Diplomacy 5

Jun 9th, 2017
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  1. >The city of Canterlot itself was unlike any city that you had ever seen
  2. >Pristine, massive despite it's location, and just as beautiful as it was functional
  3. >And it this great city was one of the eleven wonders of the world
  4. >This thing wasn't some great momument or natural landmark--though the city DID have more than a few of those
  5. >No
  6. >This wonder was ever moving, ever growing
  7. >It was as old as the city itself and took up nearly a quater of its streets
  8. >It was the great market of Canterlot
  9. >"Come and get your apples here!"
  10. >"Spices! I have spices! All kinds of spices!"
  11. >"Need a blade? I'm your mare!"
  12. >Even in Humeyithal you had heard of this great market
  13. >How chaotic and vibrant it could be
  14. >All around you you could see all manner of creatures, from a normal earth ponys to dragons and goats
  15. >Some looked like wealthy lords, scanning the markets in search for something or another
  16. >Others were vendors, selling from cart and tent and building
  17. >Near a cart stacked high with horseshoes, you could see a group of ponies laughing together
  18. >Near a utterly massive fountain, you could see two dragons conversing with each other, scanning the crowds with their teeth bared
  19. >A small patrol of guards were making their rounds, eyeing up any potential purse snatchers or thieves
  20. >It was indeed as chaotic as the stories said it was
  21. >But there was a certain beauty in it, with its screaming ponies and the smells of cooking food and spices in the air
  22. >If one wasn't careful, they might have let themselves become swept up in it
  23. >But, as wonderful as the city appeared to be, you knew that this place wasn't all sunshine and rainbows
  25. >You had heard dark tales about this place
  26. >Of slaves being sold in unmarked buildings
  27. >Of ponies and other beings being taken in board daylight never to be seen again
  28. >And worse...
  29. >Much, much worse...
  30. >Because of this you, your lord, and group of thirty knights scanned the streets you were walking down carefully
  31. >Each knight had a hand on his weapon
  32. >Your lord had his hammer resting on his shoulder
  33. >You could feel a tension in the air that made your stomach tight
  34. >Everywhere you looked you could see creatures eyeing you
  35. >In the back of your mind, you were pretty sure they were just curious
  36. >Humans very rarely left their kingdom after all
  37. >But the less rational side of you remembered some of the stories that the older knights would tell
  38. >Gryphon raiding parties that would take men
  39. >Donkeys that would sweet talk young children into their carts for a life of chains and servitute
  40. >Minotaurs that had tried to take over your entire kingdom so that its heifers could forceably claim themselves a mate
  41. >And there were gyphons, donkeys, minotaurs all around you
  42. >And there were a LOT of them...
  43. >Both Princess Celestia and Princess Twilight, both who were leading you through the streets, didn't seem to notice the tension in this air, or if they did they seemed to ignore it very well
  44. >The alicorns, for some reason or another, had decided to walk the streets without a guard
  45. >So, whether your lord and the other knights meant to or not, they formed a protective circle around the two
  47. >Out of the corner of your eye, you could see that Princess Celestia was talking with your lord
  48. >You couldn't quite catch what they were saying, what with all of the noises of the market, but you could see that your lord was beginning to look less tense
  49. >His knuckle-white grip on his hammer was starting to loosen, and his expression was beginning to soften
  50. >Seeing that put you at ease
  51. >Not totally at ease, but at least you weren't holding your dagger so hard
  52. >"--And over there is the building where Starswirl the Bearded spent most of his time! And over there is where the great Clover the Clever used to buy cheese! She used to be especially fond of any kind of prench cheese. Do you get prench cheese in Humeyithal? Maybe you have something similar...?"
  53. >You turned your attention to Princess Twilight
  54. >The purple alicorn trotted through the streets like she had walked them all of her life
  55. >There was a smile on her face as she continued pointing out things to Ser Ulferic, who was doing his best to ignore her
  56. >"Hey! Hey you! Little lord!"
  57. >You perked up as a voice rose above the noises of the market and reached your ears
  58. >Looking to your left, you could see a gyphon eyeing you
  59. >"Hey little lord, why don't you come over here and have some sweets?" she called. "I got anything you could ever want right here!"
  60. >The bird smiled at you, a predatory expression in her eye
  61. >Your stomach tightened at the sight and, eyeing her warily, you moved deeper into your little circle
  62. >Ser Keller, who was standing right next to you, placed a hand on your shoulder
  63. >He looked at the gryphon for a moment before unsheathing a foot of his sword
  64. >The hen's eyes widened in alarm, and she quickly looked away
  65. >Letting his blade slip back into his scabbard, ser Keller gave your shoulder a squeeze
  66. >"Never show fear to creatures such as that, lad," he said. "They can smell it just like a manticore smells blood."
  68. >You nodded
  69. "Yes ser. Thank you ser."
  70. >Puffing your chest out, you tried to look as intimidating as you could
  71. >Ser Keller smiled, giving you a pat on the back
  72. >Yeah...
  73. >Just like this...
  74. >You were a soon-to-be big, bad knight!
  75. >No one was gonna mess with you!
  76. >No--
  77. >"Your highnesses! It is EVER so good to see you!"
  78. >You let out a yelp, jumping nearly a foot into the air
  79. >Don'tstealmepleaseI'dbeahorribleslave!
  80. >You were about to whip out your dagger when one of the other knights reached down and grabbed your hand
  81. >"Easy there boy."
  82. >You ignored him, your head whipping around to see where the threat was
  83. >The threat, you saw, was just a group of well dressed stallions making their way toward you
  84. >...Oh
  85. >"Princess Twilight! It's wonderful to see you again, my dear!" one of the stallions said, trotting over and giving her a kiss on both cheeks
  86. >He was a chestnut brown unicorn
  87. >He was oddly large for his size you guessed, with a horn that was just a bit bigger than the rest of his friends
  88. >The princess went ramrod stiff from the male's attention, a blush exploding across her face
  89. >The stallions giggled behind hooves
  90. >The brown stallion quick stepped around her and made his way toward Princess Celestia
  91. >"Celestia! Its been a very long time hasn't it?" he said, kissing her cheeks as well
  92. >Princess Celestia, who now looked like she had sucked on a lemon, returned the greeting
  94. >"Good afternoon, Lord Hayseed. I'm glad to see that you're doing well."
  95. >"As well as I can be, I suppose," the stallion said with a sigh. "I've been rather busy since you've last seen me, my dear."
  96. >Princess Celestia's expression soured even more
  97. >"Oh?"
  98. >"Oh, you wouldn't BELIEVE how difficult it is keeping my girls from trying to kill each other," the lord said, swooning. "Some days I'm so beside myself with work I just don't know what to do!"
  99. >"I'm sure..."
  100. >The stallion took a deep breath, as if collecting himself
  101. >He then gave the princess one of the fakest smiles that you had ever seen
  102. >"I've been SO busy that I decided to spend the day with my fellows here to see if the market has anything for a poor colt to purchase."
  103. >His eyes flicked up to Lord Aegis, who was standing there with a look of utter boredom on his face
  104. >"There might not be much in the market today, but it does seem that there's something new," he said, before bowing at your lord. "It's very nice to meet you, lord Aegis."
  105. >Your lord, of course, did not return the bow
  106. >He simply looked at the stallion, a bit of distaste and confusion in his eyes
  107. >"You're a noble," he said, making it sound more like a fact than a statement
  108. >You could see the stallion's smile grow even with his head bowed
  109. >"That I am, my lord. I'm count Hayseed of the Hayseed clan."
  110. >Your lord grunted
  111. >"And what can I do for you today, my lord? he asked
  112. >Lord Hayseed picked his head up
  113. >"I just wanted to meet the brave stallions that helped save poor Fancy the other day," he said.
  114. >Your lord grunted again
  115. >He looked at the knights on either side of him
  116. >Making a motion with his hands, he walked around the stallion and made his way down the street
  118. >The other knights, helping the princesses along with a few taps to the rump, followed
  119. >Lord Hayseed and ther other stallions, not to be disswayed, followed
  120. >"You know, Fancy and I are friends, and since I've known him I've told him not to go in those back alleys like that! Again and again I said, "Fancy, somepony's going to try something with you one of these days, and if you don't have a mare with you you're going to be in trouble!" but he never listened! The NERVE of someponies! Why, if he wasn't my friend I'd--"
  121. >Lord Aegis tapped his hammer against his shoulder
  122. >There was a thoughtful expression on his face
  123. >"--And I'm not saying that I looked better in that vest than him, but I know for a fact that more mares were eyeing me than him when we went out that night and--"
  124. >You had seen that look before
  125. >It was the same look he had right before he smacked someone, usually you
  126. >"--And do you know that she side to me? She said, "Hayseed, we can't keep buying new furniture for the villa every six months." Isn't that a load of horse apples? I don't know about you, but I simply CAN'T be in a house that isn't up to the latest fashions. So I told her, and my other girls, that they--"
  127. >You could see Princess Celestia eyeing your lord meaningfully
  128. >Lord Aegis looked down at her before looking at his hammer
  129. >His eyes narrowed down to slits
  130. >"--And that wasn't even the best part of the party! Duke Honey Lime--another one of my very good friends-- got up in the middle of a song and really showed us how to dance! You should have SEEN him, my lord. That stallion might be as ugly as sin but I swear to the sun he can glide across a dance floor like no other! You know, there happens to be a ball tonight. If you and these nice looking colts aren't busy I'm sure that I can talk to a few ponies an get you..."
  131. >Lord Aegis was going to hit this stallion
  132. >You could feel it in your bones
  134. >He was going to hit this stallion and you, Princess Celestia, every knight here, and even some of the stallion's friends wanted him to hit him
  135. >HARD
  136. >But, for your surprise, your lord showed restraint
  137. >"Lord Hayseed," he said, getting the stallion's attention. "As much as I'd... enjoy speaking to you for the rest of the day I'm afraid we must part ways."
  138. >Lord Hayseed stopped, looking up at your lord
  139. >"Are you sure, hon? My friends and I would be happy to accompany you, show you the places to be in this city."
  140. >Lord Aegis let his hammer fall back into his shoulder
  141. >"I appreciate the sentiment, but my knights and I are not here for pleasure."
  142. >Lord Hayseed's brow furrowed
  143. >He looked at his fellow stallions, who looked back at him
  144. >There was some muttering, some glances in your lord's direction
  145. >You stood there, squirming
  146. >Please leave...
  147. >Please leave...
  148. >By all the gods, please leave...
  149. >Finally, after a pause, lord Hayseed spoke
  150. >"...Well, if you're positive dear. I know better than anypony just how busy a stallion could be. But, before you leave, I have to INSIST that you come to my estate for some tea."
  151. >Though you could see that it took visible effort, your lord inclined his head
  152. >"If my schedule allows, my lord."
  153. >The smile came back to lord Hayseed's face
  154. >"Make sure you do, or I'll be VERY cross," he said, playfully slapping your lord's thigh. "I'll be off then. Come on colts, I heard there's a gem sale a few blocks down."
  155. >You and the knights around you jumped as the stallions let out an excited cry, spinning around and racing down the street
  156. >You all watched them go, surprised, confused, and even a little concerned
  157. >That...
  158. >That was...
  159. >Something...
  161. >Looking back at your lord, you saw lord Aegis watching the retreating stallions
  162. >His grip was once again tight on his hammer, and there was a look of disgust on his face
  163. >"If I see that pony again I will throw him out of a window," he said to no one in particular
  164. >Both Princess Twilight and Princess Celestia twitched, but otherwise made no comment
  165. >Several seconds ticked by as your group just stood there, processing just what had happened
  166. >The books had been right
  167. >The men here were different from the ones at home
  168. >A LOT different...
  169. >Princess Twilight cleared her throat
  170. >"Yes, well... how about we get back to the tour, huh?" she asked with a nervous smile. "There's still a lot to show after all!"
  171. >"You're absolutely right, Twilight," princess Celestia said, looking up at your lord. "Lord Aegis, if you would..."
  172. >Your lord made dismissive gesture with his hand
  173. >"Come on then. Let's see what else this market has to offer..."
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