PLAYA DEL CELESTIA - HOTEL ARMADA - LATE MORNING
Shale Strata yawns as he wakes up slowly, not feeling any kind of hurry to even open his eyes yet.
Amethyst Vein is still asleep, pressed against Shale in an unglamourous sprawl.
Shale Strata slowly opens his eyes, smiling to himself as he sees Amethyst's decidedly non-regal posture. He leans over to kiss her softly.
Amethyst Vein squirms against the kiss and murmurs something. It sounds pleased though. She leans against him a bit more as she slowly begins to wake up, too.
Shale Strata leans himself partially on top of Amethyst, smiling: "Morning, sweet thing."
Amethyst Vein blinks open her eyes and smiles back. "Hey you." She leans up and pulls Shale down on top of her, kissing him tenderly on the lips.
Shale Strata kisses deeply for a very long moment, basically only coming up for air: "Mmm~." He looks down at her and smiles: "So what's on the agenda today, besides this?"
Amethyst Vein pulls away after the kiss to readjust her wings and hips and all the other inconvenient bony parts that are complaining after having Shale's weight on her for a while. "Mmm... we're not leaving until tomorrow, right? So I guess not much other than enjoy our last day here..."
Shale Strata shifts off from on top of Amethyst, flopping back on his own side: "Hmm. I feel like we should do something special then, maybe..."
Amethyst Vein snuggles in against Shale again and laughs. "Ok, so we annex the town and move the capital here... then we don't have to leave."
Shale Strata giggles a bit: "I think Celestia and Luna might have something against that idea."
Amethyst Vein sighs. "Fine... I guess we'll go back to our dumb mountain that stinks of sulfur all the time..."
Shale Strata muses: "To be honest, I've felt like there's been something missing from our lives for the last bit. It's probably the sulfur."
Amethyst Vein laughs. "Maybe." She sighs and rolls herself out of bed, trotting quickly to the bathroom to use the facilities.
Shale Strata gets off from his side of the bed, taking the time to find a brush to his no-longer tied mane that looks currently like it's trying to escape to several directions at once. He looks at the mirror: "You know Amy, I'm still not sure why I like how our manes look, but something about this weird color change just works."
Amethyst Vein comes out of the bathroom also brushing her mane. "It's different, and I'm just happy for anything different after so long of things being the same." She walks over and kisses Shale on the cheek. "So I was thinkin we start with some breakfast, then some baking in the sun, then maybe a swim?"
Shale Strata smiles, turning from the mirror to look at Amethyst: "Possibly. Although I think we slept past breakfast time already. But I guess some kind of brunch will do the same trick."
Amethyst Vein laughs. "Breakfast is a feeling." She ruffles Shale's mane as she puts on her sunglasses and oversized sun hat then heads toward the door. "Ready?"
Shale Strata takes a glance at Amethyst's sun hat before following her out. He's relatively sure they've been getting bigger during past few weeks. Maybe she's been sneaking out to buy new ones when he's dozing in the sun? Who knows?
CANTERLOT - MINTERGREEN RESIDENCE - EVENING
Mint Creme comes down the stairs, having just settled in Custard for bed. She steps into the kitchen and not-quite-flops down at the table tiredly. "Ah. If he wasn't such a good colt, I'd be worried he'd come down and listen."
Wintergreen steps back from the stove, a kettle and a couple of cups set on a tray balanced upon his wing. He chuckles a bit as he steps over to the table. "Well, we raised him well, dear." He leans in to lightly peck Mint on the cheek as he sets the tray down and takes a seat, "Now... I had a feeling you wanted to talk about something. What's on your mind?"
Mint Creme smiles as Wintergreen sets down the tea set. She lifts the kettle with her wing and pours herself a cup. "You're sweet. And yes, we did." She dips in some mint leaves and lets the tea steep. "I do, but didn't want Custard to get excited. Or disappointed. I got an offer at work."
Wintergreen tilts his head curiously, though a hint of a smirk appears on his face. "An offer, hm? Am I going to have to start calling you "ma'am" again, dear?"
Mint Creme smirks. "Only if you want to honey. I won't say no~" She chuckles as she sips her tea. "It's not quite a promotion, more an... opportunity, but I don't want to take it without talking to you, and to Custard to. It would impact us all." She takes out a letter and sets it on the table. "Have you heard of Olymponis?"
Wintergreen leans in to read the letter. "Olymponis? That's that nation of pegasi, right? The one that's supposedly over a volcano?"
Mint Creme nods. "I only sorta know about it too, but apparently Canterlot has been sending over aid for a few years. Now, they're requesting aid in training. Teaching their guards to protect, instead of just to fight. If we're willing, the Guard wants to relocate us there for some time to start up a training program, build up their guard, and well, teach them."
Wintergreen nods. "I see... To provide the necessary knowledge for forming a proper defense force." He casts a quick glance towards the door of the kitchen just to make absolutely sure Custard isn't peeking in, "Do we have any indication of how long they might need us there? I assume this isn't just a two-week jaunt."
Mint Creme shakes her head, frowning as she follows Wintergreen's gaze, knowing exactly who he's worried about. "It doesn't say. But the Captain said it could be a year. Maybe more."
Wintergreen hums thoughtfully. "So we'd be moving out of Canterlot for quite some time, then..." He falls silent for a little while, "It's an opportunity, but... what do you think, dear?"
Mint Creme breathes in deep, thinking. "I don't know. It'd be hard to be so far from our family, and of course the move would be a big shift for Custard, but..." She smiles sheepishly. "Part of me wants to do it. I guess it's that part of me that's served in the Guard for generations."
Wintergreen nods slowly. "Yes, it'd be a very big change for all three of us. The distance might be a bit difficult for everyone, as well." He smiles a bit, "Heh... when it's in your blood, there's always that drive, right?"
Mint Creme nods guiltily. "There's been a Light in the Guard since Equestria was born. If they entrust me with this duty, then, well..." She shakes her head. "But I have my doubts still, and I won't say yes without knowing you, and Custard, are both with me."
Wintergreen takes a sip of his tea and lets out a small sigh. "I would follow you without hesitation, dear, and I know Custard would as well. But... While you and I could stay in touch with family through letters, with Custard still in school, I would hate to pull him away from everyone."
Mint Creme nods. "To be honestly, Custard is my biggest concern. Reports are that this country is finally recovering from a long isolation. I don't even know if there are any foals his age there."
Wintergreen dips his head a bit. "Well... I would have to assume so, or else Olymponis would have begun declining well before coming out of isolation." He takes another sip of his tea, "My concern about Custard is that he may have difficulties adjusting. He'd be going to school there without any nearby friends to spend time with, at an age where foals are already forming their own little circles of friends."
Mint Creme: "Yeah, yeah I know... that's my thought too. I know it happens, though, and Custard is strong. Stronger than I was at that age." She drops her head to the table and sighs. "That's why I keep thinking it over, time and again. It's such a huge opportunity, for all of us. But it won't be without challenges."
Wintergreen rubs his chin as he thinks. "Would it be possible for us to travel there for a short while, just to get a sense of where the Olymponis guards stand? We can also see how well Custard would take to the idea of being so far from the friends he's already made."
Mint Creme nods, stretching a hoof further down the letter. "They say they'll give us an introductory tour, before we make our decision. I think it'd be wise. And we can see Custard's reaction to it all as well."
Wintergreen nods in turn. "And if we stretch our stay out for a day or two, we can get a sense for Custard's general opinion of the place, once the "wow!" factor's worn off a bit."
Mint Creme giggles. "Yeah. How long before he asks 'Can we go home now?' to really drive home what it would mean."
Wintergreen chuckles. "I imagine he'd probably start asking that after a couple of days."
Mint Creme laughs and sips her tea. "Yeah, me too. But... I think he can handle this, Wintergreen. I think we all can. Let's do this tour, and see what we all think, alright?"
Wintergreen nods again. "Yeah, I think that would be the best idea. We won't know for sure unless we see things for ourselves."
Mint Creme takes the letter and folds it back up. "I'll let the Captain know tomorrow, then." She steps around the table to kiss Wintergreen and rest her head against his neck. "You're the best."
Wintergreen hums into the kiss and smiles as he nuzzles Mint and gives her a gentle hug. "The same could be said about you, dear."
Mint Creme smirks. "Mmm, always love to hear that from you, Winter."
Wintergreen smirks in mirror as he playfully pokes Mint in the chest with a hoof, keeping her wrapped in his hug. "Of course you do, Mint."
THE LUSTY SEAPONY - EARLY EVENING
Buck sits at the bar sipping at some sort of boozy coffee and lazily reading through an old novel that she has read dozens of times before.
Lucky Lightning walks to the bar, looking exhausted but at least slightly more happy than she has been lately. She sits down at the bar next to Buck, not even ordering anything yet as she rests her head at the bar.
Buck sets down her coffee as the other mare sits next to her. "Rough day?"
Lucky Lightning waves for a coffee, then turns to look at the stallion next to her: "Mmyeah. Did a bit of a stupid thing and did both gardening and theater today."
Buck cocks her head. "Oh. Well, it's over now at least." She sips her coffee again and turns back to her book.
Lucky Lightning nods, smiling as she gets her own coffee. She balances between greedily wanting to gulp it down and not wanting to burn herself, which ends up on rather hastily taken but very careful sips of the life-saving substance.
Buck just sits quietly reading and sipping her coffee. Every so often she lets out a small "hmm" or "ah..."
Lucky Lightning looks over at Buck: "Say... sir... I think I have seen you before. At the Bluefern greenhouse?"
Buck blinks. "Oh, been there a couple of times lately, yeah." She sets down her book and gets a refill of just coffee in her mug. "I got a little cactus there, and I've started putting down some fertilizer for spring since the snow melted a bit..."
Lucky Lightning nods, smiling slightly: "Yeah, thought so... I help Amber around there... a shop or garden assistant if you will." She looks down, chuckling slightly: "Boy does that sound weird saying about myself..."
Buck finally takes a good look at her bar companion. "Ah, yeah. You don't quite look the type for that sort of work..."
Lucky Lightning shifts in her seat and blushes: "I... uhm, yeah I guess so."
Buck shrugs a shoulder. "No offence or anything, you just look more like the type that should be waiting tables somewhere fancy or something."
Lucky Lightning blushes more and looks up like she's about to say something more indignant, then just sighs and looks down again: "...y-yeah. M-maybe so."
Buck frowns a bit. "But looks aren't everything... I'm sorry if I hurt your ego."
Lucky Lightning shakes her head, her long mane obscuring her face: "No, it's just... n-nevermind. It's nothing." She takes a sip of her coffee, but her hooves are obviously shaking.
Buck sighs. She sets down her coffee and tries to look Lucky in the eye. "Now I'm no expert on emotions, but something is bothering you. It's not nothing."
Lucky Lightning takes a sip of her coffee, silently wishing this pony would just leave her be: "It's just... I used to be more able of physical activity..." She stares into the distance from somewhere behind her mane, seemingly talking more to herself than Buck.
Buck turns away, not wanting to make Lucky more uncomfortable. "Ah, well just keep working at it. Sometimes it takes a while to get back to where you were. You just gotta keep working on it though."
Lucky Lightning nods silently, though she sniffles a bit: "Y-yeah. B-back. Sure."
Buck lets out a tiny sigh and rubs at her forehead with a hoof. She is not the right pony to be handling this...
Lucky Lightning shakes herself in an attempt to steel up a bit. She lifts her mane out of her face and takes a sip of the coffee... though she does keep on staring into the distance, clearly bothered by her thoughts, whatever they might be.
Buck opens her eyes and does her best to give a friendly smile to her barmate. "I can go, if you want some space."
Coconut sighs from an unseen seat in the back of the bar. "It might be for the best. She seems intent to wallow."
Lucky Lightning smiles weakly, shaking her head slightly: "No, I... I've probably done enough sulking lately. I should not be... d-depressed about this."
Lucky Lightning blinks and looks up towards the source of the voice: "Bwuh?"
Buck looks over to the sudden commentor. "Huh?"
Coconut sits in one of the back booths far from the fireplace, a glass of wine upon the table. She's a simple beige-coated mare, almost yellow, with a dirty white mane that's been cut short. Her eyes are a piercing green as she stares towards the two. "Depression isn't easy to overcome. But it's best faced head on, head held-high, rather then face-down in a bar."
Lucky Lightning squints at the mare: "...and who might you be, pray tell?"
Buck stands up and walks toward the mystery mare, looking her over. "Evening."
Coconut stares a moment, but raises an eyebrow curious as Buck approaches. "My name is Coconut. Good evening."
Buck nods. "I'm Buck. That's some good hearing to catch it all from back here."
Lucky Lightning looks between the two, slowly getting up from the bar and taking a few steps towards the others: "I am sir Luck-" She coughs: "Lucky... Lightning."
Coconut glances back sharply at Lucky. "Sir?"
Lucky Lightning stops like the proverbial deer in headlights: "Uhm, yes. Sort of. Was... before."
Coconut tilts her head. "Was? How curious." She nods to Buck. "I pride myself on making sure I know what's going on around me. You two weren't exactly hiding your conversation, such as it was."
Buck: Fair enough. Public bar.
Lucky Lightning keeps on staring, trying to figure out what to even say or how to describe this all when she herself has barely a clue. In the end, she says nothing.
Coconut lifts her wine, circling the glass carefully before she sips. "It's a quaint bar as well. Surprisingly homey."
Buck nods. "Nice enough. You new in town?"
Coconut dips her head in acknowledgment. "I am. This is a vacation of sorts."
Lucky Lightning keeps standing a moment more, then sighs and turns around to walk back to the bar to nurse her coffee.
Buck follows Lucky back to the bar, but only long enough to retreive her book and coffee, which she then carries back over to Coconut's table. "Mind if I sit?"
Coconut frowns, still watching Lucky out of the corner of her eyes. She nods to Buck, motioning to a seat. "Feel free. As you say, public bar."
Buck takes a seat and sips at her coffee. "Coconut, you said? Fancy name for these parts."
Coconut sips her wine. "Fancy, is it? Hmph. I always considered it rather plain, in fact."
Lucky Lightning snorts slightly into her coffee, but doesn't look up.
Buck: Well, not many coconuts around here...
Coconut 's eyes dart to Lucky at the snort. "If you have something to say to that, feel free to voice your opinion, 'Sir'." She turns back to Buck and shakes her head. "I am from... Myrtail Beach. Plenty of coconuts there."
Buck: True enough. Sorry.
Buck sips at her coffee calmly.
Coconut waves a hoof. "A name is a name. It makes little difference. So then, Buck, what is it that you do?"
Lucky Lightning glances at Coconut, silently considering her options.
Lucky Lightning ends up yawning instead of doing anything.
Buck takes a business card out of a pocket and slides it across the table. "I run a print shop on the edge of town. Book binding and repair too, but that work is scarce these days."
Coconut seems to give Buck a slight nod. "Old Books and knowledge are worth preserving. That is something to be proud of." She narrows her eyes towards Lucky.
Lucky Lightning yawns widely again, then shakes her head and finishes her coffee. She then gets up, wobbling slightly as her tired legs protest the stress they're definitely not used to.
Buck nods. "Yeah, well it's mostly just town pamphlets and wedding invitations that keep the gears greased these days."
Coconut points a hoof towards Lucky, making no attempt to lower her voice. "And the deposed noble? Friend of yours?"
Buck: Uh, just met her tonight.
Lucky Lightning looks up, frowning: "Deposed? Who you're calling deposed?"
Coconut smiles at Lucky. "You did say you 'were' Sir before. I assume that you have lost the right to use the title?"
Lucky Lightning frowns back, definitely not amused by this: "I... meant something else. None of your business."
Buck looks between Coconut and Lucky, then back to Coconut. "Hey, maybe don't."
Coconut motions a hoof around the bar. "Public bar." She glances back at Buck and shakes her head. "But you are correct. That's not why I came here."
Lucky Lightning stares at Coconut a long moment, then snorts and turns towards the stairs, her long tail swishing angrily.
Buck: Why did you come here, then?
Coconut watches Lucky walk towards the stairs. "Searching... for vacation, as it were."
Buck nods. "Oh, OK."
Buck: Most folks go south in the winter.
Lucky Lightning walks up the stairs, giving one more glance at the other two ponies before heading to her room.
Coconut snorts. "Thus far, it's as expected, I suppose." She blinks, turning back to Buck. "Well, I came here. West. No coconuts. Something different."
Buck smirks. "Well, one Coconut still."
Coconut tilts her head at Buck, then chuckles once and sips her wine. "I suppose at least one, for now."
Buck blushes just a touch and sips her coffee. "And what do you do?"
Coconut purses her lips. "I manage... a resort in Myrtail."
Buck nods. "Interesting. I've never been. My dad went there for a conference once."
Coconut: Oh? A shame, it's quite nice, right upon the ocean.
Buck: So I've heard. I've never been much farther than Canterlot.
Coconut leans in closer. "Canterlot, eh? The capital. I have not been there myself. What's it like?"
Buck: Busy. Crowded. Good prices on supplies, though.
Coconut considers. "How far is it? Maybe I should venture a trip there..."
Buck: Not too far. You can walk there in a day, but then you have to climb the mountain stairs. Usually better and faster to take the train.
Coconut nods. "Might be worth the trip then, if just to say I've been there. Though, I should hope to find something more in the Capital."
Buck: Depends what you're looking for, I suppose.
Coconut waves a hoof idly. "I am not entirely sure myself. I suppose I shall know it when I see it."
Buck finishes her coffee. "I wish you luck, then," she says as she stands and takes her mug back to the bar. She walks back over to the table to collect her book. "Nice meeting you, but I need to get home."
Coconut dips her head once again, "It has been quite interesting meeting you as well, Buck. Good luck."
Buck cocks her head. "With what?"
Coconut chuckles to herself, "With whatever you may endeavor to accomplish."
Coconut: The first part of every accomplishment is luck, good sir. The rest is skill.
Buck smiles. "Fair. You too, then." She heads out into the night, leaving Coconut alone with her thoughts.
Coconut watches Buck go, lifting up her wine to swirl it once again. "Hmph. Interesting." She sips the last of her glass and sets it back upon the table and considers these two ponies.