Ixnay on the oodblay itualsray...

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Cast

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PONYVILLE - MORNING

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Lucky Lightning sneaks from behind the Ponyville Theater building, her slightly-too-large saddlebags bulging with 'borrowed' art supplies. They're heavy, but she's convinced this is worth it. As long as nopony sees her doing this, anyway. At least the morning is moderately misty still, so things should be fine...

Julienne steps out from one of the apartment complex, having just finished touring the apartment opening, and feeling pretty good about it. It costs a little extra, but has a lovely view of the park. She shuffles through her marked brochures, checking the time for her next appointment, then nods as she looks up towards the Theater building, noticing a... disturbingly familiar pony sneaking

Julienne out the back. She tilts her head and can't help but approach them. "Impossible... I... L-Lucky?"

Lucky Lightning freezes in place at the sound of way too familiar voice from the side. "...!"

Julienne approaches from behind. "Is... that really you? What... what happened?"

Lucky Lightning briefly considers just running, not wanting to explain this at all. Instead, she just sits down, allowing Julienne to come close. When the mare steps close, Lucky looks up, a myriad of emotions fighting for dominance on her face.

Julienne stops as Lucky sits down. She watches her face, not certain how she should approach this. At last, she dips down her head. "I... I'm sorry."

Lucky Lightning sighs, then shakes her head, then starts in a small, quiet face: "I volunteered to help Amber. We... had a run-in with a cockatrice. Chased us to a field of Poison Joke."

Julienne bites her lip. "Are... are you okay?"

Lucky Lightning keeps her gaze down, and just shakes her head.

Julienne glances down at the brochure, eyeing the appointment time. She stuffs the brochure away. "C'mon. Let's go talk somewhere. If... if you want to, that is."

Lucky Lightning nods, looking up with a small yet thankful smile: "It's... so confusing. I think talking could help. You know me better than anypony, after all."

Julienne nods, concealing the thought that she wonders if that fact is as true as it used to be. She starts to walk off towards the park, away from the town. "Poison joke? Sounds... dangerous. And a cockatrice? You're not hurt, right?"

Lucky Lightning looks forward with half-glazed eyes: "I suppose I should be glad that I am not a rock statue dedicated to my own failures, but..." she sighs deeply: "I am 'okay', whatever that means these days."

Julienne frowns. "Well, you're here, and can still walk and talk at least. That's... something."

Lucky Lightning follows Julienne, but her steps are fairly dragging and not just because of her overloaded saddlebags: "...my life is officially a total failure, isn't it?"

Julienne stops to look back at Lucky sadly. "I... don't know. I used to think the same about myself too. I was just a screw-up, a good maid maybe... not good enough. Anxious, and compulsive, and not too bright." She shakes her head, wings twitching. "That's what I think of myself a lot of the time. Doesn't mean it's true..."

Lucky Lightning looks up, blinking: "...I hope you are not serious, thinking about that. You are... quite a brilliant mare, and I have not met a more crafty, studious and diligent pony."

Julienne chuckles to herself. "I'm really not. Crafty, studious and diligent... you know who that makes me think of?"

Lucky Lightning tilts her head: "Can't say outright..."

Julienne pokes at Lucky. "You. Well, you when you were... this age?" She tilts her head again, but then shakes it. "There was a reason I looked up to you so much."

Lucky Lightning blinks, trying to think back to then, but not recalling much: "...no. I was... maybe excited about theater, but... nothing worth writing home about, my family's attitude even not counting."

Julienne frowns. "It's... it's how I remember things. But if I remember wrong, I guess it just proves that I'm not that smart afterall..."

Lucky Lightning frowns: "But... I just... spent time at the theater. I was nothing special."

Julienne sighs, looking away from Lucky. "It was special to me. I guess it was just... kid stuff though."

Lucky Lightning walks nearly underneath Julienne, to use her small perspective to look up at her: "Hey. Julienne." She pauses, making sure she has Julienne's attention and to gather her thoughts: "We... I feel we have been here before, talking about this. You are right."

Julienne smiles softly. "Yeah... same old thoughts, I suppose. Especially seeing you like this... you're still different, obviously, but... makes me think back to those old days."

Lucky Lightning sits down, thinking: "...if I really did something when I was... well, a little colt like this... what did I even do? What did we do, way back then?"

Julienne lowers her head. "I just remember you putting on shows for me. I always thought you were so clever, so creative, back in that old neighborhood theater... the... what was it? The old Horsefeld Theatre..."

Lucky Lightning closes her eyes, memories coming back: "Yes... all those props and costumes and backgrounds and tools... we used to do all kinds of silly things - well, until ol' Warden Stage decided we needed to be shoo'd out for the evening show." She chuckles: "He did always let us back in the next day, though."

Julienne giggles. "Old Al.. yeah... he was a good pony to let us back there so often."

Lucky Lightning sighs: "I do... kind of miss those days too. Now I am a kid again, but... it's just an inconvenience in every regard."

Julienne nods, ears lowering after a moment of old nostalgia. "Yeah... I understand. We've both come a long way from back then, I suppose."

Lucky Lightning nods, looking down again: "Yeah... long way to where? I feel like... even when... or if... I get cured of this... I'm just going to be a mare again. What do I have left?"

Julienne smiles sadly. "You have your memories, at least. Beyond that... I don't know what else I can help you with anymore."

Lucky Lightning glances at Julienne, then nods: "Yes... I'm not your worry anymore. I will... find my own way." She thinks of something else: "Something that did cross my mind with this... change, I suppose. I am officially not even remotely the Lucky Lightning that got disowned. Should I..." She swallows a bit: "...I mean, I wondered... if I should change my name? Disown the legacy that I no longer

Lucky Lightning want to embody?"

Julienne walks back to Lucky and kneels down to hug her. "You're my friend, so I'm always going to worry. Perhaps... perhaps that's what you really need for a fresh start. I'll... I'll support you, whatever you decide."

Lucky Lightning hesitates for half a second, then hugs Julienne as tightly as she can with her tiny legs: "T-thank you, Julienne. A-again." She sniffs a bit, her emotions getting the better of her.

Julienne squeezes tight, then nods. "I... anytime, Lucky."

Lucky Lightning nuzzles Julienne's neck: "Now I just, uh... n-need to figure what that name might be. D-darn."

Julienne giggles, releasing the hug as she stands back up. "Just... follow your heart. You'll figure it out."

Lucky Lightning swallows a bit, but nods at Julienne: "...I will. T-thank you, Julienne."

Julienne nods, glancing up at the sun. "I've got another appointment to make... I hope they don't mind me being late."

Lucky Lightning shakes her head, wiping away a stray tear: "No... sorry I took your time... again."

Julienne smiles back at Lucky. "If I hadn't been okay with being late, I wouldn't have offered to stay and talk. If you need to talk more... well, you know where to find me."

Lucky Lightning nods and awkwardly gives Julienne's leg a short hug: "I know. I might come for you for... ideas, later. Once I get this... 'filly' problem solved." She shakes her head: "I should go check how Amber is doing with it, actually."

Julienne reaches a hoof down to hug again. "Good luck finding... well, yourself. And I hope this all gets fixed soon for you."

Lucky Lightning nods at Julienne, finally smiling a bit: "We'll talk again. Take care, Julienne."

Julienne nods back, and turns back towards town, feeling surprisingly good about how that went, and trying not to muse to herself about how adorable Lucky looks as a filly...

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CELESTIA'S SCHOOL FOR GIFTED UNICORNS - MIXIE & CALA'S DORM ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

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Mixolydia unlocks the door to the room and holds the door open for her friends. "Welcome all!"

Willow Wisp steps in, smiling: "Well, this looks..." she actually takes it in: "...awfully small?"

Mixolydia looks into the room, which is a normal size for a two-pony dorm room. There's a set of bunk beds on one side, a couple of desks under the side wall and a large wardrobe opposite the beds. "I guess? I dunno. It's a dorm. It's bigger than my room back home was..."

Nightingale steps into the dorm, looking around with interest. "Well... two ponies to a dorm room, normally. Still, it's pretty cozy!"

Dusty looks around as she carries her pillow, blanket, and bag into the room. "Hmm...I expected a lot more decorations..."

Calavera nods. "It's not small! It's perfect! Though, I suppose it might be a bit crowded for five ponies... still, two beds, plenty ah room for sleeping bags, or ah pillow fort or something!"

Mixolydia points to a couple of camping mattresses that are rolled up and bound under one of the desk. "I... uh... borrowed those..." I figure me and Cala can share her bed, Gale and Willow can be on the mattresses on the floory and Dusty can have my top bunk."

Narrator: The walls of the room have a few posters and knicknacks on them, mostly music related stuff near Mixie's bed and desk.

Nightingale blinks as he glances back at the sleeping bag he's been carrying. "Oh! I, uh... guess we don't need our sleeping bags, then?"

Calavera trots over to her desk, which is covered in open books with several dogeared pages, as well as sewing supplies, and a few pony dolls she's in various stages of sewing together. "Sorry to disappoint. I ain't got many decorations. Didn't move in up here with much. Ya'll can sleep wherever you feel most comfortable, that's just what Mixie and I planned for."

Mixolydia nods. "I just figured it would be easier for Dusty to be up top because of her wings and all.."

Dusty lightly climbs up to the top bunk. "Hmmm...I do like it up here~"

Willow Wisp sits down, tilting her head: "Well... this should be interesting, at least."

Nightingale chuckles and grins. "It'll be good fun, I think."

Calavera giggles, looking at the bright pink sheets on the bottom bunk. "Mixie's always floatin' around. I like the bottom bunk 'cause it feels like I'm underground in some secret cave!"

Mixolydia blushes a bit, stepping off of the cloud of magic she had subconciously formed beneath her. "So... uh.. what does everyone want to do?"

Willow Wisp looks at between Mixie and Calavera: "Well, you invited us. You tell me."

Calavera spins in her seat at the desk. "Games? Cake? Blood ritual?"

Willow Wisp urks a bit and gives Calavera a look: "...skip on that last one."

Dusty perks up. "There's cake?"

Mixolydia sighs. "Ixnay on the oodblay itualsray..."

Dusty: Is that the blood ritual chant?

Nightingale laughs a bit. "Games sound fun to start. As for the blood ritual... maybe before bed, so I can just go straight to sleep after I heal whoever does it..."

Willow Wisp looks at Nightingale and Dusty: "...please tell me you're not taking this seriously..."

Nightingale shakes his head and chuckles. "No, I'm not being serious, Willow. Just rolling with the jokes."

Calavera stops spinning, feeling a little woozy. "Aw. I mean, you don't need blood I suppose. Just means the warding ritual isn't as strong. Wouldn' want to summon anything big if you aren't..." She stops and looks at Mixie. "Oh right. No summonin'. Right!"

Willow Wisp looks at Calavera evenly, looking a bit green: "...forget I asked."

Dusty seems a little disappointed. "Aww..."

Mixolydia sits on her completely tidy desk. "Well, what games do we have around? We could always do charades or something..."

Calavera sorts through all the supplies on her desk. "Here's the playin' card. Tarot cards. Ouiji board. Charades would be fun! Maybe something where we can get to know one another better?"

Mixolydia frowns at the lack of reaction to her suggestion. "Fine, no charades... um... Truth or Dare?" She floats a donut over from the boxes that Willow set by the door and takes a bite.

Nightingale sets his sleeping bag and other supplies in a neat little pile beside Willow's stuff. "Truth or Dare could be fun."

Willow Wisp looks at the donuts and decides they are currently the most important thing: "I fwuppose fwome kind of game could wowk." She swallows the half of the donut in her mouth: "...or something. I haven't really done this kind of thing before."

Calavera giggles and spins in her chair the other way. "Alright! Truth or dare then? Who goes first?"

Mixolydia nibbles at her donut. "You OK with that Dusty? Do you know how to play?"

Dusty seems a little surprised. "Truth or Dare...are we old enough to play that...?"

Calavera tilts her head as her chair spins around. "Old enough? Well, so long as we're not darin' to break any laws... can't imagine why we wouldn't be able ta play it."

Willow Wisp blushes just a tad as her mind goes to obvious places best left unmentioned.

Mixolydia giggles. "Since you asked, Cala, you can go first."

Dusty: Well...I guess it should be okay...

Calavera blinks. "Oh! Oh! Ahhhh!" She freezes up then looks at Mixie. "Mixie? Mixie! Truth or Dare?"

Mixolydia blinks. "Uh... ok... Truth, I guess?"

Calavera considers for a moment as her chair stops spinning. "Alright. Truth. What are ya scared of?"

Dusty peeks over the edge of the bunk curiously

Willow Wisp munches on her doughnut, looking more thoughtful than she probably is.

Mixolydia frowns and thinks for a bit. "I'm afraid of losing my magic, like permanently... or having it like, weakened... being without it for a couple of days was bad enough, but there are some unicorns who like... lose it permanently... in accidents and stuff."

Willow Wisp shudders at the thought: "Eugh."

Nightingale cringes at the answer. "Yeah... that does sound really disturbing..."

Dusty: I've read stories where a unicorn turned evil because they lost their horn!

Mixolydia shivers again. "Or like, others who have to feel pain to do magic anymore..."

Calavera puts her hooves in front of her mouth almost looking like she'll cry. "That's awful! I meant like, spiders or somethin'."

Nightingale quietly clears his throat and glances away from Mixie at the mention of casting magic to one's personal detriment. He shifts awkwardly for a moment, but quickly regains his composure as he continues listening.

Mixolydia shakes her head. "Spiders are nice though. They eat other bugs. As for something that... uh... spooks me or whatever... I dunno... I don't like places that are too quiet. Those moments in a big group where everyone just stops talking at the same time, those creep me out."

Willow Wisp looks at Mixolydia: "...huh."

Dusty: Oh! Speaking of uh...quiet...I should cast that soundproofing spell before I forget!

Mixolydia giggles. "OK, just be careful and remember to take it off again in the morning..."

Nightingale looks curiously at Dusty. "Soundproofing spell? Do you think we're really going to get that loud?"

Dusty pulls a spellbook from her bag and opens it up. "Well, maybe...Sleepovers are exciting!"

Willow Wisp tilts her head: "...I guess?"

Calavera shrugs. "I mean, we might all say something funny and laugh so hard the neighbors get disturbed, right?"

Mixolydia looks around. "Hmm... while Dusty is working on that... Nightingale... truth or dare?"

Nightingale smiles as he directs his attention back to Mixie. "Hm... Let's have a bit of fun. Dare me!"

Mixolydia grins a bit and thinks. "Um... let's see... I dare you... to... show us a cool spell that none of the rest of us know."

Calavera leans forward on her chair and oooo's!

Willow Wisp follows with interest as she munches on yet another doughnut.

Nightingale tilts his head for a moment, humming thoughtfully as he tries to think of an obscure spell. "Something cool, huh...? Let's see..."

Nightingale perks up after a moment. "Ah! I could do that one, but..." He glances at the box of donuts sitting nearby, "I, er... might need to eat a few donuts after I cast it."

Mixolydia nods. "Of course!" She floats over a chocolate glazed donut and munches on it excitedly

Calavera nods eagerly. "I say do it! We got plenty more donuts where those came from!"

Nightingale nods and steps into the open area in the middle of the dorm, and his horn starts to glow as he charges up the spell. "So... this one's a bit different from my regular magic. It doesn't make me sick, but it does make me really hungry afterwards." As he talks, the glow starts to envelop his whole form.

Mixolydia watches curiously.

Calavera tilts her head, trying to take it all in.

Nightingale glows brighter for over the course of several seconds, until the glowing magic surrounding him suddenly bursts outward, filling the entire room with motes of glowing magic that hang in the air.

Mixolydia lets out a soft 'ooo' of appreciation.

Nightingale 's stomach starts growling rather loudly as he releases his hold on the magic, though the motes remain hanging in the air for the time being. "There... That should be right. How are you all feeling?"

Willow Wisp oohs at this: "...whoa."

Mixolydia blinks, suddenly feeling more awake than before. "Wow... energy transfer?"

Calavera feels giddy. Giddier than usual as she spins her chair again. "It's like... I just ate a whole buncha sugar all at once, but don't even feel crappy 'bout myself for doing it!"

Dusty hums appreciatively as she finishes casting her soundproofing spell on the room. "Ah...this feels pretty good..."

Willow Wisp huh's, blinking: "That's... kinda cool, actually." She smiles at Nightingale.

Mixolydia floats the open box of donuts over to Nightingale. "Thanks! That was great. Your turn to ask now."

Nightingale levitates a few donuts out of the box, not really caring to see what kinds he's grabbing. "Thanks, everyone. I think I'll ask... Willow, next!"

Willow Wisp looks up: "Hmm... Truth."

Mixolydia takes a moment to step outside of the room and shut the door. After a moment she steps back inside and smiles up at Dusty. "Your spell works great! I can't hear anything with my ear to the door."

Nightingale hums. "Tell us... tell us about how you got accepted into the academy."

Willow Wisp shrugs: "My parents finagled somehow me to the entry exam. The teachers saw something, but I don't know what. I blanked out during the exam."

Calavera feels inspired and reinvigorated by Nightingale's spell, and as her chair stops spinning, she reaches out for her sewing, and starts working the needle along one of her unfinished dolls with her hoof, no magic.

Dusty takes a donut from the box. "So...maybe you have some kind of cool hidden power!"

Willow Wisp shrugs: "If I do, it's very well hidden." She sighs a bit.

Mixolydia frowns. "They don't just let anypony in here though... I'm sure you'll figure it out someday soon."

Willow Wisp shrugs: "I hope so. I've seen enough of this place for a lifetime."

Calavera nods as she sews. "Well, hopefully we can all help out! That's what friends are for, after all!"

Nightingale nods. "You'll find it out one day, Willow. You might just need inspiration again."

Willow Wisp smiles and nods: "...I hope I will." She smirks a bit: "Well then, Dusty. Truth or Dare?"

Dusty eeps as she's chosen. "U-um...truth?"

Willow Wisp smirk widens just a touch: "Has any colt ever... caught your eye?"

Dusty blinks and blushes. "W-well...not particularly..."

Calavera blinks, tilting her head at Dusty's reaction. "Well a'course not! That'd be silly." She looks around the room. "Right?"

Mixolydia cocks her head. "No pony? Ever?"

Willow Wisp blinks: "...huh?" She then groans inwardly, once again remembering her age versus the rest of the room.

Dusty blushes a deeper red. "W-well when I was little...I had a crush on my father..."

Willow Wisp gags a bit: "...oookay."

Mixolydia agrees. "Dads are like, gross and old and stuff..."

Dusty: H-hey! You've never seen him though!

Dusty: He is very handsome!

Willow Wisp tilts her head: "..."

Mixolydia: Uh... maybe we should move on the next question?

Calavera still looks around, not quite getting it.

Dusty grumbles. "A-alright...Cala, truth or dare?"

Calavera blinks. "Oh! Ahhh. Dare?"

Dusty: I dare you to...braid Nightingale's mane!

Nightingale blinks as he looks up from the third donut he's in the middle of eating. "I... uh, what? My mane?"

Calavera glances at Nightingale. "Uh... alright? I ain't terribly good at braiding. Hope that's alright?"

Mixolydia frowns. "If a dare involves somepony other than the one being dared or the asker, they have to agree. So is that okay, Gale?"

Nightingale looks up at his mane for a moment, then shrugs and nods. "Uh... yeah, sure. Dunno if I've got enough mane to really braid, though."

Calavera nods, hopping down off her chair to step over closer to Nightingale. "Alrighty then!" She tilts her head back and forth, and her horn glows as she sorta weaves Nightengale's mane about, trying to get it to go into a braid, as best she can. "And... there? Like that?"

Nightingale sits still as Calavera starts trying her best to braid his mane. It's long enough that she can get a few braids in place, but nothing much more.

Willow Wisp is just munching a doughnut (no one's counting, right?) as she follows with interest.

Dusty giggles. "Cute!"

Calavera steps back, relatively pleased with her efforts. "I do wish your mane were longer for a proper braid though. Still, not bad."

Dusty: I might be able to make your mane longer if you want...

Nightingale chuckles a bit. "I could, but a longer mane always felt like it'd be too warm. Though... it might keep my ears toasty during the winter months..."

Calavera pokes Nightingale with a giggle. "Well, I'm pickin' you this time. Truth, or dare?"

Nightingale blinks at his turn coming again so quickly. "Er... Truth, this time?"

Calavera grins. "What's the weirdest dream you've ever had?"

Nightingale: Weirdest dream? Uh... that's a rough one, I don't really remember my dreams... Give me a moment...

Calavera nods. "Or a nightmare. I was gonna ask about nightmares, but figured that was too close ta' asking about fears."

Mixolydia opens the next box of donuts and takes one decorated with icing that matches the school's tartan pattern.

Nightingale taps his chin as he thinks for a little while. "Well... I don't know if it qualifies as weird or a nightmare, but I do know of this one dream that comes back to me every so often. I end up finding myself walking through this creepy old forest, looking for something, I don't know what, but I just have that feeling I'm hunting for something. The dream always ends before I find whatever it is I'm looking for, because something either startles me awake in the dream, or my alarm goes off."

Willow Wisp tilts her head: "...huh. Weird. But I suppose dreams are."

Calavera is gaping at Nightingale. "Awwww... That's so cool..."

Mixolydia sighs. "Cala... you think the weirdest stuff is cool..."

Willow Wisp nods in agreement to Mixolydia.

Calavera shrugs, "Well, I dunno if it's the weirdest stuff... but it is pretty cool."

Nightingale nods a bit. "So yeah, that's probably the only dream I really remember off-hoof."

Dusty nods. "It's definitely cool."

Mixolydia smiles at Nightingale. "So... your turn..."

Calavera grins up at Dusty.

Nightingale hums thoughtfully, before gesturing at Mixie. "Alright, then. Mixie, truth or dare?"

Mixolydia bites her lip as she thinks. "Uh, I guess dare this time?"

Nightingale thinks for a few seconds, then smiles. "I dare you to sing the Equestrian National Anthem in your best singing voice." He pauses, then blinks and adds, "Er... without casting magic."

Mixolydia swallows her bite of donut and takes a long drink of water from the waterbottle on her desk. "Right, OK..." She stands up and starts practicing a few scales to get herself in tune.

Mixolydia starts singing, starting slow and soft as she gives a brief history of the tribes of ponies fighting each other, and then of how they came together. The final verse is an ode to unity of unicorns, earth ponies, and pegasi. She finishes the song practically belting it out, the last lines triumphant and strong, like a united equestria. It's a performance suitable for any hoofball match

Mixolydia or county fair.

Dusty claps her hooves at Mixie's performance

Willow Wisp smiles at the performance, then... munches on a doughnut, of course.

Mixolydia blushes a bit. "Good thing you cast that soundproofing spell, Dusty..."

Nightingale likewise starts clapping his hooves at Mixie's performance. "That was really nice!"

Dusty giggles. "You can sing as much as you want!

Mixolydia smiles after taking another drink of water. "I might have performed it once or twice in public before..."

Mixolydia looks up at Dusty. "So... Dusty, truth or dare?"

Dusty eeps, remembering the last round. "Umm...dare!"

Calavera finally lifts a donut from the box and munches it happily, turning to watch Dusty after enjoying Mixie's song.

Willow Wisp yawns a bit, feeling a bit drowsy.

Nightingale snags a fourth donut as he turns his attention to Dusty as well.

Mixolydia looks at Dusty and thinks. "Hmm... this is a tough one..."

Mixolydia looks around a bit. "Uh..." She floats over a blueberry donut, looking at it. Still holding up the donut, she grins and looks to Dusty. "I dare you... to eat this donut... without using magic or your wings or hooves..." She floats the donut down over the tip of her own horn, then shakes her head until it floats just a bit above her forehead. "... from off of my horn."

Calavera giggles, finding this incredibly silly.

Nightingale snickers as he takes a bite out of his donut and watches what Dusty might choose to do.

Dusty blushes as she climbs down from the top bunk. "Mixie, isn't that kind of...o-okay, I'll do it!"

Willow Wisp smirks a bit at Dusty: "You can do it."

Mixolydia giggles, blushing just a bit. "I trust you..."

Calavera tilts her head, glancing at Nightingale. "It's just a doughnut, ain't it?"

Nightingale glances at Calavera with a bit of a smirk. "Yeah, it's just a donut. Mixie's probably banking on Dusty being embarrassed by being so close to her."

Calavera nods as if she gets it. "Ohhhh." She clearly doesn't.

Dusty moves in front of Mixie, then changes her mind and moves around to the side. "Y-yeah, that's it..."

Willow Wisp giggles a bit, lifting a hoof to her mouth.

Dusty leans in, crossing her eyes as she zeroes in on the donut. "Ahh...this is weird..."

Nightingale chuckles. "It's a dare, though!"

Calavera: Well, it makes sense ta put them there, sorta. Why else would doughnuts have a hole right in the middle?

Mixolydia giggles and leans over toward Dusty, helping to position the donut for easier eating. "Exactly, Cala! Donuts and bagels were invented by unicorns for easy carrying, mmhm."

Willow Wisp eyes Mixolydia: "I'm not entirely sure that's how it works..."

Dusty tilts her head and takes a big bite out of the bottom of the donut, trying not to touch Mixie's horn. "That...might be true..."

Mixolydia giggles as Dusty's chin tickles against her forehead. "My dad always said that both were breakfast food invented for unicorns on the go!"

Calavera ponders. "Wonder who invented doughnut holes then?"

Willow Wisp looks at Calavera and manages just barely to avoid the urge to facehoof.

Dusty takes another bite. "This is...still really weird..."

Nightingale can't help but laugh to himself as he watches Dusty trying her best to eat the donut. "Well, whoever invented the donut, I imagine, Cala!"

Mixolydia rotates the donut as Dusty eats it so that she doesn't have to move too much. She giggles a bit but tries to stay still until the dare is complete.

Dusty accidentally nips Mixie's horn as she takes another bite. "Ah! S-sorry!"

Mixolydia eeps and squirms, though she doesn't lose her hold on the donut. "Be careful..."

Willow Wisp giggles a bit: "That looks like fun."

Calavera giggles too, finding it all very silly. "Yeah! Could be fun."

Dusty finally manages to eat the last of the donut. "Phew...That was tough..."

Mixolydia leans in and gives Dusty a quick hug. "Sorry for making it a bit weird, but I had fun." She retreats and settles down next to Cala.

Nightingale chuckles. "Seems like a fun game."

Dusty blushes and hops back up to the top bunk. "So...Willow! Truth or dare?"

Willow Wisp blinks, then tilts her head: "Hmm. I'll stick to Truth."

Dusty thinks for a moment. "Truth, truth...um...You're a bit older than us. Have you ever kissed a colt...or a filly~?"

Willow Wisp blushes a bit, then... slowly shakes her head. "B-best I've got is... dreamed of some."

Calavera tilts her head. "All this talk of kissing and crushes... I don't get it."

Willow Wisp smiles despite her blush: "It'd be nice to have somepony special."

Calavera just seems a little more confused, lowering her voice a little. "I just thought... everypony is special."

Mixolydia hugs Cala. "Everypony is special, yes. And it's okay that you don't care about romance and stuff yet."

Nightingale smiles. "Everypony is special in their own way, Cala. But I think Willow means 'special' as in 'want to spend my whole life with them'."

Dusty blushes a bit. "Ah...well...maybe you'll find somepony soon, Willow!"

Calavera glances at Willow and nods, glancing down a little as Mixie hugs her. "I just... don't get it. Ah... sorry."

Willow Wisp smiles at Calavera: "It's okay. It's... well, I suppose you'll know soon enough. Maybe when summer comes and some of the other students start to look rather mighty good..." she coughs, blushing.

Mixolydia smiles. "Maybe, but let's keep the game moving..."

Willow Wisp chuckles: "Okay, fair enough." She looks around the group, then her eyes settle on Calavera. She grins a bit.

Calavera looks back up meeting Willow's eyes. "Uhm? Me? I guess... dare?"

Willow Wisp nods, lifting a hoof to her chin as she thinks: "Hmm..."

Willow Wisp smirks after a moment: "I'd dare you to actually prank one of our teachers, but can't do that today..." She blinks, thinking of something: "My teachers keep saying that I'm 'magic-negating', whatever that really means. Cast something on me."

Calavera seems a bit on edge about the first suggestion, but relaxes a bit at the second. "Cast something' on you? Hmm... alright, uh, which spell?" She lifts a hoof to her chin as she thinks.

Willow Wisp shrugs: "Whatever has a pretty clear effect I suppose."

Calavera 's eyes light up as she comes up with a spell. "Alright, not sure what magic-negating is going to mean, but... how's about I braid your mane too? I don't see how that'd be cancelled out?" She walks up to Willow, her horn lighting up as she starts trying to weave the top of Willow's mane (leaving the cool horns alone) the same as Nightingale's.

Willow Wisp 's mane weaves perfectly normally, causing Willow to blink. "Huh. I thought something would happen."

Calavera continues to braid, but the magic just doesn't seem to have any effect on Willow. "Ah I can feel it... like, my magic is doin' what it should be. But I just don't see anything." She doesn't notice the back of her own mane braiding as she goes.

Willow Wisp blinks again: "Are you sure? I don't feel much at all."

Mixolydia notices the back of Cala's mane. "Uh... Cala, are you braiding your own mane?"

Nightingale blinks as he notices Calavera's mane braiding itself. "Uh... Cala? Are you sure you're casting that spell on Willow?"

Calavera frowns, still focusing as she continues. "Yeah... it's like I can't get a grip." Not quite frustrated by wanting to see some reaction, she gives her magic a tug to yank Willow's mane just to get a reaction, then eeps at the pull on herself, causing her to let go of the magic. "Eep! I was aimin' for Willow! How the hay'd that happen?"

Willow Wisp blinks again and turns around: "Huh? What happened?"

Dusty chuckles. "Looks like Willow's super secret skill in effect~"

Calavera turns around to give Willow a look at Cala's own mane. "Just look! I was trying ta braid your mane!"

Willow Wisp tilts her head, frowning a bit: "...are you sure? I didn't feel much anything."

Mixolydia laughs. "Maybe you're unconsciously deflecting the magic, Willow?"

Nightingale glances between Willow and Calavera. "From where I was sitting, it looked like she was casting the spell on herself... But from what Cala was saying, she was trying to focus on you."

Willow Wisp blinks a few times: "...well, huh. I guess so."

Calavera hmmms. "Well, that's pretty unusual... wonder what'd happen if I..." She levitates a bite of doughnut up and moves it rapidly towards Willow. As it gets close, it seems to rebound back, almost bouncing and striking Cala in the horn.

Willow Wisp blinks at the doughnut: "...that's new. I think."

Nightingale raises an eyebrow. "Well, er... At least you're safe if a food fight breaks out in the academy's cafeteria...?"

Calavera shakes her head, dislodging the crumbs as she tries to gather her wits again. "Gah... wasn't expecting it to come back so hard."

Willow Wisp looks up, pondering: "But... how did I not ever notice this before?"

Mixolydia laughs. "Maybe there's not a lot of random spells being thrown around in most places? And even here, it's super rare that we test anything on another pony..."

Nightingale nods. "If you think about it, we're always trying to cast at inanimate objects, not living things. That's not a thing we even try until... what, Senior year or further?"

Dusty throws a donut at Willow, then catches it in her mouth as it rebounds to her. "Maybe we should do it more often~"

Calavera blinks. "Oh! Oh! And now it's my turn, right?" She glances about, considering. "Dusty! Truth or dare?"

Willow Wisp blinks at Dusty, then chuckles: "...glad to of use, I suppose."

Dusty shivers remembering her last dare. "Truth..."

Calavera grins. "Ya ever practiced any... dark magic?"

Dusty shakes her head quick. "N-no! I do know a pony who uses it, though. He's one of the royal knights!"

Calavera gapes. "Awww cool. A Dark Knight?"

Dusty: Definitely!

Calavera: Ya think he'd show me?

Willow Wisp looks at Calavera: "...what is with you and fascination with the creepy?"

Dusty thinks for a moment. "It's...actually really dangerous. I don't think he would..."

Dusty: But! His mane is all swooshy!

Mixolydia sticks her tongue out at Willow. "What is it with you and goats? It's just a thing she likes, OK?"

Calavera nods. "Creepy things are cute! In a creepy way."

Nightingale raises an eyebrow. "A knight that uses dark magic...? Isn't that like... super dangerous, though, Dusty?"

Willow Wisp shakes her head and is about to take a bite out of doughnut, but interrupts herself with a big yawn instead.

Dusty: I mean...it kind of is? He's still training to control it better.

Mixolydia: I'm sure he wouldn't be a knight if he didn't know what he was doing. I mean, it's not like he's running around with his mane on fire or something. Right?

Calavera whoas. "That'd be sooooo cool though. Like... black fire!"

Dusty: It does kinda look like fire...

Nightingale: So... he's got enough control of it to alter his appearance? I guess that does make it safer...

Dusty: Well, the mane is the part he can't control, I think...

Nightingale blinks. "Oh..."

Mixolydia: I wonder if we could convince the staff to let us go on a field trip to Dusty's kingdom sometime...

Calavera: Awwwww that'd be so cool!

Dusty: I mean...it should be okay if you guys behave...

Nightingale laughs after a moment. "I'll bet they would, if we promise to do a write-up or something..."

Calavera nods excitedly, "I'd totally behave! No summonin' or or anything while I'm there."

Willow Wisp blinks after her last yawn: "...wait, what are we walking about and do I even want to know?"

Dusty smiles. "A possible field trip to my home country!"

Mixolydia grins. "Dusty is a princess from an adventure kingdom where everyone fights monsters all the time!"

Willow Wisp tilts her head: "Um... I think other countries are slightly outside of budg-" she blinks at Mixolydia: "...wait what?"

Dusty nods. "It's true!"

Nightingale gives his head a bit of a shake and looks at Mixie in disbelief. "Wait... what? S-she is...?"

Mixolydia nods. "Yeah, um, Dusty can explain it better..."

Dusty smiles. "Have you ever heard of Ostfriesen?"

Willow Wisp tilts her head: "Well... no? Should I have?"

Nightingale shakes his head again, this time in response to Dusty's question. "Nothing more than like... vague references in old books."

Calavera nods. "It's like a spooky old country controlled by dragons, and filled with spooky monsters, but the monsters are nice and the Dragons are princesses and they fight evil and Dusty is a Princess too and part Phoenix!"

Dusty holds up her hooves and laughs. "You're about 20% right...

Willow Wisp blinks a bit, but slowly her eyebrows start resembling something you could make sure the building is level: "...sure."

Mixolydia: Part dragon part alicorn part seapony part magical manifestation of dark magic...

Mixolydia nods to herself. "Dusty is all of that."

Willow Wisp looks at Dusty, Calavera and Mixolydia for a moment, then just shakes her head and picks up a doughnut. At least doughnuts make sense.

Nightingale 's head slowly cants to the side as he tries his best to keep up with these revelations, to limited success. "So... Ostfriesen is actually all of what they allude to in those old books?"

Calavera giggles, "I don't know! But if even the 20% of what I got right is true, it sounds cool to me."

Dusty squeaks, a bit overwhelmed. "That's not quite...what do the books even say?"

Mixolydia raises her hooves to quiet all her friends. "Why don't we all calm down a bit and let Dusty tell us about it?"

Willow Wisp is already quiet if not for the slight sound of rapidly disappearing doughnuts.

Nightingale nods at Mixie's suggestion and closes his jaw, which he realizes was beginning to hang open as he processed all of the info. "U-um... yeah, let's... let's hear Dusty, first."

Dusty sighs and collects her thoughts. "So...put simply, Ostfriesen is a country full of very strong, skilled, and smart ponies that was sealed away over a thousand years ago. The legend says the country was blessed by a massive dragon!"

Willow Wisp raises an eyebrow at Dusty as she walks over to Calavera's bed to lounge there with a box of doughnuts.

Mixolydia: The same one that's your grandpa?

Nightingale: Dusty's grandpa is a dragon...?

Mixolydia nods. "Well, her mom is half-dragon, half-alicorn, so I think so?"

Dusty shakes her head. "The dragon blessed the current twin princesses before they were born, giving them great powers and dragon features."

Mixolydia: Oh, that explains it, ok. Sorry.

Willow Wisp rolls her eyes a bit at the conversation. 'Ooh, a mint creme one. Cool.'

Dusty: As for the monsters, well...Ostfriesians have a duty to protect the countryside from the powerful monsters that roam about. They're a lot stronger than the kinds you would normally see."

Nightingale manages to rein in his thoughts when he takes a moment to focus. "Well... we hardly ever see monsters, in Canterlot. There was the whole thing I heard about with changelings attacking some years back, and a few other things, but..."

Mixolydia nods. "Sometimes they come into the cities out west, but it's rare and the guard can take care of them..."

Calavera is just listening to Dusty with seemingly rapt attention.

Willow Wisp is not listening with rapt attention. She is, in fact, not listening at all as she's fallen asleep somewhere between the last doughnut and the next one.

Dusty continues to tell her friends all about Ostfriesen as the night goes on, seemingly forgetting their game...or at least extending her turn out indefinitely~