1753 replies and 53 files omitted.
To the right and above the canopy the early morning sun rises, increasingly lighting up the forest. The wolves stop as one of the grey males tilts his head up and howls. A moment later, and the dark grey wolf Spark had spoken to lifts his head and howls. A few seconds more and another howl, more distant ca be heard in reply ahead of them. The howls are enough to wake a large black bird, who flies out and above the canopy. The wolves walk ahead, and it's more than a little hard for Spark to keep up with them.
Then Spark can see it over in a clearing. Many tan colored, half-spherical structures as much as ten feet tall, with visible wooden branch frames, and covered in bark or hide. Some have open doors spark can almost see into, many have fires outside. There are many wolves outside, most of them appear to be female and most have a greyish color coat. Some look up at Spark with curiosity, walking over towards him. Some seem guarded and turn themselves, or walk away. A liter of pups play with a ball, while another pup sleeps half-through a door of a half-sphere under a circle filled with radiating threads and rings of circles inside, like a spider web. He sees a wolf female has a basket full of blackberries, and passes a rack of large, drying fish. They take Spark deeper inside, and near a large brownish structure with a rounded-rectangular shape that nearly looks like a loaf of bread.
"Wow. I don't remember reading about anything like this place before."
Spark takes in the sight.
Darker Grey Wolf:
the ponies leave it out."
"We've been doing it this way long before the ponies came down into our lands. There is a certain beauty to the old ways..."
When they entered the village, another grey wolf in hide greeted them, and joined in with the moving pack. The darker wolf walks at the lead. Spark can see that he wears something like a jacket, but no hide, with a sheathed long knife and a long rifle slung over his shoulder. The rifle is rather curious looking, being a very modern looking model with a scope. His legs and it seems his belly are white or lighter, and he wears a necklace. The white wolf walks besides Spark to his right. She has tanned hide on her front and chest, on her left foreleg, a large bow with a re-curved shape, a quiver of arrows, and she wears a necklace with a bright red copper medallion shaped like a turtle or tortoise.
As they walk through the settlement, a female wolf comes out and snarls at Spark, though she is blocked from coming closer by the light wolf, who is to Spark's left. A puppy, however, is small enough to run through the white wolf and the wolf behind her to run up next to Spark, taking an interest in him.
Spark is a bit nervous, but waves hello to the puppy and continues to follow.
Silver shakes his head.
"I think it is just native to your lands. We grew mostly wheat, barley, and sorgum for grain in Severyana."
After not very much time at all, the wolves stop before a larger half sphere near the rounded-rectangle. A medium grey wolf sleeps on a mat between the two buildings. He has swelling on his legs and his chest, noticeable even from this angle. He looks up at the wolves coming in, and tries to stand up.
Then from the half sphere in front, a very large grey wolf walks out. He looks much older, and he walks out with his shoulders firm and head high. He smiles with teeth that Spark can see are silver and metal.
The Dark Grey wolf starts to remove his rifle and bow his head
"Bow before our Pack leader and Chieftain, Ziibi-Ondaadad."
He then rolls over onto his back, spreading out and showing his belly. He is almost white on the underside. The rest of the wolves also lower themselves to the ground, some rolling over. The white wolf crouches down, almost laying down, but does not roll over
The large wolf - Ziibi - walks down a wooden plank from his higher position inside the sphere. He smiles at Spark with his silver teeth
"A pony? What brings you here?">>128874
She looks at him with something that comes almost near concern.
"I am not familiar with 'Barley' or "Sorgum.' Or Severyana. There is much I do not know about this vast land or its ponies."
Silver smiles at her.
"Barley and sorgum are very similar to wheat. They are planted in rotation with wheat to return nutrients to soil. As for Severyana...it is my homeland. My Motherland. It is far to north of here, northeast of Equestria. It is as old as ponykind itself, and has very storied history. In summer, its moist soil is perfect for agriculture, but in winter, it gets cold enough to freeze solid, making growing crops impossible until it thaws."
"I was brought here for reasons both my own and the wishes of your own. I want to make sure these lands are free of any monster that recently attacked the mine the changelings have set up outside these forests. While I do this, I was asked to make sure that changelings don't bother you again and to set up trade here with friends of mine to the east."
She looks at him with immense interest, slowly nodding her head
"I see... What are these Winters like? I have heard they are much different in Equestria. Or, where you are from. Are they not?">>128877
He maintains a position at the end of the ramp
"Oh, the woods have always been filled with Monsters, as they have from the beginning. Many have gone out to slay them, and some have come back. But you ponies, you have stopped trading with us. I know a calamity has befallen you, but I wish to reestablish relations. Tell me first, what exactly
has become of the Equestrian and Crystal Authorities?"
"It gets very cold in winter. Nothing like here. Wind gets biting cold, rivers freeze over solid, and snow comes down and covers everything in layers of white. You go outside, and entire world just seems so quiet, peaceful even. It can be fun as foal, too, getting into snowball fights, making snow angels and snowponies and such. And of course getting inside after to curl up in front of hearth and warm up feels amazing."
She smiles in a calm, warm way
"That sounds... 'wholesome.' Tell me, do you miss it? Why did you leave it? Your home."
"A few rebel fighters out there, but the leaders of old are all gone. We don't know where they have gone. There is only a little propaganda that they are dead, which is likely to mean they are still alive, but they have not made themselves known."
"I do miss it. And I would return there...but recently it was given new name, one that is likely more familiar to you. Stalliongrad."
His eyes slowly open and muscles under his eyes fall down, his smile fading and mouth opening
"They... They are gone?">>128882
She narrows her eyes
"As I have. I think I know why you left"
Silver gives her a solitary, sad nod.
"I left years before Steel Stallion and his Soviets corrupted my beautiful Motherland, destroyed its temples, warped its culture, and cursed this world with Communist cancer. But it is reason why I have not been back. Why I could not show my own children where my people come from. All I can take solace in is that Stalliongrad is not
Severyana, no matter what those Soviets want to make us believe."
She definitely has no smile now, and she comes a little closer to him
"Can you tell me, do you ever feel you should have fought back against the Communists?"
"Every time I think on it, I wish I was there to fight against them in Civil War. I wish Celestia had not pulled Equestrian forces away from war and that we pushed on and retook Colitsyn, or even that Severyanan Whites who had opposed Reds and supported independance rallied and beat Stallion's forces back."
She very slowly nods, looking kind of sad
"I see"Best pony in picture
"It is in past, now. Not much use looking back to it, unless to use it as guide for future."
He looks up at Khoi.
"I do not know much of Ngua Nam. What is it like?"
"You know a couple of them visited us. Some years ago. The mining company was expanding closer to our territory. Damaging the forest. We were very angry. They did not seem to live in harmony with nature, as all creatures should, but dominated over it. We were going to fight back. But I was kicked in the mouth by a moose. The ponies helped me with their dentistry. Without their metal I would have wasted away and died. They showed me their metal has use. A different way of living with nature. They helped others in my village with fever. And for that, I was grateful."
The White Wolf looks a little discontent with this speech, half snarling>>128891
"It is old vassal of Kirin Empire, but a rich culture on its own. Sprawling jungles from the mountains down to coast. Great temples filled with monks. Villages around paddies and old cities on the coast and rivers. There is much to say, but I am not sure how to say it. There is no playing in the snow in winter, I can tell you that."
Spark is not sure why the white wolf is objecting, but he continues to listen.
"I'm glad you had a positive experience with us before. I look forward to rebuilding it again."
"We do not have jungles in Severyana. I suppose it is trade-off."
"Yes." He says. "There is much to rebuild. The Doubles came and attacked some months ago. We drove them off... but they may come back. Who are these friends you have?">>128897
She smiles lightly.
"I suppose. I will try to adjust to this new place. But I hope I will have a homeland to go back to, if I ever want to."
My character leaves, thanks the recpetionist for all her help, and starts moving towards the market or whatever to buy her material compnents that she needs.
The receptionist bends her head over in evident curiosity as she watches Fantasy Play walk away, and out of the building. She takes a guess as to how it must have gone.
But Fantasy Play has her map, and she has a very good idea of where gum arabic, wax, and other assorted oddities for the preternaturally inclined. And soon enough she finds a small shop in the eastern district, inside an old building, and sandwiched between still older structures of the old Baltimare. Fantasy play enters to see jaws of eyes, strands of fur and hair from common animals, the creatures of the forests and jungle, and beasts unknown to most ponies. There are brooches and wands - or alleged brooches and wands - and numerous other curiosities that line the walls and shelved.
"May I help you, young mare?"
Standing upright on two legs behind Fantasy Play, is a large cat - for surely there is there is no better way to describe it, or rather, "her." Her fur is black, hard to see in the dim light of the shop. Her eyes are thin slits surrounded by an almost glowing green. She wears a grey vest, and has a band around her head. She leans against a shelf as she smiles towards Fantasy
"I know you did not come just to look around"
So... where did we leave off?
The last post for Spark was >>128900
"Yes, that is feeling I understand."
Silver looks over at the meal she's cooking.
"Until that day, it is good to see there is still piece of your homeland you can enjoy. I will have to show you where store was."
"There is a nation of ponies to the east that will be able to do business with you."
"To the East you say? Well, ponies are welcome to trade here. You can tell them that. We have lumber rights to sell, and fur and our crafted copper">>128933
She looks solemn, and nods slowly
"It lives on in you, and mine lives on in me. I suppose..." she looks away for a moment, then back to him
"Yes, I would like to see that. I believed there would be others of my kind here. I am pleased to hear there are"
"I was unable to talk with kirin who ran store. Language barrier, I think. Maybe you could talk with him?"
"I could try, yes. They may be from Kirin Empire though. That grey pony, 'Iron' I think was him name, said he may have work for me though"
"Really? What kind of work?"
She moves her body back to almost lean against the counter
"He... did not say" She answers
"I think they will also be interested in information of changeling positions, movement patterns, and building locations."
Silver finds the action a little weird, but he does not openly comment on it.
"Hmm...well, if you want my advice, I would say to use your best judgement as Iron does not always use his."
The unicorn smiles at the kirin.
"Oh, and if you ever need my help, you know where to find me."
She smiles briefly, and gives a small laugh
Then she says to him
"Help? What kind?">>128940
. They have been a menace to us. We will need protection"
Fantasy twirl around and upon seeing the catlady, immediately starts to rub her hoof against its cheek.
"A kitty!" she bursts out while beaming.
"Well, whatever help you might. Help with some task Iron gives you, monetary help, whatever."
"The nation is more than capable of providing that. I'm sure you will be pleased with the results."
Her eyes go wide, fur pops up, and she jumps back a little
She rubs the part of her cheek that was rubbed
"I am not pet, filly"
The cat may or may not be physically more massive than Fantasy Play, but she is certainly much taller owing to her bipedal stance, and thus looks bigger. She is many times larger than Slogo or any cat she's seen in Nuzzleville>>128944
She tilts her head
"He doesn't want me to do.... you don't want me to do......" She opens her mouth to say something, but then closes it
"Good to hear! Tell what we must do"
Silver tilts his head at the kirin.
"Want you to do what?"
"You" she nods
"You know... sell yourself"
It's like she flipped a switch: the unicorn's face very quickly goes from its standard light grey to flushed red.
"Oh! Oh, no, I would not think so...well, you are
very beautiful and desirable, but I highly doubt that is what Iron had in mind when he offered you work."
She again almost recoils
"Oh.... That is good then"
"Well, I need to finish my business here first, then I will be free to inform them myself to send word you are interested."
Silver's ears droop just slightly at her reaction, and he clears his throat.
"...sorry, overstepped my bounds."
His left ear tilts down, then back up, as he tilts his head
"Business? What business?">>128952
She moves her head to the side, evidently confused
And she stands back up
"Anyways, that is good"
"There is one more thing I would like to talk with you about. It is about Mala."
She returns to a more neutral expression
"What about him?"
"The changelings were attacked by a strange creature that even deceived them with its ability to change shape. I need to make sure they are gone, or find a way to keep them from attacking anypony else."
"We have spare room here. I was wondering what you thought about letting him stay."
"These doubles themselves deceive and change shape. It is little wonder they attack even each other">>128958
Her eyes narrow a little, and her lips pull back and down
"That creature had no problem being part of operation that killed many for no good reason. And he has no problem with himself now"
"Perhaps, but I would rather have one group of changelings to keep track of than a bunch, because neither of them are very friendly."
"He did not cause all of that to happen, and he helped us when he had opportunity to do so. He trusted us to help him start new life, one where he did not have to help perpetuate suffering."
He looks more serious
"These doubles have been a menace to us as well. They have been quiet for some time, and we do not know why. This situation must be dealt with">>128961
"But he enabled it. He benefited from it. And now, he wants to go about and live his life while so many others cannot and will never. He does not even seem to feel bad about it"
"He was pushed into it. He did not want it, he had no say in it, and if he were to refuse...they would have killed him, just as they did many others."
She tilts her head, narrowing her eyes more
"How are we to know he was.... forced?"
"He was pushed into it at young age, when he had no family, no home, no money, and no food. They gave him everything he needed to live, and demanded that he comply with their demands or be killed.
"Look at it this way: if he joined voluntarily, why would he so quickly jump at opportunity to help us?"
"If you know where they might be hiding, I will make sure they are no longer a problem to the both of us. Then I can be on my way to set up your trade."
"The doubles? They have taken over the land to the South, and to the North it seems. We have been nearly isolated from the ponies until you came">>128965
She is silent for a moment, and breathes in and out
"Maybe he knew who would win, so he changed sides"
"I find that difficult to believe. We were two ponies and one kirin strong at time of meeting him, against at least fifty cultists and traffickers. Even then, why would he show us garbage chute? We would have never investigated it had he not pointed it out and unlocked it, so why would he risk us turning on him by showing us, and then telling us, not only what they had done but what he himself had done working under them?"
She is silent again for a moment, and she moves her forelegs closer together. Then she sits down
"He has much to atone for"
"Something I am...familiar with. But he can not, if we do not give him chance to. He trusted us to give him that chance. It is only right we trust him back."
Wonders where Fantasy went off to>>128970
"I suppose there are many who have been forced into doing bad things. There are many, very many, in my country who have been made to do bad things for the rebels. It is a shame to see it happen here. But it will be difficult to trust him."
Silver bows his head to her.
"That is understandable. I merely ask you to give him chance to earn your trust."
She relaxes in her sitting position, and her hind legs move a little off to either side
"Very well... I would prefer he show some remorse for his actions. I know I am disgusted by it. But I do know he stood between you and that..... beast
when you tripped and fell"
He smiles and nods.
"Yes, I was very grateful that he did so, even if it was little embarrassing for me in moment. It might have been determining factor between life and death for me."
"It looked like he got away from it unscathed... as it seems he got away from the criminals unscathed. But I can appreciate the gesture"
"Well, would you
want to raise ire of gnoll by attacking one?"
She blinks, and turns her head away
After about a second, Silver trots up to her, and gives her a hug.
"Thank you, Khoi."
She is kind of surprised, and seems to move her head away, but the rest of her body remains in that sitting position. It's a kind of odd combination of a scaly back, curly mane, and fluffy chest, that makes her feel a bit different from any other creature he's yet hugged
Silver pulls back a little to look at the fluffy pangolin pony.
"Would you mind if I asked you some questions? About you, your homeland, kirins?"
She says, looking back at him and blinking, still sitting on the floor in the kitchen with her forelegs together and her hind legs spread apart, her tail kind of sprawling out to Silver's left and her right>>128980I don't recall if he hugged Mala, or if he's only collecting the females
>>128982I think he hugged Mala.
Silver releases the kirin, and sits down in front of her.
"Well, to start, what was it you did before you decided to come to Equestria?"
She blinks again
"I live on farm with family in village outside Vịnh bờ sạch. I help around house and on farm. My family wanted me to go out and marry or find job. There were not many options for jobs for mares in my village, though I worked in village doing mane care for some months. Not many options for stallions either, as so many were off in the war. Then I was impressed into King's Army for the siege at Cửa Sông Rộng. I carried bags over hillside for a month, then I was made an assistant nurse. Then a nurse. It was... it was an experience for me. After the rebels pulled back, they let me go home. It was different, after being away so long, and my family thought I should move to Thành Cổ for more opportunities. I thought different. Why go to city, when there is so much more across the ocean? And so I went"
Fantasy hops up and down in place.
"I love kitties! I have cat myself. I should have brought him so that you could meet," Fantasy rambled on.
Her eyes went wide as she found something on the Tabaxi's I assume it is
"You even have cute little whiskers."
Silver nods solemnly.
"I can imagine it was not very good experience, being conscripted into civil war like that. But it sounds like you at least picked up some skills that have helped to save people."
He tilts his head at the kirin.
"You did mane care?"
>>128985In My Little Pony Generation 4, they are called "Abyssinians," but yeah, they are basically Tabaxi
She hisses at Fantasy Play, pulling back further, baring her teeth and squinting her eyes.
After a few seconds, she relaxes, and comes closer. She smiles
"You do, do you?">>128986
"Yes... Last night was almost as bad as Cửa Sông... At least some of it was. And yes, I did mane care. Some were kids getting mane cuts. The best were the mares trying to look their prettiest. Keep their manes clean and fluffy in the humidity. Mostly I trimmed, though I shaped sometimes. I was not quite a full apprentice."
"Do you think you could do something for my mane sometime? I know I am not foal or mare, but I would like to see what you can do."
"Hehe," She smiles and laughs, pulling her right hoof up to cover her mouth
"I am no expert mane tender. But I could try"
The unicorn taps his hooves together in excitement.
She pulls her head somewhat at the movement before her
"I do not think I have seen a stallion so excited for a mane cut before"
Fantasy pulls back for a second when the cat hisses at her but her chirpy smile returns soon after.
"I do. Most of his fur is black but a few patches are white so it looks like he has socks and a bib. Hahaha," Fantasy laughs at her own joke.
"Apologies, but it is new experience for me. Most of my mane cut experience has been me cutting it with my own sword."
She gives an awkward smile
"What is it with stallions wanting to cut their manes with swords? That is not healthy for the hair.">>128992
"Oh yes. That must be a handsome looking cat you have. Tell me, have you met a cat who talks back to you before?"
He in turn gives her a sheepish smile.
"It is not often my first choice. Being on road and away from barber shops or salons, you often have to work with what you have."
"No, you're the first one. Slogo and I understand each other but that's because his my familiar."
"I suppose that is why... There was only so much need for barbers there..."
She places her leg down
"Yes, he is very handsome and soft to hold but he is lazy. He sleeps for most of the day."
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