• Published 22nd Sep 2014
  • 2,176 Views, 638 Comments

Dueling Keyboards - FanOfMostEverything

FoME's submissions to the Writeoff Contests, along with other bits and bobs.

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Scientific Kirinquiry

Author's Note:

This is a sequel to Sharktavia i: Sharktavia Evolved, which means it's set on the Ravnica seen in The Implicit Neighs. There will be spoilers for both if you haven't read them.

Ravnica, the City of Guilds, was an urban center the size of a planet. Managing that ecumenopolis was a delicate political, logisticial, and magical balance of ten guilds seeing to the needs of both citizens and structures while vying for power with both one another and the recently released alicorns who were doing their utmost to make the voices of the unguilded heard. Given that those mares had the sun and moon as leverage, they were doing a pretty good job of it.

Of course, negotiations between guilds didn't just take place in the halls of power. The entire plane thronged with interguild conflicts, from calculated snubs to scrawled graffiti to open warfare in the cavernous undercity.


And, most often among the pony population, in relatively friendly arguments.

"It doesn't have to be a very large tissue sample!" said Lyra Heartstrings, galloping after Ravnica's only kirin along the broad path of the Transguild Promenade, both weaving around other creatures of all shapes and sizes. Lyra's turquoise robes clung closer to her, partly because of speed and partly because the membranes were startled.

"I said no," said Twilight Sparkle, cloven hooves hitting the paving stones hard enough that a passing Gruul shaman gave a grudging nod of approval at the disdain towards civilized structures. "I don't care how uninvasive, how minor, or how much you could learn. The deal when I borrowed your guild signet was that I get first dibs on researching what I've become, and I'm not done yet!"

Lyra gritted her teeth. Her tail lashed, all three feet of it, and the humanoid hand grafted on the end snapped. Ooze the same color as her hooves coated them, letting her skate in front of Twilight. As both skidded to a halt, Lyra jabbed a finger in Twilight's muzzle and cried, "You've said you haven't been done for months! What more could you be researching? You're not even a biomancer!"

Twilight snorted, the assorted brass instruments that were as much a part of her outfit as her blue and red robes clattering as she moved at a more sedate pace side by side with Lyra. "Hey, the Laboratory of Psychomancy deals with living creatures just as much as you do. Besides, it's my body. I'm still making new discoveries on a daily basis." She lit up her antler for a moment. "Do you have any idea what this has done for my pyromancy?"

"Oh. Wow. Splicing you with dragon genes improves your fire magic. What an earth-shaking revelation." Lyra poked Twilight in the shoulder. "You do realize that just one shed scale would let us work in parallel, right?"

"Be that as it may, I'm not comfortable with being the subject of another guild's research quite yet."

"Really? Really?" Lyra tilted her head back and groaned. "Come on, Twilight, we went to magic kindergarten together."

That just got a blank look. "We did?"

Lyra rolled her eyes. "You've been like this ever since you helped Minuette with her time reversal experiments."


"Exactly." Lyra sighed. "Okay, fine, what will it take for just a tail trimming or something?"

Twilight hummed to herself. "Well, what are you offering?"

"Considering what I'll get for biodata from a literally new species? The sky's the limit." After a moment, Lyra added, "As long as it's not a date with that cute confectioner on Foundry Street. I've got my eye on her, especially if she's open to a few minor augmentations."

"I can't honestly say I'm unbribable, but I can't think of anything specific."

"Oh, come on! You're a never-before-seen sapient. There must be something the city's failing to provide."

Twilight opened her mouth several times without saying a word, shaking her head every time. But eventually, she allowed a "Well..."

Flash Sentry looked around, not entirely sure how he'd gotten in this mess. Bad enough that he was sitting in a Simic-made pod that smelled like mushrooms and antiseptic. He looked longingly at his armor through the green-tinted walls, then turned to the mare who'd brought him here. "Uh, Sarge? Remind me again what I'm doing here?"

"Interguild cooperation," said Rainbow Dash. She saluted him with a wing, but the smirk on her face hadn't moved an inch. "Good luck!"

The mare next to her with way too much tail snorted at that. "There's no luck in biomancy. Just novel mutations." Her grin took on the demented angle Flash had seen in way too many other unicorns as she moved to a squishy-looking control panel. "Let's see if we get some."

"Is this legal?" said Flash.

"Very technically!" the biomancer cried right before pulling a big lever.