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Scutealoo by Comeha

Scootaloo

 

There was a distinct chill in the air this afternoon, clouds were lazily drifting overhead threatening more snow - though the weather report promised none was scheduled for atleast another day. Underhood the snow that was already on the ground made a satisfying, though quiet crunch-ing sound, and muffling all sounds nearby to some extent. Or, rather it would be if there was any sound to be muffled... Being a short distance away from ponyville and with most of the woodland creatures either migrated or asleep in their burrows until spring, the only sound was that of the four small hooves crunching through the snow, and one small filly talking to herself as she followed an 'ancient treasure map' that she had bought from a not-particularly-reputable-source... but foals never learn, do they?

 

Scootaloo was bundled up in her boots, scarf, and a festive winter hat on her head as she kept pulling the map out and looking at it every few minutes, trying to figure out exactly where she was, trying to follow the not-exactly-well-drawn map to where the 'X' was. and she had been doing this for hours... she had hoped one of her friends would come with her so they could share in the excitement, but they all said they were busy... and probably atleast one or two of them doubted that the map was real, even though scoots had explained that she had save up 25 bits and bought it from a pony that said it lead to an ancient treasure from the nightmare wars!

 

Scootaloo looked at the map and looked around "so if I go left at this old tree... wait, where is the big boulder that the map shows?" she looked around for a large boulder like was depicted on the oddly unaged parchment "eh, its probably just there to make the map look cool!" she decided as she turned left, completely unaware that she was hopelessly lost......

 

 

 

 

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Eighty five point four degrees south of true east.  Eleven hundred fifteen meters from the central fountain in Ponyville.   According to the optimization calculations of Tongue Twister's mom Shady Dealer, there might be a hidden lab or the forgotten lair of some ridiculous secret agency somewhere near that spot.  Tongue Twister figured she could find a few of these potential trouble spots and deal with them BEFORE they become a world class threat.


True, it might deprive the 'heroes' of heroic threats to heroically overcome by being heroic, but honestly she didn't need any more drama in her life.  So putting an end to drama before it became 'DRAMA !!' seemed like a great idea !


"... and what is with agencies needing to be secret for no rational reason ?!" TT groused to herselves as she trudged through the snow, "Are they so afraid of taking responsibility for their mistakes that they cower in the darkness ?  So afraid of being judged by 'inferior minds' - ie, everyone NOT them - that the only way they can stay 'special' is to stay hidden ?


And such ridiculous names !  S.M.A.S.H. ?  T.H.U.D. ?  P.U.N.C.H. ?  E.P.I.C. ?  E.V.I.L. ?  S.M.I.L.E. ?  W.R.A.I.T.H. ?  W.R.A.T.H. ?  S.T.A.R. ?  H.E.L.P. ?  Geeze !  You can't tell fictitious groups from real ones !  Do they come up with the acronyms first or what ?


AND IF THEY'RE SECRET, WHY WOULD THEY EVEN NEED AN ACRONYM ?!


It's insanity, I tell you !  Insanity !


Oh, wait - I.N.S.A.N.I.T.Y. is that organization from those Neighpon comics I translated a year ago." she continued with a shudder.


She managed to find the first location on her mom's map, but there was nothing there.  But it was a prime location for one though - close enough to town to respond in time and get supplies quickly, but far enough away to be unnoticed and forgotten.  The optimal balance between access and seclusion.  And many other factors she didn't care about.


She wrote a 'CP' next to her location on the map, then checked for the next spot.  Seven point three degrees north of true east, three hundred thirty five meters from current location.
So she turned the dials on her compass to the desired heading, then headed off.


But after a few hundred meters, noticed something in the snow.


"Boot tracks ?  All the way out here ?" she noted to herself as she compared the size of the tracks to her own hooves.  The tracks were a shade smaller than her hooves - made by a young teenager most likely.


She followed them until she spotted who made them : an orange coated, purple maned young pegasus philly with boots, a scarf and a festive hat on her head, looking at a map.


"Looking for something in particular kid ?" TT inquired, "We're reasonably certain there aren't any shops this far from town."

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((Please place links to your characters in your RP log or on your entrance post, as it sits all I know is your character's name and gender, no colors, markings, or even race...))

 

Scootaloo looked up from the map "Oh, hi!" she said cheerfully to the older mare "Not yet but  give it time, I hear the town once only had three buildings!" she laughed. Though in her mind she was running over her options... did she tell the other pony why she was really here? She might be able to help find the treasure, but then the bounty that Scootaloo had been promised would have to be shared... or worse this pony might even steal the item for herslf! But then the filly's rational brain caught up to her derailed train of thought and reminded her that most ponies were not that dishonest ... and this pony didn't seem like the kind who would do such a thing, though at the same time, there was a chance if scootaloo mentioned a reward, then they would want a cut of it for helping find the treasure...

 

After a barely-noticeable pause, the pegasus decided to go halfway "I'm following a map" she said, though as soon as the words left her mouth she realized how stupid that sounded "I mean, yeah I am following a map, I got it from one of my friends, I'm supposed to find the item hidden there, its a fun game" the poor filly had no idea how close she really was to the truth, given the underhoofed nature of who she bought the map from and how long this "ancient treasure" had actually been at the map's prominent X location "I'm not sure that I'm going the right way though..." she admitted with an awkward grin --- indeed if twister looked in the direction that scootaloo was headed she might make out boot tracks that suspiciously matched the ones the filly was making... poor filly was going in circles!

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After a slight pause, the filly stated "I'm following a map.  I mean, yeah I am following a map, I got it from one of my friends, I'm supposed to find the item hidden there, its a fun game" 
"I'm not sure that I'm going the right way though..." she admitted with an awkward grin.


"Ah.  'Treasure Hunt' can be quite fun, if you enjoy adventuring and running around outdoors and poking into things." TT replied with a chuckle, "But it can be surprisingly hard to draw a good map - if it's too simple, the game is over too soon.  Too complicated and the item could be lost nearly forever.  The key point is having enough unique landmarks to chart a single path."

 

She looked around.  Snow and bare trees everywhere.  The only tracks in the snow were hers and the filly's.

 
"Wait - are those HER bootprints up ahead too ?" she thought to herself as she squinted at what looked like boot tracks in the distance.


"Hmmm.  There don't seem to be very many unique landmarks." TT stated as she looked around more, "How long ago did your friends hide the item ?  It looks like the only tracks out here are mine and yours.  Mine are over there.  And it looks like yours are over there, over there, and over there !" she stated as she pointed in three directions, indicating a rather large circle.

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Scootaloo had to hold her tongue because her first reaction was of course to start to blurt out that it was an ancient treasure, but she managed to focus and simply say "A while back... I dont really know for sure" no doubt making TT a little suspicious, but given the fact that this was a filly, it was possible her scale of time was slightly distorted... the one thing that wouldn't be as questionable was how new the map was, unlike fooling an over-excited filly who was easy to dupe, any adult who looked at the map would recognize not only very modern landmarks on the map, but also the fact that the paper looked, felt, and even smelled very fresh and modern. "I've been trying to follow it all morning and I dont want to give up, that was a whole week's allowance!" she then immediately realized her slip and her hoofs adorably went to her mouth as she realized she just let it slip that this wasn't 'just a game' that her friends had set up......

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"A while back... I dont really know for sure" the filly replied (after a slightly suspicious pause for some reason), "I've been trying to follow it all morning and I dont want to give up, that was a whole week's allowance!" she then immediately realized her slip and her hoofs adorably went to her mouth as she realized she just let it slip that this wasn't 'just a game' that her friends had set up......


Tongue Twister raised and eyebrow and smiled at her.  "A whole week's allowance ?  That map must lead to something truly special." 


"Well, at least truly special to a young filly ...." she thought to herself.


"Would you like some help ?" she asked, "We have years of experience reading maps to forgotten and lost temples.  And even maybe finding abandoned villainous/heroic lairs.  That's why we're out here today.


We are Tongue Twister, linguist and roving equinologist." TT introduced herself - in plural.
 

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"I hope so!" said the filly, then awkwardly adding "I really don't know what's at the end so..." she shrugged, but cocked her head when the other pegasus introduced herself "equl- eqil -eq..." she shook her head, admitting defeat in pronouncing the word, much less knowing what it meant! but despite the odd use of the 'formal we' the orange filly smile "Nice to meet you, I'm Scootaloo!" she said, though she did look at the mare oddly "er... are there more than one of you?" she asked, leaning over to look around the older pony, as if expecting to see a twin to something hiding nearby...

 

But despite this, she pushed on "Well, the map's kinda old, so the landmarks might not be accurate" she commented, completely believing the story that the map seller had spun about it being an ancient treasure map from the Nightmare Wars and having almost completely abandoned her story about it being a map her friends drew up for a game... "so, since I cant make mane-or-tail of it, sure, why dont you have a go?" she said, offering the map to Twister

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"Wait - she doesn't know what's at the end of her map ?  Something funny going on here..." TT mused to herself.


"An 'equinologist' is a fancy word for somepony that studies pony cultures." TT replied.


She noted Scootaloo looking about before she asked "er... are there more than one of you ?"


"Just in here." TT replied as she tapped her own head, "We had a very unfortunate encounter with an extremely unpleasant sorceress.  It did not go well for us.  Our speech was altered, and we can now only speak of ourselves in the plural." she continued, glossing over quite a bit of her most recent misadventure.  No point scaring off or weirding out a filly !


When she accepted the map from Scootaloo, she noticed the paper wasn't brittle or stiff or oxidized to a pale tan, as one would expect from very old paper.  Nor was the ink faded or flaked.


When she took a closer look at the landmarks, she noted that none of them had been around for more than twenty or thirty years !  This - was a recently made map.


"What do you consider 'kinda old' ?" she asked Scootaloo, "From what we can tell, this map can only be at most around thirty years old.  More likely less than five."


Tongue Twister was getting a sinking feeling in her gut.  "How old did you think the treasure is ?"

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Scootaloo nodded attentively as TT explained what her title meant, though given the fact that the filly didn't question ehr further, clearly scoots wasn't particularly interested in the occupation. Though she did look more than a little concerned when TT explained about the oddness of their speech "If only you'd come here a couple years ago, we had this awesome pony in town that knew everything about magic and curses and stuff and she could fix anything... or sometimes make it worse..." scootaloo paused a moment, clearly thinking of some misadventure "But she's now the princess and lives in the big castle in canterlot" she sighed "Things were more fun when Twilight lived here, I miss the cool magic explosions" yes, this filly had just spoken casually about the princess as if they were old friends... or more likely the princess had been a mentor. Though the way she spoke, she clearly wasn't trying to name-drop that she knew the princess, it really was that casual of a relationship they'd had!

 

When TT asked about the map scootaloo stared acting nervous and stumbling over her words, before she finally gave up and decided to tell the truth "Its an ancient map that Miss Trixie sold me, it leads to where a pony family hid their most valuable artifact back when they had to flee the town during the nightmare wars - trixie has some kind of secret stash of these maps she found and sells them, normally the treasure's nothing really exciting, but if that's the case she usually will buy it off us if we don't want it" yes, it was clear this 'trixie' had made a steady, if small, income off the fillies and colts of the village likely for some time now...

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"If only you'd come here a couple years ago, we had this awesome pony in town that knew everything about magic and curses and stuff and she could fix anything... or sometimes make it worse..." scootaloo paused a moment, clearly thinking of some misadventure "But she's now the princess and lives in the big castle in canterlot" she sighed "Things were more fun when Twilight lived here, I miss the cool magic explosions"


TT thought for a moment before saying "Ah, right !  Princess Twilight lived in Ponyville for a few years.  Even after she became an alicorn."


"That would explain Scootaloo's casual attitude towards the reigning monarch - she was friends with her BEFORE Twilight's ascension.  In a small town, you can know everyone reasonably well, and the casualness just stuck." 


After a bit of fidgeting and nervous stumbling over her words, Scootaloo admitted "Its an ancient map that Miss Trixie sold me, it leads to where a pony family hid their most valuable artifact back when they had to flee the town during the nightmare wars - trixie has some kind of secret stash of these maps she found and sells them, normally the treasure's nothing really exciting, but if that's the case she usually will buy it off us if we don't want it."


TT put a hoof to her forehead before shaking her head and groaning - just a shade deeper and creepier than one would expect from a mare.


"That is the WORST thing you can do with ancient maps and items !" she groused to herself, "So of course it is the FIRST thing everypony does !  Selling off a collection bit by bit removes context, reducing the information one can learn from ancient items !


But at least there IS a treasure at the end of the map !" she mused, "Selling a fake map to scam ponies - especially foals - is just low !"


"So, this 'Trixie' found a collection of old maps to old artifacts that she sells to ponies ?" she stated once she took a few deep breaths to calm down a bit, "It sounds something like those 'Daring Do Adventure Packages', except instead of trudging trough a jungle, you merely follow a map.  And you get to keep whatever you find, if you want it.


It sounds reasonably safe," she continued, "But some care should be taken around ancient artifacts.  Some of them can be dangerous, annoying, or just plain peculiar."


After a few moments she continued "I would like to meet this Trixie.  I know some ponies at the bigger museums that could offer her quite a bit of money for those maps.


As for your map," she stated once she took a look at the compass rose and noting it was Celestia's mark, "It uses solar alignment.  Out of respect for Celestia - the bringer of the sun - the most important direction wasn't north, but east."


And with that, she turned the map sideways.


"Still up for finding the treasure ?" she asked.
 

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((I just imagine as the pair is having this conversation, a ways off, trixie's ears begin twitching and she comments "Trixie's ears are burning! Somepony is talking about trixie! ...oh wait... that's never good...." XD))

 

Scootaloo nodded "Twilight didn't just live here, she helped me and my friends find our cutiemarks!" she grinned - granted it was a bit of a stretch, but if twilight hadn't taught them everything she did, the trio might still be off trying insane unrelated things to find their destiny, so, in a way, it was true, Twilight did play a part in them earning their marks.

 

The filly gasped "You mean like 50 or even a hundred bits? Trixie would never have to work again!" her failure to grasp the value or magnitude of money was adorably naive, or perhaps she was rally playing up the 'foolish foal' bit for TT, with scootaloo it was never clear which she was doing... the truth was probably somewhere in between.

 

The filly also nodded at the warning "Yeah, I used to have a set of playing cards from one of Trixie's maps, they were _so_ awesome!" she grinned "They were creepy at times, like the ace of hearts made this sound like a beating heart, and two of the kings screamed and dripped ilusionary blood..." she sighed "And then I learned that throwing them, they flew so perfectly... but that one black ace kept looping around and tried to kill me, if my now-friend Tango hand't been there..." she shook her head, stopping this gr5im train of thought "They were from one of trixie's maps, and tango convinced me it was safer to give them to twilight for safe keeping. I told trixie about them and she promised to hand them over for me, since she was going to canterlot anyway. I wonder what Twilight thought of the cards. They were made by her idol Starbeard the Swirly after all!" she grinned. No doubt the filly was completely unaware that the cards never made their way to twilight...

 

And if TT knew even the least bit about history and magic, nothing in that description would have made any sense having been made by Starswirl, atleast not something made on purpose and if it was, likely the overly-critical unicorn would have burned the cards to cinders.... There was no doubt more to this story, and just like before, all the arrows pointed back to Trixie......

 

When she explained about the map being oriented eastward, scootaloo's eyes lit up, she had no idea that was even a thing! she nodded excitedly "I cant wait to see what kind of treasure is at the end! I just hope it snot like that amulet of invisibility we found a couple months ago" she shuddered "it only made your fur and skin invisible... it was gross looking at pony insides..."

 

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The filly gasped "You mean like 50 or even a hundred bits? Trixie would never have to work again!" 


TT had to chuckle at that.  "We used to work for a museum.  They've purchased collections for hundreds, or even thousands of bits.  That's why there's a market for counterfeit artifacts and just outright thievery and fraud."


TT listened to Scootaloo describe one of the 'treasures' she'd found.  She was slightly disturbed.


"She found a Grotesquerie's Deck of Calamity ?!" TT noted to herself, "According to dad, things like that were projects assigned to novices just starting to learn dark magic and artifact enchantments.  One of the most minor of minor magical items.  More gruesome and disgusting than dangerous - but one of the cards tries to kill the deck's owner !


If Trixie's maps lead to such things ...  !"


She sighed.  "... there could be even worse or more dangerous things out there !  Somepony really needs to look into - and properly deal with - items like that !"


When she explained about the map being oriented eastward, scootaloo's eyes lit up, she had no idea that was even a thing! she nodded excitedly "I cant wait to see what kind of treasure is at the end! I just hope its not like that amulet of invisibility we found a couple months ago" she shuddered "it only made your fur and skin invisible... it was gross looking at pony insides..."


TT had to picture that for a moment.  "Yeah.  That would be a bit extreme even as a Nightmare Night costume.  A medical school might've been interested in it though.


Let's see if there is something more appropriate this time." she stated as she checked the map.


She retrieved some of the maps in her saddlebags, looked them over, then unfolded and refolded them a few times.


"Ah !  Your map is easy to follow - you just need to start from that small grouping of rocks over there." TT finally stated pointing to a small, snow covered lump in the distance, "And make sure turns to the left and right are fully right angles."


She gave Scootaloo her map back.  "It's your map, so it's your adventure.  Lead the way."

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((I like that name for the deck of cards, I think I may keep it =^_^=))

 

Scootaloo let out a barely audible but highly adorable little squee as TT handed her back the map, the filly ran over to the rocks and stood on them dramatically over-analyzing the map before running off to the right... only a few moments later to turn around and run to the left, blushing a little at her mistake. This kind of adorable reaction landed a good half hour or so until scootaloo finally found the end of the map, which was a tree with a suspiciously missing branch and a hollow where the branch should be... Scootaloo grinned as she began trying to climb the tree... failing spectacularly, but not giving up as she kept trying...

 

What was completely missed by the oblivious and highly-excited filly, but likely not by TT was the4 size of the tree... Scootaloo claimed the map was to a treasure left behind centuries ago during the nightmare wars... but this tree couldn't possibly be that old! at the absolute oldest it was maybe 50 or 100 years old... once again, as was becoming the norm on this little misadventure, things were not adding up...

 

If TT looked closely or took the time to fly up and examine the tree, she would see a pouch just *barely* visible, sticking out of the hollow where the branch had once been... a small pouch that was in absolutely impecable condition and seemed to be made of very modern fabrics... one that couldn't possibly be as old as scootaloo was claiming, not only because of the quality of the materials, but because if it had been out here even a few months, much less years, it would have been completely ruined if not fallen apart...

 

By now scootaloo had given up trying to climb the tree directly and was instead slowly pushing a large rock towards it... certainly not large enough to get to the knothole, but it was an impressive attempt none-the-less...

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While she and Scootaloo were following the map, Tongue Twister was trying to figure out just WHAT the buck was going on around here !


"So, Trixie sells maps to ancient treasures that aren't really ancient.  At first glance, it seems like a scam.  But, on further thought, it's looking more like an adventure program, where a filly can feel the thrill of a successful treasure hunt for just a few bits.


As long as the treasure is less than the price of the map, one could make money doing that.


And as long as the customer is happy with the deal, there should be no problems."


She looked to Scootaloo - who had a satisfied grin on her determined face the whole time.


"Well, no problems there ...." TT thought to herself.


They found the tree at the end of the map - and it was noticeably younger than expected.


She squinted at the hollow, and noticed a pouch inside it.


A pouch that didn't appear the least bit weathered from even a month up there (much less centuries).


"Hmm.  I suspect Trixie places the treasures and draws up her own maps to sell to adventurous foals to follow.


Making a bit of money with little effort ?  I can respect that !


Making some foals happy at the same time ?  I can respect that too !


Being a bit deceptive and mysterious to make the quest interesting ?  I can relate !"


She sighed heavily.  "But using things like an amulet of partial invisibility or a Deck of Calamity as TREASURES for foals to find ?  THAT - concerns me !  Greatly.


Where is getting those things ?


And what the hay could be in that pouch ?"


TT watched Scootaloo pushing a large rock towards the tree.  "Stronger than she looks.  Might have some Earth pony heritage somewhere."


"Do you usually go on these treasure hunts alone ?" she asked, "We doubt Trixie would sell anypony a map to a treasure that cannot be retrieved without help."

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Scooaloo sighed, her excitement drooping noticeably when TT mentioned that. the filly sighed "No... this is my first hunt alone... my best friends are either too busy or gone... and my adult friends have really important jobs that keep them busy all the time..." she sighed, looking up at the pouch "Sweetiebelle could lower it down easily with her magic, or abby could buck the tree so hard it fell down.. if rainbow were here, she could jsut zip up there and grab it without breaking a sweat and looking totally awesome at the same time..."

 

Scootaloo sat down hard on the rock "Sweeteibelle is spending more time working with her sister, or just isn't interested in going on adventures anymore... and abby's moved to another town... and with my adult friends... you know what happened with Twilight, and Dash is a wonderbolt, teaches at the school, and coaches several sports there, as well as winning a lot of competitions around the country... Tango's been busy fighting a war out... west? east? North? I forget, he changes so often... I don't even know where my parents are, they're globe-trotting adventurers... as awesome as it is when your dad shows up at the school riding a cragodile, its another thing to live with the fact that any day they may never come home..."

 

She hopped off the rock and looked up at the pouch "so yeah... even though there are ponies all around me, I'm alone most of the time now..." she turned around and bucked the tree, making it shake for sure - she certainly was stronger than she looked - though it barely disturbed the bag. Scootaloo seemed to be at the point that she was beyond tears and just accepting her fate. While she sounded sad, she only let it get her down a few minutes before she went back to what she was doing... of course the question was weather she was really accepting her life, or if she was just burying the pain and letting it gnaw at her heart until irreparable damage was done...

 

Scootaloo backed up and charged forward, using the rock as a spring-board, flapping her tiny wings as hard as she could, all this together gave her enough of a boost that as she reached for the bag... she just barely missed it and ended up face-first in the snow, where she just stayed for several minutes before pulling herself out and sighing... the look in her eyes was a warning that TT had better interfere before the filly started even crazier things that might get herself hurt... or might have other serious repercussions...

 

((and as a warning, the final escalation will be scootaloo trying to burn down the tree and causing a forest fire.... yep, she REALLY doesn't need to be left alone without her friends to talk some sense into her head...))

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Tongue Twister listened to Scootaloo's monologue - and became more concerned by the moment.


"It's an unfortunate fact of life that ponies will be alone at least some of the time." she stated, "It is unavoidable.  Like a bad roll of the dice.  Or the turn of an unfortunate card.  The odds can be changed a bit up or down, depending on what you do and where  you are, but the chance is always there.


We wish we could be of more help with that, but different ponies deal with solitude in different ways. What works of us may not work for you.  You'll have to find you own way to deal.


But we can give you enough of a boost to reach that pouch up there." she finished, "We, uhm, can't fly up there ourselves.  Our wings don't work any more."

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Scootaloo nodded as she walked around the tree, looking for inspiration on how to get the bag down "yeah... I'm kinda numb to it now, I didn't really have many friends before I met sweetiebelle and abby, and now that they're gone or mostly gone, I dont really have any now. I try to keep busy so I dont think about it too much" she said this very emotionlessly as her mind was on the tree "...I bet I could borrow an axe from AJ..." she commented, more to herself than to her older companion

 

When the other pegasus offered to help scoots get the bag she was pulled from her no doubt increasingly destructive thoughts, and while TT might hear scoots mutter "atleast you got to fly..." the filly changed tone and managed to force an awkward smile "That would be great!" she said, looking at her own tiny under-developed wings, silently confirming any suspicions that the mare might have had about scootaloo being unable to fly herself...

 

((also if your wondering, yes, scoots is lying about being numb, she is hiding a lot of pain under her fluffy exterior, and when things go very bad for her, she lets it show --- worst is when she plans something like a picnic for her friends (or Dash) and they don't show up, you can find her REALLY depressed after those.... T_T))

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Tongue Twister sighed quietly to herself.  "She's lying about being numb to loneliness - for if she were numb, there would be no pain that she'd need to work so hard to avoid.


And she wouldn't be this upset about being foiled at recovering a simple trinket.


The kid's got some serious issues." she mused to herself, "But I am not a psychiatrist or a therapist.  So there really isn't much help I can offer beyond what I'm doing now."


"So any guesses as to what's in the bag ?" she asked, "Maybe a gem that changes your coat and mane to random colors ?  A Coin of Divination that's right half the time ?


We can lift you up there.  Or toss you up there.  You have a preference or another idea ?"
 

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(("a coin of divination that's right 50% of the time" --- don't give Trixie ideas! She would so find a way to spin that to sell at her shows! XD))

 

"I keep hoping for an amulet of levitation!" grinned scoots "But a coin that can tell the future - that would be really awesome too!" as usual for a foal completely missing the fact that TT had just described a normal, mundane, coin. Of course it was up for debate just how many of these "magical trinkets" really were just mundane items with some story spun around them, after all if trixie was "giving them away" with her maps, she couldn't spend a lot on the production of said trinkets...

 

Scootaloo's face scrunched up a moment "better just lift me up there, last time I got stuck in a tree and... yeah... it was a whole thing..." she blushed, not wanting to explain how many jokes were made about cats having to be rescued from trees... not to mention all the jokes about 'thats why chickens shouldn't climb trees' even though unlike her, chickens could actually get back down since they could slow their fall... if TT paid close attention (or really any attention at all) she'd probably realize that scootaloo had a strong desire to fly - and a strong embarrassment that she couldn't... of course, especially for a pegasus, that was a whole rabbit-hole of identity issues right there...

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Tongue Twister mused for a moment.  "An amulet of levitation would be a great find." she stated as she extended a hoof to help Scootaloo up to the branch, "We just hope it's not like that amulet of partial invisibility you said you got once - we're not really sure what an amulet of ALMOST levitation would do.  Or if it would be safe to use."


"I wonder if anyone could replicate those slippers dad found for me ?" she mused, "With buckball taking off like it has, surely someone must have found a way to correctly enchant an item with that Glamorous Wings spell the unicorns use.


Walking on air isn't the same as flying, but for some, it is close enough ...."

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Scootaloo snorted "well obviously it would make you almost levitate" she snarked, but giggled, making it clear she was only joking and knew that wasn't the answer that TT was looking for "if I had to guess, id think it would make you lighter so you almost floated, though that could be bad, like getting blown around by the wind" scootaloo wasnt stupid, though she seemed to like to make others think she was by how she first was talking to TT, perhaps a trick she had learned from another cfertian pony in  town who liked to make others think she was dumb to get out of work...

 

"Wait, WHAT?!" exclaimed the filly as she completely lost her concentration and her balance, falling atop the older mare --- though thankfully her hoof had aught on the drawstring for the bag and drug it down with her "Your dad can make shoes that let ponies fly?! or close to it??" the bag of 'treasure' lay in the snow a short distance away, completely forgotten about now that scootaloo had a glimmer of hop-e that she might be able to fly ---- or at least kinda fly... clearly this meant far more to her than whatever trinket she expected to be in the bag.

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"Oh Heavens no !" TT replied, "We didn't SAY that !  Dad's a curio merchant in Canterlot !  He doesn't have anywhere the power or training to make something like that !


He sells 'STRANGE AND EXOTIC ITEMS FROM STRANGE AND EXOTIC PLACES !'" she continued while taking a dramatic pose, "Which means that anytime any creature finds a weird or bizarre item, they try to sell it to him.  So he has some rather, well, 'interesting' inventory.


Those air-walk slippers were a magical accident from somepony from Celestia's School.  So they are literally a 'one of a kind' item.  And we don't have them with us."
 

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TT would be able to watch the joy and excitement drain from scootaloo as she spoke, the filly being left even less excited now than she had been at the beginning as once again the dream of flight had been dangled in front of her like a carrot on a stick and once again was kept out of her reach. she sighed and simply said "...oh..." looking like she had jsut been stabbed through the heart, and even if she quickly was able to seem to return to her previous level of excitement over the map and treasure, if TT was paying attention she would see the disappointment lingering in the filly's eyes, however well Dash had taught scoots to hide her feelings, she wasn't THAT good at it.

 

She was good enough however to push them down and apologize "Sorry about that, I got a little over-excited" she said, telling the absolute truth "Well I guess we should see what's in the bag, right?" and with a slower gait than a pony who was truly excited over the treasure would have, scoots headed over and opened the bad, dropping a mysterious ring into her open hoof. The ring was of a silver color with a glowing blue gemstone. Scootaloo sighed "a unicorn ring... hopefully Trixie will atleast give me five or ten bits for it" she sighed, making it clear that even if Trixie bought back her 'treasures' she was still earning a profit from selling the maps. While not exactly 'ripping off' her customers, since, as TT had deduced, there was a value in the experience, there was also a bit of a clear motivation to make atleast something of a profit from the scheme... "I guess we should go back to Trixie and see if she can tell us anything about the ring, maybe there's atleast a cool story behind it or something..." she said with a small smile, though it was not genuine, clearly scoots was playing it up for her new friend and really didn't expect a cool story for the ring...

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Tongue Twister listened to what the heartbroken filly said - and didn't say (ponies have very clear body language).

 

"There may be more than a cool story behind it." she stated, "In our experience, glowing gems indicate a fair bit of magic.  So there is a chance the ring might do something.

 

Unfortunate that it may be limited to unicorns." she continued, wanting to have a few words with this 'Trixie'.

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((sorry, weekends are very busy for me))

 

Scoots sighed "They usually are, I mean sweetiebelle kept one of them, but to the rest of us its just junk" it was clear she had been let down by this trinket, though it might also have been due to the prior conversations spilling over and dragging her emotions down... "I suppose we should head back and talk to trixie then, see what she has to say about it" she began walking off, then after a moment turned around and began walking the opposite way, this time back towards town with a look of embarrassment on her face...

 

As they walked, TT would likely notice that they had passed through town entirely and were now heading back towards the outskirts on the other side of ponyville, in the distance she would be able to make out a slightly-run-down-and-patched-up travelers wagon, with a small stage set up in front of it and another larger stage set up a distance away, though both were partially burried under the snow which made the larger stage a lot harder to make out (though the canopy over the small stage kept it mostly clear of the snow). What she likely would not make out was that one of the windows had a pane of glass that seemed more reflective than the rest, and from behind this pane of two-way-mirror, they were being watched...

 

((so is TT looking angry? Amused? bored? Trixie has a rather impressive 'show' planned if anypony shows up and she feels like they need to be shown her power....... i.e. trying to scare ponies away (or atleast cow them) that might otherwise cause her trouble...))

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