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A Dark Journey


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Throughout the town of Ponyville, a series of posters has been plastered across lampposts, buildings, signs, carts, benches, and even the odd pony or two that was too slow to avoid it. The well penned posters had looping, dark red filigree designs along the edges to catch and draw the eye to the equally expertly written message held within:


Count your blessings, Ponyville! An absolutely golden opportunity awaits you! I am searching for a few lucky fools peons minions assistants to have the honour of joining me, the one and only, Dark Core! Master of Evil! — and his second-in-command Colonel Croaky — on a once-in-a-lifetime journey far to the north, deep within the Badlands! [A drawing of the general area around the Sea of Ruin is drawn next to the paragraph]


There is bound to be numerous dangers and threats along the way, none that I need worry about of course, but not all of you are quite so lucky. Thus I suggest bringing plenty of supplies for any such occasions. Your reward, of course, is being graced by my presence as well as getting to have the honour of helping carry back any treasure that I find save for the singular relic that I am after. Which is on a need to know basis. You don't need to know. Should you have the fortitude and intelligence to wish to join me, meet at the northwestern exit of Ponyville the morning of [the date has been repeatedly replaced four times]! Failure will, of course, not be tolerated.


- Dark Core, Master of Evil


Beneath each of these posters, a second, smaller poster has also been attached with similar hoofmanship:


Fine! Any assistance will be rewarded with a share of any treasure found during the journey, not including the relic I'm after! Which again! Is need to know! And you don't need to know. So if the honour of working for me isn't enough for you greedy goody-two-hooves there's potential treasure on the line now! Yeesh.


- Dark Core, Master of Evil


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Out on the outskirts of Ponyville, Dark paced to and fro impatiently. The colt had been trying for days now to get some labour willing to make this highly important trek. It wasn't like he was asking much! A few folks willing to make a trek to the north, bring their own supplies, and carry things back for no pay wasn't that big of a deal. But after some troubleshooting with Colonel Croaky he came to the conclusion that at least SOME kind of enticement might work, it's hard to say no to treasure, even for goody-two-hooves. Surely someone would follow, he even put some posters up at that blasted school and it was full of sparklebrains that would help out someone blindly! He hoped anyway. Otherwise this would be a long journey...

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Tongue Twister was trotting back to her wagon after visiting the Post Office to see if she had any mail.  There were a few job offers that she'll sort through later.

 

She stopped short.  There were posters on her wagon !  It had only been a few minutes, and somepony had plastered advertisements on her wagon !

 

She sighed.  "I hope it's not another 'Buy One for the Price of Two !!' sale on widgets ..." she groused to herself as she took down the posters to read them more closely.

 

She quirked an eyebrow upward as she read the notices.  "A self proclaimed 'Master of Evil' plans to set off into the Badlands to look for an unspecified relic ?

 

With a departure date changed four times.  On a notice written by hoof.  And only later decided to 'grant' some sort of incentive to actually go ?

 

That's - a disaster just waiting to happen !  Throwing together a quest like that will usually end in failure; heck, even quests with weeks of prep can end in failure.

 

Most likely, we'd have to send a search and rescue party after him.

 

And 'unspecified relics' can be troublesome.  Nine out of ten magical disasters happen when some unfortunate goober finds Something That Should Not Be Found.

 

Hmmm - we could potentially save Equestria from a disaster by going along to keep an eye on things.

 

Well, at least we can write that on the Expense and Reimbursement forms for STAR ... 💲"

 

With that, she put her mail inside a drawer in the wagon and adjusted her heavily enchanted gear : the blue and silver Second Chance cloak to hide her altered wings, her saddlebags, and the four necklaces she'd taken a habit to wearing.  Three of them look normal - the 1st place medallion for winning the Running of the Leaves, a small Klein bottle full of a smoky blue liquid, and a good luck scarab necklace she bought while on a 'mission' in Saddle Arabia.  

 

The fourth necklace, on the other hoof, was by no means normal.  It was a small, roughly cubical thing that looked like somepony was carving something they'd never seen before, without watching what they were doing.  It was a Fair Play charm from Tenochtitlan.

 

She put on the harness and pulled her wagon to the northwest exit of Ponyville.

 

"Let the madness commence !"

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Muziki was never bored in Ponyville. It was so different from everywhere else she had lived. It was not the hustle and the bustle of the big city, nor the scenic panorama of the nomadic Savannah of her birth nation. It was the middle ground, and she knew for a fact that every day it seemed like she understood it more and more. The very act of learning ponies both in their small day to day ways and in the larger mythos that informed them was worth every bit of her love and attention. It was harder to translate it into unique Unyasan bard ballads sometimes, but worth the effort in any case.

 

But she had to admit that she was mostly just being a passive creature in Ponyville. She read, she listened, she took part in classes but she didn't get to experience the same history as they had lived. So no, she wasn't bored, not at all, but that adventurous spirit that burned within her was not being well tended. So it was when she started seeing all these flyers plastered around town promising adventure and danger and treasure and all those things that she was assured waited at the very heart of a good adventure.

 

And so it was she approached Dark Core, trotting happily. She had a large saddlebag well-stuffed and stocked, and her green and blue bardic hat on just so with a recently acquired pegasi feather sticking out of it (she loved to tease that silly colt). She found the Dark Core and his little colonel croaky as well as a well-looking mare with a cart. What a good group! She bounded up to the Dark Core, whom she had seen once in a blue moon, a little note sticking out. "He-" she started, then remembered to spit the note out, "-pssbbs, okay, there going now. Okay, hello there! I am Muziki, and umm, I have heard that you are going on big danger adventure and treasure hunting?" She beamed happily before reaching back down to pick the note up. "I asked ma and pa if it okay and they said yes and give note. Umm, maybe they not know badland! No matter! This is permission slip. May I be in adventure now?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

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At first glance the fellow could have been mistaken for a mule with his long ears and off-grey coat, but this was definitely, most definitely a pony, a pegasus in fact, by the two little wings on his back. The pony appeared to be a strapping, young colt on the cusp of adulthood. It was most definitely not a draconequus in disguise after seeing a poster offering adventure and unknowable danger! You see his Ogre and Oubliettes team was on hiatus for the season, something about family obligations and apple picking for one and tenacious book worms on the cusp of some discovery, needing their draconic assistant with the other. On one verse or another everypony seemed too busy for Discord! Even Fluttershy was busy today at her Sanctuary, so it was up to not Discord to entertain himself!

 

At the cost of everypony else's sanity.

 

He decided to bring with him a saddlebag with tools as it was wholly uncommon for pegasus to simply manifest objects from thin air. The ruse was for convenience and amusement as it was inevitable for the draconequus to forget he was in disguise. For now the pegasus would arrive at the meeting place with a flick and swish of his non-magical tail. With a bemused chortle and guffaw, the eccentric draco-- pegasus would perk his long ears and grin.

 

"Well it seems I'm not the only one-- pony interested in a bit of adventure. Good. It would have been quite boring with just one."

 

Master of Evil, huh? He looked Dark Core up and down. Did that mean he got to play hero? After all the very inkling of an ancient relic was quite a curiosity. There were some things ponies shouldn't have and it was his responsibility to determine whether or not they should keep such things. After all if said relic had any possible world ending capabilities he couldn't, in good conscience, leave it in their precarious hooves.

 

 

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Dark had to admit a measure of surprise, glancing up at Colonel Croaky who seemed just as taken aback that one pony showed up! Let alone two... wait scratch that, three! Three minions... er... Mooks!... No, assistants! And one of them even had their own cart! If that wasn't fate, destiny, and good luck all having a card game and smiling down on his expedition, he didn't know what was! Everything was coming up Dark! And the zebra even had a permission slip? That was basically as good as a liability waver, hah!

 

The unicorn gave a charming grin as he adjusted his cape, even in the fairly still air it seemed to billow. With a little nod Dark would take the permission slip and look it over before slipping it away into the myriad depths of his cape. "That is correct and yes you may!" the colt would nod to Muziki with a wink. "You're all quite fortunate you showed up when you did, I was near to departing myself, cautions be damned." polishing a hoof he'd glance over to the strange, gangly pegasus who spoke up shortly thereafter, nodding in agreement as well. Honestly, as much as he was sure he'd be just fine going by himself, it would be incredibly dull without someone else taking risks so he didn't have to!

 

... There was something about that pegasus though... He was the cable pony right? So few ponies had TV here in Ponyville... and his eyes... Ah! Of course, it all made sense now... "You know you should really get that checked out. You might have jaundice, nasty stuff that." with a wave of his hoof Dark turned his attention back to the group at large.

 

"Now!" reaching into his cap, Dark dramatically withdrew a map, flicking his horn to unfurl it with a flourish. "Before there are any questions. Our first stop will be within Froggy Bottom Bog to gather up supplies and the like from my lair for the journey. The trip takes us that direction anyway so it would have been foolish to carry everything down here and then back! Imagine." the unicorn shook his head as he trailed a hoof along the path, tapping on the Bog's location on the map. Where his hoof trailed it left a dotted line in light grey, and a small X where he tapped.

 

"From there, there are a couple of options. We can either take the direct northwest route through the Everfree Forest, take a stop in Breakbeak City before continuing through the Valley of the Dragon Peaks, the Great Leota, over the Webwing Mountains, and through the Tenochtilan Basin to the Sea of Ruin." Dark pointed out but did not trace the route as he spoke. "There's obvious... 'Issues'..." the colt would air quote. "With that route, as I'm aware that many ponies prefer to not go through the Everfree."

 

Dark rolled his eyes a little, yeah the Everfree could be dangerous, but only if you were stupid! Or panicky! Or when there during the times that the creatures in the forest were hunting. But so long as you knew what you were doing it was fiiiiine! Either way, he continued. "Another, saaaafer... but more round about option is to make our way across the Velvet Strand between the Nimbusgait Lakes. From there we would take a stop either at Rainbow Falls or Sveltahorse depending on how tired I am... and the rest of you too I guess. From there it would be pertinent to go north to the Crystal Empire and resupply before heading west to the Sea of Ruin. Quite cold that region."

 

Pausing a moment he'd look over the map and grumble a little bit. "And my least preferred method as it would take the longest, even if it would be the 'safest'... Would be to once again head north through the Velvet Strand to Stalliongrad and then catch an airship either to Talonopolis or the Crystal Empire and then head to the Sea of Ruin from there." Looking up from the map finally he'd glance between the trio of intrepid... Okay maybe one intrepid and two very mildly intrepid ponies. One did have their own wagon after all. "Now, are there any questions?"

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Tongue Twister was slightly surprised that other ponies showed up.

 

She was slightly perturbed by the fact that she was the oldest pony there.

 

Their 'intrepid leader', the one that set up the artifact hunt to the Sea of Ruin - was a unicorn colt.

 

But, then again, Cozy Glow was just a pegasus filly.  That nearly ended all magic in Equestria.  So it may be best to NOT underestimate him.  For now.

 

One adventurer was an extremely exuberant zebra filly with a cutie mark for music.  Which seems slightly odd - musicians aren't usually the sort to go off on adventures on a whim.

 

Unless, of course, she's a bard.  Then it'd make sense - bards are always looking for new songs to sing, new stories to tell, and new adventures so they can have tales and songs to tell about it.

 

Not sure what to make of the older pegasus colt though.  Puberty hits ponies in different ways, but it looks like puberty was using him for a punching bag.

 

Nothing wrong with that.  She remembered a cousin that was all knees and elbows for a few months, but she filled out just fine.

 

She listened as Dark Core laid out their possible routes, and thought for a moment.

 

The third option was the worst - chartering an airship to go to anywhere but a city is expensive, and usually needs a week or two (or more) leadtime so a company can find somepony to make the trip.  She doubted Dark would have the money on hoof to purchase boarding for himself, much less four ponies.

 

The second option took a bit of a detour to the Crystal Empire.  Everypony would need cold weather gear just to make that detour.

 

"What time were you planning to leave ?" TT asked, "One trick to getting through the Everfree forest is to go through as fast as possible during the day.  So starting there around dawn would give the most daylight.

 

As a linguist, we've spent months at a time in the Tenochtitlan Basin studying and learning the languages.  So at least that part of the journey should be simpler."

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The pegasus who joined them was indeed a vert strange looking member of the pegasi collective. He looked so interesting! Did small wings make it hard to fly? Magic was weird like that, so maybe not nearly as much as it would appear. She was very excited to get to know all sorts of creatures on this trip. “Hello there, pegasusus! I’m,. umm, I’m happy to be able to seeing you come. It will be tons of fun, yep! What’s your name?” She asked infectiously, trotting around him for a moment before turning over to the most (probably) responsible member of the crew. The gang. The super group of fun?

 

“Oh, you’re a linguini ist?” She considered it for a second. “Umm,. Pasta food? No. Umm. I am sorry, I am not so good in the Equestrian, what is that?” She asked as she paid very little attention to good manners and started looking in and around the cart. It looked pretty good. It even had the good wheels! Not the bad wheels like she often saw ponies use. She could get rude about wheels. Respect your instruments, ponies and catbirds and whathaveyou! “I’m Muziki, by the way. Nice to meet you!”

 

As she walked around and looked at almost everything possible- carts, pegasi, flowers, butterflies, the beautiful sky- but not really at the maps. She did listen. She didn’t need to look at maps or facts and figures, she could just hang on the emotions and the heartbeats of fellow adventurers. For this, she just hung on what the esteemed leader said. “Oh, I would be interesting to go through the Everfree. I have heard many tall tales! I want, umm, I want to see if maybe they are true or big fibs. Do the trees get up and try to gobble ponyfolk? Sounds scary!” She said, with all the enthusiasm that laid low those words. 

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The drac-- pegasus flustered at Dark Core's commentary. His half-formed wings fluttered before he lightly tapped his forehoof against the ground.

 

"Hardly, these are all natural! The princess said she loves my eyes the way they are!" He was sure Celestia never complained about the lovely dandelion yellow hue of his eyes. "Besides, nothing like sharp 20/20 vision to serve as the party's scout, hmm?" He mused. Though his vision wasn't quite 20/20 and more like 20² given his ability to immerse himself in the past and future.

 

That aside...

 

Tongue Twister seemed to fancy themselves a linguist, though the spirited 'pegasus' wasn't quite sure what good it would be to understand how tongues worked. He had one, he knows how to put his tongue to the tip of his muzzle. Crossing his eyes he looked down his snout, poking his little pink tongue from his lips. Amidst attempting to center the tip of his tongue on his snout he was greeted by Mizuki.

 

"Oh ho ho, I go by Disconnected Cord, though you can call me Dizzy!" He chuckled, turning his head around, burrowing his muzzle into his pack before pulling out a rubber hammer. "A master of repairs! If it's fixed I can break it and if its broken I can fix it like no other pony!" He tucked the hammer back away before turning to Dark Core.

 

The lad wanted to cross half the globe, but what better to kill some time!

 

"We what are we waiting for? It sounds like we have all our supplies at hoof." He pointed his hoof slightly. "The path through Everfree Forest sounds much more enter--expedient!"

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“Oh, you’re a linguini ist?” She considered it for a second. “Umm,. Pasta food? No. Umm. I am sorry, I am not so good in the Equestrian, what is that?” She asked as she paid very little attention to good manners and started looking in and around the cart. It looked pretty good. It even had the good wheels! Not the bad wheels like she often saw ponies use. She could get rude about wheels. Respect your instruments, ponies and catbirds and whathaveyou! “I’m Muziki, by the way. Nice to meet you!”

 

Tongue Twister smiled as Muziki - little ones were always a bundle of fun.

 

"A pleasure to meet you as well." she began, "A linguist is someone that studies languages.  How to speak them.  How they're related to each other.  How they change over time.

 

'Linguist' is not a common word, so we are not surprised you haven't heard it before.  You speak Ponish very well; how long has your family been in Equestria ?" she asked. 

 

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As she walked around and looked at almost everything possible- carts, pegasi, flowers, butterflies, the beautiful sky- but not really at the maps. She did listen. She didn’t need to look at maps or facts and figures, she could just hang on the emotions and the heartbeats of fellow adventurers. For this, she just hung on what the esteemed leader said. “Oh, I would be interesting to go through the Everfree. I have heard many tall tales! I want, umm, I want to see if maybe they are true or big fibs. Do the trees get up and try to gobble ponyfolk? Sounds scary!” She said, with all the enthusiasm that laid low those words. 

 

TT thought about it for a bit.  "The trees are about the only things that DON'T get up and chase after you.  Some of the vines there will grab anyone that passes too close if you're not too careful.  Piles of sticks on the ground might just be a resting timberwolf, ready to form up and pursue. 

 

Or those stepping stones across a pool might just be a cragadile waiting for a meal to come by.

 

There are a few rather spectacular magical creatures in the Everfree, but if one is careful, they can be avoided.  Or outrun.

 

We've even heard that a zebra has been living in there for years with few problems. "

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"Yes yes, the princess loves us just the way we are." Dark said as he gave Dizzy's shoulder a pat. Every peon deserves their delusions after all. It kept most of them nice and tame and easy to keep underhoof after all! All it takes is a few 'compliments' and most sparkle brains will do near anything you say. What a gaff.


Turning his attention back to Tongue Twister, the unicorn would withdraw a rather nice looking pocket watch from his cape, black with red inlay. An old model but clearly well taken care of. Popping it open then closing it after a moment with a little click, Dark nodded. "The day is still young, the plan is to leave by noon at the latest. The trip to my lair isn't very far and the bog rests at one of the more narrow points of the Everfree." the colt would slip the pocket watch away before nodding in agreement with Twister's assessment. "The trees aren't a problem, no. But there are creatures that can be a hassle if you don't know how to avoid them yes, and plants that can be worse." flicking his cape dramatically, the colt grinned.


"Luckily for you I'm versed enough in the former and well versed in the latter to keep you lot from becoming a snack. Short of Zecora herself... or the Princess and her cadre I suppose... he waved a dismissive hoof towards the Crystal Castle. "You could hardly ask for a better guide!" While some of that might be bluster, given the colt lived out in Froggy Bottom Bog, it did mean that he at least was surviving having a hydra as a next door neighbor. And living that close to the Everfree's edge came with other challenges too.


"Dizzy there has the mostly right of it though. Unless you lot have supplies you wish to grab before we depart from town, we'll head directly to my lair and pick up what I've prepared." Dark clapped his hooves together, Colonel Croaky mimicking the gesture atop his head as he looked between the trio.

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One other adult, it seemed, had gotten a copy of one of the fliers. And while normally this pony's presence would have been announced with the trundle of a cart and the creak of a harness, today there was only the swish of wings and the gentle clinking of well-secured bottles. The third pegasus of the adventure arrived with very little fanfare, walking up from behind Dark Core with a mane braided back into a tight weave that would stay out of the way for weeks without intervention, and a daisy chain of almost organic looking whirls and swirls winding up each foreleg and around the barrel of his chest in stark white, creating a cross of wind in the teal fur that matched the winged staff on his flanks.

"I would appreciate," he said as he lifted his flight goggles off of his eyes and fluttered his bicolored wings, "If anyone with spare space could volunteer to carry some extra medical supplies. I'm not a doctor, but the more ingredients we can carry with us, the more salves and medicines I can mix up if we have any accidents." Windwright said, the confident smile on his face hopefully enough to offset the seriousness of the request.

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Dizzy? She could get down with that name. It seemed like a good one. His real name was much too long. Too many ponies had names with too many syllables and words. Dizzy. Rarity. Big Mac. Keep it short and sweet so she didn't accidentally get in trouble when saying Applejack's name. Zap Apple still laughed about that mistake for reasons she didn't understand. "Okay Dizzy. You have very long tongue. That is cool skill, bring it to snout!" She said, thinking positively of all the contortionists and other performers she and her family worked with in Manehattan. Ponies sure could be very interesting folk!

 

That counted for Twister. She was a little embarrassed by her confusing him for a specialist in pasta, but she wasn't going to deny that it seemed like an appropriate talent for a pony. Somepony had to be making all those pastas! "Oh! I am sorry. I did not know. So you are mtu wa lugha nyingi?" She asked, smiling. "Mama is that too. She speaks Zebrish, Unyasan, Ponish, and Griffish. I don't know how speak Griffish, but I can speak Ponish for full year half now! Ever since, ever since, ever since we come to Equestria in Manehattan for performing," she said, excessively proud for how far she had come. "Maybe I become linguini too?"

 

Beyond her unintentionally pasta laden prediction, she nodded happily at Dark Core's affirmations. If he was as good as he said he was, and Muziki was inclined to blindly believe him, then it would be easy peazy! "I have all I need! I have food, I have water, I have quill, I have paper, I have salve for throat, I have two potion bottle and two sets, I have bag for sleeping, I have two tool, I have first aid, I have extra hats I have coat, I have good luck charm, I have mask, I have mbira, I have long socks, I have covering, I have-" She continued, her life spent traveling unfurling before them as she saw yet another new figure come up.

 

Another Pegasus! So many wings. She would need to learn how to fly or she'd get left behind. And his wings were so pretty! Wow! His goggles were cool too. "Welcome to adventure! I can be making some room," she said jiggling her packed saddlebag. "It sound full, but I can make it! And so we all will! Let's go team adventure!"

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He puffed up his chest at Mizuki's praise. "Why thank you. There aren't many who can appreciate it. Something about unnatural gifts." He huffed out with a pfft and waved his hoof dismissively. "It's so difficult being burdened by such skill."

 

Bag space? Bag space?! The pegasus wiggled his ears and clopped about in place, his little hooves tapping on the ground as his twisted tail twitched.

 

"Ohh, I've plenty of bag space, for miles. But I do like her bag. It's adorable. You know I have a bag like that, except it's orange with purple buttons!" He motioned a hoof towards Mizuki's bag. "You know making a loud statement with one's fashion is always fantastic!" Of course that loud statement sometimes upset the natural balance of fashionistas -- seeing as orange did not go with purple.

 

He couldn't wait to get going. He was sure Dark Core had a lot of experience giving his homestead, but there were secrets to be revealed that one can only discover once they become an adventurer. Sitting back on his haunches he clapped his forehooves together.

 

"Oooh we should also all have matching cloaks. There's going to be a lot of rain." Of course it made sense for anyone to guess about rain happening during a journey and preperation was key, but this was something a little different. This was something a little more chaotic...

 

 

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Dark clicked an ear as he heard the tell tale sounds of another arrival. A familiar clink of bottles gave him a fairly good clue as to who it just might be... Dramatically turning on a hoof with a flourish of his cape, his assumption was confirmed! "Ah! Windwright, what a pleasant surprise!" Pleasant on one hoof because at least he knew one of the tagalongs well enough and having another experienced alchemist on board meant that the unicorn didn't have to do all the heavy mental lifting! On the other hoof though, Windwright was closer to the Goody Twohooves side of the scale... Time will tell he supposed.


Glacing over at Muziki as she went on rattling off everything she brought, Dark couldn't help but think she was planning more for a camping trip than a continent trekking adventure... But then again, wasn't adventure just camping with extra steps? Looking between Windwright and the rest of the group, he'd wave a hoof. "I've plenty of space in my cape if need be. And I'm sure that our cunning linguist over there might have room in her wagon."


Moving forward towards the head of the group Dark glanced around one last time to make sure there weren't any other late arrivals. With a nod the colt clapped his hooves together. "Alright! Let's start getting a move on towards Froggy Bottom Bog. Once we're at my lair and everything needed packed up, we'll cast one final vote on which route and get a move on!" with another wave of his hoof, and once he was sure everyone was going to follow, the unicorn started off.

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"Oh! I am sorry. I did not know. So you are mtu wa lugha nyingi?" She asked, smiling. "Mama is that too. She speaks Zebrish, Unyasan, Ponish, and Griffish. I don't know how speak Griffish, but I can speak Ponish for full year half now! Ever since, ever since, ever since we come to Equestria in Manehattan for performing," she said, excessively proud for how far she had come. "Maybe I become linguini too?"

 

"Yes.  We are 'mul.ti.lin.gual' " TT replied, "We can speak and read almost every language known.  All it takes to become a linguist is the desire to put in a lot of time to study and learn languages and other cultures.  And get a few highly advanced academic degrees from schools.

 

Your mom speaks Griffish ?  That's not a common language. Nor an easy one.  We are impressed."

 

Another adult showed up !  A pegasus with a lot of bottles and some exquisite bleach work.  And one that Dark Core knows, apparently.

 

Judging by the numerous secured bottles, he's either an alchemist or a potion maker.

 

Securing all those bottles doesn't sound like a problem - Dark Core has room in his cape, Dizzy has 'bag space for miles', and she can make some room in her wagon if needed.  As a pegasus like her mom, Tongue Twister didn't like overly closed or tight spaces.

 

She tilted her head at Dark Core - that 'cunning linguist' remark stopped being funny when she heard it for the third time.

 

Twenty years ago.

 

"Is he even old enough to know what that wordplay even refers to ?" she mused to herself as she hitched to the wagon and started walking after Dark Core.

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Windright rolled his eyes at Dark's 'wordplay' and chose to ignore it. "Excellent. I know where Dark's 'lair' is, but I'll need someone to help fetch the extras from my inn room, and we can get them distributed later. Cloaks are a good idea, and galoshes with hard soles. Are there any other supplies we need? Otherwise I'm going to shove about six miles of gauze and thirty pounds of ingredients in Dark's cape and call it a day." The alchemist said, smiling genially.

"Ah, right. Our fearless leader mentioned it, but my name is Windwright. I'm an alchemist by trade. I'll probably be trying to collect a few seeds and samples on the way, but I'm mostly coming along to help make sure we all get back in one piece each. I know our little rapscallion, and it'd be a shame for him to end up in a Tatzlworm's gullet."

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“Oh! I know all about being a burden with skill. I, umm, I am winning my tribe’s Wimbo wa Ndege before we move to Equestria. It is high honor! I am excited to being better at perform with family, have a lot to live up to!” She boasted proudly. It was nice being able to talk to such a talented skilled artist as  Dizzy. And he liked her bag! He had very good bag taste. “Thank you! Bag has seen a lot of travel. Very tough! You can, umm, rumble and tumble in jungles and doesn’t tear. Well, maybe it will. But it has not so far!” She said proudly, slapping her bag a few more times.

 

She did appreciate Twister being patient with Muziki, the older mare saying the word one syllable at a time. “Oh, thanking you. I will try to...multi-lingy-nail?” She said, her accent throwing it off. “I like to travel too. I am used to travel. Actually, staying in place is weird. We walk all over Unyasi and learn about all kinds. Same here! Always fun to learn. Papa says that, umm, to learn is to live. And I like living!” She beamed, then nodded emphatically. “Yup! My mama is super smart. Griffish is hard to speak. So many, umm, hard sounds for beaks!” She said, mimicking a beak as best she could. Then she bit her tongue in doing so, rubbing her mouth. “Ow.”

 

She resolved not to do that again. As she rubbed her mouth, she heard what was said and realized she had the space to help!
“Umm, Mr. Windyright! Maybe that is good idea. Some go, with Dark to lair, I go with you to get extra since I have so much room in bag!” she said, waving off the group that started with Dark Core while she pranced over to Windwright. “I don’t want miss much, so lets be super duper fast!”

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

 

Blink and you'd miss it.

 

When the group began walking the young colt was out of sight. Next thing that could be ascertained of his presence was the fact he was now in the back of TT's wagon. His fore hooves were crossed over one another and hanging over the back, his rump swaying in the air with every wayward bounce. His prepubescent looking wings were folded over his back, mule-like ears swaying in a nonexistent wind. He looked around, taking note of each pony that had joined the caravan. He was quite Impressed that the young sorcerer was able to amass an entourage with a simple missive posting. Despite that, this was where they had arrived. At an almost devious pace, the herd sluggishly strode towards their next destination. 

 

Why was it that ponies and other creatures insisted on walking everywhere? Even those with wings that could fly and sorts with magic who could make it to their destination lickitysplit just insisted on hoofing it. Maybe it was some deep seeded instinct left behind by migrating herds or some acquired taste regarding meandering, but Discord wasn't the meandering sort.

 

And since he wasn't here, if it would please the court, neither was Disconnected Cord. He reached a fore hoof back into his pack and pulled from it a sheet of paper. Flopping his rump onto the bay of the wagon he would begin the meticulous process of folding the paper into a crane. He held up the paper bird to put it on display. Satisfied with the prestige of his work he set about folding more. By the time they arrive he would have folded exactly 1000 of them in the back of the cart.

 

On his 1000th crane he would pop his head up from the deluge of folded fowls that now filled the back of the wagon to its brim.

 

"Are we there yet?"

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