In To The Light Part 3
IC date: DATE
OOC date: DATE
Location: LOCATION
PCs: Player Player

After saving the egg of a stricken snake family, the heroes continued their journey. Hemlock, who is no longer a hostage, is practically bouncing along 'because we're almost there!' As the party continues onwards, the tunnels become warmer, and at one point they leave the large main tunnel and enter a smaller one, still large enough for the party to fit easily.

"The Den Mother, that's who's daughter we've come to find. That nice couple said they are happy for her." While the others were away being heroes, Hemlock got info. He's left the mask off, for now. "They know we're coming, all we gotta do it show them the letter."

Every time Hemlock says 'nice couple' in reference to the giant snakes Windrose gives a suspicious glance back down the tunnel, half expecting them to decide to come gobble the assorted ponies up anyways. "Yeah, real cheerful pair there." Sigh. The things she gets herself wrapped up in.

Bleh, the smaller tunnel forces her to actually have to walk on the ground with everypony else. This part of the adventure now officially sucks. She just feels so constrained when she has to remain ground bound.

Cross-Redfeather is following along occasionally in flutter, occassionally just walking with the ponies and more than often fidigiting with her necklaces and talisman charms. They are there for a reason, a darn good reason, keeping the burd in check more or less. Fidget, Fidget, FIDGET, bump, squeak. The little griff has managed to place herself roughly in the middle of the pack, yet still close enough to see Hemlock.

Magpie asks, "Den mother?" She blinks a bit. "What kind of things live in a den? Foxes… wolves… skunks… bears…" Long pause. "Hemlock, nothing good lives in a den."

Shadowbuck looks askance at the bouncy Earth Pony. "So… while we were huntin' down missin' eggs, you were talkin to critters who'd really just as soon eat us as I'd eat this here mushroom?" Grounded due to the tunnel height, she has plicked a small mushroom off the wall, and starts chewing it slowly. Chew. Chew. Spit. "Bah, over ripe."

"They do not?" inquired Quintessent as she shot Magpie a glance. "Truly? Live and learn I supose. Besides, isn't skunks those long-fanged things with sharp claws? That live in trees?"

Magpie pauses. "No, skunks are the black and white things that stink a lot." There's another long, meditative pause. "Oh gosh. It could even be a… a troop of /filly scouts/." Shudder.

"What's wrong with Filly Scouts?" asks Merryweather, from the back of the group, where she has been more concerned with reviewing a sheaf of notes and maps taken along the way than paying attention to the road ahead- something that occasionally causes her to lag behind, seeing as she's holding all of these papers in hoof or mouth rather than her magic. "Don't you like cookies, young miss Magpie?"

Cross-Redfeather glances to the pony next to her-ish, Rune in particular with a bewhildered look. "stinkalots, skunks" shiver, "if you've never encountered one, I'll have to take you out into the woods, get you aquainted with the zoological specimin." she comments with a tiny litle giggle.

"Well I dunno about that Magpie. Plenty of wonderful things live in dens. I myself know many fine wolves who I consider to be friends. As for this Den Mother, I can't imagine it would be anything other than another of those snakes. Maybe bigger, that would be cool." Hemlock is carrying a lantern, to help light the way. "And really, those snakes were just upset because their egg was missing. Normally they welcome ponies as guests, or so they said."

Shadowbuck stops walking, and glares at Hemlock. "Waaaaaaait. So we're saving… the princess of snakes?"

"The cookies are how they draw you in!" Magpie snaps. "Then they bite you and you turn into one! And then you have to do arts! And crafts! And stuff like that!"

Cross-Redfeather mumbles under her breath, "Dinner snacks" then chirps out a pleasant melody

Quintessent-Rune blinked at Cross. "I am not certain I would wish too, to be honest. And I must say, Miss Magpie, that I rather do enjoy the Filly Scout cookies myself. Then again I do supose I might have been developing something of a sweet tooth and having them periodicaly delivered to the store spares me the effort to foray forth." She paused to think for a moment before looking at Magpie. "Does artifice counts as arts and crafts?"

Merryweather pauses, mid-cavern, looking after Magpie. "Er…" She considers. "Yes, that's how it worked, I suppose that's how it happened with myself. I joined for the cookies, I stayed for the basket weaving and s'mores." She smiles and stuffs her papers in her saddlebag, then hastens to catch up with the group.

"I don't think she counts as a princess. You have to be the daughter of a king or queen to be a princess normally." Hemlock puts some thought in to this. "I think daughter of an emperor works, maybe tyrant as well."

Magpie says "…wait, so we're lookin' for an alicorn snake?"

Cross-Redfeather looks from Rune, to Magpie, And Merryweather, "So this Fillyscouts thing is some sort of contagion?" she asks as she eyes Merryweather, "I I don't think I have an antidote for that" she admits with concern then pauses, "Daughter of a Tyrant?! Dear Hemlock, just what did your suposed letter have to say about this rescue?!

Shadowbuck sticks a hoof up, and starts to say something, but nothing comes out. She tries again, but again, nothing. Hoof back down, she sighs. "Well if she turns out to be an evil tyrant, we can infect her with this fillyscout thing."

Quintessent-Rune shruged at Cross. "I wouldn not know, I do not think we had anything like it back at Blackfathom. Besides I was neither interested in or - I presume - allowed to engage in such activities."

Merryweather folds her ears back slightly and smiles anxiously to Cross. "Not at all! It's… it's a club! You know, for activities and whatnot." She glances about at the others. "Heavens, to hear the rest of you speak you'd think nobody had ever heard of such a thing! Where else do you go for camping, and singing, and s'mores, and learning practical knots?"

Cross-Redfeather hmmm's and shrugs, looking to the others, "More lab study is required, I need samples, and uninfected samples Science!" she chirps out happily then pauses, "I wonder if they have an extension in the Griffin lands, sounds passingly similar to the Fledgling Flyers." she pauses looking to Winter, "Oh thats what the Fledgling Flyers was all about" she blushes some

Hemlock shakes his head. "I don't think so, she's probably just a regular girl. Possibly a snake girl. Either way we're here to find her."

Up ahead the tunnel open out in to yet another open area, but this one has the same smooth look as the tunnel, unlike the previous caverns the gorup has passed through. At the far end, the edges of another exit are visible, but in the way is a very large snake, easily half again as large as the ones they met previously. As the first pony enters the room the snake moves, its head rising up to get a look.

"Well that looks like progress now doesn't it?" asks Hemlock cheerfully, reaching back in to one of his bags and rummaging around.

Magpie eyes Merriweather. "I can camp, sing, and make smores without getting bit by a fillyscout," she grouses. "An' you can learn knots down at the docks. 's easy."

Quintessent-Rune peered around the corner of the cave opening. "Oh dear. Yes, I do think we found the place, Master Hemlock… Ah, hello madam? We are here about something of an escort?"

Magpie peeks around the corner with the others. "I don't think that's a madam," she whispers.

Cross-Redfeather kinda prances and sings a little melody, "Feathers Feathers Round about helping creatures all about, Fledgling Flyers!" she chirps out the cute sweet little melody as if it were yesterday. Dances right out into that clearing. There's a definate squeak from the little flyer and a sudden ploof of feathers as she applies herself to the closest pony in proximity.

Shadowbuck flares her wings, more out of instinct than anything else, to look larger. "It doesn't matter," she hisses. Louder, "We come in peace and with purpose. Which… um… Hemlock?"

"Ack! Miss Cross, please! Personal space!" whined Quintessent.

Cross-Redfeather erff's and unapplies herself from Rune, "S'Sorry" she does stay close to the larger safer pony.

The snake unfurls itself and looms. It turns out to be very good at looming, it must be a skill. For a moment it's given some pause when one of the poneis asks it a straight forward question, but it has rehearsed this speech so many time that it's gonna say it no matter what. "Who wishes to enter the chamber of the Den Mother! Come forth and let her guardian judge you, if you are deemed worthy…" it stops, seeming to realize that it's not quite having the desired effect.

Meanwhile, Hemlock finds what he was looking for. "Don't worry guys, we have a letter!" he anounces happily. Said letter is held up for inspection.

Magpie pokes her head out. "Guardian? Are you gonna ask us riddles? 'cause ask Chaos, I'm bad at riddles."

Windrose just stops and looks uuuuuuuuup. Great, more snakes.

Merryweather peeks out from around the entrance to the cavern, red hat and pointy horn first before just her eyes and the tip of her nose can be seen. She pops back behind a moment later and gasps, "Guardian! It called itself guardian! It's judging! Be careful, be careful, guardians always blast those that fail their tests! If its eyes start to glow- run!"

Quintessent-Rune blinked and glanced behind herself at Magpie and Merryweather. "What…? Just becaus it is a guardian doesn't mean it - sorry, Mr./Mrs. serpent - will begin asking questions or… or… eye-laser-blast us. I hope."

The guardian seems confused by this. "You have a what?" It turns to Rune, the first pony to talk to it. "Escort? Oh you're them." Whether or not it is possible for a very large snake made out of rock to pout, the guardian makes a spirited attempt. "Oh no, for you there aren't any riddles or judgement, apparently. You get to go through right away." The big fella slithers away while muttering to itself, leaving the path forward open, then curls back up in a corner and sulks.

Cross-Redfeather squeaks and looks back to Merryweather, "Pony, do you have an adventurer's Dice Bag on you or something?" she chirps looking from Merryweather to the gracious host. "T Thank you sir" she offers politely to the massive slither.

Magpie shuffles into the room, then hops over to pat the big snake's side. "Sorry. I, uh… I'm sure you can judge the next bunch." Then scampers ahead.

"Thanks," the guardian rumbles. It likes its job.

Windrose whews, wiping her brow off with a foreleg. She gives Hemlock a nudge and starts for the revealed passage. "Com'n, lets get on with this."

After several moments of tense waiting, Merryweather scurries out of hiding and hastens to rejoin the herd, keeping her head low. Oh, sure, they're getting by without a challenge from the guardian, but that doesn't mean she's gonna be paranoid of eyelasers to the butt as they go.

Shadowbuck shakes her head and gives a long-suffering sigh. "I swear, it's like almost none of you have ever dealt with cave serpents before."

"It might come as something of a suprise, Miss, but no we have not nesecarily not," said Quintessent primly as she strode forward, giving the serpent a polite nod. "Thank you for letting us pass. You have done your job most admirably and I am certain had we not been expected your guardsserpentship would have been most exelent."

Magpie says "I've dealt with snowspiders. Well… got rescued from 'em and ran away… does that count?"

Merryweather shoots a defensive look at Shadowbuck. "You're certainly one to talk of improper risk assessment, given that you were one of theo nes likening filly scouts to a communicable disease! Heavens!"

Hemlock prances along once the way is clear. "Of course! let's go."

The tunnel ahead is lit with a soft glow, and is nothing more than a short passage in to the next chamber. The next chamber is much grander than the guardian's room, but is about the same size with the same smooth walls. This place is furnished, a table is set up in one area with a few chairs (presumably for guests) and candles give the place a jolly glow. In the back wall there are dozens of alcoves, which contain tons of different things, from books to glittery goods. In the center of the room is a carpet, and on that carpet is yet another snake, who is humming happily while inspecting a harp. This one is a size that's a little healthier for one's mental health though being smaller than the first ones they met.

Cross-Redfeather says "snow spiders, cave serpents, no, and no, you ponysort have all sorts of scary creatures, Miss Rune don't you have Eeel's and such?" she asks then pauses as they get to the next chamber, and another snake. "Oh Greetings" she offers politely to the next snake."

"All I'm saying on fillyscouts is that we have similar legends in our tribes. Of rabid cultists who bake cookies and try to banish the moon." Shadowbuck shrugs. "Ideas can be infectious, after all…" Then she grins at Cross. "Those are just the pets. You should see the actual monsters."

"Mort Eels, Torterrors, deep ones, sea cats… You name it," mumbled Quintessent as she laid her eyes on the room. And settling for the approach that seems to have worked just fine. "Hello? I do hope we are not interupting overly much."

Look, furnishings! And pretty fancy ones for being in the bottom of a series of caves at that. "Well at least someone knows how to make living away from everything else look comfortable." … Curiosity takes over and Windrose flits a bit closer to peek in some of the alcoves, mostly just to see what's there, because she's detail obsessive like that.

Merryweather hovers near the doorway, keeping quiet. This place looks cozy enough that she feels as though she's intruding in someone's home.

Magpie looks very innocent as she loks up at the huge snake, and slowly sidles sideways around the perimeter of the room. She'll reach the shiny alcove eventually.

Cross-Redfeather notes the smaller nature of the snake before the party, which is rapidly disolving to peer at shinies of all things. "A hem" she remarks to her brethern that has gone exploring, she meanwhile strides to beside Hemlock with a very 'lets do this' sort of attitude harkening back to her Fledging Flyers days of community service.

Shadowbuck gives a tiny approving nod Magpie's way. Taking a flanking position without even having to be told? Good tactical mind on those little shoulders!

When the ponies start filing in, the newest snake stop humming and looks up. "Oh hello there! You must be the brave mr Hemlock and his heroic friends. I've heard so much about you. Please come in, I've been looking forward to this." She has the kind of voice that, no matter the species, just screams mother. "I'm the den mother, you must all introduce yourselves. Take a seat, all of you." She smiles, which while being a warm smile also reveals her teeth, which glitter like diamonds.

The brave Mr Hemlock doesn't need to be asked twice, and walks towards the table. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you miss!"

Quintessent-Rune inclined her head politely. Finaly some company with a sense of decorum. "Thank you, Den Mother. I am Lady Quintessent Rune of Blackfathom Reach."

Cross-Redfeather is next to Hemlock, so she cowers a little but bows formally and introduces herself as well, "Dr. Cross Redfeather, maam pleased to make your acquaintance" she offers politely

Shadowbuck gives a respectful bow. "I am Shadowbuck, First Chief Apprentice of the Batpony Combat Arts, and Special Observer from the Twelve Tribes."

Merryweather frets, worries, wiggles, then bustles over to an available seat and puts herself in it hurriedly, as though convinced that if caught in between one spot or the other she'll get in trouble.

"The pleasure is all mine Dr Redfeather and Lady Rune." She bows her head to Shadowbuck. "It's an honour to have you here as well. I hope my little home is comfortable to you Shadowbuck?" She gives them all a huge smile. "I heard you were the ones that helped dear Isabelle get her egg back, I am very grateful. I think it merits a reward, yes?" She slithers up to one of the alcoves, and gently takes out a open topped box. The box is placed on to the table.

Windrose gives Magpie a stern 'look but don't touch' glare. And then promptly gets distracted by the snake woman actually being nice and accomidating in comparison to the previous ones. She flits back over to take a chair for herself, straightening out her vest a little with her hooves. "Windrose, weatherpony and cartographer, and.." She pauses as the 'Den Mother' mentions the first encounter. ".. Wow, news travels fast down here."

Cross-Redfeather remains at her place throughout the greeting, she's still nervous, and a little fluffed up at the momment, but none the worse for wear, she looks to Hemlock for guidance with this turn of events, and a reward?

"I have my little darlings who keep me informed of what happens in my home. They can take a more direct route." The Den Mother nods towards the wall, where there's an entrance to one of the tiny tunnels, much too small for a pony, but maybe not for a tiny snake.

Inside the box is a round amulet, it has a very stylised sun engraved on to it with quite a lot of skill. The amulet itself is seperated in to sections, one for each pony around the table. Each section has its own chain, and looks like it was meant to be worn as a necklace. "A celebration of working together, a fitting present for a band of heroes." The Den Mother noses the box forward, indicating they should all take a section.

Hemlock seems quite content to sit there and listen, but he puts a comforting hoof on Cross' shoulder. "Don't wory my dear, I'm sure we'll be fine. Accept the reward, you've earned it."

Quintessent-Rune folded her hooves in her lap. "We did not do anything in particular, Master Hemlock, Den Mother. The taking of somep- someones youngs, in whatever shape, is rather a deplorable action that shan't be condoned. Doing the right thing should not be a thing that merit reward."

Shadowbuck gives a bow. "You honor us greatly, but I must agree with Miss Rune. A reward for doing what anyone should do anyway is not something that should be expected. Or should become expected."

Windrose picks up one of the sections to let it dangle from her hoof by the chain. "Not that these aren't pretty. Where do you get something of such intricate detail when you don't have limbs I wonde" Then realizes what she was saying might be taken as offensive. "errr, I mean… uh…" she slinks the item back in the box as she turns her head the other way with a mock innocent whistle.

Merryweather leans over to peer at the offered box, brow furrowed; she glances up at the Den Mother then back down at the box. "I, ah, I barely did anything to assist with the rescue, you see, more like I remained in the background and offered observational services- oversight, you see, of an advisory sort- but, er…" It's rude to turn down something offered by your host. She carefully reaches out to accept one of the pendants, and smiles up at the den mother. "But, um, thank you!"

The Den Mother's smile doesn't change. "These treasures of ours are things we've received from adventurers such as yourself in the past, tribute you could say, for services rendered. You can also think of it as a thank you for coming out all this way on our behalf. It's a great service you do for us." She settles in at the head of the table. "That, I suppose, brings us for why you are here. I suppose you must be eager to meet my daughter." She turns her head and raises her voice. "Khurshid honey, there are some visitors for you."

Hemlock, who has yet to really do anything, is already wearing one of the pieces and smiling. He's been in the business too long to turn down a gift.

Cross-Redfeather is conflicted, "we did what is right maam" she offers softly as she looks to the offered item and accepts it graciously placing it neatly amongst her honered jewlery and trinkets

Okay that faux paus didn't upset her after all, thankfully. Windrose snatchs the pendant back up in relief and slips it on.

Quintessent-Rune does not, in fact, take a pendant. Instead she turns her attention in the same direction as the serpent curiously.

"Yes mother, be out in a moment." The voice came from down a tunnel leading off from the back right corner of the cave, not far away from the table. It's a cheerful voice, but lacks something that all the snakes had, it's less gravely. About a minute later, a head of a young mare peeks out. Her coat is a soft yellow, with a turquoise mane and green eyes. "Hello everyone!"

Then the rest of her slips in to sight, and while the upper body is that of a normal young mare, the lower body is that of a snake with a slender tail the same colour as her coat. She slithers over to the table to her mother's side and smiles nervously at the assembled adventurers. "It's a pleasure to meet you all, my name's Khurshid."

Merryweather doesn't stare. It's not polite to stare. She keeps her hooves folded neatly before her and smiles around at everypony else. Everything is fine! This is normal.

Windrose blinks a couple of times. Then rubs her eyes with the back of a foreleg to make sure she's not seeing things. Blinks again. "Didn't see that coming…"

Quintessent-Rune blinked in suprise at Kurshid. Then again before breaking into a wide smile. "Oh. That… that is briliant! Why didn't I think of that?!" There is a smack of hoof to forehead. "Oh by the abyss! I need to find somepony that knows about polymorph spells! Or one of those changelings!" Rune looked down, wagging her hooves slightly.

Shadowbuck sighs and starts to reach for one of the pendants, albeit reluctantly, only to discover to her mild surprise that none remain. Oh well, she didn't really feel she needed one anyway… any remarking on this, however, is forgotten when she sees Khurshid. "I.. I.. I.. Hi?"

Cross-Redfeather offers a little squeak of surprise, then scientific Curiosity overtakes that surprise. "Dear Miss Khurshid I presume" she asks softly though likely doing poorly on the name, odd sounds it is to her "We are Honored to make your Aquaintainence" offers the little griff, "I'm Dr. Cross Redfeather"

Khurshid blinks in confusion when Rune starts talking about polymorphs and other weird things, but she does smile at Cross's introduction. "I'm very excited to meet you all as well. I have never seen so many ponies in one place before."

The Den Mother leans down. "Now dear, you will be going with these kind ponies and will find your own place out in the world. They are here to see that you find a place to stay safely. Why don't you go gather your things while I talk with them some more."

Khurshid brightens at this, and she's good at brightening. Her entire body shines with excitement. "Oh really? I'll be right back!"

Once the girl has slithered away, the Den Mother looks back at the table. "Now, I expect you may have some questions."

Merryweather shifts in her seat. "She seems very nice," she says, which isn't true, but she doesn't feel like it would be polite to ask the obvious.

"Not ones that can be asked in front of children," Windrose murmurs, glancing off in the direction where Magpie is being unusually quiet.

Quintessent-Rune would most likely have something to add in with here… though she seems to have dug through her scarf for a moment and produced paper and a quill, sketching freneticaly at the edges and across some kind of project. Judging from her muttering it's something about 'begone legs!' or somesuch?

"None that would be… actually, I apologize. I do have one, ma'am. Is her diet… for lack of a better term, more equine or more serpentine?" Shadowbuck frowns. "There has been some… historical issues when ponies believe another pony might eat an unusual diet."

Cross-Redfeather asks the first thing that comes to mind, "eating habbits, ponylike or snake like, or a mixture of both?" she asks in a totally 'doctor mode' "light tolerance? Does she coil her prey? can she hug a pony, and if so are the coils involved?"

The Den Mother smiles, not surprised. "Her diet is much like a normal pony's, she is a herbivore." The Den Mother's tail waves in the air. "As for the strength of her grip, from what we've been told it's nothing more than a tight hug. No matter how hard she squeezes it's unlikely to hurt you."

The snake also notices some of the confusion. "I suspect you'rer all also wondering how she was made? I wouldn't blame you. She doesn't take after me." She giggles. "We have watched you ponies for so long, learning about you from the occasional adventurer who wandered down here, but we never understood. We decided to only way to truly understand ponies was to have one of our own. Khurshid began life as a statue, molded from clay and rock dug deep underground. With some magical assistance we were able to bring her to life."

Windrose blinks a couple of times. Then ohs. "So she's like that Ponymalion legend."

Merryweather listens, considering, then blinks as the hybrid creature's origins are revealed. "A statue brought to life? Goodness!" She sits forward. "How fascinating! And she's wholly organic? No rocky bits left in her?"

Cross-Redfeather ponders something else, "venomous?" she asks with a note of concern, "not that she'd go about biting anypony/griff I'm a Doctor, and I like to know all the scientific nitty-gritty for science stuff" she asks softly, and smiles, "I have space available in my Clinic if she's willing to learn" the minigriff offers softly with a little curtsie and flex of the wings.

"Wait a minute." Windrose glances back towards the other chamber. ".. Is the rock snake guardian a statue too, or an actual animal? I mean, when there's stuff like cragodiles its hard to tell the difference…"

Shadowbuck squints funny at Windrose. "Uh… animal's not the right word for someone who can talk and think for themselves, is it?"

Windrose achems with a hoof over her mouth. "Not the word I was looking for."

Shadowbuck waves a hoof and giggles a little. "Well that's how I see it anyhow. If they can think and talk for themself they're a person. If they can only do what whatever made em tells em to do, then they're a… what's the word, golem or somethin."

"Indeed, all organic, it was quite an accomplishment. She's also not venomous, and will be given money to find her own way. I gather she's quite excited about seeing the surface for the first time and would like to explore." The Den Mother looks out towards the Guardian's chamber. "That old grump? He's a snake, hatched from an egg like any of us. Khurshid is the only one who wasn't."

There's an indignant huff from the last chamber when the Guardian is called a grump.

Cross-Redfeather nods a little, somewhat dissapointed, but doesn't let it show. "We would be honored to escort her to the surface in that case" offers the little griff, whom looks distracted a moment as she suddenly ducks back and ducks into her pack to moments later pull out a pair of shaded flight goggles. "She'll probably need some sunshades after living down here in the dark all this time, Its pretty bright up top" offers the griff.

Merryweather continues to consider this, hoofing her chin thoughtfully, and looking off in the directiont hat Khurshid vanished. After a bit longer she looks back to the Den Mother. "How old is she…? Was she created as a filly, or as the, er, young adult that she appears to be currently? It will be interesting to see if she ages as would be expected for a pony, or perhaps at the more gradual rate usually associated with reptiles and their ilk. If she didn't have a typical, er, adolescence, then maybe she, er…" Merry's voice falls quiet and stammery for a few moments as she realizes she's trod once more into Impolite Territory, but she rallies quickly enough. "So, ah, what's her talent?"

Merryweather's question makes The Den Mother's smile lessen ever so slightly. "That's one of the things we're hoping she'll learn out there. I'm afraid that, no matter how much she may be loved here, there's not much she can do to explore her talents. She's 14, and yes, she was born as a foal. We wanted to raise her properly."

"Oh my gosh! I have everything ready mother, coming back out!" Khurshid returns, now with a fetching little backpack the same colour as her eyes. "when do we leave? I've waited for this for so long!"

Merryweather's plus-size eyebrows knit with worry as she looks towards Khurshid, then back to the mother, then back again. "Ahhh…" She falls quiet, watching the snake-tailed pony curiously, then looks once more to the Den Mother. "She, er, she's allowed to come visit, yes?"

Khurshid looks up at her mother, who nods. "I am going to write every day as well, so it will be like I've never left!" The young mare sways with excitement. The Den Mother's expression tells another story of a mother who's going to miss her daughter, but she's careful to not let Khurshid notice.

"I think that's sort of the point," Shadowbuck points out. "We'll be heading out shortly. On the way back you can decide whether you'd rather live in beautiful caves or in ugly stick houses."

Cross-Redfeather hovers over to the Naga-Pony and presents her with the flight-goggle-sunglasses, "You might need these on the surface, the Sun is very bright up there Miss, and most cave dwellers would be challenged by the light at least for a little while" she offers politely as she looks around, she slips aside Hemlock awaiting his further instructions or permission to start the journey for home and from these confining cramped caves.

Merryweather levers back upright and makes her way over to the den mother- and not the least bit anxiously, too. "We'll, ah, we'll make sure she makes it safe and sound to Horseshoe Harbor, ma'am, and don't you worry one lick about that!" Of course, staying safe while IN horseshoe harbor… that's another matter. It is not a town widely known for safety. The unicorn nibbles her lower lip, worry plain on her face, but she smiles through it. "And, er, ensure that letters are delivered as intended. I wasn't even aware caverns such as this had mail service, ha ha."

Windrose rolls her eyes at the 'caves vs houses' arguement going on. "Pfff. You poor folks that can't live on the soft clouds."

Khurshid takes the goggles gratefully. "That might be a good idea, thanks! I'm sure I'll be perfectly safe with you all exciting me to… Horseshoe Harbour? It sounds exciting!" To be fair, she's not wrong.

Hemlock rises up from his seat. "Well, it's a long walk home, should we get started?" He bows towards The Den Mother. "It's been a pleasure, miss."