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Mirror Mirror, on the wall... (Open, Ponyville, School of Friendship)


StrongCopper
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The wagon had rolled into Ponyville the night before, finding an empty spot between the town proper and the nearby 'School of Friendship' that was far enough away as to not bother either town or school, but close enough to be easily located by either with little effort required. At first it had simply appeared to be a traveler who had stopped for the night and likely would have taken off again once the sun had risen, but the coming of sunlight proved this assumption wrong. The carefully painted blue and black wagon stripped wagon had been joined by three tents, the trio black and blue stripped in a vertical manner rather then a horizontal one like the wagon was, each positioned to form a corner of a triangle with each tent's entrance facing inwards. The flaps for the tents were closed, preventing their insides from being seen. 

 

Beside each tent's entrance was a sign to be read from what was clearly the center of the triangle between the tents rather then from the road nearby, but there was a forth sign planted and pointed towards the road so that those passing by would be able to read it easily.

 

 Dr. Kabra'za's Traveling Tents of Terrific Terrors and Terrible Truths.

Open to those willing to learn who they truly are.

Potions and Remedies at request.

Curses require a story of context before being offered.

 

Overlooking the trio of tents, part of the wagon had been pulled out in order to create a temporary veranda to cast a small area next to the wagon in shadow and protect the area from the rising sun. Seated comfortably in said shadows in a old looking rocketing chair sat a zebra wearing a top hat that seemed to be decorated by something, with only those of keen eyesight or who came closer seeing what dangling from the black fabric; A wide variety of bird skulls, softly shifting and making hallow clinking noises like a portable morbid wind chime. With sharp eyes, he kept watch over those traveling passed, curious to see whom or what would stop by in order to visit Dr.Kabra'za and see what he had to offer them.

Edited by StrongCopper
Because advertising curses is exactly the kind of thing that Kabra'za would do.
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The first one to come down the road was a relatively unassuming brown unicorn with a slicked-back mane, reading a book as he walked. In truth, it was a changeling in disguise, and one that had been around for a very long time. Dox looked up from his book and raised an eyebrow at the sign before looking towards the zebra and smiling a bit. 
 

“Well hello there, good sir. Your sign intrigues me, what is it that you are offering, exactly?” He asked, stowing the book and smiling over at the zebra. “I am a scholar, and I do so enjoy learning new things. My name is Rising Star, it is a pleasure to meet you.”

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Tilting his head to gaze at the stallion who had stopped by to speak with him, the zebra smiled as his top hat softly rattled as the bones fluttered around and lightly bumped each other. "What I have to offer largely depends on the person visiting me. I can craft potions of various magical effects and craft a number of cures and remedies to aid the sick. I can also create and unleash curses but that would require you telling me the tale of why exactly you desire such a thing before I agree to do so, because once let loose a curse takes on a life of their own and can prove difficult, if not impossible to stop until its purpose is fulfilled.

 

Rising out of his seat and calmly strolling out of the shade and into direct sunlight, he tilted his head as he continued "Then again, you could just be here because you wish to learn a bit more about yourself. If that is the case, I am Dr. Kabra'za and I would be honored to be your guide to self discovery and reflection. So Mr Star... or Rising if you prefer, what can I do for you? What is it you desire?"

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"Perhaps we should start with your selection of potions, Dr. I am interested in seeing what you have to offer in that regard, and what I can learn from them." He smiled at the zebra. He had to wonder what that 'self-discovery' entailed, but he didn't want to reveal his true form if this zebra truly could cast curses. He didn't have the time to deal with dispelling one of those, or any of the effects of said curse before he managed to get rid of it. He was a busy changeling after all, knowledge wasn't going to collect itself, and knowledge was another form of power.

 

"As I said, I am a scholar, so perhaps we could exchange knowledge as well, so we can both walk away from this smarter than before." He chuckled slightly, nodding at the zebra while he waited to see where the potions were being kept.

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A playful little smile appeared on Kabra'za face as he answered "Certainly. We can talk potions. However, this is a business and while I do respect the pursuit of knowledge, my secrets and methods shall remain my own. If however there is an effect, either magical or otherwise that you wish to see in a potion, we can discuss it and I'm happy to custom brew something for you and let you enjoy the journey of trying to figure out how it was done on your own terms if you so desire."

 

A small chuckle escaped the zebra, clearly amused by something inside of his own mind and not inclined towards sharing it. "Please do not be offended. As a rule I generally don't allow customers to see my stock directly. I've had thieves try and rob me before you see. However, if I have a potion with the desired effects you want already stored I'm happy to go and retrieve it."

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  • 2 weeks later...

“Well, that is regrettable, but understandable. Very well then, I suppose we can start with transformation. Perhaps a way to replicate a changeling’s natural ability.” The stallion said, rubbing his chin for a moment. It would be interesting to see if they could pull something like that off, and if there was anything in there that would teach him more about the potential of his own abilities. Who knows, maybe he could enhance himself even further with the new knowledge. There was always room for improvement, nothing was ever truly perfect. 

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Dr. Kabra'za!

 

The smile that was on Kabra'za's face seemed to drain away at the topic, offering a stern, serious expression in return. "I see... While I can brew up a potion that will allow you to change your natural form into something else for a limited time, I would need to make it from scratch. I would also require a piece of you in order to attune it to your personage because I assume you want to turn back into yourself without any... complications. A small blood sample would be best, but if you're squeamish a lock of hair will do in a pinch."

 

The sternness on his face seemed to soften a little, but the seriousness clearly remained on the zebra's face as he explained "Transformation potions are a dangerous field of science. It is not something that allows for innovation and experimentation without risking your well being, sanity or even your life. To give you a basic idea... let's say you wanted to transform into a bear. First scenario, you brew something that transforms you perfectly into a bear... including accidentally giving yourself a bear's brain; so for the duration of the transformation you're literally a wild animal with a lot of physical power that can readily consume meat." Shaking his head a little, he added with a sigh "The transformation alone can mess with the mind, let alone if the bear you became does something that can't be undone."

 

"Scenario two, you brew a potion that's designed to physically turn yourself into a bear while leaving the inside pony so you'll still be in control of yourself. However, pony organs can't really run a bear sized body and...." There was an awkward kicking of a hoof along the ground. "It doesn't end well. Let's leave it at that."

 

A bit of the showmareship that was in his tone earlier returned, but there was still a serious edge to his words as he explained "Now, if I brewed you a potion to turn you into a bear, it would work as intended. You would be a bear for a while and still be in control of yourself without having to worry about becoming a wild, feral animal or being stuck in that state or even have to concern yourself with if you'll turn back into you afterwards. I can make that promise because the method I use has had generations of trial and error, refinement and very bad days that I won't horrify you with solely to ensure that the method we use works as intended each and every time without anything going wrong. This is not like unicorn magic that will try and fill in the gaps and smooth out the sharp edges to make things work that shouldn't."

 

"The reason I am telling you all this? So that you've been properly forewarned about the dangers that if you take one of these potions and try to recreate or experiment with it, I will not be held accountable for whatever happens." Safety talk now over, the seriousness disappeared as he asked "Now that's all out of the way, what would you want to transform into exactly? There is no such thing as a potion that allows you to transform into whatever you want, anyone who's trying to sell you one is a fraud and best case scenario all that's in the bottle is water with food coloring added to it. Worst case, you would be better off walking right up to the Lord of Chaos himself and asking him to take the first three things that crossed his mind and turning you into a combination of them all put together."

 

The story Kabra'za had just weaved about transformation potions being so dangerous was almost complete fiction, but he did like unnerving ponies a little... and there was no harm in reminding those who pursued the magical arts that there could be hazards lurking therein.

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The changeling in disguise listened to the zebra’s words, taking them with a grain of salt. He imagined it would be difficult to replicate transformation abilities through potions, so some drawbacks or dangers were to be expected, but something was telling him that the zebra wasn’t exactly telling him the truth. Very well, it wasn’t like he was going to do the tests on himself anyways, not when he could iron out the kinks by testing on others. 
 

“That does sound intriguing, and rest assured that I shall take every precaution.” He nodded, smiling at the zebra for a moment. “Now, if you don’t mind, I shall extract that sample you asked for.” 
 

Walking behind a wall and making sure he was out of sight, he pulled out a vial that already had blood in it, kept fresh through magic. Waiting a moment longer to sell it, he walked back over and presented the vial. “Here you are. As for what to transform into, perhaps something manageable like a dog.” He said, giving another smile. 

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Kabra'za accepted the vial of blood, taking it in hoof and giving it a quick glance over as if sight alone could determine if the sample was of a good enough quality. A quick glance at the stallion in turn reveled a very interesting truth; There clearly wasn't a single mark on his coat to betray where he had drawn the sample from. This begged the question of why someone was walking around carrying a sample of blood in a vial, but with a smile on his face he decided not to ask. 

 

"Dog? Sure. Though just to be clear, are you referring to the four legged breeds that are kept as pets or are you talking about something more bipedal? Bit of a difference between a dog and a diamond dog you see."

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“Yes, a pet dog sounds like a very manageable thing to turn into. Turning into a different quadruped seems like it would be an easier transition to handle.” The stallion nodded, still smiling at the zebra. He didn’t really want to be here any longer than he had to at this point, since it was clear the zebra would not be forthcoming with any knowledge, and Dox didn’t feel like forcing it out of him right now. 

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A brief nod, before he simply explained "It's a twenty five bit potion with a ten bit down payment here and now. It'll be ready for you to pick up first thing tomorrow morning. Want me to have it listed under the name Rising Star in the event you end up sending someone in your stead to pay the rest of it off and pick up for you?" Professional and too the point; This was a business after all.

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