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As the walkway around the dance floor is rather large, this takes a moment.
Amber approaches the area just below the stage, where the griffin is picking up his case. He is rather old with grey feathers the color of rain-laden clouds, though something about his appearance implies there were either much brighter, or much darker when he was young. He turns his head to look at her with milky blue eyes.
He looks at her with a plain, or even hardened expression, and blinks his eyes. Small twitches and movements imply age has been unkind to him.
"Danke, uh, thank you" he says, after what seems to have been a deliberate delay. He speaks very slowly, seriously, and with an atrocious accent:
"I play the... klang and the melodie given to me with the biggest respect, as you should all music."
"My life and more" He replies, looking to the side for a moment, and then locking his eyes back on Amber
"To play for a crowd" he shakes his head "That is not the sign of love of music. To play for a crowd is to make money and to pay rent." He pauses again
"Practice more. Practice in the night. Practice, and the Bragi may bless you."
She pays heed to his words. "Thank you, mister.
It was a pleasure to get to meet you."
She pauses, in case the old gryphon has anything more to say.
He does not say anything to her. He looks away, wearing an expression of uncertainty, or perhaps sadness, and picks up the case, trying to hold it over his shoulder.
Despite her respect for this skilled musician, his demeanor gives her second thoughts. Is this really the result of wholehearted devotion to music, a melancholic life ending in playing to a gruff audience just to get by? Playing nightly at a club would be alright as a stepping stone of a career, but that dismal reality being all that awaits at a summit is not what she hopes for.
Her mind less at ease than it was before, she trudges to Dark Denizen's office.
Amber doesn't make it far before a waitress approaches her
"Huh. He doesn't normally talk to ponies." And after a pause
"Get back here. Denizen is impatient. She's in a bad mood because of the fire regulations."
She trots very quickly, leading Amber back to the office. When Amber enters, Denizen, standing up next to her desk rather than behind it says,
"Did you get lost on the way to my office? Where is it?"
Amber blinks. "No, ma'am. I have it right here."
She nervously approaches the desk, digs up the documents like before, and leans over the desk to deposit them. She then retreats backwards and waits for her reaction.
She reaches out her hoof, then quickly withdraws it to wipe her hoof off on a cloth. She again extends her hoof, takes the envelopes, and looks into them, going through the documents one by one, looking at them intently.
The young orange mare bites her lip in worry. What if he had picked out the wrong papers when he gave them to her? What if something is missing? What if there is something in there she doesn't like?
She stops suddenly, and raises her eyes to Amber
"Was there anything else?" She asks
She looks down, presses a set of something into an envelop, slides an image out of the other one, stares at it, and then slams it back in.
"Then it is done." She says
She breathes a sigh of relief. "You probably want your gun back, too,"
she says. She makes no move to pull out the weapon, in case her guards might get alarmed.
>>151745I think Amber abandoned that
Dark Denizen simply looks up curiously
Thank you, now I remember!
Amber clarifies, "I gave the gun as 'evidence' to be let in, and I was allowed onto the second floor. I told them I found it by a dumpster near Hoebuck."
"Hoebuck? Where Customs killed all of those griffins?"
She curls her nostrils
"Finally they've done something useful. Anyways, hopefully they'll believe that. I would have preferred to have the gun back, but no one ever thought we'd be out of this situation for free. That was quick thinking, I suppose. Anyways, Did they suspect anything?"
She shakes her head. "Nuh-uh. Hanging around long enough to get the papers was a little suspicious, but Scabbard knows how to talk his way out of a situation. I had to pretend to be his fillyfriend."
She scrunches when she says that last sentence.
"Heheh" She laughs at Amber's misfortune
"That sounds like him. I'll tell him you're too young for him. He'll be coming for his payment soon enough, I am sure."
"Let us hope that was all
of the relevant information. And that nothing finds its way back to you, or to us. This could grow to become very much out of hoof. You should hope you never understand just what is at stake here."
"The what now?" She says to Amber's last word. She pauses for a moment, then laughs.
She leans forward, moves a hoof across over the table, and invades Amber's personal space in a way she hasn't experienced in almost half an hour. She ruffle's Amber's mane
"You'll be fine. If anything, you've done well for your first night, little country filly."
She's not sure if she wants to work for this mare again, but she managed to get out uninjured and is not an outlaw...yet. Still, she's ill at ease and shows it.
Dark Denizen either never notices Amber's ill ease, or (more likely) doesn't care. She is still giggly, which if anything is a refreshing change from literally knocking down her own building with a sledge hammer.
"I suppose... I'll have your debt erased."
>>151756"You can do that?"
she asks, blinking. She thinks for a moment, and continues, "You know about it?"
She tilts her head down slight, and forms a small, almost malign grin
"You didn't think we looked into who you are before approaching you?"
Amber retracts with a pensive look on her face. "I suppose you would, but I didn't think it would be possible with me hardly knowing anypony around...."
She gets the sense it would be a bad idea to get this lady mad at any point, as it would be hard to hide.
"I just know what I was told, and that is that a filly with the same name as you, and the same adorable expression and coat, borrowed some money from someone else a few days ago. We can have that debt erased. I sort of assumed that was why you were here."
"You will be released from that. Who will eat the cost, we will figure out later, but you will be released. And to keep silent about all you have seen here, all you have done here, perhaps another 200 bits."
For the first time since she has entered the office, she smiles at this news. She feels a nagging at the back of her mind about how this is illicit money and she shouldn't accept it.. It's just a piece of paper, I wasn't hurting anypony. Plus, I won't have such a rocky start to life here."Thank you, ma'am."
She opens a drawer, and pulls out notes. The mare scrunches, and Amber can see why. All of the currency produced is of the red paper money that High Sewn disfavored at the store.
She counts out some amount, and tenders it to Amber by pushing it across the desk.
"Again. Do not
. Go telling ponies, even those you trust, about what you've done and seen tonight."
Amber stares at the bills. They're not shiny gold, but they still say bits on them, so why are ponies unhappy with them? As soon as Denizen's hoof leaves the table Amber picks up the cash and slowly stows it away."You needn't worry about that, ma'am. I know how to be confidential,"
she says with a nervous smile.
She watches as Amber takes the bills.
"Very well" she says
Amber looks at the thestral. "Thank you. Is there anything else?"
“Oh, yes. One of the waitresses said this was left for you.”
She pushes over a piece of paper with writing on it
She picks up the piece of paper and starts reading it intently....
"Sorry I had to leave. Had a great time with you tonight. Hope to do it again. You can contact me at 410-0837, or at 1110 Summervale.
- Mustard Trim"
“She’ll be there on your way out” she says, and blinks
“I need a doorframe…” she says to herself
Amber doesn't tarry but trots out, looking for the waitress on the way.
She is staring at Amber almost as soon as she exits. The flaxen colored mare, with the black, tied back mane. It’s the same mare who served Amber the Hurricane, who talked to the guests when Amber entered, and who directed her to the back room.
"You're welcome" she says
She blinks again
Amber wishes her a good night and leaves the establishment to set out for home.
The flaxen mare, however, has a question for Amber
"What did he say to you?"
>>151778"He had to leave, but wants to meet up again sometime and he gave me his address."
Amber is relieved that the flaxen mare didn't read the note, though she doubts Dark Denizen shares the same scruples.
"No no." She says
"The griffin viol player."
"I suppose" she says
"I didn't wake up. I'd call that good."
"I haven't seen him talk with... well, almost anyone. Denizen likes him. But even she can't get more than a few words with him. I don't think he likes.... playing for, well, playing for other creatures. I mean... like it's alien to him, or beneath him."
"I don't know if it's that" she says
"There's this rumor going around that he was the private musician for the Von Katerinbergs, and fled when those two counties fell. Some one else says they passed by his apartment and heard him playing with a whole orchestra. I don't know, I just... I wonder, some times.."
Amber tries to recall who the von Katerinbergs are....
Knowledge (geography): [1d20+4 = (5+4) = 9]
Somewhere over in the Griffin lands. It's sort of in the Empire but not really. There was this young girl who was not just a despot but literally insane, and an older male in a different kingdom who was murderous towards the ponies there.
>>151790Griffin is squeezed
"No. I mean... like a classical orchestra. Playing notes and songs he had never heard before. Sounding almost like chords from heaven. He couldn't really describe it. Of course, he doesn't know music very well."
"Yeah, that's exactly what I would like to know too. I don't know, he just seems a little strange."
"Heh. That's what Dark Denizen thinks. I think a swing, or jazz band would probably be more popular with the patrons."
"Are you sure you are okay?"
"Well... you and her. Maybe that's why he'll talk to you and her, but not me or the other staff.">>151798
"I don't know. But I'm still here, aren't I?"
She smiles back, showing teeth
“Thank you. Where did you come from?”
"I just worry about you sometimes, my dove."
She leans into him, until most of her weight presses into him.
Silver holds her weight, standing strong against this onslaught.
She leans into him a little more, tilting her beak so that it buries in his fur.
"I will be your support, dove."
>>151801"I'm from a hundred-and-fifty miles to the west of here.
I grew up on a small farm and decided to come here to better support my folks. It's been...a big change of pace."
She continues with a smile, "How about yourself? Are you from around here?"
"I figured you were from the country. I wouldn't have guessed you were that close though."
She pauses at Amber's question, and it seems as if she was not expecting to be asked reciprocally.
"Well, no. I am from Las Pegasus. But I've been in Baltimare several years now."
Silver looks up at his griffon.
"Are you sure
you are alright? You know I am only here for you."
“Well…” she looks down
“I was abducted, I am a stranger in this land…”
She points her beak directly at the ground
“And… other things… so I’m… not alright…”
Her eyes also light up hearing this. "I've never been there, but I heard it's such a beautiful city up in the clouds. Is it true that the sunsets are like nowhere else?"Does Las Pegasus also have gambling? The association with Los Angeles is obvious but there's no Las Vegas analogue otherwise.
She pulls her lips back, showing teeth
“Yeah. I suppose you can call it beautiful. Some places were, some times. I don’t know how the sunset looks most other places. But yeah, it was nice watching it from the clouds as it set over the water. Or from the seaside cliffs. Better than watching it vanish into the forest like it does here.”I think depictions of Los Pegasus are careful to turn the obvious slot machine allegories in the background into arcade games of various kinds, but it’s definitely a Los Vegas parallel with giant “casinos.” If gambling is legal in Equestria anywhere besides on injun reservations, it’s in Los Pegasus.
“Yeah….” She pauses “There we’re a decent number of things to do there. The things the tourists like, we did but they got old. But I was younger then, and had less freedom than I do now.”If that’s how you want to interpret it. It seemed pretty clear that the animators wanted to depict a modern Las Vegas mega casino, but were restricted by the show’s rating.
She blinks at some portion of the first half, but then turns her head and says
"Oh really?" at Amber's last words
She turns her head, still grinning widely.
“I don’t think I snuck
out, ever. I lied more than a few times about what I was doing, or didn’t say all of where I was going.”
"Well, out with friends. I went where they went. To the cliffs. Card games a few times."
"Yeah. Well, seaside cliffs. That's what the waterline was like. Cliffs, though there were beaches below that in many areas, so you could go to the beach. Just jump off, and glide right down. Well, it helps being able to fly." A quick look confirms that she is indeed a Pegasus.
"Good. So you have at least two specific names. But we need specific plans and evidence. And more importantly, we need to know who else - and what else. If these ponies are a part of a larger network, it will help to learn as much as possible. It seems it will be profitable for you to stay on their tails. Continue posing as one of them. Go deeper. Gain their trust, and learn more,"
"Understood,sir. i'll do what i can."
He gives a single, sharp nod
"Good. Do you wish to know anything else, or need anything else?"
"No,sir. thats everything i believe."