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|Journeys Across Equestria > Mane-Ji > I Need A Drink. (june 13, 2019)|
|Posted by: JM95 Jun 1 2014, 03:04 PM|
| Sayuri needed a drink, and she needed one now.
Her day began with her attempt to make breakfast herself backfiring horribly due to finding out she needed to make a big speech to the people of Mane-Ji. She had to rush to prepare the speech and give it, and she came back to a ghastly burnt breakfast. She was pretty darn good at actually doing things like that herself, but all these new responsibilities left her little time to not rely on servants. She ate her burnt food, and finished just in time to greet the ambassador from Maretonia. She didn't realize he was going to be spending the whole weekend here! She had to tour him all around the capital, talk about what she planned to do in her regency, and lots of other fan-bucking-tastic things. Lunch went just about as well as breakfast, but this time with the ambassador offering her some of his weird Maretonian food, freshly prepared by his best chefs. Sayuri had no idea what she had been eating at lunch, but it tasted pretty awful and she had to try her best to pretend she thought it was delicious. There was more talking, dinner, and then a trip to the theater to see a show.
It's not that Sayuri didn't enjoy going to the theater and dressing all nice, it's just that the previous events of the day had left her bored and frustrated. Her bad mood had prevented her from truly enjoying the show, and she just felt glad that it was now over.
Now she had crowds of Qilin surrounding and pestering her, as if they had never seen her before. They shot questions at her from all directions, and she had to get her bodyguards to get the crazed admirers to ask questions one at a time. She was in a desperate situation, and gravely needed somepony to get her out of it. Would she be lucky enough to find a bystander to run off with? She looked around nervously, hoping she would find somepony.
|Posted by: SillyFilly Jun 1 2014, 04:00 PM|
| Moon Chaser needed an out.
This business trip had been successful, perhaps too successful; Moon had come to Mane-Ji following the recent troubles to ensure the turbulent times wouldn't effect her supply of Mane-Ji snow; a powder vital to the construction of pyrotechnics. Sure, Moon was more than capable of making a similar concoction herself or using more local ingredients, but the highest quality of products required the highest quality of ingredients; and there was no better substitute in all the world for her work than the powder found only in the mountains of Mane-Ji.
Moon had relied on not only her own connections, but on her father's company, to secure an audience with the right people; and that's where the trouble had started. Many of the local heads of business had decided she was some powerful and important Equestrian citizen and while she hated to lord it over ponies, if they decided to start a rumour that was to her benefit, she wasn't going to stop them.
Of course, now she'd found herself cordially invited to some over-wrought performance in a language she didn't speak. Plus, from what she could see, the whole performance had seemed somewhat gaudy. Though, given the attendance she could now see in the after-party, it had to be to the local taste. Or, not so local; even though many of the high-ranking Mane-Ji Qillin were here, Moon noted a large contingent of Neighponese nobles as well as the small island of the Equestrian ambassador's family. A small island Moon had desperately hoped to get too, before being waylaid near the bar by... baron? (the exact equivalent of his title escaped her) Nagara. He had been boring her ear off for far to long about the quality of his lineage, his access to Mane-Ji snow he'd just happened to hear she was after - now he'd been made a governor - and his availability to show her round the city. Moon glanced around the room looking for help only to spot somepony else surrounded by a crowd and looking desperate. Some Kirin and a doe too. Slowly a plan started to formulate.
With a stealthy tap of her hind leg Moon unbalanced the table the stallion next to her had been leaning on, causing him to tumble slightly into her. Moon grabbed a glass from the bar as she too stumbled backwards and thanks in large part to a youth of dance lessons made it look like she'd accidentally been knocked all the way over to the trapped doe, whereupon her glasses contents, by pure happenstance, ended up all over the does dress.
"Oh dah-ling, I'm simply so sorry;" Moon said in her most pretentious accent, "Please I'm simply have to help you get clean in the powder room I'd never forgive myself otherwise." Moon untangled herself from the doe, who she now realized with slight dread was the Regent Sayuri. Still, in for a bit... she shot the nearest bodyguard a withering gaze. "Obviously these colts will have to wait outside. There's some places a lady simply can't take a gentlecolt, no matter how upstanding."
|Posted by: JM95 Jun 2 2014, 06:32 AM|
| Sayuri didn't even react when the drink was tossed at her dress...Well, it's not to say that she didn't react, but her reaction was not one of shock or sorrow at her ruined dress. She looked down at the spillage on her dress for a fraction of a second, then said something to her guards in notably Equestrian-accented Mane-Jise. The guards nodded, and being Unikirin, they placed a magical force-field bubble over Moon Chaser. Sayuri spoke to the crowds, and from what context Moon would be able to gather, she was telling them to disperse and leave. And so, the Qilin crowds began to leave the theater.
Once it seemed safe to leave, the guards levitated Moon's bubble just a bit off the ground and levitated the bubble behind them. Sayuri followed just behind Moon Chaser, staring at her bubble with a bit of a fiery look in her eyes. It was clear she wasn't happy, and had no intention of speaking to the mare with any sort of kindness or leniency. The group exited the theater and made their way down a street. Qilin would occasionally glance out their windows at the Princess and her entourage, but most had gone inside for the night.
"Are you happy now?" Sayuri hissed at Moon, her frustration present despite her tone barely being a whisper. Her Equestrian was perfect, with absolutely no hint of any accent from anywhere but Canterlot. It was quite obviously her native tongue.
"Spilling your drink on me might get you the audience with a princess you may have wanted, but I won't be giving you the teatime and forgiving slap on the pastern your soft, relenting Princess back home would provide!"
Sayuri was doing a very, very good job of making herself sound authoritarian and stern...But was punishing Moon Chaser really what was on her mind? "I should have you spend the night in a jail cell for assault, you conniving hooligan! But instead..." Her tone softened, "I must thank you for giving me an excuse to shake off that crowd. I have been having a non-stop awful day from the moment I woke up this morning, and I wouldn't have been able to handle them much longer."
|Posted by: SillyFilly Jun 2 2014, 07:08 AM|
| Moon didn't much like the magic bubble, but there wasn't much she could do; it was a shame she hadn't realized until too late her target was the regent, but still, it wasn't like the regent could do much herself. At least not without causing an international incident, not to mention she was sure Nagara was the kind of stallion who'd come forward to explain how it was all his fault. Though, after a moments reflection, Moon decided that the dungeons where probably preferable to being in the bores debt.
Given Sayuri's firey expression, Moon figured it best to stay silent within the ball, at least until Sayuri asked her a question. Moon fought over whether it was better to answer the rhetorical question or risk further displeasure by ignoring the doe when she was saved by Sayuri continuing.
"Please, much sorry." Moon said in broken Mane-Ji, her mastery of the language never previously being a necessity, hoping that the guards wouldn't understand her when she switched to Equestrian.
She gave Sayuri a small smile and lowered her voice so only the regent could hear her "We'll chalk that up to my conniving plan. But if you really want to thank me, can you make this ball a little more opaque. I've no problem with you dragging me off to your dungeons, have to make it look good, but if someponies see me it could ruin my business connections. Also I am sorry about the dress, but sacrifices had to be made to rescue the damsel in distress. I'd give you advice on making sure it doesn't stain, but I'm not sure you're the kind of doe to wear the same dress twice anyway."
|Posted by: JM95 Jun 3 2014, 07:15 AM|
| Sayuri said something in Mane-Jise to the guards, and they lowered Moon's bubble and set it gently on the ground. Moon would soon feel her hooves touch the street as the bubble disappeared altogether. Sayuri nodded at Moon Chaser, prompting her to follow her.
"We aren't going to the dungeons," said Sayuri as she made her way down the street. "I need to go back to the palace so I can change out of this soiled dress and put it in the wash. I suppose I could give you a tour of the dungeons if you truly wanted one, but I assure you that you are in no real trouble."
Sayuri and her entourage eventually stopped at a massive gate patrolled by two other guards standing in front of it. Their spears crossed over the entrance. Sayuri spoke to them in their native language, and they un-crossed their spears and permitted entry to Sayuri, the other two guards, and Moon Chaser. Sayuri and her company would arrive in a grand courtyard, in the style of an old Neighponese garden with some Mane-Jise influences in the choice of shrubbery. There was a pond, as well as some nice comfortable benches to sit upon.
"I'm going to go change out of my dress," said Sayuri, "But I'll be back in a few minutes." Sayuri left, leaving Moon Chaser with the two guards.
One of the guards, a white uniqilin with a crimson mane and long mustache bowed to Moon Chaser. "My apologies for not speaking as much with you as I truly could have. The Regent needs to practice her Mane-Jise, so no guards are permitted to speak Equestrian in her presence. My name is Higoi."
The other guard, black with an icy blue mane and even longer mustache bowed as well. "You may call me Shimo."
|Posted by: SillyFilly Jun 3 2014, 08:17 AM|
| Moon sighed inwardly when her hooves touched the ground, she tried not to show it but the bubble had been pretty fun, well, so long as she didn't think about how trapped she was. She used her wings to brush herself off slightly and fell into step behind Sayuri.
"I hear the imperial palace of Mane-ji is truly a treasure to behold, but once you've seen one dungeon they're all very much the same. It does seem like it'd be a shame to drag me all the way there to show me something so pedestrian."
Moon followed the procession into the palace, and looked around, the Neighponesse influence was clear and Moon couldn't help but wonder how new it was. She gave Sayuri a low courtesy as the regent made her excuses for her temporary leave.
"I shall await your majesties pleasure." It seemed the best honorific; the walk had given Moon the chance to study the regent and it was clear that a life-time of tutoring had imbued the Neighponesse princess with a certain majesty.
Moon returned to examing the garden before the guard broke her reverie. "No" Moon inclined her head towards the guards before temporarily slipping into Mane-Ji "Higoi, Shimo, my apologies." She gave them a slight smile before returning to her native tongue. "I have business here and I still haven't taken the trouble of learning your language, even to a conversational level. It is a deficit I shall strive to fix, it's only polite." Moon gave the guards a sly smile "And you'll be surprised what you can overhear when you don't think the other ponies know what you're saying. But I'm sure you two wouldn't know anything about that."
Moon gave the guard a closer look, "You're the imperial Mane-Ji guard, right? I'd heard the Neighponesse emperor had sent his own hand-picked guard to protect the regent; but I guess you'd only repeat the party line on your integration." Moon cocked her head slightly "Say, if you'll forgive my ignorance and arrogance, Inari appointed the Regent to rule until the Emperor's ready. Why doesn't she just rule directly, like our dear sisters?"
|Posted by: JM95 Jun 4 2014, 07:54 AM|
| Higoi nodded his head. "Yes, we were indeed chosen by the Neighponese emperor, as the previous regent's guards were considered too loyal to him and his corrupt ways."
"It is Inari's will that he keeps mortals on the throne," said Shimo. "He has no desire to be Mane-Ji's Emperor, for he would much rather continue to wander around Mane-Ji and give the occasional advice than be stuck on a gilded throne all day."
Sayuri soon returned, having taken off her dress. She soon sat and took a place next to Moon Chaser, and the guards bowed to her as she arrived.
"I am so glad to be out of that dress," Sayuri said to Moon Chaser as she sat down. "Even more so the theater. Just everything that's happened today has been a catastrophe. I wish I could just have a day where I could do something normal for once, as much as I like this shiny new position it can be a bit much."
|Posted by: SillyFilly Jun 4 2014, 08:44 AM|
| Moon gave Sayuri a warm smile as she saw her return, before returning her attention to the garden, "But isn't that the point of the position? Being normal? Inari could rule Mane-Ji and Neighpon, but chooses to have mortals rule in her stead. Even our own dear sisters, sometimes I think the friendship reports were as much for them as for the Ponyville six." Moon began slowly trotting towards a small ornamental pond, careful not to disturb the finely raked sand, "It's the importance of being grounded, if you just stay in your own little world you lose perspective." Moon glanced at Sayuri, "How can you help ponies if you don't understand them. Don't understand their problems?"
Move glanced down into the pond, looking at the regents reflection "Talking about your problems can lesson them, and your secrets are safe with me." She gave a wry smile, "after all, a secret isn't worth much if everypony knows it; but friendship can be an even greater treasure." She raised her gaze back up to the Kirin, "You know, I don't think we look enough alike for the old prince and the pauper regime, but a little make-up, maybe some fake horns, and no-one outside would know it was you." Moon tilted her head towards the two stallions, "We'd just have to ditch tall, muscly and silent back there." Moon's face broke into a mischievous grin before lowering her voice "And a little birdie told me Higoi and Shimo can understand everything I say."
Moon paused momentarily, thinking, "Well, maybe not everything. I may not speak Mane-Ji, but I speak Prench, Old Equestrian and Sibearian."
|Posted by: JM95 Jun 5 2014, 06:14 AM|
| Sayuri shrugged. "I can't explain why Inari does what he does, I guess if being in his own little world hinders him, it's his loss. I, for one, spend many of my nights trying to keep all these cities and states straight."
When Moon suggested the idea of a switcheroo, a dark grin, that of a doe who had seen awful, awful things happen and laughed at them appeared on Sayuri's face. So Moon Chaser thought she would be able to handle a job like this, huh? The mare had no idea what she was getting herself into. Higoi and Shimo looked back and forth between each other and cringed.
"I bet you wouldn't last an hour in my position," Sayuri said smugly. "All those states and provinces to keep track of? Each and every one has specific needs, and their relationships with one another have to be taken into account. Some have to be closely monitored so that they don't destroy one another. Oh yes, and there's the meetings with foreign leaders, helping to take care of the Emperor..."
|Posted by: SillyFilly Jun 6 2014, 03:10 AM|
| Moon waved her hoof infront of her face, "...looking nothing like you." Moon continued, interrupting Sayuri's list of problems, before she scrunched her face in thought "Though I guess that's not a problem for a pony as influential and powerful as you. Especially when you have Inari's favour, no doubt you can zap me with something to make me look like you."
Moon gave the princess a sly smile "I'd point out the more outside ponies you have in a plan, the more points of failure you have, but letting somepony know before the switcheroo is good protection to make sure I don't lock you in the dungeon and steal your crown. But you're right, I mean, sure I know of protocol and diplomacy but my Mane-Ji history and geology is a bit sub-standard. Plus I don't speak the language."
Moon gave the princess a sly smile "I'd say Higoi would be the better patsy, I reckon he'd look real good in a dress, but you did say you bet I couldn't last an hour in your position, and a hour is a pretty short period of time, so depending on how interesting you make the bet I may be game~" she gave the regent a wink, combined with the interruption earlier totally dropping any pretense at formality and her voice held a sing-song tone.
|Posted by: JM95 Jun 7 2014, 09:14 AM|
| Sayuri let out an amused chuckle and stood up, walking a couple steps away from the pond. Meanwhile, Higoi's mouth dropped open in horror at the suggestion that he wear a pretty dress.
"N-no!" Higoi squeaked. "Please! If I had to do that, I'd have to cut off my mustache! Next to his antlers, a buck's world is his mustache!" Higoi quickly covered his mouth up, and Sayuri raised an eyebrow at him. Shimo began to crack up, biting his lip to hold the giggles in. Higoi, now completely red from blushing, apologized to Sayuri in Mane-Jise.
Sayuri waved a hoof at him. "It is fine, I will let the both you speak Equestrian for now. I won't tell anypony."
Higoi awkwardly bowed to the Regent. "Y-yes, your highness...Thank you!"
Sayuri turned back to Moon Chaser. "As much as I find the idea of switching places positively amusing, handing my power over to an Equestrian tourist would be akin to Discord letting some random pony access the domain of chaos! It could lead to some very, very dangerous situations arising, and in these times when Mane-Ji is just getting out of the days of warring states the risk is even higher."
|Posted by: SillyFilly Jun 7 2014, 11:06 AM|
| "Which is something Discord would totally do," Moon smiled, joking, "but, like you say, things are balanced on a knife edge. Maybe you should be out there, and it's not like you can't take your court with you." Moon nodded, "Surely a virtuous leader should be seen by her populace and get to know them and their problems." Moon sighed before turning back to the pond.
"Or maybe they'd take offense at the way you talk, dress even move. Then again, it's a lot easier to demonize a pony you've never seen as opposed to one who's come to your village, waved her hoof, maybe helped a little." Moon glanced back at Sayuri and flashed a small smile "Just be careful which court members you take, you want experts and advisers, not ponies who want to sneer at peasants."
"Um..." Moon gulped slightly, before looking around furtively, "If it pleases your Majesty, could I ask a... personal... question? And, if I could, if perhaps the guards could studiously not hear the question I ask."
|Posted by: JM95 Jun 10 2014, 07:02 AM|
| "It's not like I don't go out at all," Sayuri raised an eyebrow at Moon Chaser. "I go out and talk with the populace plenty when I can, and they see me quite a bit. It's fine when a large mob scrambles to get their questions answered by me, as long as they don't do it on a particularly stressful day such as this one."
There were indeed plenty of times where Sayuri took the opportunity to interact with the public, and most of the time it went rather well. There were the occasional Inukami purists and Manegolian sympathizers who tried to cause trouble every so often, but the guards were luckily competent enough that they could recognize such threats in advance. Speaking of guards, Sayuri called Higoi and Shimo off, and the two guards returned to their posts within the palace.
Sayuri watched the two guards as they marched off. "I suppose you can ask me something a bit personal, but I can't guarantee I will necessarily answer it should it be too personal or the wrong kind of personal..."
|Posted by: SillyFilly Jun 10 2014, 10:49 AM|
| "They see their regent and tell her what they think she wants to hear," Moon gave the regent a sly smile, "Obviously I'd never be so crass as to spy on your population for you, but I'm sure I could sell you some research on public opinion if the price was right." Moon shook her head, "Or you could just wander 'round in disguise. I know you want to." She gave a small chuckle, "I know you can't all the time, but I don't think anypony could blame you if you snuck out incognito at night to have a little fun." Moon paused slightly, before giving the princess a wide smile. "Well, so long as you don't get yourself killed that is."
Moon glanced from side-to-side conspiratorially to make sure the coast was clear before leaning in close to Sayuri and dropping her voice down low "I hope it doesn't displease her imperial majesty, but Higoi said a buck's world was his antlers. Well, there have been indiscreet rumors that, in her youth, her majesty had such... ornamentation." Moon look away slightly, uncomfortably, "While I would never be so, improper, as to heed such rumors I wondered if they where seen as a particularly unfeminine feature."
|Posted by: JM95 Jun 10 2014, 01:15 PM|
| Sayuri froze at Moon Chaser's inquiry about antlers. Antlers...Oh, how she hated antlers. Many of her most traumatic memories where brought about by antlers, mostly her own, sometimes those of her father. The doors of his palace were built to accommodate his record-holding rack, but in other places he wasn't so lucky. The sound of antlers clattering against doorways and other hard objects made Sayuri squirm. Sometimes her father would turn his head the wrong way and nearly hit someone with them. And antlers just looked so unfashionable unless they were small and neatly cared for like Xiaomai's.
Sayuri gulped. "Well...You see..." The regent looked around nervously, and up towards the branches of the cherry trees. Why did branches have to look so much like her father's huge antlers as well as the ones she once had?
Sayuri cleared her throat. "I....I uh...It was a very personal decision, for me to, uh, remove my antlers. I...hehehe...Am very sure that there are some very beautiful does who have kept theirs. I'm totally not, heh, grossed out or scared of antlers or anything! A true ruler has no fear, that's what they say! Haha!"
|Posted by: SillyFilly Jun 11 2014, 01:17 AM|
| Moon cocked her head at Sayuri, mulling over what she said, "As her majesty says," she replied automatically, believing none of it, before adding more truthfully, "forget I mentioned it, I was out of place for mentioning something so... delicate."
Moon picked up a stone in her hoof, and began absentmindedly juggling it with one foreleg. "I'm not sure I agree with that, the fear thing that is. Princess Twilight is renowned for her... over active concern. Even the sisters are known to have had fears. In fact, the only ruler in Equestrian history I can think of who was wholly without fear were rulers like King Sombra."
Moon threw the stone out across the pond, skimming it three times "There's a difference to being without fear and not being ruled by your fear." Moon gave a slight shrug, "But then again, what do I know?"
|Posted by: JM95 Jun 17 2014, 11:08 AM|
| Sayuri's cringe of horror left her face and was replaced by a much more serious, businesslike expression. All Sayuri really knew about Twilight was that the unicorn was one of the Elements of Harmony and defeated Tirek a few years back. Somehow, the soft-hearted purple prodigy was allowed to get control over all of the Alicorn magic in Equestria during that titanic battle, and she had won once she unlocked the power of the rainbow. Despite being Equestrian in terms of culture, Sayuri rarely left Mane-Ji these days and most of her understanding of non-Canterlot Equestria came from talking with Prince Blueblood.
"Princess Twilight..." Sayuri mused. "I have heard much about her, yet I've never met her in person. She and her brother are full-blown royalty despite their parents not quite being royal themselves. They must be quite impressive ponies in order to have gotten their titles without a drop of ruling-class blood in their veins...I would love to meet the both of them someday."
Little did Sayuri know that Twilight and Shining Armor hadn't changed much since earning their crowns. She was expecting tall, majestic, god-like ponies but would instead be greeted with a slightly above average-looking stallion and his sister who hadn't quite grown into those big Alicorn wings of hers. Sayuri would also be horrified to learn that the both of them were...gasp...Nerds!
|Posted by: SillyFilly Jun 22 2014, 05:06 AM|
| Moon had the good-sense not to laugh, but a smile wrote itself across her features upon hearing Sayuri's words.
"They are, quite impressive that is, as are her five..." Moon paused, correcting herself, "six companions," she gave a slight shrug, "but I'm not sure even she would consider herself full-blown royalty. The sisters are hard to measure up to. Not that we don't all try, in our own way, to live up to them or the example the elements set."
Moon gave Sayuri another warm smile "Princess Twilight still lives in Ponyville, I'd be happy enough to make introductions if you ever visited... though, I suppose you already have officials to do that for you. But, once you get to know ponies, I think you'll find a suprising number of ponies can do impressive things without a drop of ruling-class blood." Moon gave a small laugh, "And some noble ponies are quite unimpressive. But, on the whole, I find all ponies can do impressive things. At least that's what I hope and one day I'm gonna help show everypony that."
Moon waved her hoof dismisively "But look at me going on like that, monopolizing the conversation, you must be bored out of your mind."