The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #901
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Quote Originally Posted by Halae View Post
    [Kathy's Cybershop]

    "Squeeze my shoulder if it starts hurting or you need to say something," Kathy says, placing the android's hand on her shoulder. With her face disconnected, it's likely Miyuu can't say anything in response, so physical interaction is probably the only thing she can do while her braincase and head internals are being repaired and cleaned, "Holy crap your brain is old. Way too old for me to try and do a patch job on it; I don't know what half of those components are for," For now, she'll just make sure to clear the dust out around the brain. Yes, it's likely an incredibly uncomfortable feeling, but better that than something short circuits due to dirt buildup. The entire process is likely to take about forty-five minutes, if everything is intact. If there's parts missing or damaged, those are going to have to be repaired before she closes up again, and all the while Kathy will state what she's about to do and in what part of the body. She'll also make sure Miyuu's eyes, mouth, and ears are thoroughly cleaned before reattaching them.

    Emily shakes her head as she watches the scene on the workbench unfold, "No, no, I'm fine. Nothing so urgent that I'll have to hold off on it until tomorrow. I've it had taken an arm off, I'd probably need help, but a wound like this? Nah. I'll just be in pain for a while, but everything is still usable."
    Kathy's Cybershop

    Miyuu can't really speak during the entire process, but it does seem to be either extremely uncomfortable, extremely embarrassing, or both considering her lower half squirms and shifts constantly while she tries to keep her head and upper body as still as possible. She certainly had thoughts about such an intimate part of herself being called old, but they were something she'd have to voice later.

  2. - Top - End - #902
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Quote Originally Posted by 5a Violista View Post
    [Kathy's Cybershop]

    "Oh."

    The catgirl also turns back to watch what's going on. She has a thought - wait, would this be considered an invasion of privacy? Just having someone watch you be opened and cleaned? Sure, Marin kind-of saw the android's insides earlier in the palace, and if this were an invasion of privacy, Marin would have already violated the privacy from watching up until now, but...she starts to feel embarrassed for having watched until now.

    "Okay. You're pretty tough, you know? I wouldn't be like that." Not just physically tough, but mentally tough too.

    For the next forty-five minutes, Marin tries to avoid watching out of embarrassment but...it's just so hard to keep her eyes away for too long, y'know? Much more interesting than taking care of ancient Magbots or force-field shields.
    [Kathy's Cybershop]

    Emily waves it off, and one can hear the smile in her voice as she speaks, "Maybe. Everybody can get there with a little work, and you're likely stronger than you give yourself credit for." She looks over towards the mechanic and the android she's working on, "We should probably get out of here, though, leave the mechanic to do her thing. I think I'm gonna go home and cook some dinner; you want to come with?"

    Over on the counter, Kathy starts reattaching Miyuu's faceplate, now thoroughly cleaned and wiped down to clear the grime out. Her eyes and ears should be fully operational again, her mouth won't be filled with a coating of dust, and while she'll have to washg her hair herself, it's now essentially the only part of her head that still needs work, "There we go. Everything's back into place. Your skin's going to have to be replaced, since it's too damaged for me to be sure you've got any feeling from it at all, but at least all the important components in your brain and around it are clean now. You shouldn't have any more risk of catastrophic short-circuits in your primary processors."
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  3. - Top - End - #903
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Kathy's Cybershop]

    "Yeah, I wish," the catgirl says - mostly to herself - in responds to the last half of the first statement. If she were strong, the presence of soldiers' fatigues or magicians' robes wouldn't leave her in a panic, and she would be able to wear whatever clothes she feels like, and she wouldn't have to do all the other things she irrationally does.

    ...
    Marin sits for a moment, keeping her thoughts to herself before realizing she was once again asked something.

    "Oh. Er, yes," she says. She stands up. "I could definitely use a meal before going back shopping. How far do you live?"
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  4. - Top - End - #904
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Quote Originally Posted by billtodamax View Post
    Carousel Court

    What, horse? Violet says, looking at the pony like she's an idiot. Uh... Cone. She says, temporarily thrown off. That's what I buckin' said. This spider mare did some dumb magic or whatever and now look at me. A buckin' horse.

    If Violet could she'd be flashing the families a rude gesture but she no longer has fingers with which to make them.
    The family in question scowls at Violet and the parents usher their children outside.

    There Violet goes.

    Being a negative influence on the children again.

    Regardless, her ice cream finds its way into a cone which then over over to her. Has she figured out how to hold things without hands yet? She's pretty well equipped for it, honestly. But the method is pretty unintuitive for someone who is used to having fingers.

    Wanting to be friendly, Fresh Freeze tries to keep the conversation going in hopes that Violet will catch on and stop being terrible. "That sounds like some kind of curse. It must be really jarring to have your race changed like that. I don't know much about curses; I just make magically delicious ice cream. But I'm sure there must be somepony around the Court who has a relevant special talent."

    Sounds pretty special.
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  5. - Top - End - #905
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    Carousel Court

    Violet worked that out almost immediately, snagging the cone from the air and trying to eat it moodily. She can't. It is impossible to eat ice cream and be sad. Damn and this was good ice cream too.

    Buckin' good work. She tells Fresh Freeze, momentarily distracted from her predicament. What were we uh- right, the buckin' curse. I told this dumb broad in riverside it was a curse but she was a buckin' terrible priest and couldn't even see it was a curse, let alone fix it. She finishes off her ice cream cone. That was alarmingly fast. Hey get me another one of those. She says, digging out some more money out of her pocket. So which horse has curse breaking powers. She asks Fresh Freeze. She will almost certainly not stop being terrible.
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  6. - Top - End - #906
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Carousel Court]

    With a long-suffering sigh, Fresh Freeze begins dishing up another cone.

    She can't help but wonder if Violet was this bad before she got cursed, or if she was WORSE.

    "Well... There's the Princess of Midnight Park, Princess Sunder. I've heard her special talent is breaking things? I'm pretty sure that includes curses, since most of the ponies who work for her used to be cursed zombies or something."

    Fresh Freeze doesn't know all the details. She gets gloom ponies in her shop every now and again, but the omnivorous members of Team Nightmære aren't quite as addicted to sweets as the more traditionally living ponies are. They eat... other things that Fresh Freeze would rather not contemplate too much. Sure Inside has plenty of meat eaters, but something that looks like a pony eating meat is kind of creepy in her book.

    Regardless!

    "I'm not sure what it takes to get an audience with the Princess, though. Not a private one, anyway. But they DO hold court every Wednesday afternoon. Anyone can wait their turn to bring up an issue or problem to her and she does what she can to help."

    Or possibly has the offender tossed out of court if they're a jerk. Can Violet resist being a jerk for a few minutes?
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  7. - Top - End - #907
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Carousel Court

    Princess huh? Violet asks, considering it. That could work. That could work for sure. Hey thanks. This horse chick was alright. Hey, here's my number, you ever get a human body we'll buck. She says, sliding over a piece of paper with her number written on it. Or if you just wanna like... hang out, or whatever. She adds, eating some more of her ice cream before taking off into the air.

    FRIEND ACQUIRED!

    Violet makes her way out of the ice cream shop and flies over to Midnight Park (after checking her phone to find out where it is), looking around to see if she can spot anyone looking sufficiently princess-like.
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  8. - Top - End - #908
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Carousel Court]

    "Umm..." Fresh Freeze's ears back when the note (and curtaining invitation) are offered. "Thanks?"

    At least she's being graceful about it?

    Regardless!

    On to-

    [Midnight Park]

    Turns out this place is pretty big.

    It's a forest, see. One of those forested parks that's always full of awful monsters. Except this forested park full of awful monsters also has a small army of magical horses keeping it neat, clean, and safe. Violet will begin encountering Team Nightmære members as she flies closer. Most of them flying too, as it happen. She's probably seen them around the City before. Trios of equestrian fliers. Some mix of pegasi and thestrals. Their uniforms have changed a bit to conform to Intersection standards (for horse people) since the Princess cut a deal last year to incorporate her patrols into the City's mixed peace keeping force. They don't seem terribly interested in Violet, not unless she decides to fly close and ask for directions.

    Oh.

    There's also a giant tree in the middle of the park.

    Like... skyscraper sized tree. With buildings built into it. Considering the banners flapping in the wind and stuff? That's probably some major hub of Team Nightmære activity.
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  9. - Top - End - #909
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Midnight Park

    Asking for directions is for nerds. She'll just trust her intuition to find it.

    See!

    Easy.

    She flies in to the big tree, trying to find anything that looks like a gate or a palace door. Real princess sorta stuff. Heyyyyyyy. Looking for the Princess! She calls out as she flies around the tree.
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  10. - Top - End - #910
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Midnight Park]

    There are, in fact, several things that look like fancy doors. The architecture and artistry of Nightmære Citadel is actually pretty breathtaking. Though if Violet is looking for something really fancy there are those thirty foot tall doors made of finely wrought dark wood set with stained glass looming above a wide, ornamental balcony that in turn overlooks the glade which the giant tree is growing in. Considering the fancy carpet leading out from the door, the rich tapestries hanging to either side of it, and the murals depicting the great accomplishments of Team Nightmære painted on the flanking walls this is probably a fairly princessy door when compared with other doors.

    A team of five guards is stationed on the balcony, one of each tribe. They're all armored in the old-style Team Nightmære garb, with face-obscuring helmets and decorated with the Princess' own colors. Royal guards, probably? Should Violet head in this particular direction (likely, since she is searching for a princess-looking door) they'll be watching her closely.

    Or...

    Probably watching.

    With the helmets it can be hard to tell.

    There's ALSO a pegasus up here holding a pair of spray paint cans with her wings, working on a new mural section. Considering that's she's covered in stray bits of paint instead of armor suggests that unlike the others she isn't a royal guard pony.
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  11. - Top - End - #911
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Streets

    Sekhmet leaves work for the day. The young devil is tired, physically and mentally. She's headed home to relax and study some more. Hopefully nothing interrupts her walk. She's still unsettled by the incident at the spooktober party.
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  12. - Top - End - #912
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    Sekhmet! Are you ready for another lesson? I'm on the way up to meet you. The voice that appears straight in her head sounds almost but not quite like Spike (because this is Spike's real tone, and the voice one hears spoken aloud is just an imitation).
    Take the next left turn.
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  13. - Top - End - #913
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    Streets

    "Spike? How are you in my head?" Sekhmet thinks back. She hasn't quite managed to understand the exact nature of her connection with the alien hive. She takes the left. "How do you know where I am?" As she continues onward, she covers herself with the illusion Spike showed her, going from a devil to an angelic catgirl.
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  14. - Top - End - #914
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [New Inside Embassy]

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    "I'm sure they are, but it's not my duty to deal with that sort of things. But we'll see how this one ends. I personally hope that neither of us are wasting our time here, and I'm sure you agree on that one." She stops and turns towards a door they were just about to pass by. He can get a glimpse of a smile on her face just before she knocks on the door and reassumes her completely serious persona.

    She does not bother waiting for someone to open it however as she quickly produces some sort of electronic key which instantly unlocks the door.

    "Whu- what." A young man in the lower parts of a military uniform exclaims as she quickly gets up from his bed. Octavia doesn't pause to explain herself though. Instead she will close the door behind her once Michalson is inside. "The Order of Iron." The agent then declares as she pulls down the arm of her robe and displays a tattoo. "We got some questions for you, officer Marin. So you can sit your ass back down in bed." She pulls out one of the two only chairs in the room from underneath the computer desk and sits down herself.
    As the officer sits down, looking between the two blinking and confused, Octavia gestures at Michalson. "Answer all this mans questions, and put on a shirt. You want to avoid a 'diplomatic incident' don't you?" Under her piercing gaze, he hurries to obey and quickly pulls on a t-shirt that had been laying on the floor.
    Michalson is acutely aware he's making it up as I go. But he's far too deep into it to back out now, so he just has to keep doing it and hope they don't kick him out with an official complaint.

    "There's no need to be concerned. I'm just 'ere to ask you a few questions. Where were you on October 11th, 16:30?" That would be the day first reports of the virus came in. It's worth a shot for a start.
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  15. - Top - End - #915
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    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    "Spike? How are you in my head?" Sekhmet thinks back. She hasn't quite managed to understand the exact nature of her connection with the alien hive. She takes the left. "How do you know where I am?" As she continues onward, she covers herself with the illusion Spike showed her, going from a devil to an angelic catgirl.
    We're all connected. I just paid attention and asked around for you. You're actually a little hard to find. Since you're so new, no one is assigned to look out for you. You should be able to sense me if you concentrate. And also a couple of other, less bright alien minds. Spike's 'dog', and another 'dog', and another couple unfamiliar ones. And with practice you can tell where that is. For the strains that are good at it, I understand it's just like looking at a map.
    The left turn takes Sekhmet to smaller roads and eventually into a not-quite-abandoned outdoor shopping center, with empty parking lots and dingy windows promising bigger and bigger sales. Across the street one can see kids doing skateboard tricks.

    That's actually what we're going over today. We want to see if you tieflings have much talent for being in people's heads.
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  16. - Top - End - #916
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Streets

    Sekhmet seems bewildered. In people's heads? Her? How? She nears the destination. "What do you mean? This place doesn't scare her nearly as much as the museum, and there are people nearby. She still doesn't trust the aliens, and this way she can call for help if something goes wrong.
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  17. - Top - End - #917
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    Everyone of us has some facility with telepathy. At least enough to listen. But some of us - including the queens, the mother hives, and us stalkers - are better. We can make a real connection.
    Across the lot, a sewer grate shifts aside, and an insectoid hive scout-creature a good dog scrambles up to greet Sekhmet, followed shortly after by an angel-disguised Spike and her hound. Spike is carrying some undisguised lesser hive creatures (a cleaner, an eye-borrower, and a vox, to be specific).
    You're smart and humanlike, so we figured you might be good at it too.
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  18. - Top - End - #918
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    Streets

    Sekhmet almost reaches down to pet the "dog" before remembering what it is and deciding against it. Instead she waves to Spike. "What are they doing with you?" She isn't sure why Spike would bring hive creatures out undisguised. It seems counter to their usual conduct.
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  19. - Top - End - #919
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    Poor dog. Don't worry. I'm sure Sekhmet will come to love you one day.

    You need some things to try to sense and communicate with. Spike explains. Close your eyes, you can still hear me, right? Can you feel anything else? Where the mental voice is coming from, perhaps? How hopeful Spike is? That there are seven other hive creatures here and not six like it might seem?
    Or maybe nothing. Not even every human can do it. Who can say about tieflings?
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  20. - Top - End - #920
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Streets

    Sekhmet closes her eyes and focuses. Ever since her transformation, she's been able to vaguely sense the hive, so she focuses on that sense, reaching outwards with her mind. Spike is the most obvious, because she's talking to Sekhmet, but the others are there too. Sekhmet senses each of them, all... seven? She could've sworn there were six. "I can feel you, and them. There are more of them than you showed me." Her thought-voice seems almost trancelike, devoid of emotion.
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  21. - Top - End - #921
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    Further away, there are more, many more. Beneath her feet. Up in the clouds. Far away over the mountains.

    That's right. My own vox is here as well. If you look closely, you'll be able to know what they're feeling, even see what they're seeing. Spike says 'will', but it's less guaranteed than that.
    Sekhmet might notice when Spike tells the dogs to race around a bit, changing their positions and sensory profiles.
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  22. - Top - End - #922
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    Streets

    "Vox?" Sekhmet senses the movements of the dogs, and that Spike just gave them a command. She focuses on the nearest one, not quite sure what she's doing. It works, however, and she starts to get a view of what it senses. "It's working!"
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  23. - Top - End - #923
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    Midnight Park

    Biggest door, every time. The guards will get a cautious look. Great, security. She flies up to the painting pegasus.

    Hey, you know if the Princess is in there? She asks motioning subtly toward the door with her head. And are there any ways to get in there that don't involve dealing with the jackboots? She asks, quietly. She'll beat them all up if she has to of course, but she'd prefer not to have to.
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Yeah, these little guys. Spike thinks, tossing the spare vox up a foot or two and catching it. The flat-shelled creature beeps excitedly and waves its four spindly legs. They're pretty new. Very sensitive, and they can speak, but not talk on their own. Someone else has to think the words for them. Which is, in fact, what they're for. The first generation of voxes needed complex electromagnetic signalling, but now they're properly telepathic.

    Anyway, they're getting distracted.
    Perfect! Focus on just that hound. Try and see how it sees you.
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    Streets

    Sekhmet continues focusing on the dog. What is it feeling? How does it see her? She taps completely into its senses, her awareness of her own body dwindling a little.
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    The hound wonders why they are up here; it doesn't grasp the subtleties of teaching telepathy to someone, not at all. It's restless, they should be running, chasing, climbing, jumping. But it is happy to be doing what Spike sent it to do, even if it doesn't understand.
    It sees more widely than someone with a human face, seeing its sights probably makes things a bit fish-eyed to Sekhmet. It sees colors pale and muted, save for bright focus where anything moves. It hears traffic and distant people and the whispering wind - too loud, this city, isn't it? It scents things not as much as an actual dog, but quite more than Sekhmet is used to. And it sees magic; hive hounds have a sense for the supernatural. The catgirl angel it's looking at, Spike, all the strangenesses of the Nexus in the background - these stand out, just a little bit.

    "Now, you should be able to send to them too. Think for it to do something. Spike suggests.
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    Streets

    So that's what her disguise looks like. She's never really gotten a good look at herself before. Sekhmet finds the viewpoint disorienting, and she loses her balance thinking about it. Righting herself, she mentally calls out to the hound. "Come here."
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.i.46
    'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind.
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    Spike steps closer when Sekhmet seems to lose her balance.

    The hound comes when she calls it, approaching Sekhmet in one big bound. Which is probably even more disorienting.
    Perfect. Just like that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    He takes normality and reason and turns them UP TO 11!
    ~Inner Circle~
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Recaiden, stop using your mastery of the English language to confuse the issue.
    Echidna by Serpentine

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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    Streets

    Although more ready for the disorienting perspective, Sekhmet still looks a little motion sick after that jump. Still experimenting with her power, she reaches down to touch the dog, running her claws gently along its back and feeling the sensation from both ends.
    Awesome avatar (Kothar, paladin of Tlacua) by Linkele!

    Quote Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.i.46
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    Default Re: Inside 68: Dawn of a New Season (or two)

    [Midnight Park]

    Always the biggest door.

    The Royal Guards continue watching Violet. She probably shouldn't fight them. As everyone knows, the Royal Guards are the friendliest ponies around. They would befriend Violet so hard it would make her head spin.

    The pegasus, one Airbrush, looks up from here work when Violet addresses her.

    "Oh, uh, hi? You're looking for the Princess?"

    This close to the gloompony Violet will notice a few things that wouldn't be quite as obvious from a distance.

    Airbrush looks mostly like a normal equestrian. She's a pleasant sky blue flecked with bits of colorful paint that probably aren't natural. Her mane is about the color of cold grey concrete, though with QUITE natural stripes of vibrant color running through it. The stripes are kind of... wavy? Puffy? Like the sorts of lines one would expect to find in urban artwork. She's got an image of a spray paint can on her butt. Pretty normal pony stuff so far. But things depart from here. Her sclera are dead black, for one. And her mouth is way too wide. When she talks Violet will catch glimpses of teeth that absolutely do not belong in the mouth of an herbivore. There's a certain sensuousness to her body and movement, more like a hunting cat than anything else.

    Deep in her brain, Violet's instincts will be warning her.

    This is a predator.

    Be cautious.

    "I don't really know where she is, I'm just a painter after all, haha," the pegasus continues, glancing back at the giant door. "You flew all the way up here to talk to her I guess? It must be really important. Living ponies don't, uh... well. You guys don't come up here that often. Not that being up here is bad or anything!"

    Not even a little bit bad!

    Awkward silence follows.

    The pegasus, ruffles her wings, glancing between the door and Violet.

    "Oh, uh, I'm Airbrush! Nice to meet you?"

    At the question regarding 'jackboots', Airbrush follows Violet's gaze.

    "Oh, you mean the guards? They're just here to make sure no one tries to cause trouble or assassinate the Princess or whatever. If you want to go into Midnight Citadel you just need to head down to the lobby at the ground floor and get a visitor's pass."
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