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A Harmless Bit of Fun (Closed)


Aisede
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Finally, she had time to settle down and have herself a day off. That's not to say she couldn't take some time to herself anytime she wanted- she could easily task one of her copies with managing her little shop, or tinker with that prototype spell to think for her- but even then she couldn't help worrying about little Albedo. 

 

She'd installed every security measure she could think of. A kraken empowered by an angry lich could not so much as graze her construction without considerable effort, and yet, still she worried. But worried no more, as her little guppy finally got her chance to greet the world, and her two sisters still remain in the womb, safe and sound. That's why she was out exploring again, just herself, in the flesh.

 

She'd left Albedo with Aloe for the day, trusting in her love to care for their foal with instructions on what to do. It wasn't too complicated- just love her, and make sure she has plenty of space to roam. Best to leave her in the lake, then, and utilize one of her potions. 

 

Adventuring wasn't quite her mood at the moment. She'd went into the heart of Tenochtitlan not long ago, encountered a powerful mage in Mareais, and one if her imitations was currently weathering blistering cold on her way to this crystal city that has been mentioned a few times in passing. But none of that was truly important right then- what was was her first, true friend (besides Aloe)

 

Twilight.

 

It wasn't difficult to pinpoint her location and transport herself nearby, taking on the form of a chameleon before scurrying her way further into whatever locale she was currently occupying.

 

No, what she intended to do for the day was a simple matter of spending time with someone special to her. She smiled at the thought, and the warmth it brought to her diminutive reptile body.

 

"Hello, Twilight," she thought at the mare. No reason to startle her, although she doubted that mare could miss her arrival. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Princess Twilight Sparkle had another great success under her proverbial belt. It had not been one she had expected to give her any appreciable issues to begin with but that never stopped potential issues from driving her mad in the preparation. There had been essential zero chance that the Saddle Arabians would have decided against signing the Century Agreement; it was mutually beneficial and the two nations were already fast friends in most areas. Now Equestrian magic experts from a wide variety of fields were set to work with the Sultan and his people to see how magic could benefit that nation, and in return Equestria would be given technology and access to a wide variety of resources it naturally lacked. Such an agreement had been proposed multiple times and neither nation had ever turned it down, but other events always came up and stole their attention. Now, they were finally going to cross that barrier and a hundred-year agreement had bee signed. She was certain there would be more signed as the centuries passed, but this would do for now.

 

The full Equestrian delegation could have been teleported home but then they'd have to jump right back into courtly duties immediately. Instead, the REN Majestic, Flagship of the Royal Diplomatic Transport Squadron, glided through the skies above the Sparkling Sea. A staff of over fifty plus crew and guards made their way to and fro while Twilight occupied the Royal Suite. It was here that she found herself writing some letters and reading some dispatches, passing the time lazily for once. It would take about a week to arrive in Fillydelphia, where there would be a small function and some minor checkups before they continues to Canterlot. The second half of the trip would only take one day, aided by Equestrian weather. And then, well, back to work. No rest for the weary!

 

She felt something try to teleport into a space close to her. Unfortunately it would encounter trouble. The Majestic was outfitted by a series of spell matrices designed by Twilight to counter a wide array of magic. Combined with the movement and the first element of the signature was phasing into the wood of the vessel itself. Very strong to get even that far. Even a cursory examination allowed Twilight to understand who it was. She disabled the spell matrix and reset the position of the ship as she finished writing a letter to Rarity. The chameleon that was Rose found its way into her suite, hopefully safe, sound, and none the wiser. Twilight would have to get Rose to stop surprising her like this! As she drank some tea and leaned back, Rose's voice entered her mind. Twilight didn't bother replying silently, however. "Nice to hear from you Rose! Getting into trouble or just coming for the company?"

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Rose was, indeed, perfectly healthy as she arrived in the diplomatic unicorn's room. Long-distance teleportation like this always required her to consume a potion for a lack of... Certain modifications, but that was alright.

 

"My calculations may have been a bit off, but impressive work nonetheless." Chuckling, she scurried her way up to the lavender lazypoke and up her leg, sticking her tongue out in mild amusement. "I just wanted to spend some time with my favorite alicorn. Life at home a little too lax for my liking."

 

And with that said, she scurried up the rest of the way. By the time she reached her head, her body flashed in a burst of pyromantic light, and Twilight found her shoulders weighed down by a large sea snake.

 

Hugging the mare rather loosely, she scanned the room, flicking her tongue out to sample the chemicals in the air. "You should be outside, enjoying the view. The waters here are spectacular."

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Twilight allowed herself a smile as the Rose-Gecko moved its way up and spoke to her. Rose was a fascinating friend and a creature of unsurpassed magical peculiarities. She could have just teleported herself into the ship instead of being a gecko if she wanted to hang out, but no matter that. Maybe she wanted to just be set aside when other ponies came in, having Twilight when she wanted and none of the business awkwardness that would come with it. With all that said she made sure to wrap the sea snake around her neck like a scarf and stood up. "Your favorite Alicorn? Well, how many do you know?" She asked jokingly. It was a low bar to pass! She stood up and trotted over to an intercom that was near her bed. She entered a small combination and pressed a button and waited a few seconds for the ship to do the work. When she was certain it was connected, she spoke into it. "May I have some Mujadarra? I'm working up quite the appetite up here, so if you could make...hmm, six helpings, that would be satisfactory. Thank you," she said before releasing the button. She then flew over to a large couch in the center of the room and leaned back, half on the snake and half on the cushion.

 

"The waters out there are great, yes. I was planning on heading out to the observation deck later, after the moon settles. Water watching is much better reflected in moonlight," she said matter of factly before sighing. "Besides, whenever you go on a state trip the hosts always want to show you the great vistas and views of their homeland. Grandeur and wonder become common and basic after a while. I'm always more impressed by the small details of a host, anyway. Every nation has grandeur within it, after all. You learn a lot more by studying the habits they forget more than the elements they know to show," she said as she made sure to orient her reptilian scarf correctly. "How's Aloe? Albedo?"

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Rose chuckled as Twilight treated her like the apparel she was masquerading as, settling back in place once the alicorn sat back down. Serpentine bodies were almost all muscle, so it'd take a lot more than laying on her to make her remotely uncomfortable. 

 

You are the first such being I have encountered, Twilight Sparkle. And it was true. She had heard of three more- no, four more- and was sure to encounter another at some point in time, but it was by no means a priority of hers. Although... I would not be averse to seeing the result of some 'cultural exchange' ~

 

Rose radiated amusement as she coiled up to Twilight's body to be just a touch snugger, resting her head above where her shoulder would be. I have already lived a lifetime alone... and it is a tragic thing. Thankfully, I have Aloe now, and my dear Albedo, who are both doing well. Albedo is developing well, and Aloe... She flicked her tongue again. Well, she is probably still recovering. She was so very excited to see me off this morning, personally.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Twilight chuckled mentally. "The only Alicorn culture is statescraft and temperance. I mean, maybe Celestia should have written a book called, 'The Alicorn Arts'. Everypony would read it thinking she would unveil all manner of interesting and awe-inspiring secrets. Instead, they'd find the most boring treatise on statescraft ever written, even more numbing for the disappointment the reader would feel. Unless I was the author," she said as she allowed the pause to be pregnant, "then it would be even more boring. I'd make sure of it!" Twilight said as she winked and laid down long wise on the couch, allowing the snake some room to breath even though it wasn't needed. She wa snothing if not polite. ''

 

And so was Aloe, it seemed. How nice and not at all too revealing. "Well, I am happy to hear that you two are still  *excited* after the birth of your first child. It would be awful if the flavor vanished after just a short while. Speaking of flavor, do you like Halawat El Jibn?" She turned to the snake and furrowed her brows. "This one stallion kept on offering it to me and it was very good and all, but he seemed all too excited to cook it for me. Well, I guess a lot of Horses there were interested in seeing how I'd like their work and wares. So much jewelry! And so much flattery. What is up with all that?" She asked innocently, finally deciding to un-seat the snake  after deciding that petting it didn't feel very good. Not very good at all, actuality. She placed the Rose-Snake on the table.

 

"Have you ever been to Saddle Arabia? I'm sure you have. I've always found it a very welcoming place. Very hot though. Maybe I'm biased. Canterlot is a mountain city, after all."

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My, Twilight made alicorns sound so charming and wise ~ The thought made Rose giggle.

 

Upon being placed on the table, she immidiately transformed into a loggerhead turtle, intent on getting comfortable. She found that solid surfaces didn't quite cater to this creature's comforts, however, and smoothly transitioned into an Arabian oryx, elegantly stepping off the table to seat herself properly.

 

"Halawat El Jibn, you say?" She touched a hoof to her chin, looking up thoughtfully. "Yes, I do believe I am familiar with it. However, it wasn't in 'Arabia' but Assyria. Legend has it that was the birthplace of the very first sea-pony, can you believe it? ~"

 

The antelope giggled in mirth, although there was some truth to stories... "Ah... The commoners never change, and neither does their veneration towards nobility. Well, nobility that they don't want to burn at the stake, of course." Those were good times. She wondered, briefly, if 'witches' still existed in this world, or if the term had fallen into mundanity. 

 

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Twilight couldn't help but smile. "I can. The Assyrian Templates are some of ancient Ponish's most obscure texts, but they have had such influence on everything from the Roaman myths and Vanhooveian Tribes to the Strandsassian Cycles. Of course the first seaponies came before the Assyrians but we won't hold that them against them, now will we?" She said as she moved stuff around for her friend. No one could blame Rose for not leaving a heck of an impression with her consistent transformation. She needed to be a little more comfortable in her own skin! It did make Twilight wonde just how many forms she reliably used and how many more she did rarely, and whether there was an effectiveness differentiation.

 

The oryx was an unusual choice. Very Arabian of her, but also awkward. The crew knew that there were no Arabians on the ship at the moment. She would need to explain that when the food came in. Or maybe not. She moved from species to species very quickly, after all. "Oryx, an interesting choice. Did you know that our studies indicate that the Oryx are only a few generations away from achieving a higher intelligence? It will be the first new intelligent species in over fifteen hundred years!" Twilight said excitedly, her giddiness nearly overwhelmed her. She knew it was a tricky process. A number of hooved species were close to achieving that. There were things She could do to push it along but she desperately wanted to influence such matters as little as possible. "Do you want to know the last, by the way?"

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Rose would never admit it, but she really wasn't comfortable in her own skin. The form of 'Rose' was the purist persona she could imagine because of who it originally belonged to, and she could never take her 'true' form without being utterly repulsed.  Luckily, today was a leisurely day where she could break all of her own rules and do whatever she wanted- and right now, that included being whatever she wanted. 

 

"I didn't!" She said with a gasp most dramatic. "It's hard to believe no species have made that breakthrough in such a vast amount of time. I'm assuming the last species to gain true intelligence would have been an ungulate?" She leaned forward, anticipation radiating off of her in palpable waves. That was, perhaps, an odd trait of the changeling queen: sometimes when she became particularly invested in a topic, her thoughts sort of 'spilled' out. 

 

Of course, the moment she sensed another living thing heading in their direction she would change into something else. Perhaps a rose-ringed parakeet? It'd certainly be humorous to see a servant walk in to see her talking to a bird. 

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  • SteelEagle changed the title to A Harmless Bit of Fun (Closed)

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Rose's excitement was infectious and the lover of all things scholarly buried deep in the breast of a Princess shared the same fascination. "Correct. Well, all intelligent life is ungulate in some form or another, but yes," she started up as she brought a book out of nonexistence. She flipped a few pages to the subject, the ancient bovines. "Bovines. They achieved some manner of higher intelligence some fifteen hundred years ago and have evolved since then. It has made their use in the dairy industry interesting," she continued as she flipped some pages. Indeed, there was always some concern about it. Equestrians always allowed the bovines to leave and considered them valued friends, but truth was there were problems due to some traits of the bovine. "They don't have a civilization or even the means of protecting themselves and have strong sense of panicked herd instincts. So we keep them safe, keep them fed, and in return they work for us," she turned to Rose with a bemused expression. "We once tried to force payment on them but they didn't have need nor want for it. Eventually we just found the bits littering the pens and the fields, and those we forced to leave always coming back. An interesting relationship!" She ended on a high note. She knew a few bovines that worked with Applejack. Kindly lot, simply in many ways, and they gave Applejack no shortage of headaches. All it takes is one of them to start a panic!

 

A knock at the door. Twilight perked up.
"Come in!" Twilight said as she cleared the table. Slowly the door opened and in walked an overworked young stallion, his horn vibrant as he held tightly onto not one or two but six full helpings of Mujadara. Seeing the open space he slowly placed them down, visibly releasing tension when done. "Thank you," Twilight said as the stallion bowed and turned to walk out. Twilight took one long sniff of the food. "Smells delicious! Don't you think? If you want any, dig in. I know you like some of the better things in life, after all," she said with a giggle to Rose. Meanwhile, the stallion gave her a confused look before slowly leaving, closing the door silently.

 

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This pony never ceased to amaze her, and she chuckled as she watched Twilight enjoy her food. 

 

"You know, Twilight, I'd have never taken such a humble mare as yourself to indulge in so many luxuries." Despite now being a bird, her voice still came out nearly the same as if she were a pony. The perks of being a parakeet.

 

Seeing as the servant had departed, and they likely had some time to themselves at last, Rose transformed one final time back into a pony. Granted, this time instead of an average unicorn, she turned into a classical one.

 

Nestling her forelegs under her barrel, she levitated some of the food to her mouth to sample it, humming in satisfaction. 

 

"Ah, the cheese has the perfect texture, but that servant of yours can out outperform a native chef." Taking a moment to clean her mouth and flick her leonine tail around her flanks, she looked up. "But speaking of dairy, I do beleive your assessment is not entirely correct. Perhaps bovines were the last creatures to develop intelligence in this world, but ungulates are not the only intelligent creatures. There are breeds of cats and dogs that also exhibit this trait- crafty creatures they are, in fact. And greedy too. You would not beleive how many pirates back home consisted of feline crews."

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Twilight playfully rolled her eyes but it wasn't wrong. "It took some cajoling. It didn't feel right at first," she responded quickly as she started to eat. She then shrugged, "but somepony's gotta keep all those chefs that Celestia had on staff employed!" She said with a laugh. Indeed, outside of guards the kitchen staff was the largest staffing department in the castle. Alicorn diets were an exciting thing!

 

Speaking of excitement, some even more obscure evolutionary history came up, and she was quite excited. "That is a common belief, yes. But the truth is a little trickier. The felinids share a common ancestor with certain segments of griffonic society *and* Diamond Dogs: The Yali of ancient eastern Long Guo. The Yali were an ungulate species and one of the earliest documented species to produce a formed civilization. Eventually, natural disaster drove the Yali from their homeland and their rapid evolutionary abilities changed them. Those that moved underground to safety evolved into the modern Diamond Dogs. Those that moved to the areas formerly battered by the chaotic landmass evolved into some of the modern griffons, while the rest became the felinids. While it would be impossible to notice it now, they all share that common ancestor which also helps explain why all three species and other ungulates can co-mingle," she said in between bites, big bites. Indeed, the evolutionary history of species was a fascinating subject, and using the timestream to see the evolutionary paths had proved illuminating.

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Rose had to admit, that was fascinating. She tried to think of some other creatures, but her limited exposure to sentient life left her at a loss... Or she had been about to admit defeat when another thought crossed her mind.

 

"That sphinx... Niilavin, I beleive. He is a very large creature, clearly from a land far from our own and sporting leonine features. I do not believe his kind is derived from the likes of griffons, or this Yali, yet he is sentient, and clearly very intelligent. What do you have to say about his origins, Twilight?"

 

She really should get to know him better, if just to satisfy her scientific curiosity, but she'd been so busy lately the thought had left her mind entirely.

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Rose was trying to slip her up, but Twilight was prepared. Sphinxes were one of the oddities of the modern world and what a wonder they could be! "Sphinxes are magical creatures from another ancient lineage. While we are more familiar with the modern line of Sphinxes, their bloodline included a large amount of variants. This included what we believe were the first given intelligence: the Karnaki, or Desert Sphinx, found first having migrated from deeper within the Great Desert of Saddle Arabia. The Karnaki were ram-headed," Twilight said as she playfully tapped Rose's head with a spoon. "Ungulate. You have Yokai and Sirens, but they are closer to animated spirits than intelligence species naturally. Dragons did not naturally evolve intelligence: It was gifted to them," Twilight finished speaking as she started taking bigger bites.

 

The food was good. Delicious. Perfect even! Much like her visit. Which reminded her that Rose never really answered the question. "You never did answer me, by the way. Did you ever visit Saddle Arabia?" She asked as started to drink. She was always interested in seeing how others viewed the evolution of nations and societies over time. She knew what she knew and saw what she saw, but Rose always brought interesting views on others. Usually darker, but darkness needed to be exposed to the light, not hidden anyway. "Oh, and after you're done, I got you something. I think you'll like it."

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Rose's eyes narrowed on the pony as she effortlessly invalidated her claim, but such as life. It would seem intelligent life really was all ungulate in some manner or another...

 

"No," she said, taking another bite of her own food. "I have not been to Saddle Arabia, not in this world or another. But I have met creatures from such places. It surprised me greatly when you said the oryx here were not intelligent..." She trailed off as she contemplated the forking paths of evolution, and how similar yet different two worlds that mirrored each other could be. "In any case, I have been exposed to some modicum of their culture, and intend on visiting it one day."

Readjusting her posture to get more comfortable, her ears perked up at Twilight's last statement. "Oh? For me? Ah, you shouldn't have ~" She said with a chuckle and dismissive wave... although she was burning with curiosity now.

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Twilight's horn lit up. "Eyes closed!" She said excitedly before gently laying the present on the table, in between all the food. She hadn't wrapped it- that was reserved for special occasions, Pinkie Pie's orders- and took a pleasant breath. "Open up!"
It was a spherical astrolabe with some interesting changes. The rings could be moved into different positions manually, but also moved on their own. "It is a rare example of an Saddle Arabian Celestial Astrolabe with active aetheric connection. It was built with the help of unicorns to help track the stars. It keeps an accurate star map, and not just for today, but for past and future as well. Our world is in the middle. When you slide the location around, you could see what constellations and stars were visible on any night anywhere in the world. It is said it takes a Saddle Arabian craftstallion fifteen years to make one to such a precise degree, and that even a momentary failure on the unicorn's part in casting the astrogeoistorical spell can ruin it," she said as she stared at it, fascinated like a foal with a new schoolbook. Or a toy, same difference.
"How cool is this?"

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Fascinating indeed. Perhaps she didn't do the best job expressing it, but it was an object of great interest to the mare, and a gift much appreciated. Shifting to her true, normal unicorn self- for reasons even she couldn't fully explain- she took the object in her magic to examine it, mindful not to handle it too roughly.

"Fascinating..." Flipping it around, there wasn't much to see on the other side. Hm. "Mariners where I come from used a device much like this to help guide us at sea. It tracked the latitude of the Polar Star or sun..." Snorting, a fond smile came to her. "My sail master, Tail Wind, would use one all the time. He had a deep fascination for stars, and would often elucidate me on the intricacies of sextants and telescopes..." Closing her eyes, she let herself be taken back to another life, holding the device close to her heart. "Even when we were totally lost, he was a beacon that led us home..."

 

Opening her eyes, she faced the little device. A drop of moisture splattered on the surface and she simply willed it out of existence. She hadn't realized it, but...

 

"I miss him..." She knew this was supposed to be a happy moment. It was a gift, after all, and a very thoughtful one, but it also brought back memories. A melancholy gripped gripped her heart as she realized she would never see him again. "I miss all of my crew, even if I wasn't the kindest captain... " Releasing a shuddering breath, she planted a solemn kiss on the surface and held it dearly to her chest. "I hope they're alright..."

 

For just a moment, the sound of crashing waves and the groan of a wooden hulk could be heard, faintly, throughout the room.

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Twilight nodded along with the use of the astrolabe. Indeed, it was still an important part of a mariner's toolkit. Those who knew how to use them and use them well could earn themselves quite a living. "Astrolabes are still used. This is a special one," Twilight said as she remembered the specific details of it's creation. Indeed, there were maybe five like it in the whole world. The artisan and unicorn who made it were very unique in their field, as was this piece. She listened to her speak. The astrolabe had the desired effect, if not necessarily the exact way of getting there that Twilight had wanted.  "He sounded like a good stallion. Seafarers are indeed a special breed, and you were a special leader of them," she started as she continued to eat. It was only right to allow Rose the time to pour her emotions into the subject. "We are all alright if our minds be so. If you led them well, then be sure that they are happy now, wherever they are," Twilight said with the finality she wished the subject deserved. Fact was, not all fates were kind.

Rose knew that as well as anycreature else. But just as not all fates were kind was a truth, so was it that for most creatures the wild waves and strings that made fate up existed often beyond their conscious control. Rose had always done all she could: There was nothing else to worry about.

Twilight got up, levitating another serving as she walked over to a window. The sun was shining off of the sparkling sea that was undisturbed by any of the numerous critters below the waves nor by any ocean-going craft or even a cloud. Truly a picture of sunny wonderment. 
"Did you ever sail this wonderful patch of ocean, the Sparkling Sea?"

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Taking one last moment to consolidate her feelings, she returned her attention to the alicorn, wiping at her eyes. "My lieutenant likely did a better job at that... Before she realized what I had become."

 

She never did know what happened to Tarot Card, but she knew it'd take a force of nature to bring her down. Wherever she is now, she's making the best of her circumstances.

 

Heeding Twilight's words, she approached porthole, gazing out into the sapphire depths.

 

"Neigh, mine was the Alboaran Sea. Much less hospitable than your fair waters, and teeming with monsters of all kinds. They did make for a decent meal from time to time, though."

 

A thought occured to her, then. And then another right after, filling her with a sudden energy as she wheeled on the pony.

 

"Oh, have you ever tried the fried liver of a sea serpent? Most ponies may not have a taste for it, but when prepared right- Ah, the texture is like... Well, like chicken, honestly." She supposed it was a marine lizard. "Oh, oh! We should take a dive! Get our hooves wet! I can setup a temporal stasis field for a couple minutes and we can dive into the sea! They'll never know we were gone ~"

 

She seemed absolutely giddy for this, almost bouncing on her hooves. 

 

Suddenly, she began rapidly transforming into various aquatic creatures, telepathically jabbering about what makes them facinating and how neat it would be to show them to her.

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Twilight nodded along, though her wry smile told a tale on it's own. "Yes, one of the Nimbusgait lakes. You may not have known it, but that 'sea' has been tamed for some time. The kraken is used as entertainment last time I visited there," she said, whistling the Kraken's song as she remembered that so very awkward meeting. Beyond that, she had to break her friend out of the habit of saying the olden names for these places. The Aborean sea no longer existed. Luckily she knew the context, but others would not be as knowledgeable. "The key being of course that when it comes to Equestrians, monsters are far less of a threat than the idea of loss of control. That is what makes this ocean more dangerous at least to us. We have no weather control here. Wild, wild weather!" She snorted disrespectfully at the sea. The Equestrian in her would always have a distaste for disordered elements.

 

As she contemplated the varied strengths of nature in it's opposition to Equestrians, Rose? Rose was going nuts. In a fun way, a charming way. She was transforming from animal to animal, aquatic in nature all, while talking up the prospect of hitting the waves. Twilight wasn't really invested into the idea herself, but she was invested in her friendships. She held Rose in mid-air as she was transitioning to a too-large critter for the ship. "I'll pass on the meat eating, but I'm sure we can take a dive."
 

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News of this sea's taming was certainly new to Rose. But, then, everything was new to her. This world was so much more peaceful than her own, at times it's easy to forget she's even in a world like her own. Or time? Whatever Rose Prime did, it probably involved both.

 

Weather control? Rose snorted at the mere notion, having transformed into some kind of orange serpent- before changing back to her original form. "The only control you should be exerting over weather is the wind itself. It's bad luck to spite the spirit of the sea." Grinning, she suddenly turned into a many-fanged sea creature of some kind. Or else it'll get ya! 

 

This time, she turned into her sea-pony self after hearing Twilight's confirmation. Balancing on her tail, she clapped her hooves in delight. "Excellent! Perhaps we will find a sunken ship, or lost artifacts of an ancient society!"

 

With a flash of her horn, a flask appeared between her hooves, its purpose obvious once Rose asked her next question. "Oh, should I use the spell or are we just diving out the porthole? It's so much fun to dive from great heights, and with my potions, I don't have to worry about breaking every bone in my body!"

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