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A Chance Encounter [Open Invitation]


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Silver Lining and Eagle returned from inside, and Eagle went right to Sun's side. Heart Breaker gave Sun a wink an a smirk before addressing him. "Hello Eagle, my dear. The girls all asleep now?"

"Yeah. Cloud almost woke up, but we managed to stop it with a lullaby," he sighed, clearly relieved.

Silver sat down beside Gilded as he replied with "I like to think that I have the equal charm of both."

"Both of what?" She asked teasingly, which made him blush.

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Sun giggled and used her magic to pull out a few bottles from her saddle bag, "Picked us up some cider, now that the fillies are tucked away." She passed a bottle to Trax who immediately took a swig, ending with a satisfied sigh. 

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"I'm allergic..." Soft Spot said apologetically, passing hers to Heart Breaker. The red unicorn, however, drank hers with vigor. She chuckled as a slight blush rose to her cheeks.

"I love cider," she said, just before a cute little hiccup escaped.

Gilded took one, but Silver politely declined. "Can't, I'm still nursing Pastel. Thank you though, dear."

Eagle looked a bit nervous, but took one all the same, taking a swig with a smile.

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Sun stole the bottle from Heart Breaker, "Well share with the rest of us, I only got a few bottles." She said playfully before taking a swig herself, she'd built up a good tolerance for when she needed to seduce a target, but somehow that's the only time when her tolerance kicked in. Sun was just behind Heart Breaker as she took another swig, her cheeks growing bright red and she seemed to have trouble balancing herself. Trax, an avid drinker, barely felt it, keeping his cool composure without fail. "Go slowly, that's some pretty strong stuff anypony who doesn't drink regularly." He told the two mares with a slight chuckle.

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Eagle barely had any before he had to sit down where he stood. He took one more quick sip, then gave up. With a chuckle, Heart Breaker took the bottle from him. "The nurse says you're finished." Eagle just nodded.

Gilded, however, drank his slowly but surely. He had quite a bit more than Heart Breaker before he even had a buzz. "This is pretty good. Not as strong as what my farm buddies used to brew, but darn close."

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Sun snorted cutely and started giggling uncontrollably as she leaned on Heart Breaker, Trax shook his with a smile, "We save the stronger stuff for the less joyous occasions, besides, we still have work in the morning."

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"True. Can't believe Eagle took any though. He might be showing off for Sun." Gilded glanced at Eagle, who was looking at Sun Flare like a love-sick puppy. But he was still sitting where he was, swaying slightly. Gilded let out a small snort of laughter at the sight. "Oh yeah, definitely trying to impress Sun. He usually only drinks a glass or two of wine. If at all."

Heart breaker smirked and slipped out from under Sun, trying to make her fall onto Eagle. Soft Spot sighed and shook her head at the group with a fond smile before moving to sit down. She looked around for a moment before sitting down next to Trax with a slight blush.

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Sun crashed into Eagle, knocking him over and landing on top of him, "Sorry... I'm just a bit of cluts is all...." She giggled playfully. Trax finished a swig before passing it off to Gilded, he glanced at Soft Spot for a moment, "Does that go for all alcoholic beverages?" He asked curiously.

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Eagle stared back up at Sun, his entire face red. Without thinking, he leaned up and gave her a quick little kiss. "S'okay..." he mumbled, not looking her in the eye. Heart Breaker chuckled and shook her head before taking a seat.

Soft Spot shook her head. "No, just... I'm allergic to apples." She looked embarrassed. "They're such a common ingredient though, I can't really dodge them."

Heart Breaker overheard and leaned over to whisper "She'll down an entire bottle of whiskey, if you let her."

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Sun froze up a little before she hugged Eagle tightly, "Oh you are just the cutest little thing!" 

Trax raised an eyebrow, "Really now? Well that would be up to the Lady if she would like to par-take." He began reaching into his jacket pocket for his flask.

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Eagle sighed in relief before hugging her back, the blush still there but slightly less.

Soft Spot suddenly looked much less shy and much more intrigued. She gave a soft "hmmm" of consideration before finally nodding. "Yes please. But stop me after five shots, otherwise I'll start to get drunk and somepony has to keep an eye on her." She gestured to Heart Breaker, who giggled.

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Trax chuckled as he hand his flask to Soft Spot, "Well that's being a good friend." He told her before leaning back in his chair, taking in the moment. This was a good feeling, a good and exciting job, new friends he knew he'd have for life, and maybe even a family of his own in the future. After years of just being with his Sister, it felt nice to have more ponies around to talk to and learn from. Soon, he'd have Seven inducted as a new Ranger, and possibly more after him. He did have another candidate it mind, but he decided to save that thought for another time.

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Soft Spot took her swigs, all five of them, and was barely even red in the face as she handed the flask back. Heart Breaker lay on the ground, looking ready to fall asleep, after finishing off one of the bottles. Gilded was talking to Silver in whispers, and she was smiling about it. It seemed a perfectly peaceful night.

Perhaps it seemed too peaceful. Pastel started crying loudly, loud enough that they could all hear her. Silver got up, her usual soft smile still in place as she went to go check on the baby. She was gone for several long moments before her scream ripped through the air. Gilded immediately jumped up and ran in after her to see what was wrong.

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Trax was close behind him, already drawing a few knives at the ready, "Whats Wrong?"

 

Sun looked up, like a switch had gone off in her head, no longer affected by the alcohol in her system. She ran to follow Gilded and Trax, her horn lit up at the ready.

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Silver was sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, staring in horror at an empty crib. Gilded looked at it, then trotted over to it to search the blankets. There was no denying the truth, however. Pastel Rose was gone.

As he flung the blankets aside, a note drifted out from one of them. Gilded grabbed it before it even fell to the carpet, his eyes skimming over it almost in a daze. He then silently held it out to Trax to read. There, in black ink, it read "Disband the Rangers, or lose the child." Silver glanced up at it, tears already staining the fur around her eyes, but she cried harder at the thought of someone hurting her baby. Eagle finally made it into the room, his face still flushed but no longer so care-free.

"Cloud and Stormy are both safe, Heart Breaker and Soft Spot are with them now. Where's-" he stopped dead in his tracks as he fully realized the scene in front of him. "No..."

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Sun took the note next before Trax could crumple it up in anger, her face contorted with rage, her magic flared up causing her hair to glow and float up slowly. Traxs cold blue eyes now burned like sapphire gems, "Sun, got to the Castle, prep and fill in Stryker. Find Seven while your there." As he finished, Sun nodded and teleported away in a flash. Trax turned to Eagle, "Splash cold water in your face, grab a cup of coffee, sober up quick." He then looked to Gilded, "We're going to find her, I promise you that. What I need to know now, is can you think clearly?" He asked sternly, not as an insult, but as a serious question. The next few hours would be critical in finding Pastel, and he need Gilded thinking with a clear conscience. Knowing this should be no problem for a Royal Guard.

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"Nothing is more sobering than my baby disappearing." Gilded replied as Eagle hurried out of the room. He stooped to help Silver up off the floor, murmuring apologies to her before telling her to go into the twins' room. She did so, wiping at her face with her wing. The two nurses brought her in and closed the door to keep the two curious fillies from getting out of their supervision. After a few more minutes, Eagle returned balancing four cups of coffee on a tray on his back. He set it down, took one, then handed another to Gilded. The earth pony chugged it in only a few minutes, then tossed the cup aside. Gilded took the rest of the time waiting for the others to take deep breaths, trying to calm himself.

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"I won't lie, this is an extremely dangerous situation, because we have no clues as to who is behind this. The Rangers are barely a week old, and we've only put away one Pony, our sources are practically non existent." Trax explained as he went over the scene, "Theres barely any sign of forced entry, could be dealing with a magic user, or the theif was that good."

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Gilded shook his head. "The latch for the window in the hallway is broken. No pony seemed to notice it but me and Stormy, but maybe I was wrong. But it gives us a place to start."

"We could be dealing with somepony who sees the Rangers as a future threat?" Eagle offered, carefully taking a seat so as not to disturb anything. "Maybe he knows somepony in it and what they're capable of, and doesn't want to have to go against them."

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Trax looked at Eagle, "As of now, there are only two Members, Seven just began training hours ago. Given my Sister and I have an interesting past, our names and faces being printed on newspapers and displayed out across Equestria, I wouldn't put it past a few Marks to see this as a threat. We have to assume the Kidnapper knows who's filly they have, and that they know your involvement with the Rangers." He finished look at Gilded.

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Gilded nodded. "It's not been a secret. All of the guards have been... Wary, to say the least. I've already heard a few rumors springing up and personally put an end to them. That may have been what gave away our familiarity so quickly. There are dozens of guards; any one of them could've let the word spread about my involvement..." Gilded trailed off, his face growing more and more troubled. If that was the case, what was preventing this sort of thing from happening again?

"Then they could be trying to divide us from wanting to help you by going for it indirectly," Eagle's voice chimed in again. Gilded looked at him quizzically, and Eagle pointed between him and Trax. "Think about it. If they didn't want you to help the Rangers anymore, what better way than to make it look like your involvement is nothing but a danger?" The Earth pony looked shocked by that statement, but he slowly nodded.

"You're right, I could see that being attempted. But it won't work."

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"Which begs the question, Why? You don't just ask for the newly formed Rangers to just disband without a Specific Reason." Trax pointed out as he thought of an initial game plan, with Sun organizing with Stryker at the Castle, they could investigate here before regrouping with them 

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"Maybe the don't think they can trust criminals or something?" Eagle said, putting sarcasm behind the word. He then sighed and got up from the floor. "Speculating isn't going to find Pastel though. We should start looking around, right?"
"Yes, you're right. I'll check the window in the hall for entry," Gilded said, then trotted out of the room.

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