Welcome back to the newest thread of Occupied Equestria
In Northern Equestria on the Changeling side, Spark has given refuge to a mare claiming to be stalked by a Changeling drone.
In the southeast, in Baltimare, Amber tries to slip past police in her infiltration of the Police Headquarters. Iron prepares for his next fight against griffin gangsters. Silver enjoys downtime, and Midnight checks out a local church.
1545 replies and 83 files omitted.
“Alright.” He says, evidently accepting this explanation with skepticism, but otherwise leaving them be
Spark now examines the building’s interior.
A counter off to the left (relative to the entrance), which is rather large, and behind it is the alcohol, cigarettes, medicine, tools, and some of the other expensive items. There are a few shelves in the middle with canned goods mostly, but also bags of flour and (beat) sugar. On the right wall is a refrigerators area with milk, and the wall opposite the entryway has bread and pastries. It’s not just food. There are utilities like lightbulbs, lanterns, and rope, and assorted other items. Between the far wall and the counter is a small, narrow hallway leading to a rear entrance and a bathroom.
Spark heads to the bathroom and motions the others over.
The pony behind the counter is skeptical of a group bathroom trip, but he doesn’t really take any actions to stop it. The hallway itself, although not closed off from the rest of the store, is st least somewhat separated from it.
“Alright. We are going to have to split up. All of you will make it to the truck while I am the decoy for the changelings to follow. I’ll buy some items and make an illusion of you following me into the park. By the time they realize what is going on, you can drive on out of here.”
Wellspring is nervous
“Oh… okay” she says frightened. Makade nods sharply, understanding.
Spark returns to the front and buys a lantern with some rope.
“I don’t suppose you have any coffee or tea?”
“We don’t have traditional tea or coffee with caffeine. But we do have herbal Ironwort tea, and both acorn and barley coffee.”
“I’ll take some of those as well.”
And so Spark buys the lantern, rope, herbal tea, and ersatz coffee. Anything else?
I think that’s all. Spark will now head outside.
Spark does do, exiting out the front door into the cold air of the late morning.
He then make illusions of his party and sets off to the park.
Makade and Wellspring appear to walk next to Spark as he walks to the park. There is a low wall of bushes around parts of the park perimeter.
Iron wakes up with daylight pouring onto the bed, thankfully not having transformed into an enormous insect. The area of the bed to his left is empty, and the covers are pulled off. Iron himself is only partly covered. To his right, a half foot away, is a mare rolled in bedsheets, still sleeping.
With a hefty, satisfied yawn, the native soon crawled out of the covers with an elated smile on his face: Nothing felt better than sleeping with his mares besides him, sharing the touch he craved deep down.
He soon shimmied himself closer to the seemingly sleeping mare and leaned his head to give him a little nuzzle to start the day off on a good note before getting out of bed.
The covers have completely separated from the bed at this point, and a long, flowing red tail sticks out one end of the roll of bedsheets. She looks almost like an eggroll, or a cocoon, and she must have wrapped it around her one or two times. At the front end, only a long white muzzle, and a horn protrudes out. She scrunches lightly, seemingly still asleep at the nuzzle.
Iron couldn't help but chuckle softly and give Sands a little stroke of her mane in response, hoping to soothe the overly mild inconvenience with a gentler gesture, before finally getting out of bed proper with a determined glint in his eye and an eager smile, ready to face breakfast. After such a good note, he couldn't help but feel the greatest he's ever been since he got out of his jungle.
From that muzzle, Iron sees a small, narrow smile. Iron is soon out of bed.
Knowing his wicked sin
had been pardoned with Sands' small smile, Iron daintily trotted out of the bedroom and onto the kitchen, wondering if Cauldron was still around or had gone to do her work.
Iron stood still, now a little lost and the slightest bit disappointed, before shrugging it off. He knew Cauldron's heart was intertwined with his now, and it was enough to soothe his small bout of sadness from not displaying his affection before the zebra mare left.
He soon walked over to the magic freezing place, carefully opening it to see if there was anything he could take while also feeling the slightest bit embarrassed at his actions: He may be being uncouth by doing this.
There's some soup, and cassava noodles
The native hummed softly, a bit unsure which one to pick while he shivered slightly from the cold inside, before shakily yet cautiously picking up the cassava noodles for him to eat for him. A thought soon crossed his mind however: What should he bring the still sleeping Sands?She is not much of an eater...
Iron mused, wondering what would be a good way to brighten the unicorn up. I think coffee or tea would work... but I have no idea how to make that or if she would even like it.
With that thought in mind, he soon took the plate to the table and tentatively tried out the food he took out while ensuring the freezing box was properly closed.
It's... Well... It's cold. Iron's had cassava noodles before, but they were fresh and warm then. It's not quite as good cold.
Iron exhaled softly before pushing through the meal to finish it, despite the underwhelming flavor of the cold food. It at least let him focus on his thinking. I have to give her something to give her a good mood for the rest of the day,
the native pondered specially after...
He trailed off, gaze becoming a little unfocused as Sands' hissing and her wounds after Koptis did his number on her.
One, two stabs in the chest and the belly.
The cassava noodles still have a good texture to them though.
Every stab hurt his fragile little soul a little more at the reminder, egging him further to give Sands a good morning at the very least. Think, Iron, think!
he pressured himself as he ensured his plate/bowl was fully clean of any remnants so as to not waste any food. ...maybe a cuddle? That does not sound more like a good night thing...
The native's brow furrowed further, tapping the table with his hoof in an attempt to squeeze out a viable method to brighten her day.
Outside, an automobile drives by, and a clock ticks. Iron finishes everything on the plate.
Iron huffed softly, soon picking up the plate and idly take it back to the kitchen, wondering it would even go as the vines of thought kept their swinging. Maybe a kiss?
he wondered, unsure. ...maybe that could work, but I have to do it the right way... which I do not really know...
The native's snout scrunched lightly, starting to feel a little frustrated at the lack of a clear answer, but started to lean into the kiss approach as he figured she may enjoy it even if it's bad. Why is she so hard to read?
he grumbled in his head, feeling himself quite distant from her regardless of the time spent together. She feels so far away sometimes...
Far away in heart, far away in spirit… Iron is now physically maybe 20 feet away, if even that, separated by a wall from line of sight.
Such prevailing thoughts only served to scrunch his snout further, deciding to simply place the place on one of the kitchen counters for the time being and walk back to the bedroom, steeling himself and soon reminding himself just how much she meant to him... only to find it mostly blank and not all that heart-warming. Why is it so hard to lift her spirits?
he muttered in his head. Is there something wrong with me that cannot connect with her aside from her smoking hot, fluffy body?
Iron enters the bedroom to see white Sands sitting up on the bed, cocooned in the bedsheets, but with her head sticking out, and her tail wrapped around herself. She has an expression of pure dread on her face, and disheveled mane. Her eyes cone up to meet Iron, but then come back down as her head, angled down, stares at the point where the dresser meets the carpet on the floor in front of the bed.
Whatever upsetting, pessimistic thoughts Iron had on Sands soon vanished as he witnessed the fluffy pony in dire need of comfort, quickly trotting next to her, climbing up the bed and giving her a hasty yet concerned hug from behind with his head laying on her withers.
Iron is a bit separated from her by layers of bedsheets, but there’s no question that she’s vulnerable to hugging.
The bigger stallion soon started to idly stroke Sands' blanket wrapped body with his bulky forelegs, trying his damndest to cheer the unicorn mare up after finding her in such a drastic state. It was his sworn duty as Sands' stallion to ensure she was properly taken care of both physically and
This seems to get some positive response, as she raises her head up. Then she volunteers:
“Today is the day I hear back from my mother.”
"I see," Iron uttered understandingly, continuing to dutifully provide some physical comfort for the unicorn as she opened up to him. "Will you have to go if it is bad news?"
“I might.” She says vacantly.
“But it’s not about whether it’s bad news.” She says, and pauses for a while. When she starts again, she says
“Whatever that telegram says, I know what it won’t say:
‘I was worried about you. I’m glad you’re okay. You did your best, even if it wasn’t enough.’”
With the last word, she breaks out crying, lowering her head and attempting to bury it in the bedsheets.
Iron's gaze softened even further, continuing to hold the bawling mare and give her sheet-covered body a tender stroke of his forelegs, giving Sands all the time she needed to properly vent out her frustrations. Does her mother really not care about her?
he thought to himself, tempted to ask about it but feeling he'd just open her wound further.
Nevertheless, the native could definitely understand lacking comfort from his progenitors: It was part of growing up to stop relying on your relatives to prop oneself up back in the tribe. If he tried to go back and make contact with them again, he'd most likely be faced with immense disappointment and disapproval, just like her with White's supposed work.
Iron frankly didn't really have anything to say after that. All he knew he could do for sure was to be there for Sands, supporting her with his warm, short fur and big, bleeding heart.
White Sands cries, and leans onto Iron, eventually burying her muzzle into his fur. After a little longer, she starts to remove the bedsheets to try to be closer to Iron.
Iron gladly helped Sands get closer to him, unwrapping the unicorn from her sheet fortress with tender accuracy before pulling her head into his rather lacking yet wholly willing chest fluff, allowing her to hear his beating heart slowly thumping against his chest.
All the while, he ensured the body stroking carried onwards to ensure Sands felt cared for, despite Iron's frustrations over failing to properly understand her fully.
Iron may not really understand her. He might never understand her. But anypony could understand she needs affection, and most especially, validation, from somepony right now. She’s still soft and fluffy. Like a pillow, really, and she hold onto him. She stops the actual crying after not much time. But she hasn’t recovered.
Iron took a deep inhale, ensuring Sands was snug between his large, muscular frame and his thick forelegs, wondering what could he even say: Should he bring up how she foolishly tried to finish his job, even though such a thing twisted the knife inside his heart? Should he call her sexy, even though such a thing is as superficial as saying he had a grey coat? Should he comment on how creative she is, even though it's used just to spice up their fledgling love life?
Everywhere he looked, Iron would find the doors to give Sands what she needed right now were locked shut in his mind. Everything would just heighten her insecure self from their shared experiences so far. None led to success, as far as he could see.
Iron's soul became just a little heavier from guilt, not finding any suitable response to provide Sands the comfort she so desperately desires.
She loosens up a little bit, calming down. Remaining in Iron's embrace, she eases her way down on the bed. Iron can feel that her wounds are quite a bit better than they were yesterday, though they are still noticeable.
For whatever else Iron may think of her, and for whatever problems he may have with her, one thing is certain. It is often asked of friends and companions "would they be there for you in a time of need?" For White Sands, Iron need never wonder. For when Iron's strength has failed him and he's at his worst of luck, she really would
jump in to save him; to take a knife for him from a professional murderer twice her size. Not even Black Cauldron has done the same, and very few would do the same.
, Iron stuttered back, feeling ashamed to admit it, I am supposed to jump in to save her! Not the other way around!
He couldn't help but grip Sands closer to him, reminding the native of just how near she was to meet her death just for him. While he could try to admire it, his pride made him feel too guilty to spill it out. What sort of stallion would let his mare die for him? That's not how it works!
If she reminds Iron of his great failure, of his insecurity, then perhaps he has something more in common than what he realizes. Both are bound by what cannot be spoken, and what cannot be admitted to. If she is silent, so is he.
She wraps her forelegs around him in a reciprocated hug.
>>148919That is not enough at all!
Iron snapped back at his thoughts, his passionate self crashing through his poor self-esteem. What sort of stallion would I be if I just give her some weak feeling that I am in the same boat as her?! I can do better! I know I can!
However, passion by itself isn't going to do anything. He needed a way to properly tackle the problem and give Sands the appreciation that she was starving for. Problem is, where would he even start?
Such a conundrum caused Iron to keep his hold on Sands, afraid to let go in case she may disappear from his life in such a heart-breaking manner the moment he blinked.
Indeed. Hold on tight, lest she slip out of your grip. One mare has already left this morning.
Iron gulped softly at his invasive thoughts, starting to shiver just a bit because of them. The guilt was eating at him, yet all he really knew was to show love, but never tell it. What would words really do for him when actions spoke louder? Actions should convince Sands wholeheartedly that he cares for her, yet he can never find a way to strike that part of her. I-I do not know what to do,
he hesitantly admitted to himself, clutching the unicorn ever tighter.
The only action he could do, really, would be an action equivalent to what she did for him. He must sacrifice for her, or risk a significant sacrifice. Only in that way, could the favor be repaid in kind.
>>148924H-how would I even do that?
Iron asked in turn, desperate enough to willingly go through that path just to make Sands feel better about herself.
If Iron can’t get himself stabbed for her, he may have to do something else instead. Something just as painful. He may have to talk to her
>>148926Talk... to her?
Iron uttered, puzzled at the thought. What do you mean?
Well, if ever cannot speak to her, he will just have to cuddle her.
>>148928I guess it will have to do,
Iron reluctantly muttered, not too satisfied and quite unsure if she'd even appreciate it.
Nevertheless, he soon got out of bed in order to further press his body against Sands', all too eager to get her to feel better with his warm body.
And so, she feels his body press against his, and he likewise, sm feels her soft fur along his body.
Despite knowing Sands was there, Iron felt the everlasting hug dig against his desperate soul, failing to notice just about anything of the unicorn mare's mood. Did she really appreciate his attempts? Does she know why he's doing it? Did he really matter to her?
To think he'd ask such a question after she risked her life for him...
She is, if nothing else, comforted. The tears have stopped, and she peacefully enters his embrace
Iron's breathing became a little heavier, feeling rather impotent at his wimpy way to reassure Sands in such a fashion, but nevertheless continued on, hoping his hug reached out to her heart and undo the pain in her soul.
>>148934[1d20+1 = 10]
<Socially inept stallion tries to touch the heart of a mare in need. Surely it'll go swell.
He’s made some okay progress. But he may need to talk about his feelings.
Spark continues near the bushes.
Does Spark enter into the park itself?
Yes. That should work with the goal to draw out the changelings in possible pursuit.
Spark goes into the park, and walks along its gravel path. The grass is still snow covered, and the trees have lost their leaves.
In front of Spark, on the far side and to his right, a mare in a jacket walks a dog. To his left, on the sidewalk, a stallion walks hurriedly pushing a foal along, both in practical fur-lined coats. Behind Spark, on the far side, a stallion in a raincoat looks down and rushes past, while a brown stallion with no clothing casually walks by the park path.
Spark walks along for a while.
Spark pretty quickly reaches the end of the small park. There is no statue nor fountain, but there is a playground set covered in snow. On every side save behind him are residential buildings two stories tall, with multifamily apartments.
Can Spark tell if he is being followed?
No pony is on the park walkway
. Whether anyone is on the sidewalk walking around the single-block park is another question.
>>148936How would I even do that?
Iron pessimistically questioned, almost feeling he was about to sabotage himself if he were to blindly just blurt out his feelings.
Nevertheless, he kept his hold on Sands with a rather obvious desire to make her feel better... only without any clear focus or path to actually give her what she desires.
Spark peaks around to the sidewalk.
She eases herself, falling into Iron's embrace, although perhaps needing a bit more petting or mane stroking
Iron was all too happy to oblige, sliding his forelegs along her mane while his hindlegs softly tried to lay back down on the bed, thinking the cuddle might just work out after all.
Her mane is tangled in places, and much messier than it had been the morning before. But there's still a pleasant softness in the long hair.
Thus, Iron made combing it back to its silky smooth mane with his hooves his current mission, tenderly providing some much needed affection in the meantime while he softly relaxed himself in the whole embracing Sands thing.
Sands must have eased into it, as Iron can hear her making sounds a bit like the purring of a cat.
Iron exhaled softly in relief, thankful he was able to pull Sands out from the pit of despair for a moment how he knew best, yet deep down knew this wasn't exactly going to solve the unicorn's problems with her validation... or at least he thought it didn't...
Iron is in a better position than he was minutes before. But Iron cannot end the petting and the holding, lest the purring stop.
Iron couldn't help but feel slightly stuck because of this, causing him to blink softly: He wasn't going to be stuck in place for the rest of the day, was he?...I should really be getting ready to finish that war...
he mumbled to his mind.
He who rides a tiger, is afraid to dismountpurr, purr
Starting to feel a tad awkward over continuing to lay down on the bed when there were more pressing matters, figured now would be a good time to open his yap. "I see your wounds are getting better," he hesitantly offered, continuing his mane stroking session.
She opens her eyes, and tilts her head up closer towards him
"I am eager to see you without them," Iron awkwardly replied in turn, giving her a small, genuine yet apprehensive smile.
With her back turned to him, only with the most awkward of head movements can she see him behind her.
"That's nice of you to say" she says
Iron let out a single, dry chuckle out of his mouth at the answer, having already run out of things to say but feeling it wasn't really good enough.
As she moves her head back to attempt to make eye contact, her horn accidently jabs Iron on the underside of his muzzle.
Iron didn't really mind the jab but moved his muzzle away to let Sands properly finish her head turning regardless. In all honesty, he had no clue if anything he was doing right now was really helping or not, but he wasn't going to run away like so many other times with Cauldron.
Now all Iron has to do, is to break through that soft fur. Talk to her. Connect to her. Say all of the things he wants to say. Ask all of the questions he wants to ask.
Seconds ticked by, as Iron stared at the unicorn mare in utter silence for an uncomfortable amount of seconds while he tried to scrounge up something to start their conversation... only to find himself stuck with his mouth slightly open while staring at Sands.
White Sands, still lying facing the opposite way, speaks
“How long have you been here? In Baltimare, I mean.”
What will happen in the park? Hopefully I will find out soon.
I think we left off here.
The stallion with the foal continues walking away and down the sidewalk, while behind Spark, the brown stallion turns the corner, going now the same direction Spark is. The stallion on the other side of the road behind Spark continues down another block.