• Member Since 29th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen February 15th

Chengar Qordath

I write lots and lots of horse words; everything from comedy to drama. If you like what I write, please support me on Patreon.


Strumming Heartstrings of the Equestrian Intelligence Services is on a mission. A mission from ... well, actually she just made one up for herself. Sure, she has her actual job of keeping an eye on Celestia's ex-student Sunset Shimmer, but that's not enough to occupy all her time. After all, Sunset seems to have gotten a bit better about not getting herself into too much trouble. Sometimes. Occasionally.

Thus, when Strumming encounters a mad zebra seemingly obsessed with getting revenge against the gryphons who injured him years ago, it seems like it might be an interesting diversion. Little does she know there's more to this case than meets the eye...

Chapters (2)
Comments ( 72 )

Not sure what to say here.

Overall it was a good short story that helped flesh out the Freeport world.

But...kind of wanting something a bit more in the way of plot development from this series since it is my favorite among your woks. I know it's hard since this is a prequel to your Winning stuff, but...it's not like a princess hasn't just shown up out of the blue before in cannon material with no prior buildup.

7215138 Wha? Is Freeport seriously a prequel to Winning stuff?


something a bit more in the way of plot development from this series

In that sense, I'd compare the Freeport Venture series to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series. Most of them are short stories that flesh out the world and the characters with little relevance to the plots of the larger Holmes novels.

A minor story helping to flesh out Heartstrings.

while reading this I had an amusing thought of a young relative of strumming coming to visit and she conscripts sunset to babysit


This can't be the first time Puzzle's secretary has been named, right? Because I somehow JUST realized that she's named after the James Bond series' Miss Moneypenny.

7215138 7215431
I've got at least two more major Venture stories in the pipeline. And ... well not to give too much away, but some of the stuff being established and fleshed out in this story might be very important for one of those.

“So, I was thinking of trying the gaghracht, but I'm slightly deterred by the fact that I have no idea what that is.”

Apparently in Freeport, you can get a combination of two different kinds of Klingon live worm delicacies. :twistnerd:

So, Sefu's trying to stir up a fracas?

War of Jenkins' Ear, anyone?


Interesting short story, and as a comparison to the AU fic, nice to see what an Equestrian spy is like in Celestia's Equestria (compared to Sunbeam's). And more Puzzle too, especially after he had that other fic too. A bit anticlimatic compared to other Freeport stuff (like when Puzzle recently encountered Chrysalis), but I don't mind a short story too. Wonder if that zebra affair is already concluded or not. I'm curious to see how far that their romance thing will go- they're probably not enemies (at the moment), but, well, spying is a dirty business. At least Sunset hasn't been dragged too deep into it, or into killing too much.

I look forward to more Freeport stories, i always love this series, from the varied POVs to the worldbuilding and of course more Sunset.


I hope one of them involves Sunset finally focusing on her primary goal: ascension. I wonder if she can pull it out without the Elements.

I approve of Strumming x Puzzle.

So you shipped them while they were on a ship?

Comment posted by Crystal Treasure deleted May 15th, 2016

Ah, the zebra stone spirit starts screaming when zebra blood hits the ground... I can just imagine the kitchen:

"Oops, my hoof slipped and I cut myself with my knife."


Or the paperwork department:

"Bah, a paper cut. Hate it when those happen."



:rainbowlaugh: This. This right here just made my day.

Well played.

Though I imagine the stone spirit probably only goes on full security mode at night.

7218606 Okay, then. How about this?

"Hmm, I do like my midnight snacks. Whoops-"


Although, they would probably have snacks set aside for late night hunger (Fourthameal). But still, accidents happen. Like running with scissors, except with daggers/knives/swords. I think a better alert system would be a silent alarm, which then alerts zebras to come check out if it is actually a problem or not, who can then give the 'all-clear' or 'red-alert', with no response for a certain period of time being a 'red-alert' as well. But then, that's just what I'd do.

I loved reading the story, by the way! All of them. :twilightsmile:

Last I’d heard, there wasn’t a spell to put eyes in the back of your own head.

This is somewhat surprising. I would think a situational awareness spell wouldn't be impossible.

7217473 Even if she does, it's going to be a great many years away, since there's no news of a bacon haired alicorn princess in the main Winningverse stories.

Yeah, false alarms are ultimately the problem with any properly paranoid security system.

To be fair, Freeport’s the kind of city where announcing you’re up to something shady makes people look the other way so they won’t get dragged into trouble whatever trouble you’re involved in.

Either the first occurrence of the word "trouble" should be removed, or a semicolon or dash should be inserted afterwards.
*Smiles manically because he found an error in a Chengar story for the second time*

I see my name in that list! <3

This was certainly rather well done, and I admit I didn't forsee this wrapping up in two longer chapters. HOWEVER, I must say that you did a very good job, and I am most pleased with the story and writing <3

I'd say the only thing missing is everyone's favorite tiny Changeling, Kukri Doo!

Really enjoying these short Freeport stories

Ah, the pleasure of heists.
Like it was said here - a silent alarm would be a far better choice in this case. Thankfully for our heroes, it was not the case.

And Strumming with Puzzle had some well deserved fun a while afterwards.
Who would have thought that being together in a deadly situation can be so bonding, especially when the two are different genders?

I think calling it a prequel isn't exactly accurate. It's a prequel to Winningverse in the same sense that, say, the first Iron Man movie is a prequel to the first Thor movie. They take place in the same continuity and are relevant to each other, but they are separate entities with their own plots and characters. And honestly, Lunar Rebellion has more to do with this story than Cloud Kicker's various shenanigans.

I did enjoy all of the careful work of the two spies preceding the arrival of Sunset straight into the middle of a firefight. It's a tight, entertaining cast that you've created for these stories. I still look forward to some evidence of a Rainboom and the potential fallout of what follows...

7219182 She is a pegasus though, that presents problems with spellcasting. Not insurmountable problems, but it's easier to get someone else with eyes to watch the back of your head.
Or some kind of mirror could work.

7221116 From a guy who has only read the Freeport stories, and A moment in the Sun. I can say that these are pretty easy to follow.
The Sunset vs Chrysalis thing kinda confused me though.
I'm gonna have to just read everything for there to be nothing confusing. Looking forward to it.

Because just sinking the SunPuzzle ship wasn't enough, you had to do it on an actual boat. :ajbemused:

7217889 Puzzle doesn't even own a shipping company... Or does he? :ajsmug:

7223087 The line refers to Sunset Shimmer learning such a spell, not Strumming.

Oh I do love me some Freeport!

Another great story. Puzzle has been my favorite since the first Freeport so I always love to see more of him. the Freeport series has become one of my favorite fics to read. I've never been a real fan of alternating perspectives, multiple times in this story I had to remind myself that this is not Sunset, I did have that problem with the others though. Will there be more alternate perspectives?

Also loved Strumming's totally not racism and the clear T rated thoughts, not that I want anything more then that though.

Another good short story to add to the Freeport collection. Can't wait to see what comes next. Keep on keeping on.

Ohhhh this was a good read! Always love me some Freeport adventures!

Although I admit myself at a loss... What exactly was that whole business with Chrysalis Shimmer and Puzzle were discussing in their date? I don't recall any such event in the main Freeport story or any of its extras (although I certainly wouldn't rule out a memory gap :rainbowlaugh:)

Could anyone enlighten me?

A war between Britain and Spain. The runup to the conflict centered on a Captain Jenkins, who claimed that the Spanish had intercepted his ship and, after a confrontation, cut off his ear. He supposedly carried the ear around in a jar to show to people.

I like the setting, the world building. But the dialog still feels excessive, as if characters were explaining themselves to the reader. I'm used to characters whose expertise/knowledge matches how much of the dialog is done via subtext. In my last comment I was annoyed, right now it's being interesting to think over.

7231517 Ah, thanks :twilightsmile:

(History, stranger than fiction any day of the week and twice on Fridays :pinkiehappy:)

This was a really good read, loved it!

7215747 She was named in the Something Sweet and Sour story.

Wait, did Sunset fight Chrysalis? When was this?

7372527 oh good, I'm not the only one wondering what story I missed.

and the right to be really snooty about ordering your milkshakes shaken, not stirred.

How does an alcoholic milkshake taste, anyway?

Kinda hard to tell when our entire maybe-kinda-relationship was based on lying to and manipulating each other,

And it still seems healthier than some marriages I've seen.

I hoped I would never have to make good on that promise to kill him if he crosses the line with Celestia’s student.

Er ... which line would that be? Because he's probably not going to cross it as he is planning to erase and redraw it as needed.

if not for the fact that he’d probably sink those fangs into my neck halfway through the sex to suck out my love.

She might be taking the phrase "making love" a bit too literally.

breadfruit pizza with some sort of spicy sauce that came from Zebrica and topped with shrimp. From there, the menu got weirder.

I think I've visited this restaurant. :pinkiesick:

Frightening one’s date is hardly the best way to begin what this one hopes will be an enjoyable evening.

Unless they're into that kind of thing.

I had the whole rest of the date to pin him down and make him squirm

Not in the restaurant, Strumming! :derpytongue2:

It's almost like this one is some sort of information broker and has seen such tactics used in the past by others.


Tell this one the honest truth about your feelings towards it. Or the Shimmer-mare.

This isn't going to end well.

this one has yet to receive so much as a goodnight kiss, despite taking the Heartstrings-mare out on more than three dates.

Strumming, is this all just an experiment to find out what the changeling equivalent of blue balls is?

So the best dates involve investigating a potential zebra conspiracy?

It only gets better if it's a zebra ninja conspiracy.

it’s not like Chrysalis, warlocks, or any of the other bad guys would keep things strictly professional if they ever went after him.

Well ... a few of them might.

Puzzle’s very polite and very professional secretary, who very politely and professionally had a loaded crossbow with a poison-tipped bolt hidden beneath her desk,

She sounds like the pony most likely to betray Puzzle.

if things go bad she comes charging in setting everything on fire like a massive blunt object?

Playing to her strengths, at least.

Guard duty, especially late night guard duty, isn’t something anyone can do for hours while staying sharp.


being good at sneaking around was more about patience than having some sort of amazing ninja skills.

This explains so much about my playstyle in games like Thief and Dishonored.

Fortunately, this window was locked.


So long as we do not touch the stone itself, we should be safe.

So keep your hooves on the carpet?

Ruthless amoral mercenaries still need their eight hours of shut-eye every night.

One wonders what Luna thinks of their dreams.

the fact that I couldn’t turn on any of the lights probably hurt the ambiance.

I think there's a few items on Mr. Welch's List that would apply here.

that would mean running past the very alert tower guards.

If the stone spirit can close over the windows, why do you assume it didn't also close over the front door and tower trapdoors?

how about you guys walk away before this gets ugly? Well, ugly for you. My biggest problem would be needing a shower.


It's night out, the sky is clear, and this one is on a date with a very beautiful mare. What better time for romance?

Sunny's probably the type that likes long afternoon walks on the beach. And much less being shot at.

The rest of what happened that afternoon didn’t show up in my report to my boss.

Including what it feels like to be bitten by a changeling? :raritywink:

I'm a little surprised that Sunset revealed her identity to the Stripes, though. Sure, it worked out in that the Council wrist-slapped the Stripes for their actions, but if that hadn't been the case because of politics there's a whole "The Magus hires out as a lowly sneak-thief" PR problem.

OK, yes, Sunset is very ego-driven, and if we're still assuming this is set pre-EG she can't have too much character development or acquisition of talents/approaches that her canon self didn't. Even so, kind of interesting that she didn't show up physically or magically disguised.

they fought in "something Sweet and Sour".

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