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 Seeking Answers

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Zephyr Botanica



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PostSubject: Seeking Answers   Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:39 pm

Darkness had descended long ago, bringing about a chilly setting amongst the congested forest. While countless stars sparkled in the heavens above, none of their light, nor the moon's glow, could penetrate the canopy of entwined branches and leaves.

Most would never set hoof within this particular area, let alone at night- it was considered to be an unnatural and forbidden place. This land thrived on its own will, rather than by the assistance of the pony inhabitants of Equestria. This made it the perfect place the store secrets.

Onyx stood on the ledge of a cliff. Her red eyes were drawn down upon a long, cracked staircase that descended a good hundred feet before leveling to a platform of the same gray material. She couldn't see beyond the landing, but she knew what resided amongst the ancient foliage. She huffed as a hoof was extended and pressed down against the first step, which chipped from the pressure but managed to hold. Uncertain whether or not to continue in such a manner, the unicorn raised her head and looked up at her black horn.

Red energy crackled from its tip, which spread down, weaving its way to its base. Once completely covered, the glow expanded out, its magical force billowing her black and red mane as it strengthened and melded into a sphere. The color condensed and imploded, fulfilling the teleportation spell. It rematerialized on leveled ground and dispersed, leaving Onyx standing unharmed upon all fours. Before her was a stone archway. Past it, a good quarter mile ahead, were the ruins of a castle.

Her pointed ears twisted and twitched, listening for any possible signs of other lifeforms. After a while of detecting naught by silence, she continued on hoof on ahead, though kept her guard well raised. Each thump of her hooves caused the silver armor that adorned her to rattle, but she was accustomed to the noise and bore the outfit with pride. The metal covered her shins, neck and back from her hearth-girt to jugular groove, leaving her rump exposed along with its Cutie Mark.

Onyx moved at a slow and steady pace, her mind racing. There was a rather unusual amulet strapped around her neck- the head and horn of a black unicorn, whose mane was a wing instead of hair. The manner of which the nose was flattened indicated that the piece bore another segment- which was exactly why she ventured into unfamiliar territory.

This is a good a place as any to begin the hunt. The unicorn thought. The real thing could very well be amongst the relics of this castle. I have no doubt that the Princesses would shelter such a valuable work of magic..
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Switchblade



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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:01 am

Switchblade walked silently through the halls of the castle, intrigued that nopony seemed to care about the castle's existence, he didn't really mind however; it meant that he could explore unhindered by others, his armor would occasionally clink against narrow corridors but he was sure that nopony was around to hear him. After all, why would anypony venture this far out?
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Zephyr Botanica



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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:55 am

She came upon a broad oaken door, smothered in vines and sullied with years of dust.The stonework around it was shattered, allowing access into the castle's interior without disturbing the wooden piece. The unicorn narrowed her eyes and stomped her right front hoof while passing air through her nares with a snort. While magic was something she used for all sorts of situations, over time, she had come to understand that it wasn't everything. A pony needed to be able to rely on other parts of themselves- in this case, her physical abilities. Sure, a simple spell could have sent her inside, but she wanted to build muscle to her physique, just in case.

Onyx's muscles tensed as she lowered into a crouch, her hind quarters raising and tail flicking with anticipation. Her red eyes burned with fury upon an open ledge that wasn't too high, but positioned near an opening to get within. Thrusting off with all her might sent the unicorn sailing. Unfortunately, she forgot to calculate for the weight of her armor and wound up having her smash her stomach into the brick with an oof. Her front limps clasped the ledge, their armored hooves scratched against the stone. Meanwhile, the mare's hind hooves dug into the wall for support, and after a bit of struggling and wiggling, she managed to pull herself up and back onto all fours.

Greatly relieved, she sighed, then more than happily pounced off and into the castle. Her landing was much smoother, and without needing time to recover, Onyx was already on her way down the stone corridor, whose once vibrant carpet was dressed in mold an tarnished over time. To her sides, large archways stood tall and proud, but the walls beside them were barren, save for a few scraps of fabric. Once, this entrance had been majestic and full of such decor that all the races would look upon it with envy.

Her father had told her stories of the castle when she lived in Canterlot- a good thousand years ago. She never was able to visit it with him, but other unicorns in the town had on occasion, either attending galas or simply visiting with personal concerns. In her mind's eye, the dark and dank illuminated, bringing the old back to life. She felt a smile pulling on her lips while her gait lightened with delight, all of which shattered like glass in an instant, for her ears picked up on the rhythmic pattern of hooves.

Someone else was here.

As all the colors of her imagination drained, the unicorn was left back in the desolate room. Her brow furrowed with frustration. In truth, she didn't want to use magic this evening for anything other than finding the second half to her amulet, but it seemed the Fates were against her. Slowly, she crept back towards the wall, the shadows that extended from it seemed to reach out to embrace her while also darkening, consuming her already dark hide. Onyx inched along the wall, carrying the shadows with her. She was going to find out who had dared interrupted her evening..
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:06 pm

Switchblade heard a large clanging echo through the halls, instantly he unsheathed his scimitar, a trail of dust being kicked up behind it, his eyes returned to the job of keeping watch while his mind ran through possible outcomes. Eventually he called out loudly "Who is there? Because memories do not ring out so loud." he kept his voice calm and collected when in truth he was a bit worried that he could have just called out to a creature of the everfree.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:17 pm

Quote :
"Who is there? Because memories do not ring out so loud."

The shadows collected into a mass that slithered across the stone floor. A claw-like appendage stretched out towards the unfamiliar unicorn, its fingers twitching with anticipation. Just as the hand was to shut around the colt, the shadow dispersed into countless segments that scurried away.

"The better question is: who are you?"

Onyx Pariah emerged from the darkness, her own shadow matching her proud stride precisely. Her red eyes were fixed on the armored male, whom she had never seen before. Their pupils thinned into slits upon noticing the weapon he brandished. Unafraid, the mare continued her march into a patch of moonlight, where she presented herself completely. Her silver armor glinted elegantly from the pale glow she submerged herself within, while her horn hissed with a red magical aura. She was unarmed save for her magic- a much more proficient weapon, in her opinion.

"And I do hope you're skilled with that scimitar, for I don't take kindly to threats."

Onyx stood her ground, her focus flawless, body tensed and poised for action. While she would prefer to avoid any confrontation (the ruins wouldn't hold up to much more damage), the unicorn would do anything in her power to continue her search. The amulet she sought to complete was the key to her ultimate goal- a goal she would gladly sacrifice everything for..
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:28 pm

Switchblade showed no fear to the rising of the shadows or the mare's emergence. When she questioned his skill with it, he smiled, slightly maniacally"This blade is responsible for the fear of close to every criminal I have faced; I have slain countless evils with this blade and have never had reason to fear, however, I see a reasonable side in your eyes and I would very much like to use that for finding a solution that doesn't threaten the architecture of this beautiful building or lead to conflict." Switchblade said carefully, still not showing fear.
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Zephyr Botanica



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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:38 pm

Quote :
"This blade is responsible for the fear of close to every criminal I have faced; I have slain countless evils with this blade and have never had reason to fear, however, I see a reasonable side in your eyes and I would very much like to use that for finding a solution that doesn't threaten the architecture of this beautiful building or lead to conflict."

So, he was a form of guard. An odd one at that.

She squinted, trying to figure out just exactly what she was dealing with. His armor was well-made but worn-in at the same time, hinting he had used it for some time. The blade was sharpened as well, though the surface seemed stained with speckles of brown. "So you're not afraid of taking the life of another." Onyx stated, giving her tail a flick. That was one thing she had yet to do herself- not that she planned on it. "That is good. This forest is filled with horrors." Her eyes rolled to one side to gaze over a shoulder and back the way she had come. "Though I doubt that blade alone would fend off many of its inhabitants."

Onyx fixed her gaze to him again. "You need not worry about me. I am no criminal." Well, not exactly. Sure, it was her actions that helped a tyrant take control of an entire Empire, forcing the slavery of thousands and the disappearance of an entire nation..but that had been an accident. "I do find it rather odd that a guard would be making rounds here, though. These ruins haven't been occupied it centuries- what exactly are you protecting?" She raised an inquisitive brow. "Or is it that you're looking for something?"

Curiosity roused, the unicorn carefully approached, the aura around her horn burning so bright that it cast a spherical beacon around her. "There are many treasures waiting to be discovered here, some more valuable than others. You claim to be a colt of justice- surely you're not here to plunder?"
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:47 pm

Switchblade laughed to himself "I have been forced to take lives of others when no alternative was available, but believe me; the sword is not my only weapon. And as a reply to your question about why I am here: well, I go to this place and clearings in the forest in my spare time so that I can get away from the pain of being in society after my mistakes, sometimes the silence of the everfree reminds me of why I am needed by those ponies and it revitalises my faith. Now why are you here?" he finished his question sharply and abruptly.
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Zephyr Botanica



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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:11 pm

Quote :
"I have been forced to take lives of others when no alternative was available, but believe me; the sword is not my only weapon. And as a reply to your question about why I am here: well, I go to this place and clearings in the forest in my spare time so that I can get away from the pain of being in society after my mistakes, sometimes the silence of the everfree reminds me of why I am needed by those ponies and it revitalises my faith. Now why are you here?

The unicorn stopped in her tracks. Another pony that's living a life of regrets. Interesting. While she could share his sentiments, what sort of past they may have shared did not make them anything alike. While he was wandering about to escape his woes, she was working on repairing them. Sort of. I can't undo what my actions had caused, nor do I want that to happen ever again. As she reflected, her mind journeyed back to the Crystal Empire. I'm sure I can get him to understand that there are better methods of ruling. These princesses that have the world in their hooves are too weak to truly lead. But he's not. Still, she couldn't help but feel a bit of doubt. No. I've come too far now to reconsider. I will do this.

Onyx rolled back her front shoulders and allowed her eyes to wander. They fell upon the far wall where a banner was hung, though the insignia embroiled upon it was too torn to recognize. "I seek something that a friend of mine has lost." There was no sense in going into too much detail, not that it would hurt her cause. If the colt wanted to stop her, he'd be in for a very rude awakening. "The other half to this amulet." She gestured to the pendant at her throat. "I've come here because, as I said before, this place homes many ancient relics, and the one in my possession dates back to millennia ago." Closing her eyes, the unicorn dismissed the magic from her horn to show she meant no harm.

"In your wanders, have you happened across anything like this?"
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:42 pm

Switchblade looked at the medallion carefully "Well, I can't say that I have, but I don't usually search through things, so I wouldn't really know. Just a quick question, and be honest with me, because I am more than happy to die if it leads to it tonight, anyway, my question is: why are you really here?" Switchblade stood back, looking at the walls of the castle; how long was it since this building last saw the sun?
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Zephyr Botanica



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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:58 pm

The question startled her a bit. "I meant what I said." She nearly snarled. "I was gifted this amulet, which is only half of a full piece." Her eyes narrowed into fine slits as her temper started to raise. This caused a chain reaction within her- as her aggravation built, the magic within her veins bubbled over and began traveling up to her head. "I mean to find the other half here, or at least a clue as to where it had been hidden." Feeling heat begin to coat her eyes, the unicorn took a deep calming breath, fully aware of the consequences that would befallen her should she lose control of her emotions.

Exhaling out slowly, Onyx started to walk towards one of the archways to her right. "If you mean to stop me, then by all means try." The threat was enough to cause a burst of purple flames to leak from the corners of her eyes, while her sclera flashed green. It was difficult to control her dark magic, especially since the pendant amplified its power. Once before, she had succumbed to its might and unleashed its wrath. In doing so, the unicorn had almost completely lost herself to the darkness. She did not intend on letting that happen ever again, which was why she so desperately hunted the amulet's kin.

Stopping before the threshold, Onyx gazed back over to the colt. No doubt he not only saw her display of dark magic, but had been able to feel it himself, being a unicorn and all. And just from that small sample it was clear that a greater threat was within her. "I would seriously not recommend it, though."
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:11 pm

Upon seeing the dark magic, Switchblade showed a reaction that nopony could have expected; he jumped forwards slightly then span in a full circle, sheathing his sword then let out a short laugh "Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! Let's go find your other half of that amulet." he said, speeding up until he wad walking alongside her, beaming from ear to ear with his prediction.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:29 pm

His leap forward set her on full-alert. Adrenaline pumped as her sympathetic nervous system activated, dilating her blood vessels as well as her magical channels. The mare's pupils thinned to barely visible slits as magic rushed to her horn, completely hiding it beneath a shroud of red. At the same time, the purple flames rushed out from her eyes, which now burned a bright green, while her once normal mane and tail's hair transformed into a shadow-like substance and wavered.

Believing he was about to unleash an attack with his scimitar, Onyx reared onto her hind hooves and extended outward her front ones, conjuring a solid bubble of energy around herself for defense. But when he sheathed his weapon, it popped from surprise in a rather comical manner. The unicorn also fell onto all fours, her dark magic 'poof'ing out with a whimsical deflating sound (like a balloon) to return her to normal. "Say wha?" Her jaw hung slack as comprehension had yet to dawn on her.

"Y-you mean to help me?" His approach made her rather unnerved, but what disturbed her more was his cheery disposition. Onyx stared at him with a dumbfounded expression. "..Who in the name of Equestria are you..?"
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:37 pm

Switchblade smiled at the last question "Still trying to figure that out myself. Anyhow, come on, daylight could be burning for all we know, and I need to get home in time to start a night patrol to relax myself after this. Don't look so surprised that I'm helping you; I'm as much of a myth as you are; to the civillian population, I shouldn't even exist."
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:21 pm

Her suspicion remained elevated. "Well then.." She wasn't quite sure how to react, or feel for that matter. All the mare knew was for the time being he wasn't being hostile, and all she could hope was that he remained as such. "The amulet should be able to help our search." Glancing down at it, her sights set upon the white pearl that made up the alicorn's eye. "I'll cast a spell to see if we can find a trail." Momentarily, the amulet was removed from her neck and held in a hoof. She touched the tip of her horn to it, and muttered a short incantation.

As Onyx drew her head away, a thin red line of magic remained attached to the pendant. It started to pulse and thread out, moving all across the alicorn's features before finding its eyes and seeping in. What was white became red, the essence having been fully absorbed. With the spell in place she returned the amulet to her throat and waited for the magic to work.

Since it didn't seem to react right away, the unicorn started to walk down the corridor, casually eying the many portraits that sloughed off from the walls. Many were of the two alicorn sisters in their youth, others the kingdom which they ruled. Down a ways there were suits of armor on display, which were still kept in decent shape to her surprise. "The world was so different back when they lived her." She mused. "So very different.." The mare knew first-hand just how much change had occurred, having lived so long ago.

"I'm Onyx." She decided to initiate some small talk to pass the time. "Once Gem, now Pariah." The unicorn was unsure whether her name had become infamous or not- she wasn't sure if her fellow acolytes had been captured and prosecuted for their crimes either. There could very well be a chapter or two regarding her part in the Crystal Empire's fall for all she knew..
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:34 pm

Switchblade nodded slowly and sadly, all of the armor and the magic that he had just seen reminded him of his downfall, and perhaps a little too loudly and before he could stop himself, a single sob escaped his lips. As he attempted to regain himself through his tears, very few of which escaped his goggles, he nodded "At least they didn't end it too soon."
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:09 pm

The sob certainly didn't go unnoticed. Nor did the tears that followed.

Onyx frowned to herself. She wasn't the type that coped well with such emotions, having always been forced to hold them back herself. From a young age she was taught that they were a weakness, and if they still managed to take hold of her, she was severely punished. But that didn't destroy her sense of empathy. It seems like this colt's been through a lot. The unicorn pondered, her eyes cast to the stone floor. The brickwork was uneven, cracked and some even uprooted over time, exposing dirt and some minor plant life. Whatever ails him is none of my business.

The mare wasn't heartless, thus the need to comfort him began to boil deep inside. "Sometimes it's best to vent to a sympathetic ear. Especially the ear of a stranger." Onyx smiled the best she could at him. "I promise I won't tell a soul about anything you'd like to divulge. Not that I could either way.." Friends weren't something the mare had many of. Those she did consider close had disappeared as quickly as they showed themselves. They were alive- that much was for certain, but where they were and what they were doing was still a mystery.

As they came to the hall's end, it split off to the east and west. Unsure which path to take, the unicorn addressed her spell-encased amulet. Its eye brightened and cast a red mist that billowed to the left before fading away. Certain that it had picked up on a magical trail, Onyx did as bidden and began westward. "I have a haunted past myself." She declared with a hint of sorrow. "I've done horrible things and lost a lot."
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:52 pm

Switchblade looked up, regaining his composure he looked at Onyx "I know your tale. But mine can be compared to yours in a very similar way, only the book was closed on me before the final chapters could be written; I am viewed as a monster for a accident caused in a different life; none stayed to see how long I have made up for it, and few know of what I did."
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:18 pm

She found herself stopping short once more, this time in part to his knowledge of her history. Practically glaring daggers into him, the unicorn inspected him up and down, surveying every little detail in hopes of recognizing him. But she didn't. What bothered her, in truth, was the fact that he was rather calm about it. Truly she believed that anypony who knew about her forbidden past would utterly despise her and wish to condemn her to a life in prison. Yet here this colt was walking beside her without a second thought, even helping her find an ancient artifact of untold power. It didn't make sense.

"What do you mean by 'a different life?' " The mare inquired.

While awaiting a response, she returned to her walk. A warm sensation constricted around her throat as she neared the latest corridor's end. Glancing down at the amulet, more red magic mist flowed out from its optic, which hissed and slithered towards a side opening in the wall. The archway was smaller than most and presented a set of stairs that spiraled up and down. When the essence coiled around the bend it dove downward and she pursued. So dark was the staircase that it was nearly suffocating, especially since the air was heavy with a musty odor and dust particles floated everywhere.

To compensate, Onyx conjured a sphere of red light and had it levitate before them. She was able to see just a few steps ahead, so her progress was sluggish. Eventually they ended at leveled ground, where a narrow hall stretched before her. The unicorn sent her sphere ahead to map out the area, and noted that it gently moved past a series of old doors with heavy locks upon them. I wonder what these rooms were once used for. We went down rather far- could this be a dungeon?
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:04 pm

Switchblade shrugged, not really knowing the best way to answer "Well, it has been many a year since that incident and since then, I have gained an official life and have completely changed personality wise, hatred has been replaced with peace and I always give second chances to those who need them, which is part of the reason why I am helping you." Switchblade then tried to take a breath in when his lungs locked; the amount of dust in the air had blocked his already weak lungs, he stopped suddenly, putting a hoof to his throat as he collapsed.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:25 pm

He still made little to no sense to her. Furthermore, he was a fool to so easily give somepony he barely knows his trust. Had things been on the other hoof, there was now way she would have agreed to accompany him, unless it was to keep an eye on the colt and make sure he didn't try anything against her. With that thought in mind, she chewed it over on her lower lip. He is a guard. An armed guard, one with experience in slaughter. Her lower eyelids puffed out as her cheek muscles twitched. This could all be an elaborate ruse. He-

Onyx quirked a brow after a 'thump' sounded behind her. Turning around, she was confronted with the fallen form of the strange stallion. It had sounded as though he was choking- on what, she couldn't say, but there was a definite wheeze whistling. At first, she thought it might have been a trick. But with a bit of time it was obvious that he was truly in trouble. The smart thing to do would be let him die. She heartlessly thought. His body could be easily disposed of. For a few seconds more, she simply watched while struggling with a decision.

Damn me. Kneeling before him, Onyx conjured magic around her horn, creating a vortex that attracted all the dust particles, including those lodged in his alveolar, bronchioles, and bronchial tubes. Surprisingly, a small sphere had amassed itself from the effort, which she sent off down the corridor and away from them. "It's okay. Breathe in as deep as you can, but slowly." Her magic continued to hum, just in case he needed extra assistance..[/i]
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:01 pm

Switchblade's eyes flicked open as he dragged himself to his hooves, he looked at Onyx gratefully "You have my eternal thanks Ms Pariah." he said through breaths. He pulled out a metal mouthpiece with small perferations out of a piece of the armor and attaching it onto the helmet so it ran over his mouth, he took a few test breaths then went back to breathing normally, the perferations stopping dust from getting through.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:25 pm

His thanks made her heart flutter, and for a blink of a moment, her coat took on its natural crystal-like sheen. But the lightened emotion was brief, and not only did her coat harden to its 'unnatural' appearance. "Don't mention it." Closing her eyes, she concentrated on the aura around her horn and had it produce a second sphere for sight. Reopening her lids, the unicorn watched the orb hover before her, softly humming with power.

"You need an inhaler, huh? Not an attractive trait for a guard." Onyx didn't mean to be harsh- she simply pointed out a fact. For someone who declared himself a fighter of criminals, being able to properly breathe hurt his endurance- his strikes would have to be quick and true to compensate. "Have you sought any magical aid in place of medical?" She inquired, tilting her head to one side. "While my own magic is based more on harming than healing, the half of the amulet I seek here will amend that."

She touched her pendant while thinking about its other half. The one she owned represented Darkness, its pair was Light. The mare wasn't accustomed with the other side of magic, having grown up on what most considered to be 'evil'. But she was determined to learn it in order to ascend to a new level, no matter how hard or long it took. With determination refilling her, she started to lead the way down the hall, hoping to come across something that would tip her amulet off to its twin.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:48 am

Switchblade nodded "I've tried magical aid many times, it doesn't work though because the damage is magic inflicted and so it seems that there's still some magical residue left; it doesn't really affect me though; most criminals can be caught with minimal effort and the tougher ones usually prefer to fight first before running." he said, noticing Onyx's coat change back, but deciding not to say anything; he already knew what it meant.
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:42 pm

Onyx licked her lips. "If there's residue left-over, somepony should be able to lock-on to it and draw it out through their own means." She squinted while thinking more in depth of the statement. "If it was caused by dark magic," the mare began, her tone softening as her mind became more preoccupied, "..I should be able to deal with it myself." Again she stopped short of her desired destination, the possibility of her being able to work her wonders had found itself to the top of her lists of things-to-do. "I've studied the dark arts for ages. I'm very proficient and can use it in many ways."

The unicorn had the sphere she conjured move towards one of the archways and pass through. Her head turned to watch it slowly move around, illuminating but a small fraction of what seemed to be a large-sized room at a time. Within, the floor was severely cracked and littered with glass fragments which reflected the red glow. It came across a busted statue of a unicorn, whose front legs were laid out at its hooves, upon which it had reared. There were other statues made of marble randomly spaced apart, some of which depicted pegasi and a couple earth ponies.

While statues were valuable, it was only when they were whole could they be sold. Then again, these were ancient and belonged to royalty, so there was some possibility of earning quite a sum of bits. The sphere returned to her after observing the full span of the room and rested in a hover at her side. "What do you think? Would you like me to try?"
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PostSubject: Re: Seeking Answers   Today at 3:29 pm

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