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The Dread Dunk! (Castle, Open) [posted on behalf of Blueblood]


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Three cheers for the New Lunar Regime!  Huzzah!”  Silence.  “Huzzah!”  Silence.  “Huzzah!”  Silence.


The silences were just as crucial as the shouts.  They combined to set the scene for a confrontation with an enthusiastic, pompous ‘collaborator’ with Nightmare Moon’s ‘takeover.’  The uncharitable would have said that this was a role that Prince Blueblood was born to play.  The more complimentary would still have to admit that it was a role that the alabaster unicorn played rather well.


Or… not quite a unicorn right now.  Thanks to some clever costuming work, and a little magic courtesy of Starlight Glimmer, Blueblood was now also sporting a pair of magnificent white wings!  After all, even Princes dressed up for Nightmare Night, and this year, Blue was going for the big one; an official alicorn!  The story being, of course, that ascension was the price of his loyalty shift.


He stood elevated on a platform, posing and preening like the prissy pretty colt pony prince that the tabloids loved to class him as.  He cut the exact sort of figure that you just wanted to shove into the nearest body of water.  Which was extremely convenient, given that the platform Blueblood perched upon was suspended over a tank of water.  Attached to this platform was an ingenious device which, when struck with a thrown baseball, would drop the platform and dump the Prince into the tank!


“Haha, you shall not pass!  After all, who among you can pitch so as to soak the newest member of the exclusive club of alicorns?”   It was a feat that would take skill, but determination could see a pony throw surprisingly well.  Especially when that pony was motivated to wipe a certain grin off a certain face.  Success would be met with a gratifying splash, as well as a chance to raid the royal candy stash for tribute.  Of course, the fewer throws it took a pony, the more candy they could get!


Well?  I’m wai~it~ing~!




Rules for the Dunk Tank Event-


-There will be a line for this event, as only one pony may toss their dunking balls at a time.

-You only need one post for all your throws; success will be determined by a die roll.

-While early successes will award more candy, all participants will earn at least one piece.

-Extra pieces will be awarded for clever trash-talk, especially if it’s in-character to both your costume, and the event as a whole!

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Valen wasn't quite sure how he had been convinced that this costume was the best idea, but he had been all the same. Magical Filly costumes always struck him as a bit obnoxious since there were unicorns and magic wasn't by all rights a strange or uncommon commodity, so the idea of having power and csting spells and whatnot never struck him as being something special. However, Starlight Glimmer had been most insistent on it and the costume did have some wonderful green and orange coloring to it. It certainly didn't hurt that Masquerade's costumes were without compare in all the world. So he had slipped into this costume and yes, they were all extremely lifelike, which was unnerving because of how natural and comfortable it felt.


But for all of that he didn't quite care because tonight was a night of candy, scares, and everything in between. The theme was Nightmare Moon taking over and the way to stop it was by collecting as much candy as possible and making sure to deposit them back in the throne room to sate her hunger before it turned to ponies. A bit trite but this was a night for spooks of the silly and terrifying variety alike. And for games! So many games, and many were even tied into the events of the evening. And so Valen made a point of hitting these events early so he could continue to hit the non-related stuff before the bight was over and ensure a nice and healthy bag of treats by night's end.


First up: Dunking the traitor, played by Prince Blueblood or Princess Bluebelle, randomness abound. The Good Prince had collaborated with a regime most foul and was edged up near a dunk tank, oblivious to the danger he was in. Well, somepony was itching for a bath today it looked like and Valen's clean break towards the dunk tank made him first in line. Deliciousness abound. He stepped up and took a ball- though in this costume, at this time, it was most definitely she- Special Power Princess Jasmine Skies- who took the ball. Valen lined up and gave it a shot, making sure to let this no-good traitor what the score was! "You repugnant quisling! Taste my special beam power!" Valen bellowed before throwing the ball with audible sound effects. The costume was quite wonderful!

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Aha, the first challenger!


It was a testament to Masquerade’s costumery that Blueblood failed to recognize Valen at first.  True, he had only been mildly acquainted with the young Orange scion through shared class, but recent travails concerning a career in fashion turning into a doubt of identity had moved the young colt to seek him out as a guide.  Which would have been wholly unexpected, had the Prince not faced similar issues himself.


The upshot of it was, Blueblood knew perfectly well what Valen looked like when made up as a filly, but this particular get-up was enough to fool him at first.  Not that it would have mattered; few contestants would get special treatment.  He would still give them an insufferably smug look as they approached the tank, with fixed smile and arched brow.


“You repugnant Quisling!  Taste my Special Beam Power!”


The voice finally tipped off the Prince as to who the figure really was.  As he already knew Valen well enough to be called a friend at that point, the Prince felt no compulsion to hold back on the trash talk when the first light-show blow missed.  “Well, that’s certainly ‘special,’ alright!  Shouldn’t little fillies like you stay home on a night like this?


The second throw was answer enough.  Young Valen may have been no athlete, but (s)he had the motivation, and the baseball hit the target with just enough force to tip the platform and tip the Prince into the drink.


Arglblblble!  Fiend!  Brute!  Just wait until I tell Auntie about this!”  The sudden shock of the water lent Blueblood’s acting just that touch of realism which could not help but delight.  Faust, but the water was chilly!  The Prince should have insisted upon installing a heater.  Or better yet, just replaced the tank with a jacuzzi.


Beside Valen, a rattling noise could be heard as the machine dispensed candy to the successful dunker!

(Roll to beat 11.  1st Roll: 9; 2nd Roll: 12.  3 Pieces of Candy awarded + 2 Bonus Candies for in-character banter!)

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Disco-- er Dark Strife had found his next game. With his pail bouncing atop his Timberwolf hood: the sheep in wolf's clothing was quote delighted. A few carved gourds, enchanted with his magic, had been left here and there. Hopefully no pony touched them and set them off before the piece de resistance! Well nothing ever, truly, went as planned, but it was still a good plan! He trotted along, admiring the effort put into the decorations. Maybe if they had some active Plunder Vines it would be more terrifying for the adults as it was for the wee ones, but alas he left his seeds in his other pocket dimension. Turning the way it seemed the next game was up and ready. The next victim to his candy hoarding… no. Could he be so lucky?


If it wasn't Tia's very own nephew. Oh he was nearly out of his disguise with anticipation. That short, cropped tail turned white for but a split second as he struggled to keep his form and continue on his path of chaos. He bounced his pail a bit to weigh what he had so far. It wasn't enough. Even if he had to trick ponies out of some candy… They all assume that Nightmare Loon would be fed in fear. While the concept was genius, the troublemaking brute lamenting his shortsightedness in not instating a candy tax, he wanted to turn the plan on its head. What would happen if she was not satisfied? Would she have to break her illusion, or would she stick to her reigns and ponynap somepony, or keep it dark….?


Haa~! Curiouser and curiouser! Trotting into view the unicorn's white aura wrapped around his horn and the ball in question. "If it isn't Celestia's little sheep. I hope you're lucky little lamb~ because I'm going to huff and puff your little platform down." Ugh, Discord, that was terrible.


He was having too much fun in that Timberwolf hood, despite being in an ordinary looking Pony form. His jaws would part in a grin. Perhaps it was a trick of the mind, or a set of fakes, but those teeth of his seemed more predatory than pone before he would move in on his turn to drown the little white lamb. Discord couldn't help it. If he dunked Blue, well that was just a stone's throw away from dunking Celestia herself. And the solar mare could use a bit of cooling down. Always such a hot head. He leaned his head back, cackling a bit before moving to hurl the weapon in question, at the target. Creepy laughter from a weird old pony in a Timberwolf mask...

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Well, that was the first of today’s dunkings.  As Prince Blueblood dragged himself wet and dripping from the tank, it began to dawn on him that he’d let himself in for a long and chilly night…


He restrained himself from shaking like a dog, only wringing out his mane and tail and going for one vigorous rub from a hidden towel, before sitting up straight on the platform as he heard another contestant approach.  This one gave him a… funny feeling.  Of course, the old stallion looked delighted to be able to dunk Celestia’s nephew, that was the intended effect of this whole get-up, but something disturbed the “alicorn.”  Perhaps it was the teeth, yes, that was definitely the unsettling detail.  *I’ll have to have a word with Masquerade about the realism he’s put into his get-ups.*


In any case, the wolf was here to attempt his dunks, and Blueblood was ready with his cutting remarks.  “Pah, lapdog of the ancien regime!  Save your breath to plead before your new ruler!”  Faust, but this whole hammy villain thing was fun.  It was nice not to have to care about one’s own dignity for one night of the year.  Must be why Auntie Luna kept the whole holiday around.


The old stallion… threw his ball like an old stallion.  It fell short, and Blueblood could only muster a snort of derision.  “I’d save your strength, too, for- GAH!  Blublblble..


And with the second throw, Disco- sorry, Dark Strife showed that he was done fooling around, knocking the target and sending the Prince into the drink!  Two down, who knew how many to go.  Naturally, his Royal Highness had more things to worry about tonight than a few extra pumpkins about the place…

(1st Roll: 6.  2nd Roll: 12 to beat 11!  Reward: 3 Pieces of Candy + 2 Bonus Candies!)

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Snow Dancer was excited being at her first ever Nightmare Night! Even better was that she was allowed to go without her parents! 


For her first night, the Pegasus filly went all out and decided to dress as the beautiful Elsa from a story she read called The Snow Queen. Elsa was a Princess who could control ice and snow, but had trouble doing so. What better costume than of a Princess who loved snow as much as Snow Dancer did? Sure the dress was cumbersome and the blonde wig was a little itchy, but in her guise, Snow Dancer didn't just look like a Princess. She Was a Princess!!!


As she approached the first of what would be many events, the would-be Princess encountered her first challenge: an Alicorn heard speaking the wonders of Nightmare Moon. She approached him on the tank with all the grace and power of Elsa she could muster. 


"Foolish Pretender, neither you nor Nightmare Moon with threaten my reign or the peace of my mountain kingdom or Equestria, for I am Elsa, Princess of snow and Ice and ruler of Arindale. For my kingdom, Equestria and all the other Princesses, I shall vanquish you!" 


The princess then selected the ammo to toss at the target. She was great at snowball fights, and she hoped her talent could aid her in saving the Princess. After all, she needed to back up her words with action! She took aim and hurled the three balls at the target in rapid succession, hoping to dispatch the false herald! 

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Despite knowing full well what Nightmare Night was, Clef was not wearing a costume.  He justified this with the knowledge that he wasn't a child anymore, and he was here as part of his journey around Equestria, not for any particular festivities that might be happening in a given town at a given time.  It certainly wasn't because he'd let the date slip his mind, and by the time he realized what time of year it was it would be too late to make a costume he'd be anything but ashamed of.  Even if that was just as true.  And perhaps it didn't even matter that much, he'd already had a few ponies ask about his 'costume' and in particular how he got the 'floaty thing' to work, when they saw what he was doing to move above water.


This was the first time Clef had experienced at Nightmare Night outside of Melodia.  It was no coincidence that this was also the first time he'd had to put in some effort to follow the plot.  He vaguely remembered the holiday having something to do with appeasing some ancient monster, but here the 'monster' actually showed up!  And 'kidnapped' a princess no less!  It had taken Clef a moment to realize it was all in good fun when he'd first discovered the situation.


For this reason Clef had decided to start with what looked the simplest, the 'dunk tank'.  The pirate ship seemed out of place this far inland, he wasn't quite ready to get tangled in the maze yet, and the 'balloon pop' seemed...kinda inexplicable.  The 'storyline' here was that the pony sitting on the board had (pretended) to turn traitor for Nightmare Moon.  It was charming in its own way, even if Clef found the theme a bit intense for what was basically just a silly-fun holiday.


It seemed he wasn't the only one trying this particular attraction at the moment, Clef sat watching as a pony dressed in a peculiarly striking dress and blonde wig took her turn at the moment.  She proclaimed herself to be a princess of a foreign land, and that she would defeat this new regime, starting with the prince before them.  There seemed to be a certain encouragement of themed banter.


Once the other pony had taken her turn, Clef would step up- well, perhaps float or slither up would be the better word- and grab his own set of baseballs.  After a moment's thought he'd call out, “You've adapted to the new Ponyville quickly, let's see how you like my home!”  While Clef was happy in the water and knew ponies could be as well, Melodia had enough sailors that he'd seen what happens when a pony is suddenly immersed.  It was the perfect lighthearted 'punishment' for an uppity prince.  Clef would take aim, line up his throw, and let fly!

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Valen's first attempt would be marked as feeble, his strike missing the mark just wide and and instilling in him just the slightest hint of embarrassment. Well, after all that tough talk it was hard to come back from a first big shot of failure. The second shot would have to come with more of a sense of purpose behind it, even if only in some small way. In character talk made it difficult to remember that the ball should go to the target and not to his erstwhile (tonight, at least) friend in the Prince, often Princess, of the tabloids. In another way it was a lot of fun and made it easier to view his friend as an enemy which took away any lingering sorrow he may feel about dunking him in that tank.


The second shot struck true and the mechanism saw Blueblood reduced to an alicorn without the knowledge of flight, splashing around in the water. Looked chilly. He wouldn't take any comfort in that, though the sight of it all brought a friendly smile to his face- it was a lot of fun to send Blue flailing into the water. The machine dispensed his treats and Valen took them in with a quick stamp of the hooves, a mix between excitedness and anxiousness. How much did he get- five? Well, that seemed like a good amount. As other ponies came in Valen decided he wouldn't take too much more of Blueblood's time. He was going to have a long day- best not to tarry about and embarrass him further in front of a friend! "Have fun in your bath, traitor!" He humphed, raising his head and tail in extreme arrogance and trotting off, candy in bag.


*Valen exits*

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Blueblood was quicker in emerging from the water after that dunking.  It was probably a good idea to be prompt in any case; didn’t want to keep the eager colts and fillies waiting now.  Or the older mares and stallions, for that matter.


Well it was for him, anyway, that he was quick in getting ready, because the contestants were coming on faster now!  First up was… oh, no, really?  Did he need a reminder of how cold he was?  He shivered involuntarily at the sight of the Ice Queen, but immediately huffed, puffing out his chest in a manner recognizable by most ornithologists.  My, but those wings were getting to his head!


Ha, I fear no lesser Royalty, do your worst!”  


That was a particularly unfortunate remark, as the filly’s first throw struck the target, dumping the puffed-up Prince into the drink for the third time that night!  Fortunately, Elsa did not freeze the tank over...


(1st Roll: 12 to beat 11!  6 Candies + 2 bonus Candies!)


Blueblood emerged, shivering even more.  It was getting to the point where he was growing acclimated to the water’s temperature, thus the dunks were not as chilling as emerging from them.  His magic-infused wings were hanging limply by his sides, feathers wiggling in an effort to restore phantom feeling.


As if to add to his indignity, the next proposed dunker was one who was likely more at home under the water than above it anyway.  Blueblood looked down at the seapony, unable to keep his assumed bombast free of actual irritation.  “The decor is tasteless, and the atmosphere is stifling!


He was duly punished for his insolence by a baseball, thrown straight and true!  “WAAGH- Garblblblbbllleee….


(1st Roll: 20!  Instant success! 7 Candies + 1 Bonus Candy)


His emergence, this time was slower, and he sent a discrete request for a hot beverage to fortify himself.  Good grief, but this was going to be a long night...


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Strifecord took no simple pleasure in sending the gaudy un… alicorn into the tank. It only instilled an almost evil pleasure of schadenfreude to see the water was, too, chill. His black stubbly tail perked up and wagged in the excitement of hearing the flailing garbles from the young prince. Now the old, grey mischief maker did have to applaud the young prince for his show of humility. He was almost ready to dispense mercy upon the prattling princesass. 




His horn lit up, taking the unique, faint white glow of magic. The aura surrounded his candy pail and the treat container was levitated beside him as he trot towards the dispenser. Black hooves clipped and clapped against the ground with haste. His brows furrowed once his eyes came upon the atrocity. Five? Five pieces for exerting so much effort?! Oh the greedy spirit couldn't let that stand. Glancing left, followed by a curious peer towards the right he would grasp the candies in his magic and shovel the pieces into the opening of his pail. In the meantime a pair of gourds would appear beside the dispenser. One had the face of Celestial carved into it, whislt the other carried the engraving of the white stallion's other aunt: Luna.


He glanced back as two others seemed to enter the fray, and the other participant gone with hastw. Likely to the next game. But the fiendish spirit wanted one more go. For his ego. He topped his head with his pail, the Timberwolf hood crunching a bit, as it a bird settled into a nest of sticks. He turned tail and would trot to the back of the line for another go! The other two ahead of him would be cheered on with a clap of his hoof to the ground. "Rah, Rah! Have at the villainous sheep!" He offered a most toothy grin. At least it seemed he had fake fangs to go with that ensamble.


They were fake, right?




There was a wash of jealousy at the productive spill of candy from the machine. How frightfully rude! He neezed that candy. Why, well Dark Strife wasn't telling. He seemed to be just an old pony, having fun!

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Red Cedar strode through the castle as though he owned it, and to look at him on this particular night, it might not have been a stretch of the imagination. A white jacket stood out against his copper coat, gold piping up and down the sleeves and sides. Across his chest, a green sash, thereupon the brilliant medals of some imagined order of knighthood or another, while on the other side of his breast, a row of medals sparkled. In all, the effect was such that it could seriously be considered that the title of Prince or Princess could as easily be borne by an Earth Pony as a unicorn.


He was just hoping that the confidence he projected would carry him through the night as well.


More than once, Red had heard about the last major celebration of Nightmare Night in Ponyville, which had turned into an actual living nightmare for many thanks to infiltration by changelings. Now he was returning there with a changeling by his side, hoping the memories of nights past wouldn't override the recognition of Naj's citizenship.


The night was supposed to be fun, however, and so they were there with that in mind, first and foremost, and so far, the sight of the town decorated for this night hadn't disappointed. But this... this was unexpected, and too good to pass up, too. None other than Prince Blueblood, strolling across the barely secured platform above a tank of water, playing his role in the evening's festivities and looking like he'd already made a splash, so to speak.


"Oh, this could be fun!", he said, partially to himself, and partially to Naj.

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Clef knew his banter wasn't the best.  Banter was always more his mother's thing than his, but he felt like he should at least try, and that was the first thing that came to mind which he didn't think would embarrass him.

His aim meanwhile, was leagues ahead of his banter.  This came as a surprise to him, as much as anyone else.  His first throw was dead on!  He let out a small cheer before moving over to collect his reward.  The night was off to a positive start already!  After receiving his candy Clef gave a quick wave at the stallion now emerging from the tank, and whispered a quick “thanks!”, splitting the difference between wanting to show appreciation for the stallion's sacrifice for their amusement, and not wanting to risk breaking character.  Then, with a pony dunked, and a prize received, Clef slipped off to find another activity.


[Clef exits]




Nightmare Night was bringing out some strange moods in Naj.  For one, she often felt like she should like it, like there was some expectation that a changeling would have an affinity for a holiday.  And to an extent it was true, even if she wasn't the best at disguise, she still enjoyed the opportunity to try non-magical versions, and on top of there was an excuse she could tell herself to wander about without her disguise on.  At the same time, it also re-enforced a few painful truths.  Most notably, she'd seen a few changeling costumes among the 'monsters', which stung a little even if she also knew that ponies dressed up as things that weren't scary too.  Still, she was finding the atmosphere enjoyable overall.


Currently Naj was happily walking beside Red, any anxiousness she might have had offset by the presence of her fiancee, and the fact that for once in her life she had an opportunity to legitimately wear Royal Guard armour.  At least, for some definition of the terms.  Today her costume was that of a royal guard, although she'd decided to keep her natural form underneath.  Naj almost hadn't gone for this costume, but when she'd been discussing with Red and it came up, he had been surprisingly encouraging of it, at least surprising to Naj.  Still, she went through with it, finding a prop spear and even tracking down an obsolete suit of armour to borrow which she polished up.  They'd even worked out a bit of a theme for their costumes, coming up with the idea of a prince as Red's costume.


Naj was roused out of her musings by Red finding an attraction he liked the look of.  It wasn't an attraction that Naj particularly knew, but the concept seemed simple enough.  A pony played the villain and riled up the crowd a bit, then allowed them to try and drop him into a bin of water via hitting a device.  The villain of the day was Blueblood, pretending to be a traitor for Nightmare Moon's regime.  Naj had some mixed feelings about the whole thing, not the least because her interactions with Blueblood had been positive after the time she traumatized him.


“Seems a little mean spirited...” Naj frowned, before lightening up a bit.  “But I suppose he must have agreed to it.  And it does look entertaining.  Very well, lead on my prince!”  She smiled, as she was having fun playing pretend.

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Snow Dancer... or Elsa's aim was true as it struck the target! She only wished she could freeze the pool of water and encase the fraudulent herald of Nightmare Moon! But oh well, she was pleased at her results and the candy she got! 


"Onward to vanquish more threats!" she said trotting off to the next event. 


(Exit: Snow Dancer) 



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The Fates are not known for being merciful, but in one of their rare moments of kindness, the line of prospective dunkers had paused long enough for some kind soul to fetch a small cup of hot chocolate.  Not piping hot, as the Prince had to chug the whole warming beverage in a gulp; there’s nothing that quite takes the wind out of a villain’s sails as being seen with a cup of hot cocoa.  Ponies may not have taken him seriously anyway, but this was art, darn it, and he was going to do it right!


As the two victorious throwers split with their parting lines and their candy, Blueblood noticed one stallion go around the back to try again.  Well, that was fine.  The dispenser would not distribute candy to repeat participants; Nightmare Night was as much about tricks as treats, after all!


Rather more to the point were the two prospective dunkers coming up.  Unlike the past several contestants, the Prince recognized this couple.  The first official changeling immigrant wasn’t exactly a famous figure, but they’d met before in… less than ideal circumstances.  Blueblood did have to admit, though, Naj was too nice to deserve the reactions she involuntarily triggered in him.  It was too bad her beau was less than sympathetic to the plight of a former prisoner of war.


And there he was too, dressed ironically in the sort of suit that Prince Blueblood himself liked to parade and preen in during official parades.  It was the sort of thing that the commoners would often laugh at him for, calling him a prissy ponce pony, and worse from there.  Commoners like Red actually, he remembered from their meeting after a certain Winter Wrap Up in this town.  Well, let’s see how he likes a taste of his own medicine!

Well, if it isn’t Prince Peacock and his pet guardling!  I’m surprised you’ve got the guts to come into the castle of true royalty!”  The remark was meant to refer, of course, to their glorious new ruler nightmare moon, but Blueblood couldn’t resist flipping his wet mane into a more flattering draping.  He even shot a wink at Naj, the sort of wink no stallion likes to see another stallion give to his mare.  Hopefully, Red wouldn’t use that ball to bean him...

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Whilst at the back of the 'line' the grey stallion placed a gourd or two more near the entrance. The fiendish prince could sip on his cocoa, but it would only leave a blind-eye to the no-goodery Discord was given to. Even if he was reformed there were just some things he could not resist. A night where his foalish games were seen as customary tricks? What a wonderful holiday! Reformation simply meant he wasn't going to use his powers for evil. Nightmare Moon is a villain, as former as he was, no? So it was only right he play his part in this parade of fools and have a little fun. His horn lit up, two gourds appearing on the ground where he faced. Grey ears swiveled back as a new pair of voices arrived and another pair would leave. The glittering snow queen had caught his attention for moments, but he was, now and more over-focused on the new pomp that had fluttered into the room. The aged-looking pone's brow raised at the sight before him. He was not sure if the costumes were hitting a point of cross-over or something.


His gaze at the couple seemed -- rude? Like an old, traditional pony disapproving of the unsavory coupling! Discord, of all ponies, judging another by their looks? No, he judged a pony on what they wore, and a rather gaudy pair! What is it with royals and nobles primping themselves in such things? While he, ever begrudgingly, admitted that Blueblood had a much tamer wardrobe, he was never fond of muted colors or glittering things. Pinks, oranges, greens, and reds were always shades he clutched to fondly. Pushing to stand the old, grumpy looking 'Timberwolf' stood and patiently waited his turn. Blueblood hasn't seemed to notice who, or what, he was. His costume was just that good! He wanted a chance to soak the chicken just once more before he headed on his way. In a sense -- he was punishing Celestia. There were times where he still felt a bit of annoyance for having to change...


What-ifs, and could-bes were rightly worthless. As a miser of timer he knew that reeling back and changing the past was an impossibility, but that did not mean his dreams were dead... He still wanted to be known, seen, loved, and wanted. If he couldn't gain recognition through acts of evil, he was unsure how to earn them through acts of kindness after all he's done. It was hard to change yourself. He wasn't Fluttershy, nor was he in the greatest position to be selfless. Countless eons servicing yourself tended to make one jaded over the transient needs of mortals. The hood sunk over his features as his eyes turned to the ground. Maybe it wasn't okay to take it out on Blueblood? He sighed, a bit sickened that he may be growing a conscience. They were so burdensome.


"Come, come," He harked. "I've not all day." He tried to hasten the line. "I'm not getting any younger here." He barked well within his rights as a predator! 



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"Very well, lead on my prince!”  Naj said, and so Red did, waiting his turn in the line up for his chance to soak the traitor. "Yes, he certainly would have volunteered," he confirmed to Naj. At least, he couldn't think of an instance where Blueblood might be on the dunk tank's platform without going willingly.


Blueblood himself seemed to take notice of his attire, though. “Well, if it isn’t Prince Peacock and his pet guardling!  I’m surprised you’ve got the guts to come into the castle of true royalty!” Well, Red supposed he deserved a remark like that, given that he and the Prince had never met on terribly good terms, especially when it came to the issue of Naj. So it was an extra surprise when the Prince... winked at her?


Red actually smirked at that. He didn't think for one second that anything would have come of the Prince's flirtations with Naj, but it did make things interesting. Stepping up as it came to his turn, he picked up his three balls, and smiled at Blueblood. Secure as he may have been in his relationship with Naj, he wasn't about to let this go without a challenge.


"What's wrong? Too much mascara in your eye, traitor?" he called out with a grin. "Let me wash that out for you!" he said, just before throwing the balls enthusiastically towards the target.

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Now there was a pony who got really in the spirit of banter!  True, that might be because Red and the Prince had their own differences in real life, but whatever.  Heated discussion helped dry him off.  Even more gratifying, the earth pony's first throw missed!  "Hah, you're not worthy to wash our windows, let alone Our Royal Person!"  Another toss, another miss!  "As the great wisdom of our new ruler sayeth, 'First take the beam off of thine own eye, before you complain of makeup in your better's!'"  

Blueblood grinned, feeling that by goading the dressed-up stallion, he would make the other even less likely to hit the mark.  And so it seemed to be, with another angry toss and a wide miss!  "Now I see why you go about with her, you'd be utterly helpless otherwise.  Your royal living makes you soft!"  By the time the fourth ball missed, however, the Prince was actually feeling a little sorry for Red.  After all, he was basically making something of a fool of himself in front of his marefriend.  Of course, given that some of Red's disparaging comments towards the Prince had been made in the presence of his own marefriend, he didn't feel too bad.  He addressed his next remarks to Naj, not only as part of a banter, but as a coded signal that he had more or less resolved to put any issues he had with her aside indefinitely.  "Have you, ah, given serious thought to your choices in life, ma'am?  It is no easy thing to change allegiances, but no one could possibly blame you if-"


*Ka-thunk!* *Splash!*  Red's 5th and final ball struck true, dumping the Prince in the drink.  Which was good, since any more misses and he might just have dove off the platform himself out of sheer vicarious embarrassment.


(1st roll: 7; 2nd roll: 7; 3rd roll: 7; 4th roll: 7; 5th roll: 12 to beat 11!  1 Piece of candy awarded + 3 Bonus Candies!)

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As the others had their turn Discord … Dark Strife, found himself seriously considering his actions. Oh not the gourds! That would be hilarious! No, he was starting to worry that his desire to dunk the pompous 'alicorn' was drawn from his personal misgivings towards his aunts. Celestia and Luna and snatched his position from him, they had stopped his game long before he was ready. He did not care for their titles and crowns. Even if envious of the little knickknacks,  their positions meant next to nothing to him. On fact their roles as lawgivers, and authority figures infuriated him. He had become irate that they didn't play by his ever-changing rules. To be truly fair -- his games were one sided and all meant to give him advantage. But they were not without their loopholes, ad the Mane later discovered. It had not been easy losing twice.


The second defeat was more of a time out, rather than an accidental release. He was sure that, by such a time, the sisters hadn't the power they once did. He was long lived by his very nature. He was unsure how long alicorn survived, but by age alone they could not compare. Their power diminished over time and he knew it. They became soft. Particularly Tia. He stared at the ground in front of him, his lips curled up as he tensed his jaws. The loud splash pulled him from his thoughts. For the first time in the evening he looked at Blueblood. Grey lips curled back as he began to laugh.


"How many times shall you stand it?" He was uproarious in his mirth as it hit him, the idea that this stupid game was actually fun. How barbarically contrived … primitive. These ponies could make a game of counting sticks! "Are you sure you're even a villain? You seem more a sidekick." The 'wolf' of a pony growled.


For a split second those white sclera seemed to flash a molten gold, his amusement far too much for his disguise. The laugh became hideously dark, almost echoing beneath his own, shaking cackles. Such an amusing game! Yes, perhaps he could see why Luna still played it! Though it painted her a horror, which she had become under the burden of her own power, but it was a huge joke! No wonder citizens of Ponyville were so casual towards mishaps and frights to swarm the sleepy town, rife with conflict! When you had a princess of Friendship at the helm, there was no doubt that those with a natural distaste for camaraderie would target it. Just like he enjoyed targeting the Equestrian capital for its harmony, Ponyville was it's own joke!


"You... if ever you need to conquer Nightmare Moon rather than play her hoofshiner... perhaps I can give you tips on hpw to take a bite out of these little ponies." He gave a fang filled grin and turned to trot out of the room.


It wouldn't do the theatric stallion to take another sip under his malice. He felt it would be a more comforting act if those that were having fun did so under the holiday spirit, rather than under the ire of one.


[Discord, out]

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Naj caught sight of the stallion staring at her and Red with disapproval.  Lacking any access to his inner monologue however, she filled in her own guess at the reason.  There was one thing that came to her mind that would get her stared at, and that was her species.  Today was one of the rare days when she was completely open about it, as opposed to the compromise she usually went for.  She shot the stallion a hard look in turn for a moment, but quickly decided it wouldn't be worth the argument.  Besides, far more fun things were happening with the dunk tank itself.


Red and Blueblood bantered back and forth a bit, before Blueblood shot Naj of all ponies a wink.  So THAT was how things were going to go tonight, was it?  Naj smiled a toothy grin.  She was of course more than pleased to see Blueblood able to joke with her at all, it meant he was finally overcoming whatever it was that happened to him.  But that discussion could wait, for the moment there were festivities to be had!  And that meant staying in character.  As Red stepped up, from behind him Naj called out, “Kick his flank, my lord!”  Red...struggled a bit, admittedly, but then throwing objects was never really his strong suit.  The banter between them even caused Naj to laugh a few times.


11 hours ago, PrinceBlueblood said:

"Have you, ah, given serious thought to your choices in life, ma'am?  It is no easy thing to change allegiances, but no one could possibly blame you if-"

Naj gasped over-dramatically, trying to play up her reaction to the insult enough that everypony could tell she was in character rather than showing an honest reaction.  When it was her turn to toss, she called out to Blueblood.  “Knave!  How dare you insult my loyalty, and my lord's good name!?”  Borrowing the motion from a guardspony she worked with on an adventure in the desert, she pointed her forehoof that not holding a spear toward the sky.  “I shall avenge my lord's honor!”


Deciding it wouldn't be right to simply throw the balls, given the unfair advantage of training in improvised weapons, Naj tried out a new technique to challenge herself.  Instead of simply throwing, she'd toss a ball a short way into the air, then spin around and kick it with her back legs toward the target, repeating from the top as many times as necessary.

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Scootaloo approached the castle, ready for some action. She heard that there was some puffed up Alicorn praising the name of Nightmare Moon! Well, the filly dressed as Daring Do wasn't going to have any of that! Daring Do certainly wouldn't let somepony threaten Equestria! 


"You there, whoever you are! Enough chatter. Time for you to take a swim!" 


With that Scootaloo threw the three balls at the target, hoping she could score a hit with her awesome moves! 

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Blueblood could hear the mocking calls of the disguised Discord ring in his ears as he clambered back up to the platform.  He didn’t know it was Discord, of course, but he couldn’t help but notice how unusual his mocking was.  It was almost as if he was trying to get Blueblood to be a more effective villain… was that a subtle kind of insult?  Perhaps, but one generally didn’t shout subtleties from the top of one’s lungs.


Hah, you, sir, are not worthy to kiss the hooves of our new Empress, let alone polish them!”  The Prince retorted, and the old stallion at the back did not deign to reply.  Hmph, well, if you couldn’t take it, you shouldn’t dish it out.  Wait, were those pumpkins there a minute ago?


No time for gourd considerations, though.  Naj the changeling was up next, with a hammy performance and an unusual method of ball-tossing.  “Avenge his honor?  My, so great an effort for so little a cause!”  He waved a hoof dismissively, as if to knock aside the incoming baseball, which ended up going wide, anyhow.  “Dear me!  Such flash, but substance trumps style, my girl.


The advice seemed to be taken, as the very next kick set a fastball right to the target!  “BegAH-*splash*


(1st Roll: 9.  2nd Roll: 18 to beat 11!  3 Pieces of Candy + 2 Bonus Candies!)


No time to go swimming, though.  Barely any time to towel off, actually, as the next contestant, a young filly who seemed to have only recently gotten her cutie mark, stepped up to the plate.  She was dressed as Daring Do, but showed none of her caution and forethought (if adventurers could be said to have any), as she threw three balls immediately, without waiting to see if any hit!


It was probably a good thing she did anyway, as the first two missed horribly.  “I swim at nopony’s mere command- AHG! *SPLASH*


The third one hit home, though.

(1st Roll: 2.  2nd Roll: 2.  3rd Roll: 18 to beat 11!  1 Piece of candy + 1 Bonus Candy!)

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Throwing a ball had never been Red's strong point. He was much more into hoofball as a colt, so if he had had to kick a ball into a target, he might have done better. By his final ball, amid the call of “Kick his flank, my lord!” from his guard, the determination on his face was evident. So when the final throw sailed straight and true to its target, resulting in Blueblood making another satisfying splash into the tank, he could not help but give a rather unprincely pump of his hoof along with the smile on his face the sight brought.

"I'm not as soft as you are wet, it seems," he replied.

Then Naj, taking up the challenge herself after the traitorous Blueblood had apparently tried to woo her to switching allegiances, made clear she was having none of it, deftly kicking only her second ball into the target and sending him to the water again.

Red stamped his hooves in applause appreciatively at Naj's display. "And, this is why she is my knight in shining armour," he announced, reaching around to snug her across the shoulders, before adding with embellishment, "I have knighted you, right? If not, we'll get you a knighthood by evening's end for your work in banishing Nightmare Moon once again."

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Naj's first toss was a miss.  Not really surprising, given that she was going that extra distance to challenge herself, but it stung a little just the same.  Not to mention Blueblood was doing a fantastic job of playing the villain and goading ponies on.  Naj's eyes narrowed, she focused intensely on the ball currently in her hoof, and tried again.  Up it went, down it came and with a 'crack' Naj kicked the ball, which sailed straight into the target!  “Ha ha!” she called out, as Blueblood once again fell into the tank, “That will teach you to pick on a noble prince such as mine!”


Naj didn't linger long, as there was a young filly eagerly waiting for the next go.  As soon as Naj had stepped off to the side, she was embraced by Red, who wondered aloud if she'd been knighted yet.  Naj chuckled, before replying.  “You must have, for I seem to be your knight in shining armour this evening!”  Then she returned the hug, and added in a tone slightly more serious,  “But it wouldn't matter, your companionship is all a soldier like me could ever need.”


Naj stayed like that, enjoying the moment, before taking a step back.  The night was still young, and she didn't want to spend all her time standing around the dunk tank, but neither did she know where she wanted to go from here.  She looked to Red.  “So, what next?”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Repeated dunkings had given Blueblood a kind of despair; would he ever be actually dry?  The last of his towels was reaching the limits of it's saturation, he discovered, as he climbed out after the latest series of saturations.  But, the show must go on!  Surely, Auntie would send some fresh towels to her best (and only) nephew?


"Hah, well, we'll just see how ready you are for a confrontation with the Mistress herself after this!"  He called out to Red, feeling somehow not on top of his game anymore.  It had been a long evening, admittedly, but surely he could do better than that for banter?  Well, yes, he probably could, but that would probably involve casting aspersions on Naj's species, which was unlikely to be a wise policy.  Not to mention terribly rude.  Wiping a stray drop of water from his eyes, he peered towards the entrance.  Would anypony come in, or was he safe for the rest of the evening to dry off and warm up?

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The next pony to enter the area would be Flux. Though pony wasn't quite the right word considering that even ignoring the fact she was a changeling in disguise, she looked more like a dragon than a pony. She bounced her way in, clawed hooves covered in purple scales and her leathery wings flapping idly as she went. Her scales were mainly purple, with a pink underbelly, and she had some pink spines starting at her neck and running down to her tail. 


As she found herself in front of the booth, her smile widened even further once she recognized the stallion above the water. 


"Hiya Bluey! Been way too long since we last saw each other Bluey! I'm Flux, in case you forgot." She said happily, floating at eye level with him and practically touching the glass with how close she was. "Ooh, you got wings? Cool!"

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