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 Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)

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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:24 pm

Thryssa fixes him with as best a glare as she can when he nearly stumbles into calling her 'Princess Lovebug', but any effectiveness is promptly ruined by Maredusa rising up on her coils just behind Thryssa's head and doing a comical exaggeration of the glare before she reaches up and bops Thryssa firmly on the top of the head. "Why sso sseriouss Thryssa?
"Because we are emphatically not bugs," Thryssa grouses. "Besides, you've lived since before our exile. You now what baggage that term carries."
Maredusa eyes her. "The what that the word carriess?"
"I think she said 'baggage', Lady Maredusa," Sandstrider volunteers. "Although maybe I'm just a desert tribal but how does a word carry suitcases and bags and other containers for transport?"
"It doessn't." Maredusa thrums thoughtfully. "Although certain Equesstrian facilitiess of education have possited that wordss can carry very ssignificant meaning bassed on hisstorical context. But Thryssa issn't the rarefied, ivory-tower, ssocially-awkward sscholar of the family. That'ss Tettidora'ss job, and I can't imagine Thryssa trying to be Tettidora." She gives Thryssa a very direct and level look.
"History is relevant."
"Hisstory iss relevant when it iss relevant." Maredusa baps her again, but harder. "You know ass well ass I do that calling the changeling race 'bug poniess' iss and alwayss hass been and alwayss will be done more with affection than malice. Don't make me teach you a valuable lessson, Thryssa."
"And how will you do that?"
Maredusa grins with fangs and then looks at Sugary. "Misster Market, I will give you a quest: until tomorrow, Princess Thryssa iss Princess Lovebug."
Thryssa looks aghast. "Are you corrupting my future XO?"
"Yess." Maredusa baps her hard enough that Thryssa's eyes cross for a moment. "I will usse the Ssugary ssweet sstallion to cure hiss bosss lovebug pony of the nasscent chip on her sshoulder. Thiss will prove that he iss a good executive officer, resstraining hiss bosss with wissdom and sspeaking truth to her power." Still smiling, she looks at Market. "Will you accept thiss quesst, Ssugary Market?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:11 am

(("Lovebug"))

Sugary felt a little awkward at where the conversation was going right after saying his initial farewells. He was also a bit stunned when he was made the focus of the banter by the end of it. Thryssa being right next to him didn't make things easy as he could still feel the weight of her gaze, but even that didn't keep him from smiling as he gave his answer. "... Well, Princess Lovebug hasn't objected to it yet, so sure." And of course, Maredusa was proven right as there was obviously an endearing tone to him when he said it, even if there was a light hesitance. He also felt oddly comfortable having said it afterwards. "... I mean, it's not as if we'd like her any less, right?" She was his boss either way.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:46 pm

Maredusa blinks before grinning. "Oh my, he actually ssaid it."
Thryssa facehoofs. "Of course he said it. You're a sultry snake-pony of whom it can be honestly said that you're a stoner at all times and in all places. Of course he'd accept your silly quest."
Maredusa eyes her. "Sstoner."
"Yes."
"Did Tettidora explain what that word meanss?"
"Of course she did. It means someone that's very out-of-touch and loopy."
Maredusa's grin becomes wide at this. "Oh little princesss, I have sso much to teach you about the sstoner world. It iss a world of being far out, groovy, and being concerned with whether your sshit iss kind or harssh. Also weed, lotss, and lotss of weed."
Thryssa looks blankly at her. "That doesn't mean anything to me."
"I know, which iss why your education will be ssuch a pleasure." Maredusa sidles around Thryssa and takes up position next to Sugary, making sure her supple muscular coils brush against his legs as she does. She leans down and gives one of his ears a kiss. "You, my ssweet sstallion friend, have just made my life exciting for the next month. Thank you."
"I can't believe you're corrupting my XO before he's even my XO..." Thryssa sighs. "Fare well, Mariarch Sandstrider."
"I shall," Sandstrider says. "I hope the same for you, although I can't imagine there being anything inane enough to trifle with a gorgon between here and Scarabi.
"You would be ssurprisssed." Maredusa drops back and gives Sandstrider a coiling hug before joining Sugary and Thryssa again. "Lots of madnesss in the ssandss."
And with that, both mares head out of the sheltering cavern into the desert light with Sugary between them.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:45 am

Much laughter and merriment came from the stallion one way or another, especially when they all left the region and he had his boss right next to him who probably wasn't especially eager to hear him calling her 'Lovebug'... Not that she objected to it directly still.

The walk was nice, of course, being out in the hot sand and soil was a workout in itself, but he was managing, and even took the time to take some medicine along the way. He still expected odd side-effects, but nothing to worry about; Yet. He also got the urge to let Thryssa know he would actually go on with the request, gleefully. "... Princess Lovebug, one should be true to their feelings, and I do mean well with the Madam's request... But, really, I could call you whatever makes you feel most comfortable. You only need but to ask, Princess Lovebug."
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:28 pm

Thryssa eyes him and sighs, looking at Maredusa who promptly sticks a forked tongue out at her and wiggles it in midair. Thryssa rolls her eyes and looks back to Sugary. "I'll let you off the hook for Lady Maredusa's puerile 'quest' for today only, Mister Market," she informs him sourly. "After that, I reserve the right to learn how to 'boop' and 'bap' using you as my hapless victim."
"Be nice to the ssweet sstallion, Thrysssa," Maredusa admonishes with a bap right between the eyes.
"Lady Maredusa, would you kindly stop hitting me for emphasis?"
"I'm not hitting you, I'm bapping you." Maredusa says with a grin. "Bapping you crossseyed, to be more sspecific. Sstudies sshow that regular bapping actually increasess intelligence."
"It.. does."
"Of coursse it doess," Maredusa assures her cheerfully. "If you're bapped every time you're sstupid, you sstop being sstupid to ssave yoursself the headache."
Thryssa sighs. "I don't think negative reinforcement works all that well, Lady Maredusa."
"Ssure it doess." Maredusa baps her. "Now jusst hold sstill sso I can bap you real good..."

By the time the gates of Scarabi loom ahead of them, Thryssa is looking, sounding, and walking rather loopy due to regular bapping by Maredusa, against her vehement protests. However she tries to block, dodge, or run away, the gorgon always manages to complete the bap, appearing to have the time of her life. When they finally reach the gates, she looks up at the gate guards appearing to be rather dizzy the way she's swaying on her hooves.
"Open th' buckin' gates," she orders with a bit of a slur.
There's silence from above. "Princess Thryssa, are you drunk?"
"Punch drunk from thisss... sstupid snake... thing..." Thryssa says, gesturing vaguely at Maredusa. "Keep hitting me fer no reason. Head hurts. Gonna start... beatin' a motherbucker with another motherbucker 'less you open th' buckin' gates."
"Yes ma'am." And the gates immediately open, causing the sounds of streets filled with a flowing mass of happy changelings with no apparent concept of personal space to wash over them.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:20 pm

Sugary was having a constant chuckle he couldn't help ever since Maredusa got to applying her mild punishment upon Thryssa, but by the time they got to Scarabi, he had been urging the Gorgon by gently holding her tail with his hoof to not cause more baps, yet it seemed the damage was already done.

The unicorn forced himself to not laugh as he moved right next to Thryssa and her slurs, rather boldly closing the space between them both, his body right next to hers, and one hoof gently pulling and caressing her head with a healing magic glow towards his so he could lightly nuzzle her... It was the only fast way he could think off to try and keep her walking in a straight line while comforting her headache as he escorted her through the crowd and straight to the lift. "We're almost there now. And don't worry, I won't let mean ol' Madam Maredusa bap you." He spoke softly, glancing at the Gorgon and then lightly rolling his eyes at the shenanigans he was starting to become a regular part of.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:17 am

Maredusa grins at him when he looks back to her and rolls his eyes. "Sshe hass a much harder head than sshe'ss pretending," she informs him as they plunge into the sea of huggy lovebugponies. "That ssaid, I'm extremely impresssed Misster Market. Your magical talentss appear to be very extenssive, far more than jusst combat but alsso manipulation of the battlefield and even healing. I am certain thesse giftss weren't apparent when Thrysssa determined that you had a future among the changelingss and at her sside sspecifically, which goess to sshow that desspite any doubtss sshe may harbor, sshe hass all the thingss sshe needss to one day be a queen worthy of Amaryss' throne." She pauses. "Don't passs it along when sshe comess to her sensess... I wouldn't want the praisse going to her head."
"A bit late for that, Lady Maredusa," Thryssa says in a much more coherent way. "And I can only hope you're right."
"Oh, pissh tossh." Maredusa waves a hoof dismissively as they reach the lift. "Amaryss' great-grandparentss were foalss when I wass young. I have sseen at leasst a dozen changeling queenss passs through life and that throne. I know precissely what changelingss need in a queen. What they expect, and dessire, and what pleasess them. You will never be an Amaryss, your own mother, or even your younger sisster Chidinida; the glorious ruler exuding benevolent wissdom doess not fit your dissposition or perssonality. You will be a warrior-queen, like Princesss Luna, the banner of the Hive Throne, invulnerable and fearlesss, flanked alwayss by great warriorss and cunning advisorss." She stops before getting on the platform and pats Sugary on the shoulder. "However harmlesss and peaceful they appear when there iss no danger. "And if you sstray, I'll alwayss be here to bap you crosseyed until you sstop being a ssilly pony."
Thryssa rolls her eyes and chuckles. "Whatever you say, Lady Maredusa. Thanks for the introduction and helping me to torment Sugary here last night."
"Alwayss a pleassure to play with the Ssugary ssweet one." Maredusa gives him a wink before turning and slithering off as the lift starts to go up.
"What news of home, guard?" Thryssa asks as they go, speaking to one of the guards manning the lift.
"The best kind, Your Highness," he says cheerfully. "Princess Chidinida has come to visit. Your mother is currently glomping her in the most gloriously undignified fashion in the throne room."
Thryssa blinks. "Really? Kitty has come to visit?"
"Do you know any other changeling princess suffering from guise-lock syndrome and looking beautiful doing it?"
Thryssa beams. "Wonderful! i have half a mind to grab the stallion at my side and pop us into the throne room to help Mother glomp." She looks to Sugary. "What do you say, Mister Market? Want to roll the dice on my ability to teleport?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:35 am

((Reporting!))

Sugary enjoyed himself as much as could be expected with one such as Maredusa and Thryssa getting along like old pals with him warming up to them each time they met. He smiled as Maredusa left, and chuckled at Thryssa's eagerness. "Teleporting into the throne room? During another meeting? It might get messy in front of your sister and mother... Let's do it!" And so, he hugged her closer still, waiting on the spell... and bracing himself to be teleported by another. "Ready!"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:21 pm

Thryssa eyes him as he hugs her, and then hugs him back. "Your confidence in me is truly inspiring, Sugary," she says dryly before lighting her horn and squeezing her eyes tightly shut. The scenery shifts and they're in the throne room with the midday sun streaming down through the stained glass, making the room look absolutely lovely. The downside is that Thryssa's teleport was fine in a horizontal sense but not quite so much in the vertical as they're about six feet above the ground when they arrive. There's a moment where they seem to hang in midair, for cosmic comic relief if no other reason, and then Sugary finds himself sprawled on top of Thryssa who somehow ended up beneath him when she had been beside him when the teleport happened. Thryssa lays there for a moment before saying, without lifting her head, "Welcome home, little sister."
There is a feminine giggle from somewhere to the left and the sound of hooves on the throne room stone before Market finds himself looking up an an alicorn. For all intents and purposes, Chidinida is Mi Amore Cadenza in a very literal fashion: despite Market being able to clearly see that her hide is changeling chitin, there are none of the other changeling features about her: her wings are feathered, her horn is the straight tapered thing of a unicorn, her smile lacks the tiny fangs, and there is no pitting or holes anywhere on her legs. The only change other than her 'coat' being black instead of pink is that what is normally the magenta streak in her mane is now a deep turquoise. "Hello yourself, Thryssa," she says cheerfully in a voice devoid of the low thrumming vibrato common to all the other changelings Sugary has met. "Nice of you to... drop in."
Thryssa groans and rolls, gently, shifting Sugary off of her before she gets back to her hooves. "That was bad, Chiti, and you should feel bad."
"Sis, have you met me?" Chiti grins. "I have absolutely no shame, like Lepi but without the nympho." Before Thryssa can say anything more, Chiti opens her wings and gives her older sister an enthusiastic glomp, causing Thryssa's wings to buzz a little before she hugs her sister back. "It's so nice to come home on vacation from time to time."
"Don't you usually have a shiny pony following you around like a lovestruck puppy?"
Chiti giggles again and lets Thryssa go. "Be nice to Shining, Thrys," she chides, punching her sister's shoulder lightly. "He's hitched to the Princess of Love, he can't help himself. Besides, we do equal time in the following around like a lovestruck puppy role, mostly so I can stalk and glomp his little sister at random times."
"I'm sure it's nice that your favorite foalsitting job and your sister-in-law are the same pony," Queen Chrysalis says, having been somewhat in the background before and now stepping up behind Chiti, visibly taller than her, and noses her second-youngest daughter. "Do you two still do that silly dance?"
"With a bit of a modification," Chiti says. "Two mares lifting their tails and shaking their rumps to one another is a little less... innocent and playful now that we're adults. I taught it to Shiny, however, and he rather likes the end." She grins widely.
Thryssa gently baps her. "Too much information."
"Too much information applies only to Lepi, and you know it." Chiti looks at Market. "Speaking of information, Mother was just telling me about a certain Sugary sweet stallion that followed you home. Is this him?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:36 am

Once the teleporting happened, Sugary briefly felt there was nothing under them as his leg tried to touch anything. He immediately gave Thryssa a look of 'I thought you had this!' before falling together... At the very least, he didn't mind the fact he fell upon her...

But even a guilty pleasure had to end when he was fully aware he probably shouldn't keep laying upon her and stood up and saluted with the finest posture he could manage, though the blush was hard to ignore despite the admirably stoic expression. He was aware of Cadance, or rather, Chidinida, as it were and whom he regarded with unusual interest; Both due to seeing the real her, and her magical appeal.

His heart would not fall for her though, as he smiled gingerly to answer her. "Oh! Yes, I am! Pleased to meet you, Princess... Cadance? Chidinida?" He extended a friendly hoof while getting used to the fact he was meeting one of the cornerstone figures of the era in Equestria, and yet not quite as he knew her.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:51 am

Chiti shrugs in response to him asking which of her names to use. "That's like asking whether you're Sugary Market or Mister Market: both names are equally correct. Due to the side effects of lifelong guise-lock, I look the same whether I'm an alicorn pony or a changeling pony, needing only to change my hair and coat color." She smiles broadly. "I'm very happy about that."
"We're happy too," Thryssa say, smiling with enthusiasm. "It was an amazing time when I found out that I had another little sister and that she was the adopted niece of Princess Celestia, and was getting married to the Captain of the Royal Guard."
Chiti blushes a little shyly. "He's a handsome stallion, and a doting and good husband. I'm proud to have met him, fallen in love with him, and married him."
"And I'm proud to have met Sugary here," Thryssa says. "He is a gallant stallion and the few times anyone or anything has challenged him, he's proven that he fears nothing and is very strong as well."
"Sounds like the perfect husband for our nation's next queen and her current lady-marshal."
Thryssa blushes rather vividly. "Blast it Chiti, don't start."
Chiti smiles. "My special talent doesn't turn off just because I'm visiting home, sis." She then steps over to where Market is and gives him a glomp. At this point, Sugary would discover a major difference between Chidinida and other changelings: Chiti is SOFT. Her hide feels like it's coated in fine silk and then stuffed with balls of cotton. It's welcoming, warm, and Market would be able to actively feel any tension or discomfort he might have draining away as if the princess is absorbing it from him through the hug.
After a moment, she lets him go with a light kiss on his ear. "I like him sis... he tastes like candy."
"I know!" Thryssa grins. "It's great, isn't it? His name and cutie mark are amazingly fitting." She glances to him. "Have you ever told me how your parents came to decide on calling you 'Sugary'?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:46 am

After having one of the most unusual responses for addressing someone, Sugary would be briefly distracted in pondering how he would ask others to address him in other scenarios, but then that meant not seeing the very unexpected glomping he got... And he was delightfully surprised to find just how soft Chidinida was as he fell. It probably helped she was who she was as nothing but absolute peace of mind followed rather than the confusion of why he had a married mare freely tossing herself at him; Therapeutic either way to be sure.

That also meant he didn't really want to let her go, but he composed himself when his mind prodded him that, maybe, just maybe, it wasn't a good idea to keep holding a married mare in front of the older sister that may be dated for real in the near future. Grinning as he stood, he lightly flicked his tail as he tried to shrug off the strong sensations of love dovey auras. "Thank you, you taste like candy to-... Wait, not that..." He shook his head and focused on all the mares. "Well, the story of my name is... Boring." Despite the direct statement, he kept a calm demeanor and smile. "My father... He comes from a family of merchants. It was no surprise Market would be part of my name. Azucarado... Or rather, Sugary, was my mother's idea. Her side of the family has been mainly about confectionaries. I'm sure you remember my early life from there, Princess Lovebug?" He made sure to specifically stare at Thryssa that time and not the expert Lovebug Princess. "Learning foods from my mother, and working the fields to sell crops later was my early life as expected. These legs of mine didn't just grow muscle on their own, I had to earn them long before I ever set foot in the guild." A low chuckle followed as he proudly flexed an arm; He then stopped trying to show off when he got a good look at the Queen. "Oh, hey! We... We did the mission! Yeah, we were just coming over to make that report on the successful visit to the Sand Drakes!" He had a lightly nervous smile by then, if only because he knew full well he had missed the actual agreements made by Thryssa, Maredusa, and Sandstrider as he slept on the Gorgon.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:48 am

"No, wait, continue that sentence Mister Market." Chidinida grins widely. "You say that I taste like candy to... who? I know I taste like candy to my husband..."
Thryssa baps her lightly. "Too much, Chidi."
Chidi baps her back. "Get your mind out of the gutter, Thrys, I'm referring to kissing."
Thryssa eyes her. "Um... how?"
"I'll show you." Chidinida lights her horn and smoothly slips out of her alicorn form and into the form of a strong, tall stallion with a white coat and two-tone blue mane. Before Thryssa can react to this, Chidnida-as-Shining Armor kisses her. On the lips. She then pulls back from her stunned sister and smacks her lips, looking confused. "Um, Cady?"
She slips into her normal pink alicorn shape and affects an innocent look. "Yes dear?"
Back into Shining Armor. "...your kiss tastes like candy."
And then finally into Cadence. "It's a new lipstick I decided to try out. Hard not to keep licking my own lips."
Then she goes back into her changeling form, barely different from her normal alicorn form. "And that's how the conversation went."
Thryssa gapes at her. "You... you... kissed me!"
Chiti smiles. "Fun, wasn't it?"
"But... you... you..."
"Yes, I, I... keep talking, you'll get there."
"You kissed me!"
"Well-spotted," Chidi grins. "You had a melon medley for breakfast this morning."
Thryssa continues to make various sputtering noises of disbelief while Chidi looks to Market. "So you're calling her Princess Lovebug now, huh? What'd Maredusa promise you to get you to do that?"
"She probably just coiled around him, hugged, and asked it as a favor," Queen Chrysalis says, looking at Thryssa with amusement. "Maredusa has a way with stallions, and mares, and things that are neither, and also things that are both."
"I'd like to meet her one day," Chidi says thoughtfully. "I never seem to visit at the right time."
"I can't begin to guess what she does with herself when she's not playing with ponies and sand drakes." Chrysalis looks to Sugary now. "And I'm aware of your success, Sugary Market. My daughter and Maredusa can move quickly and easily over the sands, but not as fast as one who can be the sands if they wish to. A very battered and limping sand drake delivered news to me and a personal apology for how he and those of his like mind treated their new matriarch. I have accepted their apology and their good intentions, and shall presently converse with Sandstrider as my equal and counterpart, with the ample aid of my own husband and Tettidora."
Sugary feels magic envelop him and lift him softly into the air so Chrysalis can walk over and kiss his forehead with something that appears formal, what with the precision and deliberateness of her motions. "Once again you have done my kingdom a service, acting a aide and advisor to my heir. Thank you for your assistance in this matter; it will not be forgotten."
She then puts him back down and uses her two front legs to pull both of her daughters together in a group hug. It takes Thryssa a moment but soon, she and Chidi and Chrysalis are locked in mutual hugs.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:00 pm

"Um... Your aura. It tastes sweet. You know?" His answer to Cadance, hoping she understood how attuned he was to magic and ambient energy. He smiled though, from the sisterly banter that followed.

He also had a grin as Thryssa was kissed. "Is it really that unusual...? Even I kissed my sister and mother as a foal. It's not THAT bad, is it...?"

It was so easy for him to be amused by Thryssa's own fumbling. Then again, those she associated with were rarely dull to be around. He all too happily smiled at Chrysalis during their group hug. "Oh, so they sent him... Well, that's a relief. Good to know news travels far and fast around these parts. I should probably ask Lepinora for tips on how to best be up to date on general matters." He calmly waited for the mares to have their time, before he went right back to other matters as well. "... Do you have any further orders for us then, Queen Chrysalis?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:35 pm

Thryssa gives Sugary the stinkeye and reaches out with a hoof to lightly bap him on the top of the head. "Lips, Sugary Market, it's completely different when it's on the lips. It's... it's..."
"Steaming hot incestuous?" Chidi suggests with wide-eyed innocence.
"NO!" Thryssa blushes deeply. "No! Just... just... NO Chidi! Bad, lovebug princess of love, bad! No cookie for you!"
"Lovebug, huh?" Chidi grins widely.
"Yes." She glares. "I mean, no! I mean... yes you are, a complete bug... just... gah..."
"I do believe young ponies these days describe my second-eldest as a 'troll'," Chrysalis remarks to Sugary sotto voce, grinning. "Also my youngest, interestingly enough. I think the provocateur gene has a thing for even numbers." The group hug breaks up and she smiles down to Sugary. "Yes, asking Lepinora for some basic methods of espionage would do you well. Even the du Luc family knows better than to play court politics where I can see it, but it's still a game that's played and it's important to be aware of basic facts Mister Market." She pats him on the head. "No, I don't have any other request for you at this time. You've done good work, Sugary Market, and I'm very glad for you. No more perfect example could be found that the rest of our pony brethren mix easily and naturally among us, and there will be a time when I will take full advantage of your proof of concept."
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:47 pm

Finding it impossible to tune out the sibling shenanigans out of his head, he kept a constant grin in the meantime, even when he got bapped on the head by Thryssa. Chrysalis' patting eased him up again though, and he was pleased to know good work had been done for the day. "Thank you, your Majesty."

He figured, for once, he'd be the one to lead Thryssa to their next errand then. "Princess Lovebug..." He made sure to look at Thryssa over Chidinida that time. "... Perhaps now would be an excellent time to ask for us making a visit to the Crystal Empire sometime? I can hardly think of a better time to prepare early. Meanwhile, I should go see Princess Lepinora for some lessons, yes?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:04 am

"Oh my gosh, did you just suggest come up and visit me and Shiny?" Chidi grins
"Um, I do believe he did," Thryssa says, looking to Sugary. Market would notice that Chrysalis has moved her hooves up in preparation to cover her ears.
Chidi unleashes a mighty squee of obvious delight and glomp her sister and, somehow, Market. "This is going to be great! I've never had any important visitors before."
"What about the Bearers?" Chrysalis asks as she takes her hooves off her ears.
"They... weren't really there to visit," Chidi looks forlorn. "And I'd worked so hard to get the palace all polished and modernized for my adoptive little sister..."
"Modernized?"
"Two words, big sis: privy hole."
Thryssa winces. "Did you actually make the guards...?"
Chidi gives her a level look. "We're talking about me, Thrys. Of course not." She then grins to Market. "So the two of you really want to come visit?"
"It seems like my executive officer has made it his project," Thryssa says with a smile.
"Excellent, I'll get things ready for you as soon as I get home." She sort of bounces in place. "Oh, this is so exciting!"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:25 pm

Sugary chuckled at how his suggestion was taken, nodding afterwards. "It seemed like the right time to ask, as I said. But don't worry, I promise I haven't forgotten what else awaits me in the near future. I've still got a big test to prepare for, don't I?" He began to move away, looking back still. "I'm sure you all have much to discuss, so I'll leave you be for now and find Lepinora. Who knows? She might already have plans after our trip through the desert as is..." And so he went about, seeking the younger royal sibling with purpose. Though he was told he had no other responsibilities at the moment, he took his time in the castle with a fair amount of seriousness.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:34 am

"Yes, a big test to prepare for," Thryssa says with a chuckle. "Granted, I think you've passed in a few times over but passing it formally appears to be important to you."
"Of course." Chrysalis smiles to Sugary. "Enjoy your time with my youngest, Mister Market; I know she will."
Cadence doesn't bother with words, glomping Market gently instead and once again exposing him to the fact that she's a very soft pony. She lets him go a moment later with a pat on the head before she turns back to her family and the three mares commence chattering cheerfully amongst themselves.

From previous experience, Market would know roughly where Lepinora can be found, and found she is with Mara Belle draped languidly over her as Lepi works a paintbrush with her horn. "Unless you've brought booze, that's far enough," she says without turning around as Sugary enters the art-filled room.
"Why booze?" Mara rumbles at her.
"Because there's none to have and I want some." Lepi puts down the brush and turns around with Mara remaining happily draped. "Oh, hey, it's Sugary Sweet."
"Sugary Market," the gorgon atop her corrects her.
"Whatever." Lepi grins at him. "What's up, cute stuff?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:44 am

His muzzle lightly scrunched at the greeting, and he was in such a good mood too from that last soft warm hug he got, giving Lepinora a light amused snort. "Bah! You'll have better luck finding booze from a random cactus than me; I'm as dry as they come..." He smiled more. "But yes! I'm glad to be back, and so far so good with the relations with the drakes, as I'm sure you both know by now." His gaze went over to Mara, reminiscing of the time spent with Maredusa. "The mares did most of the diplomacy tough, I just did the grunt work. Speaking of knowing... That's actually why I'm here."

He sought a spot to sit on that didn't smell too much of odd odors; Odors he hoped were paint this time and not something else. "... I was hoping you'd teach me about how Intel works around here, Princess Lepinora; Not necessarily to the extent of becoming a Spy mind you. I don't expect a full course, nor right away, but some pointers would be appreciated in the event I need to make a report, or need to receive one for some reason and have to keep close to a key region for it. Know what I mean?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:23 pm

"You misapprend the situation, Sugary," Lepi tells him as she returns to her canvas, the painting too early into its creation for Sugary to tell what it's supposed to be. "I'm certain that my sister and Mara's mother did a majority of the talking but diplomatic relations with an alien culture involves far more than exchanging words. We are a culture of words and passive gestures, being ponies, but they are closer to dragons and value active gestures. Violence is a component of their culture, an integral component, much in the way that a diplomatic reception with finery and hors d'oeuvres is a vital piece of the ritual of both sides assessing one another's credentials and social status. You negotiated on behalf of Scarabi with hooves and magic, which was just as important as words to a culture that uses that violence to assess social standing and the dedication of Scarabi to our diplomatic position."
"It's why Queen Chrysalis, who is emphatically not a violent person in any respect, took part in a violent contest when she extended diplomatic feelers towards the sand drakes," Mara Belle adds. "Her power established her credentials, social standing among the drakes, and how dedicated she was to her cause. This is why her daughter could stroll casually into their home without challenge or invitation and have immediate access to the matriarch: Queen Chrysalis established matriarchal social standing for Scarabi, making immediate access to the sand drake matriarch the inherent right of any embassy from Scarabi."
"And then you established Scarabi's right to a formal apology from the sand drakes for their slight against our cultural sensibilities as a first step towards formal establishment of diplomatic relations between our peoples." Lepi looks over her shoulder to smile at him. "I'm sure Mum was thrilled."

When Sugary asks to be taught about intel, Lepi blinks, visibly startled, and then puts down her brush and turns fully to him while Mara slips off of her and coils up beside her, resting on her coils. "I think you don't know how complex and intricate a subject you're asking about Sugary," she says.  "The field of intelligence work is a truly vast one, encompassing intercepted intelligence, living intelligence, and scrying intelligence at its most basic, and then involving covert practices, analysis, interrogation, comparative analysis, what you might call 'arts and crafts' which is my secondary contribution to our espionage efforts, and diplomatic espionage."
"Could you perhaps be more specific as to your questions, Mister Market?" Mara asks. "As in, what things you most need to or want to know?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:05 pm

Sugary seemed enlightened by having learned what his fight with the drakes really meant. "Oooh... So it was that big a deal. Righteous!" He felt a little more pride at the moment while looking at Mara. "Heh. Yes, she was rather jovial the whole time."

Having Lepinora give him a varied list caught him a bit off guard, but after a few thoughtful blinks he lightly shook his head with a smile. "Certainly not the full package of options... How should I put it...? What division usually serves as the general messengers? I assume you someone must be typically active in making sure reports can get sent far in place of others. The Queen seemed well aware of what we did even before we arrived. Know what I'm getting at? I don't actually know who I should speak to in case I need someone to deliver messages for me; In the future that is. Figured asking you would be more suitable than asking Princess Lovebug... Er, Princess Thryssa." He chuckled softly.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:14 am

Lepi and Mara laugh. "Princess Lovebug?"
"My mother's being a pain in the flanks again, isn't she?" Mara smiles fondly. "She so enjoys playing at being a filly again, playing tricks and tipping over sacred cows, and distributing pokes in the ribs when everyone is taking the world too seriously." She sobers. "All the steps we're taking, with you now a part of them, are as important to her as they are to Queen Chrysalis. Mother is an artist. Her soul sours when she can have marble and clay, granite and sandstone, and access to all manner of metals to ply her gifts. Her stonework covers the entrance hall of the old Palace of the Sisters, now overgrown in the Everfree. Before being destroyed by weathering, she devised a truly intricate design that showed the symbols of the Sisters on tiny tiles that when viewed from a distance, used subtle shading and colors to make portraits of them. If you pressed her, she'd probably admit that her portrait of Luna glorifies her a little more than the portrait of Celestia; mother has always loved dark colors more than light ones."
Lepi patted her friend's coils. "It's important, Mara, but perhaps we ought to focus in a little more on what Mister Market came asking."
"Yes, of course." Mara nods and proceeds to drape herself over Lepinora again, which doesn't appear to bother the colorful changeling at all.
"Now the division that serves as the general messengers are a mixed lot," Lepi says. "For the purposes of secrecy and creating several layers of separation between both sides of the communication, the typical messenger has no idea that they're carrying a message and certainly no idea that they're carrying it to someone or even who that person actually is. There can be several links in this chain of innocently ignorant ponies, carrying packages and messages that are completely mundane to them and would be wholly innocent if any pony by the correct pony tried to read them. In truly sensitive situations, the message is split into four parts and the key into four other parts, and the assembly instructions are held by two different ponies on either end so that only the pony who sent the message and only the pony who is supposed to get it could ever know how to assemble the pieces so they can understand what is being said."
"But that's really rare," Mara says. "Such insane paranoia is only for the once-a-century times that only the Queen can know a particular truth and even sharing it with her husband or the royal spymaster would be dangerous. Even something as fragile and delicate as Princess Chidinida's purpose and how she fits into a larger plan isn't as sensitive as the kind of information sent by fragmented cipher."
"Now, for messages sent between trusted sources or messages that are so ordinary that Queen Chrysalis will likely share them with the nobility generally, a member of the Throne Guard or Honor Guard can carry it without any harm," Lepi tells him. "For material between ourselves and Equestria, there is rarely more than a single degree of separation put in place because it's rare that espionage information is so generally explicable that anyone would be able to make sense of it. For example, when Countess Kytie who is living as the head librarian at Canterlot University needs to send anything, she just bundles it with some books she's been making copies of, sends a student to a bookseller with the note and the copies, and the bookseller hands it off to a courier who can blink-teleport it across the Barrens to Scarabi. When the reply goes the other way, the bookseller schedules afternoon tea with Kytie, they have a wonderful time nibbling fruit and talking about politics, and Kytie takes the reply note with her copy of the bill. Few chains of messaging are much more sophisticated or covert than this."
"To summarize the matter, Mister Market, give any message you need to send to a member of the Court, one of the guard, or myself or Mother, and it'll get where it needs to go and you'll get a reply within the day," Mara tells him with a smile. "We both like chattering about this, but the matter isn't particularly complex."
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:28 am

The gears were smoking a little inside Sugary's head, but kept up reasonably well by the end by looking like he understood... Most of it; Espionage really wasn't his specialty. Learning more about Maredusa's mischief and nature made up for it at least while he jotted down what he could afterwards from the general instructions he got from Lepinora. "Uh... I think I got the gist of it... Inform Court Robes, Sentinels, Tattoo Lady, or Big Cheese." He chuckled and winked, really just going for a humorous list to keep it all in mind with greater ease.

Of course, he did still regard the mares before him with respect as he gave a light bow in gratitude. "Very much appreciated, Princess. I assume I'll be briefed on who the courtmembers actually are eventually, so that just about covers it for now... Hm..." He seemed reminiscent and content, pleased with the day's events as a whole. "... Lovebug is having a chat with Cadance right now. Or was when I left them with the Queen. They were all in such high spirits too, just like Lady Maredusa... I think... That just leaves for me to be ready for the Officer's test." He looked to Lepinora more sternly, though not unkindly. "... I don't know how well I'm going to fit in with the agenda of the Royal family, but believe me, I wanna pass that test. I want Lovebug to know she didn't waste her time feeding me... You got sharp eyes. Do you think I'm missing anything to meet the standard right now?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rendezvous in Scarabi (Private)    Sun Sep 11, 2016 4:20 pm

Lepi giggles. "You don't need to be briefed, silly, I can tell you right now: the court members are the du Luc and du Dune families, and my aunts and their own kids. While Mother loves to find any excuse to invite as many changelings as can physically fit into the banquet all to dinner for  numerous occasions, the consistent members of the court are the two noble families and the components of the Queen's familiy."
Lepi perks visibly and magically lifts Mara off of her. "Oh, Chidi's visiting? Cool!"
"You couldn't feel the love radiating from her like an all-you-can-eat buffet?" Mara teases.
Lepi lightly baps her. "You know she doesn't. I'm kind of surprised I didn't hear about it, though, because that's usually pretty big news. Like, across the entire city type of big news. The entire motley lot of us are pretty well-liked by your average changeling but Chidi's the most popular by a mile."
"Walking, talking, smiling ball of silky-soft snuggling." Mara lisps cheerfully. "I'm sure you've caught, Sugary, to the fact that changelings are really into physical contact, so a princess who loves it too and feels impossibly soft to the touch is going to be pretty loved."

Both of them looked seriously, sternly, firmly, and steadily towards Sugary as he shared his aspirations, his hopes and dreams, and his anxieties and they afterwards looked to him with the same confused tilt to their heads. "You have doubts about how you'll fit into Mother's plan?"
"You're doubtful that you're going to pass this Officer's test?"
Both laugh softly. "Sugary, you funny thing, you're fitting into the plan as surely as if you were intended to be. Your diplomacy with the sand drakes further stabilizes Scarabi and makes reconciliation easier with Celestia," Lepi tells him.
"And you have all the essentials for the standard Officer's exam," Mara Belle adds. "Pleasantness, attractiveness, physical courage, intellect, and a strong relationship with the uppermost echelons of the Royal Family, who're ultimately the ones commanding you in a military capacity. You even have the beginnings of a relationship with du Dune and du Luc knows you as well, for backing down their brat if nothing else."
"I don't see any real lackings in you, Sugary," Lepi says. "Except, perhaps, a recognition that you don't really need to prove anything."
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