Welcome To Silver Shallows
IC date: Winter 26, 1007
OOC date: January 14, 2013
PCs: Dream Daze, Goody Horseshoes, Heartsong, Lavender, Magpie, Muzaji, Riptide, Ruby Blossom, Spearmint, Thunnini
NPCs: The Crew of the Made Mareian, Magistrate Seawall, Eddy
GM: Diamond-Dog

Previously on PonyMUSH…

After a rocky start, the Harborites set forth aboard the Rusty Bucket. They were taking up an invitation directed to the town's residents to come to the seapony city of Silver Shallows, where Sinking Stone, Spindrift's mentor, wished to puzzle out a fix to the problem of the Spire of Storms. The journey was going rather well, but a day after setting out, the ship came under attack from the same driftwood monstrosities that attacked it before. What's more, Spindrift herself, and her black-eyed storm elemental lackey, arrived, only to assist the harborites in defeating the monster. The battle was truly decided when a dozen Seapony soldiers, led by the grouchy Captain Rill, boarded the ship and eradicated the remainder of the driftwood monster. Spindrift fled with the soldiers in pursuit, but Captain Rill assigned two to the Rusty Bucket to help see that it arrived safely at its destination.

Now, the Rusty Bucket has arrived. Silver Shallows presents an unusual sight to the surface-dwelling ponies: A silver-colored, conical tower thrust up from the lapping ocean waves, several wooden docks consctucted around it. At the docks are a variety of ships- most of them Zebra trading vessels, with a single Griffon ship and a few more of indeterminable origin. Nothing present looks like it's from Equestria- and already, a crowd is gathering to watch the Rusty Bucket pull up to port. The crowd consists of a fair number of zebras, of course, and a griffon or two, but most appear to be earth ponies with features that tend towards the slender and arched. A number of them are dressed as the soldiers that visited the Rusty Bucket- silver metal boots encircling their front hooves and helmets on their heads.

Sea Cinder and Swordfish, the soldiers on board the Rusty Bucket, make their way to the prow and lift a hoof to wave to the ponies down below. "Ho! Outrider B division reporting!" calls Sea Cinder. "We bring the outlander vessel- send for the Magistrate immediately, but authority of Captain Rill!" The soldier receiving the command offers up a quick salute, one hoof crossed over their chest, before turning and taking off down the dock, towards the tower-like structure at the center of the wharf.

The soldiers turn to smile back at the land-dwellers gathered on board the Rusty Bucket. "Alright, we're here!" says Swordfish. "Cinder and I need to join back up with the Captain, but we'll have an escort here shortly. Sinking Stone made certain that the Magistrate knew you guys were coming, so they should be ready for you." She turns to look at the gathering crowd of onlookers, and frowns slightly. "Although… I'm not entirely sure what kind of a reception it's going to be…"

Thunnini sits over by the railing, looking at the docks and waiting for the escort to arrive. She's still not quite sure how her landpony friends will be able to go underwater without holding their breath, but she's conficent that the older seaponies have something figured out already.

A small green nose pokes over the side of the boat, followed by the head of a pudgy foal. "…I…did not know I could get seasick," Riptide groans, flopping oer beside Thunnini. "Are we there yet?" Silly seapony, are you even listening?

Goody-Horseshoes turns towards his crew, "Alright, let's make sure she's tyed up nice and tight. Fullsail, Bowline, and Whitewood. You three secure all the sails and make sure the booms are locked." He looks up into the crow's nest, "Crow, look over the ship. See if there's anything that can be fixed while we're here." First Mate is on the bridge, overseeing the captain's orders. Goody walks to the rail of the ship, looking out into the crowd.

"Thus the Rusty Bucket did set to port; her crew a very unorthadox sort
At this point the trip's reprive; despite the stares when she did arrive
Is this where they would find the clues the crew hopefully follows?
Unpon the guilded walks of the Silver Shallows."

Muzaji brushes a hoof over her mane to neaten it back into a proper mohawk after the ocean winds have had their way with it, then gets up with her forehooves on the railing to take a look around. Considering the ties between seaponies and zebras maybe they'll feel a little less edgy seeing one on board?

Hmmm. Lots of zebras, but the crowd makes it difficult to see stripe patterns or glyph marks, so she can't tell if there's anyone she knows out there just yet. One can presume that the 'earth ponies' are seaponies in their non-aquatic form though. Otherwise nopony would think the outsider ship was so strange!

Heartsong stands by the railing, hooves hooked over the edge, peering out at the new town. This has all been so… different! And… and /exciting/! She'd thought she'd be scared of boats, she really did. But this… this was /fun/. (Well. Except for all the 'mortal danger' bits.) And look! Look at that! Wow, that… that's a tower! A pretty tower. And look at all the zebras! And griffons! And ponies! Yes, The young pegasus is quite enjoying this venture, more than she'd thought she might!

It's fairly pretty, as far as towers go. It's two hundred feet or so tall, fairly broad at the base, and made of an unknown material- the silver seems to be painted on, as it looks a bit thin in places, hinting at a dull brown surface underneath. The late afternoon sun is creeping towards the western horizon, and the light reflects off the tower in a tricky fashion that protects the eyes of the viewer, but shines on the more distant docks and ships in the wharf complex, partially masking them with the colors of the sun and sky. One imagines that this is part of whatever it is they do to help keep this place- still relatively close to Horseshoe Harbor- hidden from undwanted visitors.

The gangplank is placed, and Sea Cinder leads the way, making her way down to talk with some guards on the dock below, then turn about to look up at the ship expectantly. Swordfish remains up top, offering the Harborites another smile.

Off in the distance, a broad, hangar-like door leads from the dockworks into the shadowy recesses of the tower. A handful of ponies can be seen exiting, looking in the direction of the docked Bucket, though it's hard to make out many details.

The other ponies nearby maintain a cautious distance. The "earth ponies" seem surprised, wary, and in a few cases, frightened by this new ship and its unorthodox passengers. The prevalence of blues and greens amongst their colors, and shells and other ocean paraphenalia comprising their cutie marks, suggests Muzaji's estimation that these are seaponies in four-legged guise is close to the truth.

The Zebras, though? They look… amused.

Well, the Rusty Bucket is now docked, so all of the passengers need to go to more pedestrian methods of travel. Thunnini hops off the side of the ship and idly swims alongside the docks, waiting for the others to disembark.

"Come along everypony. Not good to keep our gracious hosts waiting." Muzaji trots off down the gangplank once its in place, head held up in confidence. She's traveled enough times to know the importance of making a good impression regardless of where it is you drop anchor, and she's certainly doing her best to do the same here. At the bottom she steps off onto the dock and pauses to raise a hoof up high. "Salutations and good day to the rest of you as well, Silver Shallows!"

Okay, maybe laying it on a little thick. But that's hardly new for her.

Riptide blinks as Thunnini leaps off, and with a warble of dismay, the doughy foal scrambles up and over after her, sliding his own special bit of jewelry on to melt into fins. "Wait for me!!"

Heartsong blinks. Oh! Oh, we're leaving. Right! Going places. She unhooks her front legs from the railing and casts another glance up at the tower before trailing along after the group, smiling excitedly.

Goody-Horseshoes disappears into his quarters, followed by First Mate. They don't seem to be in too long, likely discussing the current situation. After a minute or two they come back up on deck and begin to walk down to the docks. Goody looks as happy and captainly as he normally does (when he's not being attacked by wooden creatures), giving a bright smile to all the on-lookers.

A pair of foals also wanders down the gangplank! Dream Daze, leading a certain blind colt along, her horn aglow with the equivalent of a picture show going on in the other foal's 'daydream space'. She had a boat trip to practice this technique, but all she can really do are mental snapshots of what she's seeing. And oh my is it all so /different/ than the Harbor! So, so very different! She nearly bumps into Thunnini and RIptide on her way, so awed by the tower, and everything!

More than a few watching ponies surge towards the edge of the dock to peer downwards, watching Thunnini. The curious murmurings of the crowd change: "Was she kidnapped? Was she a hostage?" "Did she hitchhike her way back here? Why was it on a boat?" "Someone look in her eyes! See if they stole her soul." "Someone check her breath! See if they made her drink some pirate grog!" The surprise only doubles as Riptide joins her, and not just because the pudgy foal ends up splashing several of them when he cannonballs into the surf.

The guards near the docks don't seem to be much for conversation, waiting, it would seem, for the party approaching from the tower, whom they look off towards frequently. As they draw near- two guards, and two unarmored ponies- the crowd parts to make room.

The first seapony is an older stallion, whose broad and powerful features have maintained their strength despite his age. His face is marked by the crisp lines of one who has never been in the habit of smiling often; his mane is grey, with a few wisps of sky blue indicating its former color. His coat is a natural fog-grey, with eyes that match the orange of the setting sun. A fluted column is his cutie mark. He wears a shawl-like garment of a white silken material that covers his forequarters.

The other pony is an adolescent mare, in an awkwardly leggy stage of her life a few years out of childhood but a few years shy of adulthood. Despite her gangly appearance, though, she carries herself with a very deliberate precision, head held high, hooves neatly clicking against the wood of the docks. She's a pastel aquamarine in color, with a mane of soft pink bound behind her head in a tight braid. She wears a pair of saddlebags stuffed full but tightly bound, and her cutie mark depicts a pencil inscribing a spiral.

The burly older gentleman steps forward, and the guards make way, bowing their heads in a deferential manner. He takes a quick moment to survey the gathered land-dwellers, then looks to Muzaji, who seems to have presented herself as the leader. "Greetings," he asks with a deep voice to match his barrel physique. "You are the surface-dwellers we have been expecting. You find yourselves in Silver Shallows, the first Equestrians to visit this town since… well, since I was nearly a colt. I am Magistrate Seawall, her majesty Abalone's chosen representative in our port city." He nods to his companion, who draws herself up nice and tall with a broad, proud smile! "This is my assistant, Eddy. May I have the pleasure of knowing your names?" Though his demeanor is cordial, his orange eyes are exacting, appraising, darting from one land-dweller to the next, summing them up in short order and moving on. Also… still not very prone to smiling.

Spearmint follows along behind Dreamy, wide-eyed. If he could stare, he'd be staring. Mentally he's staring, it counts! Because these pictures are so… /different/. It's baffling. And kind of awesome! But this is probably the first time in a really long time that he's been completely bummed to be blind, because this seems like it would be /really neat/ to see. "But where are all the seaponies?" He'd expected more! Probably riding around in water tubs. That's what Thunnini does! So that's pretty much all /he/ knows of Seaponies.

Thunnini looks at the chatty locals. "I've been hanging out in the Harbor for a while now, on my own free will," she hmphs defiantly. "I rode on the boat so I could hang out with my friends, like Dreamy and Spearmint." That last was with a nod at the two foals.

Riptide pokes his head up, swimming a little terribly. "I…I…" He glances to Thunnini at her impassioned speech, and having nothing so bold to say, merely sinks down til just his eyes and above peek over the water's surface.

While not considering herself 'leader' per say, Muzaji is more than happy to put her experiences to use as a 'face' for the group. Considering other than a couple of foals and a mare that went mad then remorseful with power most of the Harbonites haven't even dealt with Seaponies (that the know of). So as the local dignitaries present themselves she sweeps a foreleg across her chest and ducks her head in a polite bow. "I am Muzaji, former travelling merchent that has made her prosperous home in the Harbor."

She pauses, and once the captain catchs up turns to gesture towards him. "And this is the captain of our…" brief pause. "… fair ship, Goody Horseshoes."

She then leans a bit closer to Seawall, holding a forehoof up to her muzzle as she lowers her voice to a whisper. "Sorry for the unorthadox appearances, the Rusty Bucket was a quick fixer upper to get here when nopony else dared sail past the Maelstorm."

A blue filly with blue hair pokes her way out of the crowd to lean down over the edge of the dock and stare at Thunnini and Riptide. "… but why?!" she asks, eventually.

First Mate whispers something into his captain's ears. Goody gives a nod with a wide approving grin, his right-hand pony wading off into the crowd to strike up a conversation with a rather attractive looking mare. Goody himself walks up alongside Muzaji, giving a bow as he's introduced before he even gets the chance, "Greetings. It is an honor for you to welcome us here."

See? With both Thunnini and Riptide in the water already, it would've been very embarassing for Dreamy to walk off the docks to bump into'em! Good thing she stopped at the edge there, yep. The little unicorn waves to the two seapony foals, making sure to snap a mental picture of them for Spearmint~ Then she turns around to blink at all the adults. So many grim faces and frowns! …Yeah, she can tell this is gonna take a /lot/ of hugs to fix…

Thunnini headtilts at the blue filly's question? "'Why' which? And why not?" the violet-speckled seafilly asks in return.

Riptide looks up at the blue filly, and burbles. "I was…curious… and my brother dared me." Blush.

Seawall watches Muzaji, then dips his head in a bow. "Welcome, Muzaji, and Goody Horseshoes." He sits up and looks towards the Rusty Bucket. "I know your ship by reputation, if not by sight. It made quite a name for itself on these waters… before it was turned into a bar." He spends several minutes gazing at the Rusty Bucket. "And I see its designation as such has remained. Mm." Dismissing his unspoken considerations with a shrug, he looks back to the group. No more introductions seem to be forthcoming, so he turns and makes his way back back down the docks. Eddy, smiling brightly all along, falls in line behind him, as do several of the guards. Sea Cinder and Swordfish remain.

"If you'll follow me," continues Seawall, "We'll see to showing you around. I must say, while your presence was not…" A few moments of careful word selection interrupts his speech. "Wholly anticipated, you were nevertheless invited by a respected member of local academia. Sinking Stone is an upstanding member of this community, and his voice carries much weight in the halls of her Majesty's offices. I will not be the one to deny him a reasonable request."

The party advances along the docks- or beside it, in the case of the swimming filies- towards the waiting, broad door that enters the tower. "You are, of course, seeing only the entryway to our city, which lies on the ocean floor below us. Silver Shallows is located several days from the Starlight Capital. Ours is a port of trade, frequented by visitors from many lands…" He glances about at the zebras and occasional griffon. "… if not necessarily yours, in most circumstances."

Magpie trails along after one of the guards, being more or less quiet. So how do they actually, y'know, get TO the city? Does she have to wear a bubble on her head? What if her horn bumps it? She doesn't wanna drown!

Goody-Horseshoes is just as curious as the others in terms of how everypony will be getting down to the actual city. With the ship taken care of, the rest of the crew makes it's way into the port to intermingle with the other ponies. Even Cookie, the ship's cook who almost never comes up to see the light of day, comes heavily trotting down the gangplank. Though he may be captaining the ship, he is not the leader of the mission, so he lets Muzaji handle the important talk.

The blue and blue filly questioning THunnini shrugs. "Why'd you go make friends with land ponies?" she asks, paying no attention to the very important head of state giving a tour nearby. "They're mean, aren't they?"

Heartsong trails along at the back of the group, looking about curiously. One would almost think she wasn't listening! But she gets rid of that idea quickly, ears perking at the mention of where they're going. "We're going underwater?" She blinks and blushes, ears laying back again as she realizes it might be out of line to speak up. She clears her throat and ducks her head slightly. Ooops.

Spearmint nearly runs into the back of Dreamy at the sudden stop, but pauses to wave down at Thunnini and Riptide as well. Okay, actually he waves a bit to the left of them. He does his best! The intent is clear, at least.

Riptide says "Not…so bad, actually. They've been real nice to me…"

Magpie blinks and looks sideways at the seapony fillies. "HEY! Whaddaya mean we're mean?!" she snaps.

"No more than seaponies are," shrugs Thunnini. "The full story is kinda complicated, but they helped me out, and they're friendly, so… why not make friends with them?" Makes perfect sense to her!

Dreamy blinks! Landponies aren't mean! But Maggie pipes up before she can think about a good way to try and reply to that..so she nods instead, with a light hoofstomp, and gets to walking with the rest of the group down the dock. Making sure she's got Spearmint in tow too!

Muzaji merely grins a bit at the moments of reminesing, possibly because she was one of the few ponies to see that nameplate and get the reference. "Indeed, indeed. It took an experienced, stout, and slightly drunken old mare of the seas to get us here…. but that is a tale to tell over ales another time." The zebra falls into trot with the local bigwigs, keeping her pace with Seawall but slightly behind out of respect since he is leading the way.

She's probably, in the back of her head, considering the ways to make Horseshoe Harbor, or at least herself, able do trade with the Shallows once this is all over with. But more important matters at hoof, so her curiosity has little trouble stuffing her avarice into a corner for now.

"Assuradly we would not impose; had the request for our visit not arose. And while the Harbor is at the immeadiate threat; if the Maelstorm continues to grow it won't see the worst yet."

The blue filly starts as she is accosted by Magpie, and stares at the unicorn for several moments, before looking back down to Thunnini and Riptide, expression troubled. "But they're different," she says, in a halting tone to suggest she knows this is what she SHOULD say if not exactly WHY it should be said. "And they don't like us. Are they really your friends?"

Magpie stretches her neck out over the water. "What makes ya think we don't like you? I've never even /seen/ a seapony before. I meant other than Thunni. And that crazy sea witch, but she doesn't count." She pauses, then adds quickly, "Oh! Uh, we don't eat bunnies. OR otters. Honest."

"Or other ponies!" Riptide puts in helpfully.

Thunnini giggles. "I'll let you in on a little secret," she says to the curious seafilly. Leaning in conspirationally, she stage-whispers "They're about as scared of /us/ as we are of /them/."

Leaning away with a grin, she adds "So in that case, why not be friends with them?" Big smile from Thunnini!

"Perhaps," says Sewall, in response to Muzaji's reasoning. "I leave consideration of these matters up to the Outriders. Their job is to observe our borders and properly gauge threats found upon it. They are monitoring the situation in Horseshoe Harbor." He's quiet for a good several feet, thinking. This is, evidently, unusual enough that Eddy, walking beside him, looks up with a look of concern. Seawall catches this, and catches himself, before shaking his head.

"To answer your question, young miss," he says, calling back to Heartsong, "Ours is one of the few cities equipped to accomodate land-dwellers even down within the city proper. You do not need to go out into the water if you do not want, but we have ways to provide for that if you decide to do so."

The tower looms high, and the party soon passes into its doorway. Inside is a broad, round floor, several rooms and cubicles assembled off to the side where traders and official-looking types gather to worry over paperwork or argue about piles of goods. The main feature, however, is a broad circle in the center- an open hole in the floor, from which cool, salty air wafts upward. Even as the party watches, an elevator rises from that hole, fitting neatly into the gap and coming to a stop, soft pneumatics hissing from some unseen part of the tower. Seawall stops at a distance, retinue stopping with him, then turns to look back at the group. "I do not know what it is that Sinking Stone intends to discuss with you all, specifically, but we will ensure that if a trip to open waters is necessary, it is one you may make in safety."

Outside, a couple of guards bring by a Big Bucket Full of Water and stand near where Thunnini carries on her conversation on the docks. The bucket has wheels. It looks familiar, but at the same time, professional. Like a proper, seapony-designed, foal-carrying bucket, specifically for seapony foals without legs. It's almost like this is a need that was anticipated here in a seapony port city!

Riptide blows a few bubbles as he realizes he'd be a nuisance in fins, and, removing his necklace again, he tucks it away in his pouch and climbs sheepishly out of the water. With squirming.

The blue filly's eyes widen at the suggestion that land-dwellers are scared, looking up at the various outlander crewmembers milling about the ship, and the party heading into the tower, with equal parts trepidation and wonder. It's about then that someone who is presumably her mother arrives to shoo her away from the weird little seafilly saying silly things, but as the blue filly goes, she looks less scared by the moment and more thoughtful.

Heartsong blinks and looks back up, nodding slowly. This has her nervous again. But excited! But /nervous/. She prances in place for a second before scrambling after the group again. /Underwater/. This is a strange new concept!

Magpie oohs, puts her hooves up on the edge of the Big Bucket. "Hey, Thunnini! They got a cart for ya here too!" Now they just need a nice long pole and everything's fine!

Thunnini waves to the other filly as she departs, then clambers into the wheeled bucket with a murmured "thank you" to the guards.

Muzaji is taking note of all this as she goes. Hmm. Hoping they get some time to just browse before heading home, she'd love to strike up a deal or two.

Or at least make sure she has arrangements for if the Harbor -doesn't- survive. "Whatever he intends, I am certain it will be of assistance! Such a wise fellow would surely not call us out here for no reason, after all." She nibbles her lip for a moment, considers asking, but then after opening her mouth briefly closes it again. No, that would be best saved for talking to the old stallion himself.

So instead she watchs the elevator come up. "Impressive."

Goody-Horseshoes seems to be completely confident that his crew will be on their best behavior. After all, they're not called the Do-gooders for nothing! "I've heard stories of this place. I've always wanted to see it for myself, but for as much as I spend with the seas, I've never had the chance." His face lights up when the elevator appears at the surface.

Magpie helps push Thunnini's bucket into the elevator shaft. Yes! She is on her very best behavior. You will never see her doing anything illegal. O:)

Riptide trots after everyone else, ears flat as he gazes around in wonder. Starlight Kingdom doesn't look too much like this…

"The chance is not offered to many," explains Seawall, following up on Goody's comment. His stoic expression tightens for a moment. "Hardly any at all." He watches the elevator as he speaks; on board it, several things are unloaded, crates wheeled off on carts or baskets lugged about on the backs of seaponies and zebras. "And I suspect you may eventually discover why. The people of this city- indeed, of this kingdom- do not trust Equestrians. You may not always find yourself a welcome presence, here, for you represent an intrusion to an order that has been maintained for ages."

He turns to look over the group again with that quick, darting glance. "Not to worry, however. Violence will not come of it. That you are here with the blessings of her Majesty's offices will go a long way to ensuring your visit is, at the very least, uneventful."

Striding forward, he makes his way past the bannisters and cordons that mark the edge of the elevator shaft, and onto the platform. The accompanying guards move quickly to make space, while a few zebra traders, whose place in line was bumped in favor of official government business, watch from the side, wearing wry smirks.

Eep! So busy sightseeing, Dreamy nearly missed the elevator! She bustles up with her blind friend, to join the rest of the group, pausing to wave at a few of those zebra traders on her way by. Whee, new ponies /everywhere/!

Riptide skitters after the rest, though he does poke at Spearmint. "Are you gonna be okay down here?" he asks, in trepidation.

Wryly smirking zebras. That has so many possible connotations, but its like Muzaji is the only one to pick up on that. Though other things have her curiosity perked. She never knew there was an animosity between Ponies and Seaponies until she came to be at the Harbor, so the matter had her curiosity.

And Muzaji had enough curiosity to kill at least a dozen cats.

"If I may ask my good sir," she continues as she follows Seawall onto the elevator, "Is there a reason your kind and their kind," nods her head towards the other Ponies following them, "do not… get along readily?" Then adds somewhat afterthought-like, "Considering what happened to her before this, it may have bearing on the actions of the 'seawitch'." Calling Spindrift by that term leaves a slightly foul taste in her mouth, but the zebra gets over it.

Goody-Horseshoes gives an understanding nod, "Yes…so I've heard. I never though I'd have this opportunity." and still seems understanding as Seawall explains that their presence in the city will not be exatcly friendly. "There's always been an unseen barrier between seaponies and us land ponies. I know we are just as strange to them as they can be to us."

Spearmint blinks, tilting an ear towards Riptide. "Sure. I've gone on elevators before. They're weird, but they're not bad. …Just, um. You know. I don't know my way around, so… somepony let me know if I nearly walk into a wall."

Thunnini rolls along in the bucketmobile. It's a bit different than her usual go-kart, but as it was designed for seaponies, it's not hard to figure out how to properly work it… although her go-kart habits tend to show.

Magpie trots out onto the elevator platform and gives an impatient clop of her back hoof. "Well I didn't do anything to the seaponies," she says with a scowl.

Magpie doesn't like gettin' blamed for somepony else's trouble.

Riptide pipes up, "Land ponies are real scary… but kinda nice, so far. I haven't seen a single one gobble us up yet. Though they aren't real fond of water."

Magpie says "We don't eat ponies! Or bunnies! OR OTTERS!"

Dream-Daze helpfully projects a little mental image of ponies eating grass. Yep. Just grass. Nom nom nom.

The bucketmobile works… by being pushed. Indeed, Thunnini gets her own armored escort, one of the guards manuevering the wheelybucket along from behind. She is a guest! Albeit an unexpectedly unusual guest amidst unexpectedly unusual guests!

Seawall regards Muzaji thoughtfully, even if his brand of thoughtfulness has intense flavor of solemnity to it. Eddy glances between him and the zebra, looking about ready to speak, but keeps quiet. She's looking increasingly antsy, in a barely-contained excitable way. The guards are all professionals and keep quiet, though they do study the Magistrate out of the corner of their eyes, as curious to his response as anybody.

"Everyone has different reasons," answers Seawall, eventually. Below the group, the elevator shudders, and there's that pneumatic hiss again, before the elevator starts to descend into the dark shaft. There is little in the way of illumination just yet, only light filtering in from the twilight-lit chamber above. "History holds that a thousand years ago, an Equestrian tyrant held our people in thrall until such a time as they were overthrown by a popular rebellion. There is much to suggest this story is false, a fabrication constructed over the ages- but many still cling to the belief it is true. Others still hold on to petty prejudices against culture or race, or are simply afraid. You Equestrians are… an expansionistic lot. Your civilization spreads rapidly, and its people are quick to make themselves a part of others' business. The citizens of the Starlight kingdom prefer a more… cautious pace of life. We appreciate smaller communities and close family ties to a more worldly state of mind."

Light suddenly floods the elevator shaft, as the lift descends past windows set in the sides of the tower. As might be guessed, the elevator has descended through the structure and below the bottom of the sea, and the sea spreads out in all directions. With night approaching up above, much of what is visible outside the windows is dark- but that makes the lit parts stand out all the more clearly.

Silver Shallows spreads out across the ocean floor, collecting along natural hills and crevices of the rocky ocean floor. In canyons and under sheltering stony cliffs of coral, structures are gathered like barnacles, built against and atop eachother as often as they are collected around open, obvious roadways winding over the ocean floor. The namesake of the Starlight Kingdom is immediately evident- a thousand tiny, white lights, little laterns made of glowing pearls or gleaming chunks of glass, placed here and there, illuminating walkways or the facades of houses and businesses. When seen from afar as the party now views them, they very much resemble the stars in the sky above, except giving life to a city on the ocean floor.

Eddy squeals a little before catching herself with a hoof over her mouth. Seawall glances her way before continuing, looking out the windows at the city beyond. "Silver Shallows is unusual in that we welcome many outsiders other cities do not. Most are isolated, rural settlements, all but wholly self-contained. Between our towns are vast swaths of uninhabited lands, for the sea quickly reclaims that which is not busily maintained."

Magpie pfffts. "Well 's not like we could wander in and live in your cities even if we wanted to, right? You live under OH MY GOSH! Oh my gosh! It's so— oh my gosh!"

Riptide lifts up and widens his eyes as he presses hooves to the glass, marvelling. "Wooow, look at the roads! What weird buildings! Wow!"

Heartsong stares. STARES. And gives a faint squeal of her own. An excited little bounce even. It's /pretty/. It's so pretty! And… and look at all the stars! Well, no, they… they're probably not stars, are they? But they /look/ like stars. She likes stars. This isn't as scary as she thought it'd be! It's actually pretty darn neat. Look at those buildings! Look at the cliffs! There's so much color in the cliffs! Why is their rock all colorful? Who cares? It's neat!

Even seafillies aren't immune to just how spectacular the view is. Thunnini's eyes are wide open and she has a grin fit to rival that of her gawking landpony friends. Yup, this place is dang pretty!

Wow. Just, wow. Stories, dreams, nothing could hope to prepare a little filly for the sight of a real…is it real?…seapony town. It's quite pretty! And intimidating too. Dreamy finds herself feeling suddenly a little unexplainably claustrophobic, huddling a bit closer to Spearmint, behind most of the rest of the group. Suddenly nervous about stepping out into all that, knowing full well they're underwater!

Goody-Horseshoes 's composure remains as the elevator descends towards the city, though there seem to be stars in his eyes apart from the magestic reflection of the city's breathtaking display of lights. He takes a deep breath in and closes his eyes for just a second as if expecting to wake up from a dream when they open again. It's as if his whole life has been leading up to a moment like this.

Somepony takes notice of Dream-Daze's discomfort and offers a consoling pat, somepony that might have been along for the ride all the while but gone unnoticed. Ruby! Ruby offers Dream-Daze a reassuring smile while trotting along behind the the fillies. Yup!

One of the guards rubs her eyes, stares at the group, rubs her eyes some more. She then leans over and mumbles to one of her companions, gesturing surreptitiously to Ruby. "s she… always there or… sneaky?" Mumble mumble. The other guard shrugs haplessly. Both start peering around in case there's anything else hidden that they're not aware of.

Muzaji nods her head slowly as she listens to the explaination. "While exaggerations tend to abound; in every legend some truth can be found," is her astute reply. She seems to not speak in rhymes all the time like some zebras do, but rather shift in and out of the mannerism when it emphasizes the moment or idea.

But then her attention is taken over by the view starting to spread out before them on the other sides of the windows. "Such an amazing sight to see, across the floors beneath the sea." Technically its two different words! Maybe such a awkward rhyme is a sign of awe?

Dreamy jumps! A sudden patting hoof makes her exhale louder than usual, the closest she can come to a squeak or gasp, only to turn her head and see Ruby, like, right there! Phew… She beams a smile to the mare, crisis averted and whatnot, then gets to tailoring a good mental image for Spearmint so he can join in the awestruckness of being the first blind colt ever to be underwater.

Other details begin to show themselves the longer one looks. Sure enough, there are sea ponies! They have tails and everything. Some swim around amidst the walkways and roads, while others drift higher through the "sky" of their town, traveling from one part to another, sometimes tugging nets laden with goods. A few dart by outside- holding up against the glassy windows of the tower as they scrape barnacles or algae off the glass. Pool maintenance: Yes, even here.

The architectural style seems mixed. A lot of buildings- older ones, if the cracks and repairs are any indication- have smaller, squatter, rounder shapes, giving them the appearance, when gathered together, of little rafts of bubbles or froth. Other buildings favor straighter edges and a style characterized by columns and arches- grandiose and not unlike something one might see in Catnerlot. Nothing really seems to be prevalent, however.

Seawall gestures to the northern reaches of the city, indicating a large structure, several large buildings adjoining eachother. This one is all columns and arcades, rising up to vaulted ceilings and long, thin spires that pierce the darkness of the waters above the lights of the city. "Over yonder is one of Silver Shallows' greatest claims to fame- the Academy. It is a prestigious school, and where Sinking Stone curates the Silver Archives. I suspect, when the time comes for you to meet him, he shall summon you there."

The elevator is plunged into darkness once more, as it passes below the windows. Soft hissing filters in through the walls before the elevator begins to slow, then descends into an open chamber much like the one at the top. This one, too, is filled with busy ponies and zebras, piles of materials, and business of all sort, and leading off from it are a number of tunnels heading in various directions, as well as a few moon pools off to the side, sloshing wetly. Even as the party watches, a pair of ponies off to the side don decorative pendants, their back legs blending into a fishy tail, before they hop into the pool; a moment later, the same two can be seen swimming by a small window looking up into the "sky" of the ocean outside.

Ruby certainly spots the ponies and their pretty little pendants - she likely shares a thought or two with Maggie in regards to these trinkets.

Muzaji does as well… but then quickly reminds herself of what purpose those trinkets serve and shoos the thought out of her mind. "I have seen many sights in my travels, but few do compare to this." Focus, zebra, focus. Besides, engaging in petty larceny -now- would not do good favor to this rescue mission.

Just before they leave, then maybe she might think about a bit of smuggling, but not before.

Riptide tries to look around some of the taller ponies, but he is short and squat. And short. And squat. But he's also excited, if nervous.

Magpie says "Um… can I ask a question?"

"Yes?!" blurts Eddy, finally unable to completely contain her excitement at having GUESTS. This earns a raised eyebrow from Seawall, which earns a gasp of terror from Eddy, before the older pony nods to her, and with relief and elation, Eddy turns to grin at Magpie.

Magpie says "How come you have to put on those necklaces to get fishy? Like… I thought you were fishy all the time, right?"

Goody-Horseshoes watches as the ponies mysteriously and magically turn into a pair of seaponies. At this point, the excitement seems like it's boiled almost to the brim and he's about to explode. His tail swishes a little in anticipation as he gets out the only words he's able, "So, are we going to…you know…" It seems obvious that he's trying to ask about wearing the necklaces.

Lavender crouches behind other ponies in the elevator, enraptured by the sights. The filly's mind is utterly bewildered at this point. Sensory overload.

Spearmint is taking the elevator like a /champ/. Every other pony is reacting, but he is a rock of calm. It's just an elevator, come on guys. Yeah sure it's long but really now. It's no big HOLYCRAP WAT IS THAT. Dreamy's pictures get his attention and suddenly he is not so calm. He's positively bouncy. "What? What? We're underwater? Is this underwater? I can't swim! Are we in a bubble? Are we staying in a bubble? What're all those lights? Do you have fireflies under here? Can fireflies breathe underwater? I can't."

Thunnini hugs Spearmint. "We're in a specially-designed city that's full of air for zebras and other landponies to visit in," she explains.

Dreamy sends a second mental image to Spearmint, of the new place where the elevator stops! Because this is now important. And yet, she still is hesitant to try to step off the platform. What if…what if it's /different/ air? What if she can't breathe it? What if it's actually /water/ disguised as air and… Ahhhh!

Magpie says "I wanna go swimming."

Seawall moves to leave the elevator, but stays quiet for now, letting Eddy field the question. SO excited is she at the prospect, she doesn't realize it's her turn to get off the elevator until a guard nudges her!

"Well, it's complicated! The phylacteries, as they're called- those are the necklaces, but REALLY, they could be all sorts of things- I have a cousin, hers is a bracelet!- contain POWERFUL MAGIC and about when we get our cutie marks we get to make our phylacteries and when we interact with that magic, we assume our proper forms! But when it's taken off, that part of ourselves are sealed away- or more like hidden, sealed is sort of a silly term- I always thought it was a reference to seals but we're really not related to seals at all- so we look more like earth ponies. As you can imagine! Ha ha!" She does a little prance and waggels her hind legs before landing with a neat little click. A pencil falls out of one of her overburdened saddlebags. "Development of phylactery magic dates back to approximately 190 years before the ascent of Celestia, when-"

Seawall clears his throat mightily, and Eddy falls silent. She glances about the group, then up at her boss, then grins sheepishly. "Oh, er. That's how."

Seawall looks to Goody Horseshoes. "No, this is magic inherent to our kind- you cannot partake of it yourselves. Your methods for navigating the water shall be handled differently." He gestures towards one of the larger tunnels leading off of this chamber. WIth a broad, open path in the middle, and several small stalls and shops branching off from it, it resembles in many regards a street, and evidently leads to the intended destination.

"Now, my guests, I fear I must leave you. I have duties to attend to back in city hall, from which I have already been perilously lax in seeing to. Still, I shall leave Eddy in your company. She knows the city as well as I, and shall serve as your guide during your stay here."

Eddy squeals.

"Well it's been over half an hour since you've eaten - so I don't see the harm~" Ruby replies to Maggie before Seawall bursts Maggie's bubble "Guess you'll just have to settle for a bath when we get home." she grumps sligtly as the prospect of snagging a necklace is now moot.

Magpie 's jaw drops. She didn't follow all of that, but… "W-wait, so… so… so… sea ponies are… are really earth ponies with /magic necklaces/?!"

Riptide follows along, snickering a little at that. "No… It's just we lose some of our seapony-ness when we take off our phylacteries. At least, that's what my brother said."

Muzaji smirks a bit at Ruby's reaction, which just means she was thinking the same thing the zebra once had. "No, my dear, the necklaces are where they store their seapony-ness when they want to walk on land."

Muzaji tries to put it in more child friendly terms

Lavender's growing excitement is shot down midway through that, "Aw, I wish I could put something on and be a seapony…And then I'd be the best captain ever."

Magpie rubs her head. "W-well, okay, so- so- so show me how to put my unicorniness in one! A-and then I can swim like you do?"

Muzaji slaps a forehoof to her face. "Kids…."

Goody-Horseshoes lets out a disappointed sigh. Well…no playing a seapony for him! Regardless, he's still in an enchanted mood for the moment. "I understand. I just wanted to be sure, " he says before Seawall takes leave of the group. He smiles at the foals, giving a bit of a laugh at Magpie's mixed up theories.

"More like…" begins Eddy. "The sea goes into the seapony necklace, so when you take it off, there's no more sea, just a pony! Ha ha ha!" She seems delighted by the comparison.

Seawall looks over the group once more, then nods to the guards. A few of them detach themselves from the party to accompany him, as he heads for a tunnel off the side of the chamber opposite the one the party is apparently intended to head for.

Eddy waves as he goes. A few moments pass, then she turns to the group. "Isn't he the best? He gives me SO much work to do. I mean I have a stack of paperwork on my desk as tall as I am and I just can't WAIT! to get started on it!" She squees and prances in place. "I have so many zoning permits to stamp! I never get to stamp things, it's gonna be- oh, it's gonna be so fab!"

Magpie glances over at Eddy. "Oh. Um. NEver mind. I don't wanna be corn." Darn it.

Muzaji politely achems into her forehoof, seeing as it was already near her face to begin with after Magpie's antics, then gives Eddy a nudge. "Prehaps you should finish showing us around and telling us more of your fine city first?"

Ruby trots ahead to join Maggie and give her a playful little nudge. "So this is pretty impressive…" gaze drawn wide over everything once again - she then hushes, cause she can't seem to come up with anything worth saying at the moment; this prompts Ruby to shift a tad uncomfortably in place before smiling warmly - cause yeah it's okay!

Goody-Horseshoes walks up next to Muzaji non-chalantly, standing fairly close to her side. He clears his throat, stretching his neck, "I must thank you once more for allowing me to accompany on a journey such as this. I've dreamed of a day like this for quite some time. Never did I think it would come true."

Lavender stays close up to Dreamy and Spearmint. Safety in foal numbers. "I wonder what the food is like…I wonder what they drink down here?"

"Oh! Oh, yeah!" offers Eddy, starting. She smiles brightly up at Muzaji and nods. "Of course! Follow meeee~!" She prances off in the direction of the designated road, catches herself after a few steps, and adopts a more controlled, stately demeanor.

The tunnel winds its way between several buildings, outside, a glassy roof allowing one to look up and out and into the ocean. The various doorways and entrances along the side lead into houses and shops- it's clear how frequent surface-dwellers have influenced the design of this part of town, and one can imagine a zebra visiting often and living quite comfortably in a town of tunnels and sealed glass chambers.

"This is the port district. It's where the majority of trade activity takes place, and where a lot of newcomers to town live. Few actually LIVE here, which is SUCH a shame, since really- you know, maybe we should try and see if we can't encourage more to live here? Do you think it would work? Muzaji, was it? You know, I- Oh!" She shakes her head. "The tour!"

The shops tend to be smaller and busier. Assorted goods from around the world! Or at least those parts of the world where zebras live, are on display or for sale. Assorted foods ranging from fried kelp to unusual fruits to exotic vegetable stews are sold at little stands. But whereas this might make for a busy, noisy bazaar up on the surface, down here, it's more quiet, subdued. The people are businesslike and hushed, giving the street the air of a library more than a marketplace.

Riptide peeks around, a little unnerved by Eddy's excitement. He skulks apart from the other foals, ears back. "I thought this place would be like home but it's still a little different…

"Huh?" asks Eddy, stopping short, turning to look back at Riptide. She turns to face him, smiling brightly! "What's the matter, minnow? Where are you from? I understand it's a little different here, but don't worry! Outside of the port district you might find it more familiar!" Tour halted on account of foal concern. The two guards that remain with the group exchange glances.

Ruby's eyes slowly roam about the stalls - making note of things that catch her eye; after a few moments she pipes "Did you bring your coin purse, Maggie?" she places the said coin purse on Maggie's head - knowing full well the mare came ill-equiped, which is the very reason she's come along.

Riptide blinks owlishly when Eddy addresses him, and he stutters. "Umm… oh, I just… okay," he stammers. "It— it's nice! It's just more…walking than I'm used to." Puff.

Muzaji blinks twice, but recovers quickly to smirk a bit at the captain. "Think nothing of it Cap'n," she replies as she starts to follow the intensly eager Eddy. "You've never sailed too many times to not have a new adventure."

Somepony else calling one of the seafillies 'minnow' brings another bemused expression to the zebra. "I believe both these young ones have spent most of their time around the Harbor or other seapony settlements, Eddy dear. This is almost as new to them as it is to us."

As a couple of zebras pass she turns to nod to them, and one nods back while the colt tips his hat to her before the continue on. No one she knows personally, but zebras tend to be affiable to their own kind regardless. Some of the best deals come out a chance passing and greeting.

Magpie eep. She looks up and pockets the pouch. "Um.." She bumps Ruby. "Thanks." Y'know what it's time for? SHOPPING! Maggie gallops off down the corridor with an excited squee!

"Oh!" Eddy looks embarassed. "I- yes, most seaponies who come here do so explicitly to deal with surface-dwellers, so this district is built to accommodate them…" She shuffles her hooves. "I'm sorry! You're free to go swimming at any time, though! I- oh!"

She starts as Magpie goes sprinting off, looking panicky for a moment. "The tour- the tour's over here!" she calls out. "We don't- you, go make sure she doesn't get lost!" The near-filly waves a hoof at one of the guards, who takes off after Magpie, metal booties going clink-clink-clink on the floor.

Eddy panics for a few moments before turning back to the group with a bright smile and haunted eyes. Must not mess up the tour. Must not! "In fact, much of the city has at least some token air environment available! Even if it's just for our use. There are lots of things that simply cannot be done in a wholly water-filled environment. I understand the Silver Archive is almost entirely air-filled, because of all the books they have! Paper is one of those things we never figured out how to work under the sea, ha ha ha! Too bad- I LOVE paper!" She turns and heads off down the street, looking about worriedly for any sign of the missing tour member. You don't lose your tour. That's like the #1 rule for giving a tour: don't lose it.

Goody-Horseshoes gives a nod, still following. As much as he'd like to wander off on his own, this trip is business, not pleasure. If there's time after, he'll visit around. "Ah…yes. I learn something new every time I take to the seas. Every adventure a lesson, and every lesson an Adventure." He smirks as the tourguide gets more and more excited.

Ruby takes after Maggie and trots /after/ the guard - she's not liable to let Maggie go alone, and what better way to get a real feel for the city than to get away from the tour group.

Magpie is looking into the shops at first, as she goes by. BUt then as she realizes the Guards are after her, she grins. Really? The fishytails think they can catch her? It's not the harbor, but this'll be fun either way. The game is on!

Lavender peeks around and bites her lip, grinning at Magpie's absence. It's tough not to cheer on a troublemaker, even if she doesn't know what she's up to. "Huh… You can't use like, kelp or something? I guess that would be really gross and slimy to read."

The tunnel-held road winds on. It's mostly level, following some gentle ridges and hills, at times burrowing through rocky features outside. The view from the windows suggests it winds through the middle of a shallow trench- but then, most seapony structures seem to favor open crevasses and trenches rather than the open "plains" of the sea. Looking up and back, one can see the tower leading up to the surface of the ocean, rising like a silvery beacon from a large structure in the center of town.

"We're, ah-" says Eddy, clearly distracted by people disappearing on her. She makes some gestures and she soon has two more guards to replace the one that left. "Headed for the Berth. It's a hotel favored by a lot of higher-class merchants that come visiting. We've made arrangements for you all to stay there while you're in town. The Magistrate was very insistent you guys be treated as honored guests! Which is really weird, normally he's kind of grumpy about outsi-" She suddenly seals her lips up tight and draws herself up, having realized she was saying thing she shouldn't have. She is clearly blushing under her pale aquamarine coat. "Mmmmhmmmhhanyway! We have some diving suits and floats there for you to try on, too. I'm-" She turns to glance back over her shoulder at the group. "… not sure we have suits small enough for the foals, though! They'll have to use the floats."

The light filtering in from outside is briefly dimmed by the shadow of something large, passing through the open waters above the tunnel as a cloud might… or a blimp might. The dark shape is reduced to a mere silhouette, but it's a huge silhouette, framed by a pair of gently waggling flippers and trailed by several long, thin tendrils. A deep and low hum rings through the water and nearby buildings, then, like a note on a flute played at a vastly deep, vastly loud pitch. Eddy seems wholly unconcerned about it, as do most of the people wandering by on either side.

"Kelp? Silly!" Eddy giggles at Lavender. "Kelp wouldn't work at all, oooobviously!" Obviously.

Muzaji occasionally drifts a little farther to the side to 'window shop' as they pass stalls, but surprisingly isn't the one to go wandering off like others are. Mostly because she's interested in the things Eddy has to say as well. So the bigwigs were making exceptions and accomidations for them? Then this certainly had to be something big, Maelstorm or otherwise. She's got a few theories of her own too, but not anything solid enough she feels need to voice just yet. At least her curiosity was tempered by enough wisdom to be informed first.

Lavender's ears go just a little back. "Floats? I can't be any kind of a proper pirate wearing floats. Ehehe…still kind of /awesome/… Whoa, what was that sound?" She looks up and around in every direction.

Goody-Horseshoes keeps near Eddy, even as Muzaji slightly strays now and then to look in the shops. He uses his magic to pull off his monacle for a moment, rubbing it against his hat to clean it. The eye it was covering remains closed the entire time it's off. After poping it back on he addresses Eddy, "So how long have you been working with the guards?"

Riptide slinks along, happy to be out of the limelight again. What a weird place. Though he does widen his eyes, watching after Magpie as she darts off. Erm.

Eddy prances a step. "The floats are adorable! You'll look just great in one, I'm sure! I- ohh, sound?" She stops, glancing about, trying to place the sound. "Oh! With a blink she looks up at the looming, blimp-like shape in the open water above. "That's a kraken! Don't worry about them. They're huge, but they're very gentle. And they're herbivores!"

The kraken lets loose another low, ringing… howl? Song? It's hard to tell. It sounds, uh, friendly, though? "Sooooometimes we have issues with them knocking over houses when they follow someone home and get too curious and lean in and try to watch them through the windows but that almost never happens!" The shadow eventually passes as the massive drifting animal moves on.

To Goody, she smiles. "Oh? I'm not with the guards! I'm just a civil servant. Undersecretary to the Provincial Magistrate, that's my official title, but someday, I hope to be promoted to SECRETARY." She grins at one of the guards, who arches her eyebrows in return. "The guards are everywhere, at least in the port district. Helps the people feel safe. A lot of residents think having surface-dwellers come down here often is dangerous, even if they don't even live near the port. That's just silly! Isn't that silly?"

The tunnel opens up into a broad plaza, whose ceiling remains relatively low but whose walls extend in broad directions. More tunnels branch out, heading elsewhere, but the main feature is the columned entrance to a building that, when viewed through the glassy ceiling, towers up into the water outside. This one appears to be mostly new construction, consisting of smooth, sandy columns and broad, rounded surfaces. Windows look out into the ocean, some lit, others dim. Back down in the tunnel plaza below, a sign above the building's doorway reads THE BERTH.

Lavender blinks a few times and her eyes widen more and more, just staring at the thing. "It's…it's really cute!" This is not a normal side of the filly. "I wish we had those around the Harbor…"

Of course that's silly. Magpie isn't /dangerous/. She's just /larcenous/.

Muzaji stops and looks up at the size and style of the Berth though the windowpanes, followed by letting out a low whistle in appreciate. "For having to get here by sea and plank, this place's digs sure are quite swank."

And cue the odd looks as nopony has an idea what she just said.

Eddy is quite literally rolling around, spindly legs waggling about, as she laughs at Muzaji's rhyme. She picks herself up and titters and totters for abit longer before offering the zebra a grin. "Oh! Zebras!" she says. "Your rhymes!" She leads the group inside with a few more giggles.

Inside, accommodations are not especially roomy. When one things fancy hotel lobby, one probably imagines… … actually, these are a bunch of sea dogs and harbor foals, they don't know anything about fancy hotels. Anyway, the Berth is mainly smooth-polished marble floors and sandstone features. It's quiet inside, sharing the hushed, library-like atmosphere of the streets. A bored looking stallion stands behind a counter, leafing through a book in a bored fashion. He has long, thin legs and a broad body, such that he looks about ready to tip over at any given moment.

Eddy bustles up and talks at him rapidly. He stares at her, eyes gradually widening.

Goody-Horseshoes smirks at Eddy's antics. As the group makes it's way into the hotel, he beams the same smile he did on the elevator. He walks back over towards Muzaji as Eddy goes off to talk to the deskpony. "It's amazing, isn't it? Artwork and architecture such as this, this far below the surface…"

Lavender is astounded by this /fancy hotel/, and even the marble itself, honestly! Stone! Fancy stone! Compared to the occasionally-burned wood she's used to, this is still pretty mindblowing. "It's like an underwater Canterlot," she murmurs, never having been to the place.

One of the guards- this one a young stallion just a few years out of adolescence- glances about, looking up at Eddy, then back at the group. "Canterlot? Looks like this?" He seems dubvious. "I thought Canterlot was built on a cloud."

Muzaji leaves Eddy to go about her business, instead nodding a bit to Goody. "Indeed it is. I knew the seafolk constructed grand cities beneath the waves, but I imagined nothing like this. And this isn't even their ever more elusive capital!"

Ears twitch in an overhearing nature, and she comments towards the guard. "No my good sir, -Cloudsdale- is built on clouds. Canterlot is carved into the side of one of the largest mountains in Equestria."

Riptide stares up and around. "Wow… this is neat," he gapes. "This isn't even like home at all…. Or like Canterlot, I guess? What's the floor made of?"

The guard squints. "Wait- I thought cloudsdale was the one that flies around," he says. Another guard shakes his head. "No, it doesn't float around. But I think it lands sometimes."

Eddy comes bustling back over, and beams a smile at everybody. "Okay~! Sounds like the suits and floats aren't ready yet, but that's okay! We'll be fine. You don't have to go swimming yet, I don't think!" She strikes a little pose and points a pointy hoof at the fellow behind the counter. "My good friend Bait and Tackle over here will help show you all to your rooms when you're ready. I need to head back to city hall to make sure nobody is rubber stamping my zoning permmmm, ahh- to make sure some important business is taken care of, then I'll return. I think they're making me stay here as well while you are, so nobody runs off without an official tour~! to guide them! It'll be so EXCITING!" She grins at everybody. "Does anybody need anything before I go?"

Bait and Tackle watches the outlanders with wide eyes.

One of the guards peers down at the floor. "S'marble," she says. The other nods.

Lavender gives a little pout at the no swimming, and bureaucracy is entirely over her head. "Um! I think I'm okay as long as there's stuff to eat while we stay here~!"

Muzaji snaps out of her admiration at the mention of food, and her stomach rumbles a bit in agreement. "I believe the foal is right, we could do with a bite."

Goody-Horseshoes gives a gentlemanly bow to Eddy as she announces her departure, "Thank you for your hospitality. I believe we all look forward to seeing you again soon" Looking back to Muzaji, "I couldn't even imagine what it must look like there. This is breathtaking as it is." He goes back to examining the lobby. If this is what the lobby looks like, imagine the rooms!

Bait and Tackle glances about. "Uh," he says. "We'll, uh."

Eddy smiles at him, then looks back to the others. "Ha! I guess he just hasn't seen a surface-dweller in… well, ever! You're also the first ones I'VE ever met, too, so I can understand that. I think what he means to say is there will be a dinner course served shortly for those who would like to attend. Otherwise, there are all manner of restaurants and shops outside! There's lots of yummy Zebra restaurants back down the tunnel and along the second right and up the ramp and across the plaza to the third tunnel on the bottom, that's where -I- would go."

"… I haven't had authentic zebra cooking in a -long- time." Muzaji nods to the Captain and the others. "I shall be back shortly, but… yes. Seeing as I don't stick out quite so badly, to quote old passage," she pauses to lick her lips as she turns for the lobby doors, "So I shall reaquaint with my heritage."

"Be careful!" calls out Eddy. "If you get lost, ask a guard to bring you back to the Berth! Or city hall! Come ask for me there! I'll show you my stamp collection!" She turns and smiles at the others. "Ohhhhhh! This is so neato. I'm so glad you guys are here! See you in a bit!" She turns and romps off, the conscripted guards clattering off after her with a wary look back over ther shoulders at the land-dwellers.

Bait and Tackle stares. "Uh."

Goody-Horseshoes looks down to his own stomach as it grumbles…it seems he can be counted amongst the hungry, "Ah yes. Food would be a good idea right about now. I bet the local cuisine is as delightful as the scenery!" He too exits the lobby on a quest for edible goodness.