On their way to Corrupt Castle, the main party was ambushed by an unknown figure. The figure shrouded them in magical darkness, and with the aid of clones, proceeded to bring the party down rather quickly. From the fight, they learned whatever this figure was, it wasn't equine like them. But as quickly as they showed up, they just as quickly vanished without a trace.
After news from the pumpkin filly after the attack, and a head count by The Captain; the party learned that Crux and the pumpkin colt were both kidnapped during the attack! "We best be moving on," The Captain says, getting the ship ready to keep going towards Movie Magic, the area where Corrupt Castle now lies, "he may turn up sooner or later. Movie Magic be a big place, and whatever that thing be, it be hard to miss."
>>26032364 >>26032556 Meanwhile, in the middle of a barren wasteland; the rag tag bunch of Lumi, Gloria, the pumpkin, and Canopy had stumbled upon a peculiar sight. On the horizon, the group can see an odd sight: an odd bump, but a near rainbow-colored glow coming from it. Small, blinking lights seem to move near where the bump lies. "Me no sure...but me no think that rocks."
>>26032318 Unbeknownst to them all, Crux slowly begins to wake from his slumber of his own serum and the blow to the head something gave him. He finds himself on a metal table, leather restraints keeping him...well, restrained from getting off of it. The room is also made entirely of metal, a mirror on one wall with a door next to said mirror. A large, powerful light hangs from the cieling over him. A small cart filled with surgical tools sits next to him within his field of view.
His possessions are nowhere to be seen, and he appears to be alone in this foreign room.
>>26032645 Sundown Flare sits on the poop deck, biting her lower lip as she thinks about the kidnapped pumpkin colt and other guy. "I need to learn to hit something in the darkness," she mutters to herself, "I need to learn something that will never miss..."
"Agreed. From how it looks like... my guess is it's a still far-off city with a festival going on. That or some aurora lights, for some reason... doesn't look like nerither of the poles for me. Then again, it is this strange realm... what do you think, Gloria?"
>>26032645 Azzanadra heads below deck to where the pumpkin filly said Shadow slept through everything. He gives her a shove to wake her up. "Get up, we just had two ponies kidnapped by masked, cloaked beings. Do you know of anything from this area that matches that description?"
>>26032666 >>26032694 >>26032697 "Well...the mask they be wearing look like something from here. But don't ye getting yer hopes up. I tend to find treasure or trouble, not ponies in trouble, as it were," The Captain with not his usual amount of confidence.
>>26032820 Sure enough, Shadow was asleep. Though even with the shove, she doesn't wake up. It does, however, reveal a syringe stuck in her flank. Whatever was in it is clearly now in her system, but from the looks of things, doesn't seem to be anything harmful....
As the ship continues along, the dirt and grass quickly makes way to concrete. All manner of large buildings seemed scattered around the land, like a land of warehouses and hangers. Crowds of ponies moved aside to let the large ship pass; said ponies dressed in all manner of costumes and attire. If anything, this place seemed to look like one, continent-wide Nightmare Night costume party. "I suggest ye leave the ship now. Finding a spot fer this here land yacht will take me a moon or two...." >>26032834 You struggle lightly against the restraints. You find whoever did them did a sloppy job. While holding you down, they appear to be loose enough for you to move them around slightly.
As you test the restraints, a pony of...some kind walks in. It wears a gasmask with glowing, orange eyes. A labcoat several sizes too large is worn, looking more like robe than a coat. "Good news, test subject," the pony says, voice sounding male, "you're awake just in time for me to begin some painful procedures. Aren't you just lucky?" The pony proceeds to roughly pat Crux on the head with a cybernetic hoof. "Do you prefer to bite down on wood, or just let it all out freely?"
>>26032708 >>26032751 As Lumi, Gloria, and company travel towards to bumps, they find themselves at the edge of a cliff, high enough that one wrong step and you'd have a bad trip. A cliff to a wide valley. A valley that hold s a curious sight. The bumps turn out to be buildings just barely rising above the edges of the cliff. Metal domes adorned with so many lights and flashy things, it's sickenly gaudy. There appears to be seven of these domes, each one accented with extra lights of a specific color that it creates the rainbow glow seen from the distance. These domes form a sort of ring.
In the center of this ring of domes it a taller building that looks like a squat tower made of arches of metal and lights. This tower has small accents of colors like the other seven, but a large, glowing emblem of a full moon sits at the very peak of the building. All the domes are connected to this central building with a large, well-lit walkway.
Around the grounds, they can see various equines walking about in lab coats, hazmat suits, or shiny body armor. Circling the perimeter of the entire complex is a large, metal, enclosed carriage of some sort that travels along a single rail. It moves rather quickly, and is constantly bringing on or letting off this place's inhabitants at each stop. Despite how hi-tech this place seems, there doesn't appear to be any observable way down.
"This...what be all this? Very bright," Canopy says, shielding her eyes a bit from the artificial light.
>>26033018 "What about the mask makes it seem local?" Sundown asks. As they make their way into the town, she grumbles at seeing more costumes and dress-up. "Boy, when we get back, I'll have had enough Nightmare Nights to last the rest of my life," she says, before getting off the boat. She looks around, trying to find some place to get a drink or meal, preferably somewhere shady. [1d10] Looking for shady places
"Agreed. The towns don't usually look so... nature-less, so to speak. I wonder if those guys aren't the ones behind the metal machines that you've been shooting down with your sisters whenever it crossed your forest, Canopy... guess we better don't mention it to them though."
After a bit of looking around he checks if there would be a possibility to slide down the pumpkin's vines down the valley.
"I think it would be for the best if you went ahead and ask around. If they have a railway just for moving around this camp, i bet they have something to allow comfortable way down this cliff. Be caredul though. I'm not sure if the lack of a visible one doesn't mean they're not wishing for company.."
>>26033018 ("Huh, wonder if they did this. Seems odd with how they straight attacked us, unless she had something they were worried about.") Azzanadra pulls out the syringe and examines it. He attempts to see what the substance is, and if he could make up an antidote to get her up quicker. >[1d10]
>>26033229 Gloria nods. "Right, better find out if they're friendly or not." She says, flying her way down the cliff over to one of the suited ponies. "Greetings, I hope I'm not intruding on your land, but I was wondering if you could give me some directions."
>>26033071 "Just look around, lass. The mask he be wearing be everywhere in Movie Magic."
Sure enough, as you look, you can see several buildings decorated with two masks: Comedy and Tragedy, the tragedy ones looking like what the figure was wearing.
While there is nowhere shady, there appears to be many ponies dressed as butlers or wait staff carrying trays of hors d'oeuvres and small glasses of (presumably) champagne.
>>26033152 >>26033194 >>26033221 As you disembark the ship, you all begin to get swarmed by the crowds of costumed ponies as they try to get where they want to get going. Admist the chaos, there is a voice yelling with a megaphone. "Tours of Corrupt Castle! Tours of Corrupt Castle! Don't leave home without a commorative Corrupt Castle Dad Tie!"
>>26033268 Examining the substance, you find it to be a mild sedative. On par to over-the-counter sleep aid, really. No need for an antidote; seems like Shadow can sleep this one off easily. >>26033257 You struggle against the bindings, but they don't give in and keep you in place. "Oh, I do love it when they're this lively!" At this time, another metallic hoof appears, coming from the back of his collar. The hoof suddenly slap Crux, causing the pony to swat at his own, extra limb. "Manus, no! Bad limb!" The pony grabs a few surgical tools from the cart, looks at Crux and says, "bad news. Manus is being a naughty piece of cyberware. I'll with you in a moment." The pony turns away as he seems to be doing something to his own, mechanical limb, causing it to flail around as if panicking.
>>26033343 The ponies, dressed in labcoats, look at Gloria. They don't say anything, but give her a sort of examining stare. "Feathered wings." "Talons." "Feline paws as well." "Was this the trained chimera that got out of Lab Green the other day?" They circle around Gloria with their examining stares, Gloria's question gone to the wind.
Canopy looks down, scratching her head. "Why they circle like pack of hungry lurkers? They going eat her?"
The pumpkin tests this theory, but the cliff face is too sheer to slide down safely. Whats more, it seems there's metal under the rocks and dirt, not leaving enough for the vine to fully grip into and travel down.
>>26033484 "Chimera? Listen, I'm a Griffon. I am Gloria, Paladin of the Golden Claw. Did a dangerous creature escape?" She asks. She also stays aware in case they attempt to attack her over mistaken identity.
>>26033418 ("Well at least it's nothing serious. Should be safe to leave her here.") Azzanadra heads back up to deck and goes to the pumpkin filly. "How is it that you can sense your brother. Is it a spell, or just proximity"
>>26033761 >>26033822 "No, 'evil' castles definitely have a certain aesthetic to them. But Sundown may be on to something, are they associated with evil because at some point evil was done in them, or do you think evil was done in them because they looked so fitting a place for evildoing?"
>>26033498 >>26033525 >>26033630 You all follow the voice, coming to see a nightmare mare waving along a crowd of other ponies and pony-like creatures. "Alright, three more? Alright!" she says with a little too much enthusiasm. "Alright everypony, follow me, don't get lost, and we'll all have a great time!"
As you all follow the tour through the castle, you learn a general history of the castle; such as it has switched ownership many times, resulting in it having been to every continent of this realm. You were brought down a hall of former rulers, their painted portraits all lined up. The biggest one belonging to the first ruler: Nightmare Moon.
"And here is the throne room!" the peppy tour guide says, showing you all into a large room with a black throne. However, that seems to be the only original thing; the rest of the throne room looks like a stallion cave, complete with a trophy case filled with all manner of trophies and medals. "Weird, he isn't here. He said he would be here to meet this group." A random voice chimed in. "How sure are you?" "I'm very sure!" "Well...." the owner of the voice steps up, "nice to meet you Very Sure!" The pony throws his clothes off, revealing another set of clothes underneath! The pony is rather large and gray like the other nightmare ponies, but wears a polo shirt and khaki slacks. A glorious, blonde mustache adorns his upper lip. Odd for a nightmare pony, but it seems to be natural judging by the equally blonde mane and tail. "My name is...." there is a pause from the stallion, looking to the crowd. "King Dad!" The crowd cheers as sitcom laughter mysteriously fills the room. The one known as King Dad going up to the throne and sitting upon it, greeting a line of people like subjects as they walk up. Looks like you three are the last ones for him to meet.
>>26033573 The pumpkin filly looks up at you, not seeming like her usual, energetic self. "Well...it's kinda like our roots are connected and junk, ya know? Like in the ground or whatever. But if we can't get our roots into something like dirt or mud or something, then it doesn't really work. Like on the ship; it felt weird not being able to sense his roots."
>>26033531 Your spit wad lands on the limb, which the pony inhales happily. "Oh, thank you! Maybe Manus just needs a good spit shine!" The pony proceeds to spit-polish the limb.
Sadly, the restraints do not budge and keep you still, but you're sure you felt something loosen.
>>26033971 "Hmm, strange then. I can't imagine they'd know about this connection, but they did kidnap him in the first place." Azzanadra thinks for a moment. "Would you like to come with me to find him? Maybe if we get close enough you might be able to sense him. And it'd be better to have you protected in case they do come by again."
>>26033549 "Dangerous? Oh no no no, of course not. It was trained, afterall." The other pony has a PDA and seems to scan you. "Yup, all checks out. Just an ordinary griffon." The ponies stop their examination circle and stand in front of Gloria, giving a small bow. "Ah, I see, our apologies then Miss...Floria, was it?" In this spot, the light shines on them enough to better see their features: both are stallions of a ripe, old age. Wrinkly, but nowhere near as much as Canopy's mother. One wears a pair of bifocals that reflects the many lights of the dome complex like a mirror.
With Lumi's confidence and admiration, Gloria's blade is strengthened. Doesn't look like it'll be needed, but if it had self-esteem, it'd be at really high levels right now. >Gloria's sword will have +1 at the start of the next combat
>>26034124 "Oh ho ho, no need to be so formal. Not like I'm some Central researcher. May name is Green 47. This is my wife, Purple 10," the stallion says, extending a hoof to Gloria. "Hun, my proximity alarms is picking up something," the elderly mare says, looking at the PDA, "two signitures about that way." The mare points up the the cliff where Lumi and company await.
>>26034205 "Oh, they're my travel companions. We were on a journey to complete a very difficult task, but we lost our map along with losing our way. Do you know where we could find a few maps to take a look at?" She asks politely.
>>26034007 >>26034078 >>26034172 "Oh! More than just a meet and greet? Wonderful!" King Dad says happily. He nods to the tour guide, and soon you're left with King Dad.
>>26034007 "On the ground, I would assume," King Dad replies with a fatherly smile. There is a slight chuckle in the air from an unknown source.
>>26034078 "Me? Oh no, but I could introduce you to the ruler. Just let me get my toolbox out, first." There is more, sitcom-ish laughter.
>>26034172 "I wouldn't say that. No normal pony can rock these and make it look good," King Dad says, kicking off a pair of horsesneakers from his hind legs. A pull of a lever, and the throne reclines back while a footrest swings out. Slightly reclined, the party can see a few holes in the King's white socks.
>>26034036 She seems to light up a bit, a smile coming back. "You mean, an adventure?! Yeah! Yeah!!" She immediately climbs up onto Azz's back with new found energy.
>>26034077 "Good news! I'm almost done with Manus, and I'll get to you soon!" As the doctor works, he seems preoccupied to hear the first few snaps of the restraints. But a few, jerky jab from his limb and he's looking at you as you break free of the last ones. "Bad news, everyone. The subject is escaping. Looks like I'll have to euthanize it."
The pony's hook extends a needle and attempts to jab it into Crux. [1d10]
>>26034298 "A map? We can easily show you. This is LunaTech's main facility, though, so don't go wandering off. Lot's of restricted areas and what have you," Green 47 replies, "now, as for your friends, you might want to grab them. The monorail doesn't go to the cliffs, and better you bring them to use before one of the security droids find them."
>>26034318 The the mare points in your direction, she doesn't do much else. However, from the lack of fighting for once, things seem to be going peacefully.
>>26034346 She sighs, the look on her face serious. "I mean what was the the place called? This castle originally belonged to Pr- Nightmare Moon, and I'm writing a research paper on her history. Who a better person to ask about the original location of her castle than its current owner?"
>>26034346 "Alright, hold on tight now. Not sure what we'll run into here." Azzanadra grabs his bag, and turns to the captain before leaving. "If Shadow ends up waking before we return fill her in on the situation. Hopefully it won't take long."
Azzanadra heads off the ship, and looks around for anything like a directory or brochure so they can find their way.
>>26034417 >>26034318 Gloria turns to wave her claw at him, signaling everything is fine and that they can come down now. "Well, we're just trying to find a way back to... well... We're not quite familiar with where it is or what it's called, but we wanted to find out where Luna might call her 'castle'."
>>26034346 >>26034477 "Specifically, we're looking for kidnappers who use the comedy/tragedy masks," Sundown adds, "We were told that they were commonly used in Movie Magic. Do you know anything about them? Sorry about interrupting the tour with this, but it's important to us."
Having said that, Lumi shows himself, waving back to the ones down in the canyon.
He awaits the means of transportation. Now that the initial stress was being washed away, the crystal pony began feeling a little giddy. This place looked promising and he couldn't wait to see what secrets it had in store. Truly, it looked like there were some technological wonders awaiting for them, he thought, recalling however far did his own experience in that field went..
>>26034429 "Oh, this isn't mine," he says, hooves up defensively, "I'm just holding it for a friend!" Once again, there is canned laughter in the air.
>>26034477 >>26034516 Upon hearing Mourning and Sundown, the playful air seemed to lessen, as did his smile. "Hmm, well that doesn't sound good," he says, using his hind hooves to push the footrest back into place and the throne standing upright once more. "I can tell you what I know, but you'd have to be more specific. Those masks are used, like you said, very commonly here. Saying the kidnappers looked like that is like saying a stallion in a dress mugged you at Dreamy Dragstrip."
He taps the arm of the throne, and out rises a cup of scotch on the rocks. There is the small jingle of the ice as he picks it up and brings it up to drink. "Oh, and don't worry about the tour. Honestly, even with your situation, this is much better than a 'meet n' greet' tour."
>>26034441 "Weeee!" The filly yells, urging you to move faster. Not out of urgency, she just wants to go fast.
Heading off the ship, you wander around a bit until you come to an information kiosk being visited by many costumed ponies. As you take a fold-up map, something catches your eye: a black-robed figure wearing a yellow tragedy mask. His back is turned towards you and walks in the opposite direction: he doesn't seems to have noticed you.
>>26034589 The pony appears to be caught off guard by the sudden escape attempt "Manus! Grab him!" The mechanical limb whirls around in an attempt to grab Crux. [1d10]
>>26034496 >>26034608 One by one, Gloria carries Lumi, Canopy, and the pumpkin down to where she met Green 47 and Purple 10. "Goodness, the boys at Lab Orange would love to have a strong one like you around," Green compliments with an elderly chuckle. Purple, meanwhile, looks closely at the pumpkin. "Strange, this one didn't trigger our proximity sensor." "Nonsense. I designed those things to detect anything alive within fifteen miles of them!" "One mile, hun. But still, unless this is some new species not in our database, it should have triggered the sensors."
>>26034867 >Almost forgot! Manus seems to almost hit the mark, but Crux is able to out speed it, bursting the unlocked door and bolting down a hallway. "Bad news, test subject!" Crux can hear the gasmask pony yell, "now I have to call the guards in to kill you!"
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