For those unaware, this log references two ongoing story threads: Fluttershy's likeness has been stolen by an aggressive advertiser, and Trixie has decided the way to obtain a powerful government position is to show up and pretend you already have one.
Once known as the Palace of the Two Sisters, now the sole demesne of her sovereign of the night, the Princess Luna and her court, the ruins have stirred to a semblance of former splendor. Here, in the Palace of the Moon, the ponies of the night hold sway. Slowly, bulwarked walls and rebuilt ceilings are reclaiming the palace, though suspiciously mobile plants-- perhaps escapees from the brooding sharp-peaked shape of the Lunarium nearby-- still choke the ruins. With every flag at half-mast and dark bunting fluttering at the parapets, the Palace is wearing mourning colours. A cherished member of the court, a valiant servant, and an honourable warrior has fallen in Luna's service. Today, we pay tribute to Squire Firefly, strong right hoof of the Princess.
The Night Court on the threshold of Winter. Hardly any of the palace is repaired, but building has focused on the main hall, kitches, and other visitor places. Admittedly, a lot of the recent building seems to be using big cardboard Fluttershy cutouts as flying buttresses to hold up new walls. And some of the broken windows have been papered over with posters of Fluttershy selling Flim And Flam's Patented Ne'er You Mind: What Does It Do? Never You Mind! The almost normal front hall stops near the thrones of the Sun and Moon, and Luna sits surrounded by rubble, with huge holes in the walls and ceiling blowing occasional flakes of snow around her in a light breeze. Since Luna is about as popular with the nobility as gelding, she reclines in silence, looking up at the scattered clouds and peeking stars. Every once in awhile, a butterscotch candy will float out of the candy bowl next to her for her to suck on.
<OOC> Fluttershy says, "They didn't even give me my free case. :<"
"Ooh, wow!" "Look at the stars!" "Toldja it'd be cool." Are those -- are those foal voices? It could be a foal-headed chimera wumpus, for all anypony knows, because that's definitely a much LARGER crashing through the bushes than any one child could make. And there's another - "No, kids! Come back! Stop, please! Thunderball, quit leading them on! Oh, dear." That voice is awfully yellow.
Diamond_Dancer is currently, sitting outside of the castle's front doors, awaiting the group. She's actually fairly excited about all this- showing off the castle, the princess, and all the cool stuff that comes with being a Night's Errant. She's dressed in her offical armor, her mane is kind-of-sort-of-combed and she does her best to look professional and offical, and not like a scruffy little street urchin...
<OOC> Luna says, "Oh, me. Her official armor." <OOC> Luna says, "Her official armor is made out of crystal with gold edgings. It has spikes. It glitters a lot. It is MEANT to break when DD hits things." <OOC> Diamond_Dancer says, "Yup. Her official armor. XD" <OOC> Diamond_Dancer says, "Diamond is a living grenade in a room of first graders. WHAT COULD GO WRONG?! "
Luna is not paying attention to any of this. She is slumped back on her throne, looking up at the sky. Her horn moves in little arcs, cutting the clouds into pegasus shapes, although you'd need amazing night vision to spot them against a night-time sky. But don't worry, the palace staff is on it. Except the palace staff have all called in sick, because they don't like working out here in the middle of nowhere for Nettleglum, either. So instead a cutout of Fluttershy in a bellhop suit is standing next to the half a front door that's been installed, and cutouts of Fluttershy are arranged in a line behind Diamond Dancer, holding dioramas of food. They're really good dioramas, so some of them might actually be food.
*PLAP* Up goes another Flutterposter over a scorched crater in the finely carved wood paneling. The Great and Powerful Trixie basks in the comforting thought of advertising revenue... and also the presence of Her Highness, Princess of the Moon, Ruler of the Night Court, yadda yadda, etc. "Do show them in, my faithful assistant!" she calls to Diamond Dancer, gratuitously inserting herself into the chain of command. The unicorn straightens her hat and cape, then straightens the spear taped to a pink-maned cardboard pegasus guard's hoof. Such splendor, where all the guards look identical and stand perfectly still at attention. In a more delicate tone, Trixie adds unnecessarily, "Your guests have arrived," to Luna.
Aaand right on cue, nearly a dozen little foals come plowing through the brush, onto the path, and blast a cardboard Flutterguard right in half. Surely she will be mourned by her comrades, until they find some tape. And right behind them, there's Fluttershy herself, with a sash unbuttoned and trailing behind her in the air and her cap trying to fall over her face. She scoops up one of the fillies. "Diamond Dust, please! W-what will the Princess think?" Little Diamond Dust's eyes sparkle. "I hope she thinks I'm fabulous, Flock Leader."
Diamond_Dancer Slowly. Slowly. SLOWLY turns her heard towards Trixie and stares at her. "You n' me? We gonna have a discussion bout dis, later." She hisses, before she throws her hooves up to greet the arriving filles and colts. "Welcome to da Castle of da Night! Garden of Shadows! Da halls of darkness! I, am Diamond Dancah, royal Night's Errant, and I'll be you'se tour guide! "She barks cheerfully. A hoof shoots up. "What's a Night's Errant?" a colt asks. A question Diamond takes great pride in answering. "I go and git whatevah da princess wants me ta git!" She explains. "So you're like a butler?" A voice asks. Diamond pauses. "...Sure. But, like, a COOL Butler!" She announces, before turning towards the intimidating hall of cardboard Fluttershys. " Soooooo ...Dis is da castle..."
Luna sits up straighter in her throne, her dreamily thoughtful expression settling into a brooding royal scowl. "Guests? Ponies come to us only in desperation." Her eyes shine white, and the Royal Canterlot Voice blasts all the way to the other end of the hall, sending cardboard Fluttershies flying. (They all land in different poses, on their back or slumped in corners or desperately trying to catch falling cardboard food). "COME FORTH! WHAT BRINGS THEE NOW TO THE RULER OF THE NIGHT? BE IT CURSE OR PLAGUE, MONSTER OR ILL OMEN?" Blue light engulfs Diamond Dust, lifting her up into the air so that the white beacons of Luna's eyes can focus on her, shining through her in a way that shows strong hints of the pegafoal's skeleton. "SURELY THIS MUST BE THE CHANGELING THOU FEAR. SHE IS TOO FABULOUS TO BE A REAL PEGASUS."
Trixie clears her throat gently and reseats her hat. "What the princess means is, welcome Nimbus Scouts! Have a look around. There is free butterscotch!" Though not for long, as she pops another piece into her mouth.
Diamond Dust actually giggles, and maybe squirms a little bit. Fluttershy skids into the palace, with her entourage of foals spreading out around her - and they immediately fan out and start TOUCHING things. "I-I'm sorry, Princess. Comet Trail got excited, and then all of the Scouts decided to rush over and see your palace right away--" "Hey, what's this?" "How old is this painting thingy? It looks like my mom." "Why does this one look like our Flock Leader?" And Thunderball and Will 'o Wisp bow low before the Princess, in classical knightly posture.
Then one of them pops up. "Butterscotch?!" Now the foals are converging on you, Trixie.
Diamond_Dancer takes one step back. Then another. Monsters, and Titans she can deal with. Nimbus scouts however... "Yes! Da blue one has free candy for all!" She announces. Another step back, before she slinks over to Fluttershy. "How long is dey gonna be here, Flutters?"
Luna floats Diamond Dust right up to the throne, the foal floating in a blue bubble and turning slowly this way and that as if slipping on the rotating surface. Glowing eyes scour her little body. "THY CLASSMATE IS NOT A CHANGELING!" she bellows, and then her tone drops down to merely 'loud.' "Thy peculiarity is the result of thy grandmother and great grandfather - on the opposite side - being unicorns." Diamond Dust is hovered over to the side, the bubble pops, and she's dropped into the candy bowl next to the throne. When some of the candy splashes, a cardboard Fluttershy with a broom is helpfully waiting right there to look as if it's sweeping up.
The blue unicorn's hooves flail amid a cloud of dust and frantic activity as she's swarmed by colts and fillies. "Take one each! ONE! They are touching Trixie! Make them stop!" Abruptly the piranha-like feeding frenzy ceases and Nimbus Scouts scatter in all directions, Trixie's hat pulled low over her face and smudgy hoofprints adorning her cape. "Yes, by all means," she mumbles into her hat and waves a hoof in no particular direction. "Show yourselves around."
Fluttershy claps her hooves twice. "Kids!" The scouts stop. Briefly. That's all the time Fluttershy needs, though, right? "Um...d-does anypony have any questions for your...tour guides?" THe kids zip to Flutters' side, lining up. Diamond Dust's hoof goes up first. "Ooh, ooh! Did the Princess know my grandparents?" Then another little filly. "Um, hi, um, my name is, um, Cirrus Curl, and I, um, I was wondering what you eat here?"
"We make weather in Cloudsdale. Do you make moons here?" "Can I live here forever?"
Fluttershy hides her face behind her wings. "Go look around, kids."
Diamond_Dancer spills onto her back, giggling wildly at the colts and fillies amass an assult on Trixie's person. Oooh, questions! Can you live her forever? "Sure, why not! Wait, do you'se got parents? If you'se gots parents, den dey probably, like, want you'se to not live here. " Good job Diamond. Smooth. What do they eat? "We feed off of fruits, candies, da occasional soul. Did da princess know you'se grand parents? Probably. I dunno. Do we mak- ARRGGGH-ARGHH-AHHH-AHH-AHH!!!!" Diamond shrieks in surprise, wildly flailing her hooves when the soft blue disembodied head of a wight slowly flutters up next to her out of nowhere. She was not expecting that. no.
<OOC> Luna says, "I am sorry! Let me be more specific, and that pose is easily modified to correctness." <OOC> Luna says, "Wights are shy forest animals, relatives of deer, who like abandoned buildings and have a REMARKABLE resemblance to zombponies. So this one stuck its emaciated, wall-eyed head out of a crack from the basement, gurgled, and then ducked back down because they're both curious about and scared of the foals." <OOC> Luna says, "Like Myna birds or parrots, they can learn to mimic a few words. For some reason, they almost always get stuck on 'brains'." <OOC> Luna says, "Luna imported them because not enough ponies were falling into the booby traps, and the palace was boring."
The kids all scream! Except for Freeze Frame, who goes 'Neat!' and snaps a picture.
Luna's glowy eyes recede, but her horn lights up instead, if only a bit. Trixie is lifted off *her* hooves, snowflakes and mist spilling in from outside to whirl around Trixie for a few seconds, leaving the sapphire mage and her clothing spotlessly, gleamingly clean. "Please do not mar the Spangled Cloak of Lullabye Moon!" she declares. It's not the Royal Canterlot Voice, but there's definite resonance and carry. It makes a Fluttershy cutout fall out of the rafters in front of the foals.. Stuck to its hooves are pages that peel away one by one, each with Luna's words written on them to provide a subtitling effect. "The Spangled Cloak is a creation of our own magic, with the awesome power to allow the wearer to rearrange the stars in the heavens. It is over a thousand years in age, and one of the world's most priceless and mystical relics. We shall speak to the Keeper of Artifacts about why it is not stored safely, but until then, keep thy muddy hooves off!" Trixie is set down on her feet, sparkly hat, sparkly blue hide, and sparkly cape that happens to look exactly like the artifact in question.
Diamond Dust hasn't lost the sparkle in her eyes since she came in here, and immediately clip-clops over to examine Trixie's cloak in finer detail. "It's wonderful. Why, I-- wait. Haven't I seen you before?"
"Eh-heh..." The Great and Powerful Trixie shifty-eyes and tugs at her now spotless collar, hoping no copyright lawyers were listening to that. "I mean, goodness! Look at those pesky wights!" She levitates the broom still attached to the maid Fluttershy cutout, sweeping it semi-threateningly. "Shoo. Shoo! Back in the basement!" "Brains?" "You won't get any from me!" the unicorn retorts, pauses for a beat, then closes the trap door as an embarrassed flush colors her cheeks.
The kids all glance at each other. Some of them glance at Fluttershy. Fluttershy shakes her head. "Um." For once, he breaks the silence. "W-why don't we all go meet the staff?" She's trying her best not to make eye contact with a cardboard self, curiously dressed in a Mare-do-Well suit, posed as if swooping from the rafters. "And be sure to thank Princess Luna." "Hey, Princess!" Dust Devil waggles his hoof in the air. "Can I be a knight whatever, too? I wanna see more monsters." Something pounds against the trap door from below. This isn't the wights, who are much too gentle to do such a thing. It's just another of the creepy practical jokes built into the castle.
Diamond_Dancer beams at the comment, and takes a more regal pose- caaaaasually scooting a tad closer to Luna. "Yeah! Being a membah of da Night Court is awesome! You'se get to go on missions, fight monstahs, and you get cool armah and stuff like dis! See? Shiny!" Diamond exclaims, throwing her tiny chest out, and posing in her deadly outfit.
The breeze through the holes in the wall near Luna blow another cutout of Fluttershy along the wall. It holds a cardboard lit candlestick, and keeps bumping into cardboard candles on the walls, swinging them around to the side that looks lit. A light is cleverly built into the fake candle, and as it slides behind Diamond, her armor casts a rainbow radiance that sweeps over the assembled Nimbus Scouts and briefly brings the weathered granite hall into a glorious multicolor life to rival Celestia's palace. Then the cutout has slid too far away, and it's over. That is Luna's cue to fold her forelegs over one arm of her throne, eying the foals. "So, Element of Kindness. This is why the Royal Itinerary said 'The Yellow One' this evening. Thou have brought us a brace of applicants to be come Night's Errants. So be it. The least of them is more qualified than the Star Seeker. They need but prove that they can make the best of their talents as she did. Bring us the still-living heart of Malchior the Furnace, Dragon of Iron and Flame. Thou shall find him in Tartarus, chained in the labyrinth of mad Daedalus, whose endless war machines keep him too distracted to escape."
Fluttershy's pupils contract into nothingness, complete with that 'zooooOOoop' noise. "I, uh, um, I...L-Luna?"
The foals all 'ooh' and 'aaaah' and 'eeeek' at the combination of Diamond's little display, or the pounding, or both.
As long as none of the foals know what 'trademark infringement' is, Trixie's happy to help them! She slides Diamond Dancer aside, none-too-gently. "Being a member of the Night Court is an extremely prestigious position, only the most qualified ponies are even considered." She stands on hind legs, throwing her hooves to the sky. "It is a test of boldness and bravery! Dare not the faint-hearted even attempt, for-... there... Wait a moment, Trixie seems to have lost her dramatic breeze and mood lighting. Is it-? No? Oh. Okay then." She clops back down to all fours and resumes in a more even tone as if hurrying through it. "Darenotthefaint-heartedevenattempt, for there are many forms one must fill out!"
Diamond_Dancer ears perk slightly at the comment and she chuckles. Dryly. "ha, haaaa, more dan qualified. I am IN da room, you'se blackness." She explains, before she's shoved to the side by Trixie. "And suddenly my job is up for grabs. You'd dink dared be job security in da castle, but nooooooo..."
"Uhhh." Comet Trail raises his hoof. "I read about an ancient tradition where you could become a knight by defeating ANOTHER servant." Fluttershy's pupils contract further, until it looks like she just has whites for eyes. Like Luna! Dust Devil hops up and down. "Ooh! Yeah! Let's fight the dragons!" Even Thunderball comes down from the ceiling to watch this.
Trixie geeeeently slides Diamond Dancer back in front at the mention of defeating another servant.
Luna gives Fluttershy a solemn, responsible, knowing nod as the mare stammers and panics. "Thy sentiment is clear, Element of Kindness. The task Star Seeker performed to secure her title was far more than merely dangerous. We shall give them something more closely in line with the original. Bring us the ocean. In some suitably portable form." Turning her emotionless aquamarine eyes to Diamond Dancer, she asks, "Does that seem comparable with thy quest to light a dead star?" Meanwhile, in response to Trixie's admonishments and all of the bouncing up and down, some of the Fluttershies holding up the wall tumble down, roll over, and end up all around Trixie, holding stacks of what appear to be Form WH4T.h3-h3(ii), or Requisition To Please Remember My, M<smudged>'s Name.
Diamond_Dancer sighs quietly, as she's slid back into place infront of the nimbus troop. "Ya know, I woke up dinkin' dat today would be a good day...and yet, here we are. I can see da headlines now: Nimbus troop disappears after battle at Two Sistah's castle. In oddah news, royal Night's Errant, loses her job after slaughter at Two Sister's castle. Interestingly enough both stories are on da front page. "She huffs, crossing her arms with a pout not unlike ponies her age. "Yeah. Sure. Bring me da ocean, like fetch a jar of watah from da sea. Dats excatly what I did. "She grumbles. Whoops. Wait, was that out loud? "...I mean, uh, very generous offer, you'se highness! *Squee*
Luckily, Diamond's threats go unheeded by the Scouts. Doesn't Fluttershy have enough liability on her plate right now? "The ocean! ...right." Dust Devil, Thunderball, and Will o' Wisp all share a glance. Thudnerball steps forward. "I don't suppose you just have a...soccer team instead?" Diamond Dust giggles. Fluttershy flutters up to Luna's side. "Please don't tell them to do too much. T-they might actually...do it."
"And lo, listen and tremble, for thou hast heard the pronouncements of thy princess, go forth from this place, charged with thy duty, whereupon the party of the first part doth in good faith proclaim hereunto and forevermore, bearing no legal liability... hereby waive the right to sue... forthwith and in perpetuity..." drones Trixie from one of the weighty legal documents. She pauses, squinting and turning the paper upside down. "Ahh, Trixie's gonna go ahead and say that's good enough. Enjoy your honorary and in no way legally binding knighthood. Please visit the gift shop on your way out." In a poof of orchid-colored smoke, each Nimbus Scout suddenly sports a small commemorative button on their sashes.
Luna waves a hoof imperiously. "We appreciate thy mercy, Star Seeker, but we do not take underperformers." Trixie's solution is met with a beamingly regal smile. "Enjoy thy honorarium, Nimbus Scouts, but before thou go, let us show thee the current Night's Errant's solution to that quest." With a pop and a flash of blue light, a mayonnaise jar appears in the air. It contains water, but dark water, as if endless miles of sea lie between the viewer and the other side of the jar. The lid unscrews, and the jar tilts, pouring cold salt water over half a dozen Nimbus Scouts as the jar waves about. Two starfish and a horseshoe crab also fall out, but instead of drowning on dry land, they make a spirited break for the exits. All of this displayed, the jar disappears again.
Half a dozen Drippy Scouts have just been baptized into knighthood, or something. Fluttershy actually face-wings. Cirrus Comb shrieks and tries to scoop up the poor crab, but Comet Tail just stares up at Her Highness. "She's *so awesome.*" "I wanna be just like her," says Diamond Dust. "And...like her." She indicates...Trixie.
Diamond_Dancer's ears perk in alarm as the jar floats up and splashes half of the troupe with that frosty water before it vanishes. Diamond just sighs, waiting for the angry horde of children to assult her over her 'solution' But they seem to like it, much to Diamond's surprise and she forces a wide grin. "Yeah! Totally, go fourth and uh...Get da ocean and bring it back!
The Great and Powerful Trixie's chest swells with pride and she clip-clops to stand next to the throne, head back and horn held high, as is right and proper for an object of admiration. "Will not Princess Celestia question why her aquarium is mysteriously two starfish short, your highness?" she whispers aside, barely moving her lips.
"I-I'd better go save the starfish." Fluttershy flits down from the throne and begins to gether up sea animals as the foals start romping around the room, or admiring Princesses. Comet Trail whispers, "Can I *marry* her?"
One of the smaller colts just peers up at Diamond Dancer.
He blurts out, "You're cool," and then skitters away.
Princess Luna raises a delicate royal eyebrow. Raises it HIGH. She turns her head, looking Trixie over as if she's never seen the mare before, not in surprise but in careful study. She whispers back, "If I am lucky, she will rouse the entire guard." There are definite overtones of sly chuckle at the end of that. Then she's back to regal impassiveness, and Trixie might as well not exist. A hoof waves towards the door. "They have learned more than they can hold for one evening, Element of Kindness. Take them back to their homes. Star Seeker, thou and the mage see to it that they do not linger. Audience time is over, and we must prepare special dreams for thy scouts tonight."
Diamond_Dancer smiles warmly and salutes the princess, before turning towards the group. One of the kids thinks SHE'S cool? Today WAS a good day indeed. She trots happily along behind the scouts with a spring in her step, making sure, as Luna requested, they do not linger.
Aww. Fluttershy smiles. Fluttering just above the floor, with hooves full of sea life and a head full of seapony songs, she forms the foals back into a line. "Say goodbye to the Night Court, Scouts." And the kids all turn and give a flap-flap-flap salute. "Goodbye, Night Court!" ANd then off they trot, to meet the best night ever.
And when everybody's gone, the cardboard cutout of Fluttershy wearing a bellhop uniform falls over, pushing the door shut.