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 Quaking in their boots

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Chowatron

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:35 am

“Thank you,” Blue said, the last time anypony would ever hear him say it. “She is one of the rare few I owe gratitude to.” It was such a struggle for him to match his birth with his destiny. Were he common there would be no expectation of his actions. “I am sure we can endeavour for both things however, even if it involves a plan like you mentioned…”

He payed no mind to being told to quiet down, mostly because he knew the real reason he was told to do so. He was forced for the sake of being at his best for the mission to shake his head at the offer of a duel. “Another time, perhaps. I have no problem with you, but you are not a regular pony, are you? Ponies do give themselves such labels unless they are disillusioned, rockstars, or those that are gifted. Since you are here and so am I, I think we know which one it is.” Blue never understood why it was called rock music, it should have been called loud music. Still, that kind of music brought the dark and dreary kind, right? If they were a friend of Luna he might have known more about them, since he knew more about the princess he did not like.

”Miss Moon,” Blue said with an acknowledging nod. “I am going to say the rude thing and comment that it looks like you spent the night with stars for a blanket. Had I known you had no sleeping arrangements I would have offered you a bed….I am forced to ask for your forgiveness.” He lowered his head slightly, and still felt the school teacher vibe which he felt the class pet added to.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:18 am

Oathbound was suspicious of this Dark Hound at first. He had never heard of such a title before and the way this pony appeared and claimed to be one didn't sit well with him. The armor and cloak didn't match the way one would imagine such a pony to be, given the title, dark hound or no.

In the back of his head, he even had a sneaking suspicion... No, it couldn't be her... Could it?

He figured there was only one way he could test this mare's resolve and skill at the moment. His magic went to work as an axe of light-blue energy, mirrored in color by the energy surrounding his amulet whenever he worked his magic, appeared above the arch of the gates to the city. It then started moving at an alarming speed, the blade aimed directly at the skull of the cloaked mare. If she dodged it or deflected it or blocked it or anything, he would be satisfied with this mare's skills. He was also a good ways to the side of the main group and the mare was also preoccupied with being talked to by several ponies and addressing them as well.
An irregular beat of his heart signalled him that there was something that wished the mare failed at dodging the blade.

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An empty mind is like unto a freshly turned sod, if not sown with the seeds of love, duty and honour, the insidious weeds of heresy will take root.

- Prefect Xavier Lanate, from his essay "Heresy and Faith: an Introspection"

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Tue Dec 01, 2015 5:56 am

Nox chuckled subtly at Paladin for his (as she assumed) straight-faced humor. Then she nodded in understanding for his reasoning, even if she didn’t agree with it: she didn’t like the idea of bringing a pony along solely to be a meatshield for the rest of the group should they need one. However, she figured she might make an exception for this pony, should his attitude remain unchanged or even worsen throughout the journey. She already sensed a treacherous, self-serving nature about him.

The Dark Hound of Celestia? Nox’s eyebrows furrowed. There certainly are some… colorful characters on this mission. This is going to be a lot of ponies to keep track of. Nox blinked. “By process of elimination, she is clearly the gifted one.” she muttered… “to” wouldn’t be appropriate, as Nox muttered it very quietly and had no intention of Blue hearing it.

She was slightly taken aback by him claiming that he’d have offered her a place to sleep had he known she’d be sleeping… well, not in a home, but quickly suspected that he was making a crude comment about how he would’ve offered her to bed. She wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.

She briefly noticed Rez’s sign before going back to her thoughts one more time. “Colorful characters”? Look who’s talking, miss Alicorn of Darkness and Shadows. Nox gave a very small, very brief amused smile at her own thought before turning her attention back to the group, just in time to see Oath hurtle an ax of solid magic at the Dark Hound at alarming and deadly speed. Her magic reacted before she could stop herself: a violet shield spell formed between the mare and the ax.

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:38 am

The stars shrug helplessly as they snuggle Luna. "We are! But.... We were sort of new to this. And Radiant said that the pony who taught her Equestrian was really good at them, and said she was too, so we wanted to see if we were... Apparently we are."
Radiant winces at Luna's comment. Had she enabled that function, she would've blushed. "Ironwood introduced me to them! And he said I was really good at it... 'Sides, we won the bet. No harm, no foul." she says, trying and failing to inconspicuously scoot over to the currently affectionate alicorn.

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"To allow you to live serves no purpose. Knowledge must be preserved, and I already have yours."
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:25 am

Late Night


Luna sighed and continued to snuggle the stars, before leading them back to her room. Sitting on the edge of the crescent moon bed, she rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Listen... no more alcohol, ok? My sister is in trouble and I do not wish to jeopardise that because you three are drunk." She looked at Radiant and shook her head. "That you won is irrelevant. You put yourself and others at risk getting so drunk. Now," she smiled comfortingly and patted her bed. "You three go to sleep. I will enter your dreams, and try to teach you Equestrian. OK?"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Early Morning


Hound blinked as Rez quickly scrawled what he wished to say, staring at the text with a slightly confused tilted head. "Hmm... I suppose it is, isn't it. Fine, you may address me as Hound, or even just H," she said. Her attention was drawn to Blue and Nox, and she let out a harsh bark of laughter. "I am no gifted one, nor am I a rock star or delusional. I am merely what Celestia made me... I am hers, in my entirety. Though, that you would imply I am delusional pisses me off... I must say I am-" She paused as she watched the axe shatter Nox's barrier, and mere miliseconds before it slammed into her skull, she side-stepped, the axe burying itself into the marble beneath her.

"You are a brave one, former guard, though if you knew what beast would have unleashed had that attack hit, I think you would have taken a second to reconsider," she smirked, her fangs glinting in the rising sun as she began to move towards Oath, her body rippling beneath her cloak.

Paladin swore, moving between the main group and the pair as they faced off, his shattered horn crackling as a small, almost invisible shield erupted between the two groups. "Everyone... just stay back. Blue, you want to pay attention to the mare you very nearly antagonised," he murmured, no malice or anger in his words.

Hound faced Oath, her body still rippling as she began to walk towards him, her snout growing and sharpening, teeth bursting from her gums. Fur, dark and grey, grew across her body as her muscles swelling and surging under her flesh, till Oath was no longer facing a mare, but a wolf the size of an Alicorn, fire dripping from her fangs. With little warning, she leapt at him, claws outstretched and aimed for his throat.

Despite the combat that was about to explode in the middle of the street, Paladin did seem overly worried that they would be spotted, and indeed, any pony who looked in their direction seemed to blink and shake their head, before remembering something important they had forgotten.



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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:08 am

Nox had hoped that her shield would at least slow down the ax, but it did nothing, as if it were no more a significant barrier than the air. Nox blinked, then squinted at Oath's necklace, as if just now really noticing it. How much power was in that amulet that could give an earth pony magic powers equivalent to or greater than the average unicorn's?

Then Nox saw her fangs, and three possible answers instantly popped into her head: thestral, vampony, or (the one she would've found least likely under different circumstances of yesterday) changeling. Her eyes were locked on her instantly, her ear swiveling over to Paladin for a moment as he swore. Her legs tensed almost immediately, ready to jump in should she need to, but Paladin's vague and somewhat weak-looking dome popped up between Hound and Oath, and everypony else.

Nox gave Paladin a questioning glance, before seeing the mare grow into something not at all pony. Now, in that mare's place was a wolf as large as Celestia herself, dark-furred, muscles bulging, fire for saliva dripping from its long, sharp fangs. She'd only ever met one other werewolf that could change forms of his own free will, and even he had not had fire dripping from his (then bloodied) fangs.

The werewolf leapt at Oath, and Nox hoped that she was not actually intending to do serious harm. Pyra, her talons digging into Nox's hindquarters (Nox barely noticed the pain, much less its source), was whining with worry, tears welling up in her eyes.

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:39 am

“Very kind hearted of you to be concerned about my wellbeing, Paladin, but I was only paying her a compliment. I didn't anticipate she would act so strangely…” He actually observed the not mare as she transformed, but few of the details astounded him. The end result did make him weary if she ever decided his fate was to be a chew toy, but the total deference to Celestia made him feel safer. Her pet wouldn’t harm such a good friend of her’s, right? Blue considered entering the fight, but he didn't have any particular like or resentment for the combatants. Obligation did pull at him however, since Paladin’s plan was just to keep things contained, The Chosen One was actually going to do something. The two fighting each other were wasting time and their energy. Distracting them from the feud would be best he decided, his friends would surely help if he made himself a target. All they were was just a crowd in need of forceful dispersion, and he did have a spell for that, though his fan club never grew large enough for him to need to use it. “Are you trying to prove something to me by making us watch?” Blue asked. “Okay then, you've made your point, let me put an end to it...This is not productive!” He kicked at the ground as he confidently stepped past the stallion, not needing his protection. As he began to move forward more quickly he trusted Paladin to allow him through the shield as he ran at it...
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:21 am

Oathbound didn't move an inch even through the transformation the mare went through as she lunged at his throat. He had seen far worse in his life, a werepony was not going to phase him.
As she was about to get within striking distance Oath conjured two axes that hit the werepony on the shoulders and pushed her backwards, depriving her of most of her forward momentum.
"I have no intention of fighting you, Dark Hound. I decided to join this party in order to find Princess Celestia and that is what I intend to do."
His axes then turned bright red for less than a second as his eyes lost their irises and became that same color for the same amount of time, looking at the werepony straight in the eyes in a manner that she could feel something incredibly evil stare straight into her soul.
"And don't talk to me about unleashed beasts." He said before he shook his head vigorously and he frowned and closed his eyes, keeping the werepony at bay until he felt calm enough once again.
"Paladin, lower your shield. We need to move and daylight's burning." He said as he waited for the guard to lower the shield he had erected around the werepony and former guard.

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An empty mind is like unto a freshly turned sod, if not sown with the seeds of love, duty and honour, the insidious weeds of heresy will take root.

- Prefect Xavier Lanate, from his essay "Heresy and Faith: an Introspection"

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:36 am

Rez was in the process of underlining the name 'freckles' to indicate his choice when the sound of the shield breaking drew his eyes back up in time to see the ax crash into the ground. His eyes widened a little at the transformation, but it was delayed as if it wasn't the transformation itself that was causing his eyes to widen. As the fight broke out and Paladin threw up the shield, Rez had turned the dry erase board back around, erased what was wrote on it, and was rapidly replacing it with some new words.

A moment later, Rez was pressing the dry erase board against against the walls of the bubble with his levitation. Nevermind, you are now Fluffy, it read in bold black marker.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Dec 05, 2015 5:29 am

Paladin shook his head as he raised a hoof in Blue's path, stopping him from walking into his shield. "I wouldn't walk into my shield, and I can't open a hole for you. My shield's aren't modular, so I'd have to drop the current one, either create a new one with a hole for you, or wait until you're clear and make another one. It's too dangerous I'm afraid, and besides, you may be a competent magus, but your spell could still miss, or not affect her at all." Paladin was lying through his teeth of course. He could easily drop the current shield and create a new one that excluded Blue with ease, but even he didn't want to see the stallion torn apart.

The axes Oath had summoned did indeed dig into the werewolf's shoulders, but despite his best efforts, they did not slow in the slightest, and she continued to push forward till she was snout to snout with him. If Hound found something evil staring into her soul in the instant that his eyes glowed red, that evil would find an abomination staring back, her irises a mixture of silver and gold that spoke of untold horror and merciless killing. Those eyes darted to Paladin as Oath spoke, and to Rez, and his sign. She paused, pulling off the axes, before her wounds healed and she shrank down to normal pony size again, her cloak and armour apparently untouched by the transformation. She gave a bark of laughter and smiled at the stallion before waving at Paladin, who dropped his shield.

Paladin sighed as the situation was defused, his horn losing it's glow as the shield faded. "Well, Hound, perhaps next time you could, I don't know, not try to kill the ponies I recruited?" He said, smiling at Pyra, a knowing look in his eye, before he turned to the rest of the group. "Well, I'm glad you have all assembled. And you are quite correct Oath, we are burning valuable time. Luna, if you could uncloak, we can be on our way," he said, glancing at a spot behind Nox, before the air shimmered, and a mare with a light blue coat and an even lighter mane appeared.

"As you wish Paladin, shall We go?" she asked, moving passed Nox as she headed towards the gate. "The last three shall join Us when they decide to awake," she explained, before looking at the rising sun. "Not long now sister," she whispered, before leading the group out of the train station.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As the train rumbled out of the station, Paladin made his way to the group who had 'obtained' a carriage to themselves. He paused next to Rez, whispering his thanks for earlier, looking at the group, including the final members who had no doubt teleported on board. "Alright. So, here's the plan. Once we arrive in Ponyville, I'll be heading to Princess Twilight's castle, to pick up some last minute supplies, whilst the rest of you head to the entrance of the Everfree."

Hound sat down next to Rez, ears pinned against her skull. "So, she said rather loudly, though it was unitentional. "Why do you never speak?" she asked, cocking her head and staring at him.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Dec 05, 2015 6:59 am

When the fight ended, Hound laughing, and the shield went down, Rez lifted his head a little before letting it fall forward just a bit as if to sigh. Then he wiped the dry erase board clean, capped back the marker, and slid both back into his saddlebags. He climbed into the train car and found himself a window seat 2 rows from the back. He'd been looking out the window while Paladin went by, but his ears swiveled about as Hound sat down next to him. He glanced over his shoulder as she spoke her question, already levitating back out his erase board to formulate a reply. The solid white stallion paused for a moment, thinking about how he wanted to answer this before realization shown through on his few visible features and the marker started making it's scribbles on the board.

His horn then started to glow as the headphones he'd been wearing lifted off his hears and drifted over to Hound's. As they moved, Rez turned the board about to reveal the I speak, just with my music instead of my mmouth inscribed on it. Hound would likely be able to hear the sounds before the headphones even fully got into place, but even when the surprisingly comfortable head-ware the sound wouldn't be unbearable, just a little on the loud side. All the other noises of the train however would be completely blocked out by them. As Hound was given the chance to listen to the music, Rez shifted about in his seat to where part of his back was to Hound before leaning back on her, snuggling just a little bit to make sure he was comfortable while the marker quickly scribbled out a few new words on the dry erase board. Ah, I was right. You are Fluffy was scrawled out on the board as Rez looked very content leaning against her.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:31 am

Nox observed Blue, caught between amusement and concern. Hopefully this stallion wouldn’t be so reckless during their actual journey. Though, once again, she agreed with his sentiments- which surprised her, again -in that this was far from productive. This was a waste of both time and energy that would be needed for important things, like saving Princess Celestia before it was too late. Hopefully it wasn’t already-

Oath’s magic and eyes flashed crimson as he spoke of “unleashed beasts”. Immediately, Nox’s full attention was on Oath and what those two things might possibly mean. She started piecing things together about what she already knew about this stallion: earth pony, appears middle-aged, red-and-yellow mane, mane and tail style do not match (perhaps there’s a specific reason), retired guard who used to work for Celestia, but left due to an incident that apparently was his doing. “A heavier burden than what any being should bear”. I’m certain this will come back. Cutie mark is a golden shield, two crossed blue axes in front of it. What’s the significance of this color scheme? Has a magic gem. Magical capabilities of this gem are unknown, but it is clearly capable of levitation, shield spells, and conjuring weapons. Keep an eye on this pony.

Something off to the side caught Nox’s attention; she facehoofed as she read Rez’s message. Both times.

After the confrontation ended, Nox’s attention shifted to Hound, then split between her and Paladin. Luckily it seemed the majority, or at least the ones with authority, thought it was time they stopped wasting time and get moving.

“...Luna, if you could uncloak, we can be on our way,”

Nox’s head whipped around, her face telling clearly her astonishment of how she could’ve missed the Princess upon arriving. At least, until Luna revealed that she’d cloaked herself in an invisibility spell. Right behind her.

Nox gasped and squeaked again, and jumped so hard her hooves were an inch above the ground. A second later her body went stiff and her face turned bright red with embarrassment, and she turned her head forward, eyes pointed at the ground in front of her but not actually seeing it. Her ears were flat against her head.

A short moment later something registered in Nox’s head: ...Luna looks different. Wait… is that what her suppressed form looks like?

"Not long now sister,"

Nox looked back up at Luna. She jolted into a canter as the group started to move, catching up to her, and gently, somewhat timidly, put a hoof on her shoulder. “We’ll rescue your sister.” Nox said. Her eyes met Luna’s as she spoke, her voice soft but at the same time firm and determined. “I promise to do everything I can.” Even beg her to come back from the Elysian Fields, if I have to.I

Nox chose a window seat a row from the back of the train cart. This was more an invitation in case somepony else wanted to sit in the seat beside her, even though she’d prefer if she got the space to herself. It’d also be safer for the other ponies if she had the space to herself: her stomach didn’t do well in trains.

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Dec 05, 2015 11:02 am

Blue was offended at the suggestion he might miss, since he would have, through volume, hit his target. Still, he seemed to make some begrudging comment about his skill. “I could amend that flaw for you sometime, though perhaps not in such a busy situation. You did an alright job at reading the situation there. Does Celestia have you look after this Hound?” It was maybe a compliment, as he acknowledged some of the extra effects of the shield. No attention had been drawn to them, for which Blue was glad since he was shamefully held back. He contented himself with snorting and the thought that he would have done as he relaxed a little.  

It didn't really come as a surprise that Luna, as the weaker one, was hiding from the conflict. It was probably a sport to watch two ponies fight lethally in her day. She probably enjoyed it far more than the more civil duels that occurred in the present, but he hadn't give her the honor of seeing him fight. the princess did look rather afraid of being spotted with her disguise, but Blue was not going to judge for that as the new look made her a little easier to stand near. She would still probably bite his head off though and that kept him from deluding himself.  

Blue didn't sit. He paced, up and down the train. Having the earlier chance to show off robbed from him had gotten him fired up. The wait was an annoyance as his plans were forced further into the future. He was glad that he would not have to stop to visit Princess Twilight. Equestria had too many princesses, though she seemed far more tolerable than Luna. She was a princess because she'd earned it. “Supplies of what kind?” Blue asked Paladin. “It is pointless to say it now, but had you mentioned I could have purchases beyond the budget you have set yourself. Celestia is worth making a donation for.”
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:03 pm

Radiant walks around, pacing across the floor in the small guest room, while Stella focuses on the spell. "So that's how adverbs work! This makes much more sense. A large elephant killed the dog. A changeling learned to play the violin." Astra nods in agreement, not bothering to arrange his face for excitement; after all, it was only the three of them here. Stella, due to her ability to rend the fabric of reality, was the one assigned to set up the chain-teleport that would take them to Luna's location. Radiant and Astra were standing guard and concealing the casting of the spell.
Before the two can continue testing out sentences, Stella telepathically pings them both, indicating that the spell is ready. They gather round, and activate the crude circle she had melted into the wooden floor.


The three appear around Luna, each covering the others' blind spots.

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"Why should I form an alliance when I can do it all by myself?"
"To allow you to live serves no purpose. Knowledge must be preserved, and I already have yours."
"We are opposites.... And strong."
"I'm on my way Sister."
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:02 pm

Once the group reached Ponyville, Oathbound was almost immediately tackled by a blue, curly-maned pegasus. The mare had a necklace of gold with a ruby in the shape of a heart on her neck, earrings of the same kinds of material, and three pink hearts of differing sizes on her flank. Her emerald-green eyes were the kinds one would find difficult to deny.
"Daddy! You're back!" The mare giddily yelled.
For his part, the stallion smiled and hugged her back.
"I told you I'd be back, honey." He said, placing a small kiss on her cheek. He then craned his neck towards the others.
"Everypony, this here's my daughter, Twinkle Star." He said, which made Twinkle look at the others. The way they all looked made her ears splay a bit.
"So Luna couldn't convince you to stay home..." She concluded with a sad tone.
Oath rose and dusted himself off. "I think we need to discuss this in private." He then turned to the others. "I'll see you at the entrance to the Everfree." He said before he led his daughter away towards the pair's home.

Once they were inside, Oath got some tea started and sat down at the dinner table, with his daughter right across him.
"You know I have to try and help Princess Celestia. If there's a chance of her still being alive in there, I'm going."
"But it's dangerous! You might die!" Twinkle exclaimed loudly.
"I know. But I owe her that much." Oath said, shaking his head.
"But-"
"I know how you feel, Twinkle. Believe me, if there was a way I could stay with you AND help the princess, I would take it. But you can see that I'm out of options! If these earthquakes don't get stopped, who knows what could happen. Princess Celestia is in there, trying to find a way to stop it and if I can help her, then I must do it."
Twinkle sniffled and her mane hid her eyes.
"Even if it costs my dad his life?"
"If it saves my daughter, I would die a thousand times."
The kettle began to whistle and with that the conversation was over. Once they'd enjoyed their tea Oath would hug his beloved child once more before leaving his home and going to the entrance of the Everfree to join with the others.

Inside, his daughter went to her room and clutched a photo of her and her father to her chest.
"You better come back alive, dad..."

____________________________
An empty mind is like unto a freshly turned sod, if not sown with the seeds of love, duty and honour, the insidious weeds of heresy will take root.

- Prefect Xavier Lanate, from his essay "Heresy and Faith: an Introspection"

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:35 am

If Luna had seen, or cared, about Nox's reaction to being surprised by her, she gave no sign as she walked passed her. She paused at her words though, and turned to look at her. "Thank you for your words... it is good to know that you care," she said quietly, before continuing on her path.

Hound blinked and considered the stallion's answer, in particular how he'd had a visible sign of realisation before he had written his answer. Her ears twitched as the headphones were placed on her ears, but they were comfortable, and blocked out the ungodly noise of the train that had been irritating her since she had stepped into the vehicle. She read the second notice and gave another bark of laughter, perfectly happy to let him lean against her, her eyes closing as the train rumbled silently beneath them.

Paladin chuckled and rolled his eyes at Blue, placing a hoof on his shoulder. "Blue, you annoying little twat, not everything can be bought with money. Perhaps you should tell your noble friends that as well, before they try to buy my loyalty again," he smirked, his tone jovial. "Now, I expect the same... bravery when we entered the forest. I assume the chosen one can provide that?" he asked, not actually caring if Blue was scared or not, but it was better to keep the stallion happy. He was generally less abrasive that way.

Luna, who had been walking towards Nox, blinked as she was suddenly surrounded by the two stars and an angel, before shaking her head gently. "We are glad that you finally managed to get here, but perhaps you could avoid teleporting directly around Us?" She asked. "We have to speak to New Moon, so if you could take a seat?" she asked calmly, waiting till they had taken their seats before moving next to the dark-coated mare. "So," she whispered. "How long does thou intend to maintain the illusion of normality?" She queried, cocking her head with a knowing look.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As the train pulled into the station, Hound returned the headphones to Rez with a smile and thanks, before moving next to Paladin and Luna, who led the group out onto the platform. Paladin blinked as Oath was tackled, her beginning to glow before it faded as he realised it was a filly, staring at Oath with a mixture of surprise and respect. "As you wish, Oath. Be there in time," was all he said, before he bid the group farewell himself and spun, moving in the direction of the tree-shaped castle in the distance.

The trip to the Everfree Forest was quick and painless, with a few ponies giving the mixed group strange looks, but this was Ponyville, and after the apocalypse visiting their town more than a few times, a group of strange ponies was just another thing to see. Luna in particular kept her head down, as there were ponies here who would recognise her younger form.

As the Forest loomed before them, she looked up, taking a deep breath and stopping, raising a hoof to stop the rest of the group. "We will wait here for Oath and Paladin. If any of you are having second thoughts, now is the time that thou should voice them." She looked at each member in turn, before sitting down and closing her eyes as she waited.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Paladin stood outside the entrance to the castle and sighed, pushing the door open with apparent ease, before stepping inside and closing it behind him. The halls were quiet as he moved through them, stopping and orienting himself based on the memories he had of his last visit, before he opened the door to the map room and sighed. The supplies he had requested, a map of the Everfree as best she could provide, and a thermos, sat on the edge of the map.

With his supplies secured, Paladin left the castle, glancing up at the towering peaks, before shaking his head and moving towards the Forest.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:59 am

Nox stared out the window, taking deep breaths, imagining she were flying past the scenery instead, to combat her train sickness. Pyra was swinging upside down from one of the train’s lamps just ahead of Nox, apparently somewhat bored.

Nox only noticed Luna when she addressed her… unusual companions, and her eyebrow rose in curiosity as she told them she intended to sit with her. What interest could she possibly have in her (though she didn’t deny the idea of Princess Luna finding any interest in her to be exciting). She greeted her with a quiet “Greetings, Princess.”, looking quite obviously physically upset. When she took the seat next to her, she said, “Please don’t sit too close. I don’t do well on trains. Never have.” She had an open brown paper bag in her lap between her hooves.

She waited patiently for Princess Luna to speak, as she knew she wouldn’t be over here without reason, but had to direct some of her attention back out the window as she felt her nausea rising. But when Luna asked her question, Nox very nearly forgot her nausea as her heart stopped beating for a second to drop into her stomach, then jumped back into place to start pounding against her ribs. However, the only signs of possible surprise that showed on Nox’s face were slightly widened eyes and a twitch of the ear in Luna’s direction.

Nox turned her head back toward Luna, appearing politely confused. “Pardon me: what?”

Pyra wasn’t so subtle: she’d been so alarmed she’d stopped swinging, her eyes widened, and her whole birdy body tensed up.



Nox waved in greeting to the blue filly, but did not react outwardly beyond that.

On the way to the Everfree, Nox wondered why Luna seemed to be trying to hide her face from Ponyville’s populace.

Once they reached the edge of the Everfree, Nox looked around, waiting for objections or lack of them.

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Mon Dec 07, 2015 5:43 am

Rez accepted the smile and thanks with a nod and a smile of his own before getting up and wandering off the train. He didn't come to Ponyville too often, they didn't host too many parties that he was hired to perform for, nor did they sport a club to play at regularly. As such, he didn't stick around the town for long and more or less just went straight towards the meetup location, albeit at a slow and leisure pace. When the inquiry about speaking up if one didn't wish to continue, Rez seemed to chuckle a little, but still no noise came from him. Then he held up his board that currently said Already this far, and if I backed out now I'd be cheating myself out of some pleasant company while sporting an expression somewhere between sarcastic and joking, still hard to tell with barely the top half of his face being the only readable part, though the wink he added might have swayed it a little.


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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:17 am

Blue knew the reason why the stallion could not be bought, not like he'd ever want to do it....he'd get a pony more agreeable. The whole pretending not to like him thing was a rather tiring treatment.“That is their own foolishness. I understand your love for sun adorned rear is stronger than your love of money. The power of a hopeless and silly crush can be quite scary, but don't mascarade your desires as loyalty to try and impress anypony.” He looked around before leaning forward and speaking in a hushed tone. Luna seemed occupied, but he still didn't want her to hear it. “I don't blame you though. If you can think of a situation where something costly might aid your personal quest, I am happy to provide. She is worth making a donation for.” He then moved to make sure nopony got suspicious and pushed the hoof on his shoulder away and said more of his usual stuff about how he was the chosen one regardless of his feelings.

Dragging himself along through the town unable to draw attention to himself was painful for Blue, though he saw and understood the necessity of it. He remained silent and looking at the ground, a state most ponies would probably prefer from him. When they stopped at the edge of the forest the only second thoughts that came to Blue were about setting off with the princess in their party. Hopefully she would not also require rescue, though he also hoped that she did. He would make sure she never forgot it. “Are you tired, my lady?” Blue asked mockingly as the princess rested. “We have only just begun.”
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:08 am

Oathbound walked through the streets that he'd raised his daughter on for oh so many years. The rural little village had seen several kinds of apocalyptic events happen to it, from a rampaging Ursa Minor to a swarm of parasprites to a showmare enslaving the town to half of it being destroyed by Tirek, Ponyville's seen it all and survived.
Several of the townsponies waved hi to Oath as he passed, which he returned in kind. Some even walked alongside him to chat a bit, mistaking him returning for Luna being able to convince him to stay here with his daughter. Most of them were disappointed upon hearing the news to the contrary.
"She's a grown mare. She's a strong mare. I know she can deal with being alone for a bit more." He'd reply to them. It was true, at least in his eyes. And if he had a choice, he'd have stayed. Heck, the father in him was screaming at him to stay while he still had a chance to do so.
"But if these earthquakes don't stop, I'm not sure I could keep her safe should our roof one day collapse on us. No, I would be a lousy father if I didn't take measures to prevent my daughter from coming to harm." He thought to himself. That seemed to work as his mind was calm once again. This brought his thoughts back to the party at hand. He didn't know enough about most of the group to assess their capabilities but he was certain about a few things: Blue was a pompous asshole who was the perfect example of a pony who would forever be mentally scarred after spending a week in prison. Hound was a warrior who took her pride seriously. "In hindsight, back before my... retirement, I think I'd heard rumors of something like a Dark Hound of Celestia... Dark Hound of Celestia... Yeah, I remember now. Some of the recruits talked about such a thing." Then there was New Moon who tried to block his attack back in Canterlot. It was a valiant effort but unfortunately it was in vain. Time will tell if that was her strongest shield spell at her disposal.
The pony with the headphones was an enigma thus far. Talking via written text on a board. It was odd to say the least but still far from the weirdest things Oath has seen in his life. And he'd already made his opinion of Paladin clear. He's a loyal guard who'd give his life for the Royal Family, just like he would.

Soon enough he'd reached the others. Luna was sitting and Blue was mocking her as he arrived. The stallion didn't notice Oath for he was too busy aggravating the disguised form of the Lunar Diarch.
Once more he felt the need to punch Blue, but settled for startling him with a little "BOO!" He fully expected the noble to wet himself.

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An empty mind is like unto a freshly turned sod, if not sown with the seeds of love, duty and honour, the insidious weeds of heresy will take root.

- Prefect Xavier Lanate, from his essay "Heresy and Faith: an Introspection"

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:27 am

Luna sighed and shook her head quietly. "Playing ignorant will do you no favors Miss Moon," she poked her wing subtly, before raising an eyebrow as if daring her to lie to her again. "I can only assume you were born, not ascended. And one more thing," she said as she stood up. "Do not try to deceive Paladin. He will likely have already guessed. My sister's personal guard is... perceptive." Giving Nox a final, intrigued look, she trotted off to her small group of followers, closing her eyes and drifting off to sleep as the train rumbled beneath her.

Paladin stared at Blue with an equal mixture of shock and abhorrence. "I... don't even know what to say to something that absolutely, incoherently stupid. I do not feel any kind of sexual attraction towards my charge. And I would appreciate it if you did not imply otherwise." Rolling his eyes as he was sure Blue would not give up easily, he took a seat and closed his eyes, already planning the groups upcoming struggles.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Luna let out a controlled breath, raising a cautious at Oath after he scared Blue, before she shook her head. "I am not tired, no Blue. I would thank you for your concern, but I am well aware of how much it lacks... genuine feeling. We are now short but one... and Paladin should not be long," she asserted, rising to her hooves, before moving towards the Forest proper. "He will be able to find us easily enough."

As Hound followed her, she raised an eyebrow at Rez and gestured vaguely to his board. "Was that aimed at me?" she whispered, before giving a snort if he answered yes. "You're an interesting one alright."

As they trotted along the path, Luna kept her eyes ahead, the scents of soft earth and moist leaves wafting over the ground, the leaves rustling around them every so often. Hound seemed right at home, taking a path alongside the main one, bouncing happily through the low bushes and tall grass that grew around the track.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Paladin groaned as he walked through the town, waving to those who knew him, and he could already see that Luna had pressed on. Sipping from the flask, he rolled his eyes and pressed on into the forest after them, map floating out of his pocket and hovering in front of him. As he pulled it out, lightning arced from his horn into his body, and he snarled softly, but ignored it for the most part, hoofbeats increasing as he began to jog lightly.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:00 am

As Luna addressed the group, Resonance slid the freshly cleaned dry erase board back into his saddlebags, and wordlessly followed along with the group. As they began to enter the forest, Rez slid his headphones on and began listening to some more music while they walked. When Hound gestured towards the board though and stated her question, Rez winked at her and at least made the motions of chuckling along with her, despite the presence of his headphones and the fact that anyone listening close enough could quite possibly hear the faint music that managed to get around the padded sides.

As he continued to walk along, head lightly bobbing to the music, Rez's eyes wandered out and over the various members of the group, lingering ever so subtly on Hound as she bounded about the side paths. Likely unknown to the others of the group though was that Rez had something of a sound detection field in a circle around the group. Allowing him to hear any noise that was made for several feet in any direction of their group, ever since they first entered the forest.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:43 am

Blue felt no need to, but defended the insincerity of his question just to get another response from the pony who presently was not a princess. “It is only because I trust you wouldn't say otherwise were you not. You are notably-” The noise behind him made him flinch and let out a whine, stumbling a few steps forward as he pivoted around to the source. His horn lit up ready to attack the threat, only to find that it was just a pony, one from their group too. He hadn’t been frightened, he was the chosen one. He hadn’t been scared, he was the chosen one.

“What a child! Are you capable of anything that isn’t an impedance?!” Blue hissed at Oath menacingly. He’d now found an action he had a much greater need to defend. “That served no purpose and proved nothing. Something as base as a jumpscare works on everypony, not matter how sophisticated they are!” He was less speaking to Oath, more to everyone whatever their reaction may have been. He would have loved to take things further, but Luna seemed intent on pushing ahead. He liked to think he had something to do with that. He’d have felt safer with Paladin though, far more than with the imbecilic ex-guard so close. He lightly shoved his way as far to the front as he could as could while he calmed himself. There would be a least a few minutes silence from the stallion.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:36 am

Oathbound allowed a smirk to grace his features as Blue was "startled" (The chosen one is never frightened, is what Oath thought Blue would say) from his simple jumpscare. He then allowed the "chosen" colt to push past him before he shook his head at his own childishness.
He then gave Luna a brief look that would convey a message that would say something about having a few minutes to be without commentary from this delusional noble.

Other than that, Oath remained silent throughout the trudge through the forest. He'd been here many times in the past. But the place was always dangerous, whatever the circumstance.

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An empty mind is like unto a freshly turned sod, if not sown with the seeds of love, duty and honour, the insidious weeds of heresy will take root.

- Prefect Xavier Lanate, from his essay "Heresy and Faith: an Introspection"

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:22 pm

The three remain silent, staying close to Luna and carefully looking around for threats. Occasionally, they hum ancient tunes in perfect unison. The shiver, again in unison, as they walk into the forest.
"Must we?" they ask, turning to Luna, speaking in the language none present would know. "We do not like it. It has potential."

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