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>You are Ardent Mind, an experienced caravan guard and a senior team leader of Steady Stride Caravan Guard Company
>Your job is to escort ponies across the Badlands and beyond to the new colonies in the Mysterious South, fighting Changelings, Diamond Dogs, giant lizards and other dangerous wildlife found in The Badlands and the lands beyond
>Most recently you were hired by the Equestrian Rehoming Project, an organization responsible for managing and encouraging immigration to Equestria’s new colonies
>Your job is to escort and protect one of the Project’s heads, her entourage, and a large number of settlers, fifty ponies in all, all the way from the city of Appleloosa to New Ponyville in the southern colonies
>The job has been rougher than normal but the excitement reached a crescendo just a few days ago when Diamond Dogs trapped your group within a canyon, leading you to take shelter in a newly excavated ancient Dog temple
>After a costly battle in the temple you were forced to take a metaphorical leap of faith, leading you and your remaining clients to find yourselves trapped in an underground Diamond Dog city
>Now you and your team of caravan guards must find a way to escape the city with as many settlers you can

Last session ended with you speaking to Drift, an earth pony slave about ways to escape the Dog city, as well as details surrounding the upcoming slave auction.

(Characters: https://pastebin.com/PqtD6vYH)

Previous Threads:
https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/40650158/
https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/40794550/
https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/40927699/
https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/41028815/
https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/41033289/
>>
>>41101135
“Well, yes you are right that teleportation normally requires a powerful spellcaster but a low level unicorn can, theoretically, do it too. They’d need to have a magical burst to perform such a feat. Otherwise, several unicorns together could combine their magic to cast it.”
>”Huh, I forgot unicorns could cast spells together but I guess it makes sense. Unicorns used to raise the sun together, after all.”
“One more thing, last time we found what we assumed to be a tunnel to the surface, but the Dogs had it rigged to blow. Have you heard anything about them going through with the demolitions?”
>”No, sir. Like I said, I heard they almost blew up the old mines but instead they’ve just increased the number of guards on duty.”
>You rub your chin in contemplation
“If we're going to have any luck finding information about teleporting we should check the libraries first, if we can't find it there then the tatzlwurm temple will be our next stop. Can you guide us to them, Drift? If doing that will cause the guard to be suspicious of you then don’t do it. The only safe option for you is to give us directions and then we can take it from there.”
>”Well, I can’t take you there, unfortunately. As a trash pony I have a lot less free time than most slaves, other than maybe some of the miners. As for directions, that’s easy.”
>The stallion takes a moment to give you the directions you requested
>You’re ninety nine percent sure the tatzlwurm temple is the building that houses the catacombs you’ve visited before
>Meanwhile, the closest library is quite a few blocks away and is built into the wall that separates this district from the rest
>The dark green stallion accompanying Drift, Arbor, finishes emptying the dumpster he’s at and gives Drift a nod
>Drift nods back and looks at you
>”Looks like it’s about time Arbor and I moved on. Anything else you want to know? Or anything you want us to do?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41104066
Sorry I couldn't meet with you again yesterday my comrade was dieing I had to make tough choice and didn't want her to be a corpse. Hopefully, that won't happen this time. By the way since the slave auction is delayed until tomorrow noon we have to meet up again so we can coordinate our efforts otherwise we're all doom when and where should we rendezvous that won't draw the attentions of the diamond dogs Drift?!

All right that's all we needed to hear come Soul to the library we got some teleporting research to find!
>>
>>41104066
There is something else that's been in my mind lately Drift, exactly who is this Marigold mare pony I heard from a diamond dog that she lives a far freer life than most slaves here, why is that and who is she? And more importantly will she be a problem for us if we happen to come into contact with her or will she helps us get out of this city?
>>
>>41104273
>>41104294
“Well, I want to say sorry I couldn't meet with you again yesterday. As I said my comrade was dying and I didn't want her to be a corpse.”
>”I’ll be honest, I was pretty disappointed at first but I can’t be angry at you given the situation.”
“Yeah, well, hopefully, that won't happen this time. By the way since the slave auction is delayed until noon tomorrow we have to meet up again so we can coordinate our efforts otherwise we're all doomed. When and where should we rendezvous that won't draw the attention of the Diamond Dogs?”
>”There’s a few places we could meet. At one past midnight we’ll be dumping our load back at that trash pit we first met at. Same as at nine in the morning. Otherwise we’ll be somewhere in the city center at two in the morning and from ten in the morning to eight at night, though that’s obviously pretty late for planning an escape. Finally, we’ll be back here in the southeast district from three to eight.”
>While he gives you the times you check the pocket watch with you
>9:30 p.m.
“Alright, I guess we’ll come find you when we’re ready. There is something else that's been in my mind lately: Drift, exactly who is this Marigold mare? I heard from a Diamond Dog that she lives a far freer life than most slaves here, why is that and who is she? And more importantly will she be a problem for us if we happen to come into contact with her or will she help us get out of this city?”
>>
>>41104707
>”Oh, so you’ve heard of ol’ Marigold, huh? She’s… unique, I guess. She’s not weird, I just mean that her situation is. She and her first husband were captured back, oh, ten or so years ago and were bought together by one of the big wig Diamond Dogs named Duke. Their owner, still her owner in a weird way, controlled most of the markets in the city one way or another and was a pack leader when he was younger. Don’t know the particularities but apparently Marigold’s husband and the Dog became pretty close friends. When her husband died Duke married Marigold.”
>The stallion stops as he watches you recoil at the idea
>A pony marrying a non-pony was weird but happened occasionally
>But a monster? That was beyond strange
“I know, I feel the same way, as does everyone that hears about it. The Dogs react even worse from what I’ve seen. Anyways, apparently their relationship isn’t physical or romantic, at least according to Marigold.”
>”Then what’s the point of getting married?” Soul asks in disbelief. “Inheritance?”
>Drift shrugs, “don’t know. Slaves don’t get inheritance, even if they own their own business. Besides, only Dog slaves can be freed so even with inheritance she’d still become one of the many slaves Duke’s sons own. Anyways, Duke’s pretty old and is pretty much a recluse now, which doesn’t help his standing with the other Dogs. Anyways, I doubt Marigold would turn you in unless you gave her a good reason too but I don’t think she’ll help you escape either. She has colts to worry about and has a nice home here.”
>”Is there a chance she’ll help us with other things, say, getting access to her owner’s home?”
>Drift taps his chin, “I suppose if you had a good reason she would. Though I do remember the few times I’ve collected their trash she always invited us in for lemonade. Might be worth the risk.”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41104713
Hmm... I think I know why the dog duke marry Marigold you said her husband was close to the duke right, so when her husband had pass away he probably wanted to keep her safe from the other diamond dogs by honoring his friend's final wish that way she has some authority around here, her foals can have a stable life, and no harm will ever come to Marigold's family.

I wonder does she know if the duke happen to have any magic books or scrolls in his home Drift if not we could at least warned her about the slave prison break we're going to commence soon so she can make sure to get her colts to safety away from the danger. Meeting with her could help planned our escape better and lessen the risk of having too many innocent casualties especially with foals involved in the crossfire.

When is the best possible time to meet with her tonight?
>>
>>41104939
I concur.
>>
“Hmm... I think I know why the Dog duke married Marigold. You said her husband was close to the duke right? So when her husband had passed away he probably wanted to keep her safe from the other Diamond Dogs by honoring his friend's final wish that way she has some authority around here, her foals can have a stable life, and no harm will ever come to Marigold's family.”
>”I… guess that makes some sense. Seems too kind for a Diamond Dog though.”
>”Who said the Dogs can’t be altruistic?” Soul Mane asks. “They clearly care for other Dogs to some degree so why not ponies?”
>Arbor looks between both you and Soul and opens his mouth, pointing with a hoof at his stub of a tongue
>”No sane pony would ever do that to a person,” Drift says, “unless they really had to. Most Dogs on the other hoof will do it just for making them angry.”
>”Can’t there be exceptions to the rule?” Soul counters. “From what we know of the southern rebels they can be pretty twisted, I imagine the reverse can be true even for these beasts.”
>”Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet on it.”
>There’s silence for a few seconds before you think aloud
“I wonder if she knows if the duke happens to have any magic books or scrolls in his home. If not we could at least warned her about the prison break we're going to commence soon so she can make sure to get her colts away from the danger. Meeting with her could help us plan our escape better and lessen the risk of having too many innocent casualties especially with foals involved in the crossfire.”
>”She would know such things I reckon. But I’d be careful, it could be a waste of your time to save your friends.”
“I’m not too sure about that. When is the best possible time to meet with her tonight?”
>”Now, I guess. Or maybe around eight in the morning. She’ll be going to sleep soon if I had to guess but she’s always up and about in the morning.”
“I see.”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41106025
Okay, then lets go meet Mrs.Marigold we have a lot to discuss with her not to mention we need to chase down every lead we can if we're going to have even the silghtly chance to get home who knows marigold might even consider coming with us too, so she can show her foals the sunlight and that there's more to the outside world than this place I'm starting to get sick of being in the dark for so long literally!
>>
>>41106025
More allies would be nice for sure, but are we sure she'll be willing to help us after everything that's happened though?
We killed a lot of dogs.
>>
>>41106117
>>41106351
“More allies would be nice for sure, but are we sure she'll be willing to help us after everything that's happened though? We killed a lot of Dogs.”
>”Who knows? Most slaves wouldn’t be short of happy when they hear that kind of news but I’ve never heard her say anything bad about Dogs besides being dirty. Though at the same time she doesn’t say much good about them either, other than her owner.”
>”I mean,” Soul begins, “it’s not like you wanted to kill those Dogs. They left you no choice. Nopony can blame you for protecting yourself, even if they wished things played out differently.”
>”I don’t know,” Drift counters. “Some ponies are crazy; after a while they start thinking life is better as a slave or that the Dogs are their friends.”
>Soul looks at you, “I think we should check her out regardless of the risk. Even if she doesn’t welcome us it’s not like she’s going to call the guards just because two strangers said hello.”
>You suppose he has a point
“Okay, then lets go meet Mrs. Marigold. We have a lot to discuss with her and we need to chase down every lead we can if we're going to have even the slightest chance to get home. Who knows, Marigold might even consider coming with us too, so she can show her foals the sunlight and that there's more to the outside world than this place. I'm starting to get sick of being in the dark for so long.”
>Drift nods, ”I guess we’ll see you around then. Make sure to keep us in the loop and stay out of trouble this time.”
>Drift gives you directions to the house
>With that the two sanitation workers pull their wagon out of the alley and make their way to a store a few doors over
>As you begin to leave the alley Soul stops you
>”So, what’s going to be our story for why we’re showing up at her house just before bed?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41106713
It's simple Soul we just tell her the whole truth about who we are, our occupations, how we got here, and what are our intentions. We shouldn't sugarcoat or lie about our claims we need to get Marigold to trust us besides soon this underground city won't stay secret for long once the Royal Guard and Rangers comes here thanks to our report this place will become a full-scale battlefield on rescuing the rest of the slaves let's not give her and her foals a reason to have revenge in case of them dies because of our actions for not this this through enough.
>>
>>41106766
I can't really think of a good lie either why two slaves she's somehow never seen before would be there asking about magic stuff.
Might as well try honesty.
>>
bump
>>
>>41107432
>>
>>41106766
>>41107077
“It's simple Soul, we just tell her the whole truth about who we are, our occupations, how we got here, and what are our intentions. We shouldn't sugarcoat or lie about our claims we need to get Marigold to trust us. Besides, this underground city won't be secret for long. Once the Royal Guard and Rangers come here this place will become a battlefield so we should at least try to give her and the foals some kind of warning that shit’s going to go down.”
>Soul nods to himself, “honesty. Heh, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.”
>The stallion wears a subtle mix of relief and shame on his face as the two of you return to the public streets

>About halfway to Marigold’s house you find yourself in a quiet but still populated neighborhood
>Soul Mane and yourself have mostly trotted in silence but now Soul Mane speaks up
>”So, you and Hollow are pretty close now.”
“Yeah. Shared trauma and relying on each other in these kinds of situations kinda does that. Just like I’m close to all of you.”
>”But you don’t look at us the way you do her.”
>You cast the stallion a sideways glance and find him smiling at you
>”And the whole wanting to say goodbye to her specifically, the nights on watch talking and snacking with each other,” the stallion gets close to you and mockingly nuzzles your neck, “and the way you two were sitting together before we left. You don’t do that with the rest of us.”
“What are you getting at?”
>Soul looks you head on with a toothy grin, “so, are you going to ask her out?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41108566
"Right now? No, Asking someone out while we are in a very stressful situation isn't appropriate... But i do plan on asking her out once we get the hell out of this shithole"
>>
>>41108566
"We'll see. Things are a bit complicated now with this thing with Lemonade, you know."
>>
>>41108566
If Hollow is interested on willingly giving me a shot, I don't see why we can't use that as an opportunity to reflect on each other's perspectives about this whole trauma we went through together first and sort out our emotions we gained from it in the process so we can see whether or not the both of us will actually want to consider taking the next step further into our relationship.
>>
>>41108622
>>41108955
>>41109165
"We'll see. But right now? No.Things are a bit complicated now with this thing with Lemonade, you know, not to mention asking someone out while we are in a very stressful situation isn't appropriate… but I do plan on asking her out once we get the hell out of this shithole. If Hollow is interested in giving me a shot then I don't see why we can't use that as an opportunity to reflect on each other's perspectives about this whole trauma we went through together first and sort out our emotions in the process so we can see whether or not the both of us will actually want to consider taking the next step in our relationship."
>”Taking your time huh? That’s interesting.”
“Why do you say that?”
>”Just… you know. Given the situation I thought you wouldn’t want to leave things ambiguous. Hollow already almost died and we all know that there’s a good chance any one of us could be killed before we ever see the surface again so if you don’t do it now then you may never get the chance and it’s not like you took time to hook up with Lemonade.”
>You brush off the Lemonade comment
“I guess but it’s not like asking her out now will help anything. As I said, now’s not the time.”
>Soul shrugs but let’s the conversation die

>It doesn’t take very long for you to reach Marigold’s house and there’s no mistaking it
>The house, or rather mansion, is made out of a foreign white stone with a tall wrought iron gate surrounding it
>It also has a full yard of grass and trees with a garden complete with flowers and produce
>How such plants are growing in the dim, unnatural light you’re not sure
>The gate to enter the property is staffed by an old Dog with a club that sleeps in a wood chair just on the other side of the gate
>A short green earth pony stallion and a donkey till the garden
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41109506
I just remembered we never discussed the plan with Downburst or his role, is he still following us from a distance?
>>
>>41109524
> is he still following us from a distance?
Yes, he is.
>>
>>41109535
Should have a chat with him before going in. Maybe he could even cause a distraction if needed to get us past the guard.
>>
>>41109506
Let try not to make a scene here, just get the green earth pony's and donkey's attention by calling them out or knocking on the gate and tell them that we wish to meet with Marigold and like to have a talk with her if they can't let us in then we ask them if they can go and bring Marigold out here so she can decide for herself to allow us into her home and have a nice pleasant chat with us!
>>
>>41109506
If Marigold does decide to have a chat with us we better make sure to bring Downburst inside with us for the conversation give him a signal or something to catch his attention, we shouldn't leave him out here in the dark hanging.
>>
>You wave a hoof behind you and walk into a nearby alleyway where you are joined by Downburst a few seconds later
“Did you hear everything we were talking about? About meeting with Marigold, I mean.”
>”Sure did,” the pegasus answers
“Would you like to join us inside? You might want to stash your weapons and armor for a moment if you do.”
>You suddenly realize your own weapons and armor are stashed near the market and say so out loud
>”Oh, don’t worry. I grabbed your guys’ gear just in case you’d need them. I’m just lugging them from roof to roof right now. Anyways, I would like to join you guys for the meeting if possible.”
>You make a mental note to thank Hollow for suggesting bring somepony else along with you, this pegasus is pretty convenient to have around
“That’s fine. While you stash your gear I’ll try to get us inside without causing a scene.”
>The stallion nods then returns to the rooftop while you and Soul walk up to the fence and wave towards the two gardeners
“Excuse me, gentlecolts, but we wish to meet with Marigold and would like to have a talk with her. Any chance we could come inside?”
>The pair look to each other before the green stallion speaks
>”I guess I could ask her if she wants to talk. Could I get your name and reason for visiting?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41109966
My name is Ardent mind and this pony here is Soul mane and the reason for our visit is that a mutual friend of ours an earth pony named Drift told us that a very important book or scroll we're looking for may not be in the libraries, but might be here at this Manor where Marigold can help us find it in her possessions.
>>
bump
>>
>>41110007
“My name is Ardent Mind and this pony here is Soul Mane and the reason for our visit is that a mutual friend of ours, an earth pony named Drift, told us that a very important book or scroll we're looking for may not be in the libraries but might be here at this manor where Marigold can help us find it in her possession.”
>”So you’re a friend of a friend and you’re here for a book? I’ll let her know.”
>The green stallion washes his hooves in a pail of water and walks into the house through a small side door
>The donkey meanwhile talks to you, “didn’t feel like talking to the guard, huh?”
>”Didn’t want to wake him up,” Soul answers, “he looks pretty comfy in that chair.”
>”I’m sure he’ll appreciate it. Or not. You know how the Dogs can be.”
>While Soul and the donkey get into a small conversation Downburst joins you
>It takes a long time before the green stallion returns to you while an older black stallion in a butler uniform unlocks the front gate, ignoring the sleeping Dog
>”Madame Marigold will see you inside. Follow Dinner Date over there, he’ll lead you where you need to go.”
>The three of you do as told and follow the butler inside, first wiping your hooves off on the porch before entering the foyer
>The inside of the mansion is as ornate as any you’ve ever seen, with a grand spiral staircase to your left, a dining room to your right, and a large living room ahead of you
>The foyer is filled with beautiful and bizarre pieces of pottery, large gems, and marble statues of Dogs of every breed standing on pedestals
>Paintings of both Diamond Dogs and ponies are spaced out along the large white walls, several of which you recognize as fine copies of famous classical Equestrian works
>But that isn’t what you look at
>Instead you and the two stallions with you stare up at the large central oil painting
>The painting depicts Celestia at a Summer Sun Celebration in Canterlot, her wings spread wide as she is silhouetted by the sun
>>
>>41110433
>The painting is one you’ve never seen before and as you look over the fine details you spot several flaws in the depiction of Celestia
>Her mane is more pink than usual, as are her eyes, and her chest plate isn’t correct
>But her cutie mark is strangely onpoint, even if the colors are slightly off model
>It was as if the artist had only heard a description of the princess, instead of having seen her themself
>But her beauty and splendor remain
>”Beautiful, isn’t it?”
>You spin towards the stairway and see a yellow mare about your age wearing a modest nightgown
>The mare, Marigold you assume, slowly walks down the staircase towards the three of you and you swear you hear Soul give a low whistle
>”I’ve heard we have a new princess now, not that pegasus filly but some long lost sister that raises the moon. I’d like to see her some day, but I doubt she’s as beautiful as Celestia.”
>Marigold takes her place just infront of the painting, looking up at the portrait before looking back at you
>”I am lucky that Duke adores her too. Now, how may I help you? Leatherleaf said you were a friend of somepony named Drift? He’s one of the sanitation workers, correct?”
>You nod
>”I see. I’m not very familiar with that stallion but he seems nice. You’re here for a book, right? Can you tell me what book you’re looking for?”
“We were hoping you had a spell scroll or spell book that contained a teleportation spell.”
>Marigold frowns and looks over the three of you stallions with concern
>”And why do you need such a thing, if I may ask?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41110435
Be honest and tell her everything (Leaving out the part where we killed diamond dogs isn't smart as she most likely heard about a group of ponies who killed dozens of diamond dogs and can put the two and two together)
>>
>>41110435
I'm not sure leaving out the part of killing the dogs is a good idea we should tell her that also along with everything that happened since we got here who we are, our occupations, our mission agenda, and what are our motives for being here and our intentions I'm pretty sure she heard about what transpired yesterday, so let's not give her a reason to doubt our word and just confess we didn't had much of choice it was either fight for our freedom or get captured so far the diamond dogs aren't so keen about letting ponies go but to make them slaves.

Not to mention let her know we have several ponies who are seriously injure back in our camp and we need to know a teleportation spell so we can get help they need a hospital before their wounds gets any worse and cause them permanent damage that may kill them or have certain disabilities.
>>
>>41110435
Ardent rubs a hoof to the back of his neck"Umm...well it's a long story you've might want to sit down for this one. Is there someplace where we can discuss this privately over some lemonade and cookies trust me your gonna want to hear what we have to say! Tonight is our only chance to talk to you because we won't have that opportunity when tomorrow come Mrs.Marigold".
>>
>>41110531
If she knows about the event, there's no reason to bring up killing dogs unless she asks about it. And if she doesn't know then we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot by blabbing everything.
Stick to talking about our situation, the wounded etc.
>>
>>41111195
No way hose the full truth must be revealed at all cost we are not screwing around with our testimony that will come back and bite us in the butt later we're taking the chance.
>>
>You rub a hoof on the back of your neck
“Umm...well it's a long story so you might want to sit down for this one.”
>Marigold and the butler exchange a glance
>”I guess we can discuss this in the living room. Follow me.”
>You follow the mare to the living room where large, plush furniture awaits
>The three of you stallions each take a separate chair while Marigold settles onto a white couch, the butler standing behind her
>”Now, please explain why you want the teleportation spell.”
“Well, how about I tell you who we are and what we’re doing here. My name is Ardent Mind, I’m a senior team leader for Steady Stride Caravan Guard Company and this is my subordinate, Soul Mane and the pegasus here is Downburst, a caravan guard from Roughshod. We were escorting a group of settlers and some important civilians through the Narrow when we were ambushed by some Diamond Dogs.”
>”I assume that’s how you ended up down here then? You were captured, enslaved, and sold?”
“Ehh, not quite. We ended up mostly escaping and eventually ended up getting trapped down here in the city, which is why we’re here. We have almost fifty ponies trapped down here, some of who are terribly wounded and others that have just been taken captive.”
>>
>>41111351
>Marigold whispers something to the butler who then departs, leaving you alone with the mare
>”So you’re not slaves yet, are you?”
>You shake your head
>”I see. You’re those ponies that killed all those guards, aren’t you?”
>You take a deep breath
>Honesty is a virtue
“Yes, I am. But I didn’t want to kill those Dogs, they simply left me no choice. I had to defend myself.”
>”And if I tell you that I won’t help you, or call for the guards, what will you do?”
>”We won’t hurt you or your family,” Soul Mane answers, “if that’s what you’re worried about.”
>”I’m glad to hear you say that, but how can I trust you?”
“For the same reason we trusted you not to turn us in to the Dogs immediately. We just have to take it on faith.”
>It’s a cynical move but you look towards the large painting of Celestia to try to sell the point
>Marigold shifts uncomfortably on the couch but doesn’t say anything so you resume your explanation
“Anyways, we’re in a bad spot right now, which is why we want the teleportation spell. We think we might be able to send one of our own back to Gate City and send for rescue.”
>”Rescue? Rescued how?”
“The Royal Guard, or maybe the Army, could be here in a couple days.”
>Marigold’s eyes go wide
>”You’re going to bring the Guard here? If they find the city won’t they attack?”
“I suppose that’s likely, given the current tensions.”
>Marigold raise off the couch
>”That’s unacceptable. So many people will die if you do that. And if the other Diamond Dogs find out that Duke and I helped you-“
>She points to the door with a hoof
>”You need to leave, now. I’m not going to call the guards but I’m not going to let you endanger my family either.”
“Marigold, please. We have innocent ponies, foals and wounded, that need immediate help. We don’t want to cause any more violence, we just want to leave.”
>Marigold shakes her head, “there is no leaving here without violence, not for fifty ponies at once. Why should I endanger my family, everything I’ve built here for them, for you?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41111352
The guard won't attack ponies, or any dogs who aren't a threat. If you cooperate, we'll make sure everypony knows. You and yours won't just be safe, you'll likely be rewarded for it.
Think about it, even if my group gets wiped out, we have some important ponies with us so the guard WILL come looking for us eventually. And they will find this place.
At least our way, you can ensure the ones you care about will be safe.
>>
>>41111437
I think that we should assure her that both the duke's and her family's identity will be concealed.
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>>41111629
She's worried about what she's built here. I think the better deal for her would be that she gets to keep what she has after all the fighting is done. I think we can promise her that in exchange for her help.
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>>41111640
But will the Equestrian government accept these terms? Remember, once the Royal Guard and the Rangers liberate this place, the government will almost certainly create a parliament committee on what happens next and for all we know, the committee may find that Marigold commited treachery.
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>>41111660
I think if everyone in our group including Fleur stands up for them and makes it clear they're the ones who helped us, it'll be enough.
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>>41111664
Also, as dickish as this is gonna sound, it doesn't have to work out that way. It's enough if she thinks it will.
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>>41111352
Why do you think we came here to tell you in the first place Marigold to warn you, so you can make sure that your family stay safe and not get killed as a result from our actions We're not asking you to do much just to know whether or not you have a teleportation spell or know where we can find one that's it. When we came here most of the guard dogs were scattered on patrol so they barely saw us come to your home meaning the other diamond dogs can't prove you helped us or found out we even talked to you and we're giving you an opportunity to get your freedom back along with allowing your foals to see the sunlight of the outside world there's more to it then just this. Aren't you tired living underground this is your chance to get back home!
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>>41111713
Marigold most likely didn't have a comfortable life in the surface.
>>
“The Guard won't attack ponies, or any Dogs who aren't a threat. If you cooperate, we'll make sure everypony knows.”
>”I don’t want my family to be known! I want them safe.”
“Then your identity will be concealed to everypony uninvolved. If you work with us you and yours won't just be safe, you'll likely be rewarded for it while having your identity protected. Think about it, even if my group gets wiped out, we have some important ponies with us so the Guard WILL come looking for us eventually. And they will find this place. At least our way, you can ensure the ones you care about will be safe.”
>”And what about my husband and our estate? What about our businesses?”
“I’m sure our connections can ensure that those will be safe. We have some very important ponies with us and they can protect you. Again, the Guard is coming here with or without us. The difference is only when they come and how you’ll be treated by Equestria afterwards. At least this way you’ll know when they’ll be coming and will have somepony powerful by your side and in your debt.”
>That makes Marigold hesitate for a moment
>”But that’s only if Equestria wins. You don’t know the Dogs like I do. They won’t roll over and they know the underground better than anyone. Even if Equestria wins they’ll have to kill Abuwtiyuw, which means the Dogs will return to their old pack wars and they’ll be looking to even the score. If even one Dog suspects that we helped you bring Equestria down upon this city they’ll come for us.”
“Marigold, look. Part of why we came was to warn you, so you can make sure that your family stays safe and not get killed as a result of our actions. We're not asking you to do much, just to tell us whether or not you have a teleportation spell or know where we can find one; that's it. When we came here most of the guard Dogs were scattered on patrol so they don't even know we came here and talked to you.”
>You sigh
“Look, we're giving you an opportunity to get your freedom back. A chance for your foals to see the sunlight of the outside world, to see there's more to it than just this. Aren't you tired of living underground? This is your chance to get back home.”
>”I can’t go home!”
>You’re startled by her sudden shout and stay silent
>”I can’t go home. My Equestria is gone; it died long ago. From what I hear it’s nothing like the country I grew up in. From what I’ve heard there’s wars, eternal nights, and ancient gods of chaos returning without warning and the only ponies that could save the surface are dead. That doesn’t sound safe, that doesn’t sound like the place to raise foals.”
>You begin to counter when you hear a coughing from above
>Looking up the staircase you see an old Dog in an old suit looking back down at you, his fist covering his mouth as he coughs
>>
>>41111853
>”I’m sorry,” he gets out after a few more dry coughs, “I wasn’t aware we had guests.”
>”They were just leaving,” Marigold says only for the old Dog to wave her off with a hoof
>”Nonsense, it sounded like you were having quite a riveting conversation judging by all the shouting. Now, who might you three be?”
>Finding no sense in lying when Marigold will almost certainly just tell him the truth otherwise, you tell the old Dog what you’ve already told her
>As you explain the situation th3e Dog remains silent, his face neutral the whole time
>It’s not until you are completely done that the Dog speaks
>”Sounds like you’re in a real pickle. Marigold, what did you say to all this?”
>”I told them no, Duke. Whether their plan works or not doesn’t matter, being involved will only hurt us. Especially if Equestria comes and kills Abuwtiyuw.”
>Duke nods, “yes, that would be terrible. Unacceptable, even. We’ll just have to make sure that doesn’t happen then.”
>The Dog walks back down the hall he assumedly came from
>”Come now, all of you. We have things to discuss that are best kept private even from the help.”
>Marigold looks back to the three of you before climbing the stairs and following the Dog, leaving the three of you alone with the butler
>”I guess we don’t have a choice,” Soul says as he begins to climb the stairs only for Downburst to shout
>”Wait! Are we sure we shouldn’t just run? He said bringing the Royal Guard here wasn’t acceptable, he could be trying to trap us or turn us in somehow.”
>”I find that unlikely,” Soul counters, “but I guess it’s up to you, Ardie.”
>You glance at the butler
>If you bolted you’re pretty sure you all could outrun him and probably fight him off individually
[Input Needed]
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>>41111857
"Sounds to me like he just wants to talk, there would be easier ways to trap us."
But use earth sight to check out the place just in case.
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>>41111857
Guys we came this far let's just hear him out after all he stood around to hear what we have to say now it's his turn, maybe he has a solution that can help us and Marigold situation's.
>>
“Guys, it sounds to me like he just wants to talk and there would be easier ways to trap us if he wanted. Besides, he stood around to hear what we have to say now it's his turn, maybe he has a solution that can help our and Marigold situations. But just to be sure there’s no surprises I’m going to cast my Earth Sight.”
>You cast the advanced form of the spell
>Above you are mostly empty bedrooms and a bathroom with modern plumbing
>There is a master bedroom with a single Princess sized bed at the center with a wardrobe to either side
>Above the bed hangs a gun of some kind with a long halberd directly below
>The two occupied bedrooms both contain a single sleeping foal
>You see what you assume is a maid dusting the hallway
>In a large room, either an office or a library judging by the large desk and bookshelves, you see the Duke and Marigold arguing, the old Dog sitting behind the desk with the mare opposite him
>In the kitchen on the ground floor you see wor- slaves, eight in all, relaxing and chatting as they idly clean
>Below you is a cellar full of bottles, jars, and wide, flat cylinders you assume are cheese
[Input Needed]
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>>41112234
Don't see any fighters in the house, I think we're good. Also it seems him and Marigold might be disagreeing about what to do with us. Let's go talk to them.
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>>41112234
Okay the mansion appears to be safe guys I don't feel any trap doors, boobytraps, or any signs of a large security force here looks like the Duke doesn't want to make his manor feels like a prison for his slaves that counts for something, so it's safe to go talk to them, but they are arguing a lot above us so let's go diffuse the conflict before it becomes a confrontation.
>>
Bump
>>
“Don't see any fighters, trap doors, or any signs of boobytraps in the house, I think we're good. The duke must not want his manor to feel like a prison for his slaves so that must count for something. But it seems him and Marigold might be disagreeing about what to do with us. Let's go talk to them and see if we can diffuse the conflict.”
>The three of you walk up the stairs and join the pair upstairs
>”-uw’s teachings are clear, Mari. Kindness is a virtue. Besides, don’t you want to help your kind?”
>”Not at the expense of this, Duke. Not at the expanse of our- MY- family.”
>You knock on the door, not wanting to eavesdrop anymore than you have
>The pair look to you as you stand in the doorway
>”Come in, Ardent Mind, come in. Feel free to take a seat if you’d like.”
>You accept the Dog’s offer and enter the room, taking a seat straight across from the Dog while Marigold joins him at his side
>The room is a study, you decide
>The book shelves are filled with books written in both Equestrian and Burro, as well as Old Ponish and the unfamiliar language you saw in the catacombs
>Behind the Dog is another simple bookcase, identical to all the rest save for a thin glass door and the contents inside
>It doesn’t hold many items, mostly small scrolls and thin spell books for beginners
>Nonmagical books also sit inside the glass, ledgers and an incomplete history of Equestria by Lacuna
>Of the twelve volumes you know exist the Dog is missing volumes two, four, ten, and eleven
>Sitting alone on the top shelf is a familiar golden rod in a glass display case
>”Close the door, please. Now, gentledogs, we can discuss your situation without having to worry about eavesdroppers or any more unexpected guests. Unfortunately I don’t have the spell you’re looking for, but I’m pretty sure I could find it.”
“We’d appreciate that, perhaps more than you realize, but I have a feeling there’s a but coming.”
>”But I need you to promise me Equestria won’t destroy this city or kill Abuwtiyuw, or any other Dog they don’t need to.”
“That’s a pretty big ask. What makes you think we can make such a promise?”
>”If you don’t then there’s no deal. I can’t let you destroy everything Abuwtiyuw has built here, what we are building here. I’m sure you understand. So, what do you say?”
[Input Needed]
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>>41112933
Before we agree to anything sir Duke please allow us to voice our opinions and perspectives from what we seen so far.

First of all, If Abuwtiyuw is trying to build some kind of Utopias for Dogs and Ponies here, then tell me this why does he allow his dog packs to capture, sell, and enslaves ponies instead of working with them through cooperation? Not to mention, most of the diamond dogs here treat them poorly and seriously foals they have no problem locking up children, separating and keeping them away from their families. That's a line to cross too far you know. We don't find that acceptable! It's cruel, immoral, wrong, and traumatizing for their little minds to handle they'll get nightmares from experience for crying out loud damn it!

Number Two, this whole situation coulda been avoided if Abuwtiyuw had just let us go about our business up top, but no one of his dog diplomat claims we broke our deal with them last night saying we shoulda waited until tomorrow to continue passing the Narrow when all we did was trying to clear the path that was obstructed from a massive rockslide the diamond dogs caused due to their dynamite explosions at some abandon ruins nearby.

Third, and then the diplomat provoke us by threaten to kill us are you kidding me? So after all that happened to us and what seen, forgive us for being skeptical if Abuwtiyuw is a reasonable dog to negotiate with.

But if he is then tell him to let us and our captured settlers go we just want to get home and Finally, believe me I would love nothing more than to accept your deal Mr. Duke I've seen enough bloodshed spill from multiple dead bodies from both sides ponies and dogs to last a lifetime, but I'm not sure your Priest Leader Abuwtiyuw will just let us walk way so easily not after all the dogs we killed so far in the past few days, but rather he'll force us into a harder situation that will lead us no choice but to kill more of your kind to survive and to get away.
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>>41113136
I think we shouldn't try to attack his belief that abuwtifag isn't as Benevolent as he thinks he is directly. He may just lash out
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>>41113235
We're being honest with him man its better that the duke knows how we feel after everything Abuwtiyuw and dogs put Ardent, his team, and every other settlers through.
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>>41113235
I agree, would be better to ask questions first, get a read on this guy.
"You seem to hold Abuwtiyuw in very high regard. May I ask why?"
>>
Bump
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>>41113235
>>41113555
“Before we agree to anything sir Duke please allow us to ask you something.”
>”Go ahead, Ardent. I’ll answer what I can.”
“You seem to hold Abuwtiyuw in very high regard. May I ask why?"
>”Abuwtiyuw is moving us Dogs towards civilization, that’s why. Many Dogs over the millenia have controlled this city and just as many have tried to unite all of Dogkind, in that regard Abuwtiyuw is not unique, but none of them understood the world like he does. All of the great Dogs of the past, from Nipper and Rinty to Becerrillo and Waghya, were intelligent and legendary warriors but little more. They were like Sombra, powerful but short sighted, only wanting to conquer and control and never learning the lessons of the civilizations that have lasted millenia. Only Gelert was different, but he chose the griffins as the model for his kingdom.”
>The names mean nothing to you and you worry the Dog is getting off track
>”Each of those Dogs died by their own rash decisions, trying to conquer the Changelings, or griffins, or buffalo, or Equestrians when they didn’t have the numbers, being killed by their own packmates for trying to force change to quick, dying from poison or curse when trying to capture magic. But Abuwtiyuw is different than those Dogs. He sees the big picture. He’s a Dog of the world, having traveled and learned the surface as a young Dog. He knows history, how the world we know was formed, how Equestria became the world’s shining jewel, how cooperation and patience are just as important as might and industry. But most importantly he knows the spirit, the virtues of Harmony, kindness, loyalty, honesty, laughter, generosity, and magic. He’s seen it all with his own eyes.”
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>>41114091
>The Dog coughs into a handkerchief laid out on his desk for a long time before continuing
>”Abuwtiyuw is the only Dog that can bring us the magic of civilization. You wouldn’t know, I don’t think, what the world was like for us before he came. Dogs stole from other Dogs, starvation was rampant, and packs were killing each other constantly. You could only trust your own small pack back then. We weren’t much better than savages back then. But now we have the rule of law with every Dog, even the priests, being equal before a judge. Now we have security. The ancient laws against thievery against your fellow Dog are enforced, food is bountiful as farmers can work without their produce being raided, and you can walk the streets without a spear or dagger to fend off attackers. Libraries are open to all, even slaves, and soon there will be schools and hospitals. We are already constructing a factory in the west district and soon even Equestria will be forced to see us as equals in learning. All of these things come from him, they are his orders. That is why I respect him and that is why he cannot be killed. If he dies it will be another millenia of pack wars and nothing more.”
>The Dog finishes his monologue, leaving the room silent
[Input Needed] [Did we still want to use >>41113136 ?]
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>>41114092
Okay then how about this one will this work Trail Leader?

Is that so Mr.Duke then why in the world does he allow the dog packs to captured ponies Even foals to become sold as slaves instead of working with us that I don't understand.

Next why is Abuwtiyuw making it so hard to not let us go when all we want is to bring the settlers we were assigned to protect towards their new home in the southern colonies.

I want to accept your deal Duke, but how do we make sure Abuwtiyuw won't continue giving us a hard time later on especially since we did just killed a bunch of his guard not to long ago. And one more thing even if we were able to convince Equestria to not kill your leader will he cooperate with them on releasing the slaves if not can't Abuwtiyuw at least give the slaves a choice about whether or not they want to stay down here.
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>>41114092
Our Pony kind doesn't tolerated slavery especially if foals are involved in it. And I assured you me and my group have no quall with your Priest Abuwtiyuw or have any interest of taking over your city or destroying your dogs new home. But our forces The Equestrian Royal Guard and Rangers will see the situation differently unless we received guarantees from your leader there will be no further provocation from the diamond dogs trying to attack us.
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>>41114151
>>41114177
Pretty much these, exept again, NO reason to bring up us killing dogs unless it comes up. No need to lie but no need to bring that to the forefront of his mind either.
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>>41114222
Dude the dog a duke and he seems reasonable he should be aware of all the facts so we can come to an satisfying agreement with him.
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>>41114247
There's a time and place for complete honesty and it isn't during a difficult negotiation.
We're trying to sway him to our side and instantly going HEY DID YOU KNOW WE STABBED A BUNCH OF DOGS JUST A REMINDER does nothing but hurt our chances.
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>>41114258
It's better that he knows who did it and that we're willingly taking responsibility for our actions than hiding the fact from him since we came to his wife for help. Stop acting like a coward and be a man.
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>>41114312
Would you go up to a girl you're interested in and blurt out about how you have stinky breath and bad IBD, if that were true?
This is some psychology 101 shit here, don't bring up your sides negatives for no reason in a negotiation.
It would only be not taking responsibility if he asked about it and we denied it.
>>
“Is that so Mister Duke? Then why in the world does he allow the Dog packs to capture ponies, even foals, to be sold as slaves? Ponykind doesn't tolerated slavery, especially if foals are involved in it, so why tolerate it instead of working with us? I don’t understand.”
>The old Dog sighs
>”It is impossible to change our nature overnight and he knows that, I know that. He and I have discussed this very topic many times and agree that slavery must be abolished but it cannot be done immediately. Slavery is in our nature, it is what the gods designed us Dogs to do, a challenge that we must face, just as ponies had to face their tribalism and fear or how griffins are filled with greed. It is wrong, inexcusable in a way, but it is not something we can change today or tomorrow. It will take years to be rid of, otherwise the Dogs will rise up and kill him, just as they have killed every other great Dog that tried to change society to fast. Even if he isn’t killed, there would be a rebellion that would kill many Dogs and slaves and leave us open to an attack by outsiders. Even I keep slaves, pony. My wife is one, though I wish it weren’t so. Again, that is why Abuwtiyuw is so important; he is patient and understands change comes with time. Someday we will have no more slaves, but only if Abuwtiyuw remains in power.”
”Alright. Why is Abuwtiyuw making it so hard to stop us from leaving when all we want is to bring the settlers we were hired to protect to their new homes in the southern colonies?”
>”I do not know, Ardent. I assume it has something to do with the important ponies you are guarding. Perhaps I can supersede on your behalf but that would almost certainly require you to give up something you may not want to give up. Abuwtiyuw is a good Dog with good will to ponies, perhaps more than even I, but he sees things differently than you or I. The only way to know why he does what he does is to ask him yourself, which may be hard since I assume you are the ponies responsible for killing those guards last night.”
>Downburst’s wings spread in excitement as he sits forward
>”That’s a hell of an accusation.”
>Duke raises an eyebrow and you place a hoof on the pegasus’s back
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>>41114633
“Yes, we did do that. But it wasn’t our choice. We don’t want to kill Dogs, but we didn’t have a choice.”
>Duke shakes his head
>”You always have a choice. But I have no authority to judge your actions, only the gods, Abuwtiyuw, and your Harmony. Still, it will impact how likely he is to hold a letting with you.”
>You don’t agree with what he says but find little point in arguing and instead change the subject
“Can't Abuwtiyuw at least give the slaves a choice about whether or not they want to stay down here?”
>”No, he cannot. Most slaves wish to be free and I cannot blame them. Mari is different and ponies like her are few and far between.”
>Duke lowers a paw for the mare, who gently places her hoof inside
>”I have learned a lot from her and my old friend and have treated all my slaves well, giving them as good of a life as I can while staying within society’s law. It has cost me dearly, something that even the most compassionate Dogs will not afford. That is why he could not do such a thing. Maybe a few slaves would stay, but it would effectively be the same as abolition and would only serve to destroy the kingdom. Again, things will be different some day, but it will take years.”
>The answer is unfocused and less than satisfactory to be sure but his reasoning makes sense
>You sigh and lower your head
“I want to accept your deal Duke and my group has no quall with your Priest Abuwtiyuw or has any interest of taking over your city or destroying your home. But The Equestrian Royal Guard and Army’s Rangers will see the situation differently unless we received guarantees from your leader there will be no further provocation or further attacks on us.”
>The Dog is silent and you wonder if he even heard you
>You go to repeat yourself when he answers
>”I do not know if he will agree to such terms. He doesn’t want war with Equestria, quite the opposite, but believes only by standing up for ourselves will we be respected and given a place in the sun. I also don’t know how much he trusts Equestria’s promises anymore. Last time he agreed to a similar deal with your country they sent an assassin to kill him anyways. Still, I am willing to send him your proposal if you so wish.”
[Input Needed]
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>>41114638
All I want is to get the ponies under my protection safely home. This includes the ones currently captured and about to be sold off as slaves.
If we can find a way to do this with no bloodshed, I would be all for that.
But please understand that
we will fight to protect them if that becomes necessary. And as I told your wife, if we delay for long, the guard will come looking for us and the choice will be out of all our hooves. Or paws.
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>>41114802
“All I want is to get the ponies under my protection safely home. This includes the ones currently captured and about to be sold off as slaves. If we can find a way to do this with no bloodshed, I would be all for that. But please understand that we will fight to protect them if that becomes necessary. And as I told your wife, if we delay for long, the guard will come looking for us and the choice will be out of all our hooves. Or paws.”
>Duke nods, “that I do understand and perhaps I can help you with that as well. But understand that it’ll require you to give me something in return.”
“Let’s hear how you’re planning to help us first.”
>”Of course. I propose that I send one of you with Mari to look for your missing ponies.”
>Marigold pulls her hoof free of Duke’s paw and looks at him in shock, which the old Dog ignores
>”You will point out the ponies you’re looking for to her then depart. I will arrive at the auction shortly before it begins and Marigold will then tell me which ponies to purchase. Then I will bring them here and keep them safe until your Guards come to bring them home. How does that sound, Ardent? I’m willing to pay the cost of the slaves seeing how you have no money, or at least I doubt you have enough to cover the costs.”
“I’ll consider it. Now, what’s it going to cost us?”
>”Just some sweat and blood, I’m afraid. I noticed your cutie mark; you wouldn’t happen to be a detective, would you?”
“Afraid not. I have done some amateur investigations but I’m more of a researcher.”
>”Damn, that’s unfortunate. Still, you may have the skill set I need.”
>The Dog clears his throat then presents his request
>”There is a smuggling ring in this city that has been hurting local business. Abuwtiyuw is trying to deal with it of course but the guard and soldier Dogs are busy with more pressing matters. I’ve told him he’s underestimating the issue but he disagrees.”
“So what do you want us to do? Eliminate the smugglers ourselves?”
>Duke shakes his head
>”Of course not. No, I just need you to find something to convince Abuwtiyuw to deal with them immediately.”
“And what would we need to find to do that?”
>”Evidence that they are spying for our enemies or providing them weapons will do it. If they aren’t doing that then find evidence they are intentionally killing innocent Dogs or even slaves. Failing that then I’m sure you can find some other kind of dirt on them. Maybe they’re Discord cultists, which is an executable crime. Just find something to convince Abuwtiyuw to act and provide physical proof. Do that and he may even be willing to let you all go free despite the protests of the other pack leaders.”
“That sounds like it’ll take time, which we don’t have.”
>”Yes, it will. But you don’t have to do it immediately. You just have to do it before you leave. You and your guards, I mean. So, what do you say?”
[Input Needed]
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>>41114638
Wait, if you send our proposal to Abuwtiyuw how long will it take until he responds to it? Because we know about the slave auction your schedule to commence tomorrow at noon I hope your leader would like to settle the matter with us personally before that happens because if our captured settlers gets sold off before he lets us save them then he'll be traumatizing the ponies families who won't ever see their love ones again!

Also you said we had a choice back there about how we shouldn't had killed more of your kind, but doesn't that sentiment should also apply to you Diamond Dogs as well?! But however, the moment a diamond dog see a pony they just go ahead and pick a fight with us with prejudice and contempt instead of trying to talk to us like you for example: Mister Duke you're one of the few diamond dogs we found so far who actually wants to resolve the matter peacefully through words instead of trying to capture or kill us. Although, from what you told me so far about the tough position Abuwtiyuw is put in I can easily deduce is that the reason why the rest of your kind is so keen about slavery is because Most Diamond Dogs are zealots aren't they raised under the ideology that War and Revolution is the only way to get things done around here huh and Abuwtiyuw is trying to change that isn't he. Trying to help show them another way to live their lives differently where the diamond dogs can learn from our ideology where we ponies live through Reason and Compromise before battle in hopes to avoid massive meaningless deaths from unnecessary wars to achieve everlasting Peace for two or more different species.
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>>41115184
If it can help us get all our captured settlers free and a chance for them to rendezvous with their love ones so we can all have a fair opportunity to go home then I'll gladly do it you got yourself a deal Mister Duke let's shake in it!

Oh right now that you mentioned it about a smuggling ring taking place just yesterday me and one of my other teammates stumbled upon two diamond dogs smuggling a chest full of magic containing love I think down in the catacombs where the waste tunnels are looks like you have some traitors in your midst those two dogs has got to be connections through this secret operation happened underneath Abuwtiyuw radar.
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>>41115184
One of the dogs I overheard down there call the other names someone named Max last I saw him he was bringing a magic crate towards the Tatzlwurm temple and he mentioned about a next shipment coming to arrive tomorrow which is today whatever deal he made with his clients they could be the Discord Cultists you mention or some other group we don't know about. Either way their exchange is going to happen tonight me and my team might be able to catch them in the act or at least get their shipments as solid proof for your priest abuwtiyuw.
>>
Bump
>>
“If it can help us get all our captured settlers free and a chance for them to reunite with their loved ones then I'll gladly do it. You’ve got yourself a deal Mister Duke.”
>You reach a hoof across the table and shake the Dog’s paw
>”Glad we could make a deal. I promise that this is the best case for the both of us.”
>As he pulls an old whiskey bottle from one of the desk cabinets and lays out four glasses you remember something
“Oh, now that you mention it, one of my teammates and I saw some smuggling taking place just yesterday. We stumbled upon two Diamond Dogs smuggling a chest full of magic items down in the catacombs towards the Tatzlwurm temple from where the waste tunnels are. One of them was named Max and he mentioned about a next shipment coming to arrive tomorrow, which is only a few hours away. Don’t know who their clients are, they could be cultists or they could be someone else. Either way their exchange is going to happen tonight or in the early morning so my team and I might be able to catch them in the act or at least get their shipments as solid proof for your Abuwtiyuw. It looks like you have some traitors in your midst since those two Dogs have got to have connections in the city since it happened underneath Abuwtiyuw’s nose.”
>Duke pours the whiskey for himself and pushes a glass to each of you guards
>”Sounds like you’ve got a solid lead. Only question is who you’re sending to the pit with Marigold and who’s going to start investigating the smugglers in the meantime.”
>[Input Needed]
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>>41116018
Soul do you think you can identify the captured settlers in the pit for Marigold, while me and Downburst investigate the smugglers if not I'll go with Marigold while you and downburst go check out the smugglers since I already saw them in pits earlier ago?!
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>>41116041
This sounds good. Soul going might also be safer since some guards might recognise Ardent from before.
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>>41116041
>>41116276
“Soul, do you think you can identify the captured settlers in the pit for Marigold while Downburst and I investigate the smugglers? If not I'll go with Marigold while you and Downburst go check out the smugglers since I already saw them in pits earlier.”
>Soul picks up his glass of whiskey and stirs it
>”I’ll take the lovely lady to the pit. I don’t really remember their names but I’ll know their faces and cutie marks. There’s also the chance one of guards might recognize you.”
“Okay, it’s a plan.”
>Duke raises his glass to you, “then it’s finished. Now drink.”
>You consider analyzing the drink but worry the Dog may take offense to it and since the Dog himself is drinking it you figure the odds of the liquor being poisoned is unlikely
>You grab the glass with a hoof and down the spirit in a couple of swallows
>It’s been a while since you drank and the small drink makes you all to aware of that
>”Good stuff,” Downburst says as he holds the empty glass in his hoof. “I haven’t drank since we left Gate City. That was what? Week and a half ago?”
>Was that really it? It felt longer
>”Duke, we need to talk.”
>The way Marigold says those words makes it clear that you should clear the room, which you do
>You close the door behind the three of you and find yourself standing together in the upstairs hallway
>”I guess I’ll stay here until Marigold’s ready to go to the pits. You two stay safe, okay?”
>You give the stallion a reassuring nod and feel a wing tap your shoulder
>Looking to Downburst he asks, “so, where do you want to start?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41116316
Check the time on your pocket watch first, then inform your team the time it is now and then say we're regroup back here once our current tasks are done. Okay that should do it let's head to the catacomb tunnels with Downburst and get ourselves ready to spy on the two smuggling diamond dogs it's espionage time.
>>
>>41116423
Which entrance do you want to use? You know there is one in the market but it is in the open and easy to see. There’s the one you used last time in the tatzlwurm temple but you know that you killed a Dog patrol nearby so they may have increased security in the area. Finally, you can assume Drift would know other public entrances as part of his sanitation job. Or if you want you can check random buildings for hidden entrances but that will likely take too long even with Earth Sight but it’s still an option.
>>
>>41116519
The entrance in the market will do trail leader.
>>
>>41116519
Let's go take a look at the market one, if it's too dangerous we'll pick another.
>>
bump
>>
>>41116562
>>41116567
>You pull out the pocket watch and check the time
“Alright colts, it’s ten twenty two at night. I know you’re probably a little tired but just keep pushing. We’ll regroup here once we’re done with our tasks. Downburst, you and I will start in the market. I remember there being a semi public access to the catacombs there.”
>The pegasus nods and the two of you say goodbye to Soul and head out
>As you walk to the market Downburst moves your stash of weapons and armor on the rooftops as before, leaving them just on the edge of the market
>While on the outskirt you cast Advanced Earth Sight
>There’s nothing noticeable other than the staircases you’re looking for and the catacombs below you, which are devoid of life
>Once you reach the market you move straight to the two above ground staircases that lead to the catacombs
>The staircases are closed off by an iron bar door that has no lock, meaning you could just open it without any effort
>You look around you and find the twin staircases are visible to just about everyone in the general vicinity, including several busy shops
>A young guard Dog, barely an adult if you had to guess, watches you
>”Hey pony,” he calls to you, “unless you’re sanitation or have a good reason to be down there you have no reason to be going down there, got it?”
>The Dog continues to look at you, as if expecting you to either explain yourself or walk away
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41116936
"Oh, sorry, it's just we've only recently been assigned to sanitation and we were supposed to meet another pony here who would show us the ropes, his name was... Drift, I believe?
I was just wondering if he might have gone down there ahead of us."
>>
bump
>>
>>41117004
“Oh, sorry, it's just we've only recently been assigned to sanitation and we were supposed to meet another pony here who would show us the ropes, his name was... Drift, I believe? I was just wondering if he might have gone down there ahead of us."
>The guard raises an eyebrow in suspicion
>”Sanitation didn’t send the three of you together? And they sent the two of you new slaves all the way here without supervision?”
>You nod
>”Fucking morons,” the Dog groans. “Okay, you can go on with your business. But I’m going to remember your tattoos, okay? If you’re lying we’re going to come for you and it won’t be pretty.”
“I understand, sir.”
>The Dog mumbles something and returns his attention to the other guards
>”Looks like we have an excuse to go down there now.”
“But who knows how long our cover will last. Once they realize I match the description of the pony that fought the guards last night they’ll realize something is up.”
>Downburst thinks for a second and nods
>”Yeah, I guess you’ve got a point. That probably means my cover will be blown as well. Let’s just hope it takes them a while to make the connection.”
>You test the door with a hoof to confirm it’s unlocked, which it is
>”So, are we going down there? Or did you want to enter somewhere else?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41117671
Let's go down. No telling how much time that story bought us.
>>
>>41117671
We can't waste any time here Downburst this might be our only chance to use the catacombs, find the smugglers, get the evidence, and win everypony freedom. After tonight I'm not sure if we're able to use this path again since one of the dogs saw us and will mention this in his report eventually drawing suspicions to us. Remember to what the duke said if we encounter any other dog on patrol down there no killing we can't lose this deal just knock them out, redirect their attention to somewhere else, or put them in sleeper holds only execute them if there is no other choice in case your life is about to meet its end by their paws!
>>
Bump
>>
>>41117872
>>41117738
“Let's go down. No telling how much time that story bought us and after tonight I'm not sure if we’ll able to use this path again.”
>You swing open the door and descend into the catacombs
“This deal we’ve made with Duke is too important to lose so I don’t want any killing unless absolutely necessary. If we encounter any Dogs we’ll try to either hiding, diplomacy, or a non-lethal option.”
>”I understand. Still, I wouldn’t mind getting a little payback for what they did to my friends.”
>When you reach the end of the stairs you enter the large, circular chamber you visited previously
>Opposite of you is another spiral staircase that you know leads back up to the market
>In the center of the room is a large gold statue with a prominent plaque
>Along the circular wall are tunnels organized like the rays of the sun and labeled with small plaques written in three languages; the language you don’t recognize, Equestrian, and Burro
>Down the tunnel labeled ‘Temple of the Tatzlwurm’ you see a stone bridge over a fast river
>You know that tunnel is the original one you took with Hollow the day before
>It is also the tunnel Max dragged the crate down
>The other tunnels are labeled ‘Temple of the Sun and Moon’, ‘Temple of the Earth Dragon’, ‘Slave Pits’, ‘South Housing’, ‘North Housing’, ‘Waste’, ‘Forbidden’, which you know is also labeled ‘City Heart’ further along, and another one that also reads ‘Forbidden’ but you know is the ‘Old Mine’ tunnel
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41118684
Okay the temple of tatzlwurm is where we need to go hopefully the crate that Max had yesterday should still be there if not at least we know that's where their next meeting will take place. We got to find conceal hiding spots where they can't see or hear us so we can see the magic deal exchange taking place and get the evidence we need for the Duke to use against them in order to help his kind and our kind survive this ordeal.
>>
>>41118684
Oh yeah we can't forget to catch up with drift later on tonight we need to inform him about our new plan taking place right now. He said he'll show up down here at one past midnight at the waste tunnel from the center of this room for his daily sanatiction routine we absolutely can't miss the rendezvous point with him. Oh boy I just realized something Downburst our recon and retrieval mission just became a lot more complicated we have a lot of extra things to accomplish here and we can't afford to make any mistakes otherwise our failure will cost us dearly our lives and our freedom.

Look Downburst we don't know how this deal is going to go down or how long it's gonna take place when Max and his buyers arrive so in case it takes them longer to finish the deal one of us has to make sure to meet up with Drift, while the other stays and gets the proof we need. Let's just hope it won't have to come to that where we need to split up amdst the whole the clock is ticking situation!
>>
>>41118684
Yeah, let's go to Max's tunnel first, not like we have other leads.
>>
>>41118700
>>41118751
>>41119051
“Okay, last time the smuggler went towards the temple of tatzlwurm so that’s where we need to go. Hopefully the crate that Max had yesterday will still be there and if not at least we know that's where their next meeting will take place. We’ve got to find concealed hiding spots where they can't see or hear us so we can see the exchange taking place and gather some evidence.”
>”Sounds like a plan.”
>>41118751
>You grab one of your lanterns to use as a light and suddenly remember Drift
“Shit, I just realized that our mission just became a lot more complicated.”
>”How’s that?”
“I just remembered that Drift doesn’t know about our new plans. We don't know how this deal is going to go down or how long it's going to take so in case we start running out of time one of us has to make sure to meet up with Drift, while the other stays and gets the proof we need. He said he'll show up down here at one past midnight at the waste tunnel from the center of this room for his daily sanitation routine. We absolutely can't miss the rendezvous with him.”
>”Are you sure we need him? Now that we have the deal with Duke we don’t need Drift’s help.”
“He’s still a pony and it’s only courteous to let him know.”
>”But it’s an unnecessary risk, isn’t it? Even if we don’t split up to deal with both problems at once we increase our risk of getting caught sneaking around.”
>You shake your head
“No, what’s an unnecessary risk is pissing off the pony that knows who we are and what we’re doing here.”
>Downburst shrugs
>”If you say so. Anyways, who should do what in the event we do have to split up?”
>You think for a moment
>On one hoof, you were almost certainly the better investigator
>But on the other hoof Drift might not trust Downburst, a pony he’s never seen before
>”Oh, and one other thing. Should I grab our weapons and armor and try to sneak them in here? I’ve only got my hoof blade on me.”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41119233
You can go meet him if needed, should be fine if you drop my name, or Hollows.
As for the weapons, if you're sure you can get them here without being spotted, go for it.
>>
>>41119233
If we run out of time it's better if you get to drift you can go to him quickly enough with your wings, while I stay behind to find the proof after all I am a magic research scientist so I'll be able to accurately locate the evidence. Bring our weapons and armor down here is a good idea we got to stay prepare just in case, but before careful don't let the guard dog from earlier see you or anyone else. Finally, downburst we wouldn't be having this with the duke if he haven't pointed us to his direction plus he wants to go home he's tired of being a slave he has family who believes he's dead so we owe to him by allowing him to escape with us.
>>
bump
>>
“You can go meet him if needed. You can go to him quickly enough with your wings, while I stay behind to find the proof we need. Besides, I’m a researcher so investigation suits me better. If he doesn’t trust you the you should be fine if you drop my name, or Hollow’s.”
>”Yeah, that’s fair. What about the weapons?”
“Bringing our weapons and armor down here is a good idea. If you're sure you can get them here without being spotted, go for it. Just be careful about not being seen by those guards outside.”
>”Got it. I’ll be right back.”
>You wait a worryingly long amount of time, a little over fifteen minutes, before the pegasus returns with your gear wrapped in a pair of blankets
>”Sorry it took so long. I told the guards we forgot some of our gear before I bought these blankets so they shouldn’t be suspicious. Tell you what though, the prices down here are absurd. Some things a cheap and others are crazy expensive, like these blankets.”
“I guess the economic and supply situation here is very different than back home. Anyways, let’s go.”

>As you walk through the catacombs you pass dozens of water pipes, most of which are old
>However, one section of plumbing is completely and clearly new
>There’s no way you missed that when you were down here last time
>Only a few feet away from the new plumbing is an unlabeled intersection
>Otherwise, you can continue heading towards the temple
[Input Needed] [Also, did you guys want to have your armor on and weapons ready or do you want to just carry them in the blankets?]
>>
>>41119651
Put on our weapons and armor we have to stay vigilant in case we have to fight our way out.
>>
>>41119716
Noted. I still need to know how you want to proceed now that you’re at the intersection.
>>
If we do put our stuff on, we gotta be vigilant with earth sight, we can't get spotted by any dogs.
Let's check out the unlabelled path.
>>
>>41119651
We still got some time before the meeting so let's check out the unlabeled intersection and see where it leads after putting on our gear of course.
>>
>>41120151
=
>>
I’m going to need a perception check (d20+2)
>>
Rolled 17 + 2 (1d20 + 2)

>>41121186
let's see
>>
>>41121204
Nice.
>>
Bump
>>
Sorry for the long delay. Hopefully I’ll get in a few updates today regardless.

“I’m going to check our surroundings with my Earth Sight spell. Meanwhile go ahead and get your gear on and once you’re done I’ll do the same.”
>”Got it.”
>You cast Earth Sight, revealing the world around you
>The only Dogs are the ones sleeping in buildings above you
>The catacomb tunnels themselves are uninteresting hallways but the new plumbing catches your attention
>The pipes carry water just as all of the rest do, except these new ones terminate just a few feet above your head and well before reaching the streets or houses above
>Besides that there isn’t anything of note
>Downburst finishes donning his armor and you do the same while he keeps an eye out for any Dogs
>As you finish buckling your sun hat into place you speak
“Let’s see where this intersection leads.”
>You take the lead this time as you make your way down the long corridor, looking for any signs of recent activity
>You walk for ten minutes or so, covering more than a half mile if you had to guess, when the passage suddenly ends at a cobblestone wall
>You look around the area for any signs of recent activity
Perception Check: Major Success
>About ten feet back from the wall is a fresh sliver of wood on the floor
>There is a small metal pipe in the top left corner of the wall that is almost entirely hidden by shadow even with the help of the lantern
>Listening carefully and turning your ears to the pipe you can hear the soft whistle of air flow
>Besides that there is nothing here and when you check the wall itself for any signs of cracks or secret doors you find nothing
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41122263
Does Earth Sight show anything beyond the wall?
>>
>>41122299
>You cast Advanced Earth Sight
>You are below an unpopulated part of town
>The cobblestone wall, with exception of the metal pipe, is completely solid and extends for five feet
>Beyond the wall is a rectangular room with no entrance or exit
>Inside the room is a small Dog, shorter than even yourself, a unicorn, and an earth pony
>There are five large crates in the room, about half the size of a pony, as well as several other smaller crates and gallon jugs
>All three people inside lounge about
>There’s also two large machines in the front and back left corners of the room
>The first machine is connected to the pipe that runs through the wall and stands about eight feet tall by four feet by four feet
>The machine vibrates subtly
>The other machine sits quietly and you can tell that it isn’t running even with just a wireframe outline
>This machine looks to be a tool of some kind; a massive heavy duty mining drill attached to a hand crank that rests on an axel with a pair of wagon wheels
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41122438
Keep exploring the area to see if there's anything else of value we should know about there may be more to this place than meets the eye!
>>
>>41122438
Just to be sure, can we cast magical analysis on the wall and the pipe?
>>
>>41122619
>You cast Detect Magic on the wall and pipe
>Though neither are magical themselves, there is what can be summed up as magical residue on both, as if magic had run through both at some point
>The magic residue on the pipe and wall are different, however
>The pipe’s residue is fresh and if you had to guess is probably due to whatever magic the machine in the room is running on
>That residue seems to be from a simple transmutation enchantment
>The wall’s magical residue also belongs to a personal transmutation spell, though not an enchantment, or at least not a permanent enchantment
>Beyond that there is no detectable magic

>>41122472
You are currently at the end of this tunnel. You can return to the intersection and either return to the large circular room under the market or continue on towards the tatzlwurm temple.

[Input Needed]
>>
>>41122656
So if I had to guess, they transform that wall there to keep their hideout safe? Smart for them, sucks for us. I guess all we can do is wait.
Be sure to cast Alarm on this hallway if we go explore other areas.
>>
>>41122656
All right that's all we can find here let continue our mission head to the tatzlwurm temple.
>>
Bump
>>
>You take a minute to cast Alarm on the area you’re standing in, making sure to use the bypass part of the spell on Downburst and yourself so you don’t accidentally set it off
>With the spell in place for the next eight hours you are free to continue exploring

>You make your way back to the intersection and head towards the tatzlwurm temple
>After a short time, only a couple minutes, you reach another intersection
>This one is a four way intersection with passageways labeled the same in the unfamiliar language to your left and right
>You know there are several more similar intersections up ahead, one of which leads to the large, unexplored temple with lots of Dogs
>It would likely take far, far to long to explore every passageway but at the same time there’s the chance you might miss something important if you don’t check everything
>Of course you could always just say fuck it and head straight to the tatzlwurm temple while looking for any signs of clues along the way
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41123950
Forget it just continue hearing straight to the tatzlwurm temple while looking for any signs of clues along the way we can't miss the meeting. But if it helps using advanced earth sight around here could provide us with more Intel about where each of these intersections goes.
>>
>>41124061
Roll perception (d20+2)
>>
>>41124118
Yes do it!
>>
Rolled 13 + 2 (1d20 + 2)

>>41124118
lessee
>>
>>41124422
>You cast Advanced Earth Sight but find nothing to note so you ignore the intersection and every intersection thereafter as you make your way to the tatzlwurm temple
>As you walk you and Downburst search for anything of interest
>Unfortunately you find nothing
>As you near the little room you found the second magical rod in you stop as you hear a faint grunt up ahead
>You motion for Downburst to be quiet and you extinguish the lantern
>You sit in the silent darkness for a few seconds and strain your ears for any other sounds
>There’s another grunt followed by an angry whisper in a language you don’t recognize
>You also hear a soft scrapping sound and footsteps slowly coming your way
>Judging by the sound of the footsteps the creature is a small Diamond Dog just a few dozen feet ahead
>If they had a light source you’d expect to see their light even if it’s around a corner but you don’t
>You consider using your Earth Sight, but if you did use the spell then you would risk the glow of your horn giving away your presence in the surrounding dark
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41124466
Anyplace to hide? Intersections nearby?
>>
>>41124466
No earth sight just stay out of sight so the dog can't see us we could capture him to if he's in on the smuggling ring but we have nothing that could connect that dog to it for now we wait and hide to see what happens who knows once the dog comess closer we should be able to determine whether or not that dog is actually Max from yesterday.
>>
>>41124484
Yes, there are several four way intersections within the two hundred feet behind you with the nearest being only twenty five feet away.
>>
>>41124613
Let's sneak to the nearest one and hide in whatever tunnel seems least likely he'll use.
>>
>>41124609
>>41124617
Roll stealth (d20+0)

1-3: You are outright discovered
4-9: The Dog is alerted and tries to find you
10-15:The Dog is alerted but doesn’t actively look for you
16-20: The Dog is completely unaware of your presence
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>41124663
Last time I rolled a 1 in stealth. Surely this will go better.
>>
>>41124668
>Keeping your voice low as possible, you turn around and whisper to Downburst
“Back up.”
>Slowly, carefully the two of you retreat, the whole while the sound of footsteps drawing nearer
>It’s hard to navigate in the absolute darkness of the catacombs so you put your front right hoof against where the floor and wall meet, feeling for where the closest intersection is
>You can’t see Downburst of course but you can hear his hoofsteps, no matter how hard he tries to be silent
>When you do eventually find the hall you make a short ‘psst’ sound to get the stallion’s attention and hide around the corner, staying just a few steps away from the corner
>After a few seconds the footsteps pass you by, not even so much as hesitating as it passes you
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41124724
Wait for a few more moments before going ahead back to the temple to ensure whether or not the dog will come on back.
>>
>>41124724
The dog might be with the smugglers, maybe watch where he's going with earth sight.
>>
>>41124743
>>41124839
>You wait for a few more moments to ensure the stranger doesn’t suddenly double back before lowering your hat over your horn and casting Earth Sense
>Above you is a bevy of sleeping Dogs and a few slaves, though you ignore those
>The stranger is a small Dog, as you expected, and is walking on only three of his legs while carrying an object in the last paw
>He wears some kind of clothing, a robe maybe, and walks through the darkness without hesitation, as if he could see perfectly
>Soon he turns down a passageway about a hundred feet away and eventually disappears from your sight
>You relay the information back to Downburst
>”Should we pursue him in case he’s working with the smugglers,” he asks, “or should we continue towards the tatzlwurm place?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41124991
Continue towards the Tatzlwurm temple that dog probably a monk or priest in training what we seek lies ahead.
>>
>>41125047
>what we seek lies ahead
How do you know that though? But I suppose the alarm spell will tell us if he goes that way.
>>
>>41124991
The tatzlwurm temple is our hottest lead right now we can't pass it up to not get the Intel we're looking for let's go immediately!
>>
Maybe it's cause I'm drunk and am forgetting something, do we actually know there's something at the temple?
>>
Bump
>>
“We’ll continue to the temple. It’s only a mile or so from here anyways and there’s a room up ahead I want to check out.”
>You reignite your lantern and move forward once again
>It only takes you a minute or so to enter the familiar large, open room
>Unlike last time, there isn’t any other light source
>The room still smells heavily of frankincense and sage
>Against the left wall is a stone coffin, about four feet long and two feet wide, that comes up to your chest and is covered in black soot, candle wax, and partially melted candles
>Standing over the coffin is a platinum statue of a Dog skeleton dressed in the same white clothing the Dogs you recently passed worm
>In the statue’s right paw is a platinum scepter while its right holds nothing, even though the last time you were here you replaced its rod with a decoy
>A stone table sits against the opposite wall
>On top of the table is a stone bowl holding smoldering incense sticks, a loose stack of coarse papers, a bowl full of red tinted liquid with a set of hooks and blades soaking inside, and what looks like an alchemy set
>There is also a tied off burlap sack sitting in a corner that smells of iron
>Unlike the passageways, this room lacks any Dog bones or carved out areas for the placement of such bones
>On the opposite end of the room is a short flight of stairs that you know leads to a passageway that eventually leads to the tatzlwurm temple about a mile away
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41126336
Check out the entire area in this room their might be clues around here perform a magical analysis spell on the platinum rod to find out what kind of magic it may contain.
>>
>>41126336
The coarse papers might be worth a look they could be connected to the smuggling ring if not then at least we checked but if the platinum scepter is magic let's not take it we should preserve the room exactly as we found it the last thing we is to have diamond dogs patrolling the area if they see signs that somepony came here and disturb their scared room.
>>
>>41126503
>>41126585
>You cast your Detect Magic spell and fail to sense anything magical, including the platinum scepter
>You then riffle through the coarse paper on the coarse papers
>Like last time they’re written in a mix of modern Equestrian and Burro
>Reading the ones written in Equestrian you learn they’re still mostly shopping lists
>However, one of the papers looks to be some kind of mortician’s report and has still drying ink
>The author and a priest named Bean received the body of a Diamond Dog diplomat that was killed on the surface
>Apparently the Dog worked under another Dog that worked directly under Abuwtiyuw, which apparently means his remains are to be placed in the catacomb unlike the other recently killed Dogs
>The cadaver was decapitated and the head and body placed in two separate baths to dissolve everything but the bones
>Why they decapitated the body instead of just letting the acid do its work you’re not sure
>The author notes that the bones are ready to be placed in the catacomb but only the priest Bean is allowed to do so
>It’s interesting but not really relevant
>Continuing to look through the papers you find another paper with still drying ink
>This paper is a simple report on the rod stolen from the statue
>From the report you learn some strange things about the relic
>Only the clergy are allowed to recover the relic, as they fear that militia or even regular guards may steal it for their own reasons
>Additionally, only high ranking priests, such as Bean, it is noted, are allowed to physically handle the relic
>The author fears that without the rod the connection to the tatzlwurm god will be cut off
>There’s a small note written by the author at the bottom of the paper which states his concern that ‘the slave unicorn’ may use the rod’s magic
>Beyond that you find nothing
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41126694
Hmm is the slave unicorn he's talking about is me? Perhaps, but at least we know who was the dog that pass by us Downburst that must have been Bean. They know one of their rod is missing but they're not sure if it was stolen or not so that buys us some time. I think this is all we're going to find here come on Onward to the Temple my trusted guard companion!
>>
>>41126734
>You pass the papers over to Downburst for him to read
>”I assume this unicorn slave they’re talking about is you?”
“That’s what I was thinking.”
>The stallion places the papers back in the same positions you found them in
>”Looks like your cover might be blown. Anyways, it doesn’t look like anything here helps us.”
“Perhaps, but at least we know the Dog that pass by us was Bean. They know one of their rods is missing but they're not sure if it was stolen or not so that buys us some time. Anyways, i agree that this is probably all we're going to find here.”
>You make your way towards the door and make a heroic pose
“Onward to the temple my trusted guard companion!”
>Downburst snorts but follows along as you move forward

>After walking through the catacombs for a mile you arrive at the stairs that lead up to the small tatzlwurm temple
>Before going up you cast advanced Earth Sight
>Above you is a Diamond Dog that wears a long robe that reads a book as well as a single guard that sleeps in a chair
>Outside of the temple you spot a group of three guards in a house across the street from the temple, two of which are sleeping and the third keeps watch while looking through a window
>On the roof of another nearby building is a pair of sleeping Dogs, both of which have old style rifles nearby
>Beyond that there is nothing of interest
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41126953
Okay Downburst I have a status report for you we have a dog in robe reading a book above us he has a guard with him sleeping in a chair, 3 more outside in house across from here but two of them are sleeping while the third is keeping watch, and finally on a rooftop building near by from temple are a couple of guards with rifles but they're asleep as well so looks like we'll have an easier time to get inside the temple without too much difficulty we just need to be stealthly and quiet. We need to search that building from top to bottom of we're going to find the missing crate there or at least figure out where the meeting will take place inside the temple.
>>
Bump
>>
>>41127102
“Okay, Downburst, I have a status report for you. We have a dog in a robe reading a book above us. He has a guard with him sleeping in a chair and three more outside in a house across from here but two of them are sleeping while the third is keeping watch. Finally, on a rooftop building near the temple are a couple of guards with rifles but they're asleep as well so it looks like we'll have an easy time getting inside the temple. We just need to be stealthly and quiet. We need to search that building from top to bottom of we're going to find the missing crate there or at least figure out where the meeting will take place inside the temple.”
>Downburst nods and readies his spear and moves to the stairs
>”So, are we going to try knocking out the Dog and his guard upstairs, wait for them to leave, or are we going to try some kind of diplomatic approach?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41128240
Who knows maybe they're in on the smuggling ring as well for now we should wait for them to leave see what develops next, but if they are not gone within one hour we move in and knock them out.
>>
>>41128299
“For now we should wait for them to leave and see what develops next. Who knows? Maybe they're in on the smuggling ring as well. We’ll just have to be patient but if they are not gone within one hour we move in and knock them out.”
>Downburst nods and steps back from the stairs, finding a corner of the room from which he could ambush anyone who comes down the steps

>Time drags as you wait for anything to happen
>You keep your Earth Sight up to watch the Dogs, who all remain in their positions more or less
>Downburst has to fight back a yawn a couple times as you wait as well but he reassures you that he has enough energy for the rest of the mission
>As you wait in silence you are suddenly surprised by a ringing in your ears
>You whip your head around looking for the source of the noise only to realize that it’s your alarm spell going off
>Thankfully only you can hear the alarm
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41128651
Shit. How far away are we from where we cast alarm? If we can get there quick we definitely should, that secret room might definitely be the smuggler's doing.
>>
>>41128676
>You quickly calculate how long it will take to reach where you placed the alarm and come to the conclusion that it’ll take over an hour sneaking through the catacombs to reach but a sprinting pony could reach it in a little over twenty minutes
>”Everything alright?” Downbursts asks
>Though it’s completely unintentional you must be making some kind of facial expression to tip off the stallion that something was going on
“There’s something going on back where I placed the alarm. Probably smugglers if I had to guess.”
>”We should both go there then, right? Or should only one of us go while the other stays here?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41128711
Splitting up isn't a good idea when we're already outnumbered.
Honestly staking out that place would've been a better plan to begin with, oh well. Let's both get there, go fast but use basic earth sight occasionally to see any guards ahead.
>>
>>41128728
“We go together and move fast. I’ll use my Earth Sight a few times as we go to make sure we don’t run into any Dogs.”
>Downburst nods and you take the lead as you sprint down the tunnels, every half mile or so casting basic Earth Sight to spot any Dogs around you
>About halfway to your destination you detect the same small Dog you assume is Bean up ahead and motion for Downburst to stop
>The Dog is on the very outside edge of your vision and walking towards you slowly
>There’s a small hallway nearby that you can hide in, otherwise you could either somehow deal with the Dog or even just run past him
[Input Needed]
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>41128834
Lets try hiding again, dunno if we need a stealth roll but ima do it just in case.
>>
>>41128883
Thanks for the preemptive roll. I am using the previous roll chart from when you last encountered him. I’ll consider adding the roll charts for stealth in the future.

>You and Downburst quickly move into a nearby corridor
>Stepping back from the intersection as you did last time you snuff out your lantern and wait for the Dog to pass
>Your heart beasts in your chest, both from excreting yourself while running and from the excitement of hiding
>Slowly the Dog’s footsteps draw closer before suddenly stopping just a few feet from the intersection
>You strain your ears to hear what the Dog is doing and hear what sounds like sniffing
>The Dog grunts before calling out in broken Equestrian
>”I told you no clean here, pony. You no listen. Why?”
>You and Downburst remain silent and you step back slowly
>”Answer, slave. Or guards come with whip.”
>The footsteps resume and turn the corner, approaching you
>”I smell you, pony. No hide. You answer or guards come with whip.”
>The stench of iron and wine assaults your nose as you feel hot breath on your face
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41129092
Probably have to subdue him. Do we have rope with us?
>>
>>41129092
Quick knock him out both you and downburst jump out and tackle him down to the ground in perfect sync and pound him as hard as you can to put him out of commission.
>>
>>41129274
I was thinking we tie him up and interrogate him first.
>>
>>41129309
That could work let's try that first but if it the dog gives us too much trouble then knock his lights out of commission into sleepville population him.
>>
>For a brief moment the catacomb lights up with magical light as you send a telekinetic bolt into the Dog’s chest
>The bolt is weaker than what you’d normally cast but it was enough to knock the old, short Dog onto his back with a yelp
>Immediately you grab your rope with your magic and tie the Dog’s legs as Downburst holds him down with his body
>The Dog begins to shout in an unfamiliar language but you put a quick stop to it by clamping his mouth shut with magic before tying it with the rope
>Once the Dog is secure you reignite your lantern and get a good look at him
>He’s just a couple inches shorter than you and his face is full of gray
>His eyes are a cloudy blue and he wears a white robe
>Even with the makeshift muzzle the Dog bears his teeth at you, his eyes staring off into space
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41129584
"Hello there. I assume you've heard about me. At the very least you've heard about what I did to the dogs who crossed me in the past. Keep that in mind as I ask you questions.
The relics you have here, the rods. What are they for?"
>>
>>41129695
Oh, keep our knife to his throat and tell him if he yells or speaks too loud, he won't be doing it for long. (a bluff, obviously. we wanna avoid killing for now)
>>
>>41129584
If it's any consolation we're not here for you we're investigating a smuggling ring where some of your dogs have been stealing and trading magical artifacts for an unknown group that's happens here underneath the catacombs tunnels we came here to stop it if you know something about it tell us everything you know please do not make this harder on yourself. Don't make me add your corpse to this underground graveyard!
>>
bump
>>
>>41130314
>>
>You grab your knife with your magic and hold it to the Dog’s throat
“Hello there. I’m going to loosen your muzzle so you can talk, okay? If you yell or speak too loud, you won't be doing it for long. I assume you've heard about me. At the very least you've heard about what I did to the Dogs who crossed me in the past. Keep that in mind as I ask you questions. The relics you have here, the rods. What are they for?"
>You loosen the rope around the Dogs mouth and he says something in the foreign tongue you’re pretty sure is a swear
>You press the blade a little closer to his throat and repeat the question
>”Are you pony that take relic?”
“Just answer me.”
>The Dog mumbles something in his language before finally answering
>”The relic shows things from tatzlwurm.”
“What kind of things?”
>”Things from old times. Secret things. Don’t use it, a slave wouldn’t understand anything.”
“We're investigating a smuggling ring where some of your Dogs have been stealing and trading magical artifacts for an unknown group. It's happening here in the catacombs and we came here to stop it. Tell us everything you know about it.”
>”I don’t know thiefs. Only thief I know is you.”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41130970
Does the named Max means anything to you he's one of your own kind and I've overheard and witnessed him talking yesterday to a plumbing dog saying something about receiving a next shipment tonight and then he started heading towards the Tatzlwurm temple with a crate full of magic items?!
>>
>>41131115
“Does the name Max mean anything to you? He's one of your own kind and I've witnessed him talking to a Dog yesterday saying something about receiving a shipment tonight and then he started heading towards the Tatzlwurm temple with a crate full of magic items.”
>The Dog mutters to himself again before answering
>”Many Dogs named Max. I am priest, you look for laydog. I don’t know laydogs.”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41131173
And what is a laydog exactly and where do we find them?
>>
>>41131218
I think he just means a layperson. Not a member of the church.
>>41131173
"I see. And other than those rods, do you keep magical artifacts or scrolls at the temple?"
>>
>>41131173
What do you mean I wouldn't understand the relics if I were to use it will it make me go crazy or something?

Not to mention the relics are fill with magic and I'm a unicorn so I find it hard to believe that I won't figure something out about them, but you dogs can please elusive the details for me about how y'all will and not us?!
>>
>You’re pretty sure you know what a laydog is but ask anyways
“What is a laydog exactly?”
>”Not a priest or temple Dog.”
"I see. And other than those rods, do you keep magical artifacts or scrolls at the temple?"
>”Yes, at big temple. Big magic, too. Priests have a lot. Maybe you sorry and priests be nice and buy slave to do magic. No whip for work.”
“What do you mean I wouldn't understand the relics if I were to use them? Will they make me go crazy or something?”
>”Maybe. Unicorn does not know what priest Dogs know.”
“Really now? The relics are filled with magic and I'm a unicorn so I find it hard to believe that I won't figure something out about them while you Dogs can’t even use them.”
>The Dog sneers and shouts something in his foreign language at you
>Seems you may have gotten under his skin
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41131173
Have you seen anyone strange or unusual come to the temple recently or receive a crate that's not supposed to be there? Come on Bean think try to remember give us something to work with we know you work closely under the orders of Abuwtiyuw I'm being reasonable here and giving you a fair chance to save yourself from having broken bones. Give us too much of a hard time and I'll let my friend here take over the questionings for me! Oh and one thing do not make any attempts to try to kill us or unless you want us to commit more murders in self defense.
>>
“Have you seen anyone strange or unusual come to the temple recently or receive a crate that's not supposed to be there?”
>The Dog growls
>”I said I do not know thiefs.”
>You press the knife a little harder into the Dog’s neck
“Come on, Bean, think. Try to give us something to work with. We know you work closely under the orders of Abuwtiyuw. I'm being reasonable here and giving you a fair chance to save yourself from having broken bones. Give us too much of a hard time and I'll let my friend here take over the questionings for me! Oh and one more thing, do not make any attempts to kill us unless you want us to commit more murders in self defense.”
>”I said I do not know!”
>Downburst meets your eyes and motions checking a pocket watch, reminding you that you are still pressed for time
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41131512
Check the time on your pocket watch to see how much time has pass, then ask beans about why was there a personal transmutation spell on the wall where it has new pipes just been installed.
>>
>>41131512
If you really don't know about the smuggling ring then exactly what are you doing down here in this part of the catacombs?!
>>
>>41131575
>>41131579
>You check your pocket watch
>12:05 AM
>You estimate that it’s been about five minutes since your alarm spell was set off
>Putting the watch away you refocus on the Dog
“Why was there a personal transmutation spell on the wall where new pipes were just installed?”
>”I do not know. Dogs cannot do magic and I am not a pipe Dog.”
“If you really don't know about the smuggling ring then exactly what are you doing down here in this part of the catacombs?“
>”I am a priest. The catacombs are for us. I was working a body. Putting a skull in the wall.”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41131687
Putting a skull in the wall. Why do you need to do that for? And who's skull is it?!
>>
>>41131687
Don't think we're getting anything more useful out of him. I say we let him have a nap and find somewhere to hide him for now while we go check out that secret room again.
>>
>>41131699
>>41131700
“Putting a skull in the wall? Why do you need to do that? Whose skull is it?”
>”It is a catacomb. Bones line the walls. It is how Dog bodies are honored. The skull belonged to a Dog killed by pony on surface.”
>”I don’t think he knows anything about the smugglers,” Downburst says, “maybe we should just gag and toss him into a hallway and be done with it.”
>You suppose he has a point
>Besides, every second you spend here is one more the smugglers have to leave
“Alright, let’s knock him out so he doesn’t know where he is and where we went.”
>Before you can do anything Downburst hits the Dog hard with a hoof
>The Dog goes limp and Downburst ties his snout
>You check to make sure the priest is still alive and once you confirm he’ll be fine you toss him into a nearby pathway
>With that done you resume your run to the place you set your alarm

>Panting heavy you arrive at the intersection near your alarm and stop in your tracks
>Not wanting to just blindly turn the corner and risk being spotted you cast Advanced Earth Sight
>There’s nobody in the area of your spell
>However, five new entities have joined the three inside the sealed off room
>One is a Diamond Dog and another is a unicorn, but neither of them are interesting compared to their three remaining companions
>Three changelings stand in the middle of the room as the two groups face off, the newcomers standing around a large trunk
>Beyond that everything is the same
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41131991
Well, the plot thickens. This seems like it might be a meeting so hopefully it won't last very long. This time we should wait and stake the place out.
>>
>>41131991
Jackpot Downburst we found our smuggling ring there's five of them one is a diamond dog, one is a unicorn, and the last three are changelings looks like we arrived just in time for the deal to go down let's find out what these two groups are willing to hide from Abuwtiyuw and what they're plan is.
>>
Bump
>>
Bump
>>
>>41133082
>>
“Jackpot.”
>”Do you see what we’re looking for?”
“Sure did. Looks like we arrived just in time for the deal to go down, too. On top of the three from before there's five more of them. One is a diamond dog, one is a unicorn, and the last three are changelings.”
>”Changelings?”
>There’s a hint of worry in his voice as he speaks
>”If we get in a fight do you think we’ll be able to take them?”
>Changelings were tough, or so you’ve heard, but you’ve killed one before
>Granted he was wounded and distracted but the point still stands
>The real problem was the smugglers’ numbers and whatever spells their unicorns know
“Let’s just try to have it not come to that. Right now we need to find out what these two groups are willing to hide from Abuwtiyuw and what their plan is.”
>You watch the two groups closely as they seem to converse about something, perhaps bartering or settling some other kind of negotiation
>You curse the fact that you can’t hear what they’re saying
>In fact, you can’t even read their lips with how crude the magical mental image is
>Still, body language and just knowing that they are talking at all tells you enough about the situation to know that everything’s going smooth, or at least not bad
>After a minute or so the Diamond Dogs grab crowbars from inside one of the cases you’d seen here before and open their respective crates
>The newcomer Dog grabs an object from within his crate with a paw and holds it up for everyone to see
>The object is a perfect sphere, or close to perfect anyway, of considerable size
>With your magical background your first assumption is that it’s a gemstone for storing spells, though it could be a large ball bearing for all that you know
>Inside the crate appears to more of the same round objects
>The orb begins to float and gracefully soars to the first group’s unicorn who inspects the object carefully before becoming still for several seconds, during which time everyone but the Changelings talk with one another
>After the pause the unicorn nods and the first group’s short Dog removes the lid on one of their smaller crates and pulls out an identical orb
>The other occupants of the room immediately shield their eyes when the short Dog does so, as if blinded by something
>After some chatter the Dog returns the orb to its case and re-lids it
>One of the Changelings say something to their companions and their unicorn faces the wall and touches their horn to it
>Your ears perk up as you hear what sounds like boiling water just down the passageway in the direction of the smugglers
>Right then the unicorn begins to step through the solid stone, reemerging on the other side and trotting towards the corner that you hide behind
>The strange boiling sound remains present
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41133651
So I see a couple of options, what do other anons think?
A. we back off and try to remain hidden, hoping to spy some more info
B. cast arcane shield and get ready to rumble
C. try to be diplomatic, convince them we can help them if they help us escape. Then we can either honor that deal or play both sides and get the proof we need.
I'm leaning towards C myself.
>>
>>41133684
Honestly? It's better we assume that everyone that isn't directly allied with us as enemies. Trying out diplomacy won't work as they have no reason to work with us. It's best that we cast arcane shield and prepare a strong telekinetic bolt to one-shot the unicorn before attacking the changelings. Ofcourse, we attack once the unicorn and changelings are far away from the smuggler ring.
>>
>>41133651
Downburst your not gonna believe this but one of the unicorns' just walk through solid wall of their secret room towards the other side right where we are hiding they use some kind of round like sphere to do that after putting hot boiling water on it. Stay behind cover and don't make a sound we can't let them hear us or see us. We need to keep spying on their little meeting.
>>
>>41133690
Dunno, as caravan guards we could be very useful to smugglers, don't you think? Or at least we could convince them we could.
My problem with fighting is that not only are we outnumbered, we're with a stallion that hasn't really proved himself yet. And without Soul's shields, too.
>>
>>41133690
>>41133693
>>41133694
Looks like we have a three way split with a vote for diplomacy, hiding, and attacking. Would anyone like to break the tie?
>>
>>41133857
Considering both fighting and diplomacy are the riskier options, we can try stealth first. Then if we're spotted we'll pick another option.
>>
>>41133857
Hmm I would say capture that unicorn for interrogation but what if the others are expecting the unicorn to come back through the wall after he tests it or they could hear sounds of struggle on the other side from the wormhole in the wall we can't risk blowing our cover and alerting the smugglers therefore, it will be wise to play it safe and stay hidden from danger continue observing them from afar and through our magic see what they do next.
>>
>>41133857
Aren't we just supposed to be gathering evidence? Why would we fight them or talk to them? That's just going to alert them that someone's on to them and they're going to move their operation somewhere else.
>>
>>41134308
Well, our mission is to convince Abuwtiyuw this is a serious threat. Capturing a changeling and those magic artifacts and dropping them off next to some guards should certainly do that.
>>
>You give a hushed order to Downburst and hope the unicorn doesn’t hear
“Cover the lights.”
>You remain in Earth Sight and pray that Downburst remembers to cover your horn as you watch the unicorn approach the intersection
>Just as the unicorn reaches the corner you feel feathers droop over your face and horn
>Without even a glance in your direction the unicorn makes his way to the public staircase you used to enter the catacombs and exits to the marketplace above
>The unicorn walks to a nearby stand and speaks with the pegasus running it
>The pegasus then grabs two large, heavy looking burlap sacks and hoofs them to the unicorn who then begins to return to the catacombs
>Meanwhile, in the hidden room the smugglers begin moving the crates into the passageway, each creature moving through the stone wall as if it wasn’t there
>Once the unicorn returns to the two groups with the burlap sacks they toss them to the first group of smugglers, who look inside, nod, and retie the strings
>The two groups finish moving the last of the crates out and the two Dogs shake paws before the newcomers begin pushing their haul towards your intersection and the first group returns to their lair
>It seems the meeting is over but the odd boiling sound remains
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41134480
This is our chance to get some evidence wait for the newcomers to pass through our intersection and have Ardent and Downburst launch a surprise ambush attack on them knock their lights out hard before they could see us or if they do see us make sure to make them unconscious before the newcomers has any chance to react and counterattack us!
>>
>>41134480
Downburst be ready for a fight the newcomers are coming our way once they're in our line of sight Boom we give them a beating before they know whats coming behind their heads take them down nice and quiet with minimal loud sounds we don't want to alert the rest of the smugglers we're onto them after that we'll tie them up and drag them with us back for interrogation at the waste tunnels drift is waiting for us!
>>
>>41134702
>>41134745
Looks like we again have a split vote with one vote to attack the newcomers and one to attack the first group. Once again I’ll wait for a tie breaker otherwise I’ll just flip a coin when I get the chance to write.
>>
>>41135270
If we're going to attack, I vote for the smaller group. Be sure to cast arcane shield first, too.
>>
>>41135292
I concur.

(I am gonna be more active since i just quit LoL)
>>
>>41135270
I want us to Fight!
>>
We also only need one of them alive. Shouldn't risk our or Downbursts life by trying to be too non-lethal.
>>
>You and Downburst remain hidden as the newcomers slowly move their cargo to the surface
>Once they finally reach the large room with multiple tunnels, the three Changelings transform into a pony of each major tribe and the smugglers begin to hull the cargo to the surface where they then stash it with the pegasus shopkeeper
“Now’s our chance,” you whisper
>You open your eyes and push Downburst’s wing out of your face as you make your way around the corner
“We’re going to take out the group inside the hideout and interrogate them, got it?”
>Downburst nods and readies his spear
>When you reach the end of the passageway you find the wall separating you from the hideout still standing
>However, the wall warps and bubbles and gurgles like boiling water
>Carefully you reach out a hoof and touch the wall only for your hoof to pass straight through
>You feel the cool electric sensation of magic dancing across your coat and quickly retract your hoof
>”Is it safe?”
>You check your hoof and, finding no damage, nod
“Yeah, it should be.”
>Downburst tests the wall with a hoof and steps back and prepares to charge
>>
>>41135930
>”I guess we just charge in then, right? Take them fast and by surprise.”
“Sounds good to me. You’re swinging a spear so go ahead and lead while I back you with my magic.”
>Downburst nods and immediately charges forward, disappearing into the wall
>You hesitate a moment as your mind runs through worst possible scenarios, like becoming stuck in the wall or becoming trapped inside the little hidden room
>You push those thoughts from your mind and charge after the pegasus, bracing for impact as you head straight at the wall
>Thankfully you pass through the wall without issue and find yourself charging through a dark tunnel before suddenly appearing in the hidden room
>Already Downburst engages the earth pony in a duel as the earth stallion bucks at the pegasus
>Downburst dodges and thrusts his spear at the earth pony, careful to only cut the stallion’s legs instead of trying to skewer the smuggler
>You immediately take aim at the unicorn who’s horn begins to glow
>Unfortunately your first shot misses while the unicorn’s bolt lands squarely on your chest
>Thankfully your armor dampens the impact of the already weak bolt and you immediately respond with another bolt, this one hitting the unicorn squarely in the ribs and sending him to the floor with a whimper
>You quickly check on Downburst’s fight and find him standing over the defeated Earth pony, spear at the bleeding stallion’s throat
>You turn your attention to the last standing smuggler, the short Dog, and find him digging into the floor as fast as he can
>You send a bolt into his back and he drops to the ground with a yelp
>”Stop!” the Dog screams, “I surrender! Don’t kill me!”
>”Shut up!” the earth pony shouts at the Dog. “Don’t you say another word.”
>The Dog ignores the stallion and continues to beg for your mercy
>Out of the corner of your eye you see the unicorn sit up and begin casting a spell
>Acting quickly, you punch the unicorn’s horn hard enough for him to yelp again and drop the spell
“Don’t be stupid, jackass.”
>You look around the room
>The two machines you saw before remain where you saw them
>The crate the second smuggler group brought sits in the center of the room, as do the two large burlap sacks
>Another crate with the words “NOT FOR BARTER - TOOLS” painted in red is the only other thing in the room
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41135935
All right we want answers what were you three doing with changelings? What are these magic artifacts in these crates? Where did you get them? What are you planning? I'll make it simple for you smugglers talk and we'll let you live don't talk and we'll gladly add your corpses into a graveyard and toss your bodies down into the waste tunnels where your next of kins' can't identify y'all. If you think we're bluffing Down show them that we're serious break one of them apart painfully but quietly.
>>
>>41135967
Bruh let's not start torture until they have a chance to talk at least.
Make them all move up against a wall though, so we can keep an eye on them all at once.
>>
“Alright, first things first: all of you need to line up against the wall.”
>The three creatures remain where they lay, either defiant or too scared to move
>You begin to light your horn, as if preparing to cast a spell
“I’m not going to say it again. Move!”
>For extra emphasis you stomp at the Dog near your hooves, resulting in the pitiful monster scrambling towards the wall
>Once the Dog moves the other two reluctantly follow
>The earth pony tries to sit directly next to the Dog but Downburst separates them by a couple of feet, far enough for them not to be able to touch each other with ease
“Alright, we want answers. First-“
>”Why should we answer?” the unicorn asks. “We only have things to lose if we talk to you.”
“I'll make it simple for you. Talk and we'll let you live; don’t talk and, well…”
>You let the implication hang in the air
>”What? You’d kill another pony?” the earth pony asks in disgust. “You Equestrians are fucked in the head.”
>You ignore his outburst and present you questions
“First, what were you three doing with changelings?”
>”They were just customers!” the Dog says
>”Shut up!” the earth pony shouts only for Downburst to poke him with his spear, silencing the stallion
“What are the magic artifacts in these crates?”
>”There are none.”
>This time it’s the unicorn to answer; not just to your shock but the earth pony’s as well
>”The one labeled tools is filled with tools,” the unicorn explains, “while the other one is full of empty gems.”
>You stare at the stallion, unsure if you believe him
>”Don’t believe me? Check for yourself. The only magic items we had just left, as I’m sure you know.”
“Maybe I’ll check in a second. Where did you get the magic items and what are you planning?”

[Two charisma (d20+1) rolls needed]

Roll One:
1-10: He refuses to answer
11-18: He gives a partial answer
19-20: He gives a satisfactory answer

Roll Two:
1-7: He refuses to answer
8-12: He’s vague and won’t expand on the answer
13-19: He answers the question satisfactorily
20: Secret
>>
Rolled 4, 19 = 23 (2d20)

>>41136315
Lady Luck pls
>>
>>41136328
Well, at least got the 20!
>>
Bump
>>
>>41136931
>>
>>41136328
>”Sorry buddy, but there’s no way I can tell you where we get our goods. I’ll admit I’m a smuggler but I’m not telling you jack shit about our operations. I’m not a snitch.”
>You fire a telekinetic bolt right above the unicorn’s head, sending small fragments of rock and dust flying from the stone wall in the process
>The stallion jumps at the sudden violence and you aim your horn directly at him
“Bullshit. You have no reason to protect the people you’re working with when we’re going to learn what’s going on one way or another. Stop being machismo.”
>”If I do that I’ll loose everything,” the stallion argues. “You don’t know these ponies, if they find out I sold them out-“
>Downburst growls and points his spear at the unicorn’s face, “it’s time to stop worrying about that and start worrying about what the two ponies in the room with you are going to do if you don’t do as we say.”
>The stallion shakes a little but remains mum
“Alright, you’re not going to tell us where you get the stuff? Fine. Just tell us what you were planning.”
>”We’re just smugglers, that’s it. We transport goods from one customer to another.”
“Then what were your clients planning? Changelings don’t eat, drink, or smoke so don’t tell me it’s just luxury items on the cheap. If they’re involved it must be something important.”
>>
>>41137752
>”I don’t know exactly, but I know those magic gems we traded were full of powerful magic. The mare that made them doesn’t know how to store magic any better than a foal.”
>”Shut your mouth!”
>Like lightning the earth pony pounces onto the unicorn before either you or Downburst can react, delivering a series of blows to the unicorn’s face
>Immediately you blast him with a bolt that leaves him on the ground grasping for breath as Downburst grabs the stallion and throws him against the wall and keeps him away from the others by spear point
>”Do that again and you’re not making it out of here,” the pegasus threats
>Meanwhile the unicorn sits back up with a groan
>He touches his snout with a hoof and recoils in pain
“Are you okay?”
>”Not really but it’ll heal,” he replies. “You know what, fuck it. This job ain’t worth dealing with these guys. If you want to know what’s going on ask him.”
>The unicorn points to his assaulter with a hoof, “he works for one of our other clients. In fact, this whole meeting was arranged by him.”
>The earth pony mumbles something but Downburst shuts him up with a poke of his spear
“Other client? Who would that be?”
>”The southerners. They’re the ones that are enchanting the gems for Sombra.”
>The revelation hits you like a truck
“Sombra’s in on this too?”
>You ask the question in a mix of disbelief and honest curiosity
>”Sure is. Or at least normally he is. Our normal monthly routine is moving enchanted gems to the Badlands to exchange them for a large supply of unenchanted gems from the Crystal Empire. This is the first time we gave the bugs enchanted gens instead of the Empire.”
“Any idea why?”
>The unicorn shakes his head, “not a clue. Not my job to know that kind of thing either. That stallion over there knows though.”
>You look at the earth pony who glares back at you defiantly
“Are you going to answer the question or are we going to have a problem?”
>”I ain’t saying shit.”
>It seems he’s going to be a tough egg to crack
[Input Needed]
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>>41137756
Ohh thats what they all say mister but everyone has a breaking point including you, but since your the one who arrange this little meeting tell me earth pony is a little information worth dieing worth your cilents the changlings. If thats the case then your a threat to every creature and a traitor to ponykind, so if we kill you it will slow down King Sombra's plans unless you're willing to do the right thing and tell us everything you know. Your life is on the line buster we don't need all of you alive you know to get the answers we seek just one or two of you unless all three of you cooperate everypony gets out of this mess in piece.
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>>41137756
Who's the mare that made these magic gems and what was with that hole in the wall that appear after you mixed one of the gem orbs with boiling water; which we were able to walk straight through? Someone better start talking because we are in no mood for your games to stall for time, tried us and we'll beat ya'll within an inch of your life barely standing.
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>>41137756
I'm actually here to get evidence for Abuwtiyuw that this smuggling is a problem he should take seriously. I bet bringing him one of you for interrogation should do nicely.
The unicorn there was smart, so I see no reason why I can't forget about his involvement.
You, though... Well, I have to wonder what the dogs will do to a pony selling magic to the bugs.
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bump
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“I'm actually here to get evidence for Abuwtiyuw that this smuggling is a problem he should take seriously. I bet bringing him one of you for interrogation should do nicely. The unicorn there was smart, so I see no reason why I can't forget about his involvement. You, though... Well, I have to wonder what the Dogs will do to a pony selling magic to the bugs.”
>The small Dog gives a high pitched whine and clasps his paws together, “don’t, please. I’ll help you, just don’t tell the other Dogs. I beg you. They’ll kill me.”
“Depends how much information you can give us.”
>”Don’t listen to them,” the earth pony orders, “they won’t do shit. “
>The stallion fixes you with an angry stare, “you can threaten as much as you want but I ain’t saying shit.“
“That’s what they all say mister but everyone has a breaking point, including you. Since you’re the one who arrange this little meeting, tell me, is a little information worth dying for? If so, then you’re a threat to every creature and a traitor to ponykind and I won’t hesitate to beat you within an inch of your life.”
>Downburst places his spear on the stallion’s soft underbelly and presses down, causing the earth pony to squirm in discomfort
>”And we aren’t bluffing.”
>You look over the trio before you
>The Dog cowers in fear while the unicorn simply watches you patiently, much less tense than he was before being punched
>The earth pony, however, simply glares at you
“Now, who’s the mare that made these magic gems?”
>The unicorn speaks up, “she’s some high level wizard that’s part of the southern leadership. Actually, it may even be their queen that’s enchanting the orbs but you’d have to ask my friend for more information about that.”
>You look at the earth pony
“Well?”
>The earth stallion winces as Downburst pokes him with the spear, “ow. Look, I don’t know shit about magic. Our leader keeps several powerful magicians close to her, including your assassin. It could have been any of them that made it.”
“What’s up with that wall we walked through?”
>Again, the unicorn answers, “it’s just a little transmutation spell we use to protect our hideouts. It makes it so that you can pass through whatever solid you cast the spell on. Takes a minute to learn but it’s easy to cast.”
[Input Needed]
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>>41137780
>you mixed one of the gem orbs with boiling water
To be clear, they never did that. If you reread the scene here >>41133651 you’ll see that the two groups showed each other orbs and had put them away before the unicorn put his horn against the wall and the sound of boiling water began. There’s no actual boiling water, just something that sounds like boiling water which you know is coming from the wall that you passed through as shown here >>41135930
>However, the wall warps and bubbles and gurgles like boiling water
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>>41138338
Really then teach me how to cast that spell it will be very useful to get around obstacles blocking our paths and to use for making quick escape routes in case the situation gets out of hoof.
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>>41138361
“Really? Then teach me how to cast that spell. It will be very useful to get around obstacles blocking our path and to use for making quick escape routes in case the situation gets out of hoof.”
>”Sure, it’ll take a few days though. And you can only pass through about five feet of solid material at most so don’t go thinking you can walk through the center of a mountain or anything. Also, it doesn’t work on steel or lead.”
“What if I cast it on a rock larger than eight feet across? Couldn’t I just pass through the first four feet then recast the spell on the final four feet to pass through?”
>”I wouldn’t recommend it. The moment you begin casting another spell that requires concentration the spell collapses, which means you’d instantly be fused with the rock. Kinda like teleporting into a solid object.”
“Are you sure?”
>”Positive. It’s something we discovered when we were first testing the spell. We tried chiseling him out but the only evidence he ever existed was the tuffs of mane and drips of blood that started leaking out of the brick wall he got trapped in.”
[Input Needed]
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>>41138404
That's cheerful. Back on the topic of your changeling friends, how often do these meetings happen?
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>>41138404
Thanks for the tip I'll keep that in mind! But there's something I don't understand you there small dog your name is Max right? How in the world did you get mix up in all this smuggling business and what exactly do you have to gain for doing this sneaky operation behind your fellow dogs backs what did the ponies offer to give you tons of those magic gems in exchange for your cooperation.
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>>41138404
These magical gems exactly what are their primary functions and what else can they be use for?
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“That's cheerful. Back on the topic of your changeling friends, how often do these meetings happen?”
>The unicorn answers, “most of our regular customers have recurring orders that are filled once a month. We have multiple regulars and we schedule their exchanges on separate days of the month so there’s no overlap. Additionally there’s one off jobs and customers who only put in orders on occasion. So in general any given smuggling cell is doing these kinds of meetings every three or four days. As for working with the changelings? This is a one off. We occasionally work with them but they’ve never had an order like this before. It’s also strange they’re hiding things from Diamond Dogs, they’ve never been worried about them before. Honestly, I thought they were allies.”
“What exactly are the primary functions of these magical gems and what else can they be used for?”
>”Empty they act as any other kind of magical gem. You can store magic inside them or use them to enchant something, like adding them to a shield to make it unbreakable or adding one enchanted with an animation spell to a plow to make the plow work without the need of somepony pulling it. As for the specific enchanted gems we gave to the changelings? I’m not sure. I try not to be nosy and the one time I checked one out I almost died from the magical cascade just touching it with telekinesis caused. Like I said, whoever made enchanted them did a sloppy job. Anyways, if I had to guess they’re either weapons or components for a bigger weapon. Again, you should ask him.”
>Him being the earth pony, you turn your attention to the stallion and raise an eyebrow
>”Look,” the earth stallion begins, “I’m an earth pony. I don’t know anything about magic, just that they’re important and the majority we make we keep for our selves.”
>The unicorn’s ears suddenly perk up in realization, “wait, I just remembered something. The gems are always the exact same kind. They’re some rare thing only found in the Crystal Empire.”
“Interesting.”
>You turn your attention to the short Dog
“You’re Max, right?”
>”Me?” the Dog asks. “No, Max is a tall old Dog. I know him but I’m not him.”
“Sorry, my mistake. Regardless, how in the world did you get mix up in all this smuggling business? What exactly do you have to gain from doing this? What did the ponies offer to give you? Gems?”
>”My pack got wiped out when Abuwtiyuw took over and I had no where else to go. I’m too short to fight or mine and I don’t have the brain for business. Without my pack I had no support. But because I’m so useless nobody pays any attention to me, which makes me a good smuggler. Smuggling is the only way I can make money now.”
[Input Needed]
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>>41138637
What about you two stallions, how did you end up here, in this business? I assume you were slaves?
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>>41138637
So what is your name anyway little dog and was there really no other pack that wouldn't took you in as one of their own? Couldn't you have asked Abuwtiyuw your leader for help or have any other family members to assist you?!
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>>41138637
Wait a minute... something is off here why would the changelings agree to work with you two ponies and diamond dog when they could have taken you guys prisoners or kill you in order to take your places and disguises themselves as you three too take over your smuggling operation and all its resources.
>>
“So what is your name anyway?”
>”Finn. My name’s Finn.”
“Okay Finn, was there really no other pack that would take you in as one of their own? Couldn't you have asked Abuwtiyuw for help or have any other family members to assist you?”
>”My pack was my family. What family I had that joined other packs turned their backs on me and Abuwtiyuw could not afford useless Dogs. Civilization is built on workers, not leeches.”
“Has he never heard of generosity?”
>”Yes, and he preaches it. Be selfless and help your fellow Dog. What’s the point of hoarding gems if not for the betterment of your fellow Dog? Don’t be selfish, it hurts the pack. Yes, he knows generosity. But being generous doesn’t mean handouts.”
>You ponder what the Dog says before you have a sudden realization
“Wait a minute... something is off here. Why would the changelings agree to work with you two ponies and a Diamond Dog when they could have taken you guys prisoner or kill you in order to take your places and disguise themselves as you three too take over your smuggling operation and all its resources.”
>”Probably because they can’t get ahold of the enchanted gems without coming to us,” the earth pony answers, “and our queen requires every smuggler to undergo regular mind scans for that very reason.”
“She’s scared of changelings?”
>”Our great leader is too powerful to fear anything. No, she just knows that spies can cause problems, especially after Equestria tried killing her.”
“Still, they could have replaced one of you after you picked up the gems and just take them then and there. Why didn’t they?”
>This time the unicorn answers
>”Probably because this was the first time we worked together and they wanted to see how we acted to help sell the disguise. Assuming they wanted to replace us, of course, which I doubt. Don’t know why I doubt it, but I do.”
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>>41139275
>You’re not sure how solid that argument is but change focus regardless
“What about you two stallions, how did you end up here, in this business? I assume you were slaves?”
>”I was a colonist,” the unicorn says, “and when I got to Klugetown there wasn’t jack shit for me. The city was in ruins and the only jobs available were low paying labor types. Equestria was too busy focusing on getting the city the bare necessities like food and shelter that they weren’t sending many luxury items. Those that did arrive were selling for crazy high margins and I figured that if I wanted to make money the import business was the way to go. I’m sure you can imagine how that led to what I do now.”
“Alright. And you?”
>The earth stallion scoffs, “I’m not a smuggler, I work for the true Queen of Equestria. I was just overseeing the exchange to make sure our new acquaintances wouldn’t try anything fishy.”
“Okay, then tell me why you joined the rebels.”
>The stallion raises an eyebrow
>”Does it matter? You’re just here to gather evidence for the big Dog, right? I’m sure you have enough and I doubt he cares about my sob story any more than the other hundreds of us with the same sad story.“
[Input Needed]
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>>41139284
Whisper into the Pegasus ear"Umm what do you think we should do with them Downburst take all three of them with us along with the crates we obtained or take out the earth pony for good so he can't get away and warn the others about our presence. It's obvious the dog and unicorn will come along with us quietly without too much trouble but that stallion seems to be the one in charge of this whole operation and was trying to shut one of his smuggling partners up therefore, he's a huge risk to keep alive he'll compromise us and put us all in danger if you got idea I'm all ears but we have to hurry drift is waiting for us we can't waste anymore time here".
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>>41139284
Abuwtiyuw is just trying to look after his kind and is attempting to get the other dog packs to see his way of life differently so they can learn to cooperate with other species. But it will take years until that happens you can't change a society ideology over one day most diamond dogs now a days are zealots raise under the idea of violence, war and revolution is the only way to live life but Abuwtiyuw is trying to show them another path that they can take one that may end hostilities between Ponies and Diamond Dogs.
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>>41139667
I think we should bring these three to Duke and tell him everything, then he can decide what to do with them. That should be more than enough proof he can go to Abuwtiuw with.
It's not like we can march them to the guards ourselves, we'd also get captured.
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>>41140447
Though we should also negotiate that the unicorn gets to go free, we did kind of give him our word. Especially if he teaches us the spell and is willing to spill the beans to Duke as well.
>>
>You motion for Downburst to come to you and take a step back, making sure to keep the three creatures in your sight and your horn ready as you whisper into the pegasus’ ear, hiding your mouth behind a hoof so the smugglers can’t see
"Umm, what do you think we should do with them? Take all three of them with us along with the crates we obtained or take out the earth pony for good so he can't get away and warn the others about our presence. It's obvious the Dog and unicorn will come along with us quietly without too much trouble but that stallion seems to be the one in charge of this whole operation and was trying to shut one of his smuggling partners up therefore he's a huge risk to keep alive. He'll compromise us and put us all in danger if we take him with us. If you got an idea then I'm all ears but we have to hurry, Drift is waiting for us we can't waste anymore time here.”
>The pegasus looks at you in shock, “you mean kill him? No way. It’s one thing to kill a Diamond Dog or a changeling but he’s a pony. Besides, he’s clearly not a fighter. We could just tie him up and bring him with us.”
“Then what do you want to do? Should we bring these three to Duke and tell him everything, then he can decide what to do with them? That should be more than enough proof he can go to Abuwtiuw with and it's not like we can march them to the guards ourselves, we'd also get captured. Oh, and maybe we should also negotiate that the unicorn gets to go free, we did kind of give him our word. Especially if he teaches us the spell and is willing to spill the beans to Duke as well.”
>”Yeah, I think that’d be a good idea. Then we can meet up with Drift afterwards. Only problem is how we’re going to get these prisoners all the way to Duke’s. I have a feeling that if we show back up in the market with a Dog and two new ponies that may raise suspicion.”
[Input Needed] [How do you want to move your captives and what do you want to do with the earth pony?]
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>>41141108
I agree that we're not killing a captive, goddamn that one anon needs to chill his bloodlust.
I wonder... what if we tie up two of them and leave them here? The unicorn could come with us and talk to Duke. Then Duke could send someone to check this place out.
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>>41141108
In case the dog from the market is still there then we can have Finn lure them away or distract them long enough for us to slip pass them. But before that knock out the earth pony and tie him up he's a liability and could rat us out the first chance he gets once he's asleep tour carry him on your back, while me and the unicorn carry the crates with our levitation spell. As for the Finn we can tell him that we'll gladly put in a good word to the duke who sent us down here to gather information for Abuwtiyuw that he helped us find the evidence we were looking for and are wondering if the duke will be willingly to take finn in as a member of dog pack.

Check the time to see if we can still get to drift after going back to the duke.
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>>41141180
>>41141197
“I wonder... what if we tie up two of them and leave them here? The unicorn could come with us and talk to Duke. Then Duke could send someone to check this place out. Otherwise, maybe Finn could lure the Dogs away or distract them long enough for us to slip past them. But before that we could knock out the earth pony, tie him up, and have you carry him on your back while the unicorn and I carry the crates with our levitation spell.”
>Downburst scratches his chin in thought
>”I’m not sure we can trust Finn. The moment he was in trouble he started begging for his life and offering anything he could to not be hoofed over to the guards. What’s stopping him from ratting us out the moment he gets the opportunity? Also, I don’t think it’ll look good walking through the city with an unconscious pony on my back. That’s going to raise some serious suspicion. If it were up to me I’d go with the first option and d we can pretend that the unicorn is the sanitation worker we were supposed to find since I doubt the guards know who Drift is. But the decision is up to you.”
>At the mention of Drift you look at your watch
>12:30 am
>Drift said that at one to two in the morning he was going to be at the pit, as well as nine to ten in the morning
>At two in the morning to three and ten in the morning to eight at night he’ll be in the city center
>Finally, he’ll be in the southeast district, the one you’re in, from the to eight in the morning
[Input Needed]
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>>41141391
"You're right, I thought that Finn couldn't rat us because we can implicate him, However, the dogs are more likely to believe another dog's word over a pony's word"
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>>41141391
Sounds like a plan to me. We can offer the unicorn a way out if he cooperates.
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>>41141391
Maybe we can instead carry the earth pony and dog out by placing them inside each of the crates after checking to see if the crates have any extra room where it can hold them in there too so we can bring the unconscious pony and Finn with us. The unicorn is our sanatiction worker, the crates is our equipment we use to take of cleaning down the catacombs and we can go about our merry way in the market back to the Duke's residence without drawing attention to ourselves. But if the crates can't seems to hold the pony in there then we're go with the first option.
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>>41141391
I'm not sure if the stallion will fit in the crates but we know the Finn the small diamond dog can. We should throw him a bone and help him with the duke saying its thanks to him we uncover the while smuggling operation so he can take him into his pack. Finn is just trying to survive so even if we can't get the earth pony inside the crates then let's take the dog with us at least while leaving the stallion tie up and unconscious here. So we can get a good deal for both Finn and the unicorn since those two are more than willing to cooperate with us they don't all have to suffer so let's give these two a fair chance to walk out of this with less to no repercussions.
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bump
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Bump
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“You're right, I thought that Finn couldn't rat us because we can implicate him. However, the Dogs are more likely to believe another Dog's word over a pony's. Anyways, your suggestion sounds like a plan to me. We can offer the unicorn a way out if he cooperates.”
>”Alright. I’ll take care of the two we’re leaving.”
“Wait, hang on.”
>You check the two crates
>The first crate is packed full of white spherical gems that instantly remind you of the one you found out Check Out’s, only without the glow of magic
>Unfortunately it’s too full to stuff anyone, even Finn, into
>Checking the tool crate you find there’s enough room to place someone into, though it’ll be uncomfortable
>Returning to Downburst you whisper in his ear
“We can stuff Finn in the tool crate and take him with us. We can say the unicorn is our sanitation worker, the crate is our equipment we use to take of cleaning the catacombs, and we can go about our merry way in the market back to Duke's residence without drawing attention to ourselves.”
>”Sounds good to me. But why do you care about the Dog so much?”
“Finn is just trying to survive. Maybe we can get a good deal for both Finn and the unicorn since those two are more than willing to cooperate with us. They don't all have to suffer so let's give these two a fair chance to walk out of this with few repercussions.”
>”But he’s a Dog.”
>Downburst sighs and shakes his head
>”No, you’re right. Forget what I said.”
>With that settled you launch a sudden and surprising bolt at the earth pony, knocking him unconscious and causing the other two to jump in surprise
>”Don’t kill me,” Finn begs, “please, pony! I can help you!”
>”Calm down,” Downburst says, “you’re coming with us. Cooperate and we’ll try to have your punishment reduced. Both of you.”
>Finn stops whimpering and looks up at you in surprise, as does the unicorn
>”Glad to hear it,” the unicorn says as he raises to his hooves
>You tell the two smugglers the plan while Downburst ties up the earth pony
>Once everything is sorted and Finn is in the crate you all depart

>When you return to the market the guard from before approaches you
>”Pick up a friend pony? I thought you had work.”
“We did and we finished it. This is Drift,” you say, motioning to the unicorn with a hoof
>The guard narrows his eyes at the unicorn and sniffs
>”Smells like a sanitation pony. Go on and get, slave. You have work to do.”
>You obey the Dog’s command and walk off to Duke’s mansion

>Dropping the crate off in the living room you hear the stairs to the second floor creak
>Looking up you see Duke looking down at you three ponies
>”Who’s your friend?” he asks, “and what’s in that crate?”
[Input Needed]
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>>41142549
Answer to both is the same: someone who can help get the proof you wanted. We found a smuggler's secret room and discovered they were even working with changelings. These two are willing to talk, in exchange for forgetting their role in it.
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>>41142549
A colonist unicorn we found who has information of the smuggling ring you ask us to look into and the crate has the evidence your looking for inside along with a diamond dog who was an accomplice to being and associating the smugglers. We convince them their better off cooperating with us instead of against us.

Plus, you've been happy to know that during our investigation we made sure to restrain ourselves and not kill anymore diamond dogs on patrols although, we did encounter a priest named Beans who works closely under Abuwtiyuw in catacombs and had to knock him out so he couldn't report about seeing us to a dog patrol.
>>
Bump
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>>41142549
Open up the crate containing the crystals before continuing what>>41142594
Said.
>>
“Answer to both is the same: someone who can help get the proof you wanted. This unicorn we found has information of the smuggling ring you ask us to look into and the crate has the evidence you’re looking for inside along with a Diamond Dog who was an accomplice to the smugglers. We convinced them both they’re better off cooperating with us instead of against us. These two are willing to talk, in exchange for forgetting their role in it.”
>As you talk Downburst opens the crate, freeing Finn
“We also found a smuggler's secret room and discovered they were even working with changelings. Plus, you'll be happy to know that during our investigation we made sure to restrain ourselves and not kill anymore Diamond Dogs on patrols. Although, we did encounter a priest named Beans who works closely under Abuwtiyuw in the catacombs and had to knock him out so he couldn't report about seeing us to a Dog patrol.”
>You tell Duke where exactly you left the priest
>”I’m glad to hear of your success, Mister Mind. The information about the changelings is worrisome to say the least. They’re supposed to be our allies. Though it doesn’t surprise me I do wonder why the sudden change. As for you two,” Duke motions to the unicorn and Diamond Dog, “I’m going to have to place you under guard until we can verify your information. If you’re being honest and can be of use I’ll see to it that you’re pardoned of your crimes.”
>Duke whistles and after a few seconds two strong looking Dogs with clubs enter the manor
>”Now, if you two would join us in my study,” Duke says, “I’d like to talk to the two of you myself.”
>With no other choice the two smugglers ascend the stairs to join Duke, followed by the two new Dogs
>Duke looks to you, “my word stands, Ardent Mind. In the morning I will purchase your settlers and then I will go to Abuwtiyuw with the information these two will provide. This changelings business needs to be addressed immediately but I need to verify the story before bringing it to Abuwtiyuw. Go ahead and make yourself comfortable. If you need food or anything ask my slaves and they’ll get it for you. All that I ask is you stay in the living room, kitchen, and dining room. My wife and your friend should be home soon.”
>With that the group disappears from view, leaving you with downtime
>”I’m going to take a nap,” Downburst says as he lays down on a leather couch, leaving you alone
[Input Needed] [Let me know if you wanted to take one of the gems from the crate with you as well.]
>>
File: ardie.png (1.5 MB, 1712x960)
1.5 MB
1.5 MB PNG
I tried making some aislop of what I think Ardie might look like. We never did decide on his "official" mane and eye colors.
>>41144025
Definitely take one of the gems, doubt they'll notice one missing. Guess we might as well relax and wait. Though maybe check out what they're actually doing to the smugglers using earth sight.
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>>41144025
Taking one of the gems is a good idea it might be helpful to us later on just in case. After that go find one of the Duke's slaves and ask them if we can get something to eat and drink since we're going to be here for a while. "Hmm I wonder what kind of meals does the duke has them serving around here might be worth a look to sample some new taste buds for my mouth"!
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>>41144025
Oh we can't forget to ask what kind of drinks do they have as well.
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I’m not going to be able to post until later tonight. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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>>41144436
No worries.
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bump
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>>41144890
>>
One of the orbs has been added to your inventory
>You close your eyes and cast Earth Sight
>As last time, there are two colts sleeping upstairs
>In Duke’s study you see the two smugglers sitting in chairs across from Duke while the two guards stand just inside the door
>They seem to be simply talking with one another
>On the ground floor the only signs of life you see are yourself, Downburst, and two ponies in the kitchen, and the remaining slaves you’ve seen previously sleeping in a large room down the hall from you
>Your stomach growls and you come out of the spell and move towards the kitchen, giving the door a knock before poking your head in
>Inside the kitchen are two unicorns, an old silver maned stallion and a pink maned mare a little older than yourself, if you had to guess
>They both look at you in mild surprise
“Excuse me, Duke said I could order some food and get a drink from here. What do you have available?”
>The mare answers, “well, what do you want? We’ve got vegetarian and meat based meals.”
>You only momentarily consider ordering meat but decide against it
“I’ll do vegetarian. Preferably something close to what you’d get in Equestria.”
>”How about some cauliflower gnocchi? It’s not something you come across often I’m sure and it won’t take long to make for you. Now, what do you want to drink? We’ve got cola, cider, milk, wine, rum, whiskey, and mushroom spirit. Though I’m sure you’re tired of mushrooms by now.”
>”I’d suggest the wine,” the stallion adds, “a nebbiolo would be best.”
>With exception of the short drink that Duke gave you you haven’t had alcohol in a while and the temptation is too much to resist
“I’ll have that wine. Thank you.”
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>>41146143
>With that the pair get to work making your food and you leave them to it, instead going to the dining room and study your Bolas spell

>Wiping your face with a cloth napkin you sigh in content from an excellent meal
>Everything from the sauce to the wine was perfect, better than even what you had during the ball back in Gate City and you can’t help but wonder where Duke’s slaves got their hooves on such ingredients
>You finish your glass of wine just as the mare returns to take away your dishes
>”More wine?” she asks
>As tempting as it is you turn down her offer
“No, I’m still on duty. One glass was enough.”
>The mare looks at you with slight curiosity before returning to the kitchen with your dishes
>With your meal over you return to the living room and continue studying your Bolas spell
>A little before two thirty in the morning Marigold and Soul Mane return to the mansion
“Welcome back. How’d everything go? Did you find the settlers?”
>”It went fine,” Soul says with a yawn as Marigold rushes up the stairs and disappears from view, “but there’s a problem. I was able to find all of the mares and foals but I couldn’t find a single one of our stallions.”
“That’s not a good sign.”
>”No, it’s not. On top of that one of the guards told Marigold that some changelings were in town, even put up some slaves for auction.”
“Do you think the slaves were disguised changelings?”
>”I wondered the same thing. According to the guard they have ways of checking for that but he didn’t go into details about it”
>Again, Soul Mane yawns and moves to lay on the unoccupied end of the couch that Downburst sleeps on
>”I assume your mission was a success?”
>You recap your last few hours to the old singer and explain the current situation
>”Sounds like we might have some time to kill. It’ll be about eight hours before Duke can purchase those slaves so what do you want to do in the meantime?”
[Input Needed]
>>
Sorry for the long delay. Unfortunately my posting schedule will continue to be irregular (even more than normal) this weekend. I'm moving to a different work shift and as such my normal posting schedule will likely change. If I had to guess I'll be posting regular updates between 1 am to 5 or 6 am. Of course, I'll still update outside those times just as I do now but that will probably be my most active time. But who knows, I kinda post sporadically anyways so you guys might not even notice the change.

>>41144041
Thanks for the art. If there's no objections we can run with this as the canon look of Ardent Mind.

Actually, if people are fine with it I can try genning some slop myself to give you guys a rough idea of what your companions look like when this thread goes over the bump limit. I know a lot of people hate AI shit so unless people say they're interested in seeing such images I'm going to hold off.
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>>41146163
Do it. Unless some anon here is generous enough to commission an artist then slop is the only way to visualise what our companions look like.
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>>41146163
I got no issues with AI, would be cool to see how you imagine the characters looking.
>>41146146
Since we're safe for the moment, I don't think we need to tempt fate by going anywhere. Although did we set any kind of time limit for when the others should start worrying? Do we need to send someone to update the ponies at the camp?
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>>41146146
I'm worried about the changelings we have running over the city Soul and that our stallion settlers are no where to be seen since you said that some of the slaves have already been put up for auction we can probably guess what happened to them we may have no choice but to leave them, although the duke needs time to finish his ends of the deal so we may be able try to look around for them but we must discuss this with the duke first so we can handle this carefully. I would say we should go and report back to the others at camp but it's too risky Soul we might be spotted by a patroling guard, we're tired and won't do much in a fight, and we missed our chance to meet up with drift and tell him about our new escape plan we made with the duke to go home so we have last chance to inform him which we have to do in the morning.
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>>41146146
I like that art showing what Ardent could look like it closely resembles how we describes him I say you should use it Trail Leader and if you want to use some Al imaging of what our companions would like I don't see why not so we can let you know about our opinions of them and you can see whether or not we want you to use them often for more ongoing threads. I mean we have been doing this without images for a really long time it wouldn't hurt to start adding some every once and while for certain input actions we make the characters do.

I'm also worried about our friends, but I'm sure the others are okay I doubt the changlings have found our campsite its outside the city near a waterfall, and I did ask Silver and Hollow to take it easy back at the camp they will worry about us not showing up the next day, but I don't think their risk coming here so soon the next day with their injuries still acting up so we have time to take care of any loose ends for tomorrow. Let's not try to spend too many days here otherwise, the others might think for the worse and act on their own. For now we rest and recuperate, plus once the captured settlers are brought here they may need medical attention Soul so we need to be here to take care of them so they can all be ready to leave once the duke gives us the okay from Abuwityuw to leave!
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>>41146277
You mentioned that you would be back sometime today. You can safely assume Barrel won't begin to worry until late tonight, around twenty hours from now.

“I'm worried about the changelings we have running over the city, Soul. And I’m worried that since our stallion settlers are nowhere to be seen since we can probably assume they might’ve already been sold. We may have no choice but to leave them.
>”Yeah, I'm worried that you’re right. But it’s not like we can risk the rest of the settlers trying to save a few strays, especially since those strays may very well even be dead.”
“I would say we should go and report back to the others at camp but it's too risky. Besides, we need to meet up with Drift at some point.”
>”Did you want to go now?” Soul asks while suppressing a yawn, “he gave us his schedule so we can probably go out and find him.”
“No, for now we rest and recuperate, plus once the captured settlers are brought here they may need medical attention and even if not we need to be here anyways. I want to wait until Duke gives us the okay from Abuwityuw to leave.”
>”Sounds good to me. In the meantime I’m gonna take a nap.”

>For the next few hours you study your Bolas spell, taking a short nap break halfway through
>You can’t test the spell since you’re worried about damaging something inside the house but you’re pretty sure you’re close to mastering the spell

>At seven in the morning Duke, Marigold, and the two smugglers and two guard dogs come down the stairs
>”Good morning, Ardent,” Duke says as he dons a cloak, “we’re heading out now to purchase your friends. Marigold and my guards will escort them back here once the auction is over. Meanwhile I’m going to Abuwityuw with our new friends. You can join my meeting with Abuwityuw if you wish, otherwise you are free to stay here.”
[Input Needed]
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>>41146579
Ardent should go with the Duke to meet with Abuwityuw, so we can settle our little dispute with him and resolves things peacefully so he can let us go home and has his dogs to stop trying to attack, kill, or captured us. While Soul and Downburst should stay here and look after the settlers until we returned so they can see familiar friendly faces and know that they're going to safe and ready to leave the city soon.
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>>41146579
Part of me is curious about the meeting buuut considering everything we've done to Abuwtiyuws dogs and relics, it's probably safer if we don't go.
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>>41146579
Going to meet with Abuwityuw would work better in everypony interests after all the dog's leader might appreciate knowing the pony who went out his way to help him uncover a smuggling ring happening underneath his city so that should quell some of his anger towards us for killing his dogs.
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>>41146663
If we do this, definitely leave the rod we stole with Soul. Abuwtiyuw might know we took it. And that reminds me, maybe we should have tried using it, oh well. Next time.
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>>41146697
Or we can just give it back to him to show Abuwtiyuw that we have no ill will towards him and that we're not backstabbing traitors we honor our deals so we should leave on good terms.
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>>41146697
You can still try using it now if you wish, though you don’t know what the effect of using the rod will be. I’ll also remind you that you saw another rod in Duke’s study upstairs.
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>>41146789
Since we don't know what side effects the rod will do to us lets not gamble with Ardent's life, innocent bystanders, and the lives of his fellow companions we could make the situation worse than it already is. Maybe Abuwtiyuw can tell us more about these rods and is there a way to safety use them without risk harming ourselves and others.
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>>41146814
We stole them from him, he's not gonna tell us shit, in fact we'd be dumb to bring them up. But from what we've learned, I would guess it just shows you some "visions" in the form of illusions.
But sure, we can try them later on to be safer.
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>>41146789
We could ask Duke about them, I think. We can say we saw one at the old temple we were stuck in.
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>>41146841
I concur.
>>
“I’ll join you.”
>You turn towards your just waking party members
“I want you guys to stay here so the settlers have someone familiar to talk to and explain the situation to.”
>”No problem, Ardie,” Soul Mane says. “I could use some more sleep anyways.”
>You turn back to Duke
“Before we go can I ask you about something?”
>”Sure, I’ll try to answer it. But do remember we’re on a schedule.”
“We saw this strange golden rod in the ancient temple we were trapped in. It looked like the one that you have in your study upstairs. I was wondering if you can explain what they are.”
>”We call them eulogia” Duke begins, “although their true name is unknown to us now. They were created by the first Dogs, the ones that created the city. They used them to see visions.”
“What kind of visions?”
>”The old stories say that they could show visions of the past or someplace else at the same time, whether that be here in reality or some other immaterial place. It’s believed they used the eulogia to guide the ancient Diamond Dog civilization. But no one knows if any of that’s true, not even Abuwtiyuw. We cannot use them without magic so we don’t actually know what they do.”
“How did they use them without magic?”
>”The first Dogs had their own magic, like ponies but less powerful. We lost that magic when we lost civilization. Now, are there any other questions about the eulogia you’d like to ask?”
[Input Needed]
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>>41147310
Are there any side effects to the eulogia if a unicorn pony like me tries to use it?
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>>41147318
“Are there any side effects if a unicorn pony like me tries to use the eulogia?”
>”I don’t know. Ponies are forbidden from using magical items, especially religious items. Nobody, not even the most respected Dogs, can touch a eulogia.”
“Then why do you have one?”
>”It belongs to me. The Dogs who own eulogia are allowed to touch and move them, but nobody else. That is the one exception to the rule.”
“How did you get ahold of it then?”
>Duke sighs
>”I won it when I enslaved a rival pack in the city, who in turn stole it from my pack many years before. That is another rule that may seem strange to you; a eulogia belongs to the person who possess it, whether they be Dog or not. Of course, trying to steal such a relic is punishable by death or slavery, though the former is more popular.”
[Input Needed]
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>>41147409
I see one last thing I have to ask before we go how come your more reasonable and understanding to want to willingly help us get a fair chance to get out of here in one piece what's motivating you to do this? Did Abuwityuw teachings inspire you or is it different reason?
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bump
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>>41147443
“I see. One last thing I have to ask before we go; how come you’re more reasonable and understanding and want to help us get a fair chance to get out of here in one piece? What's motivating you to do this? Did Abuwityuw teachings inspire you or is it a different reason?”
>”That’s a long story, but I’ll try to keep it short. For a long time I lived as a typical warlord. I considered myself greater than any other living thing before me as I had conquered most of the southern portion of the city and I wanted more. I continued to war with the other packs outside the city, which required a standing army, which required a lot of Dogs, which required more food than our farmers could produce on their own. So I captured slaves to work the farms, then for mining, and then I realized some ponies knew things I didn’t. A pony named Balance Sheet taught me basic economics, showed me how I could better manipulate the barter system, just as Corn Kernel taught me how to maximize how many mushrooms my farms grew in a season. The more I learned from the ponies the more things I wanted to learn, which meant I spent more time with them and the more time I spent with them the more I appreciated them. Some I even considered friends, and after years of friendship I began to realize ponies were people. And then Abuwtiyuw came.”
>Duke sighs
>”I lost many Dogs fighting him before I realized it was a lost cause. So instead I submitted in exchange for sparing my pack. I expected to lose everything else, as I had done to others. But then Abuwtiyuw only made me swear my loyalty to him and his authority, sparing me everything else. When I-“
>Again Duke sighs
>”Forgive me. As I said, I’m old and can ramble. To finish the story, I became friends with ponies while at the same time Abuwtiyuw preached what he called the magic of civilization and what you ponies call the Elements of Harmony. From those two things I learned about compassion and its importance.”
>Duke opens the door and begins to leave
>”And I suppose I just find ponies cute.”
>With that he leaves with his entourage in pursuit, which you join

>When you arrive at the slave auction you are surprised by how fair-esque it is
>There’s a large platform in front of the gated pits where the slaves are to be displayed for sale, across from which the audience sits in a tall set of wooden bleachers
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>>41148641
>Several groups of Dogs and ponies play live music across the auction grounds
>Vendors selling a variety of foods, from smoked meats to candy sweets, sit on either side of the proper auction area while young Dogs run around the grounds playing games and wrestle
>Finally, the adult Dogs speak together in a relaxed and familiar manner that you’ve had yet to see them do any wear else
>”The auction will begin soon,” Duke explains, “and will likely last for several hours. After that I shall take you to Abuwtiyuw. In the meantime feel free to do as you wish.”
>You look around you
>It’s clear that this part of the city is far larger than the district you’ve just came from, with a tightly packed population to boot
>A large temple, not all too different in construction from a gothic cathedral, peaks over the rest of the buildings in the area with the exception of one tall tower
>Just a few hundred feet down the road from where you stand on the auction grounds is the central market, which bustles with activity
[Input Needed]
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>>41148643
Try out some of the venders candy sweets and food they have here while taking a look around casually. Act normal and innocent to avoid drawing suspicion to our selves.
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>>41148643
Explore the area of the slave auction who knows we might bump into Drift or probably our sold off stallion settlers here if not at least we can blend into the mix population of Dogs and Ponies to conceal our presence. "Hmm I know this auction is where the diamond dogs sell off pony slaves to any dog packs willing to purchase them and I should hate it for what they're doing but wow this place seems like their holding a festival of some kind. I can't deny how best, positive, and calming the atmosphere is right now"!
>>
>After a moment of consideration you decide to check out the food stalls
>As in the southeast district, the vendors are almost exclusively female, including the small number pony vendors
>The food offered for sale includes some vegetables but is mostly meat, with your options being either pork, chicken, or something simply called “meat”, which is much cheaper than the others
>As for sweets you have a wide range of options, from roasted nuts and marshmallow topped sweet potatoes to hard candy and bundles of licorice ropes
>There’s also a stall painted as an apple orchard that sells bright red candy apples and cider
>Just like the Apple Family knock off stall in the southeast district, the prices for the candy apples and cider are listed in either bits or gems
>Because it’s the only stall using bits that you can find you decide to buy one of each in exchange for three bits
>The green mare behind the stall snatches up the bits immediately before hoofing you your apple and grabbing a mug to fill with cider
>As the mare prepares your drink she looks over your shoulder and shivers
>Looking behind you, your neck hair stands on end as a single changeling walks towards the bleachers
>”I hate those things,” the mare mumbles, “they give me the creeps. Yesterday was bad enough seeing them out in the open, now they’re coming to the auctions?”
“Can’t say I’m a fan either.”
>The changeling sits down in the front row of the bleachers and remains perfectly still, starring straight at the unoccupied podium
>The mare shakes her head and finishes filling your mug before passing it to you
>Taking your treats, you make your way to the slave pits
>The candy apple and cider are average at best, which is a shame
>When you arrive at the slave pit you look at the security situation
>Each pit is about twenty five feet deep with a thick iron grate separating this above from those below, above which guards stand on an elevated wood platform
>In addition to the five guards with spears atop the wooden platform is what looks like the drilling machine you saw in the smugglers hideout, though this machine lacks the large drill and instead has a series of long metal pipes arrayed in circle sticking out horizontally from the rest of the machine
>You then turn your attention down on the ponies inside and recount the number of missing clients you can see
>After a few minutes investigation you confirm that Soul was correct, all the stallions are missing but the mares and foals are all here
>In addition to the settlers and a large number of unfamiliar ponies, you also notice a griffin and several donkeys in the pit as well, neither of which is too surprising you suppose
>No, instead the most surprising thing you can see inside the slave pits is a dull crystal pony mare
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>>41149551
>You knew that some had managed to escape Sombra but you’d never seen one in the flesh
>She doesn’t cower in a corner or stick close with the other mares in the pit trying to find safety in numbers
>Instead she sits near what you expect is the door that’ll lead them to the auction floor, patiently awaiting her fate
>For a moment you daydream of what it must be like to be her, to have been one of Sombra’s slaves for untold years only to find yourself free for a short time before becoming a slave to monsters once again
>Your attention is caught the sound of commotion in the foal pit and move to get a better look of the area
>One of the foals, an orange colt with a shock blue mane that you recognize as your missing colt, coughs and wheezes violently on the ground as a larger earth pony filly stands above him, yelling something about being a weak male
>Before the filly can deliver another blow to the colt’s body a pair of Diamond Dogs walk into the pit, one picking her up by her collar while the other moves the colt into a separate corner of the pit and gives a loud whistle
>The gate to the pit opens yet again and you lean forward in interest as another Dog guard walks in with Redheart at his side
>As Redheart checks over the colt’s body she talks with the guards, apparently saying something they don’t like given the way they snarl at her
>While Redheart checks over the colt and argues with the Dogs, the guard with the filly holds her under one arm and delivers a series of powerful spankings to her rump
>You’d consider the filly to be too old for such punishments given her size and the fact she already has a cutiemark if not for how she squeals and how painful it looks
>After only a few more spankings the guard drops the filly and exits the pit while the other guards continue to argue with Redheart, who gently strokes the colt’s hair in the meantime
>”The colt is fine,” one guard shouts loudly enough for you to hear, “he sells today.”
>Redheart says something but stops when a guard raises a paw to strike her, instead choosing to simply whisper something to the shivering colt and raise to her hooves to follow the guards out of the pit
>As the excitement dies down a Dog on the auction floor announces that the auction proper will begin in fifteen minutes
[Input Needed]
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>>41149555
Guess we'd better find a spot to watch the proceedings discreetly. Don't want to draw attention and risk any guards recognising us.
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>>41149555
We should sit in a open wide area so the Duke can see us and we can have a clearer view of the auction taking place.
>>
bump
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bump
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>>41149573
>>41149808
>With the auction about to begin you look for a place to sit and watch from
>The number of guards here is higher than elsewhere, meaning the chances of being recognized were high
>As such, you decide to watch the proceedings away from Duke, instead finding a spot near an empty stall to watch the auction from
>As you wait you look for Duke and Marigold, finding them sitting together in the middle of the bleachers
>Marigold whispers something to Duke, her furrowed brow indicating she is happy about something
>Duke nods along and whispers responses occasionally but otherwise glances around the area as if looking for something
>When he finally glances in your direction his eyes meet yours for a brief moment before he turns his full attention to his wife
>With that settled, you begin looking for any signs of the smugglers but fail to find them
>Their disappearance puts you on edge a little but you figure they’re most likely trying to remain discreet, just as you yourself are doing
>After a few minutes of waiting a short, bespectacled Diamond Dog leads a short procession of ponies to the auction platform where they are lined up
>The slaves are a variety of race and sex and vary in attitude, most either shaking or paralyzed in fear except for one stoic earth mare
>None of the ponies are your settlers so instead you pay attention to how the guards behave
>A pair of large guard Dog stand on either side of the auction platform while two other large Dogs escort and guard the slaves with clubs
>Up above on the raised platform the five guards remain in their original positions, though they scan the area and hold their spears tightly
>At the preplanned time a Dog brings out a short lectern and the bespectacled Dog steps forward to announce the beginning of the auction

>The auction lasts for several hours and follows a strict routine
>The guards bring out a seemingly random assortment of slaves that line up at the back of the auction platform
>The small Dog calls one of the slaves forward, has them slowly rotate while announcing their name and special talent, and then begins the bidding process
>The Dogs in the audience call out the bids vocally while holding up a paw and the bidding stops when no new bids are declared after fifteen seconds, after which the slave steps back and a new slave is presented
>After all the slaves in a group are purchased they are returned to wherever they came from while a new group is brought forward
>As the auction goes on Marigold whispers in her husband’s ear whenever one of your slaves are presented
>You also note a hierarchy of slaves, at least in terms of price
>Generally stallions sell for more than mares of the same tribe, though a pony’s special talent also effects the end price
>>
>>41151251
>As for tribe, unicorns are clearly the most valued, followed by earth ponies and finally pegasi, which the Dogs in the stands seem reluctant to purchase
>Donkeys sell for around the same as earth ponies, as does the griffin
>The crystal pony mare, however, is met with excitement by the crowd of Dogs who enter an intense bidding war over her before she is finally sold for a little more than the second most expensive slave
>As for your settlers, Duke does manage to purchase every single one, as promised
>However, to purchase several of the settlers Duke is forced to pay what seems to be a large sum of gems after entering a short bidding war
>The other Dogs in attendance look at Duke in confusion after such wars, their reactions becoming more and more dramatic as the auction goes on
>As for the rest of the slaves, they are almost all sold to a small group of four competing Dogs while the most of the other several dozen Dogs go without a single purchase
>When the bidding is over the small Dog smacks a gavel on the lectern and announces the end of bidding, instructing the winners to meet with their purchases at the slave pits proper

>After sending Marigold away Duke approaches you
>”Your clients cost me a lot more gems than I anticipated.”
>His voice is even, hiding his emotions on the subject
“I promise you it was worth it. What happens now?”
>”Now? Marigold and one of my guards will escort the settlers home while you, our smuggler friends, and my remaining guard will go to Abuwtiyuw’s tower. I should warn you, whatever you bring with you to the tower will assuredly be confiscated at least temporarily out of fear of assassination. If you wish to leave anything behind, you can give it to Marigold. If there’s anything else you want to do, do it now. There’s no guarantee that this meeting will be quick.”
[Input Needed]
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>>41151255
Gotcha I'll go and check my belongings on me to see if there's anything I want to give to your wife before leaving with our meeting to your leader it will only take a few minutes.
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>>41151255
We did leave the rod with Soul, right? Only problem then is that orb we took.
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>>41151314
>>41151446
>You check your inventory

>Two Days worth of food and water
>A mess kit
>A full first aid kit
>5 bottles of mushroom spirit
>A lantern with 20 hours of oil
>200 feet of rope
>A quill and ink
>A notepad
>A custom suit
>A blue bandana (your uniform)
>A spiked collar and two spiked bracelets (currently worn)
>Bolas and Auto Translate spell scrolls
>A box of condoms (9 remaining)
>Two golden rods (Ancient temple and catacomb)

[Input Needed] [I assume you left your knife and armor back at Duke’s, but if you wanted to them on you I’ll allow it.]
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>>41151555
We should give all of this to Marigold except for our blue bandana so Abuwtiyuw can know that we're not one of his slave pony's, keep our spiked collar and two spiked bracelets on so we can keep a low profile from the other dogs, and keep the two golden rods with us so we can properly return them to their leader in case he ask us about their whereabouts. We want to settle our dispute with Abuwtiyuw peacefully and on good terms.
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>>41151581
I'd rather not bring the rods and use them to bargain if needed. There's nothing stopping Abuwtiyuw from just taking them if we walk in there with them. Duke just told us stealing them carries the death penalty.
This is also why I said to leave em with the others, but I think my post got lost among the rest.
>>
Looks like we have another split vote, but which means we need either a compromise or a tie breaker.

>>41151584
I saw your post here >>41146697 but >>41146722 disagreed and wanted to bring them to Abuwtiyuw so I pushed off the decision until now.
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>>41151555
We should show Abuwtiyuw that we have nothing to hide from him and we're not his enemies but as friends. Giving Abuwtiyuw back his relics is the sure fired way to ensure everypony safety from further diamond dogs attacks they been through enough trauma as is so let's not make it worse and do the right thing.
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>>41151879
We stole those relics, a crime that carries the death penalty. Not only that, we killed a whole bunch of dogs while doing it. His kind also considers ponies to be property, unless they're knights in which case they should be killed on sight.
I really don't get why you trust in the goodness of his heart so much.
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>>41151555
The longer we keep those rods in our possessions the more trouble it will bring us it's only a matter of time until Abuwtiyuw figures it out and we can't risk anymore unnecessary civilian casualties we need to be reasonable the two golden rods has got to go to him.
>>
Seeing how we’re at an impasse I flipped a coin. You’re going to send the rods back to Soul. I’ll post an update when I get the chance.
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>>41153001
Scratch that. I’m pretty sure >>41152034 and >>41151879 are two different anons. You’ll take the rods with you.
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>>41152034
So instead of keeping the rods safe and using them to bargain for the lives of ourselves and the civilians, we're just gonna walk them up to our enemy, giving him everything and losing any leverage we might have had.
Fine, guess it's been decided but I'm going on record to say this is the dumbest idea ever.
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>>41153084
Please don't fucking do it, trail leader. It's stupid giving up our own leverage. Since abuwtifag holds absolute power over the city, what's stopping him from just killing us once he finds out we stole the rods. Oh and before that anon says"Well we have duke" Abuwtifag will also kill duke then create an excuse out of thin air and the dogs will eat it up
>>41153197
True that
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bump
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>>41153700
Stop being so pessimistic the duke trusts Abuwtiyuw teachings so we need to trust in our new friend word besides he helped us saved our captured settlers and he'll even help put in a good for us to his leader.
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>>41153760
Duke doesn't even know we have the rods.
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>>41153810
I think he does know when we told him our side of the story in his mansion but in case we didn't then we can just tell him that now on our way to his leader.
>>
And now I’m realizing I didn’t mention the orb you took from the settlers in >>41151555
In the interest of keeping things moving I’ll let you guys decide if you kept it on you or sent it back with Marigold at the end of this post.

>You rifle through your saddlebags to determine what you want to keep, which is little
>You continue to wear your collar and bracelets and keep the two golden rods, wrapping them in your blue bandana so that they won’t be seen and place it into a single saddlebag
>As you begin to pass your other saddlebag full of the things you don’t want to Marigold Duke makes a small cough to get your attention
>”You’re keeping just a bandana? Why is that so special?”
“It’s my work uniform and I want Abuwtiyuw to know I’m not one of his slaves.”
>”I see.”
>Marigold slings your heavy saddlebag over her back and addresses Duke
>”Are you absolutely sure this is a good idea? What if Abuwtiyuw or Equestria doesn’t accept the deal?”
>”Then I’ll deal with it and keep your family safe, just as I always have. Trust me, Mari, everything will turn out right.”
>Marigold doesn’t seem reassured and hugs Duke tight, who hugs her back in return
>Everything will work out, Mari. Now go and bring the new ponies home.”
>Letting go of his wife and turning towards the tall tower Duke motions for you to follow him
>”Follow me to Abuwtiyuw’s.”
>You follow the old Dog and are soon joined by the two smugglers, who seemingly appear out of nowhere

>As you near the tower the first thing you notice other than its enormity is the number of large, open windows that cover the tower from the first floor to the last
>The second thing you notice is the smell of incense that hangs heavy in the air, likely originating from two large braziers that blaze to either side of the entrance
>The final thing you notice is the group of five guards keeping watch at the entrance
>Four of the guards wear and use the same high quality arms and armor as the Dogs you and Hollow fought at the entrance to the mines
>The last Dog is a freakishly large mutt that wears a steel breastplate and helmet with face mask, a Cassis Crista you recall the style being called
>The Diamond Dog smuggler mumbles something that sounds like a prayer as you draw closer
>As you approach the entrance the four smaller guards move towards you, speaking to Duke as they do so
>”What’s your purpose here, Duke? Why the ponies?”
>”I need to speak with Abuwtiyuw,” Duke begins as the first guard reaches you
>The guard shoves his paw into your collar and jerks you around and you barely stop yourself from dropping the bandana and the rods within
>”Don’t touch him,” Duke says with nonchalant authority and the guard stops jerking you around, though he keeps his paw on your collar
>>
>>41153832
>”Why’s that? Is he your,” the guard spits on the ground, “‘son’ or something?”
>”What he is,” Duke growls, “is somebody Abuwtiyuw will want to talk to. Consider him a diplomat.”
>The guard raises an eyebrow and lets you go
>”And the other one?”
>Duke pushes the unicorn and small Dog forward
>”He and this Dog are smugglers.”
>”And you brought them here? Have you lost your mind, old boy?”
>The guards turn their spears towards the unicorn and small Dog, who yelps in fear
>”They’re informants you damn fools,” Duke answers as he slaps one of the spears out of his way, “so don’t go making them change their mind.”
>The guards look at each other before the Dog from before speaks
>”This isn’t worth his time. Take them all to the guard outpost and order the trader killed.”
>Finn drops to his knees and wails, “I’m not a trader. I’m a loyal Dog, I swear it! I never worked against Dogs, I never betrayed Abuwtiyuw! Please, I want to help!”
>”You don’t decide that,” Duke rebukes with bared teeth, “I’m a pack leader, I have the right to request to speak with him. The judgment is his.”
>The guard begins to reply when a voice from above calls out
>”What’s all the commotion?” a priest Dog calls out from one of the many windows three stories up
>”It’s Duke,” the guard shouts back, “and he’s demanding a meeting with Abuwtiyuw. He has ponies and a criminal with him, too.”
>The priest looks over your little group with disinterest
>>
>>41153836
>”Alright, let them in. I’ll fetch Abuwtiyuw.”
>The guard frowns but motions for the lot of you to follow, which you do
>The guard holds the door into the tower open for Duke, who steps inside followed by the two smugglers
>As you pass through the entrance you are stopped by a firm paw on your shoulder
>”What’s with the cloth?” the large guard asks
>Up close you can see his bulging, bulbous muscles
>They look gnarly and unhealthy and his fur is thin and short, allowing you to see long scars crossing over his body
“It’s important for me to show Abuwtiyuw. It’s the way I can prove I am who I say I am.”
>The Dog reaches to grab the bandana off your back when he’s stopped
>”Don’t touch it,” Duke demands. “Remember, he’s to be treated like a diplomat.”
>The helmeted Dog looks from Duke to you then back to Duke
>”He could be another assassin.”
>”He isn’t.”
>The guard hesitates for a long time before stepping away from you
>You immediately move into the building the moment he’s out of your way
>Once inside you look around the room you’re in
>It immediately reminds you of the ancient Dog temple’s entrance, though instead of a torn curtain at the back there is a large disk embedded in the floor
>Duke walks onto the disk and the rest of you follow
>With a faint hum the disk begins to rise and you look above yourself to see a large hole drilled out of the floors above you
>You look around for some kind of mechanism that must be responsible for the movement but fail to find one
>”Confused?” Duke asks
“Yeah, I am. I didn’t think there’d be a magic elevator in here.”
>Duke chuckles, “be glad, we’re going up to the hundred and tenth floor. I don’t know about you but my knees don’t like the idea of that, let alone the reality.”
“This is a new addition I suppose? Or did the old Dogs use magic to make it?”
>Duke shakes his head
>”No, your ancestors did.”
“I thought this place predated Equestria?”
>”It does. The unicorn tribe made this, not Equestrians. Why they helped, we do not know, but we know they did.”

>The ride is slow but steady and eventually you reach your destination, a small hallway that reminds you of a hotel more than anything else
>At the edge of the disk stands a priest and four guards that were clearly waiting for your arrival
>”Abuwtiyuw needs to speak with you in private, Duke.”
>The old Dog nods then turns to you
>”Wait here. A servant will fetch you when ready.”
>Duke follows the priest and you are left alone with the guards and smugglers
>You spend a half hour waiting in silence before a finely dressed Dog comes to you
>”Which of you is Ardent Mind?”
>You step forward
>”Come with me. You other two will follow the guards to Abuwtiyuw.”
>A guard begins walking down the hall Duke went down and the smugglers follow while the rest of the guards sans one follow behind
>>
>>41153841
>In the center of the room is a princess sized bed with plush blankets and pillows
>The walls on the first floor are painted dark green and various paintings, all landscapes of Equestria and the Badlands, are hung throughout the room while the second floor’s wall is hidden behind a number of full bookshelves
>A small table sits near the bed as does a love seat
>Both the first floor and the second have large windows from which you could see the whole city center
[Input Needed]

>>41153700 sorry, but it was already decided. As much as I’d like everyone’s input for every prompt the game needs to move along. I know people are busy and can’t always answer in time but that’s unfortunately just part of the experience.
>>
>>41153844
How did you dogs manage to get interior decorating such as this its looks like a fancy hotel up in here?
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>>41153844
I don't like that they separated us from the rest, keep our guard up. If we can do it without drawing suspicion, cast Earth Sight and check for any approaching surprises.
>>
bump
>>
>>41153844
Looks like half the post got ate. This is what it should say.

>Finn looks over his shoulder at you before disappearing from sight
>The remaining guard joins you and the servant as you are led down a series of hallways to an ornate door
>”This is your room. It will be some time before Abuwtiyuw is ready for you. Please, relax in the meantime. This guard will be posted outside your door. If you need anything like food or water just ask.”
>The servant opens the door for you and motions you to step inside, which you do
>Once you’re inside the door shuts with a soft click
>Immediately you check to see if you’re locked inside and find the door swings open for you just fine
>There is no lock on the door, even on your side
>Satisfied that you’re not trapped, at least for the moment, you look around the room you’re in
>The room is two stories and the floors are joined by a ladder
>In the center of the room is a princess sized bed with plush blankets and pillows
>The walls on the first floor are painted dark green and various paintings, all landscapes of Equestria and the Badlands, are hung throughout the room while the second floor’s wall is hidden behind a number of full bookshelves
>A small table sits near the bed as does a love seat
>Both the first floor and the second have large windows from which you could see the whole city center
[Input Needed]

>>41153851
>>41153916
I’m going with these two inputs, just need to write them real quick.
>>
>>41153851
>>41153916
>>41154602
>You open your door again and look for the servant only to see he has disappeared to some other part of the tower, leaving you with just the single guard
>”Can I help you?” he asks in a surprisingly polite manner, at least for a Dog
“How did you Dogs manage to get interior decorating such as this? It looks like a fancy hotel up here.”
>”Abuwtiyuw brought in a slave pony from Canterlot to design the room. He says it’s to make you feel more comfortable during your stay in our tower. Did it work?”
“It’s impressive for sure.”
>Seems like a lot of work to keep you comfortable while waiting on a meeting
>How long were you expected to stay here?
>Closing the door and standing in the middle of the room you cast Advanced Earth Sight
>Your room layout is the same as already described you notice that there’s a bathroom and an empty closet on the second floor that you couldn’t see from where you stood in the room’s entrance
>The bathroom has modern indoor plumbing that you doubt was part of the tower’s original design
>Outside your room stands the single guard, who stands ridged with his spear at his side and club on his hip
>The rest of the rooms on this floor look much the same as yours while the rooms you can see on the fifty floors below you vary greatly, ranging from personal quarters that Dogs sleep in to office spaces, what looks like a small church with pews and an altar, and even a recreation room
>Directly below you is a large communal sleeping quarters inhabited by Dogs, as well as a kitchen
>As for above you, there is what seems to be a massive library that Dogs in robes currently inhabit as they sit alone at separate tables and read various scrolls and books
>The three floors above that one are a private quarters laid out like a large house, with a grand master bedroom, a private library, several living rooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, and other rooms for relaxation or storage scattered throughout
>Finally, the fifth and final floor above you is completely empty, as is the roof with the exception of a large brazier
>Returning your attention back to your own floor you look for where Abuwtiyuw, Duke, and the others are but fail to spot them before you realize and entire section of your floor is blocked from your vision
>The area is large, probably two hundred feet long by fifty feet wide by your estimations
>You think over the possible reasons you can’t see into the room and only can conclude that the room is either lined with lead or some kind of powerful spell had been placed on it, though a normal anti-scrying spell shouldn’t block Earth Sight
[Input Needed]
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>>41154710
Since we're waiting for the Duke and the smugglers to finish their meeting with Abuwtiyuw this might be a good time to finish studying and mastering the Bolas spell if we can we may not have the scroll with us but we did memorize it in our head so doing that will help pass the time.
>>
Bump
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>>41154876
Might as well do this, only way we'd slip out is taking out the guard and I don't think that'd be smart at this point.
>>
>>41154876
>>41155727
>With nothing to do but wait you decide to try testing your Bolas spell
>Although you don’t have the spell scroll on you you’ve memorized enough to at least try casting the spell
>Pointing your horn towards the empty window you practice preparing the spell several times to make sure you have it down before actually casting the spell
>When you do actually try casting the spell it fizzles out and you are forced to spend the next couple hours or so troubleshooting the problem
>After a series of disappointing misfires or having the spell unravel before it’s finished you finally have a successful cast
>A long string of magical energy as thick as a rope is fired from your horn, spinning like a frisbee as it moves through the air and out through the window
>You watch as the magical bolas flies off, gradually dropping towards the city below in a parabolic arch
>Before the magical energy gets too far from view you dispel it
>For another hour you practice your casts before finally becoming confident that you can cast it at will
>With that task complete you look for a clock to see the time
>Unfortunately you fail to find a single time piece, not even a decorative sundial that would be useless down here anyways
>You curse the interior decorator for their oversight
>You’re not entirely sure how long it’s been since you first arrived at the tower, all of your estimates being based entirely on intuition
>You spend some time simply waiting in silence but even after what feels like an eternity nobody comes to fetch you for your meeting
[Input Needed]
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>>41156078
Ask the guard if the servant came back so we can get some food and water and how long does meetings with Abuwtiyuw takes place?!
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>>41156078
As we're waiting for the servant to come back with something for us to eat and drink our thoughts turn to how others are doing back at camp Miss Fleur, Barrel, Silver, the settlers, and especially towards Hollow. "Hollow I will come back to you I promise just hang in there! Wait what hollow just say to me how I sounded like her father, how she didn't want to feel powerless, and how she was so eager to want to come back with me here despite suffering from deadly injuries. It's almost as if she trying to prove herself to someone and she was willingly volunteering to die for it but for who Herself and for her Father. I got to talk to her about that to find out for sure even though I might trend dangerous grounds on her past but I want Hollow to know I'm somepony she can rely on to listen to her problems and somepony she can trust to help her overcome whatever bad experience she once had in the past unlike her last coltfriend who left her in the dust because he got selfish and greedy"!
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>>41156078
Pretty sus. If things don't start happening soon it's time to assume bad things and take matters into our own hooves. Check with the guard first, ask if there's some hold up.
>>
>You open the door and find the same guard standing guard still keeping watch
“Excuse me, but how long do meetings with Abuwtiyuw take?”
>”Depends on the subject. He usually likes to have meetings run as short as possible when he can.”
“Oh, is there some kind of hold up then? I’ve been waiting a while.”
>”I do not know. I can call for a servant Dog in a moment, if you so wish. He may know.”
>You consider it before nodding
“If you could also ask them to bring some food and water, I’d appreciate it.”
>The guard nods and you close the door behind you
>With nothing else to really do you take another small nap before being awoken by a knock on the door before the servant from before enters, followed by another servant carrying a tray of food and water
>”Forgive me,” the first servant begins as the other lays out your meal on the small table, as well as silverware, “but I took the liberty of ordering your food for you. I’m certain you’ll find the food to your liking.”
>You take a look at the meal
>Eggplant Parmesan with spaghetti and bread all done up like you’d see in and advertisement for a fancy restaurant
>Thankfully, it smells as good as it looks
“Thank you.”
>”Of course, Mister Mind. As for your meeting with Abuwtiyuw, it will be only a little while longer until he is ready for you. The information you collected for Duke regarding the smuggling situation is very important, you understand, and Abuwtiyuw wishes to handle such matters immediately. Rest assured, I will fetch you when he is ready.”
>With that the two servants leave
>A little paranoid, you cast your material analysis spell on the food to check for any poisons
>Thankfully there are none that you recognize, though without your quill and notepad you cannot use the autoscribe portion of the spell to record exactly what’s inside, nor do you know what the spell’s creator’s conclusions would be
>Figuring it’s unlikely the Dogs want to kill you with some rare poison, you dig in
>The meal is every bit as delicious and filling as you could hope for and you take your time to enjoy it
>After the meal you set your dishes up so it will be easy for a servant to take them away
>After waiting a while longer you’re disappointed that nobody comes for you still

>As you wait in silence your mind begins to wander towards the caravan
>You wonder what they’re doing now and what they’ll do if you don’t return today
>Barrel will probably hunker down for at least another day, if you had to guess, but you’re sure he’d try to find his own way out before long
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>>41156796
>He wouldn’t come for you, you don’t think
>Instead, he’d work with a single focus to save those that remained
>You hope Downburst and Soul will be smart enough to do the same and return to the cave if you don’t come back soon
>Silver will probably follow whoever’s in charge, you’re sure, though you worry she might try to push herself despite her injuries
>Finally you think to Hollow
>Would she follow Barrel’s orders? Or would she come looking for you?
>She’d never disobeyed you as far as you can remember, but you’d heard she could be a hoofful from Flight O’Fancy and Leatherneck
>You supposed maybe you just got lucky, or maybe the two of you just clicked where others did not
>You smile to yourself
>You’ve grown close to all your teammates, so much so that you thought of them as friends as much as subordinates, but your relationship with Hollow felt different
>Maybe it’s because you reminded her of her father
>The thought doesn’t sit well with you and you hope it’s something more than that

>Before your mind continues down that path there’s a knocking on your door followed by a new servant opening the door
>”Abuwtiyuw is ready for you.”
>The Dog exits the room, leaving the door open
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41156797
Well let's not wait around and beat around the bushes time to meet the dog leader himself and settle this conflict once and for all. Follow the servant immediately!
>>
>>41157033
>Finding no reason to wait you follow the servant out the door and down the hallway
>You walk together in silence as you make your way towards the section of the tower that you couldn’t see with your Earth Sight
>You approach a tall set of heavy oak double doors guarded by two Dogs in heavy gold plate armor
>The guards open the doors with great effort without even so much as a glance in your direction and the servant steps inside
>Following the servant you step into the room and the heavy doors slam shut behind you, leaving you in a large throne room
>Said throne is made of gold and an unknown glassy black stone covered in fine fabrics and sits at the far end of the room
>You look for signs of whatever blocked your Earth Sight but find none
>Instead of torches or lanterns giving the room light, glowpaz hangs in nets on the ceiling
>The only other feature of note in the room is another heavy wood door to your right, which the servant opens and motions you inside
>”He’s ready for you.”
>You take a breath and take a moment to prepare yourself before entering the room

>You stand in small personal room, not much larger than a studio apartment
>At the opposite end of the room is a bed, longer but not much wider than your own bed back in Appleloosa with thick fur blankets
>There’s a small nightstand next to the bed as well with several worn books resting on top, as well as three pill bottles, one of which has it’s label facing you
>The name on the label reads Benzodiazepine
>Finally, two chairs sit on a rug between you and the bed
>In one chair an elderly Dog, close to Duke’s age if you had to guess judging by his gray muzzle, sits in the chair to your left
>The Dog is pale green, as green as some Dogs are blue and he wears the white robes of a priest
>Beyond that he looks unnoteworthy
>If you saw him in a crowd of Diamond Dogs you wouldn’t look at him twice
>”Thank you, Toni. You may leave us.”
>The servant shuts the door gently, leaving the two of you alone in the room
>”Have a seat, Mister Mind. It seems we have much to discuss.”
>The Dog pats the seat across from him and you comply
>Sitting in chairs you almost look each other in the eyes, though he is slightly taller
>”Your efforts to hinder one of this city’s smuggling rings have been fruitful, and I thank you for that. Duke explained to me your story and why you wished to speak to me, but I remain confused. You are a private caravan guard, correct? A mercenary in a sense? Yet now you’re here to negotiate between my people and yours? It is a strange set of circumstances. Perhaps it’d be better if you told me everything I should know, from the top. Why and how did you come to be in this situation, Ardent Mind?”
[Input Needed]
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>>41157895
I assume he already knows everything that happened at the temple, so not much use lying about that part.
"During an escort mission, some dogs blocked us off at a nearby pass and demanded we surrender some ponies who were with us. I refused and eventually a battle started at one of the uncovered ruins.
During the battle the temple collapsed, trapping my group inside. We took the only path available, which led us here. Now I'm doing everything I can to get my soldiers and those under my care safely home."
>>
>>41157895
I'm sure you heard about a pony killing many of your guards one night including one of your diplomat Mr. Abuwtiyuw sir yeah that was me I'm so sorry for what I did to them, but you had to understand most of them was being unreasonable they wanted to fight and capture me and my caravan that I was assigned and sent to safety escort to their new homes to the southern colonies as slaves so I had no choice but to defend myself, my clients, and their families who got caught in the middle of all this.

I have nothing against you or your kind sir. I only wish to resolve this whole ordeal we're in peacefully so no more ponies and dogs have to die I've seen a lot of death recently in the past few days and most of the bloodshed of our fellow ponies got killed because of me. Most of the settlers under my care are traumatized, some of my comrades are critically injured and will die soon if they can't get to a hospital in time, and half of them were seperated from their families during the fight on the surface and made their way towards your Ancient City which they ended up captives for your slave auction!
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>>41157982
I think we should keep quiet about the state of our fighters, just talk about the settlers. Better if he's not sure if we would put up a good fight if necessary.
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>>41157895
So I've been trying everything different ways I can think of to sneak into your city, find my captured settlers families, and get them all out of here safety with minimal losses but that started to seem impossible you have dog patrols from every dog packs going everywhere from inside the city, to outside the city's perimeter, and to even the underground catacombs we can't walk two steps without being spot by an incoming diamond dog from the next corner or from being smell by them from a distance. So it felt like we were in a life and death situation at this point kill or be killed.

Therefore, the only option I had left to think of was to somehow get an audience to meet with you so I can discuss my intentions with you directly and we can end this madness on good terms so we can leave and you can show us a way back to the surface before this situation turns into a full-scale war with your kind and mines.

And to show my actions are sincere and genuine, here I believe these belong to you. Just so you know one of those golden rods I had with me I found one of them in one of your ancient ruin temples we took shelter in as a defensive position up ground when we fighting the diamond dogs and the other one I stole it from the catacombs underneath. Here's the reason why I don't know what was so special about those relics your dogs were so desperate to find for you, so after I analyze them and check them out I soon understand why they were your ancestors and these rods were filled with powerful magic. At first I was thinking about using them to help us with our problem of being trapped under the mercy of all the diamond dogs, but since I don't know if there will be any side effects to me from the relics upon casting magic on them I chose not to gamble my life and the lives of those around me I didn't want to make the situation any worse than it has to be. I wanted to show you I have nothing to hide from you Priest and I don't want to be your Enemy. I just want to protect my new family and get them all home from this nightmare! Please Abuwtiyuw let's us negotiate and come to an understand in order to end all hostilities between us I come to you under the flag of peace!
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>>41157895
This was suppose to be a simple escorting job, but we encounter a rockslide thanks to your diamond dogs using dynamites on some ruins; which led to us having our path obstructed so we may a deal with your diplomat you had sent for us to purchase some of their dynamites' to clear the way in exchange for trading away some of our magical items and equipment, but then when the next day came he accuse us for not honoring our deal for not waiting until tomorrow for him to come back with your permission to let us cross your territory. We didn't even go anywhere we were just trying to clear the path from the rockslide in front of us by mining and blowing the big rocks away last night. He didn't want to hear it so he threaten us, and when he turn his back on us after saying that he'll bring his fellow dog guards to attack and kill us and enslave the rest of our ponies. So in fear for my life and the lives of everypony there I shot him with my magic full burst fill with rage point blank to the back of the head ending his life quickly and instantly but not before he let out a loud scream once I killed him. Which then resulted in an all out battle with my Caravan Guard and the Diamond Dog Guard leading us all the way here to your base of operations in other ways your home.
>>
Guys, more vagueness please, for the love of Celestia. The enemy commander doesn't need to hear every detail about how weak our group is or how we murdered a messenger by shooting him in the back!
>>
Bump
>>
I’m start my new work shift today so I don’t know if I’ll be able to post today. I’ll try my best and thankfully I have a three day break starting tomorrow so I’ll try to make up for it in the coming days.
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>>41158964
Is cool, good luck with the wage slaving.
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>>41158622
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>>41159847
>>
“This was suppose to be a simple escorting job, but we encountered a rockslide thanks to your Diamond Dogs at a nearby pass. The two demolition Dogs we met traded us dynamite for magic items and reported to one of your subordinates, saying to wait for your permission to cross your territory. The next day one of your diplomats accused us for not honoring our deal. We didn't even go anywhere, we were just trying to clear the path from the rockslide in front of us by mining and blowing the big rocks away that first night. He didn't want to hear it so he threatened us, saying we had to surrender some of our ponies or else your Dogs would attack and kill or enslave us. I refused and when he turn his back on us I shot him with my magic.”
>Abuwtiyuw clenches his jaw shut and closes his eyes, as if in pain
>You stop your story for a moment but he motions for you to carry on
“I'm so sorry for what I did to them, but you have to understand he was being unreasonable and wanted to fight and capture me and my caravan. I had no choice but to defend my clients and myself.”
>Abuwtiyuw glares at you, hate in his eyes but remains otherwise silent
“Which then resulted was an all out battle with my caravan guards and the Diamond Dogs, starting at one of the uncovered ruins. During the battle the temple collapsed, trapping my group inside. We took the only path available, which ultimately led us all the way here. Since then I've been trying every way I can think of to sneak into your city, find my captured settlers, and get them all out of here safely and with minimal losses. But that’s starting to seem impossible. You have patrols from every Dog pack everywhere. From inside the city, to outside the city's perimeter, and to even the underground catacombs, there’s nowhere to escape without risking another fight. Therefore, the only option left I could think of was to somehow get an audience with you so I can discuss my intentions with you directly and we can end this madness on good terms so we can leave and you can show us a way back to the surface before this situation turns into a full-scale war between your kind and mine.”
>You take a deep breath
>>
>>41160823
“I have nothing against you or your kind sir. I only wish to resolve this whole ordeal we're in peacefully so no more ponies and dogs have to die. I've seen a lot of death in the past few days. Most of the settlers under my care are traumatized and half of them were seperated from their families during the fight on the surface. Some even ended up as captives for the slave auction. So please, let’s workout a deal for both our benefit.”
>For a while Abuwtiyuw is silent, staring at you with contempt
>”At least you’re honest,” he says finally. “That’s something. Believe me, Ardent Mind, I too know your pain and simply want all this ugliness to be over. But things aren’t as simple as they should be, especially not now. I cannot pardon you fully, Ardent. Not after what you did.”
“I only did what I had to do to protect my clients. I’m so-“
>”No, you didn’t,” Abuwtiyuw says with a slamming of a paw on the arm of his chair, “I can forgive what you did to my warriors, and the guards, and any other Dogs that may have been trapped in between. It is only fair, for they’d have done the same to you, I’m sure. No, that I can, and have, forgiven. Even the accidental death of innocents is sometimes unavoidable, as terrible as it is. But what I cannot forgive is murder. You murdered my diplomat when he had his back to you. He was no threat, and yet you chose to kill him anyways.”
“He threatened us.”
>”I threatened you,” the Dog says, again slamming a paw, “he was a diplomat, a position all but the worst warlords in the world have respected. He wasn’t a threat to you, he just told you what was to come. And yet you shot the messenger anyways. And for what? Did you think it would prevent what happened anyways?”
>Abuwtiyuw takes a deep breath and calms himself
>”I would understand if he were caught in the crossfire, if a fight had broken out and he was killed in the chaos, just as your settlers were. But he wasn’t. His death was premeditated.”
>You go to defend yourself but the cuts you off before you can begin
>”I don’t care for your excuses and what’s done is done. His bones rest in the catacombs now and will forever more. What you need to say to me now is what you want from me and why I should give it, despite what you’ve done. Then I will say what I want from you. Now, speak.”
[Input Needed]
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>>41160825
Thanks for this one, honestybros.

"The decision to kill him, and the killing itself is on me, I see no reason why the ponies under my care should be punished for that. Most of them are civilians just trying to get by, all I want from you is to let them leave here in peace."
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>>41160825
I'm not here to destroy what you've been creating here in this city Abuwtiyuw the Duke told me about all your plans for it. I just want to bring my ponies I was assigned to protect back home. Besides, do you really want to keep on wasting your time dealing with me and my group you have better things to do don't you?! If you're still aren't satisfied I'll take whatever punishment you deem fit to inflict on me or if you want me to do something else for you I'll gladly do it. Plus, I also bring these rods to you as a sign of good faith I have nothing to hide from you.
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>>41160825
Also there's something else you need to know one of my clients is an important politician in the Equestrian government if she doesn't reach her destination soon and her colleagues haven't heard from her in a long time they will inform their superiors and send in the Royal Guard and the Equestrian Army Rangers to look for her and her entourage if that happens they'll eventually find this place and destroy this whole city to rescue us and every pony slaves they saw here. That's another reason why I chose to take a gamble to have a meeting with you to avoid that confrontation that will lead to many senseless deaths Abuwtiyuw if we don't come to some kind of an agreement soon then there's place will turn into a battlefield!
>>
bump
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>>41161544
>>
>>41162201
>>
bunp
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>>41160825
I ask that you can either show us the way that lead us back to the surface world or give us a scroll or book regrading teleportation spell so we can teleport ourselves back home we don't want be here any longer than we have to be my ponies suffer enough and I don't want to expose them to anymore danger that will cause them more pain or more deaths.
>>
"The decision to kill him, and the killing itself is on me, I see no reason why the ponies under my care should be punished for that. Most of them are civilians just trying to get by, all I want from you is to let them leave here in peace. I'm not here to destroy what you've been creating here, Abuwtiyuw. I just want to bring my ponies home. Besides, do you really want to keep on wasting your time dealing with me and my group when you have better things to do? If you're still aren't satisfied I'll take whatever punishment you deem fit to inflict on me or if you want me to do something else for you I'll gladly do it.”
>”It is good that you take responsibility for what you did. I’ve already told you I have no interest in furthering this violence, but I cannot let all of you go free.”
“Then there's something else you need to know. One of my clients is an important politician in the Equestrian government.”
>”Two, by my count. But please, continue.”
“We’ll, if the one I’m talking about doesn't reach her destination soon and her colleagues haven't heard from her in a long time they will inform their superiors and send in the Royal Guard and Army Rangers to look for her and her entourage. If that happens they'll eventually find this place and destroy the whole city to rescue us and every pony slave they see here. That's another reason why I chose to take a gamble to have a meeting with you. I want to avoid that confrontation while will lead to many senseless deaths. Abuwtiyuw, if we don't come to some kind of an agreement soon then this place will turn into a battlefield.”
>Abuwtiyuw taps his paw idly in contemplation before responding
>”I am aware of the risks. That is why I have acted the way I have. Regardless of what I do now your government will find this city. They’ve built a machine for that specific purpose, one that sends noise into the earth and returns pictures of what’s buried below. I’ve seen it myself as the changelings have given us one such machine. When your country finds us they will attack us. They cannot siege us like the surface cities since we produce our own food and water, so they must attack. Unless, of course, I can give your leaders a reason not to go through such plans. That is why I need Miss Fluer de Lis and Mister Glossary, as I instructed my diplomat to tell you.”
>>
>>41163561
“You’re going to keep them as hostages, aren’t you?”
>”Yes, I am. I do not believe the slaves will be enough to dissuade your government, quite the opposite. They’ll use it as justification to rush the attack. But Glossary is a notable, if minor, member of your Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Miss Fleur is not only the head of your colonization projects, but is also a lover of your prime minister. The slaves may only be numbers to the Prime Minister but she’s someone he knows. I doubt he’ll risk her life.”
>You sit quietly for a second to consider what he’s said
“I don’t know if I can just hoof them over to you. It doesn’t feel right.”
>Abuwtiyuw sighs and rubs his forehead with a paw
>”You’ve already refused to do that once, now look where we are. How many dead ponies and Dogs are two free ponies worth to you?“
>Abuwtiyuw sighs
>”If you are worried that they will be abused, I can assure you that’s not the case. In fact, you’ve already experienced what they will experience as my captives. The room you stayed in, the food you ate, was designed for Fleur de Lis. She will live in luxury here and so will Glossary.”
“Is that what you want then? Is that what it will take for the rest of us to be set free?”
>”No, it’s not. Let’s begin our negotiations, shall we? I will let most of your settlers free, but what I want is for you to give me Fleur de Lis, her entourage, and Glossary peacefully. You will also subdue the group of Royal knights in our mineshaft, whether that be by convincing them to surrender or helping my Dogs eliminate them if they refuse. If you fail that, I will keep you and a portion of your settlers as hostages here. You will be treated well, and families will be kept together. I will even allow you to speak to me if you find the treatment of your settlers unfair and I will promise to remedy such issues. Now, what do you want in exchange? I already know you want your settlers to be allowed to leave in peace, and I’m willing to do so with the exceptions I’ve given. Is there anything else?”
“I ask that you either show us the way that lead us back to the surface world or give us a scroll or book regrading a teleportation spell when you set us free.”
>Abuwtiyuw nods
>”I will accept that so long as you accept my demands. Now, do we have a deal?”
[Input Needed]
>>
>>41163565
Is this really our only options Abuwtiyuw?

I mean what exactly do you plan to do after keeping Miss Fleur, Glossary, and her entourage here for a while?! Are you trying to somehow get the prime minister to come here so you can both workout somekind of a deal!
>>
>>41163565
Ardent proceeds to reach out his hoof towards the Priest"Very well, Mister Abuwtiyuw your word is your bond as is Mine"!

"I'll be honest with you Abuwtiyuw Miss Fleur been feeling down lately and she is blaming herself for the deaths and separation of her missing settlers and guards I did what I could to comfort her and in the end she says she wants to make herself useful and make up for the loss we had endure from the diamond dogs attacks. So convincing her to come here peacefully won't be too much issue. Although, Glossary is going to be a problem he's not come quietly just like that I might need to be Aggressively Persuade to get him to see reason".

"As for her Entourage, they'll be skeptical and having doubting concerns about this deal of yours some of them will think you're just trying to loath us into a false sense of security and then once we arrive boom you have an ambush waiting for us to take us out, but I know some of the ponies in her protective detail some of her escorts are my friends they'll listen to me. They'll still be somewhat reluctant and hesitant about this little arrangement of ours and will stay on guard in case you try to double cross-us but I'm their Leader they follow me and I'll make sure to keep them in check".

"Hold on, I have an idea Mr. Abuwtiyuw if you have a camera I can borrow and let me take pictures or better yet make a video record of this place where you want Miss Fleur and our whole group to stay in until this political and your internal matter is solved. It might help them believe that your telling the truth about not wanting to try to enslave the rest of us. Giving them this kind of proof will increase my chances of everypony taking my word for it".

"So what can you tell me about these Royal knights holding up in one of your mineshaft what are they doing and why are they there any information you have on them will be most helpful Sir"!
>>
So in the end, everyone died for nothing, Silver lost her wing for nothing if we just have to hand Fleur over anyway. Fuck.
I guess all we can do now is accept the deal and then start working on a rescue plan once the settlers are safe.
>>
Bump
>>
“Is this really our only option?”
>”Unless you can think of some other way to satisfy both of our needs, which I’m afraid I find unlikely.”
“What exactly do you plan to do after keeping Miss Fleur, her entourage, and Glossary here for a while? Do you want the Prime Minister to come here to work out a deal?”
>”Yes, that’s essentially the idea. I’ll keep the ponies that contributed to this mess hostage until I can guarantee the safety of the Dogs in this city. The moment that is done I will release everypony I can.”
>You take a moment to think over the deal
>It’s probably the best deal you’ll get, though you can’t help but feel that this has all been a waste
>You offer a hoof to Abuwtiyuw
“I’ll accept that deal. Your word is your bond, as is mine.”
>Abuwtiyuw takes your hoof and the two of you shake on it
>”I’m glad we could work out an agreement. The only thing left for us to do is to figure out the logistics of getting your ponies out.”
>Abuwtiyuw let’s go of your hoof and sits back in his chair
>”There is a tunnel that leads to the surface in the east district. Once you finish dealing with the knights I will have my soldiers escort your ponies through the catacombs and the tunnel all the way to the surface, if you so wish. Otherwise you may travel through the tunnel alone, if you so wish.”
“The catacombs? Why would we travel through the catacombs?”
>Abuwtiyuw sighs
>”Free ponies traveling through the city might upset the common Dog. It is safer for both of us that we keep things out of public view. Otherwise you can do whatever it is you’re planning to do with the teleportation spell I’m going to give you, assuming it won’t violate our treaty or somehow damage the city or its population. Finally, if you wish to use the tunnel back to the surface, do you want to go towards Gate City or do you wish to go towards your new colonies? The latter will take longer, but I assume that was where you were headed to begin with, correct?”
[Input Needed] [How do you want to leave the underground and where do you want to go?]
>>
>>41165078
Yes the colonies is where we were heading but after the attack from the diamond dogs we lost half of our supplies and most of our settlers aren't too thrilled to continue going there with our limited resources and want to go back. Tell me something the tunnel in the catacombs that leads to the new colonies and the one from Gate City how long would it take for us to get to either location from here. So I can determine the best possible outcome for everypony?!
>>
>>41165078
We should put it to a vote, let the settlers decide. That is, if our supplies are enough to even reach the colonies.
>>
>>41165175
“The colonies are where we were heading but after the attack from your Diamond Dogs we lost half of our supplies and most of our settlers probably aren't too thrilled to continue going there with our limited resources and want to go back. Tell me something, how long would it take for us to get to either location from here?”
>”Three days for Gate City. Otherwise, a week and a half to reach your colonies.”
[Input Needed]

>>41165345
Vote noted
>>
>>41165471
Then I guess we'll take the escort out of here and see where we'll head after talking with the group.
>>
>>41165471
Thank you Abuwtiyuw I needed to make sure I have accurate info on how many days it will take for us to reach either destination from the catacombs tunnel so I can discuss it with Miss Fleur and the rest of our entourage so we can all agreed on what path we want to take. Still there's one tiny little detail we forgot to mention umm how are we supposed to bring them here to this tower of yours without drawing attention from the other dog packs. Do you have a plan for that?!
>>
>>41165471
Don't forget to give him back the two golden rods we have with us before we leave the tower.

Do you happen to have any photos about the inside of this building so I can show it to Miss Fleur and the others as proof that you're telling the truth so they can trust my word about our little deal we made together!?
>>
Well, this it guys. The point of no return. Once the equestrian government finds out that we made a deal with abuwtifag we will most likely be trialed. Best case scenario we will be considered persona non grata and the worst case scenario we get executed for treason.
>>
>>41165791
Don't give the rods to abuwtiyuw pls. He got mad that we killed his diplomat. How about learning that we stole 2 rods that are considered to be VERY VERY important to diamond dog culture.
>>41165471
Gate City pls
>>
>>41165940
I'm pretty sure we already blabbed to him about the rods.
>>
bump
>>
“Thank you, Abuwtiyuw. I personally prefer Gate City but will discuss this with my guards, Miss Fleur, and the rest of her entourage so we can decide what path we want to take. Still, there's one tiny little detail we forgot to figure out; how are we supposed to bring them here to this tower without drawing attention from the other Dogs?”
>”You’ll need to tell me where your ponies are located and then my guards will escort all of you to one of the hidden entrances to the catacombs. We’ll institute a curfew in the area to minimize the number of Dogs that witness such activity. From there they’ll either be lead here, if they are to remain captive, or to the exit.”
“Okay. Secondly, do you happen to have any photos of the inside of this building so I can show it to Miss Fleur and the others as proof that you're telling the truth about the conditions here?”
>”Yes, and I have blueprints from the renovations. I’ll give you a carbon copy of the later as well as prints of the former.”
>Satisfied with the answers the two of you depart the room and go to what seems to be a copy of an Equestrian office on another floor
>In the office you and Abuwtiyuw sign documents regarding the peace treaty between the two of you
>You double and then triple check the wording of each document to make sure there’s no dirty tricks being played on you and thankfully find none
>As you sign the last page a servant Dog delivers the requested photo and carbon copies you requested

>You make your way back to your caravan’s cave in the escort of Dog guards, taking back streets when possible to avoid being spotted by more Dogs than necessary
>You don’t return to Duke’s on the way back either as Abuwtiyuw’s arranged for the settlers there, along with Downburst and Soul Mane, to meet you at the cave
>You have the Dog guards with you stop a couple blocks away from the cave entrance and make your way inside solo
>As you walk through the mushroom fields the farmer Dog calls out to you
>”Are you ready to show me your camp, great pony?”
[Input Needed]

>>41165945
No, I’ve had you hold off on disclosing that detail because two of you are against it and only one for it. (If I’m wrong on that count let me know)
>>
>>41166756
''Yes I am please come with me and see for yourself. Oh and another thing I was able to get a meeting with your leader Abuwtiuyw and after our long talks he says he'll help me and the rest of my settlers get home safety but I have to do something for him first''.

Once we show the farmer dog around our campsite we should find Hollow alone and then surprise her with a hug while her back is turn making her stunned from our sudden and unexpected return and tell her ''Hollow I'm back just like I promised you I would. I miss you y'know I'll always come back to you''.
>>
>>41166997
I approve of the Hollow thing but maybe with less heart eyes dialogue?



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