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Watering Roses [Open]


Aisede
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Ah, the Imperial Gardens... Or Royal Gardens, rather. Lazy lillies and oopsie daisies glisten in the crystal coating of fresh morning dew, although Luna's darkened tapestry had yet to be drawn back for Celestia's painted blue sky.

 

Rose was not a nocturnal pony. She wasn't a diurnal pony either. Rose simply followed her heart, whether it took her through the gates of time or Tartarus, such trivial things mattered little in the face of science and discovery. One such discovery happened to be underway in those very rosey beds, the seafoam savant hunched over her displayed alchemical materials as she plucked the petal off a large silver flower.

 

The tips of her hooves were coated in dirt, eventhough she sat just outside the boundaries of the mulch, and small smudges of oddly odiferous substances streaked her cheek and limbs, as if she had spilled something while mouth handling it- or, perhaps, multitasking beyond her limit. Regardless, three small beakers had been setup on a placemats of sorts, her saddlebag close by with guts exposed to the cool, crisp air.

 

"The petals of a Forget Me Not... I'm surprised to find these here, considering their potent mental effects," she murmured to herself as she dropped the leaf from her aura info the top beaker, which was filled with what looked to be water, steam rising up from the bottom beaker sitting atop a heating rune. The steam sparkled with small grey motes as it entered the third beaker, which was filled halfway in a ruby fluid. "Great for anesthetic purposes, but the loss of memory can sometimes prove problematic... It could be used to treat trauma, but... It needs something."

 

The silver flecks bogged down the air above the crimson lake. In time, it diffused into the red substance, giving it the appearance of sparkling wine. Rose smiled. "Yes, I thought this may be a good idea. Sweet breams will be able to fight off the worst of the side effects and prevent hallucinations from forming nightmares. Genius!" She thrust a hoof into the air, nearly knocking down her equipment in the process.

 

"Now I just need somecreature to test this on... I have enough petals here, so I can still distill more if need be..." She began looking around the garden for her next unwitting vict- volunteer

 

 

 

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Twilight Sparkle's fascination with fauna and flora did not develop as a byproduct of her upbringing but rather as an off-shoot of her academic obsessions. She didn't wander the streets of Canterlot as a foal, looking in the cracks to find the punished green earth down below. No, she knew them first by their scientific names and only as a byproduct of their alchemical properties. While far from an alchemist by desire or trade it paid to know things when you were Celestia's personal protégé. Ponies expected much from you and Twilight was nopony if not a pony who always wanted to deliver on the promises kept by her or in her name. So she learned. And after a while she had learned to enjoy the soft serenity of flowers, even the dangerous ones, aided in large part by some friends that were delighted to inform her of their many great (and terrible) properties.

 

It was one of many reasons she found herself in the Royal Gardens. It was a nice respite from the doldrums and drama of the Royal Court and she often found herself enamored with the public tour that took place most days in the Gardens. She would rarely involve herself. Well, at least not anymore. Her Royal Gardener and tour guides had gotten somewhat annoyed at her unintentional upstaging. So she had learned to use her knowledge of the garden's layout to avoid the eyesight of the public during her excursions, even as she enjoyed their enraptured utterings and excitement at the mundane and special alike. It didn't hurt that when she wasn't speaking with excited citizenry she could take nice, deep sips of her tea as she perused the garden, taking in the ambiance as she read a book about Saddle Arabian courtship.

 

As was quite common her ear perked up at the sound of somepony nearby speaking. The voice certainly had Twilight's curiosity. As she heard more, however, it got her attention. Her book vanished silently and she ventured a turn down a path to find who the voice belonged to. It didn't take long to find the source. A mare, a scientifically minded one at that judging by her setup, experimenting on some of the flowers. Twilight looked her over closely. There was something strange about her aetheral connection. A few possibilities, but that was for later. She had no reason to suspect anything was ahoof except an exceptionally inquisitive pony. She finished her tea and set it away in a flash, allowing the crack of energy to be heard. She smiled and approached the mare.

 

"Oblivisci me non is certainly something that should not be used improperly, because you are right. It can be used for purposes both ill and good. Of course, it requires chemical or magical touches to actually be effective in an immediate manner. It would take a large number of raw specimens to have that impact, but I'm sure you know that. You seem to have a good base of knowledge on the subject in any case. Are you an alchemist?" Twilight asked as she approached, her warmth and excitement radiating from her. It was always so exciting to get to know new creatures, especially those of a scientific mindset!

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The inquisitive pony cocked her ear at the sound of magic being used, noting the particular frequency of transportation before turning around to face her newest admirer. She smiled, somewhat oblivious to the status of the mare that approached her, and offered a mirthful chuckle in response to her question, gesturing around her with a skeptical brow raised. "I would certainly hope so, lest I be surrounded by tools of a trade foreign to my mind and hooves." 

 

Getting a better look at her, she noticed this must have been what the locals call an alicorn. Certainly an exotic specimen, embodying the attributes of all three core tribes and still retaining a novel individuality. She remembered reading somewhere that these creatures were immortal, but such things are difficult to differentiate from mere fiction. Best to make her own assessments. "I've created this concoction using a potent catalyst, but I fear that potency extends to the negative side effects of the flower's hallucinagens. Sweet breams are known for inciting good dreams and promoting a positive mindset, so they should be able to counteract the downsides..."

 

She hummed, tapping her chin with a far-off expression. "May need to use their extract instead, but too much of a good thing can quickly wind up causing more problems than it solves."

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The alchemist didn't react too strongly to the presence of the Princess of Equestria being in her presence. It was a relief. Twilight loved speaking with her ponies and sharing in the pursuit of knowledge but she would never get fully used to the legions of prostrating ponies that imperiled her trotting paths and tried to lay low the humble firmament of her ponyhood. So meeting somepony who she didn't know and didn't seem to lose herself at the sight of? It was welcome, to say the least. And a little strange. Most ponies that visited the Royal Quarter were bound to have the desire and personality to engage with her, especially a pony who wanted to visit the Royal Gardens. Another strange little tick to keep in the back of Twilight's mind as she crossed the remaining distance as the mare spoke.

 

She was working on a formula to use the positive effects of the Forget Me Not, perhaps for anesthesia? No doubt that would prove useful to many doctors across the land. There existed a whole raft of spells and remedies already but you needed unicorns or specific materials. Any time that list of possibilities were expanded it only made the medical profession's job easier, and that was always a worthwhile investment. It was rather weak raw which meat it still needed additional work to be done, but she was right to fear the memory loss aspects. While not necessarily a danger unto itself, the medical profession was rife with enough cross pollination- figuratively and literally- that mitigation of negative side effects was a primary concern of most developers. And, in this case, the alchemist. 

 

"The use of dulce somnii is a great idea! It could possibly counter-act the aether wipe of the memory that oblivisci me non causes. But you are right to worry about the overuse of it. When you have two competing magical affects within the same formula you always risk significant issues. But I would imagine in your line of work that you are encounter that quite often, miss...?" Twilight asked as she looked for a place to sit and furthr inspect her setup.

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Rose noticed her materials may have become something of a clutter and moved her bags out of the way. They were the biggest obstacle, and moving it would allow the princess a closer look at her equipment. "Rose Compass at your service ~"

 

She offered a hoof in greeting now that they were within appropriate range of each other, magically removing a small vial from a pocket in her bags containing more of that red fluid: extract from a sweet bream.

 

"And two competing effects is easy compared to what I usually have to work with... And often the kinds of materials I have to work with as well." Preventing salamander blood from congealing, while not particularly challenging, can be rather tedious. It just adds another element to the formula that has the chance to react poorly to extra elements- which has the potential to cause problems.

 

The simpler the better in her books. 

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Rose Compass. The name would be filed away in the recesses of Twilight's mind, to be crosschecked and cross-referenced across the legions of professionals that the Royal Court kept on steady retainer and in communication with. Even if she was not one of them, anypony who was anypony in those fields would be known to them, and she wanted to know al she could about the professional bonafides of this Rose Compass. She seemed to have her stuff together but there was still that something off about her that Twilight couldn't entirely put her hoof on. She didn't like that feeling, but it was one that she could stuff to the side for now. She was mostly just pleased to have a more scientifically useful discussion with somepony new.

 

She also didn't lack for confidence, an admirable trait when working in alchemy. Risks always preceded reward. "Very true. I am sure you have seen potions and concoctions with multiple competing effects," she said with a laugh, shaking her head. "It isn't as if I am the expert on the subject!" She said, sipping more of her tea. "Do you want some tea, perchance?" She asked, offering up a freshly teleported in pot of tea and an empty cup. Tea for two was the way to go, no? As she offered, a guard pegasus hovered on in. He gave Twilight a quick bow before leaning in to whisper something. She leaned in to make it easier as she sipped again.  "Hmm...just move Prince Rutherford's arrival back then, if he feels he needs it. I know he wants to make the perfect entrance, after all," she nodded. The stallion gave Rose Compass a quick once over, snapped off a salute, and flew away.

 

"So, do you have any concoctions of your own on hoof right now?"

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Rose was just about to respond when the guard appeared, derailing her train of thought as a new one jumped on the tracks: alicorns- or this mare in particular- must be of a fairly high status to have the local guard paying their respects to them. She watched in idle curiosity as he flew away, watching the patterns his wings made as they moved and then comparing them to the princess' wings. They looked pretty much the same.

 

"Huh? Oh, yes thank you ~" she'd politely take a cup, raising it to her muzzle and giving it a good whiff. "As for any of my latest brews, yes, actually, although they're still in their testing phases."

 

This said, one of many pockets on her engorged bags would flip open while she sipped her tea, wiping some of the mysterious fluid off her cheek with her hoof as two classic potion bottles floated out her bags. One of them was green and fizzy, the other sanguine in appearance, like liquid ruby.

 

They orbited each other while she studied them, watching the fluids inside gently slosh and slide over the glass interior. "My main focus is on life extension and improved health. These are two attempts at that; the green one-" said bottle jostled, floating closer to the alicorn to afford her a better look "-Was created via the extracted essense of anurans. Leap frogs, specifically. While it does grant the consumer limited regeneration... It only works on foals." A rather annoying quirk.

 

Next, the red bottle. "This one took some work. I call it Salamander Blood. This one does allow mature subjects to regenerate, and to a greater degree than the froggy one. The issue is that I still haven't decvised a mechanism for the regeneration to stop..." She paused, giving Twilight a look that said 'this Is a bad thing.' "So I'm trying some things out now. Using the aid of monarch butterflies that feed off of blood blooms, I've came up with a hypothesis: it should gain a sort of butterfly effect, beginning with small things and slowly escelating. A limited concentration should allow it to wear off before it causes any cancerous growths. If that doesn't work, I'll have to create something to counter its effects for paired usage..." She trailed off, blanking out and then giving the princess a sheepish look, ears folding back. 

 

"Terribly sorry, ma'am! I seem to have gotten carried away..."

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Both potions certainly had their possible uses. There were dozens of potions and treatments designed for foals to help them recover quicker from injuries and illnesses, most of which relied on reenergizing their own magical aether to reinvigorate the body's natural healing processes. This wasn't required for Earth ponies- they naturally benefitted from such healing properties in minor ways, leading to their fabled durability and stamina regeneration. Unicorns and pegasi alike however benefitted from the industry rather heavily and while Twilight no longer had much cause for concern in this regard it was always interesting to see how the cause of health could be advanced.

 

The first potion had the issue that Rose knew it had and not much else- maybe a slight overcomplication, but it worked well enough on a popular target of similar efforts. For being independent it was still very impressive. The second one had higher ambitions but also more trouble signs. Like many other ambitious projects it could create a situation where the effect turned into a complete negative. That alone would be cause enough to cause a highly talented alchemist to search for answers and lo, here Rose was. It, indeed was the sort of work a good alchemist would be attracted to. Regenerative potions for older ponies were notoriously difficult to make cost effectively. More than that, the end-game of potion-granted theoretical biological immortality was fool's gold, but one whose pursuit benefitted science at large regardless. Magical potions could not truly extend a pony's life for much longer than they would without, but it could certainly lead to a much higher quality of life and help stymie preventable deaths. 

 

In that way, any further development was positive. So the issue was, what could be used to help make Salamander's Blood better? Rose knew what she was doing, but Twilight knew the personality type well. Focused, driven, highly capable and intelligent. What came with that territory sometimes however was tunnel vision. Viewing everything within the same paradigm meant you would come up with the same strategies and solutions. Sometimes, you needed to decouple yourself from your expectations in order to experience the fullness of an honest development.
"Well," she said as she drank her tea, "you've done really well for yourself so far. Don't sell this one short," she said, pointing to the froggy one. "It may not be unique since it affects only foals, but most potions and remedies are the product of a lot of work by many ponies. Creating it by yourself is very impressive. As for Salamandar's Blood," she said as she took a look at it. "You're probably right, regarding what that combination could do. Of course, you're looking at something a little too specific to be a real breakthrough. Maybe you're looking at it too closely?"

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Looking at it too closely? How is she supposed to look at it? She gently bobs the potion around in her aura, watching the rich red fluid sway and lap at its glass prison as she considered the mare's words. "Perhaps... What would you suggest I do?" 

 

She genuinely desired some feedback here because, for once, the workaholic mare was at a loss. She did have a tendency to overcomplicate things, but that's just the way her mind worked. 

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Twilight smiled as Rose's attention was taken quickly. It was a good sign that she was not defensive. If she had been, then Twilight would seriously doubt her ability to accomplish the great things. 
"Well, you're looking at this as a singular task, honing in on creation and affect. But for what you're doing, you need to take a step back. If your potion requires ingredients that are either too rare or too difficult to extra properly? If it requires a highly specialized skillset? Then it fails. That which cannot be duplicated will not be successful when you are discussing application beyond a single use. And that is before you consider testing it. We can craft theories endlessly and discuss the countering of side effects and the probabilities that it will do this, that, and the other. The complete work would need to be tested, and if the materials or process is too difficult?" She started, her horn lighting up as she cast a spell. Not related to this discussion, just for information on this Rose Compass.

 

Still, it was true. She admired Rose's work ethic but she was too enamored with the question or whether it could be done and not enough on what good it could do if done. Everypony with a love of science was there at some point, including Twilight. Being Princess had given her some perspective on such things. 
"Manufacture and distribution are considerations that must be in play. Because of that, you need to ask yourself are your goals achievable en masse. Salamanders, or at least the subtypes with appropriate arcanically resonate blood, are quite uncommon and hard to harvest properly. Indeed, most of the important materials in play are rare or very uncommon. The pursuit of perfection may not be what is best for you. Instead, I would suggest you broaden your horizons and allow yourself to ask: What can I do easier, repeatable, and could have a positive effect? Maybe a potion using Equestian newt, maybe with other more common ingredients? You may not be able to achieve theoretical permanent cellular regeneration, but the prevention of rapid cellular decline could achieve something greater," she said as she finished her tea Her horn lit up- mostly to send the tea on her side away, but also to receive arcanically important information.

 

"After all, the aging process has far more to do with living longer, better than a more drastic and dangerous solution like regressive regeneration. It is also something that is likely to be achieved," she ended on a hopeful note. A mare- or likewise- with ideas could always use more of them to grow in the fertile plains of the scientific imagination.

A loud crash from her castle of the Yak variety caused her attention to be split and a sigh to escape. She turned back towards Rose and smiled before standing up.
"I would like to discuss this more, but I must attend to my court. Please, feel free to take a few more samples from my garden. Do you have any dinner plans for the day after Hearthswarming Eve, per chance? If not, I would like for you to attend dinner with me in Canterlot Castle," Twilight asked hopefully as her wings opened up and she started to slowly gain altitude, facing Rose all the while.

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Intentional or not, Twilight would find the latter half of her analysis challenged by a weak, unseen force. It was almost as if her prodding had awakened something within the mare, rising to the defense of its charge against a perceived threat, but it could do very little to stall her progress, weaving paper-thin barriers that quickly deteriorated under their own weight.

 

Rose nodded along, listening to the purple mare intently as she mentally catelogued her advice for future reference. "Perhaps synthetic substitutes would be a feasible option," she mused, replacing her bottle and depowering the heating stone. "Reinforcing telos or adding compounding elements may also help..." She perked up at Twilight's excusal, grinning knowingly. "It has been a treat, and I am very thankful for the advice. I'll make some room on my schedule. Perhaps next time I may study you?" She giggled, watching as her conversation partner prepared to depart. Better make this quick.

 

"Take care, and good luck with your business!" She waved the mare off, a warm feeling growing in her chest. She placed a hoof over it, looking down in wonder. She couldn't remember a time on her brief and spontaneous existence that she had felt that way, except for echoes from a corrupted past life. 

 

She spent most of the rest of the night in the garden, eventually producing a formula she was fairly confident in. She thought further on what the alicorn had said, realizing that this formula was actually quite easily to replicate en masse, granted the producer dedicated time to the production of these flowers. Yes... Something she can disseminate into the larger public. 

 

She'll need to find contacts, create a network... But she wasn't thinking about all that while she gazes upon the sparkling brew she had dubbed Oblivion. She was thinking about her new aquatintence.

 

Perhaps not quite an aquatintence, but... A new friend. 

 

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