on to her, inviting her to his self-defense studio, though he used the guise of training the REA. "I think that might be able to be arranged, I'll have to check with the captain of the REA responsible for training. I'm sure he would like to come along as well. As for what I've picked up, I'm no stranger to confrontation, but I'm more adept at magic than physical attacks." He then offered to teach her directly "I appreciate the offer, but I'm not sure that would be proper. While I'm certain you could teach me many new things, I'm not sure how the Royal Guard would feel about an outsider teaching physical self defense to their princess." Celestia said with a bit of a mischievous tone. She knew his angle, but chose to let him down in an indirect way. "Alishaba? You are of Saddle Arabian decent then? I've had a few Saddle Arabians call me that, so I'm not opposed to it." Celestia was sure his flirtatious advance wasn't done quite yet, but she would at least have some fun with him.

Then a Daring Do cosplayer showed up... was this the one that Dr Merlot spoke of...? Even if it was, there was still no solid evidence of any wrongdoing and if anything she seemed a bit... interesting... She didn't even give Celestia a chance to respond in her short statements to everypony around. So Celestia turned her attention to the next pony to introduce herself... Lore Weaver... Twilight had previously mentioned that she had hired some pony to aid in the new Castle's Library. So this was he... "Princess Twilight did indeed mention you in a few letters Lore Weaver. It is a pleasure to finally meet you in person. Twilight must have some trust in you to let you be the head librarian in her library. She loves books almost more than anything else." Celestia said with a bit of a laugh. 

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"You know Ammy, there's only one pony I know who's prettier than all these flowers."


Amethyst's face warmed up at her marefriend's compliment. She wasn't quite used to this sort of thing yet so it took her by surprise. "Aww shucks."


She followed Flourish as she made her way to the host of the party. Elderflower was standing beside a yellow pegasus and a unicorn. Ammy couldn't help but notice the intimidating glare the unicorn was exhibiting, which made her wonder if the party really was reserved for royalty. What if he was expressing his displeasure over a couple of commoners tainting such an exclusive gathering? Her fears were however quickly swept away when Elderflower replied to Flourish's greeting.


“Such a lovely couple! Welcome to the Elder Tree Teahouse,”


Amethyst felt her face flush again upon hearing them being addressed as a couple. She never really expected to be so bashful about all this. The main source of her anxiety was in not knowing exactly what couples were supposed to do. She knew it was the same ol' Flourish she always knew and loved, but at the same time things had to be at least a little different, right? And what about pet names? Should she give Flourish a pet name? Would she like to be called  "sugar pie" or "baby cow" or something? Ammy certainly wasn't an expert at showing her affection but she couldn't tell rather or not displaying it was mandatory. What if Flourish got upset or felt unloved!?


Amethyst didn't like tea too much but upon hearing the word 'sweets' her ears perked up. "My sweet tooth is always rarin' to go!" She cast a glance at Flourish. "What about you, err...S-Suger Cow. I mean Pie Baby." She signed in defeat and lowered her head. "I'm kinda new at this."






“And welcome to you as well...ah, I’m afraid I don’t know your name,”


Flax grinned. "Oh um, I'm Flaxen Feather. But most ponies call me Flax." He accepted Elderflower's offer to help him up and finally returned to his hooves. Flax glanced back to the unicorn he crashed into, only to see him glaring angrily in his direction while walking towards the tea house. Flax simply watched the stallion disappear into the building, wondering if there was a way he could make up for the incident.


“If you would all like a cup of tea or a sweet before we get started, you can follow me back to my brewing station, or it would be no trouble for me to bring a cup to you-”


"Oh no, it's okay. I can probably get it myself if I can manage to avoid crashing into things. It's just that I've never seen such a gigantic rose bush. It's amazing! Not to mention beautiful."


Flax was very keen on getting his own cup of tea. He had always been iffy about being served by others. Sure, he was a little on the extraordinarily wealthy side, but he never wanted to make other ponies feel alienated by that fact. Flax understood that Elderflower was just being a good party host but he was entirely capable of getting his own cup of tea. Well, maybe he should just get some sweets instead. Choosing something that was more mess-proof would probably be the best idea. Besides, he couldn't pass up a baked good no matter how hard he tried.


But just as he was about to ask Elderflower more questions about the rose bush, something caught his eye on the ground. Was that a piece of paper? Didn't that stallion he smacked into earlier have papers? Oh no. He would feel terrible if he were responsible for making somepony loose something of theirs! He just had to return it. Flax picked up the paper and turned back to Elderflower. "Sorry miss. I need to take something back to that unicorn guy. I think he dropped it."


Flax galloped back towards the tea house and slowed to a trot as he entered through the doors. It didn't take long for him to locate the grumpy looking pony. He was sitting in one of the chairs and seemed to be reading something. Flax hesitated. He instinctively didn't want to disturb somepony while they were reading until he remembered the guy needed to reunite with one of his belongings. He wouldn't forgive himself if he let a pony leave their stuff behind.


Flax slowly approached and cleared his throat. "Hi again. I don't know your name but, sorry for bumping into you earlier. The reason why I'm here is because I think you dropped this." Just as Flax extended the paper outwards, he realized it was in fact his. It was just one of the posters for the party. Flax had kept it to prevent getting lost on the way there. He must have dropped during the collision and assumed it belonged to the stallion. Flax fell silent for a moment and felt his face grow warmer as the realized what just happened.


"Oh...Actually, I think this is mine." He gave a humbled laugh. "I just assumed it was yours cause of all those papers you were carrying. I would have read it first but I didn't want to invade your privacy, you know? I guess I really should have read it after all...?"

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Well, it seemed the reporter's question brought two answers!  Well, that's what you get for not being specific in your questions.  That was Interviewing 101, though in actuality Earth Writer had never taken a journalism class in his life.  He was a geographer by training; all his professional education had been on the job.


No matter, more answers were better than not enough.  He tipped his hat as Flux introduced herself.  "Probably was at the party; you were on stage there as I recall?  Quite the memorable performance; have you given any though to further pursuing the performing arts?"  There were questions again; he couldn't help it!  In any case, his social circle intersected with artists of so many types that he couldn't help introducing new acquaintances to them, which further colored his group of friends.  That was fine with him; Bohemians were the best company as far as the unicorn was concerned!


On to Lore, who he had met before as well, some time ago.  "Oh yes, I remember that now; big ado over a missing book of magic?  That made a good story, thankfully with a happy ending.  Never can tell with these artifacts... speaking of which; are you here to play for the ones on offer today?"  He nodded towards the impressive rosebush.  "Thought I'd try a hoof at it myself."

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