>>28116624 "You did not ask and I did not think of it at the moment, so there is no apology needed Zhun." >Tipping her head in polite dismissal towards you, the Duchess' lips set in an unsure, amusingly wavy line. "Well… at least two hundred years ago the Underground was directly funded from Canterlot's coffers along with the College. Princess Celestia's continued eccentricities, one being the allowance of her alternate ego and the second her contempt of both Lunar and Solar aligned ponies able to mingle freely contributed to them becoming somewhat isolationist as a result. As my mother's lineage comes from Stalliongrad royalty and my father's is barely Canterlotlian, I've little knowledge of their history, but they do make some impressive creations, several of which I've purchased to aid my sculpting." >Unfolding a pink crystalline tea set from absolutely nowhere, or so it looked like, Amerose nudges a petite cup towards you, another towards Pearl Lake, leaving a third in front of Dancing's still slack face, and peering into her own with subdued calm, the Duchess corssing her forelegs, giving you a mock devious smile. "An easy question, I prefer those. Since Razorback arrived in Canterlot, Starborn agents have been tracking seven confirmed humans outside of Razorback in Equestria. How do I know? I know which noses to boop. Three are probably related to other factions, two are virtually unknown, one lives in Caneighdia, and the last one was reported deceased some time ago in the Empire. Princess Luna circulated an order, a no-interdiction protocol I believe, to be put into place after her sister's explosive emotional outburst at the Palace. Starborn members are not allowed to make contact with a human unless they are given explicit approval from her grace, yet if a human presents a significant enough danger towards ponies that would warrant taking direct action, they are obliged to do anything necessary to rectify the situation. If such an action has been carried out, I have not heard of it. Mind you though, it is wrong to say that the Starborn are the true elites of the Lunar faction, they are hoof-picked for noteworthy talents, skills, knowledge, and are ranked according to increasingly difficult to succeed merits. Regardless, there are more true elites, such as that very hoofsome Captain of the Honor Guard I have had my eyes on for a few years now, than there are active in Equestria. The Nightmare herself has denounced those that say otherwise, which leads me to believe that the Starborn are simply more comfortable around her despite the necromarecy and whatnot." >Raising an eyebrow at the Lorekeeper dumping tea leaves and spices into the pot, seemingly at random, the white earth mare turns her focus back to you, nodding in a short, pleased motion. "An astute observation. Earth ponies around her age, between fourteen and twenty, expend their grief in equal parts rage, depression, and frustration, usually all at the same time. Her Mareguards have decreased the severity of losing both her mother and and such a vaunted friend in a short span of time, yet I must repeat my warning: such a severely imbalanced mental state in an earth pony is extremely dangerous. Especially if injured." >The Duchess and Lorekeeper glance at each other, presumably from your third question, sharing questionable ear flicks, nose wiggles, and odd eye movements. "..why are stallions always so eager and willing to get into trouble? Does he have any idea what he's asking?" >Amerose places the small teapot on a flat heatstone disc, cracking an amused smile before rolling her eyes at you in a mock accusatory fashion. "I do not know the answer to either question. I am only here to identify relics, answer questions, and provide information." >Staring down at the table for a bit as the teapot warms, Pearl Lake exhales a long, dry sigh, lifting both hooves to press into her nose. "Blasted Crystal ponies and their neutrality.. very well. Please let it be known that while I understand this predicament, somewhat, I simply do not know how to rectify it. What I can share is that the Atrium happens to be Canterlot Underground's only known access point. It is an enclosed diamond biosphere underneath Canterlot in what was once the main flood tunnel for the entire city, though I assume by now it would be greatly expanded. It serves as a hub of operations for preservationists and florists, but most importantly it is the only meeting place for social contact dealing with the Underground as a whole, so there should always be ponies there whom would know where her primary Mareguard, Astra Galus, is. She tends to the rare or nearly extinct flora relocated there and is otherwise a fairly well known Crystal pony mercenary-botanist, and no, I do not know how that works. She specializes in restoring Moors flora and has considerable skill in alchemy, but other than these bits of information I know little. However, rumors state she is rather.. unorthodox mare as she is never seen unarmored. According to a somewhat annoying pegasus that I have the displeasure of dealing with from time to time, she may be pro-Lunar due to her affiliations in Cairn Wharf, thus she could be open to negotiations."
>>28135082 >While her hoof continues to poke at the marble underneath her, Astra's head tilts to the right curiously at the first question, her eyebrows raising. "At the moment, this is why. We are able to communicate at reasonably comfortable levels of context and relation that are necessary to ensure civility. Ponies do not agree with the human 'need' to maintain one's ego, position, and mindset, even if not facing difficult circumstances. I am equally aware of the human needs for social contact, shelter, basic necessities, love, and more. I have come to understand the 'little white lie' as it is called, likewise the urges to maintain and improve the moods of others, the need to protect one's friends, family, even strangers, among many others. With ponies, the first is not liked but it is necessary, the second and third are basic decency." >Lifting and waving the same hoof around in a small circle, the botanist frowns deeply, a twinge of annoyance crossing her face. "I am well aware of human proclivities. I am also equally aware of Razorback's failures, and successes. By your own words you know the average pony's main ideological conflict with humans is merely that: conflicts based upon bias, preconcieved notions, rancor, and prior world habitation. While ponies have evolved in a manner not highly dissimiliar to humans, the basic establishment of cultures, civilizations, rules, laws, and more can be subjectively viewed that the main differences between you and I are simple matters of convenience, upbringing, and ideals. Ponies are rarely callous to the needs of others, so how does being upon another world create a responsibility in the human mind to at least be considerate, or does Razorback not have allies available to teach and guide them? Such answers will not be easy to come by." >Ears flicking in discontent, Astra's visage becomes overtly negative as she sets her hoof down, the muscles in her jaw visibly tightening once. "Whatever your organization could want would not be applicable here any longer. What makes your situation more difficult is that the average pony has done their best to understand the situation Razorback has, for the most part unwillingly, found itself in. I am reminded of the Canterlot royalty whom survived the Solar Tyrant's return in the Palace. What few of them survived, and were once willing to speak, can attest to the strangeness of human interactions. Nonetheless, by creating a self-isolated niche for humans, such frictions shall only continue to increase. Whether the failures of Razorback to integrate with ponies are open disrespect, a lack of foresight or leadership, an unwilling and frankly baffling resistance to self-preservation, or simple carelessness should be examined. I am not alone when I state that Equestria is beginning to look upon humans with morbid difficulty." >Glancing past you to the armored scout vehicle, the Crystal mare pointedly lifts her nose. "..I suggest taking your leave. I can feel my presence being demanded and I do not know how my mistress will respond to what you have shared."
>>28086883 >The white seal returns your stare by puffing it's cheeks out cutely, then snuggles back under the Mercenary Queen's bare yellow wing, managing to wave a flipper at your rearwards retreat. >If anything, Shanis certainly had a unique taste in friends. >Or the Dampener was kicking in multiple times. >Uninterrupted save for the constant difficulty of navigation, upon entering the Library you find it was once again quiet, though the eerie sensation from earlier remained at the front door, your coat prickling and feathers becoming painfully stiff until reaching the stairwell in the rear. >Standing in front of the Alchemy Lab door, two voices could be heard inside: the first, Hodch's droll, I-will-bore-ALL-the-students-to-death unicorn teaching tone in full force, the second an older, annoyed, exasperated, and potentially ready to commit a double homicide earth pony stallion. "-ast time, you are looking for ponies that do not exist, and I am fairly certain that this is an awful joke. I am not going to help you with this inane request nor am I going to spend even more of my valuable time away from projects that are, quite frankly, life or death." "Wipe that smug look off your face first. I came from your damned superiors in Canterlot who sent me around half the city to find you, only to learn you haven't shown up at your office in the Canterlot College for almost a year now, your Lunar friends in the Nightblade's Den couldn't tell me, and to top it all off you were the only unicorn recommended to me!" "I'm allowed to be smug since I'm finishing a bit of research on potentially saving the life of what would otherwise be a permanently crippled human, and after that I'm thinking of cracking open a sealed casket in the grand pursuit of knowledge. Now, as for my 'superiors'? Buck them. I parted ways with the College when they decided that my spending more time with the Starborn was 'inconsiderate'. I would prefer to be comfortable among friends, not self-important faux rivals. Now, if you would please pick those damned thing off the table and leave, a pony vital to my efforts is waiting outside the door to make a delivery that will hopefully save one human's life." >Hearing papers being crammed into something hurriedly, your nose is nearly brushed by the door slamming open, an oversized Day Guard saddlepack mostly obscuring your view of what might have been a stocky, dull white coated and teal maned earth stallion storming past you to the stairwell. >Catching the end of a wistful sigh, Hodch's tone drops into a tired, dull inflection, followed by a curious meow. "Come in Sunny, and yes, it's safe to sit there Nibbles. ..no? I haven't seen anything strange other than that son of a mule, a frighteningly large stack of mail from the Lunar Court, and one of the Royal Guard mares sleepwalking. I should probably have somepony go find her."
>>28171019 >Peering at Raidor with an inquisitive ear twitch, the gel Saddle Arabian shimmers as she nods, reflections of the glowstones in the pool giving her transparent body an amusing number of colors, then takes a seated position in the water. "Manehattan? ..ah, the riverport city northwind of Stalliongrad. My knowledge of mainland Equestria is poor. You are quite far from home Captain, so business it is then." >Examining the crates briefly, the Matron's face breaks into a pleasant expression, bowing her head in a short, firm motion, luckily without causing nausea-inducing jiggles across her body. "Most excellent, my thanks to the both of you. Regardless, now the rest will have their own.. well, 'room' is a bit of a strange term considering-" >Lifting a leg out of the water and rotating it in a circle to indicate the underground pool, then at herself, smiling brightly. "How we must live now. As you can see it is rather difficult for us to, for lack of a better term, 'live' without being in constant contact with water. Fortunately as neither heat nor cold affects us negatively, and we are incapable of experiencing pain, thus why I relocated us here to take advantage of the natural hot springs. Perhaps one day we can compete with the Empire's spas, but I digress." >>28171349 >Returning the wave with a polite, partial bow, Dayi's eyes close as she smiles merrily at you, the firmness of her unusual state at odds with the mare in the main tunnel. >At least the vertigo from that one had finally subsided. "I have little worry. These wonderful crates you humans have are much better as they can be sealed more easily. Our typical method to transport manabombs are within woven cloth satchels sealed by a minor Vortex rune to drain the air from inside. It is no surprise that Shanis pays fairly large sums to acquire even one. She does seem to be a sweet, if rather stiff and formal pegasus, however I am appreciative of her efforts to aid us in such short notice." >Head tilting sideways, the shimmery mare glances you up and down once, a hoof lifting to poke at her chin, which surprisingly does not create any jiggles. "To be quite honest I was expecting the Shieldmares and that goofy batpony, but I must say I am pleasantly surprised to see another human. When you return to Razorback, please let them know that our village stockpiles were safely recovered and delivered to our sisters in Lemongrass Tributary. Though we can no longer live as we had, give the other humans my utmost thanks for freeing us. With how little water was remaining in the well it would not have been long before whom knows what would have occurred to us. Perhaps we would have merely dried out, or perhaps worse." >Poking her chin one last time, Matron Dayi lifts her shoulders, the motion transferring ripples into the water and causing a further series of color changes through her body. "It is not a pleasant thought, but pay no mind. Now, since Shanis sent you both, do you wish to pick up a shipment immediately or shall I have it wait for a time?"
>>93372 "A quick visitation to Razorback has taken me somewhere… I would not have imagined. A surprising change of pace, to be honest." >Raidor looks at the way the Matron moves her gooey hoof, and frowns slightly. "It is a shame you are confined here. Manehattan has an entire coastline of waterfront, should you ever want to experience a different view of… living." >The guard Captain twitches an ear at the last sentence addressed to Ivan and himself, and looks over at the human, expectedly. "I believe we have time to bring a shipment back. What do you say, Ivan?"
>>93341 >Seals everywhere, that'd be the last time she overdoses on Dampener unless she was literally dying. >Her previous sadness all but forgotten, Sunny fluffed her wings in an attempt to chase of the errant feeling of… >Magic? >Yes, magic was used here, strange magic that lingered, felt wiggly and smelt ever so faintly of fear. >Probably had something to do with that trenchcoat wearing mare earlier >Adjusting the load on her back, Sunny had been about to enter the Alchemy Lab when she heard voices. >Her first instinct was to eavesdrop, not out of any particular desire to pry, but because the more she knew… >The second, and far more respectable instinct was to wait until the conversation was done. This did leave her conveniently in place to hear every word, but she doubted any of it pertained to her personall- >And Hodch knew she was there, she might have known. >Stepping out of the way of the Day Guard, Sunny took care not to drop her load of Changeling carapace segments and skull plates, entering the room shortly after. "Where do you want these, si-." >She caught her tongue this time, she had to stop with the military courtesy "I may have brought back more than needed, The Hive is having significant storage problems."
>>93372 >Listening to the gel pony talk, Ivan slowly nods along, debating on asking around Razorback about some of this stuff later. Or he could go read it in a book if someone wrote it down. "We build to last, and… That doesn't exactly sound too safe. Especially if its dropped." >Though he didn't exactly know what manabombs did, he probably didn't want to find out if it went off under his feet. He knew more than enough to know that anything with 'bomb' in the name tended to make STALKERs hurt. "I'll certainly let them know." >>93418 >Ivan idly remembers going to a beach once. Other than that, the swamps were the closest he's been to a large body of water before coming here. Looking over at Raidor, he shrugged and nodded. "Sure, I don't see why not. Anything to keep out of the fortress for a bit longer." >He hopes what he just said doesn't end up with another concussion. also testing the posting thing out so ignore anything that shouldn't be here.
>>93339 >Pareidolia sighs heavily, picking himself back up and sealing his mask. "I hope you understand that what I've shared is out of honesty, not ill will. There's just disagreement from human to human on what should be done." >Opening the driver's door to the VBL, he seats himself and starts the engine. Upon determining that it operates successfully, he slowly revs it over the lip of the translocation matrix pad. (Additional vehicle and equipment acquired. Troubling news for Razorback. New contact status remains uncertain.) >Once the Remnant appears, he requests it take him to Razorback Fortress preferably to a point that can accommodate the vehicle.
>>93338 >Picking up the tea cup, he inspects the work of it while listening to Pearl "Necro…marecy? And I heard about that outburst at the Palace. Really shook everything up huh?" >Hmm…tea time I suppose >Zhun places his cup down "So her guards are helping her cope? And it's understandable with her feelings being strained, especially after what happened recently." >Zhun sneaks a look over at Dancing Eyes, still seeing if she is still here or still in that trance >"Why is she dodging the question? Hell, I could bring witnesses to prove it." >Zhun smirks at Amerose's neutral response and it frustrating Pearl " Well…you might have a point. I did try to see what was wrong since I saw Dancing go from the Library and half-heartedly saved another human from getting a heart attack from the group. It's fine. Hell, I don't really know how to solve it either. Maybe through talking." >"Atrium. Flood tunnel. Plants everywhere." "So it's a giant garden? Sounds…nice really. So this Astra, hopefully she's more friendly than our…unfortunate pony. However, she might be Lunar-friendly because of Cairn Wharf?" >Zhun huffs but casts a playful glance to Amerose "Maybe comparing notes might not be a bad idea."
>>28173321 >Folding one foreleg atop the other, Cho nods at you, or perhaps past you, her eyes glinting briefly in a minor twinge of malevolence. "Ponies of Luna not like politic Bubba, but they hate be told what do much more. Cho not have answers for them, it not easy to live normal life after be in military." >Lifting a forehoof and waving it in farewell, the dull blood red Japoneishsian turns back to her cooking station, pots clanking together merrily as she does so. "Come back soon, you and Razorback always welcome in Cairn!" >Poking out of the cook mare's shack in a reasonably careful search for nearby degeneracy, the pegasus mare squad was probably long gone considering the waves of cheerful batponies crowding the long dock, most of which passed by with friendly claw waves, although a few simply paused to blink at you tremendously curious before skittering on. >Having replaced the earlier crowds of early night time pegasi, the Moorites in view were a mix of hunters, fishers, tradesponies, and, strangely, several batponies with overly laden saddlepacks that were recognized from the attempted auction slash grand theft in Las Pegasus' Undercity that went poorly due to Serra. >Meandering through the crowds in search of what precisely you didn't know, you eventually find your way back to the main translocation dock where an impromptu ring of what appeared to be veterans had gathered, large hats passed around for what appeared to be the first fight's bet. >Among the prospective combatants were a trio of unusually tall batponies, all three mares, each nearly as heavily muscled as the average earth ponies in the Day Guard were. >The first, barely visible due to her dim shade of green with an unruly long mane, was eyeing the second, a droll faced orangish-brown coated mare, were less noticeable than the third: a frustratingly bright red that wavered somewhere between neon and glowing. >It finally dawns on you that having paid so little attention to the confusing conundrum that is the species known as batponies, the only differences you could make out besides the height differences, standing roughly a head taller than the rest, were thicker coats, longer fangs, and having the same mane colors as their coats.
>>96625 >He'll definitely come back around here… provided he doesn't end up getting introduced to the more degenerate mares. >"How long was I in Cho's shack, again?" >After a moment, Bubba just shrugs and finds a place to watch the mares fight it out, only taking quick looks at the hideously bright red mare because it hurt his eyes if he looked at her long enough. >… And once he gets back to Razorback he might touch up on his batpony knowledge. For, y'know, science.
>>27882477 "Don't worry about it much, the one that never takes off his mask is going to help me out too." >Catching Naliyna's tone darkening and mentioning something derogatory about stamps, whatever that meant, the rest is lost to the Vortex Remnant dragging you through one of it's many tunnels, or perhaps something worse considering Eldritch biology, into the Crystal City-State. >Popping into what was certainly Northwest Residential, the oldest section of the city, and the one where Ponther had met an ignomious death in the depths of a destroyed two story house. >Surprisingly, the streets were overflowing with small crowds of Crystal ponies, either heading to a party at the early late night hour, drunkenly struggling to get back home, or trying to help somepony less smashed reach safety. >"Tonight is not my night, that is the first update I can give you. Warden has confirmed that fur wings of Hunter-Killers have scoured the entire Industrial district thoroughly, they've not found the Ward there but are now having 'difficulties' with one of the Ethereals, a Principian he thinks. There is a report coming from the leader of Blue Reach Squad that multiple blood trails have been located three, now two, blocks north and one block east of your current position. No, I did not, hold position, wait for reinforcements, and repeat your last." >Sounding more than a bit frustrated, Princess Cadence pauses at several crackles, making herself heard over the Warden's incomprehensible static and the choruses of cheerful drinking songs beating through your helmet a quarter of a minute later, passing another block northbound through the crowds. >"Blue Reach leader confirming numerous crystalline fragments scattered about alongside the blood trails. The does not THINK the fragments are from a Crystal pony, but they are ill equipped and unprepared to deal with strangeness. Continue three, now two blocks north, one block east. I have another patient arriving, speak later-" >In the distance ahead, multiple squads of Wardens, whether Imperial or Kingdom aligned you couldn't tell, had blocked off the next four streets, easily seen flickers of crystalline spears, halberds, and even a few of the extraordinarily rare twin-beamed lances held at ready towards the east.
>>27866094 >Awakened by a loud noise from a pleasant dream involving a large, pastel red wagon being pulled uphill by four-legged vampires, your eyes open to blearily process a pair of mid-thirties men in different uniforms staring down at you, both visibly expressing varying levels of humor, confidence, and a trace amount of something resembling concern. >The first, in a spotted woodland camo, had a rather common looking pump-action shotgun slung over one shoulder that appeared nearly worn out, the second garbed in an unrecognizable, overly large brown and and grey striped uniform that was probably meant for night time use, the only visible weapon a crisply gleaming bolt-action hunting rifle of indeterminate caliber crossed over his back. "He looks alive, but if he came from the Clinic that means Tipper had her hooves on him. I'll give him a hundred Bits he lasts the night if there were drugs involved." "Comrade, he best be for living for I am not want to play with ghosts again." >Turning to give the second man an incredulous stare, the first leans forwards to shake his right index finger with an angry, accusatory snarl. "Cut that shit out man! Ghosts don't exist back on our worlds OR here!" >Clicking his tongue once, the second stiffly shoves his hands inside the opposing sleeve, his voice openly respectful, yet vocally disagreeing. "But colorful ponies of this world talk, yes? We see many talking and living thing in three years now, what so hard to think that ghosts here too? I say to you again, gleaming ghost with long hair knock on gate, but only Blades and I hear, so either comrade is not tune in with them or he is deaf." >Throwing his hands up in the air, the first makes a noncommital noise of objection, then pivots back to give an exasperated sigh, reaching up to scratch at a shortly cropped crew cut. "Yeah, like dragons and minotaurs and harpies and fuck all else I don't want to make friends with. Look here dude, if you are awake, but most importantly can move, you better head back to the Clinic for a checkup. Your bunk's about to be hot swapped and you don't wanna be here with the two sweaty jackasses that just came back from the swamps."
>>27762846 >Snorting back at your unseen grin, Ghost Jade wriggles her eyebrows in mischief. "Trust me, most ponies look cute in socks, especially the colts. Some find them a little too attention getting for their tastes, especially in the Moors and big cities." >Stretching her wing out in front of her nose, the gray mare watches it continue to twitch unabated, then pauses, her jaw tightening as she sets a concerned expression up at you. "There's a slight difference between Planar abominations and.. real Abominations. If you ever run into the first you can usually run away without them being bothered by it, they're not all hostile, just the smallest, biggest, or crankiest ones. Barring that you can offer them something worthless to take their interest and they'll let you go. If you run into the second.. you'll wish you hadn't. Abominations don't tire and can't be killed by most means. At that point you'd better pray to the four goddesses that backup can arrive on time." >Grinning and offering a nod in farewell, the pegasus lolls onto her side, legs stretching out with a relieved sigh. "Don't worry about me, I woke up great. You just worry about not running into that creepy mare again." >Making your way to the workshop guided by ever helpful signs, written in English and multiple languages that were beginning to hurt your head, and the all knowing descriptive icons of what each building is, you pass by a hardened steel building halfway into the ground, six sets of crudely put together antennae on top. >Sitting in front of the only entrance on the north side was a rough looking half-bird, half-cat being in difficult to see deep blue body armor of an obviously medieval make, the armored tail waving back and forth. >Beak clicking together, presumably in boredom, the catbird seemed oblivious to everything but you walking by, lifting an armored paw in greeting. >The trip was losing focus, it seemed. >Reaching the workshop once more, it was empty this time save for the sounds of sewing from the opposite corner, Krinza's voice calling out towards the door. "Come in, I am not busy. However, if you are a mercenary seeking to rent a hoof shovel, the answer is no, I do not have any on hoof nor am I going to make one."
>>96662 >That endless dream felt like it lasted an eternity. Maybe it did. But he sure as shit wasn't sure what the hell these two were going on about, or how long he was out for.
"Tipper…? Oh, yeah… That's the doc, right?" >Rubbing his head he shut his eyes again, doing his best to clear his head and figure out what was going on.
"Tipper gave me something… Strong as hell. Something for portal sickness. I've never tried drugs before, now I sure as hell won't try drugs ever." >Shakily he tried to stand, steadying himself against a bunk.
"Is it bad to be scared to go back to that mare and ask her to check me again? I don't want another trip through the Kubrick Wormhole to watch myself die and be reborn." >A few unsure steps as equilibrium returned. Finally getting his bearings, he started walking toward the Clinic in search of Tipper to confirm he was stable and wouldn't be suffering any more horrific side effects from chasing crazy horses wistfully through portals all day.
>>28131942 >Registering the command to leave it's current orbit in pursuit, the M-S.O.L.G.'s aperture camera makes a brief shaking motion, then is otherwise still. >Lines of code scroll down the right side of the helmet's internal screen, none of which meant anything to you save for two small notations at the bottom: the exterior pressure was not only low, it was entirely composed of H2O. >The second one was an inability to maneuver more than one degree per five seconds nor reinitiate it's thrusters, leading to the satellite querying whether it should attempt further movement. >Comfortably lazing on the platform, for once not being bombarded by pegasi trying to eat Twisted's hay, or worse, cook on the heatstones strategically placed underneath each pile, the lens focuses in further on the conflict. >The silver vessel was still continuing it's direct course into the Construct mothership, it's range counter ticking upwards rapidly while sustaining increasingly more accurate small plasma cannon fire, the glow from the larger weapons fading, presumably due to limited firing arcs intended for ship-to-Eldritch combat, or more likely, planetary bombardment. >The vast majority of orange weapon fire ceases as a final double burst of white from the rear of the vessel coincides with it ramming into the mothership's hull, though at this range the M-S.O.L.G.'s lens was barely able to focus in far enough for a visual confirmation that the Construct ship was indeed pitching upwards, though at a considerably slow rate. >Minutes tick by as the mothership finally ceases it's nose-up pitch, then the entire exterior surface brightens, multiple gigantic bay doors opening to disgorge streams of orange dots outwards, soon homing in on and covering the entire vessel.
>Allowing their horns to cool off, the cadre of healers, save for the lightning obsessed one, face each other to groan in unison, the lead cracking a merry yet dubiously harsh grin. "Learn to appreciate humor for once in your lives you punless nags, that was an excellent joke." >Ignoring the despondent grumbles, the lead mare eyes the see-through bag of fluid curiously, then turns to eye the unicorn currently gawking at, and through, Tipper's spell into Snakebite's upper legs. "If every healer in Equestria could do this.. I will calculate the highest probability of correctional setting." >Lifting a forehoof and carefully placing it on the first suture, a brief, cool pulse resonates in the air off the lead mare's horn, her snout scrunching in thought. [ 1d6 = 6 ] <M.Casting: Viral Analysis "Based on previous analysis the liquification of his exterior tissues occurred somewhat above the boiling point of water. Only a few Tallus bacterium are able to survive beyond exposures of one hundred and thirty degrees. Those that can are native to the swamps and marshes of the Moors, the lowland jungles and rain forests of Saddle Arabia, the deep rain forests of Zebraica, and a couple other regions that are highly unlikely to have been visited. Those that could have survived at the current time would be Otherworldly or Planar, and I do not sense either. That is not a perfect guarantee, but I suspect there is a less than a zero-point-two percent chance of bacterial infection. Viral will be known soon though I have severe doubts on that due to lacking open wounds." >Sitting back on her haunches, the assigned mare's eyes shut momentarily, opening to visibly wince, her front hooves rubbing together slowly. "Sorry to say, but this one's definitely in my top ten worst cases. Six years of treating combat injuries and each one makes me wish I'd chosen the Alchemy Division. Short order: there's a few collapses besides the greenstick fractures, microfractures haven't quite compounded other fractures enough to warrant complete kanpri banding so I'd prefer using strands for precision alignment. Standard tractioning methods would cause further damage, but there is an upside: the damage is heavily localized over individual surfaces so the five of us will be able to mareually set and infuse each individual fracture between relocating marrow tissue. The down side is that he's going to need a consistent, rigid diet of easily digestible proteins, fats, lipids, minerals, amino acids, and vitamin complexes to recover. My overall medical opinion: his injuries are worse than they look and we need to operate immediately." >Swiveling to make a professional sounding noise approximating that of a medical pony whom knew what she was doing, almost but not quite a soft neigh in fact, the lead mare's nostrils turn up triumphantly, gesturing at six long red lines traced on Snakebite's upper legs. "Most excellent, then so we shall. Well, not excellent as in his lack of injuries, but excellent as in he is recoverable. The incisions are marked Doctor, but if you would prefer I have jade, obsidian, whitesteel, and diamondine surgical blades in my pack should you wish to use them over yours."
>>93418 >Lifting her eyebrows in silent acknowledgement, the Matron tips her head from side to side, visibly expressing distaste. "To that I heartily agree. Visiting Tartarus Isle was eye opening to us all.. save for many overeager questions and requests to taste." >Brushing her chin carefully with the semi-firm gel hoof, the mare's eyes squint humorously. "I would not say we are confined, Captain. Though apt, it is more for our collective sanity at the moment, yet I will keep your offer at the forefront of my thoughts."
>>94015 >Rocking her hoof back and forth in the same motion a human does when they're waving something off, Dayi emits a quiet snort. "Of course it is unsafe. We Saddle Arabians willingly live in striking distance of great danger, half to prove ourselves worthy to our ancestors. The other half is laziness, like any good pony out there, but I do appreciate such sturdy containers. Should Razorback be willing to sell some, and thusly deprive Shanis of her hoarding tendencies, I will most certainly buy them at a fair market price." >Dipping her head in confirmation, the gel-mare's face brightens with a slight, acknowledging smile. "As thanks, should the opportunity present itself I shall do my best to convince Lemongrass Village to sell a few manabombs per month to Razorback, if that pleases you." >Lifting both hooves out of the water and clopping them together, the sound something like a wet blanket being slapped, the Matron's chest expands comically as she takes in a deep breath, then releases a barely heard string of whistles towards the tunnel leading upwards. >Listening for a set of faint replies, Dayi rolls her eyes with some difficulty, then submerges herself in the water until only her head remains above the surface, her ears flicking in gratitude. "My thanks to the both of you once more. Return to Est above, there will be two satchels of alchemical reagents for Shanis. It is a complex and difficult task for any of us to transport much more than a few pounds, that is aside from storing very light items inside our bodies. The idea is highly uncomfortable to the others, you see. But I digress again, you may leave as you will."
>>93992 >Sprawled onto his side in the middle of an obviously new and highly plush chair, one that was probably meant for the average young minotaur instead of a unicorn, Hodch's head lifts, blinking at you slowly over a haphazardly repaired pink journal, pieces of tape covering most of the exterior. >Sitting in the middle of the alchemy table was a dim green coated house cat, two bright yellow eyes staring at you in equal parts puzzlement, curiosity, and sleepiness. >More precisely: it was a Moor cat, the shiny, leathery wings on it's sides ruffling the fur around them. >Probably not a hallucination, though why was he talking to it? >Meowing again, the Starborn snorts to himself, or perhaps at your near-slip, then lifts a hoof as you enter in the traditional, and amusing, unicorn motion for 'whatever you like'. "I also doubt she'd like that, so no. Also, every time you say that from now on I'm going to pay you to stop. This time you get away with it, the next, you won't." >Placing the journal down in front of him, the deep purple unicorn's eyebrows furrow together upon sighting the three chitin pieces. >Holding the expression for a heartbeat, the unicorn's eyes roll, free hoof reaching up to rub the side of his head, speaking dimly, half at himself, half at you. "Storage problems are the least of their worries. Last time Vanil was there he mentioned as much. Hmm.. one to save a life, one to potentially experiment on another with, and maybe even figure out how Changelings created the di-isolation cascade bands. Probably a safer option considering the sheer number of resonances that such Otherworldly bipeds have, though if he has an aberrant electromagnetic field or is suffering from electromagical stasis in conjunction with his injuries.." >Shutting up at a huff, a purr, then a droll meow from the Moorcat, Hodch lets out a tired sigh as his horn pulses with a dim red glow, the earlier energetic tone probably having been faked, each of the Changeling plates lifted off and set next to the Moor cat. "Please don't remind me, the Queen hasn't forgotten about the aphrodisiacs I 'neglected to mention', or rather forgot about being issued to the Knights. I'll worry about the little problems later, however, I will make sure Denra is on hoof in case of rejection. Then again most humans barely even register on the psionic scale. It's a wonder that we can even perform mental contact with them du-" >Cut off by the Moor cat snicker-hissing quietly and flapping it's wings once, the unicorn stares up at the ceiling with a minor, amused shake of his head, his tone having finally reached pleasant status. "I was about to say as much and no, I don't think she understands your language either. Thank you Miss Feathers. I've known Misel for years now, she's a bit odd considering her chosen profession. Misel is however irreplaceable as she is one of the more composed Changelings. Essentially her name means 'Myself-as-easel' from what I understand of Changeling language, which is not much, which partially explains why she has a tendency to paint herself. Did she have anything else to deliver?"
>>96685 >Sunny found herself curious as to what the cat was talking about, but promptly thought better of it. >Best not to know. >Sunny merely stood still and allowed Hodch to voice his thoughts, she had zero comprehension as to what he was talking about. >The magical sciences were best left to the unicorns who could actually make use of the knowledge. >Meanwhile her face contorted somewhat at the string of unintelligible jargon. >The mare could do little more than watch the exchange between the stallion and the winged cat, not even really understanding the half of the conversation she could hear. >Let alone guess at what events they were referring to, though like earlier, she did not think she wanted to know. >'Myself-as-easel'? The mare wondered if other Changeling names followed these conventions of shortening phrases into single words. "She had a series of letters as you said she would." >Reaching her wing back to rummage through her saddlebag, she (somehow) procured them from their depths with a level of prehensility that really should not be possible. >Nevertheless, the letters were presented in a stack upon her outstretched wing towards Hodch. "Along with contracts from Queen Chrysalis, research for miss Tipper to do on Changeling cores and a list of targets for, uh… Removal. Among others that I haven't read through." >Twitching one of her ears to the side in a thoughtful gesture, Sunny continued. "The Hive has accepted your request, forty Changelings are to be stationed here until the Marquis returns, they have their own supplies, all they need is some space."
>>94129 "I do. That only proves the Councilierge's suspicions of humans were correct. Yet, I still believe Princess Celestia's initial plan was better." >Rocking forwards to stand, the Crystal mercenary pushes the door open, taking several steps towards it, then stops, turning her head to smile chillingly. "It is a shame that it shall never see the night, or day." >Half-prancing through the entrance, the door slams closed after the mare. >Finding the set of keys in the most obvious location, carelessly dangling from the visor, the Panhard cranks over in loud protest numerous times before finally starting, indicating it had sat untouched for quite some time. >One of the Vortex eyes raises from the translocation stone, widening into a granite arch, though with one difference: the immediate view displayed was on the south side of the garage facing the double vehicle doors. >Enveloping the VBL and immediately dropping it into the open space where the Ride normally sat, the odd gateway sinks down out of sight, and immediately shouting occurs, Krinza's easily identifiable voice followed by an angry mare that you hadn't heard before.
>>94521 >Briefly sharing raised eyebrows at each other, Amerose and the Duchess lift their shoulders at the same time, the second inhaling loudly through her nostrils while staring upwards, the look a distinct 'I can't believe this is happening'. "I cannot believe Princess Celestia's language spell functions so poorly for humans. Lorekeeper, can you please explain?" "Of course. Zhun, necromarecy is the proper term for the following capabilities and acts: interacting with Spectrals, speaking with ghosts or Revenants, summoning undead or Spectrals, binding undead or Spectrals, unbinding the same, as well as causing or curing spiritual afflictions, harming or healing the ka, or soul as you humans call it, of a living being, and a number of others that are lesser known." >Bringing her head down to nod, Pearl Lake's lips quirk in an unrecognized motion, then waves a forehoof in a small circle. "Correct, however I suspect that she is now at, or has passed, a tipping point, hence my warnings to you." >Amerose leans over to stick her face in Dancing's vision, using her nose to boop the psion's once, then leans back to frown at the teapot warming quickly. "I do not doubt she cannot remember what may have happened between them. There are approximately eleven Eldritch-classed enchantments which are capable of rendering a psion, especially a primal psion such as her, incapable of recall for a time, erasing memory for a few minutes, and the like. They have an equal number of negative effects, the most common of which being intense spikes of fear, unease, and nausea within a limited range. Judging by your explanations, I believe the mare in question has two or three such enchantments bound to her. As such, I must advise zero contact." >Ears flicking in agreement at the Crystal mare, the Duchess swings about to hold her cup out, Amerose carefully filling it with a sweetly scented, steaming portion. "I am unsure if a conservatory filled with all manners of rare, endangered, extinct, and potentially to-be-extinct flora, some of which are likely toxic, others directly hostile, and a rare few that are worse, could be considered nice, but yes. As for the botanist herself, she is affiliated with Cairn Wharf due to the number of oceanic vegetation that washes to shore, such as sea pumpkins and blue-striped kelp, both of which are considered delicacies, as well as large numbers of plants in the local bogs, marshes, swamps, and inlets that do not grow elsewhere. I am unfamiliar with the location itself save for the knowledge that it exists, is frequented by many of the smaller Ferron clan offshoots, regional batponies across the Moors, and a small number of… what are those ponies called again?" >Pausing to poke at her chin, Amerose fills her own cup, then yours while the non-psion earth mare sighs. "I do not know." >Returning the glance with an equally humored ear wiggle, Amerose lifts her cup with both forehooves, daintily sniffing at the steam. "You should bring a gift when negotiating. Crystal ponies, such as myself, Naliyna, or her rather large family, have certain protocols when it comes to appeasing another over a difficult event. Earth ponies, unfortunately-" >Accentuated by squinting her eyes in what was slowly looking to become concern at Dancing Eyes, still mentally shut down in shock, or something else entirely. "Are entirely problematic when it comes to forgiving the acts of another. Injuries are rarely forgotten, however."
>>96670 "Bueno. One less thing to worry, like foreign infections, to ruin all of our hard work." >Casting aside side-drabble, Carlos removes the leg tractors and nods under his mask. He sagely soaks in the mares' information, as they were getting ready to put Snakebite under the knife once again. [ 1d6+4 = 6 ]<M.Research: Surgical Analysis [ 1d6+4 = 8 ] [ 1d6+4 = 6 ] [ 1d6+4 = 5 ] >Juan Carlos ponders the lead mare's offer for a second, before agreeing with her suggestion. "Si, break them out. We'll need every advantage against the patient's new… hmm. Dermal layering." >As the lead mare goes for her array of surgical tools, Carlos once again preps the incision areas with more antiseptic. New clean gloves come on, and the doctor looks over his varying selection of offered tools. He picks out a diamondine blade, adjusts the overhead lamp onto the incision marks, and set out additional retractors and gauze to soak up blood. "This one should do nicely." >Steadying his hand over the first set of dotted lines, Carlos begins his end of the surgery. "Making first incision." [ 1d6+4 = 10 ]<M.Physician [ 1d6+4 = 5 ] [ 1d6+4 = 8 ] [ 1d6+4 = 8 ] [ 1d6+4 = 7 ] [ 1d6+4 = 8 ] [ 1d6+4 = 8 ] [ 1d6+4 = 8 ]<Lead Mare's Surgical Tool Set [ 1d6+3 = 5 ]<Juan's Surgical Tool Set [ 1d6+15 = 19 ]<Clinic Supplies [ 1d6+20 = 25 ]<Surgical Suite
>>96677 >Ivan listens to her, letting out a bit of a chuckle at that. "Yeah, I definitely know what living next to danger is like. Though it's through stubbornness for me and my people, not laziness." >At all hours of the day Ivan used to hear gunfire SOMEWHERE nearby in the Zone, no matter where he was. He thought for a moment, before shrugging. "I think we could arrange something like that, if you want. Though I'm pretty sure you'd want someone with more experience in this place's currency to do it instead of me." >Giving the gelpony a nod, Ivan walked over to the entrance and waited for Raidor, nodding for the pony to take the lead.
>>96643 >Realizing you didn't have a watch on hand, nor was there one on a hoof in view, it felt like you might have been in the restaurant for more than a little while, but certainly not a long time. >Having an internal sense of time that wasn't helpful had definitely become a weakness. >Eyeing the leagues of batponies and the few pegasi in sight for one that looked sturdy enough to sit on, the only ones that might have been able to bear your weight were the three odd mares, none certainly looked to be that friendly, at least at the moment. >Ringing the translocation pad side of the dock were cut off tree stumps with small sticks poked into the outer ring facing the ocean, probably intended for ponies to sleep on without falling in. >Noting one that looked comfortable enough height wise, by the time you manage to sit down, a happy blue and green striped batmare, obviously painted, stops in front of you, barely holding the collection hat up with both sets of wingclaws, visibly straining from the weight. "Hello there, care to bet on who wins the first round? The odds I'm offering are two-to-one against Rest, the red one, or three-to-one on Soft-Kill, the weird orangey kinda one."
>>96664 >The second man nods in the positive to your first question, and before he can speak, he's cut off by the first making a disgruntled half-sigh, half-groan. "Tipsy, Tipper, whatever her name is, she's a weird horned horse that can't be truste-" >Bringing a fist up, the Soviet second intentionally whiffs his punch, forcing the other to take a step back, hands in the air. "Okay, okay! I give, all right?!" "You shut mouth, let me speak, da?" >Sniffing in disregard, the Soviet, or whatever he was, turns on heel to you, a calculating expression on his worn face. "Nay comrade, or perhaps is neigh now, one never know right word here, 'tis lack of knowing small equine with better judgement than you for to run into warp gate many time. When get sick once from warping, you make sure never do again. Learn fast or else comrade." >Placing his hands in his sleeves once more, the man lifts his shoulders in a weighty motion. "No. There no other Doctor here, only medic, nurse, and strange pony that sell drink of healing most no like. If Doctor say to take drug, you take, or you not do well. She have good mind, judgement for treat sick and wounded. You put all trust on her and she help you, but if you not trust her.. you wake in place no human dare go. It not fun." >Stepping aside to let you wobbily through the door, the second man beams a wide, potentially helpful smile, shutting the door as you leave. "If you not reborn yet, then you will soon." >Walking through the barrack building, there was an unusual chill in the air that you couldn't quite figure out. >Whether it was from a quartet of humans in woodland camo all seated on one couch in the middle of what seemed to be a den, each staring over a hand of cards as you pass by, or the pastel neon pink winged pony on the opposite side dropping her own cards, an expression of sheer awe contorting her face. >Strange. >Exiting the barracks and turning south to the barely familiar looking Clinic, the chill becomes ever more noticeable. >Reaching the only door to the building on the south and entering, seated in the receiving doctor's chair was a clash to your senses: an incredibly vivid carnelian colored pony, the mane half-garnet, half-aquamarine. >Swiveling the lounge chair to face you, the mare's lightly glowing carnelian eyes, softly edged five pointed stars, blink once, twice, then widen rapidly. >Both ears twitch spastically as the mare stiffly lifts a forehoof and points it at you, opening her mouth to speak in a an accusatory, young voice, one that somehow blurred the line between sensual, charming, and composed. "You will go to the closest bed, remove the blanket, and cover yourself with it! Towels do NOT count as clothing human, and degenerate activities are not allowed in the Clinic, do I make myself clear?!"
>>96903 >Bubba debates on the pros and cons of finding a watch out here that'll actually fit him while he searches for a place to sit back. Once doing so, and moving over to it, he looks down at the mare who seemed to materialize out of thin air. >While Bubba wasn't a betting man by any means, he didn't have much else to do at the moment aside from going back to Razorback, so he decided to humor the mare. "Ten bits on Rest winning." >As he put the bits into her bulging past the brim hat, he took a glance around at the batponies. >"Definitely going to need to research these guys better."
>>96669 "Fast little thing, ain't it…" >Clem mumbled as he spied on the silver vessel continuing its travel into the mothership >Clem noted that the mothership itself is formidable >Orbital cannons, for self-defense or bombardment from orbit >"Has there been an incident of Construct bombings?" >He then spies the mothership spewing out orange dots, soon covering the entire vessel >Clem then truly begins to think to himself, inavertantly mumbling the words >"Who here really knows about these Constructs? I feel like this is unprecedented." >Clem begins to get his notes and jot down his observations of the construct ship, notable its cannons and behaviors, and the silver vessel >More importantly to remember the ship better >He then begins to head for the Library, to search for anything on past incidents with Constructs
>>96677 >>96888 >Raidor nods in agreement with Ivan, and looks over to the Matron as she dissolves into the pool. "Then it appears we have time to make a delivery back to Shanis." >The captain bows slightly to their hostess before turning and taking the lead out back the way they came. "Come Ivan, so we can return to Razorback."
>>96866 >Relieved to finally have returned to the compound, Pareidolia shuts off the engine and steps out to open the rear door. >Carefully hefting the crate containing the Empire microscope, he carries it with him as he makes his way into the workshop proper. (An argument? Something substantial? Morale and resources stretched thin enough as it is. Will need to inquire as to Celestia's original plan involving the original Razorback squad…) >He ponders this as he looks around the workshop for the source of the shouting.
>>96757 >Pushing all three plates off the chair onto the floor, the Nightblade pushes himself up into a lazy sitting position and pulling the stack into his nose with a brief flicker of light. "At least she doesn't jot down a page for every little piece of news like the moron writers in the Lunar Court." >Phasing each letter out to quickly skim through, the left hoof lifts to rub as his chin, Hodch physically turns to face you with a relieved smile at the information, his eyebrows furrowing together upon passing over the official contracts. "Was wondering when Shanis would finally make her way to the Hive. Then again she's been acting rather passive lately. I'm a bit surprised at the Queen asking Razorback for help, as a rule she tends to take care of problems quickly enough. Some work for Tipper in a new direction? She'd appreciate that at least, but.." >Trailing off, notes of hesitance enter Hodch's voice, glancing with concern. "Queen Chrysalis is not known for half-measures, Miss Feathers. This isn't an assassination list, it is, and I immediately quote, believe this is a who's who of ponies with direct ties to the Councilierge. No, I don't mean just in Canterlot, I mean the entirely of Equestria. There's a few on here that Fankil and myslef cleared. This could be monumental." >Pausing at the last bit of news, the stallion's nose twitches in thought, then his ears suddenly raise, flicking incredulously and shouting aloud as he bolts upright, tone caught between alarm, anger, and confusion. "HOW MANY CHANGELINGS!?" >Snapping his teeth together in the customary earth pony motion, the unicorn's gaze snaps right to give the Moor cat a furious stare. "Nibbles, which of those idiots talked to Roust?!" >The feline's face twists in a surprisingly pony-like semblance of pain, lifting both paws to cover it's nose with a loud, audibly pained moan of despair. "Well SOMEpony had to have convinced her otherwise it wouldn't be ten times the number, now would it! I asked for only four Changelings as a temporary measure should problems like three humans returning severely injured and one going missing along with their vehicle occurring, not four entire squads!" >Grimacing at the despondent mew, the Starborn carefully shifts himself off the chair, gazing over to the Moor cat slumped onto her face staring at the table, and finally turns his head about to give you a barely coherent stare, accompanied by a haggard sigh. "Forget it Nibbles, you'll be fine. Miss Feathers, in the interest of honesty it is my professional opinion that you should take the rest of the night off. I would also recommend you prepare yourself to give sworn, factual testimony to the Lunar Council that I and an associate will shortly commit a minimum of three and a potential maximum of who even cares at this point how many extraordinarily illegal acts involving the arcane abuses of necromarecy, a wholly unauthorized use of virgin pinksteel, several banned relics of criminally dubious origins, and an untested but potentially working theory of Changeling bio-transference. I'll take care of the contracts, you just.. do whatever." >Lifting a hoof in solemn farewell, Hodch snags the three plates to float above his head, nudging the door open and skidding out with a derisive snort. "If I'm lucky they'll force me to live on the Moon's surface for the rest of my soon-to-be extremely short life, won't that make them happy.""
>>97111 >The pegasus simply stood there, mind wandering as Hodch went over the letters, only partially paying attention. >Much of this wasn't anything she was familiar with beyond rumours and hearsay. Names she didn't recognise, ponies she wasn't too familiar with, political factions and their associated dramas. >The mare had found herself preoccupied with the simmering of the alchemy station along the wall, planning her next alchemy experiment when Hodch's shout caused her to jump a little "Huh?!" >Too many Changelings? That's a strange problem to have. "I'm sure you'll find a use for them. Who knows, it might lift some spirits having that many of them tumbling around." >She reacted very little to being told of the questionable legality of what the unicorn intended to make of the skull plates she'd delivered. The mare thought the law could be tossed out of a window if the reasons were good enough, and saving lives was always a good reason. >Sunny did not like the idea of being brought before a court to testify, however, scowling a little at the idea. "I heard nothing, saw nothing, I wasn't here and I most certainly have no idea who this Hodch pony is anyway." >'Do whatever', wasn't that what she'd been doing all night? Playing the part of a courier for most of the night didn't strike her as actual work. She'd find something else to do, after she finished fiddling with her potions. >She waved a wing idly at Hodch in farewell before moving to the alchemy station. >The binding agent was ready, possessing the maximum of three philiac chains that would attach to any potion mixed into it, allowing different mixtures to act in conjunction. >She only intended to add the two she had already prepared, but who could really tell what the future held. She may find herself mixing something else in it later. >The mare gave a side look to the flower that treant pony had gifted her earlier. >It'd be a shame to destroy it for use in the potion, but perhaps she didn't need to, the pollen itself was rather potent on its own and the flower had a multitude of petals. >She could use one, maybe. >Sunny set to work, just a little excited at the prospect of finishing her project. Considering the odd properties the separate mixtures had taken on when completed, she really had no idea what to expect of the finished product.
2/10 >With the mixture almost at completion, Sunny carefully scraped a sample of the treant pony flower's pollen with the tip of her hoofboot's blade >Adding it to the pestle along with a single petal delicately cut from the flower, she crushed and mixed the materials into a fine powder. >Whatever was in it, it was strong, the scent alone was overpowering and enough to make her head spin a little, even without ingesting it. >Part of her didn't want to risk ruining the potion by potentially making it hallucinogenic. >Another part of her would regret not adding it after preparing the powder. >Even as she thought about not doing it, her hooves and wings had already set to work mixing the powder into a small amount of highly energetic, long lasting fluids. >Sunny just hoped the potion wouldn't incapacitate the imbiber if it became necessary to use it in a high risk area.
>>97201 >Almost there, some minor slip ups were causing a setback, but this potion was inevitable. >The pieces were in place, it was time for Sunny to make her move. >Both her regeneration potion and her restoration potions had been strained and concentrated with their unique properties intact. >A separate, temporary container held the potent additive created from powder derived from the treant pony's flower. >The binding agent stood ready to accept the potions and its final ingredient. >The healing energies present in even the separated mixtures was almost tangible. >Dancing lights from the Regeneration mixture danced about wildly, near alive itself while the light cast from the Restoration mixture seemed intensified. >Sunny's excitement welled, but was tempered with a sense of calm, hours of work and experimentation were about to come together. Years of learning the ways of alchemy, and time spent learning the more mystical aspects from a Zebra shaman were about to coalesce into the pegasus mare's crowning achievement.
>>97205 >The potion itself was complete, the mixtures combining through the binding agent to become something greater than they could have been on their own. >And yet, Sunny knew there was something missing, the potion would serve, but it was missing something vital. >The light the mixture was casting off fell upon the pollen imbued liquid, casting a dark shadow behind it. >Sunny knew the potion itself wasn't intelligent, that would be silly, but it contained too much of herself to say it wasn't alive and knew what it needed to be complete. >Her blood, her tears, one of her feathers, certain /other/ fluids, and a heatstone ring worn by a primal psion. >There was no way she could be certain, but Sunny had perhaps bound a piece of her own soul into the potion. >As it was, it was like looking at a small fire, the heat it cast off was similarly like that of a fire. >It was complete, but there was one final thing to add. >One final effort was all that remained.
6/10 >Just as the last drop of liquid pollen entered the clear crystal container, the mixture began to glow brighter and burn hotter, searing her eye. >With a burst of light and a cloud of yellow gold tinted steam, Sunny scrambled and fell on her back as it quickly filled the room, yelling out as the light was blinding. >It cast every shadow from the room, and even a decent few from outside as it pierced the windows. >Still blinded, Sunny felt her way towards the Alchemy lab's window, coughing and pushing it open to let the steam escape out into the night. >It wasn't that it was bad, in fact breathing it in felt soothing, like a healing potion its own, but there was too much of it. >The light the potion cast off began to dissipate as the steam dispersed from the room. >Sunny blinked spots from her eyes looking back at the desk, fearing she had destroyed the potion entirely. >What she found instead was the clear crystal bottle, filled with a bright, highly animated golden yellow fluid. >The finished potion sat there, seemingly placated that it had received its final ingredient. >For the time being that is. >The mare moved over to it wordlessly and stoppered it. It was bright, it was warm, it burned as she held it, but not a destructive burn. >It was light in a bottle, not quite the light of the sun or the flame, but perhaps the light of the soul, of life. Sunny's in particular. >And what was life but the capacity to heal? >Cradling it carefully, the pegasus considered what she had done. "My Aestus Flask…"
"DAMN!" >the knight slams his fist onto the table, sending chess pieces flying >the large Minotaur demon across from him leans back in his bone throne, laughing hard enough to shake dust from the obsidian ceiling above "How is it that you ALWAYS win?!" >the knight exclaims, thrusting a plated finger towards the imposing creature, his face twisting into a grimace filled with suspicion >the horned being chuckles this time, leaning forward and placing both elbows on the proportionally tiny table between them, his long, crocodile-like maw cracking into a devious smile ["Well, good sir knight, while I surely must commend you in respect to your guts, where it concerns your wits, you leave much to be desired!"] "And pray tell what thou might mean?!" >the demon's grin widens even more, his long, black tongue wagging with his words ["Why, old friend, if you must ask me this question, it would mean, to me, that even were I to tell you, you may never understand."] >the knight leans back in his chair, hand grasping at his beard, lost in thought for a moment, before a sudden spark of realization washes over his face, extending one finger in the air and opening his mouth to speak "AHA! I hath derived the answer!" >the demon leans forwards once more, both hands holding up his long chin in a coy, but patient gesture ["Yes? And what has this dutiful mortal pieced together just now?"] >the knight makes a wide, dramatic, sweeping gesture with his hand, ending with his arm and index finger fully extended straight at the demon, his metal digit nearly brushing the creature's oddly-shaped nose >his intense gaze now fixed upon the creature, the knight boldly proclaims "THOU ART MOCKING ME!" >Andrammelech releases a raucous sigh of indignation, contemplating his cruel fate aloud ["Oh, woe is me, to be trapped in here with one so dull!"]
Back outside the wind blew against Adons furry friend fondly, giving a hint to its actual bodily outline. It leaned forward on the edge of his shoulder to point towards where the Order presumably was, and between here and there was a mountain the Chiqtu had escaped from.
>>98014 >The Witcher tracks the little Chiqtu's paw toward the mountain its been so fixated on. "There it is. Just a bit of a walk, now." >Adon routes the quickest path out of the gryphon town and toward their destination, the snow and wind doing much help for his traveling speed. "I have to ask, is what Taurom said about that armor increasing your intelligence true? Need to know what you want to do, when it comes time to remove it."
>>96656 >"Huh, so this is where he died…oh that reminds me, need to visit his grave after this is done." He thought as he weaved between the throngs of party going ponies to continue his search. >Hearing that the Industrial District was cleared gave Lont some relief, meant the search area was smaller then. Though his new-found optimism deflated a tad when he heard of an Ethereal being a bully towards the Batponies that were helping the Crystal ponies that they were allies of. "Bad to hear from your end but good that the Industrial District can be written off." Spying the Warden squads cordoning off the streets he asked. "Can it be ascertained from the blood trail where she is going, is there a Matrice or certain building they are leading towards?" >With a new lead Lont gunned Northeast, visualizing a map in his head so to follow the directions and reach where the fresh blood lay. While doing so he still kept an eye out on the groups of ponies he past by, just in case the target tried to sneak past. "By the way, as a Ward shouldn't she be able to heal herself and thus stop the bleeding?"
>>98148 >Garnering attention, now that a dressed up Chiqtu was riding his shoulder, Adon felt like he was back in the Overkings' palace with how passing Gryphons turned their heads to gawk. For its part the fluffball remained as calm as possible, even though its shaking were felt through Adons armour. >Looking at it for an explanation the Chiqtu pantomimed its little heart out but Adon could not decipher what it was trying to say about when it will be freed from the suit. >Following the direction that led him out of the Vale and towards the one specific mountain brought the Witcher into a small fortified outpost filled with camping Militia Gryphons, many not batting an eye at him. >At the far side of the outpost lay an erected wall, that had a barred and locked gate guarded by several heavily armed catbirds.
>>98385 >Looking over the militia outpost, Adon thinks over his options for a moment. >The guards could've seen the unicorn pass by, but the Aanfang gryphons hate the Order and would have chased him at the very least he figured. >Seeing as it couldn't hurt to ask, Adon walks into the middle of the open militia camp and addresses all of the disinterested gryphons in earshot of him. "I'm looking for a unicorn of the Order, that might be taking shelter at the adjacent mountain. Would any of you know of their whereabouts?" >The Witcher repeats the question, in Gryphonic, and scans the militia members for any responses.
>>99373 >Moving towards the closet group Adon saw that they did not budge from the highly animated fire they huddled around. It was quite cold yes, and he might not be the first human they've seen either. >As he came to a stop in front of the them the Witchers' Medallion vibrated hard, the presence of magic quite focused on this flock. >Whether the wind or his question, the Gryphons collective plumage bristled, one of them eventually, probably their leader with how armoured they were, spoke up. "Haven't seen any friendly unicorns, or ponies for that matter, inna while. All of them coming here trying to get into the Vale, idiots." >She said in perfect Common, even with you addressing her in Gryphonic. "Why you asking?" >The Chiqtu on your shoulder folded into its self for warmth, or to lower its profile.
>>101049 >Adon takes notice of his medallion reacting to the group of gryphons and sets his curiosity aside, assuming they had an enchanter or sorcerer amongst them. >After his general inquiry, the Witcher focuses on an armored female gryphon who addressed him and motions to his perched companion on his shoulder. >He was going to be a bit of a jerk and claim 'Witcher business', but he ultimately knew no one here would take such an authoritative threat seriously. So he decided to be honest. "I'm looking into it, after helping Taurom with something in her warehouse. Me and this little guy are heading for one that put him in this enchanted armor, to get it removed. Tell me, would you happen to know what members of the Order are usually like in general?"
>>101572 >Adons words got a few beaks and eyes turning towards him, curiosity driving them. The Gryhponess tilted her head in confusion, staring at Adon then the suited Chiqtu then back to him again. "What…?" >Rubbing her feathered forehead with a wing she concentrated. "Alright, whatever, too hungry to care. Besides you did business with Taurom so eh." >Stepping aside from in front of the Witcher she used the same wing to point out to the expansive mountain range beyond Anfangs walls. "Past these mountains lay the Orders state, a whole country of angry limp-dicked ponies with outrageous egos. Well, more so than usual compared other equines.-" >That will jab got a few chuckles from her comrades. "-If you're looking to find somepony in that shithole good luck, they'll impale you before you even knew what hit ya. Happened to the last human, and he only survived because he was better armoured and had a Greccian too."
Numerous technical difficulties have occurred. A decision has to be made in extremis without the potential for undue interference, so, our hopes now rest upon the RNG Alicorn benevolence, May She Ever Be Merciful, Kind, & Wise. And not fuck this up too horribly like the last time. [ 1d3 = 1 ]
>>96867 "Hmmm…" >"She'll be stubborn and I need to find a gift? It's really is like back home." >Zhun looks at the stream of tea fill his cup, inhaling the aroma and mentally try to discern the type of tea "Still means you do have protocols." >"Maybe find a plant for her. Something nice." >Zhun shifts his eyes over to Dancing Eyes "She's going to be fine right? Seems like I stressed her or something."
>>105481 >The female gryphon points toward the mountain range, Adon cracking a smirk at the gryphons' collective insult to ponies in general. It really didn't take him much to understand differences between the two species. "So definitely not hospitable, good to know. Luckily, I only need to find one on top of a mountain. Thanks for the insight." >Adon gives the gryphoness a curt nod, and to her compatriots as well. "I should get going. Want to try and get back before nightfall." >The Witcher cuts back through the camp and back onto their previous path towards the mountain, motioning the Chiqtu on his shoulder. "Back on track, you. Lead the way."
"Uh huh, right. Good luck with whatever human." >She flicked a wing to Adon then returned to her spot at the fire, only to caw and smack some other Gryphon out of her spot. >Once outside Anfang the Witcher saw there was a snow covered channel leading to a steep drop off that he surely could climb, with smaller rocky paths that cracked away into the jagged sides of the bordering mountains nearby. >Prompted, the Chiqtu jumped off Adons shoulder, making a shaped hole in the 1ft of snow. Head sticking up and out of its new snow den, the fluffy creature pointed towards a set of mountains off in the distance beyond the drop off. Within those several mountains was one that had a light blue hue to it, coincidentally it was the largest too. >The Chiqtu pointed directly at that one, and Adon read it to be at least a several hour hike through harsh terrain.
>>155142 >Adon leaves the militia camp, having gained a bit of insight on this Order that he might be crossing paths with. >Hopefully he'd only have to deal with one of them. >On top of a mountain. >He can certainly handle that, even in his weakened state. >The Witcher watches the chiqtu dive into the knee-deep snow, and point toward one mountain with a blue glow on top of it. >At least he had warm clothes on. Looks like he's going to be trudging along for this little creature for a bit longer. "Onwards then. Lead the way."
>>156346 >And so the little Chiqtu did, its metal plating muffled by the foot deep snow. Despite being buried in it and having white fur, Adon was able to follow it easily as he was lead down the mountain by using long and narrow routes only it seemed to know of. Perhaps this was how it escaped and entered the Vale without being eaten. >Four hours later of climbing down natural grooves between snow covered slabs of rock the Witcher found thin softwood trees spreading out before him, surrounded by impassible mountainsides. He was at the bottom, the Chiqtu had led him down a shortcut right to sea level. >Speaking of which, he felt the fuzzball climb up his clothing back onto his shoulder, where it pointed into the forest. >And above that, and the encompassing mountain range, was the destination, still appearing large and blue, but closer than before.
>>156667 >Travel time tended to drift when he took long trips, especially when he'd go into a trance on horseback. >Almost like he'd pick a spot on a map and instantly warp to it. >Damn, he missed Scorpio… >He and his companion finally found themselves at the base of a forest, leading to the mountain range to their destination. >Being shown the only way was through said forest, Adon creases a side of his face and presses forward with his furry little travel buddy. [ 1d6 = 2 ] <B.Perception [ 1d6 = 2 ]
>>163471 >The Chiqtu jumped off Adons shoulder and into the snow covered ground, where it landed the Witcher saw there was a layer of solid grass underneath the blanket of white. >It roamed ahead, though not too far for him to lose track of it. >Observing his environment as he marched through the snow he soon saw that, wildlife wise, there was next to nothing. Apart from some small chirping birds that were no doubt migrating, larger fauna was non-existent in this sequestered wood. >All in all, it made the trip dull for a while. >Until the Chiqtu burst out of the snow squeaking at Adon, a limb pointing in the direction they were heading. >Thick smoke wafted from between the softwood trees two dozen metres ahead, the faint sound of audible speech was heard also when he focused.
>>163579 "Come on, where are you going?" >Something definitely had the small creature's attention, and he's cursing himself he didn't pick up at all. >Adon keeps up with his little armored pal through the forest. >Which was very bleakly empty, but not surprising. >An empty forest was usually a bad sign. Usually meant something dangerous was inhabiting the area. >Or it was just desolate. >Until the Chiqtu stops and points at signs of a campfire, as well as voices around it. "Slowly…" >Adon hasn't tried it, yet, but he's heard there's a magic here that can turn one invisible if one concentrated enough. >So the witcher focuses on being as quiet as possible, try to 'feel' not being visible. [ 1d6 = 3 ] <U.Stealth >And slowly rounds the smoke, from a safe distance to observe. [ 1d6 = 2 ] <B.Perception [ 1d6 = 4 ]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlMzZkxI6yc >Kneeling down Adon concentrated, brow knitting together as he thought really really hard for the magic to happen. And to an extend it did, he felt through his armour and chilled flesh the sensation of silk running across his form. Eyes snapping open he found himself semi-transparent with what noise he made dulled. >Looking back at the Chiqtu the Witcher saw it was borrowing deeper into the snow. >Whatever worked for it… >As he moved he noted the snow underfoot were not as disturbed as they should of been, defying known laws of physics. >Keeping low the Witcher observed four individuals around a bonfire with flames reaching higher than the tallest of them, which was something. >There were two Gryphons in unrecognisable scrapped together armour, a pony with a single horn jutting out of its head -A UNICORN!- And large humanoid with its upper body being that of a bull. >They were conversing with each other, weapons close by but not at the ready. >What caught Adon by surprise was they were not alone, twenty creatures were bound together and tied to one of the rare hardwood trees that populated this forest. >There were a few Gryphons but the rest were equines. And from what he could hear, the captors were discussing on eating one. Joking maybe. >Adon felt the Chiqtu tug at him, wanting his attention.