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Diplomacy 10

Apr 22nd, 2018
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  1. >This was a fancy place
  2. >Paintings lined the walls, and there was this plush rug lining the floor
  3. >Gold also seemed to be on every surface
  4. >Not that crappy stuff they make bits out of either
  5. >Ac-gold: the kind that glowed in the dark and would cost a mare a months pay just for a little sprinkle of it
  6. >It was also supposed to help uni's with their magic, but you didn't know anything about that
  7. >Marble pillars held up a ceiling so high that you couldn't see it in this half light
  8. >The carpet felt pretty nice on your hooves
  9. >The oddly cold air was also nice after running for most of the day
  10. >If you weren't a professional, you might have just flopped on the ground and took a nap
  11. >"You're late," a voice boomed out
  12. >You turned your attention toward the end of the room
  13. >There, sitting under a silk canopy and attended by a group of stallions--stallions that had collars on and their tails cut short; not that that was any of your business-- was your boss
  14. >You didn't know her name
  15. >Didn't need to either
  16. >She paid well, and had promised a load more after your job was done, and that's all that mattered to you
  17. >She was sitting in some weird bean bag looking chair, a glass of what looked like wine in her hoof
  18. >She was twirling her drink around, staring at you with a raise eyebrow
  19. "Half of the city is lookin' for me," you said, making your way toward her. "Princesses didn't seem to like me shootin' that colt all that much. They had the whole guard out."
  20. >Not that that mattered too much
  21. >The guard was next to useless in this city
  22. >But you needed to pretend that there was some effort on your part
  23.  
  24. >If not for your pride, then to maybe squeeze a few more bits out of this mare
  25. >"I heard," the mare said, leaning back into her chair. "I was also told by my contacts in the palace that your target is still alive."
  26. "Horse apples," you said with a snort. "That bolt went through his shoulder, an' he was dumb enough to try to chase me. Colt shoulda bled to death 'fore anyone got to 'im."
  27. >One of the stallions cleared his throat
  28. >The noble looked over at him, making him and the other colts flinch
  29. >"I'm afraid that you're very much mistaken. Lord Aegis is very much alive and well. It seems that these northernmen are a good deal heartier than one might expect."
  30. >You grimaced
  31. >If that was true, there was no way in Tartarus you were getting your full pay
  32. >Sure, she had already paid you enough to make you a very happy pegasus for a good long while, but still
  33. "I could wait a few days before tryin' again," you suggested. "Maybe try an' poison his food, or just put a knife in 'im when he's sleepin'."
  34. >For the first time since you had gotten into contact with her, your boss smiled
  35. >"No, I don't believe that that would be a very wise idea," she said, giving her half empty glass to one of the stallions before pushing herself out of her seat. "We did have the element of surprise, but now that you've bungled what should have been a very simple hit I'll have to get... creative with Canterlot's guest."
  36. >The noble made her way toward you
  37. >Her movements were thoughtful, elegant, almost practiced; like a dancer or something
  38. >It wasn't long before she was just a foot or two away from you, sickeningly sweet smile still on her face
  39. >"Now I have to decide what to do with you," she said, head cocking to the side. "You can't have another go at the noble lord or his men. If you were to be captured you might be forced to answer some very awkward questions."
  40. >You raised an eyebrow
  41. >Not taking your eyes off the noble, you checked to see if the dagger was still tucked under your wing
  42.  
  43. "I need to lay low for awhile," you said. "When the heat calms down I need to leave the city. I got just the place to hide till then."
  44. >"Nonsense," the noble said with a shake of her hoof. "I've put you through so much trouble, the least I could do is let you stay here for a few days."
  45. >She wrapped a hoof around your neck and began to lead you toward the stallions
  46. >"There's more than enough rooms in this mansion, and I'm sure that this place has enough things to keep you entertained."
  47. "I suppose so," you said, eyeing one of the stallions standing in front of you
  48. >The noble smile, releasing you
  49. >"Fantastic. Shine Spark, go and get myself and our guest some wine. The Ve' Ltiche if you please. Flip Jock, go and get a room prepared as well as some food. I'm sure that this fine, upstanding mare is faminished after all of the running that she was forced to do."
  50. >Two stallions stepped forward
  51. >They bowed their heads so low that they touched the ground before making their way out of the room
  52. >You found yourself relaxing somewhat
  53. >Not a lot mind you, but just enough that you weren't ready to shove your blade into this cunt's neck
  54. >Holding up here would be a hell of a lot nicer than the shack that you were thinking of
  55. >This place probably had better food and drink too, and if you asked nicely maybe a stallion or two could find themselves in your bed
  56. >As you were lost in your thoughts, one of the stallions that had left returned with a bottle of wine and two glasses sitting on top of a silver tray
  57. >The tray off the colt's back with her magic, the mare levitated it over
  58. >She then grabbed the wine and with practiced ease uncorked it and filled both glasses
  59. >"Would you like some? It's from the south. A bit sweet for my taste, but it is good wine to drink on special occasions."
  60. >Without waiting for your answer, the noble takes one of the glasses and takes a long, leisurely sip before smacking her lips
  61.  
  62. >You eyed the wine
  63. >Plucking it from the tray, you sniffed the drink
  64. >'Course, you couldn't smell most poisons; not any of the fancy ones that nobles like this could afford anyway
  65. >But you had been in this business a long, long time, and as such you had built up a bit of an immunity to most things
  66. >Not that you thought this dyke would try to pull something like that
  67. >But even so, you were prepared...
  68. >Bringing the glass to your lips, you took a small sip
  69. >The wine tasted like wine; nothing funny about it that you could tell
  70. >Waiting for a second or two to see if felt any different, you took a bigger sip
  71. >It had been a LONG day
  72. >You were thirsty, so that bigger sip turned into you drinking the whole thing
  73. >"Have another glass," the noble said, pouring you some more. "I have plenty. Dozens of bottles in fact."
  74. >You grunted your thanks, quickly draining your glass and extending it toward her for another refill
  75. >Thankfully, the noble just hoofed you the whole bottle, which you happily took
  76. "This is pretty good. I've never drank anything like it 'fore," you said, licking your lips before wrapping them around the bottle's mouth
  77. >The noble chuckled
  78. >"It's a bit of a niche vintage to be fair," she said, swirling her glass. "It comes from a small village just a few miles north of the Badlands."
  79. "Huh. Ain't that somethin'."
  80. >The noble nodded
  81. >"What is truly fascinating is that these particular wine makers don't use a single grape to make their wine."
  82. >You had taken your second or third gulp from the bottle when you felt something
  83. >Your throat was tightening
  84. >...
  85. >Shit
  86.  
  87. >Without hesitation, you threw the bottle across the room and pulled your dagger from under your wing, intent on stabbing the noble
  88. >The bottle exploded against a pillar as you lunged forward
  89. >Your cry of rage was barely audible however, as your throat was rapidly closing
  90. >The noble's horn glowed, and before you could land a killing blow her magic caught you by the elbow and the pit of your leg
  91. >You were about to smack her with the tip of your wing to break her concentration when you felt your face swelling up
  92. >"They use a very special peanut that's only grown in that location," The noble continued, taking a small sip of her wine. "I forget the name of the thing, but apparently it can be squeezed and processed so that it can be turned into what we're drinking now."
  93. >She spared a glance at you
  94. >"Oh, forgive me, but aren't you allergic to peanuts? A severe reaction if I'm not mistake."
  95. >You gargled, pawing at your throat with your free hoof
  96. >Your entire body was swelling up
  97. >You couldn't breath...
  98. >Dropping your knife, you tried to reach into one of your pouches, only for the magic holding the limb to tighten
  99. >"If you hadn't failed I might have left you walk away with both your bits and your life," the noble said. "Unfortunately, you'll only keep your bits.
  100. >You could barely hear her
  101. >Blood was roaring in your ears
  102. >You felt dizzy, sick
  103. >The world was beginning to grow black
  104. >You tried to fight it as hard as you could, but it was no use
  105. >"It will be far more difficult to teach those blasted stallions a lesson now," the noble continued with a sigh, turning away from you
  106. >Her magic released you, allowing you to slump to the floor
  107. >You pawed at the ground uselessly, tears falling from your completely swelled eyes
  108. >"Still, even so a lesson must be taught. We can't have somepony just waltz in here and cause a ruckus. They most certainly can't just get away with attacking their betters."
  109. >The noble offered her glass of wine to a stallion, who quickly took it
  110. >She said more, but you could no longer hear her
  111. >It was getting so dark...
  112. >And warm...
  113. >Warm and dark...
  114.  
  115.  
  116. ~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~
  117.  
  118.  
  119.  
  120. >Your room was completely silent
  121. >Every knight that your lord had brought stood at various levels of attention and dress
  122. >Lord Aegis sat at a chair one of the knights had stolen from the dining area
  123. >He looked upset, his brow furrowed as he rubbed the space where the crossbow bolt had gone through
  124. >Sitting beside him was Lord Hanz
  125. >For the past half an hour, the two had been speaking in low tones
  126. >Lord Hanz was writing on a long, crisp piece of white parchment paper
  127. >You were too far to actually read what he was writing, but it had to be important since everyone had been ordered to stay a fair distance
  128. >Some of the other knights were trying to distract you, trying to play memory games or telling you stories that you had heard a million times
  129. >You barely listened to any of it, just looking at your lord
  130. >This was the first time since you had become his page that he hadn't let you write his letters
  131. >It was strange
  132. >It made you feel... useless
  133. >You didn't like this feeling
  134. >Your lord had already been SHOT today, and you hadn't been able to do anything
  135. >Sure, there wasn't too much you could have done, but still...
  136. >A noise came from your lord that made you all perk up
  137. >Lord Aegis leaned back into his chair, covering his hands
  138. >Lord Hanz, not looking much happier, gently blew on his parchment
  139. >"Put my damned seal on the thing and put it in a container. We need to get this to his highness," your lord said. "We can't trust the Equestrians with this. I'll have to send a few men home."
  140. >Lord Hanz nodded
  141. >"Of course my lord. Just let me get the wax and your seal. We can decide who to send afterward.""
  142. >He got up and made his way over to the other end of the room, where some of your writing supplies were kept
  143. >Lord Aegis stood up as well
  144.  
  145. >Grabbing his chair, he picked it up and spun it around so he could face you all
  146. >"Gentlemen, we are in a bit of an awkward situation," he said, leaning forward in his chair. "As you're all aware, some stupid cunt tried to assassinate me. This is obviously a problem."
  147. >Your lord rolled his shoulder, grimacing
  148. >"I won't lie to you lads, this is the first time that anyone's tried to shoot me on a diplomatic mission. I much prefer when they're doing it where I can see it."
  149. >That gets some chuckles from the knights around you
  150. >It was a tired, mirthless laughter however
  151. >Lord Aegis was silent for a few moments, as if he were milling something over in his mind
  152. >"If I know Drfual, I'm willing to bet that the fucker knew something like this would happen. Hopefully he knew that I'd survive as well."
  153. >That earned your lord some smiles
  154. >You smiled as well, though your heart really wasn't in it
  155. >Lord Aegis rose to his feet and began pacing
  156. >"But there's a problem, gentlemen. If our mighty king knew that I'd survive he know doubt expects that I'll be able to navigate through this hodgepodge. I also expect that he wants me to do this without starting a war."
  157. >He scratched his chin
  158. >"The problem, my lads, is that I have no idea how to do it in this gods-damned country. Back home I could have gone out and busted some heads, or send some of you lads out, or asked Drfual to bribe the right people. The fact is that we can't do any of that without sticking out like sore thumbs or getting ourselves arrested."
  159. >He clapped his hands together
  160. >"So, since we can't leave until this negotiation is over, and I'm not staying in this damn room for gods' know how long, I'm very open to suggestions."
  161. >For several seconds, no one so much as moved
  162. >"You... what?"
  163. >One of the knights asked
  164. >Annoyance made its way onto your lord's face
  165.  
  166. >"I was a fucking bandit for thirty years, I don't goddamn know how to be a diplomat," he said with a wave of his hand. "I can't kill anyone, as far as I can tell I can't get any reliable information on who tried to kill me, and I don't know if they'll try to kill me again."
  167. >He gestured toward all of you
  168. >"So please, if you have any ideas on what to do I'd love to hear it."
  169. >Confusion, hesitation, and even a little fear swept the room
  170. >All except for the some of the northerns, one of which took a step forward and opened his mouth to speak
  171. >"I think--"
  172. >"No," you lord interrupted, shaking his head.
  173. >The big man deflated slightly
  174. >"But you didn't even hear what I had to say," he complained
  175. >"Does it have anything to do with killing someone, Yogenhiem?" your lord asked
  176. >The northerner, raising a finger, began to speak, only to pause
  177. >He blinked, looking at your lord, then at his fellow northerners
  178. >"...Yes?"
  179. >"Get out," Lord Aegis said, pointing toward the door. "Go and guard the door. Go and bother some pony guards. I don't care what you do, but I don't want you in this fucking room. That goes for the rest of you lot as well."
  180. >With no small amount of grumbling, every one of the northerners made their way toward the door
  181. >Lord Eaterus, snickering, tried to say something to one of them, only to get pushed off his feet by one of the bigger northmen
  182. >You lord, leaning back into his chair, covered his face with a hand and closed his eyes as they left
  183. >"Come on now, lads. Let's hear something. Anything, so long as it doesn't leave me trying to carve through half of this fucking city."
  184. >"We could let the Equestrian princesses handle it," someone said
  185. >"If they get a damn thing done about this I'll be shocked," Lord Aegis said. "Next."
  186. >"We could just leave?" An easterling said
  187.  
  188. >"We're not leaving until we get this mission finished," your lord said, rubbing his temples. "Next."
  189. >"Maybe we could try to talk with some of the nobles? Maybe get friendly with a house?"
  190. >Opening an eye, Lord Aegis looked at the man who had just spoken
  191. >"Do you think I want to get friendly with any of these nobles, boy?"
  192. >"If we get friendly with a house then maybe they could keep you from getting shot, lord," another man said with a shrug. "Or keeping any of us from getting shot, or poisoned, or kidnapped."
  193. >Some of the knights nodded in their agreement
  194. >Your lord looked like he was considering the knights words
  195. >"Any house we picked could have been the fuckers that tried to have me killed," he said. "And even if they weren't there's a damn fine chance of them trying to tangle us in some nonsense."
  196. >"It wouldn't hurt, would it? And it's not like you need to go through with any promise that they might make you make."
  197. >One of the westerlings puffed up
  198. >"Our lord would never do that! He's a man of honor that--"
  199. >"Shut your damn mouth, Dufang," lord Aegis said. "I robbed and murdered men when your cunting father was still in diapers."
  200. >A thought came to mind, causing you to step forward
  201. "What about lady Fleur? We could ask her to help us, since we saved one of her house's stallions."
  202. >Many of the knights exchanged glances
  203. >There were murmurs of agreement
  204. >Some of the other knights didn't seem to care all that much for the idea, however
  205. >The talking grew louder and louder as the men discussed it
  206. >Lord Aegis didn't pay it any mind
  207. >With a grunt, he sat back into his chair
  208. >He looked off into the distance, leaning oddly in his seat
  209. >He rested his head in his hands, tapping a finger against his cheek
  210. >Your lord stayed like this for what felt like half an hour until, with a sigh, he sat back up
  211. >"Alright, I suppose we'll have to try that."
  212. >The knights immediately went silent
  213. >Lord Aegis shook his head
  214. >"This... This is going to be a blighting shitshow," he said with a nod. "I hope our royal cunt knows what he's doing."
  215. >He was silent for a few moments before making a noise of disgust
  216. >"Blah, I'm sure I'll think of something. For now, Frutial, go and see if this castle has a smithy. My armor needs fixed, and I feel in these old bones that I'm going to need it very soon."
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