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A mysterious figure... stumbling through the dark town... (closed - cubbage and strong copper)


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Prelude:

Spoiler

 

The lightning flashed across the sky, seen through the  windows of the castle, but that only added to the atmosphere...

 

In a dark room lit only by a single flickering candle, two hooded figures stood at a table, with a folded piece of paper between them...

 

"Your sure of this? I cant risk making any mistakes with something like this" whispered one figure

 

"Well, its in the letter"

 

the first figure tapped her hoof against the letter on the table "indeed.... this is a dangerous problem that must be... seen to..."

 

At this point the door opened and a familiar dragon blinked "Hey, why are the lights off?" he asked as he reached over and flipped a switch

 

The lights flickered to life, revealing what looked had been a dark and spooky locale to actually be the small personal tea room of Princess Twilight, with the mare herself standing at the table opposite what was now revealed to be a royal mailpony who was looking as confused as spike

 

"uh... what's going on?" asked Spike

 

Twilight's wing went to her face "Spiiiiike! How am I supposed to discuss dark and dangerous magics with the lights on!"

 

Spike sighed "your such a nerd" he said jokingly with a smile

 

The mailpony held up his hooves "I was just delivering a letter! Can I go now, your highness, I have more mail to deliver"

 

Twilight sighed "Yes, go, sorry I kept you"

 

The mailpony hurried off, mumbling about how strange his job had gotten...

 

"So, what's this top-secret spooky magic you have to discuss in the dark?" asked spike

 

Twilight's frown slowly turned the other way as it spread across her face in a maniacal grin "Actually, Spike, your exactly who I need for this job..."

 

Spike gulped "you know I'm always glad to help, Twi, but I don't like that grin... its always something bad... and usually very nerdy and overcomplicated..."

 

Twilight only held that grin as she explained her plan...

 

 

 

Ponyville, 11:00pm

 

Winged Spike by CloudyGlow

Spike The Dragon

 

 

The small cloaked figure tried to make his way through the town quietly, knowing all its residents were asleep... or at least they were supposed to be...

 

"I don't remember it being so creepy here at night..." he gulped as he darted past a dark alley "don't think about monsters... don't think about monsters..." he quietly repeated to himself until he ran right into somepony who was still out at this hour, knocking his hood back off his head, his cloak flapping open behind him, making it clear to any who had not already guessed it was the little purple dragon "MONST-!" he started to exclaim as he covered his mouth before he woke the town as he looked at the figure in front of him "Oh... hi" he said meekly and rather embarrassed ...

 

 

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Agent Lighthoof checked the street before moving quietly out of the alley. Apparently, he didn't check thoroughly enough, though. He had only made a couple of trots before a small creature bumped into his back leg, eliciting a quiet wince from him as he turned to see who -- or what -- had made contact with him. A dragon? Oh no! It started to cry out! Luckily, it hushed itself, but Lope still looked around frantically to see if anyone had heard. Still looked clear. That was good. He wasn't supposed to be seen. He was here on official business, and being recognized in Ponyville could spell the end of his career. As far as everypony in this village was concerned, he had died years ago. "Uh... Hey, little dragon... What are you doing out so late?" he asked, trying to remain casual. He kept his eyes out, though, scanning the streets for ponies or... other inhabitants of the town.

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Spike was relieved that it was a pony he had bumped into, to be fully honest he felt a little bit less scared with them around... with ANYONE around! Unfortunately, this pony didn't seem to recognize him, then again it was dark and unlike spike, the pony probably didn't have darkvision...

 

"I'm here on royal business" he said, pulling out his medallion from inside his cloak "...or maybe I should say royal insanity..." he muttered "Twilight had a crazy solution to a simple problem... and of course she had to see it through, even though it would be so much easier to come here during the day and just talk, she sends me sneaking around in the middle of the night..." he sighed "how about you? why are you out here in the middle of the night?" asked spike, equal parts curious and suspicious now....

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Royal business? Could they be here for the same thing? Best not to disclose his reason for the time being. The dragon had mentioned a Twilight, and he assumed that meant Princess Twilight Sparkle, in which case this dragon must be Spike, her loyal companion. His fears of being recognized heightened slightly. Though he'd never interacted with Spike or Twilight directly during his time in Ponyville, it was still a small town. "Insomnia. I have a hard time sleeping some nights and strolling helps get my energy out. So what royal business is so important that it requires sneaking around at night?" Hopefully he wasn't being too direct. He didn't want to garner any suspicion from the dragon. But he also needed to know if the reptile could be trusted or if he should try to cut the conversation short and get back to his investigation. 

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As Strong Copper quietly stalked the streets of Ponyville at such a late hour, he couldn't help but briefly light up his horn in order to pull his jacket around him a little tighter to try and repel the chill in the air. Normally he had a vague idea of what it was he was looking for or what to expect on a 'hunt', but tonight was one of the most risky things he could do professional; An exploratory hunt.

 

Over the last few days, several different ponies around Ponyville had spoken of seeing... something out of the ordinary during the night from their windows or while they were out for various reasons. At first they believed it had been just another pony walking during the night... but closer inspection proved the figure to be less of a pony covered in shadow as it was seemingly living shadow moving in the shape of a pony... and its shape twisted and changed even as the figure walked along, as if it understood what a pony looked like, but didn't seem to understand how they moved so instead altered its form to give the appearance of movement.

 

Thankfully, no one had seemingly been harmed during any sighting and it didn't appear to be hostile in nature, but its presence in Ponyville had unnerved some ponies and Strong Copper's research into the matter had turned up the second worst kind of results; A wide ranging glut of information. While the existence of shadow 'entities' had only been confirmed recently by Stygian, legends and myths about such entities went back a long way into the reaches of history, covering a wide range of roles in those stories from helpful and kind to cruel and malevolent. Stygian's experience was important of course, but a singular encounter with a singular entity was nowhere near enough to justify applying that knowledge across all shadow like creatures. 

 

And so he stalked to streets of Ponyville after dark, searching for an possible entity that he knew very little about with little knowledge of its motivations or even that he was actually dealing with a 'shadow entity' at all. It wouldn't have been the first time that somepony believed they saw something and got spooked by it before spreading that fear among the herd and causing them to jump at shadows themselves. Regardless of if there was something out here or not, Copper's mark insisted that he had to go and look for it to be sure. Having slipped on a pair of cloth shoes designed to muffle his hoofsteps a bit to allow himself an easier time to move without making a lot of noise, movement from the corner of his eye in one of the nearby alleyways caught his attention.

 

With care, he started to make his way closer, intent on finding out what that movement was... hopefully without it seeing or detecting him first. 

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Spike chortled "Insomnia? I've got the opposite of that, I had to drink a whole pot of coffee just to make it this far and I have another thermos in case I need it" he explained, even though there was no clear place for him to possibly have it stored since he was only wearing a hooded cape and it was not weighed down in the slightest...

 

He snorted "required? no. you must have moved here after twilight left, imagine the nerdiest pony you can... ok, now make that pony twice as nerdy... that's still not as nerdy as Twilight is" he he laughed quietly "Honestly, it it weren't for all her royal duties and the guards watching her every move, she'd probably be out here herself sneaking around... like I said, all we need to do is ask somepony some questions, but Twi had to make it far more complicated... I have half a mind to just sit down, read some comic books for an hour or two, then go back and tell her I failed and we need to do it the sane way instead" even though spike was being quite critical of Twilight's plan, it was still clear that this was all frustration and at no point did it seem he had any negative feelings towards twilight... well maybe that she was too nerdy for her own good...

 

For the moment spike didn't seem to notice the second pony walking around, but given the fact that the dragon's eyes were still glowing, indicating his darkvision was still on, there was no doubt that he would very quickly notice movement out of the corner of his eye...

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Lope barely listened, keeping his eyes out for suspicious movement. Even with his trainer's dark vision spell, it wasn't easy to see out here. "Wow, that sounds pretty rough," he said absentmindedly. Some movement caught his eye, and his whole body tensed with preparation to dart. But as it drew closer he relaxed. Just another unicorn out for a stroll past dark. Geesh, and he had thought Manehattan was the city that never slept! So many ponies were still out and about apparently. "So who's your mark then?" he said, returning to the conversation for a moment.

 

He heard a spell aura activate inside his ear canal, and the voice of his trainer rang as if she were right next to him. "Agent, would you hurry up and dispense with the pleasantries? We've got a job to do here, remember?" 

 

"I know," he whispered in response, forgetting that he was talking with Spike momentarily. 

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It only took a few seconds for Strong Copper to confirm that the figures in the alleyway were not the shadowy entity that he was potentially searching for. Normally he would have just kept going about his business after that because he didn't want anyone getting involved in his work and the best way to do that was to stay out of the affairs of others, but while one of the beings in the alleyway was clearly a pony (an earth pony from the looks of it), the other was a young dragon wearing the most 'Look at me, I'm trying to do something without being noticed' cloak he had seen in a long time. 

 

Tilting his head slightly, he couldn't help himself as he said "I'm sorry to overhear but... out of interest, did you select that cloak or did Twilight? Because I'm suspecting the latter... and if that's so she really doesn't understand the concept of stealth, does she?"

Edited by StrongCopper
Got species wrong.
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"A pony on the edge of town" said Spike, actually trying not to give away his entire mission "though why I was dropped in the middle of town when the pony I'm after is on the edge I don't know... maybe its so late that twilight cant aim her spells well" he laughed a little, not realizing that the more likely answer is that twilight already had a spell setup to sent creatures to the center of town and it was simply more economical  to conserve her magic and use that, rather than a perfectly-targeted spell... if she even could manage a perfectly targeted spell... that would always be a question in spike's...

 

Spike jumped when the other pony made himself known, both could see the smoke trailing from his nostrils at the start, but it quickly faded as he recognized one of the town's residence, even if he wasn't well-acquainted with him... and spike was quietly thinking 'please don't ask me what your name is!' over and over as this new pony joined the conversation he looked slightly taken back at the question "Rarity says hooded cloaks are still very chic!" he defended, no doubt having only heard rarity use the word 'chic' and having no clue himself what it meant... "But Twilight chose the color... I wanted to go with green" explained spike, making it clear that neither of them knew the first thing about stealth... well maybe the first thing - do it at night - but that was the limit... it was times like this that the new princess's lack of experience really showed...

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Agent Lighthoof took the opportunity brought about by this new pony's arrival to try to casually take his leave. He wasn't going to find any creatures just standing here chatting, especially when Spike and he were clearly here on different "royal business." That is, if S.M.I.L.E. missions could be classified as royal business...

 

He started to back up, casually at first, then more deliberately as a flicker of movement behind him caught his eye. His head whipped around, hoping to see whatever it was in full view, but... Either he had imagined it, or it had moved too quickly. There wasn't even an alleyway near where he'd thought it was, which eliminated the possibility that anything he'd seen could have hidden just before he looked. No, it was just plain ol' Sugarcube Corner. Get ahold of yourself, Johdpur. You're acting like a rookie! he thought scoldingly. His trainer would say he looked "like a filly on nightmare night", jumping at shadows like he was. Then again, it was shadows they had come to jump at, so maybe he wasn't being paranoid after all...

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Strong Copper had to give credit where credit was due. "For what it's worth, a green cloak would at least suggest that you were just trying to stay warm while being out and about rather then 'I'm clearly doing sneaky stuff', so... actually can dragons get cold? I mean you've got some kind of internal flame to you..." Copper started... before he forced himself to stop mid-sentence. He would have sworn to Celestia herself that he had seen something move behind the earth pony that seemed to be trying to quietly leave the conversation without drawing any attention to themselves, but now that he had taken a moment to actually look in that direction there was nothing out of the ordinary to be seen. That could mean a few things... but right now he shook his head to snap himself back to the here and now.

 

"Sorry, got a little distracted there. My name is Strong Copper and... well, I don't mean to spread undue panic or rumors but I'm out here because the last few nights a number of different ponies have claimed to see something out of the ordinary stalking around. Could just be the old herd mentally getting worked up because somepony thought they saw something and others are spooked enough to jump at shadows, but you guys might want be careful anyway." As far as warnings go it wasn't the greatest because... well, Copper didn't know for certain if there was something out here or not. But there was no harm in giving them a heads up at least.

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Spike looked copper right in the eye and said "No, I simply wear clothes because I like the way they look" though from the tone in his voice it was unclear if he was being serious or snarky... and with spike it was a fair bet that it was the latter...

 

Once the more serious conversation came up though spike chortled "have you forgotten where you live? there's always something out of the ordinary here, whether its parasprites, long dead gods, or those incompetent members of Team E.V.I.L." he glanced around, as if expecting for the trio to leap out from behind a barrel or off a rooftop and shout their ridiculous mantra... thankfully they didn't seem to be around.

 

Despite his comments though, spike still looked noticeably more nervous hearing that there was yet another possible threat lurking in the dark shadows of this cursed town... he really didn't want to find out what it was...

 

((for the record, atleast with my OC Dragon, they do get cold... though given what we saw in the series during the Crystal Empire episodes, I doubt spike does...))

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Strong Copper's comment brought Agent Lighthoof instantly back to the conversation. Was this pony a S.M.I.L.E. agent as well? He thought only he and Tangent Line had been dispatched... Best not to risk it. He could ask him about it later, interrogate him in a more formal setting. For now, he kept his cover up. "Something? The way you say that sounds like it's something dangerous... Should I be worried?" He took that moment to glance around nervously, though he was actually searching for the "something" himself. "I'm just in town to visit! I didn't realize it could be so dangerous!" 

 

His trainer's voice came through his ear again, this time a bit louder, and much more irritated. Yeah yeah, he needed to get back to searching. But if this pony was searching for the same thing he was, then it could be advantageous to stick around him. After all, the more eyes the merrier. But Lope also needed to figure out why Strong Copper was here searching for it in the first place. Who had sent him? Was he with S.T.A.R.? He really hoped not. Tangent tended to get really touchy when it came to jurisdiction battles between S.T.A.R. and S.M.I.L.E.. He didn't want another feud. 

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Strong Copper... actually seemed to get a little more confident as he was asked follow up questions. "Okay that's a completely fair statement but still..." He answered the dragon, before turning to look at the stallion. "Truthfully... I'm not sure."

 

Sighing softly as he reached up to rub the back of his head, he explained for the benefit of his two person audience "From what I've heard and the research I've done into it, what's reportedly been seen is referred to as a shadow entity... or shadow pony since it generally takes on a pony shape when equines see it. The problem is that there are so many conflicting stories about such entities that it's hard to know what's fact, what's fiction or even if there are more then one type of shadow entity in existence and we just haven't been able to tell the difference. On the chance that this entity is actually in Ponyville tonight, I don't know if it's actually dangerous or means any ill will to anyone; For all I know at this stage it could just be content doing its own thing without bothering anyone or maybe even be some kind of predator towards things that do have ill intent. But if there is one here in Ponyville... I have to locate it and find out the truth.

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Spike gulped hard as a visible shiver traveled up his spike "This sounds bad... really bad..." he said "and far more important that Twilight's stupid worries about Trixie" he commented accidentally revealing another part of his secret mission... "I think I better go back and tell Twilight what's going on, she can dispatch some of her agents who are far more qualified to handle this than us... I think one group of them is even local to the town" he explained as he drew out a small glowing crystal from behind his back and raised it to the sky, about to smash it on the ground and no doubt initiate some kind of emergency recall spell...

 

((I'll let y'all decide: do you want to stop spike and keep him in the plot, do you want to see Sky Pirate Harle show up, or do you want the Trinity to show up (jasper/iggy/cloudy) in any case... this is WAY more interesting than my plot was XD ))

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Wow, this pony was quite educated on the problem. His description was actually very similar in some places to the briefing packet that Tangent and he had received before being dispatched on this mission. Though their intel discussed other possibilities, such as necromancy or other sorcery as the cause, which he had deemed a bit more likely than a shadow pony like Stygian or Nightmare Moon. Of course, there was always the possibility that could be happening. He seemed to recall record of an incident in which F.R.O.W.N. had bathed in some corrupted water and suddenly become incredibly powerful with shadow magic... He wasn't in Ponyville for that, though. He'd only heard about it down the grapevine. 

 

In any case, this Strong Copper was going to be a good ally. "The thought of a demon like that stalking Ponyville... Gives me the jitters!" he said, shaking to emphasize his point. "Let me help you search for it. Two pairs of eyes is better than one, after all. Besides, I'm a pretty good athlete, and It might be nice to have a runner and bucker if things get hairy." He kicked his back legs in the air as he had when he was a buckball star, ignoring a slight pain in his haunch from the sudden exertion.

 

Then Spike mentioned getting the Princess to dispatch some of her agents. And if that meant what it usually did, that would mean S.T.A.R. "No, wait!" he said, reaching a hoof to stop the dragon. But coming down from his show kicks slowed his reaction time, and he could tell he wasn't going to be able to stop the crystal. His mind pleaded for Strong Copper to be faster than him...

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Where physical speed and might seemed to fail, magic succeeded. Strong Copper's horn had lit up briefly in order to prevent Spike's crystal from hitting the ground by catching it mid air.  Considering his reaction time to it, his decision to stop Spike from teleporting away to talk to Princess Sparkle was independent of whatever fear had gripped the earth pony stallion. Holding the crystal in his horn, Copper sighed as he explained himself a little to the little dragon "As I've said a few times, I don't actually know if there is anything actually here. For all we know, somepony believed they saw something that wasn't there and got spooked before spreading the story and putting others in the state of mind to think that a shadow over there moved. I've only met Princess Twilight once back when she visited during the mayoral elections and I don't want to drag her away from whatever important work she's doing solely for rumors and hearsay."

 

Strong Copper did actually pause for a moment as he looked at Spike and remembered what he had been talking about before. "At least... I thought she would be doing something important or sleeping. What exactly is she doing?" the possibility that letting the young dragon go get the Princess in order to get her mind off of whatever strange track it was currently on was an idea that Copper had never had to consider before.

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Spike is Several Disappoints by PsychoanalyticBrony

 

Spike gave copper a look of 'really?' as he held out his claw and let loose a small green flame, which condensed into another crystal identical to the one that copper was holding, falling into spike's open claw "I have like a dozen of these" he said dryly "Twilight never checks if I use one, and always gives me a new one, so I've saved them up." clearly right now he was more annoyed than angry at the action... but he was still annoyed "Knowing Twilight, she's probably reading something... whether that's some important legal document or a book she got from the royal library is up for debate... and its not like she's be coming here personally - the guards watch her too closely for that, and don't think Princess Celestia is above giving Twilight a good scolding for running off on a whim" spike had never actually see celestia scold twilight for such things, but he assumed it happened... and even if not, it made for a good explanation "Besides, I know for a fact she has both mobile agents who could be nearby as well as one group of agents who actually live part-time here, so its not like it would be interfering with her night, and besides, she'd get her assistant back a lot faster this way" he added, a bit of an awkward look on his face, making it very clear that he didn't want to be here with dangerous monsters roaming about... or even just possibly roaming about!

 

 

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Strong Copper's expression slowly morphed into that of awkward embarrassment as Spike not only proved to have more crystals to call upon, but also listened to the full explanation that no, it would not be as big a deal as Copper believed it would be if word got back to Princess Twilight Sparkle. Silently offering the crystal he was holding in his magic back to the little dragon because some random stallion having the ability to teleport into the Princess' presence without her permission or knowledge would be a terrible idea, he rather humbly and politely said "Sorry... You're right. I just... didn't want to waste her time if it turned out to be nothing is all."

 

His pride as a professional aside, he didn't really have any objections for other experts in the field to come in to have a look around. After all, Ponyville was kind of big and there was a lot of ground to cover where any sort of being could hide and the fact was since he didn't exactly have a trail to start with, Copper was just walking around, hoping he got lucky and came across the thing. So Spike would get no more objections from him... the other stallion through...

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Lope was relieved when the crystal arrested, but again worried when Spike brought out another. And even more so when Strong Copper agreed with him! "I'm still not so sure," he said, trying to at least stall the dragon a little. It was imperative he kept S.T.A.R. out of this. His trainer was a hard flank already. She was a nightmare when in a jurisdiction battle. "Maybe we should do a little investigating before we decide to call in the royal guard. After all, if it's nothing, I think Twilight's ponies would be rather annoyed to be troubled in the middle of the night over a false alarm, don't you?" Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes, was all that was going through his mind now...

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Spike was about to take the crystal when he heard the other pony's strange comment, he turned towards him, letting copper hold onto the crystal for the moment "You seem oddly resistant..." he said, hoping that nobody would notice his knees starting to shake and smoke starting to trail from his nostrils as he build up a belly full of flame "...maybe we already found the mysterious monster..." he looked lope right in the eye with a predatory draconic glare... something twilight (not to mention a certain other dragon that was a friend of his) insisted he learn... despite the fact in his mind he was screaming 'please don't eat me! please don't eat me! please don't eat me!' having no clue that of the three creatures here, he was possibly the most dangerous between his fire and his dimensional magic....

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Strong Copper couldn't help but raise his eyebrow a little as he looked at the stallion who continued to insist not to let word reach the powers that be. Out of the three of them, Copper seemed to be the most at ease of the group; A bit part of this likely was because he had actually elected to get involved in a possible hunt while the others didn't, but having had some experience in this kind of field likely didn't hurt in the slightest. Looking at the stallion in question, he decided to state in a no nonsense tone of voice "If this whole situation is nothing more than a prank on your part, now would very much be the time to admit to it while we're still at the stage were some ponies might feel a little silly but they'll laugh about it afterwards."

 

Turning back to Spike, Copper decided to try and rebuild some credibility with the young dragon after stopping him from disappearing earlier. "For what it's worth, I wouldn't mind having a dragon like yourself at my side. Even a young dragon like yourself is a force to be reckoned with... but since we have the option rather then being forced into a situation in which you couldn't just teleport out of, it would be wrong to ask a child like yourself to possibly risk themselves if this turns out to be malevolent in nature.

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Great... Now he was the object of both of their suspicions. "What? A prank? Of course this isn't a prank! And I'm not a shadow pony, either! Until tonight, I didn't even know there was a shadow pony! I just... worry about calling in royal assistance. Something about it just gives me the heebie jeebies. Maybe I'm just in denial about there being a possible monster attack on my vacation spot and calling in royal assistance will make it all seem too real to me. I don't know. I just think maybe we should get a little more info on what we're dealing with before we call the princess." 

 

Being in the spotlight wasn't his forte. He was supposed to stay out of it as part of his job description, in fact. Now that he had gained their suspicions, the spotlight was where he was, and he needed to do what he could to get out of it.

 

Then he saw it again. Out of the corner of his eye. There was something there, and then there wasn't, almost like it had just appeared long enough to be noticed and then vanished as instantly as it had come. His head jerked towards where it was, but not nearly fast enough. "Did you guys see that...?" he asked, pointing in the direction of the motion.

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While spike appreciated the vote of confidence from copper, he was more than happy to let Twilight send out somecreature else to deal with this. When the suspicious pony claimed to see something, spike jumped slightly. he was NOT cut out for this! but forced himself to remain calm "what your saying doesn't add up" he said "if your in denial you wouldn't be looking for it, and if you only just heard about it and thought it was fake you wouldn't be looking for it... I don't trust you, and being a dragon - a creature pure of heart and unable to tell lies- I can also tell when somepony's lying to me" he said, even though it was complete horsetrots... it still sounded impressive and threatening and most ponies had no clue what 'facts' about dragons were real and which ones were false... he REALLY hoped he was right about this stallion lying now... otherwise it might get spread around that his story was fake...

 

"Hold onto that spellshard, copper, something's not right, I'm going back to Twilight. If things go really bad, use it. If not, just give it to whoever Twilight sends to look into this" he said, even though his voice was wavering a bit as he spoke, it was clear he was scared trot-less and eager to leave this to the professionals. Without another word he leapt into the air and threw his crystal down, vanishing in a flash of purple smoke...

 

Now the question was exactly who Twilight was going to send out to deal with all this...

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The young dragon made some pretty solid points... with the exception of that bluff about dragons 'being pure of heart' and 'unable to tell lies'; That was just complete horse apples as far as Strong Copper was concerned, but he wasn't going to out the dragon's attempt to capitalize on the ignorance of others in pursuit of the truth. However, as much as the possibility of... actually, did that stallion ever mention what his name was?... well, as much as that stallion pointing that he swear he saw something move was a possible distraction tactic to try and change the subject, Strong Copper did have to take a look around for the sake of confirming that there wasn't anything currently there. 

 

It was around that point where Spike vanished into a puff of purple smoke, leaving Strong Copper with the spellshard from before... and deciding to slip it into a pocket of his jumper for safe keeping rather then just holding it in his magic at all times. Lighting his horn up in order to cast some proper light and make it easier to see in the alleyway (and make it harder for a shadowy entity to successfully move around in theory), Copper sighed as he looked at the stallion. "Alright. Where are you staying? I'll escort you there for your own safety."

 

 

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