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The Seabourne Identity (Open: PM for invite)


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Smolder kept close to the soggy griffon, but not too close. She knew he would be very uncomfortable if she was right on top of him while they were in the water.  She had remembered their first visit in the underground, where they faced their fears. Compared to the others, her challenge was very tame. Silverstream had to face a version of the Storm Lord. Gallus' challenge was so severe, it slightly disturbed the dragon, and she normally didn't have any issues with tight spaces. Tight spaces that wanted to crush you. Ouch. There were the others, but having tea with fancy mares in fancy dress was kind of lame. It was more the idea of her being caught. Still, nowhere near as bad as spiders or being stuck as Queen Chrysalis. Smolder also rocked that blue dress.
 
She kept an eye on her friend, making sure he did not have any panic attacks. Although she was not sure what she could down if this happened.  Thankfully she did not have to do anything as they were soon out of the water and in a cave.
 
"Eh.", she shrugged. "I lived in one during the majority of my life.", she made sure to ask Gallus, "Hey, when we're in the water and you have a freak out, is there anything I can do to not make you freak out..I had a few ideas, but those might freak you out even more...So.." She glanced about and checked for hoof-prints.
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Silverstream started humming to herself a song her mother sang to her when she was really little. Whenever Silverstream got sick or had a sore gill, she was comforted by the presence of her mother and the song that always came with her care and attention. Whenever she heard the song, it reminded her of home. Today she recited the melody as the bubbles continued to fill the artificial cavern, thinking to herself about how she might decorate it, where she would put her belongings, and what colors she would paint it, if any.

 

When she started humming the second verse of the song, she heard an avian gasp for air, followed by the sound of Gallus comically making his reaction known. She spun around as a seapony and faced him, holding her tail up to her chest like she was covering something up. "Gallus! Wha- what are you doing here!? Were you following me!?"

 

Behind him came Smolder, who popped out of the water and started looking around in the very dimly lit dome. "Smolder!? You, too?" How long have you been following me?"

 

 

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What to do when he was in the middle of an existential crisis, transfixed by his phobia? Ha! Well, first things first. "Well, one, don't remind me about it," he replied tersely, though it was crackling with nervous energy, clearly as a result of frayed nerves. "Sorry, sorry. I mean, I don't want to think about it. Once I get too deep in the water and start to feel that pressure it just reminds me of..." he shivered. "If you see me freeze up or start to panic, just keep me in the moment. As long as I can focus on how to get out of the situation, I should be okay," he said with a sigh as he continued walking forward. "Thanks for asking, by the-" he began before the object of their search was no longer the object of their search, but rather a very loudly responding Silverstream.

 

"Yes!" He responded quickly out of panic before chuckling, brushing back a wet forefeather as best he could. "Well, I mean, it'd be hard not to. You made a racket leaving the student quarters. We've been following ever since. Group used to be larger, but Smolder got hungry and wanted some snacks so," he snapped his claw, "no more Sandbar. Tragic, really," he said with a laugh before he continued his walkabout, looking around before giving voice to his thoughts. "So, are you building a pirate cover here? If you are, count me in. I saw this cool looking saber, think it'd look better strapped to me than some statue in a museum," he said before finishing his walkabout in front of Silverstream. "But I'm guessing this isn't a pirate cove. What are you doing down here, exactly?"

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"Don't worry. While I normally find you hilarious when you safely freak out. Like when your beak curls up and you star to flailing your front legs about, but not when you're actually gonna get hurt...We can't have that..", she whispered for no reason. "And oh....there she is...", Smolder and Gallus finished their quest! Huzzah! Next mission, RETURN TO BED-MOUNTAIN.
 
When asked how long she was following the salty sea-pony, Smolder glanced down to pull up her long sleeve, so she may look at her watch. But what was this? She didn't own a watch and she was not wearing a shirt. She was naked. Wandering around in the school grounds with nothing but a frown on. "Um. Not a clue.", she shrugged, "Like Snuggles McCutebooty said, I was looking for snacks and I had to make sure our favorite blue bird of sappiness was safe..After the others decided it would be better for sleeps..So..."
 
She glanced around the cavern, "Pirate Cover?", she replied back with a smirk, "Please. This is gonna be the secret spot we take boys to for some secret smooches and even smoke a few cigarettes while we wear our black jackets, cause we're bad girls.", she added with a wink until...The dreaded...non-dragon emotions started to fill the orange beastie. Was this going to be a special, secret place just for Silverstream? One she could just relax and get away from it all for just a bit? Did Gallus just ruin this for her? Was Smolder completely not-guilty of this? They never arrest creatures who were accomplice to a crime! Or do they?
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Silverstream was stunned for lots of reasons, not the least of which was that a friend of hers not known for swimming found himself bubbling up and into her newly acquired underwater sphere. It would kind of perturb her that she couldn't necessarily get away from her friends because she was leaving such a mess in her wake, but the jokes from them disarmed any ability for her to be angry. She rolled her eyes at the idea that Sandbar was currently being digested in Smolder's belly. "Really!? No, you're joking! Um, yeah. This is a place I found under the school about a week ago."

 

Silverstream realized there was no easy way to explain this. Fortunately for her, she loved explaining things, and would proceed to go on a long tangent while in a dark underwater cave with only small glow stones lighting the room. In time, everyone's eyes would adjust. "So, for about a month I've been having a problem. I love being at the school and I love making new friends and learning about new things. But I realized that some day it'll all end, and we'll all be on our own, maybe even without each other. And it scared me. So I went to Councilor's Starlight's office to talk to her about it, and she recommended to me that I should make the most of it by trying to make as many connections as possible to improve the lives of the students that are here, and students that will come in the future." Starlight had actually suggested that times would change and thought Silverstream could use her energetic energy for the school, since she loved being apart of it. "She also told me I should live here!" She did not, however, tell her she could live here indefinitely. She implied that some student aides may become full time faculty even after they graduate, and Silverstream interpreted it as she could live here if she started helping others. "So I found this underwater area and decided to pull out some of the water with the bubble hose we used in Professor Pinkie Pie's workshop last Tuesday. And well...   here I am!" Silverstream said sheepishly. She knew her idea was awesome, but having to audibly explain it to her friends made her self-conscious of the reality of the project. She curled her ears back threw her fins up in an attempt to gain sympathy for her ambition.

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He rubbed the back of his neck, trying to keep the compliment from going to his head. She was being oddly affectionate for a dragon. Was this how dragons toyed with their [rey before killing them? A real shame if that was that. "Yeah, you know me. Reaaaal softie," he said with a quick shake of his head. "And if you're going to smoke cigarettes, don't wear leather. That smell sticks in really quickly  then you'll never get it out. Couldn't hang out with you then. You'd stink more than you do now. Somehow," he joked, making sure he had enough distance before he finished that part. He enjoyed Smolder's company and honestly she didn't smell that bad. Huge improvement! 

 

Speaking of improvements, Gallus couldn't help but copy Silverstream's eye-rolling, adding his own panache to it for effect. "Of course I'm joking," he looked over at Smolder as if it was a discussion they had before, "there isn't enough meat on his bones to satisfy a griffon, let alone a dragon," he said with a disappointed sigh. The trials of predators, right? he hoped it was easing any tension. She just wanted this to go smoothly, and how smooth it was about to go!


The fact she just found this sparked so many questions in his mind. How many other secrets could one school ground possibly contain? A path to the tree of harmony- a tree that was, by the way, miles away in a forest- was already crazy. How could he have guessed that? Impossible. And now there was a secret cove-cave and it was a place that Silverstream had only recently discovered. Next Yona would find a forest full of things to Smash, Smolder would find free-range lava, Ocellus a lake for her to have her ongoing identity crisis in, and then Sandbar could accidentally find himself a winning personality. This was truly a magical school. One that he knew he didn't want to leave either, not really, a sentiment he knew now was very well shared.

 

He didn't want to return to Griffonstone, and his life had been Griffonstone and the school. Everything positive that had occurred in his life had been as a result of this school. Friends, a real education, self-confidence, possibilities- maybe even more. Griffonstone? That place represented stagnation and general awfulness. Every part of him well understood his classmate's and fellow avian's desire to remain here. He didn't have the heart to correct her as to the meaning of Starlight's statement, because he wanted to believe in the fantasy too. "Well, sounds like a fun enough plan. Why didn't you tell us, though?" he asked, eyebrow arched. "I mean, you know we'd help you, right?"

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As Silverstream spoke, the young dragon glanced around the area. She removed some of the water? Wouldn't that cause a horrible sinkhole? Wait! How did she know this? Why did she know this?
 
It took her a second to realize this was from her last class with Professor Applejack. She said, "Sinkholes are formed when the land surface above collapses or sinks into the cavities or when surface material is carried downward into the voids. Sinkholes can be triggered by pony activities such as overwithdrawal of groundwater." Oh no. She said it more like "Sinkholes ahr formed whe-yn thuh land surface above collapses or sinks into thuh cavities or whe-yn surface material is carried downward into thuh voids! Howdy! Sinkholes kay-yun be triggered by pony activities such as: overwithdrawal awf guh-roundwater. There's a snake in mah boots!"  Much better!
 
"Well.", Smolder spoke up. "I've said it before. Pony-life has spoiled me rotten. I can't go back to living in a cave after sleeping on a bed. Or being able to bathe in privacy and not hearing comments from other dragons just begging to get their butts kicked. Or going to book store and just chilling with a glass of chocolate milk while reading a book I didn't pay for or has that library-funk smell." Should she be drinking milk? She's not a mammal! Is that weird?
 
"As long as I don't do something stupid...er..", she eyeballed Gallus, "Fatally stupid, I mean." She did at least five stupid things a day at the least! "I'm gonna live a really really long time. So I can always hang around here for a hundred or so years...Maybe more if I don't get bored."
 
She smiled as the blue bird spoke. "Eh, I was just kidding. I wouldn't touch that stuff. Now drinking. I intend to do a lot of that. Especially after what I heard that this drake claimed he could make booze out of gems. Magic or something.", she huffed. "Supposed to taste like liquid rumppy-doodle. He said that, not me!", Smolder corrected, "And then he wiggled his claws together, tugged on his tie and rode away on his zeppelin. Actually, that might have been a fever dream I had last week." Or maybe after she ate that old potato salad on Sunday? She had some messed up dreams after that!
 
There would be three of them at least hanging around Ponyville. What about Fuzzy-Smash, Cute-Shifty, and that pony...What was his name? Hufflepuff? Ziggy? Duke Snooty the Fancypants? Harmonica Rachel, Mistress of the Iron Rail?
 
 
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It required an intense conversation and an new perspective in order to grasp what it meant that Smolder would likely outlive all her non-dragon friends. But instead of leaning into that thought experiment, Silverstream just reached for a subtle compliment in order to help gain affection for this place she would hope to call a new home. "Oh, well, in that case I'll give you permission to take control of this underwater cave when I'm gone. It'll be nice to know it'll be in good claws."

 

Silverstream started removing medium sized jagged rocks from the newly dried surface of the cave's platform, attempting to create a space for more permanent fixtures. When Gallus asked why she hadn't mentioned it, Silverstream hadn't consciously thought about why that might be until he asked. "Um, I guess I was just afraid to bring the idea that we might not be together forever to the forefront. I wasn't sure that you guys felt the same way. You guys aren't nearly as curious as I am about things, and so I guess I just assumed I was more sentimental about it, too." Silverstream's eyes fell but her face cracked a small grin, identifying with Gallus' approval of her idea.

 

She then looked back to Smolder, who had her typical dragon disinterested expression. But Silverstream always knew it was for show. Mostly. "Aw, come on, Smolder. Wouldn't it be nice to have a permanent place to live around this place?"

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It was strange to think that she would outlive them. Dragons were weird. They lived so long and yet he had seen maybe two dragons that actually looked like they lived that long. Made him a think a lot of dragons didn't make it very far, which was troubling in it's own way. Yeah she would outlive them but they would probably live full, happy lives. The odds said that most dragons didn't live to really get out of their teenage years- maybe that lasted a few hundred years, but still. troubling in it's own way. His own mortality didn't really bother him. You learned fast and hard in Griffonstone that the mortal coil was a lot less tightly wound than you'd like to imagine it was. All you could really hope to do was live well and he was certainly living well, surrounded as he was by such amazing friends- wait, how long did Hippogriffs live again?

 

He shook his head and half-joined in on the booze talk. "Yeah. Booze. I bet dragons drink a lot, right? A lot of..." he shook his head again, clear of any disturbing thoughts. "Umm. Tolerances, yeah. I bet you have kegs the size of Yona that you attach to the side of a big dragon's head, with those small straws that come down. Big 'ol party hat," he offered with a forced laugh as his mind then once more switched over to the topic of leaving.

 

He let it out, as composed as he could be considering the questions and concerns in his head. "...I'm absolutely terrified of it all ending. I really don't want to go back to Griffonstone. I mean yeah I'd be going back there with all this knowledge and-" he held his claws together and bent his neck as he raised himself up in a cloying manner, batting about his big beautiful eyes, "-capable of spreading the maaaaaaagic of friiiiieeeeennndssshhhip," he went back to normal with a soft click of his talons on the ground, "but that's like fighting the tide. It'd be, what, three nice griffons- okay, two and a half, maybe a quarter- in a city of thousands, fighting the good fight? Uggghh. No thank you. Plus there is all that weird chaos going on over there and I try to pay as little attention as possible to it. Harder to do that if I'm there!" He rather dramatically rolled his eyes. "So yeah, I'm down for illegally squatting in an underground pirate's den."

Yarr.

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“Oh thanks.”. Wow! A watery hole in the ground that would be hers once all of her friends die. She couldn’t wait!
 
She decided not to point out that if Silverstream and her friends die of old age, and not some random epic event, plaque or bunny stampede, the dragoness would probably be too big to fit down here. The land also probably belonged to the school and there was a very good chance those in charge were or would be aware of this underground lake.
 
“Considering we’re all still very young. That won’t happen in a very long time, so I wouldn’t even think of such things.”, she added. She still had a world of things to do before kicking the final cave door. She needed to hit the Ponyville legal age limit so she could visit her very first bar. She needed to meet, date and enjoy a romp in the clouds with Terramar. She needed to watch her first adult movie and not just sneak into one or require the involvement of Gallus and a trench-coat. That old joke never worked. She also wanted to attend college and gain one of those paper things that gave you a real job. "We all have things to do, and I'm sure the most fun we'll have when we do it all together, and it's gonna be like a very long time since any of you guys start croaking. How long do you guys normally live for? 200? 300 years? We got lots of time to do crazy crap! Lots"
 
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"I do intend of getting a place here once I'm finished with the basics. Graduate here and then find a good college. I heard it's just like going to regular school, but the parties are a bit more epic!". What would she go to school for? This was still something that bugged her. She was a -decent- student, but did not really specialize in anything. If only she could get a degree in staring outside and looking up at the stars.
 
She smirked at her blue birdy buddy. "Honestly, I don't know. Garble and I rarely bother with adult dragons. So no dragon has yet to tell me if dragons can get drunk. Guess we'll find this all out soon." This was something she had hoped would change. Real dragon adults taking interest in their own kids. Real families that looked out for each other. Not like that con-dragon she and Spike had to deal with awhile back. "I would never drink to get drunk, but just to relax with friends. And enjoy the goofy little names and tastes.", she added with a wink. She knew these two creatures for awhile now and did not need to prove she was tough. They knew she was a toughie.
 
"So....", she glanced at the others. "What are we gonna now? Hopefully nothing that would seem like a good idea at the time, but make conversation very awkward between the three of use for the next few months.."
 
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Silverstream giggled loudly at Gallus' animated gesture of the gushy nature of pony cultural lessons. And because Smolder was not the one to laugh at that kind of thing, it left the watery cave echoing with Silverstream's lone snorts and whoops for a few rings. "Well, you could always just not go back to Griffonstone. I kind of want to go back to Seaquestria, but I also want to go everywhere else. If I didn't want to go back home, I don't think I would feel ashamed to find a new place to call home."

 

All the talk about drinking made Silverstream wonder what her own tolerances were. She had never tried to drink a lot of fermentation, but if Gallus and Smolder were serious, there would be a moment where she would find out and it might happen in this cave on another night. Seaquestrian culture didn't partake much of the sauce, and on Mount Aris most of the juice was fish-based and all the fruit was eaten fresh. Hippogriff tolerance could be pretty low if their acclimation to alcohol was as bad as she thought it might be. It scared her enough to not respond to the other two talking about it.

 

"Hippogriffs can live up to a hundred and fifty, sometimes. Historically, King Crestwing was said to live to two hundred and thirty-two, but it's also believed that he embellished his own life a lot and the documentations might be incorrect. Queen Novo is the oldest in Seaquestria I think, but no one actually knows her age because everygriff is afraid to ask her."

 

As the banter seemed to bounce to new topics that the students usually have during times in which they should be studying for Professor Pinkie Pie's party exam, Silverstream realized it would be best if everycreature went back to the dorms to complete what would probably end up being a short night's rest. "Let's just go to bed guys. It is getting pretty late. I have enough completed now, I'll finish down here later." It occurred to Silverstream she spent more time planning for the excavation than the actual move. There was also a lingering thought in her mind that she felt she needed to express. "Also, I probably need to ask Headmare Twilight or Counselor Starlight if it's alright that I'm down here." Silverstream pushed herself into the water to prepare the return to the surface. Before she disappeared into the underwater channel she asked, "They'll be fine with it, right?"

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Gallus felt his chest crush under the pressure of what he was being told. Smolder didn't know how old her friends would get. Dragons could live, what, a thousand years? Two? Three? He didn't really know. He also doubted Smolder knew. He doubted anycreature knew: Dragons didn't die of old age, after all. But she thought she had two or three centuries ahead of her to share with them. That was bad enough. What was worse though was when Silverstream said a hundred and fifty. On one claw, that was good. He didn't have to worry about outliving her. On the other, how could you really care about someone when they were destined to live...what, half your life? He tried to keep his composure, though it would be a little weird if he didn't say anything. "Wow, I didn't know Hippogriffs lived that long," he said, rubbing the back of his neck. "Griffons are lucky to hit seventy. Grandpa Gruff is the oldest griffon in Griffonstone and he is...eighty, I think?" Gallus said before tried to change the tone. "Still. That is a lot of time. A lot of time for us to share together."

 

He hoped that put them at ease. he hoped it put him at ease. He needed to rest. he was tired. His brain wasn't wired to think about mortality at this time of the morning. It was therefore a good thing that the prospect of bed came up. Gallus responded quickly- almost too quickly.
"Yeah, bed sounds like a good idea," he followed with a yawn. It was only mostly forced.  "It's been real fun exploring the chaos of the night with you two, but I figure if I'm gone for too much longer there will be rumors about what snuck off to do....hey, wait a minute, maybe we can just wait here instead..." he said as he looked at Silverstream and then to Smolder, waggling his eyebrows and repeating it until he got the laugh he desperately sought.

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