>What's this: a CYOA style adventure set in the town of Trottingham, where the MC and her friends solve mysteries and fight enemies to keep the town safe.
>The town of Trottingham, far from mainland Equestria, is suffering a series of disconcerting events.
>An unicorn by the name of Tess, set on a personal vendetta against one of the town's odd residents, has sent forth legions of automatons to destroy her.
>A pegasus by the name Grape Vine, model citizen and sweet aficionado, has taken the mission of keeping the town safe, along with her friends, old and new.
>So continues the tale of Grape and company, at a peaceful meeting with the wine-loving pegasus' fan club...
"...and then I told him, 'Sweet, that's not the cart yoke, that's a mare's butt!"
>The crowd around you erupts in laughter, a good thirty ponies and griffons huddled next to you in the restaurant. You've been telling tales of your heroic acts and random nonsense that nobody would be interested in, all in equal parts. And it seems like everyone is having a great time, which makes you feel great in return.
>"Wow, we've been here for quite a while!" Angler Seas suddenly comments, her muzzle lining up towards the direction of the wall clock.
"Oh, geez!" True, you've been fooling around with your admirers for a good couple of hours; not that you don't like it, but the time draws near when you'll go on a date with Sweet. The thought of what's to come this evening makes a weird flutter of nervousness settle in your tummy. "I'm sorry guys, I'm having a high horse of a time, but I'm afraid I have other appointments today..."
>"Right, I think we've all had our share, haven't we?" Another mare, the unicorn who organized this whole thing, speaks from behind you. A round of cheers startles you next. "It's been great, Grape, in the name of everypony here, thank you for stepping up to save our town when all of us simply run for cover and wait for an inevitable savior."
>[OBJECTIVE COMPLETE: Meet your fanclub]
"And I'll be glad to be that savior, every time... huh?" Suddenly, you and the other ponies and griffons around start shaking. Heck, the entire floor is shaking! "What now!?" Your body moves instinctively, expecting anything to crash your party, and just in cue, something smashes through the wall, sending everyone away in a frenzy.
>A large number of tendrils extend from the creature's bulk; on closer inspection, you notice they seem to be cream colored bandages, holding a great number of syringes, scissors and other pieces of medical equipment. The bulk of the bandages itself seems to take on the form of a skull, but you cannot see a power core anywhere. The floor is quickly being cleared, a number of ponies taking shelter immediately behind you.
>"Grape, please, save us!" The organizer mare exclaims, her head right under your tail. "I'm too family friendly to fight!"
"Here we go again..."
-Search the deep end of the forest with the royal guard.
-Find and neutralize the construct terrorizing the hospital area.
-Is Bubble Stream a changeling?
-Go on a date with Sweet Seed [LIMIT: today at evening]
Constructs: 30%, 16%
"Stay back, everypony!" You take on a defensive position. "I'll keep this thing occupied with my freakin' hoof lasers!"
>A chorus of cheers and ponies calling your name resonates across the floor. Even the waiters, cooks and other staff are now looking from behind the counter, the monster lashing out meanwhile and attacking in all directions with its syringes.
"It doesn't mean you can stay and look! Get away!" You take to the skies just in time for a half scissor to scrape out one of your feathers in your left wing. "Ouch!"
>"Grape! Neeigh..." An earth pony mare just faints in the floor, and before the silent monster stabs her with those incredibly pointy syringes. Not before smacking your face with a hoof in disappointment, you swoop in and rescue her right before the hits land, earning another ovation.
"I'm being very serious right now! Of all days, you had to show up now! I have a life, you know!?" You scream at everyone else, while pointing your magic gun at the construct and firing. The purple shot dissipates a chunk of its face, burning some bandages, but the soft skull immediately regenerates from inside. "Unfair!"
>"I'm gonna be a hero too!" A colt you don't know of anything suddenly jumps in front of you and charges. "Haaa...! Uh?" You watch and cringe a bit as a syringe lands without any difficulty in his neck, immediately sending him to the floor, snoring.
>While you try to aim for more precise areas of the creature, other ponies and griffons try to run away or towards the bandage spook, and many fail to succeed. Soon there's a good ten of your fellow citizens on the floor, sleeping their troubles away. What's confusing you is that the monster is shooting new bandages to grab the fallen and slowly drag them towards its main body.
"Oi, no! Bad skull, bad!" You shoot another couple of shots and, while doing so, grab the organizer by the neck. "You'll be my refill, okay?" You say as you topple a table over, hiding behind its bulk.
>"I-I, s-sure!" The mare looks at you, glossed, slightly disoriented. You tap her horn, and that seems to send her back to your side. Meanwhile, you fly up and spend your last two shots, effectively freeing two of the dragged captives and going back to restock. However, that's not good enough, as the other eight are slowly sticking to the skull's cover. From what you've seen in your other shots, the power core must be at the very center. Shame all those captured ponies are covering the construct's sides and top, so only the 'face' is visible.
what an annoying enemy. If wire won't hurt it then we need to use water. Make it all soggy and heavy. Someone get the fire department over here.
In the mean time we can ask whoever works here if this place has a sprinkler system.
"Tsk! You couldn't be more annoying!" Flying all over the restaurant space, you avoid the syringes and bandages trying to grab you. At least the main body isn't moving, but those poor ponies and griffons sticking to its surface are going to make things much more delicate from now on.
>Unless... of course! Maybe you can also use the ponies to get closer! The construct doesn't seem to be hurting them, so you might infiltrate the power core from one of the sides. Your plan decided, you shoot straight into the ceiling to distract the monster for a moment and dive straigh into the right side of its face.
"Gotcha!" You manage to latch onto the first stallion who was stupid enough to charge without a hoof gun. While the monster starts producing more bandages and trying to reach, you try to get inside and point your right hoof towards the center... "Dammit!"
>Sadly, the monster's movement cause you to line up a bad shot, and while trying not to hurt anyone, a bandage grabs you and throws you flat on the floor, causing your body to shake in pain. While you recover and go back to the table you've raised as precaution, the rest of the restaurant seems to clear out. However, you can see ponies watching from behind the counter and the door.
"Hey!" You shout at them. "Stay out of this!" Next, you turn to the unicorn hiding behind the table with you. "Sorry to be a bother lass, but can I ask for another refill? By the way, I never caught your name" you ask innocently.
>"U-Uh, sure... I'm Smarts, Pretty Smarts" the green pony replies, bobbing her head and shooting magic into your gizmo. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, sure, just trying to figure out how to disable this thing" you sit and tap your chin with your hoofsie. "Hmm, bandages, bandages, how can we stop a bunch of bandages...?"
>"Well... I guess you can burn them."
"Are you crazy!? There are ponies out there!"
>"T-Then water! Buh" Smarts averts her gaze.
"Water...? Water, that's it!" You suddenly realize, then turn back to the restaurant workers hiding back at the counter. "Hey, can you activate the sprinklers!?"
>There's no answer, but immediately, a rain of cold water starts pouring over you and Smarts. You take a careful peek across the room and notice the monster is shaking, trying to get the water away. Its body made of bandages is soaking up water and making it even more sluggish.
"Hahah, yeah!" You pump a hoof in the air. "Good job, Smarts, stick to me and let's get out of here! We'll get the fire department or..."
>"Halt! Who goes...? Ow!" a familiar unicorn, decked out in royal guard armor, steps into the restaurant and almost trips over. "G-Grape! The pride of the royal guard is here! We have surrounded the place, tell us the situation!?" He salutes and stands still, the monster behind you still struggling and ignoring everything else.
With the help of the other guards we can probably take out the weakened construct. There's always the chance that this might be another extension and not the core, so make sure everyone keeps their eyes peeled once it's taken down.
"Oh, thank goodness. At least we can have some professionalism at..." you begin thanking Mercury, but just then, another armored pony comes in, and slipping very clumsily, he takes both of you over to the floor with a lot of noise. "Aaaargh! Rainbow!"
>"N-Nopony told me the floor was wet!" The pegasus complains. "A-Anyway, where's that monster... oh" he just then notices the presence of the soggy skull, who's just getting out of its stupor and aiming towards your group.
"Back to cover, yeeep!" You grab Smarts and pull everyone back behind the table, just in time to avoid a salvo of syringes scraping the hard wooden surface of your barricade. "Okay, so now that we're settled... The hospital monster is attacking again, we managed to slow it down with water, but he's captured a few citizens."
>"What!?" Mercury's face goes wild. "He'll pay for this!"
"Whoa!" You grab the unicorn before he recklessly jumps into the fray. "That's exactly what they did, you tosser! What we need is a coordinated effort to save those ponies and find the core, if there's one."
>"If... there's one?" Rainbow arches a brow in a worried fashion.
"Last time the main body of the construct was controlling other bodies like puppets. This might be another one of them" you look at the two guards with pleading eyes. "Please, can I get you to do your job for once? Do you have well armed guards?"
>"Almost the entire force is here" Mercury smiles, shaking his soggy hooves. "We have armors and water guns, so it will be easy to take on the monster. Don't worry, Grape, you can leave this one to us.
"Thank you, Merc. I'll get Smarts to safety" you say, hugging the other wet mare by your side. "Let's go, dear."
>"W-W-Wait, now!?" She looks past the table.
"Now!" With a quick run, you put the mare on your back and exit the restaurant before the monster can even turn. Outside, there's guardsponies and neighbors helping the remains of your fanclub.
>After explaining the situation, the other guards await for Mercury and Rainbow to get out and give orders. With the guard now surrounding the place, and the monster hindered, you feel a bit safer about this whole situation. Your fur is all soaked up, your mane is a mess, and you have a date with Sweet in a matter of hours. Whether or not you can trust these ponies and start planning your evening is up to you.
Let's go around the back and see if the bandages are connected to something. If it is then we can take control away from the monster if we shoot it with our hoof gun.
Then again! We can also follow it and see where it leads. We can put a stop to it.
>You'd like to trust them, you really would. However, you doubt Mercury has had enough time to get his peers into shape, so you'll stick around just to see what happens.
>Eventually, your unicorn friend comes back and starts giving orders to the other guards calmly. He then goes back inside, followed by two. Meanwhile, the others surround the building and reach the hole at the back.
"Oh! Idea~" you find a way to pass the time, and spreading your wings, you take to the skies to dry up and check on the monster status. Your fur is becoming a bit sheep-like, but not enough to bother you.
>From above, you try to spot any sort of loose tread, a distant bandage leading to some hidden underground. You can see the guards shooting water at the monster, avoiding bandages and syringes, a couple of them actually falling while the others yell, neigh and shoot in random directions.
"I just knew it..." you frown, however panic doesn't settle among the guardsponies. They keep going at it while you scout from above, finding nothing suspicious. You finally give up, meeting with a panting Mercury on the ground.
>"It's taking a while, but we're securing those ponies!" He explains. "We saw the core as well, just give us a couple of hours and we'll retrieve it safely."
"Really? I mean... wow" you stare at the unicorn, wide eyed. "You might be the best thing to happen to this town in a long time, Merc."
>"Any poll would prove you wrong" the unicorn rolls his eyes. "Uh... I suggest you find an industrial grade fur dryer, your coat looks a bit..."
>You look down at your body, and notice the mass of wool envolving you. There's quite a few ponies looking at you, their devious smiles just hoping to point out the obvious. It seems like your fears were unfounded, the guardsponies have everything under control. Being the start of the evening, what should you do now?
I'll be back tomorrow for more, possibly a late start.
I'm not sure when I'll be able to start, maybe a bit later than usual.
"Guess I'm going to need an emergency makeover..." you mutter while taking to the skies, swiftly taking shelter inside a cloud so nobody has to see your puffy body. "Dammit! After I went to the spa and everything!" You start flying south with your wings sticking out of the creamy cloud.
>Instincitvely, you go visit Sunny Care, your best friend in these dire times. The mare has just finished eating and immediately agrees to help you inside her home.
>"My gosh, you ended a complete mess!" She exclaims while hurrying to the bathroom. "You better be thankful Bubbles lets me keep some spa grade supplies here at home! Now let's get you pretty!"
"O-Okay, but don't take too long, please" you enter the spacious bathroom with careful steps.
>"Sure, sure, anything for a special day!" Sunny winks and shows her tongue for a second, before hurrying you in and giving you a quick makeover, drying and teasing your fur with brushes and redoing your mane. In the end, you don't look as fabulous as when you exited the spa, but that will do, pony.
"Wouldn't you happen to have something to lend me? I don't usually dress a lot..." you ask her after leaving the bathroom.
>"Hmm..." the mare thinks out loud. "I usually prefer letting my body shine, but I have a couple of things..." she takes you to her room next, where she shows you a dresser, probably bigger than your entire house, filled to the brim with clothes.
"A couple of things...?" You look at your friend with disgust.
>"Oh, don't give me that look" Sunny enters her magical realm with pride. "Let's see, for your colors, I'd suggest..." she ends up with two outfits, one of classic saddle and the other a pretty short dress. "These! I'd look harder, but you're pressed for time, so which one will it be?"
"Uuh..." you struggle to choose due to your inefficiency as a fashion follower. "I think I'll take the saddle. Can't go wrong with that, can I?"
>"Definitely not" Sunny nods strongly, a devious smile on her face. "Let's get you dressed, eeee...!"
"Whoa...!" You jump backwards in reflex, but cannot stop the small horse ravaging your purity with her anxious dressing up. However, once she's done you can't complain: the saddle and hat look really nice on you. "Hah! Not bad, if I say so myself."
>"Aw, you look gorgeous, love!" Sunny runs in place. "When did you had to meet with Sweet?"
"We just arranged it for the afternoon, so I better be going..." you comment. "Wish me good luck, Sunny! Even though I totally don't need it."
>"Heh, yeah, sure" the earth pony rolls her eyes and accompanies you to the entrance of her home. "Just don't get nervous, be yourself. And be sure to tell me everything tomorrow!" She yells right before waving and slamming on the door.
>With everything set, you walk back home, this time looking like out of one of those fancy actresses from Manehattan. You're getting a few looks here and there, making you feel awesome and self conscious in equal parts. What if your reputation as Trottingham's toughest mare gets ruined? Well... did you ever had such reputation?
"Ah, whatever..." you shake your head once you finally arrive home. "Sweet! I'm home! Hello?"
>"Coming!" You hear the voice of your friend running down the stairs, and the sight that greets you widens your eyes to no end. "Whoa... you look amazing, Grape."
"T-Thanks" you stammer while eyeing your friend all over.
>"What do you think? I'm not sure if it's a bit too extreme... you asked me to be well dressed, after all" the colt averts his eyes and taps the floor with a hoof meekly, waiting for your judgement.
"Oh, Sweet..." you finally roll your eyes. "You look fantastic" You really want to say he looks 'sweet', but you've played that joke way too many times. "I love the mane, did you really use gel?" You point out, chuckling.
>"Heh, yeah, it took a while..."
"And you look so dapper? Did you always had that?"
>"Funny story, I did!" Sweet starts getting excited. "Although... well, I'll leave that for the actual... you know..."
"You can say it, Sweet, it's a date" you walk up to your friend and boop him to help him ease up, although his face makes you think it didn't help. "Are you comfortable in that getup? That's the most important thing."
>"Oh, no, it's all very much fine!" Sweet replies immediately. "A bit heated, but that will go away once we start walking, heh, I'm sure..." he finishes, still eyeing you suspiciously. Huh.
"So, what have you planned for us today, handsome?"
>"I, er..." Sweet slowly descends back to reality as you take place by his side. "Well, I actually booked for us to eat at that fancy restaurant on the south area later tonight..."
"Hayfields'? Really!?" You jump a step to the side. "But Sweet, that place is..."
>"We can afford it, promise" the colt raises a hoof. "I always save, you know that."
"If you say so..." you go back to his side. Fortunately, you still have some money left from that juicy interview check, so this decadent homage to yourselves shouldn't be a hard hit.
>"However, it's pretty early, so I was thinking we could take a walk, maybe talk a little bit...?" Sweet continues. "We could go to the shopping street with all the nice lights and decoration, I think that could be, heh, romantic, or... we could take a walk on the north side cliffs, those are close too... oh! We can also go to the beach, maybe" you can see the pony struggle with his words. "I don't know, I wanted to settle for something but didn't choose after all. Would you like me to? I-I'd be glad with anything you wanted..."
A walk on the beach sounds great.
While we talk tell him about the construct we fought today and that we'll have to get that mare who helped us. Maybe a signed bottle of our wine. What do you think Sweet?
We'll get into more personal stuff at dinner.
"Hmm... how about we do all of it?"
>"Huh?" Sweet's eyes go blank and his horsey muzzle drops a little bit.
"I mean, we have enough time to take a walk on the beach, and we'll have to cross the shopping district when coming back anyway. We can go to the cliffs later tonight" you complete your summary.
>"Oh, I... you sure you want to do all that?" Sweet arches his neck down a bit. "I mean, fine by me, I just didn't expect you to..."
"After the day I had, I think a good long walk will clear my head more than anything else" you reply, finally nudging your friend a bit on the side. "Let's go!"
>The cold evening hours of the creeping winter start chilling the air in Trottingham, just enough to feel nice and cozy in your suits as you both walk towards the western side of town. Along the way, you tell Sweet about your day, how you got pampered at the spa, met your fanclub, and had to fight the hospital construct one last time.
"Speaking of which! The guard should be about done with that" you remember. "Maybe I should pay them a visit..."
>"That's not very romantic" Sweet pokes your side and laughs. "Come on, Grape, if you haven't heard the screams of ponies calling for you to save them, you should assume everything is safe."
"Yeah, perhaps" you neigh into the open skies. "Alright, I won't mess this up for the two of us. I'll forget about saving the town for this evening."
>"Thank Celestia for that" Sweet replies in a joking tone, causing you to laugh.
"On the subject, I think I should thank that mare for helping. Smarts, I think it was" you recall. "Do you think I should get her a present?"
>"Well, we're going to cross the shopping district twice, so..."
>You give it a thought and decide to buy Smarts a present, perhaps a nice notebook or a fancy gizmo to keep all her pens nearby. You'll also get her a bottle of your wine, nothing is better than a drunk, vulnerable mare dancing under the moonlight. Your talk of the day's events continues while you reach the beach and take a short walk, mostly stopping to contemplate the coast, now clear of any construct remains.
>Along the way of return, something odd catches your eye. It seems like someone is following you, as every time you turn around or even look slightly to the side, you see a presence out of the corner of your eye quickly moving into hiding. Nothing bad happens while you double back into the shopping district, but the feeling is still there, and Sweet doesn't seem to have noticed. Should you even care? You might be just nervous, after all. There's been this fuzzy feeling on your stomach for a while now...
>"Hmm?" Sweet catches you in the middle of despair.
"N-Nothing! Don't worry, it's nothing" you quickly reply. Huh, that was interesting, why didn't you tell him what might be going on? Guess you don't really feel like soiling this date, for once. "Let's hurry to the restaurant, please, I'm getting hungrier by the second."
>"Me too, actually" Sweet nods seriously. "We're just in time, luckily" he speeds his trot up, a huge grin on his face. Damn, that smile is just what you were looking for, it's just like those old times...
>You actually didn't know how much you missed those times, because your heart is fluttering a bit. Sweet has always been your best friend, and now it's almost like you're starting your relationship all over again! That's it, if there's a stalker following you, let them watch. You'll be damned if you don't have the best first date ever! One to tell mom about.
>Finally, you arrive at Hayfields', the small, yet above middle class restaurant. Not a place you frequent, you know it stays in business because there are enough snobs in Trottingham and fancy tourists from Canterlot to demand this sort of attention. The interior, clad in golden and white, red silk and bright lights, strikes you from the beginning, colors coming to life while Luna's moon stays past the door.
>The stallion at the door gently invites you to your seats, a nice table next to the window. On the way there, you spot ponies from the southern area, doctors from the hospital, and funnily enough, Bubbles eating some pasta with Mishmash. The little filly flails around, her cutesy hooves picking up the spaghetti while her tail moves rhythmically in an area cleared just for the occasion.
"Adorable..." you mutter while sitting in front of Sweet and dropping your bag on the plush seat. You got Smarts a nice notebook with a pen holder, that should be good enough. "Oh boy, I have no idea what to pick, this is all too advanced..." you comment while looking at the menu.
>"Agreed" Sweet frowns. "Just follow me" he closes his eyes and points at a random place in the menu with a hoof. "Okay, the salad it is."
>Laughing, you copy your friend and end up choosing some random veggie dish. To be fair, most of the menu is vegetal, not many rich griffons or ponies with exotic tastes come around this town. While waiting, you entertain yourselves with bread and comment on the nice look outside the window, the short roofs of southern Trottingham illuminated by the colossal moon beyond.
>"So..." Sweet finally asks, when the food arrives. "How are you feeling right now? I-I mean, w-what do you think of t-the date so far!?" His face sinks behind the table faster than you can blink, and comes up a couple of seconds later, flustered and panting. "Let me start again... are you enjoying yourself, Grape?" He asks, brows inclined with just the right degree of expectation.
I'll be back tomorrow, same hour!
I've have a lovely time Sweet. I have to say, I really missed you. This you. I have to ask... why did you drift away? Why didn't you tell me? Were you scared I wouldn't feel the same and leave?
"I'm having a lovely time, Sweet" you contest, laughing from behind your plate. "I really appreciate all the trouble you've gone through to plan the date."
>"Uh, t-that was nothing, really... I could have done better."
"How? This is arguably the best place to eat in Trottingham" you reply. "Although between you and me..."
>"...nothing beats a haybuger, I know" Sweet chuckles, and you feel an earnest smile coming all the way to the corners of your muzzle. It's been a while since you and Sweet finished each other's sentences. All these memories...
"You know" you continue while the dinner comes along, "I couldn't have asked for better company" you notice Sweet has a bit of trouble swallowing his bite. "I've missed you, Sweet. This you, I mean, the colt I knew back when I was looking for a housing partner."
>"O-Oh?" The brown pony looks up, but once his eyes reach yours, he immediately lowers it again.
"What happened, Sweet? Why did you drift away? I remember why I liked you so much when we first started living together, and then... Was it really that bad, living with those feelings all this time?"
>"Well... I can't put the blame on anypony other than myself" Sweet smiles and grabs another fresh bit of salad. "I should have said something sooner, but I'm bad with, with..."
"With mares, yes" you finish. "Not going to lie, I've never been with a stallion before, and I would never be able to do what you did."
>"Lies" Sweet frowns.
"It's true! I have no problem making friends, but stuff like, romantic, and stuff, er... You know the feeling" you finally drop the subject. "In any case, I want you to never ever keep these things to yourself, like, ever again."
>"Oh... I won't, Grape. Thanks for the push" Sweet smiles and finally meets your eyes for an extended period of time.
>"Why, if it isn't Grape Vine!" A flowery voice surprises you just then. Bubbles and Mishmash appear in your field of vision. "Oh, I'm sorry, bon appetit, you two. I didn't know you were a mare of expensive tastebuds, hmm~?" The blue mare starts getting closer to you, her perfumed neck so close it mingles with the taste of your veggies. "Or is it a more... special occasion~?"
>Sweet starts disappearing very slowly under the table, red as a tomato, but you won't let this sultry mare ruin your night when it's so close to being complete.
"Why hello, you two! As a matter of fact, yes, it's a very special occasion for us" you hold your eyes up against Bubbles. "Any occasion is special when I'm with Sweet."
>"Well, that's very nice..." Bubble replies, locked in visual battle with you. Her muzzle quivers, almost as if she wanted to jump at you, right here and now.
"Mhm" you assert, getting closer to her ear. "You know, I like being with him, because there's such an atmosphere of love and friendship between the two of us" you straight up breathe on her ear. "Can you feel the love, Bubbles? Do you want the love?"
>"W-Well!" The blue mare looks at Mishmash quickly and retracts. "I apologize for interrupting you. Mash was curious, you see?"
"Ooh" you roll your eyes. "How are you doing with Bubbles, Mash? Having fun?" You ask the filly next.
>"M-hm!" The little creature nods happily. "She's the best pony I've ever known!"
>"Oh my..." Bubbles takes a hoof to her fluffed chest. "No need to thank me, dear, let's just go home now. It's right about bedtime" the mare pushes the filly a bit with her tail. "Have a good night, you two~" she winks at you before leaving.
>"One day you might tell me what games you're playing with that mare" Sweet finally comes out of his seat, all flustered. "Should we leave as well?"
"Yes please" you frown. Sweet insists on not letting you see the tab, but besides that small amount of worry, the evening has been delicious so far. Time to finish it with a nice session of stargazing.
>However, once you're back to the cold streets of Trottingham, you start feeling watched again. From very up close, to add. And then, a mechanical click sounds nearby. Like the flash of a camera.
>"Huhu, what a scoop" a birdy voice sounds from the closest alley.
"Oh, for the love of Celestia..."
What? It was Garret? That should have been obvious but still.
We should ask sweet to wait a moment. i don't want to be in tomorrows paper and then get sweet kidnapped by tess. Let's talk to garret and say that he's not putting that in the newspaper.
"Sweet..." you puff your cheeks and look at your partner. "Would you excuse me for a moment?"
>"It's okay, Grape, I know it's annoying" the colt smiles. "Just deal with him."
"Thanks, I'll... wait, you knew he was following us?"
>"Well, yes, but you ignored him so I decided to do the same."
"Huh" you can't help but bring a smile forward before turning around and walking to the nearest alley. "Garrett Silverwing! What in Tartarus do you think you're doing!?"
>"Quack!" A random flash shoots out into the sky. "I've been scooped!"
"Stop using the word 'scoop' at random!" You reach into the alley and grab the griffon's chest fluff. "Why are you following us and taking pictures?"
>"Well, Miss Vine, ain't it obvious?" Garrett scratches the back of his head, camera hanging on his neck. "Nothing sets the hearts of ponies more aflame than indiscriminate gossip about the local heroine!"
"Have you gone mental? There's a mad killer out there! If Tess sees any pics of me with Sweet, she'll see where we live, she'll target him next!" you cross your front legs. "I didn't have you for that kind of journalist, Mr. Silverwing."
>"I admit that this stinks, Grape" Garrett looks dejected. "However, it's the fastest way to climb up. Gotta reach for the professional contacts!" His arms sprout in opposite directions.
>"You know, the big wigs! A couple of well placed gossips, and next you know I'll be directing the Crystal Empire Magazine! Gosh, I might even get sent to Ponyville! You don't get there without a castle tower worth of paperwork..."
"Garrett" you face the griffon very seriously now. "I won't let you publish any of those pics. Claw them over."
>"Uh..." the griffon starts looking between you and his camera. "My feelings are in conflict here... Maybe if you agree to agree to another interview with me, when this whole monster debacle is over? And I'll make you sign for exclusivity."
"You make me sick."
>"A bird's gotta eat."
"Hmm... maybe we can agree somewhere down the middle... how about interview but no exclusivity?"
>"B-But my values..." Garrett starts pouting.
"Oh come on, just publish the damn thing faster."
>"Hey" suddenly, Sweet's voice approaches from behind you, the small colt stepping right beside. "Everything okay?"
>"Oh, hi Sweet. Sorry, we're just discussing business here" Garrett explains, twirling the camera and almost strangling himself with the cord.
>"Well, how about you just let us be and don't get in OUR business?" Sweet drops out of nowhere, causing your head to move back. Sweet, standing up to anyone, really?
>"Whoa there, we're just having a nice conversation, honest" the griffon raises his claws again.
>"I don't care! Just stop stepping all over our night together, and don't you dare extort Grape for sick scoops!" The brown colt erupts, instinctively standing between you and Garrett and making the griffon fall on his butt out of the suddenness.
>"O-Okay, okay! I suppose those bits aren't worth getting pummeled by an angry colt" Garrett finally gives in. "I won't force you to sign anything, but please come find me whenever you're done with the whole construct thing."
"W-Will do..." you mutter, as the griffon takes the alleyway and flies away. "Wow, Sweet."
>"I'm sorry, he was getting on my nerves" your friend turns around, his face red and a couple of strands of hair sticking out of his mane.
"That's kind of hot, actually."
"Nothing. Let's go to the cliffs."
>A rather long, silent walk later, you and Sweet arrive at the gorgeous cliffs out of northern side Trottingham. The view is fantastic, the moon shining right in front of you, illuminating the distant mountains of mainland Equestria, pointing towards the unknown frozen lands.
>"Well... it's been quite the night" Sweet sits down at a nice grassy spot, and you follow suit. "Sorry about the outburst, maybe I should have stayed away..."
"N-No, don't worry about that..." you avoid your gaze while thinking of all that's happened today. "Yeah, it's been a good night."
>"You... you look fantastic, you know?" You hear the brown pony hush next. "Right here, facing the moon, with that saddle... you look even better than usual, a-and that's hard, haha, hahaha..." Sweet simply stands still and lets his awkward laugh end while staring at the pale orb.
>That's it, your threshold for cute has reached his limit. With little intention of being subtle, you scoot along the ground and get as close as you can to your best friend. In that moment, you see something moving in the horizon, along the line between the mountains.
>"Hey look, it's the Friendship Express!" Sweet points out, then squint. "Hmm... or maybe the Harmony Harbinger, I'm not a train expert."
"Quick, make a wish before it disappears!"
>"Grape, I don't think that's how trains woooohohouuh..." Sweet's fur goes electric the moment he lowers his guard, and your muzzle touches his cheek in a long kiss. You then let your head rest upon his, a perk of him being so short.
"I really couldn't think of anypony better to be my coltfriend than you, Sweet. I love you" you whisper next to his ear.
>"I... oh. I love you too, Grape" he simply replies, letting his body rest on yours, now more relaxed. "Thank you" he adds after a while. The next minutes, or hours, pass in quiet while none of you say a word.
"Alright, I think we should complete this date and go to bed" you finally announce, stretching your limbs. "As comfy as I was, nothing beats a good bed."
>"Whose bed, exactly?" Sweet gives you a sly look, and you reply with a laugh and a flicker of your tail up to his nose. You both know exactly which bed you're getting into tonight.
>[OBJECTIVE COMPLETE: Go on a date with Sweet Seed.]
>The next morning, you wake up as late as you want, brush your mane as little as you want and go downstairs to find breakfast on your table. Pretty much a perfect morning in your book.
>"Good morning!" Sweet announces happily, still cooking. "Sorry I didn't bring any of it to the bed, but I'm not even halfway done."
>"I'm pretty hungry too, heheh..." the colt struggles to look at you, a smile permanently plastered on your face. "By the way, both Mercury and Lorie were here at different times, and they want to see you."
"Did any of them tell you why?" You ask before stuffing your cutehole with food.
>"Lorie didn't, but Merc said there's a couple of things he wants to comment about the constructs. They both said they would be at their respective places today."
>So the guard HQ and Lorie's cabin. You also have to think of a time to give Pretty Smarts her gift, which is sitting on the couch. Well, there's time to think on your schedule while you eat to your hearts content. Having a coltfriend that cooks is a luxury, innit?
Back tomorrow for more.
They didn't do the do did they? I would find it very sweet they didn't the first night and it would be very unsatisfying if they did and you glossed right over it. Eh, I'll choose to believe they didn't.
>While you indulge in the piles of food Sweet keeps stacking on the table, you can't help but remember the night of hardcore cuddling you just came out of. It seems like an eternity since the last time you had a snuggle so comfortable and warm with Sweet. You look at him, he looks at you, and you both avert your eyes immediately, like teens.
I'm afraid I won't be able to run tonight, I forgot to take exams into account. However, I'll post a single update later tonight so there's at least something to discuss.
Really? Thanks, I don't think I've done that good of a job.
Let Sweet in on our secret investigation that we think Bubbles might be a changeling. Did you see how she came over to our table last night and backed off when I mentioned "love?"
Anywho we better leave the present here for now, who know what we'll run into today.
>So, the place you've got closer is the guard HQ. Probably won't hurt Lorie if she waits an hour or two more, so you'll visit Merc first. You also need to find out if they neutralized the hospital construct once and for all.
"Alright Sweet, I'll be going to talk with Merc, and then with Lorie I guess" you comment, then add. "I need to get Smarts her present too... eh, there's time for that later."
>"Alright, need any help?" The colt, no, your colt, turns around and puts his own second or third round of breakfast on the table.
"Nothing important. However...! Remember what happened with Bubbles last night?"
>"Ugh, how could I forget... Are you finally going to tell me what that's about?"
"I think Bubbles is a changeling."
>It takes a while to hit Sweet, but suddenly he starts laughing.
>"A changeling!? Where did you get that idea from!?"
"Think about it: she flirts with everypony, she adopted a random monster she knew nothing about, and she's getting all of her love. Remember her face when I mentioned the word 'love' to her? Doesn't it make sense to you?"
>"Huh... that's pretty wild" Sweet stops cooking for a second. "So, are you investigating her?"
"Sort of. You can investigate too, if you want, or come with me, but chances are I will only be talking today, so nothing heroic I'd need you for" you joke around while caressing Sweet's cheek with a hoof. The colt's face goes all over the place while eating, and before he can recover, you give him a kiss on the side of the muzzle. "I'll see you later."
>Laughing like a maniac at the face of your partner, and not lacking giddiness yourself, you grab your things and get out onto the streets of Trottingham. The construct tracker seems to only display one bar, at 22%, so that's very good news for you. Flying happily across the crowded skies, you reach the guard barracks first of all.
>"Ah, Grape!" The young guardspony greets you once you enter the main offices past the reception. "I've got a few good news for you!"
"A few? Impress me" you walk up to your friend, who immediately opens a box nearby and shows you a bright blue orb sparking with dark tones. "Oh my gosh!"
>[OBJECTIVE COMPLETE: Find and neutralize the construct terrorizing the hospital area]
>"It took a lot longer than we expected, but we disabled the bandage construct. Here" the cream pony puts the power core in your hooves, the warm, fuzzy feeling once again flooding your legs. "Lorie should be able to make better use of this. Could you take it to her?"
"Oh, Merc, you know how to charm a mare, you..." you say while hugging the power core close to your chest. With this, now only one construct remains that you know of, and now Lorie will be able to upgrade the tracker further. "Why didn't you take it to her yourself?"
>"That takes me to the second bit of news" the colt rolls his eyes, looking at one of the closed rooms at the end of the offices. "The reinforcements from Canterlot arrived this morning, and corporal Gusty Shores left Trottingham on a permit. The new higher ranks are talking with corporal Rainbow right now, to assess the problem of the constructs" Merc frowns slightly. "They also asked to meet you, and they seem pretty professional to me, so tell me, do you want to go in now, or you would rather take care of your business first?
-Search the deep end of the forest with the royal guard.
-Is Bubble Stream a changeling?
Again, sorry for only being able to do one update. I'll be back tomorrow for a proper session.
"They want to meet me?" You ask, giving Merc a wary look while petting the power core close to your chest. "Why? Do they know about me?"
>"Of course, it's all because a certain mare has made a name for herself in this town" Mercury gives you his signature glare, which makes him look rather cute, you'll admit. "Since you're taking a large part of this effort on your hooves, the new ranks want to inform you on the next step of the plan."
"Oh... oh!" You jump. "Well, that's just what I was expecting! Finally somepony I can treat like an actual guardspony!" You cover your muzzle once you realize you said that a bit too loud. "I mean... not you Merc, at least you're diligent."
>"Thanks" the unicorn puffs his chest. "So, will you speak to them now?"
"Sure, sure. Do I look alright? Should I get shoulder pads or something, to deal with these ponies...?" Your mind starts wandering off to scenes of old mystery novels, where the shady detective mare has to meet with a gruff stallion from the castle guard.
>"N-No...? It will be fine, Grape, I'll be there to help" your friend polishes his small chest tuft with a hoof.
"In that case" you grab a random guard doing nothing but walking and eating a bagel, and put the blue core in his hooves. "Take care of this. If you break it, I will break you" with a dominant look, you leave the stallion in place and move forward. "Let's go, Merc!"
>The room you enter is empty of any furnishing, except for a small table in the center. A good eight or ten guards cover the walls while Rainbow Way and two ponies you don't recognize turn to look at you and Merc. They both wear ornate armor, but no helmet.
>"Sargeant, here's the mare you asked to see."
>"Ah, good!" One of the two newcomers, a large blue mare with a short trimmed mane and a characteristic scar on her cheek, approaches you with a slow gait. "Miss Grape Vine, is it?"
"That would be me."
>"Nice to meet you. I'm sergeant Lead Zepling of the guard, and this is corporal Ness Bright" she nods to her back. At first you see nothing, but...
>"Poof! A good day to you, miss!" A small, pink colt suddenly jumps out of nowhere and almost causes you to fall on your butt.
>"Calm down, Ness" the sargeant speaks with an authoritary voice, and the small colt walks back to her. "Thank you for stopping by, Miss Vine. I'll be quick and straight to the point. We've been well informed of your no less than heroic acts."
"Have you now..." you look at your sides and walk forward, feeling a bit intimidated by all the faceless stallions and mares looking at you from beyond their helmets. Mares? That's a new one in the guard. "W-Well, yeah, I suppose it's not a secret for anypony, heh" you calm down a bit when Mercury takes your left side."
>"Indeed, in the name of the guard, we'd like to thank you for being such an example of courage and leadership" Zepling draws a small smile on her face. "Since you're deeply involved in this situation, we decided to inform you that we will immediately start covering the forest south of this town for any clues to the location of the criminal Joulie Tesla" she looks back at the table, where you notice a small map of the isles. "We will start this afternoon."
"This afternoon!? Already?" Your eyes open wide. Looking around, it seems like the only pony with a problem about it is Rainbow, his face the reflection of a life wasted in donuts and nappies.
>"We won't lose any time before tracking down an evildoer!" The blue mare speaks, and the ponies around you suddenly nod at once, giving you goosebumps. "It is my duty to inform you that, since you're a civilian, you have no need to be involved in dangerous activities. However, we cannot stop you either. I will solve any questions you may have about the plan right now, or make haste with it and just give you the exact hour and place."
I think we should tell them that tess is a pretty good teleporter. She's also kind of nuts? She forgets where she is and what she's doing mid sentence too.
don't have any questions so just give us the time and place. we'll probably be there.
They know about us, but what about Merc? Throw an foreleg around him and let her know that Mercury was the most helpful, hardworking, and passionate guard you've had the pleasure to meet and during our efforts to keep the town safe he's been the one to whip the local guard into shape and spur them to action!
"I guess you're pretty busy, the whole thing being so close and all" you sit on the floor for a moment and think. "But this is exactly what I was waiting for, some reinforcements to explore the forest with Lorie. There's nothing urgent I'd like to ask, but did you learn enough about Tess to prepare something to catch her? Because she's gone pretty nuts, she's skilled with magic and can teleport herself at will, but she talks to herself, forgets where she is, it's a complete mess."
>"I see... we knew that we were dealing with a possibly unstable pony, but that information makes her capture even more urgent. Anything else you know?"
"I've told everything I know to the guard, as usual" you grab Mercury by the neck and pull him close for a snuggle. "Specially this little guy, Merc has been the most helpful guardspony in this town ever since the problem started. He even went as far as to train the other guards back on their hooves! The absolute madpony!"
>"T-That's not technically true, they already knew how to..." Merc tries to excuse himself, but you pull with your arm and shut him down.
"Seriously, I hope he gets a juicy promotion, because he's the most passionate pony about keeping this town safe, other than me! And he'll be able to woo all the ladies..." you add in a lower, more saucy tone.
>"Ooh! Props to you, rookie!" Ness, the pink colt, grabs Mercury from your grasp and brings him forth. "We'll make sure to put a nice medal right next to that chest tuft!"
>"Duly noted. Thank you, Miss Vine" the sergeant smiles earnestly at the display between the two young stallions. "If you have no other questions, then be present at the end of the main street in the southern area, where the town ends, at five sharp. We'll start scouting the forest and establishing a command center."
"Great. Thanks for giving us some help, sergeant, corporal" you give both command ponies lazy salutes, then exit along with Mercury to pick your orb and leave the barracks.
>"Honestly, Grape, you didn't have to put me on a pedestal in front of my superiors" the colt puffs, visibly flustered. "I was just doing my duty."
"You silly horse, that's exactly why I had to put you on a pedestal" you chuckle and open the door exiting back onto the streets, when a scream and a particular image settles in your eyes. "Oh?" Some blocks ahead, it seems like the moving of a heavy object onto the second floor of a house has gone wrong, as the large object and a pony are both falling from the high railing, the object falling directly on top of another working pony, making two the total number of ponies in peril before your eyes.
I don't think Merc is with us and we don't have the time to fetch him. So it's either save the falling pony "A" or one that's to be squished, pony "B".
This may be a stretch, but maybe we can sort of fly and tackle/buck the object away from the pony B and either catch/break fall of pony A. If that is not an option I say we shoot the falling object with our hoof lazer and catch the falling one!
>Without hesitation, you drop the orb, which rolls back into a corner of the elaborate guard HQ entrance.
>"I know!" Your friend replies as you both start running forward.
"Pull that one!" You simply yell, your hoof pointing at the poor pony about the be crushed while your wings unfold and stretch. With a couple of mighty flaps, you forget about the first victim, putting your trust in Mercury, and focus on the second one.
>The young earth pony mare falls hopelessly from the top of the building, a fall big enough to break a leg or something worse. Through sheer pushing of your wings, you manage to catch her in the last split second, lowering her to the ground without listening to her cries of thanks.
>The scene you find is much different than what you had expected. You had hoped Mercury had moved the other pony out of the way, and the object crashed into a million pieces, but instead, you find a face you've just met, barely a few ponies' length from you: Lead Zepling, balancing a huge grandfather clock on her back, a cloud of dust raised from her position up to where Mercury stands, jaw fully open and motionless.
"I, er... did I miss anything?"
>"That was..." the mare replies, carefully unloading the clock of her back as if it were nothing "very lucky. I was about to catch up with you, and I saw the accident as well" she walks up to you. "Nice wingpower."
"I... thanks" you look at the sergeant, completely unfazed after running a distance it took you physical wing pain to fly, and stopping a giant clock from falling.
>"Oh dear, oh dear!" Suddenly, in between both of you appears none other than Gearwork, the owner of the clock shop. "I simply cannot thank you enough for what you did! Those poor ponies, I knew we should have secured the clock better, oh, stupid, stupid me...!"
>"Take it as a personal advice, sir" Zepling replies, a bit hoarse. "No amount of rope is a waste" she points at her cheek, where the scar adorns her face.
>"Oh, I will, I will!" The clockpony turns around to the other workers. "Are you alright, fellas? Come here, let me help..."
"Well..." you let the heat of the moment dissipate as Mercury finally catches up with you and gives you the orb back. "What did you want, sergeant?"
>"I'd like to ask you" she looks at you "to invite this Lorie pony to the HQ, so we may speak with her as well. Nothing too personal, just about the same we asked of you."
"I can do that!" You reply with confidence, then turn around to Mercury. "What about you, Merc?"
>"Oh, I, er...!" The colt suddenly starts getting red, looking between you and his superior. "I'm not supposed to... however, I do have certain matters... at the southern area... I, well..." the frequency of his looking between the two of you and the ground is starting to get you dizzy. You better get him to decide or leave, because it's so adorable it's downright silly.
>As an aside, you take a look at the hour: it's barely eleven, and they told you to be ready at five, so that gives you around six hours of freedom before you start your expedition. Exciting!
Tell Merc we have it covered. Tell him to say hi to his girlfriend for us. If he asks us how we know do the thing in the books where they go "you just told me." Because that's awesome.
I'm just taking it all because it's an awesome suggestion and it fits. Well done.
"I can vouch for Mercury, sergeant" you speak up, the colt's intentions suddenly clear to you. "He's a young, healthy pony and he enjoys the views of this town. I believe he'll be back as soon as you need him."
>"Hmm... I don't see why not. Take the rest of the morning, rookie, and come back after lunch" the sergeant executes a proper salute, which the unicorn mimics.
"Is there anything you'd like me to ask Lorie before I send her to you?" You finally ask.
>"Nothing, but thank you for the concern. I believe we'll be on good terms, Grape Vine, and hopefully capture this mare soon..." with a steady trot, the large mare excuses herself back into the royal guard building, and Mercury breathes a sigh of relief.
>"Thank you, Grape. I suppose you'd want me to go with you..."
"Oh, that's fine, I'll go visit Lorie on my own" you wave a hoof, looking around as if you were casually dismissing him. "Just say hello to your marefriend for me."
>"Sure, I'll..." the colt stops mid sentence, then his muzzle scrunches up so hard, it's almost like he got trapped in a vaccuum. "W-W-What!? How did you know...!?"
"Well, you just confirmed it" with a flick of your tail, you leave while laughing slyly, Mercury rooted to the ground for the second time in a row as you grin to yourself. He shall never know how you found out. Eee, you're so cool!
>"Fantastic, absolutely dramatic, simply...!" Lorie raves on once you finally greet her at her cabin and show her the recently recovered power core. The unicorn's house looks even worse than usual, the amount of papers, precooked food packages and other crap thrown all around increasing dangerously. Not the mention the smell.
"Lorie... I know you're concerned about Tess and all... but in the name of Tartarus, you need to clean up!"
>"Huh? Oh, sure, sure, when I finish these equations..." she starts looking at some of the many papers thrown on the floor. "Huh... I swear I left them somewhere around here..." what she doesn't realize is that her trotting around scrambles the papers even further.
"Lorie, are you getting enough sleep?"
"No, it's not enough!!" You puff your cheeks. "I get that Tess is your friend and all, but I'm YOUR friend, so you will start taking care of yourself, or my name isn't Grape Vine!"
>"O-Okay..." the mare shrinks a bit, her eyes inevitably moving towards the blue orb. "So... what sort of upgrade would you like to have? Pinpointing constructs, bigger range of early detection...?" her eyebrows wiggle suggestively. "Ponytron blast?"
Again, I'm afraid I have to stop here. I'll be back tomorrow at the same hour.
Fins, if I could make an art request, could you draw Lorie holding a "Threads" doll and a larger Little Star doll and gently pressing their muzzles together with a slight blush on her face as she says "And then they kissed..." or something along those lines?