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Tough nut to crack

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Celestia's large form filled the Watch Officer's relatively small office in my Equestria dreamscape. Spread out on his desk were the griffin's personal belongings which were being carefully examined by the Watch Officer and a unicorn mage who was particularly interested in a stack of paper-like wards that had been retrieved from the griffin. I'm afraid I have to stop you

    “Fascinating, fascinating!” Muttered the mare as she magically readjusted her glasses and continued. “Whoever constructed them is very intimate with unicorn magic that much is certain, and in particular they are aware of wards we commonly employ here in the palace!”

    “Yes, yes, but do we have an idea how this griffin got them and who could've made them?” Asked a rather tired Watch Officer. The unicorn stallion's armor clinked as he turned and retrieved a bubbling kettle from a small stove near his desk. Tossing a tea ball into a tea pot he filled it with boiling water.

    With that task completed he returned his focus to the mage. “It is my understanding that all the wards used in the palace are carefully guarded and only a small number of ponies know of them and they are changed regularly. So how did somepony gain access to what they were, and then how were they able to construct an artifact that could effectively neutralize them? How were these wards made?”

    The mage shook her head causing the curls in her mane to sway back and forth. “I am at uncertain how because I have never encounter this type of magic before.”

    Celestia who had remained more or less silent arched an eyebrow. “Never encountered before Gold Scryer? Surely you've seen cancellation wards before and since they are designed to specifically cancel our security wards the mechanics of the wards should be familiar to you?”

    Gold Scryer shook her head. “Oh I've seen the cancellation wards your Highness, and as I said earlier the individual who created them has studied unicorn magic extensively. If one were to just casually examine them one would assume they'd been made by unicorn.”

    The Watch Officer poured three cups of tea and levitated two cups to his guests. “So if a unicorn didn't make them who did and how? Griffins are not adept in this style of magic and zebras use different methods to.” The officer sipped on his herbal tea. “And for that matter how do you know a unicorn didn't make those wards?”

    “Yes Gold Scryer. I'm curious about the premise you're basing your conclusion on?” Celestia took a sip of her tea closed her eyes and then smiled. “And as always Gleaming Shield your tisanes are superb!”

    The Watch Officer blushed a little. “Thank you your Highness. But Gold please explain how you came to this opinion?

    The mage sipped her tisane and nodded her head. It was very good. Returning her cup to its saucer she closed her eyes and organized her thoughts.

    “Okay imagine you encounter something that appeared ordinary, even mundane.” She levitated a random piece of paper from the Watch Officer's desk. “Like this piece of paper. Now we know that paper is made from a slurry of cotton linter or pulp from various plants, and trace amounts of materials that make the finished paper more water-resistant or add texture to it. That slurry is made in baths of water then screens are used to lift the slurry from the water. The formed sheets are then allowed to dry.”

    She levitated up another piece of paper. “Then suddenly you encountered what a seemed like just another piece of regular paper. However you examine it intently and you discover that this sheet has been made by carefully weaving and knotting together thousands of individual strands or threads like a fabric to create a similar appearing item.”

    The mage levitate one of the wards. “These wards are like that. Yes they work against our magic. Quite effectively I may say. And they neutralize the wards in a fashion very similar to how a unicorn would do it, but if you were observe the core mechanism that actually makes these ward work it would a subtle but alien way to tackle the problem.”

    “Well, well this griffin is getting more and more interesting!” Said the Princess of the Sun. “Gleaming Shield I will assume our guest is remaining mum. Has a search of his personal belongs shed any light on where he originated from our his name?”

    The Watch Officer shook his head and poked at the pile of items on his desk that had been removed from the griffin. “Afraid not your highness. He is bearing no clan fetishes or any monogramed items. In fact many of his belongings appear to be mass-produced pony made items. And he's remained as quiet as a stone.”   

    Celestia sighed. “Unfortunately that is what I expected to hear. However one can still be surprised on occasion. Very well. Make certain his medical needs are addressed, and continue questioning him. If you have had made no progress by morning I will speak with to the prisoner personally and we'll start using other more unorthodox methods of getting answer.”

    “Gold Scryer I will get several members of my facility and a couple senior members from the Royal Archive who are experts on esoteric magical theories, devices, applications. Perhaps they will be able to assist you in determining the origin and the maker of these wards. I will have them come down and see you first thing in the morning.”

    Then the Co-Ruler of Equestria rose from her seat. “Gleaming Shield, Gold Scryer, I want thank for everything you've done so far, but we need answers. Who is this griffin? Who made these wards and what are their ultimate motives? Until we have a better idea what and who we're up against we're stumbling around in the dark. Now I have other things to attend to. Good night.”

    The two unicorns rose and bowed. “Thank you your Highness!” They said almost in unison.

    Gleaming Shield opened the door for the princess as she left. Then he closed it and went back to his desk. From a drawer in his desk he retrieved a large bottle and pulled out its cork with his teeth. Then poured a healthy dollop of the golden liquid in his tea cup. Then took a large swig from the cup. He looked over at the mage and waggled the bottle with his levitation.

    “Want some brain lubricant Gold? I got a feeling this is going to be a tough nut to crack.”

    The mage paused for a moment then nodded her head. The Watch Officer poured about an ounce of the golden liquid in her cup. The cup now had the smell of molasses, cloves, orange peel, banana along with obvious smell of alcohol.

    Cautiously she took a sip. It didn't seem to bad but as she swallowed it she became aware of a slowly growing warmth from the beverage that had nothing to do with the hot tisane. The warmth seemed to seep into every corner of her being, and it continued for about a minute.

    “Wow!” She said in a tiny voice. “Uh what is that stuff?” She'd had whiskies before but this was something else. “And where did you get it from?”

    The stallion grinned. “Thank our newly arrived zebra diplomat for this little treasure! Apparent this alchemic liquid bliss is called spiced rum and it is drink from his homeland. Apparently they have made it an art out of mixing delightful concoctions involving various fruit juices and this and other types of rum.” He sighed and took a long sip. “Someday when I pension out of the Guard I'm going to move there so I can spend the rest of my days sitting under a tree all day long and drink every possible combination they have!”

    Then he groaned and looked at the items on his desk. “But that is many days away, and this is our current puzzle. So let's see if we can solve it!”

To be continued.

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Comments14
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WidowPeak's avatar
Seeing what is to come, I think I know the answer.

However, that brings another question...why would a dragon use a griffin?
Baron-Engel's avatar
Stay tuned to find out if your assumption is correct.
WidowPeak's avatar
Huh. Well, yeah. It could not be that.

We shall see~
anzul's avatar
nice death flag mate.

btw, i finaly cached up to these! had like 170 of your uploads in my feed, took me like 3 months to go trough all of them.
Baron-Engel's avatar
Good to hear from you again!
Backlash91's avatar
ummmm great art great story......one question: WHAT GRIFFON? the story kept mentioning a griffon....Is there a part one?
Baron-Engel's avatar
Ah you've not been following the story arc from the beginning. I'm afraid I have to stop you
Backlash91's avatar
wait...like...I can't read it?
Baron-Engel's avatar
You can't see posting? I just tested the link and it goes to the posting?
Backlash91's avatar
OH! the text was highlighted! got it, thanks. 

*proceeds to bonk head into desk*
Funny how you mentioned spiced rum here, considering you were talking about it in your stream last night.
Baron-Engel's avatar
Not just talking about it we were drinking it to.
Uchihaninja's avatar
I doubt said prisoner will survive long enough to answer any questions.
EarlMcClaw's avatar
Here's hoping the prisoner survives.
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