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Ponibius



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This story is a sequel to The Freeport Venture


As Freeport's best problem solver, Puzzle Piece finds himself helping the Magus-for-hire Sunset Shimmer with a job once again. The Sweetash family, one of the richest families in Freeport, has contacted Sunset with a new job to investigate ugly new rumors surrounding one of their rivals.

While the job seems straightforward enough, they quickly find out how a sweet deal can become sour.

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 94 )

Yay! new freeport story! This just made my day

I'm half-expecting Sour Sweet to show up, but maybe it's just the title. Only time will tell.

...Well that all went to hell in a damn hurry...:rainbowderp:

The Council did have strong ideological reasons for outlawing slavery, though this one couldn’t tell the Shimmer-mare specifically what those reasons were.

This makes me wonder how many free changelings might be on the council.

6920157 I was thinking the exact same thing.

Fascinating look into Puzzle Piece's mind, he's been one of the more mysterious recurring characters in the Freeport corner of this fanfic 'verse. Yeah, that cover picture wasn't foreboding, not at all. I like Sunset's POV in other fics, but its nice to have another, more experienced character analyze her. She still has plenty of flaws, and is still somewhat in over her head in Freeport and refusing to admit it a lot (and Kukri has too much hero worship). And now things just got worse. Ooh, hope there are more updates soon.

You'd think by this point all the Free Minds would get together, pool their resources, and hire a couple hundred mercenaries to slaughter as many Old Mind Drones as they can.

Whoa, Sunset nearly nuked the whole damn manor. I think it's safe to say they've entered "aggressive negotiations" territory.

6920131
You're telling me. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Perhaps, if Sunset survives, she'll consider hiring four or five mercenaries next time. Assuming her escort survives, since they looked pretty outmatched. The Doos might not be so willing to hire anyone out to her again.

Sunset really needs to be less dependent on fire and/or ice magic. Not only is it flashy, destructive, and expensive in energy, but it's excessive use presents a threat to one's employees and reputation. A little blinding light might have helped a lot and stabbing them all with bits of ice would have probably been more effective. Heck, a little black magic might have helped too. Mind control spells might have worked well here. After all the 'Old Mind' is probably not nearby and wouldn't expected competition for control of it's servants either.

Of course, she could also use considerable tact and much more situational awareness.

Ri2

6920369 Would a few hundred mercenaries be enough? The Old Mind's probably got tons of backup hives and drones cached all over the world. So long as even ONE remains intact, it can eventually rebuild. Killing Chrysalis apparently doesn't do much, since she's just the 'face' of the Mind or whatever...

6920828 I don't mean kill Chrysalis, that'd probably take several major nations directly working together to accomplish, at best. Just thin out her horde so she can't pull stuff like killing Free Minds. Given how the mercenaries Sunset hired could take out several changelings when the changelings were ambushing THEM, a few hundred mercenaries could probably take out a few tens of thousands of changelings if they're properly prepared, making Chrysalis focus on defense instead of killing off Free Minds.

Man, this was so intense. I'm really looking forward to how this goes. I love how we got a few little glimpses into Puzzle's past with the potions.

Mein fuhrer sent me.

Awesome! More Freeport stories.
Love that stuff.

One teeny-tiny nitpick, though

torrent of information so that it only received the most important information,

That just...a not very well written sentence.

Hm, you're willing to do a lot of the Shimmer-mare, aren't you, Kukri?”

for?

6920217

Why waste time with a perfectly good ambush?

6920131

The good news is that I've written the entire story. It's just a matter of getting it through the editing process before posting. Something I don't plan on taking too long. I hope to have the entire story posted by the end of the month.

6920369 6920828

There have been a number of "changeling hunts" in the past, the issue is making it stick. Chrysalis has gone underground (both literally and figuratively) when the heat became too much. There have been periods where there have been proactive measures taken to both try to cull back the swarm or even kill it off, especially after the Chrysalis has just had a period of ascent. But as with all things, when the threat seems to go away and other things take on greater importance...

6921522 6921544

Thanks for catching those issues, I'll fix them right up.

"its parents use for their investigations"
"used"?

"becoming very good at find people’s weaknesses"
"finding"?

"She staggered and this one had"
"staggered, and"?

Well now. The description and chapter titles rather spoiled that things would go wrong (not that that wasn't probably from what we'd learned in the story already), and the cover spoiled the species. The details, though, were a surprise; right up until the servants in the office, I was expecting the Sweetash family's rivals to be the changelings. And now, of course, there's the question of how are heroes are going to get out of the trouble they're in. :)
Needless to say, upvoting and favouriting.

“This one is sure that we could hire somepony at the Doo Compound.” It would also help the Shimmer-mare develop her contacts among the Doo Clan. Being a repeat customer would help raise her esteem among the clan of mercenaries, and improving her reputation among the condottieri was something I wanted her to focus on, considering her past unsavory encounters with the city guard and the Striker Clan.

One small nitpick. Great chapter by the way.

That was one of the issues with the bold methods of an individual like the Shimmer-mare: it was fast becoming common knowledge in Freeport that she was a pyromancer. It was only a matter of time before she started running into enemies that had counters for the spells she favored. That was yet another thing to cover with the Shimmer-mare when there was time, this one supposed.

The Shimmer-mare made rolled her eyes. “If you start lecturing me about friendship next, I'm outta here.”

That's a little awkward.

Great chapter!

“And what is the matter with friendship? This one rather likes it. Friendship helps keep life from becoming too dull.”

:pinkiehappy:

“Sunset?” This one looked her in the eyes to try and grab her attention, but her eyes failed to focus on anything.

So, is it just magic exhaustion and shock, or did the changeling inject Sunset with some kind of venom? For that matter, why are drones trying to kill Sunset, anyway? Chrysalis' little operation could have just kept their heads down and Sunset would likely never have even noticed them:rainbowhuh:

Puzzle and Sunset both want to make Freeport a more "respectable" nation. That's good, but I think Puzzle's more ... pragmatic approach and desire to maintain power over others may be an issue between them down the line :fluttershysad:

Curse you, Ponibus! :flutterrage: I was just celebrating that I was running out of well-written fictions, and I could finally get back to all the things that I was actually supposed to be doing, and then you had to go and post another one!

6924859
My theory is that the Old Mind hired Shimmer in a way that raised suspicions, knowing that she'd go to Puzzle. I think it's a bit of a reversal, where Puzzle's pride is knowing people's desires and working around them, and then the O.M. figures out he's invested in Shimmer and has (and will) travel with her on a job if she asks.

JBL

Well, Kukri seems to have recovered quite well from witnessing her sister brutally murder someone in front her eyes. :unsuresweetie:

Once cut, there was a limited period of time to finish harvesting the stalks as the sugary sap within them slowly dripped out.

Huh. I've grown sugarcane before, and I'm pretty sure that they don't drip when harvested. :twilightoops: They're actually pretty resistant to drying out; you'd lose maybe a single node at most from the cut point.

Beetles and grubs, on the other hand, are a much bigger problem. Those suckers love burrowing into exposed cane.

On another note, Puzzle Piece is a pretty interesting chap. I'll be keeping an eye on this one. :pinkiehappy:

6925594 Hmmm ... So you think it's actually a ploy by Chrysalis to get at Puzzle, and Sunset is just a means to an end (and a loose end that needs to be tied up)? Definitely seems possible if Puzzle has messed with the Old Mind's plans in the past ...

Guess we'll have to wait and see :pinkiehappy:

6921832 6922309

Thanks for catching those. Fixed those mistakes right up.

6927441

At least according to my research, sugarcane gradually loses its sugar after it's cut, though it's perfectly possible that I might be wrong on that point. Maybe it's specifically the dripping thing I'm wrong about...

Since we're pointing out small errors: "That statement peaked this one’s interest" peaked should be piqued

6931404

Thanks for catching that. Alas for the homophones that plague our life.

Why are You making this? Isn't it supposed to be Chengar Qordath?

Well.

That went south rather quickly.

The most odd thing is why target Sunset, as - while she certanly has made a fair number of enemies - Changelings are not among them. Though I suppose it could be simply a way to set up a trap for Puzzle .

6942850

For one, I wanted to make this story. Second, I've been working pretty closely with Chengar Qordath for the making of the Venture series.

6944032

The reasons for why events happened as they did will be explained in more detail next chapter.

6949132 I'm really glad your making this. I love the Freeport universe and welcome any world building.

So are you taking over the series from Chengar or is this a one time thing your doing with him? I ask because he has not uploaded a new freeport story since october while you are writing a new one.:duck:

6985874

I'm not taking over the Freeport series, I'm just adding my own story to it. I might write others, depending on how things work out. Chengar just has a few other long running stories he's working on, so he hasn't started up another big, long story for Venture. Though he could write a shorter one at any time.

6988448 Thank you for getting back to me especially so soon. Thank you also for letting me know about Chengar and that you may do more in the series either way I am looking forward to more in freeport.:yay:

Its still weird to see Changeling pulling a mass effect alien speech patter... I suppose it makes a certain kind of sense, but still weird.

Looking forward to more, but... its not that I dislike the concept here, and Freeport is interesting, but I'm still unsure of a few things.

1. Useful as they are, wouldn't changelings still find trouble being what they are even as free minds? Having other sapients being food for them is bad enough, but their connection to Chrysalis also makes them suspect.

2. It still seems odd to me that Shadow let the clans go. Personal feelings or no, the fact remains they were traitors, and that's it. It does speak well of her, I think, but still seems odd.

3. How long is that putz Sunset plan to continue this nonsense?

4. Good to see Kukri back. No doubt not on speaking terms with her sister since that cluster schtup.

5. I'm also surprised that Knife doesn't give Sunset a free bee on being her muscle... wait, is Kukri's mother still alive? I seem to remember she being tied up at one point...

Welp... chapter two...

Ahh... a wonderfully researched piece of writing. Sugar cane, nasty stuff. The reason they'd often have slaves do was because no one else would and you literally had to put the whip to someone to get them on it. I should also commend you on expanding on the economic aspect of it. Little surprised Equestria hasn't tried growing it yet...

The sugar plantation family had the usual range of business rivals and enemies such magnates usually had in Freeport, one or two black sheep,

... Their slave owners, or were, and are currently using forced labor to get fat. What black sheep? And shouldn't that be considered an ethnic slur?

The Shimmer-mare knocked on the door and it wasn’t long before a severe looking zebra mare wearing a maid’s uniform opened the door.

Good grief... first Chengar with that Equal story, now this... what is with you guys and putting zebras as house servants? Trying to send a message or something?

And... the whole thing just went south. There goes your frequent merc miles Sunset,, the Doo's probably don't like their own returned to the black bagged. Go with a Striker next time, they tend to not give a shit when one their bites it. Or a freelancer.. Let me guess... Infiltrator right? Smart enough to set up shop in a place where no one would look twice at injuries or fatigue, to dumb not to actually call in take out when theres a buffet downstairs? Or cruising the docks and picking up a sailor? Chrysalis is not what one would call a standard fella's

Oooo, so Argentium is still alive in the near present day? Fun.

The Crescent was egg-shaped and easily fit within the large gryphon’s claw. It was made of silver and had a number of small sapphires embedded into it, and had a dragon outlining a crescent moon engraved into it. The details were quite exquisite, and must have been done by a master crafter. Perhaps more importantly, this one felt a steady thrum of power from the artifact. This one could feel that much through its horn, and it hoped it would get at least a little bit of time to know exactly what this one was dealing with.

Luna related, perhaps? Interesting if so, given the timing.

Merry Penny? Heh.

The time had probably long passed where this one should have picked someone else to manage the hoofful of small businesses, restaurants and small shops this one owned.

I like the way Puzzle plans.

“Maybe you are wasting your time, but this one is being perfectly productive at the moment.” This one slowly flipped to another page to emphasize. “If it is so important, then no doubt you can make a proper appointment. That, or you can apologize for barging in. Either way, this one has the time.”

Hah! That is deserved, all things considered.

The Council did have strong ideological reasons for outlawing slavery, though this one couldn’t tell the Shimmer-mare specifically what those reasons were.

Now that makes me curious.

Puzzle sure thinks very large and very long-term. That makes me curious, too.

The Shimmer-mare sighed and grumbled under her breath. “Yeah, okay. Though I still don't see how anything dangerous enough to beat me is gonna be stopped by a couple guards.”

Sunset really is a little too "my magic will solve anything I come up against.

Paperwork, the real enemy of, well, everyone.

I approve of Puzzle's magical equipment approach to adventuring.

That done, this one closed the closet and moved onto the heavy safe that was bolted down to the floor and wall. This one stuck its horn into the hole at the center of the safe, and upon recognizing this one’s magical signature, the safe’s complex locking mechanisms clicked and the door slowly swung open.

You know, given the contents of that safe, I'm a bit curious about what happens to a inserted horn if the magical signature isn't recognized.

Within the safe itself, the first thing this one selected out was a little talisman made of fishbone and covered in small little runes. This was the latest addition to this one’s collection of magical items, and this one had the Shimmer-mare in mind for when it commissioned its construction. Specifically, it was designed to protect this one from fire.

Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance being set on fire.

So, a charm necklace with actual magical charms. Now that's a fun idea.

Slightly unrelated to the chapter but the Doo bodyguards made me think about it, I really like the ties that Sunset continues to build with the Freeport Doos. Given the ties with Equestria she has that are unlikely to really ever go away, it kind of feels like she is helping to finally repair the 900 year old rift.

This one could all but hear the Shimmer-mare’s teeth grinding. “I'll have to do something about this.”

“And what would that be?” this one asked, keeping its tone carefully neutral. In truth, this one had hoped that the Shimmer-mare would get a nice, long look at how the sugar plantations of Freeport operated. It was part of this one’s overall plans, after all.

There was a long moment of silent before the Shimmer-mare ground out a, “I'll figure it out later.”

Yeah, I'm right there with you on that one, Sunset.

This one nodded. “Of course, the Council made slavery illegal soon after they came to power.” A grin found its way to this one’s face. “That caused the plantation owners, slavers, and pirates to rebel against the Council. The civil war was a near thing for the Council. If not for the alliance between the Council and the Doo and Striker Clans, as well as some aid from Equestria, the Council might have only been yet another group in a long line to rule Freeport over the centuries.”

Aid from Equestria? That's especially interesting given the timing of events involved.

This one couldn't help but grin, despite the seriousness of the lesson this one was giving to the Shimmer-mare. “Which would be most terrible. Best to make sure the being that controls the sun gets her daily offering of cake.”

Yeah, that would be a problem.

“When this one says everyone, it means everyone. It's just a matter of identifying those weaknesses and finding a way to exploit them. It's one of the top two things this one endeavors to learn about everyone it knows. Once you know someone’s weaknesses, you can hold power over them.”

The Shimmer-mare sat back against the wall as she mulled that over. “Now I'm curious to see what you think mine are.”

Oh Sunset. You're not going to like this conversation.

“And the White Pony would not end your banishment if you asked?” this one countered. “You were her personal student once, and she is a forgiving spirit.”

In a heartbeat, most likely.

It's a bit of an extra twist of the knife regarding Sunset's wing envy that running away from being Celestia student directly removed her from that path that eventually results in some Friendship Wings for Twilight.

The mare smiled and took her hoof. “Sweet Deal, and the pleasure is all mine.”

Then Sweet Deal’s smile became something unpleasant and she lunged at the Shimmer-mare’s throat with her teeth.

“What—?!” The Shimmer-mare took a step away from her attacker and her horn started glowing right as Sweet’s teeth clamped on her throat.

Wow, that went downhill fast. Good thing for those bodyguards, otherwise this would be two versus many as opposed to the current four versus many.

Oooo, a Chrysalis model changeling swarm. That's a problem.

Good thing for that fire resistance charm. Poor bodyguards, though. If they weren't already dead, they certainly are now.

The EIS might very well pack this one into a crate and ship it to Canterlot to explain itself to the White Pony This one didn’t particularly like that idea.

Needs period after White Pony.

It could be done quickly—this one knew how to snap a neck cleanly, or else just add a little more venom to her system and let her drift away in a eternal sleep.

an

Aiming to give this one the best coverage, this one toss the potions.

tossed

“Sorry, this one isn't in the habit of working with monsters. Those jobs have a ways of going very badly.”

"a way" or "ways". Not both.

Also, loved it. Good job.

This was an awesome chapter. Full of all kinds of great thrills, with that ending being surprisingly poignant.

Any reason you changed up the chapter naming scheme? The first thing I noticed was the lack of Chapter 3: proceeding the title.

Heh, Puzzle Piece goes Die Hard. Although if Sunset remembers any of this later on, she's not going to be happy, but Puzzle Piece did save her life at very high risk to his own. Sad to see Sunset without all that bluster she always maintains. And now I'm thinking of Chrysalis as Harbinger (from ME2), with the "assuming control" of her drones.

Hope there's an epilogue to this. They still need to get off that island, and hopefully that's the last of the drones. I could see this story ending with this as is, but certainly a lot of interesting things to follow up on- like Chrysalis making in-roads into Freeport, as well as whatever Puzzle's own plans are.

Hah! Unlucky Chrissy!



Reminds me, did we ever see her get spifflicated proper in Winning Pony, I forget? Sadly not, I fear...


Actually, now I wonder, if this is what Chrissy and company is like in the Winningverse, what in the terror was Sombra like? (Actually, I suppose the question may have been answered in some fashion, but I haven't read the war stories.)

Wow Chrysalis really is a bit too flamboyant. I guess that's what it means to be a villain and why so many of them end up on the wrong end of sharp, pointy objects or, ya know, beams of pure magic. She could have killed him in an instant and gotten on with things. Instead she lost a foothold and gained nothing more than the incapacitation of two nuisances and a minor disruption.

I find myself wondering what happened to the original ponies. That seemed like an awfully elaborate setup to try and catch one pony. I hope at least some of the mercenaries survived, but the odds don't look good. Although I suppose they might be able to put them to use somehow.

Delirious Sunset really is pretty out of what. Be careful what you do to a delirious unicorn and don't provoke them to use any magic.

7015151

Cloud and Sparkler get to face off against her during the Canterlot wedding chapters. Chrysalis doesn't disappoint.

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