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Carabas



T
Source

When an old ruin is unearthed under Ponyville, it will take the boldest and most adventurous of ponies to dare sound its depths. Daring Do knows she's such a pony.

So what if she's eight and a half, and Dad says she can't go? That's a big age to reach, and he doesn't have to find out. So what if millennia-old dangers and secrets lurk in the darkness? That's the point of adventures.

She's got a saddlebag full of useful tools, countless stories telling her what ought to happen, and her Mom's old helmet. You don't need much more for your first adventure than that.

Cover art commissioned from Ruirik. Proofread by themaskedferret.

Chapters (6)
Comments ( 123 )

I literally just saw him do this tonight.

I am also a sucker for a Daring Do fic.

I am very much interested.

~Skeeter The Lurker

7347110
Aha, I thought I saw you commenting in the stream. Glad to have caught your interest, and I hope it doesn't disappoint!

“Belay that mizzenthingy! Rig the brig! Other nautical words! Don’t let a little rain get you down now that the goal’s in sight!”

Literally my sailing lessons.

Daring is adorably well written as well, except maybe two words in her dialogue she might not know as an eight year old, but honestly, that can be brushed off as her dad being slightly eccentric. And I'm not going to be caught complaining about big words if I can help it, haha. But now you've got me interested in where this is going. Daring Do almost always makes a good story, after all.

7347228
Never been much of a sailor myself, but I'm glad my flailing gibberish can approximate the experience. :twilightsmile:

I did try to peg her language use to the level of a eight-year-old with an eccentric father and an extensive library, though it's more than likely I've overshot the mark here and elsewhere. Glad to have gotten your interest regardless, and I hope it satisfies.

"of a island past"
"an island"?

"and groggily rose her head"
"raised"?

Well, a good beginning, this looks like. :)

7348178
Both corrected, and thank you. Glad to have your interest for this one as well. :twilightsmile:

Well, this is adorable thus far, giving us a look at a period in time very rarely shown in pony fiction. Of course, that's going to change very quickly when Daring makes it into the ruin. The Antlerteans made very little that might qualify as "age-appropriate." (Indeed, I dare not imagine what the mage-lords thought were suitable playthings for their children, assuming any of them bothered to reproduce biologically. I could see most of them seeing the process as messy, imprecise, and good for nothing more than making more rivals.)

In any case, eagerly looking forward to more.

7348350
Glad you're looking forward to more and finding it adorable. Rest assured, there'll be plenty of details about this particular ruin's Antlertean inhabitants and the family-friendly/unfriendly deeds they got up to in future chapters.

Seems like some deer thought it fun to use his enemies (and maybe his friends...) as animate constructs and door watchers.

Why is it that when I read a part where Daring tries on her mother's too-big helmet, I see the scene from Atlantis where Milo tries on his grandfather's helmet and it slips over his face?

This is a delight, an absolute delight, and something that should have existed in the world long before now. The Young Daring Do Chronicles, I like it.

Everything about wee little Daring is great - she's very smart, but with the poor impulse control of all eight year olds and also a lack of forethought as to exactly *why* her father won't let her do things.

Also, I love, love, love your pony-fied Enid Blyton reference. I grew up reading them, and had imaginary adventures with the Secret Seven and Famous Five myself.

(P.S. I spotted a tiny error - you've written "plague" a couple of times in reference to the signs the deer wear, I think you mean plaque?)

7348787
Some people like trainspotting. Some go for fishing. Some few deviants write derivative fiction about pastel-coloured horses. Antlertean mage-lords soulforge their enemies and friends into eternally constructs. It'd be a boring world if we all had the same hobbies.

7348859
Affa fitting. Definitely a worthy scene to envisage.

7349053
Glad to delight so much! :pinkiehappy: I'm glad wee Daring and all her bolshy, canny lack of forethought entertains, and I'm glad you got the Enid Blyton reference as well. She churned out at least a few formative series for my childhood.

All plagues corrected as well, and cheers for spotting them. Not the best error to make, really. :facehoof:

Sniff. They grow up so fast. She's already outsmarting traps and thwarting ancient sentinels. Next thing you know, she'll be going up against Mesoamerican dog monsters and noticing colts.

Also, fascinating glimpse of Antlertean magic. Soulforging sounds like a very disturbing process, but it does seem to lend a certain clarity of purpose to the soulforged. I know I wouldn't try to incinerate the first living thing I'd seen for three thousand years if it weren't programmed into my very being.

Also also, skaven are a thing in this Equestria? I don't recall those ever coming up in your blogs...

7348191
You're welcome, and thank you. :)

7349133
Soulforging is indeed a fun and entirely ethical process, and future chapters shall shed a wee bit of light on it.

Skaven are just a wee self-indulgent reference on my part, and not actually extent here or in any other stories. Giant, intelligent, talking rats? Clearly just a foal's tale, as most ponies and other species in the world would be happy to tell you.

7348361
Echoing the sentiments of adorableness. Also, :rainbowkiss: for the promise of great world-building.

I really like this story, but I can't seem to get over the fear that Daring's dad will die in a heroic sacrifice to save his daughter, and that Daring will be forever scarred.

The possibility seems less likely now that I've seen how Daring is surprisingly competent, but I still worry.

"fankle"
Oh, new word!
Scottish, so says my dictionary. Also a verb, but, even without further knowledge, I can see how it could be used as a known. Presumably the Scottish author is more up-to-date on the matter than my dictionary. :)

"of the apple blossom"
"blossoms"?

"its antler’s tips eternally"
"antlers'"?

"a moment, concluded that they"
"concluding"?

"and she rose her hoof to cross"
"raised"?
I'm curious: given that this happened in the previous chapter as well, and that the Scottish word earlier got my mind on this, is this a part of your local dialect? If you don't mind me asking, of course.

"She’d just triggered something that could have killed her, like a proper adventurer."
You know, I'm still enjoying this story (Oh yes. :)), but all the while in the back of my mind is the knowledge of how utterly terrified the adults would be/will be if/when they knew she had snuck out here. I mean, these are Antlertean ruins. Her just falling over a ledge in the dark and cracking her skull open is by a fair bit one of the nicer things that could happen to her. Especially given her mother's absence, and that she may well have lost her life adventuring... to put it mildly, I'd expect her father to not be what one might easily refer to as "calm".

"then you just never had to make"
"just had to never"?

"She should glide for ages"
"could"?

Another potential hint that Daring's mother was killed on a delve...

Also, I'm guessing that the pony in the tunnel, probably her father, is hearing the noise of the trap.

"them away, not entirely"
"away, but not"?

...It's a good thing that the slab wasn't rigged to be able to drop whenever the detectors triggered, whether it was in its rest position or not.

"weight of gear, and all but leapt"
"gear and" or "and she all"?

Hm. Still surprised the pony in the tunnel hasn't shown up yet. Maybe the crashing of the trap wasn't as loud as Daring thought.

"and only slightly less tall than Daring herself at the withers"
...I'm afraid that I'm really not sure what this is saying. Surely it's not referring to the ceiling height?
[reads on a bit]
Oh!
Perhaps change "the steps wide enough" to "each step wide enough"?

"not-even-remotely-coordinating"
"coordinated"?

"where you stand and powers beyond"
Hm.
"stand, and"?
I think that that's more grammatically correct, but I think it might also make the flow of the speech slightly worse. Well, your choice; I'm just pointing it out.

"And in spite of the multitude of other distractions, Daring still internally exhulted as she recognised what had to be a second curse and added it to her repertoire."
:D
And thus the chapter title. :D

"at her back, from the unabated"
"back from"?

"was too hot to breath"
"breathe"?

"against her form, and wriggled"
"form and"?

"flapping as fires raged at her back,"
"back."?

"twisting mid-air just to avoid clipping the"
"midair to just avoid"?

"as everything else, and carpeted with"
"else and"?

"back onto place"
"into"?

Oh dear. :D
That one might actually have been friendly, too.

7349987
Always a nice sentiment to echo. Glad to have you aboard for this one as well. :twilightsmile:

7350557
Thank you!

7351148
We'll see what future chapters hold for the pair of them. Daring's rudimentary skill might avert that grim outcome. Maybe not. :raritywink:

7351208
All fixed, and thank you very much! You're a one-person legibility-enhancing machine, and let it never be said otherwise. :twilightsmile:

And 'fankle' is indeed one of those wonderfully versatile words we have north of Hadrian's Wall. Compare, "Jings, you've gotten yourself in a right fankle," to, "Here, let me try and unfankle you." It can even double as a cat name in times of emergency.

7351347
"All fixed, and thank you very much! You're a one-person legibility-enhancing machine, and let it never be said otherwise. :twilightsmile:"
Heh, you're welcome, and thanks. :)

"And 'fankle' is indeed one of those wonderfully versatile words we have north of Hadrian's Wall. Compare, "Jings, you've gotten yourself in a right fankle," to, "Here, let me try and unfankle you." It can even double as a cat name in times of emergency."
Oh, indeed, my dictionary appears to have not covered the half of it; thanks. :)

For some reason, the Antlertean ruins are reminding me of the Ayleids from Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and their ruins. Part of it is the downright malicious traps, while another part is the amoral abuse of magic. Those ruins were one of the best parts of that game: Being a magical Indiana Jones is quite appealing.

7351468
I shan't pretend the Scots leid is the most consistent or decipherable or necessarily spell-able of the tongues out there, but I flatter us that we've got a few bonny words.

7351502
The Ayleid ruins and their gamut of horrors are probably exerting no small amount of subconscious influence here. I plundered that opening ruin so many times with all manner of characters that I'm surprised they didn't just put a revolving door on the place.

Oh my. Soulforging is nasty. The deerfolk of Antlertis were clearly meddling with things sapient beings were not meant to meddle with. Your description of that great and horrible animated, armoured deer was very well done -I'm imagining some sort of vast Irish Elk skeleton-thing, and it gave me the jibblies.

Small Daring continues to amuse, especially with regards to her ever-expanding vocabulary. I suspect that when she eventually finds out what tabula rasa means she will be disappointed, poor wee poppet.

(Also, your ability with names is great - Cervile, what a perfect name for a deer servant!)

I like the archeological society. Was it inspired by the recent Maud/Rarity comic?

"Cervile," eh? I see ponies are far from the first civilization to embrace puns. I also see that being programmed to be an excellent buckservant overshadows any species-based prejudices.

That the portrait is still intact when so much else isn't says a lot. The mage-lords may have been terrible in every sense of the word by the Fall, but they were still human. Well, cervine. You know what I mean; blame the anthropocentric language.

Poor Cervile. Puttering about as best they can for millennia, not knowing of civilization's collapse. I can't help but think of Fallout 4's Codsworth.

Well, when the humors are involved, checking blood pressure would important. Especially given how procedures promoting proper passivity might... considerably lower it, let's say.
Also, I can only imagine how many scholars would weep if they knew that Daring had been the subject of a translation spell that could decipher Antlertean script... at the age of eight.

:twilightoops: Oh. Well. I see we have a Pyramid Head to go with the Codsworth.

Daring's in the belly of the proverbial beast, and there's no telling when her father's going to catch up to her. This could get real ugly, especially since Steelhart stand between them.

7351903
If someone had ever published a book entitled Things Cervidkind Was Not Meant To Know back in the final days of Antlertis, the ink on the first run wouldn't even had had time to dry before it became an overnight bestseller, and half of its customers would shortly after have tossed it to one side while snorting, "Pfft, I already know all this. What's new?"

Glad wee Daring amuses, and glad Steelhart entertains, or unnerves, or whatever. :pinkiehappy: Irish Elks and similarly humongous breeds were indeed what I had in mind for their dimensions.

7351974
It wasn't, alas. I've not read any of the comics, but it's nice to know my daftness is shared by others out there. :twilightsmile:

7352153
Sapience in this world seems intrinsically linked to punning. Even the wisest of biological scholars are yet to conjecture anything reasonable as to why, beyond the capricious malevolence of higher powers.

Daring benefiting from a translation spell would undoubtedly make her the envy of most other archaeologists, though they certainly wouldn't envy her sharing a ruin with the well-preserved Antlertean equivalent of Gregor Clegane. Let's see how that pans out.

You know, I can definitely see an older and more experienced Daring Do looking back on some of her younger self's antics and wondering "what was I thinking?" Also, I somehow get the feeling that escaping the monstrous undead guard by going into an occupied Mage-Lord's library is going from the frying pan to the fire.

On another note, I liked the inclusion of the painting and the sign on the library door. It's nice to see that even the Mage-Lords had some capacity for genuine affection, past all the shedding the fetters of morality and experimenting on the lesser races and turning people into perfectly obedient necromantic constructs bits.

There wasn’t even the hint of a smile on Gallivant’s face. “What other one?”

Oooooooooooooooooh! Looks like somedeer is about to get defaced if he doesn't know what's good for him!

Loved everything about Gallivant's scene, including the sudden tone shift when he found out something had tried to hurt his little (she's not little! :flutterrage:) filly. Stuff's about to get biblical.

Ah, so it's still friendly.

"back into her saddle-bag by the"
"saddlebag"?

"to myself; to keep matters"
"myself to" or "myself, to"?

"than reforging on consideration"
"reforging, on"?

"a bend, and peered"
"bend and"?

"there may be others there I am unaware"
"others that I"?

"The guards keep watch"
"guard keeps"?

"golden orrery; a little and"
"orrery, a"?

"marvels rested; rusted clocks"
"rested: rusted"?

"if all the room was suspended"
"were"?

"immediate kinship, and stuck her"
"kinship and"?

"Daring, who either didn’t notice or deigned not"
"Daring, either not noticing or deigning not"?

"I’m afraid not. It has only ever been Lord Fallow residing here in my memory"
So, let's see, either Lord Fallow cared nothing for his family to begin with, or happening to be here, away from them, at the time of the Fall was likely not good for his mental health. And either way, he's had several thousand years alone at the bottom of a hole to stew. On top of being, you know, an Antlertean Mage-Lord necromancer to begin with. Soooo, let's see. Make a new daughter out of Daring? Delusional and thinking she's Flora? Considering her just a thief to be disposed of recycled? One of the above, but with a "I really should see about seeing how the surface is getting on and whether a bit of necromancy on the natives might improve it" added on? Or not hostile to Daring but trapped alone and aware in a spell this whole time and begging her to kill him? So many happy ways this can go! :D

"doorway on the left of the"
"doorway to the left"?

"metres before entirely choked away "
"before being entirely"?

"hallway light revealed, and saw the shapes"
"revealed and"?

"the buckservant, and latched onto"
"buckservant and"?

"seemed to raging beneath"
"to be raging"?

"she then decided on"
"she decided"?

And I'm sure that the physical and mental conditioning are entirely nice and pleasant processes that in no way resemble torture!

"other books, and sadly concluded"
"books and"?

"Soundings, in the hopes"
"Soundings in"?

"paused, and stood"
"paused and"?

"a dark red glow, and began to"
"glow and"?

"slid open, and Cervile"
"open and"?

"steadying breath, and licked"
"breath and"?

"and even for the sentry"
"even to the"?

"breath, and mimicked"
"breath and"?

"One day, she’d be able to do a convincing-sounding cough for that matter."
I'm not sure what the "for that matter" was meant to mean, I'm afraid. Does it in some way refer back to the yawn that sounded like a cough?

"no time, and rushed"
"time and"?

"noticing Daring, and trotted"
"Daring and"?

"on.."
Was that meant to be a period or an ellipsis?

"corridor, and initially"
"corridor and"?

"and further up; up past where"
"further up, up past"?

"and legs could glimpse"
"legs she could"?

"flee a minute ago, and sprung"
"ago and"?

"by her, and ran"
"her and"?

"Tabula —!"
:D

"spun upon the doorway"
"door"?

"solidly in the floor, the other held"
"solidly on the floor; the other held"?
Though I'm aware that "in the floor" is correct in some dialects, I thought I'd point it out as well as the comma in case you didn't mean to use it.

Hm. Inconsistency?
"past the ten-foot pole in his teeth with which he was levering the door open"
"The stallion kicked his dropped crowbar through the gap"
Or was the crowbar from something else?
Oh, were both tools used here?

Yeaaaah... well, he was going to find out sooner or later. :D
Surprised he doesn't seem to have heard the trap above when Daring triggered it, though. Guess it was indeed quieter than she thought.

Oh, and as some people in the comments are pointing out, yeah, looks like the evidence is in favor of him being fond of this family. His dead-three-millenia-because-they-weren't-with-him family. This ought to be interesting...

7352767
It's a wonderful cavalcade of disaster to set up for oneself, really.

Glad the painting and note come off well as well. Even the Mage-Lords experienced things like affection and love for those they held close to them. Didn't stop most of them from being utter monsters in a whole host of other ways, granted, but the basic impulses were usually still there.

7353747
There aren't many things that could get Gallivant's tone to shift. The prospect of Daring being alone in an Antlertean tomb of horrors can pretty reliably inspire an Old Testamental frame of mind, though. Glad his scene delights!

7353942
Cheers for the corrections, once again and always. What's a little wanton cruelty to the common comma between friends? :twilightsmile:

'For that matter' does indeed refer back to her attempted yawn. She's yet to pick up the finer points of convincing acting, Daring.

It seems Fallow never thought to include how intruders generally don't want to be slain in the programming of his library guards. A lamentable oversight, but I suppose each cycle of the debugging process is a lot more time-intensive with soulforging. Not like you can just have them blurt out their thought processes one by one to pin down the problem. It's one and done unless you want to spend far too long just getting some competent help, so certain... quirks might emerge. It'd certainly explain Steelhart.

Ah. I was wondering how Daring got her cutie mark. Knowing clarifies a lot; this really is her first ruin. And that pith helmet means as much to her as her very soul.

Sorry, no witty commentary available for what follows. The first chase had a little humor to leaven the tension, but after that...
Excellent pacing and tension with the fight, and Gallivant put up a far better fight than I was expecting. I'm not sure where you're going from here, but the immediate future isn't looking good.

Well, at least Daring is more likely to get her hat back, now.

Also, angry earth ponies are scary, man!

7354313

"Now, then," Fallow muttered to himself as he delicately inked line after line of intricate sygaldry down Steelhart's vertebrae, "Let's see if this offers any concrete improvement on the last run. Don't you start quoting soft philosophy at me again this time, you truculent bugger, your role is murdering."

After what seemed like a reflective silence, the great guard rumbled. "I'm just saying, a consistent application of the principle of non-violence establishes that one w-GCCHK!"

"And that's what you bloody well get," snapped Fallow, throwing Steelhart's jaw to one side. "Oh, don't glower at me. Whenever you're thinking and pontificating about stabbing things, that's valuable time being wasted that you could spend stabbing things."

Things are set to proceed from here, rest assured. Glad the pacing and tension in the fight worked for you. :twilightsmile:

7354541
Silver linings and a' that.

Angry earth ponies are scary business indeed. Angry unicorns and pegasi have their own fantastical array of horrors to mete out, but earth ponies are obliged to get a bit more ... visceral about it.

7354595 How is that steel armor getting torn up so easily? The deer weapons don't seem to be piercing Gallant's armor, but their own is getting shredded like paper by a wooden pole and some spurs. Shouldn't the dynamic be the other way around?

Loving the story, by the way.

7354836
Glad you're loving it. :twilightsmile:

With regards to the armour and weapons and effectiveness thereof, there's a few reasons, some of which come down to the nature of the attacks. The deer weapons that land on Gallivant (Whitetail's blade and Steelhart's glaive) are primarily being used in slashing motions, which his barding (the equivalent of a snug suit of plate under his coat) would be designed to thwart. Their blunt impact can certainly still knock the wind out of him, and could break through if swung with enough sheer force, but they'd otherwise be likely to glance off due to the curved steel of the barding and the distributed impact of the blade and glaive.

Belladamma might have had more luck with her spear, but Gallivant's ten-foot-pole was able to reverse the dynamics of the blade and glaive - it delivered a concentrated impact onto a relatively small area, punching right through her own armour (which, in keeping with the suit out in the hallway, would be more akin to scale) with all Gallivant's swinging momentum behind it. The spurs work on a similar principle, concentrating the strength of Gallivant's kicks onto small pointed areas - the equivalent of our own military picks made for penetrating armour.

On top of those, Gallivant also does benefit from having new and sturdy equipment. The Antlertean gear, whilst a cut above his in their heyday and still formidable, has spent three millenia gradually bleeding away their enchantments at the bottom of a hole.

7354049
"Cheers for the corrections, once again and always. What's a little wanton cruelty to the common comma between friends? :twilightsmile:"
:)

"'For that matter' does indeed refer back to her attempted yawn. She's yet to pick up the finer points of convincing acting, Daring."
Ah, thanks.

I do hope Galavant wakes soon. I shouldn't imagine Whitetail would leave him un-dispatched if he's obligingly holding still.:fluttershysad:

7354905 Huh. I imagine earth pony strength comes into it, too. I don't know if a human could duplicate the feat. Plate armor is really tough.

Well, I'm afraid that I'm in rather a hurry at present, and, while I'm sure I'll still enjoy reading the chapter, I might not spot errors for you as well as I've been doing; sorry about that.

"A upraised slab"
"An"?

"here for a year, and still struggle"
"year and"?

"ordering system, runes glittered"
"system; runes"?

"spines, some seemed"
"spines, and some"?

"The Epic of Gilgamoose"
:D

"mind, and making her"
"mind and"?

"her head, and prepared"
"head and"?

"to her rear, and saw Whitetail"
"rear and"?

"when pegasi wings"
"pegasus"?

"before her; piles of fallen"
"her: piles"?

"To where a magical book sat between its ordinary neighbours, peacefully bleeding away blue streams of gossamer enchantment to itself."
Looks like you've also got luck you didn't make yourself, fortunately. :)

"trapdoor, and saw that"
"trapdoor and"?

"It opens up the way"
Is that "the way" a matter of dialect?

"one of these ruins with eldritch"
"those"?

"hooves, and made"
"hooves and"?

"and Daring look back"
"looked"?

"glanced down, and found to her"
"down and"?

"her, from across the other side of the wide"
"her from across the wide" or "her from the other side of the wide"?

"as he ran, and was"
"ran and"?
He's going to lasso the chandelier and swing across, isn't he? :D

Yep. :D
Because what's an adventure without a dynamic swinging entry into battle? :)

"The pole had smashed through Belladamma side-on, punching through her armour and ribcage and out the other side and deep into the shelves, pinning her there like a thrashing, trapped insect."
...Either that's some very flimsy armor or a very impressive performance for a wooden pole. Of course, the charging earth pony adventurer in desperate protective father mode probably also had something to do with it. :)

"bent and seized her fallen spear"
"bent, seized"?

"upon Whitetail, and stamped"
"Whitetail and"?

"of his justacorps, but was caught"
"justacorps but"?

"swung around and he threw his"
"around, and"?

"blood-red grasp, and angled"
"grasp and"?

"Daring though she saw him faintly"
"thought"?

"over Dad and rose the weapon"
"raised"?

"Steelhart’s head, and blindsided"
"head and"

"him with an almighty crash that jarred their whole form"
You appear to be using both "him" and "their" for the same person in the same sentence here.

Well, uh... look on the bright side. You might get your hat back. :D

7354905
Ah, thanks.

7355169
We'll see what comes of Gallivant and the library guards soon enough. :twilightsmile:

7355624
Earth pony strength plays a pretty big role as well, I shan't lie. Even a strong human with a good pick or hammer would have to try hard to even put a dent in plate, like you suggest. Replace said human with a pony (which are already plenty capable of kicking people's spines out through their ears), make said pony a fairly well-built stallion, and give them an earth pony's strength and stamina ... and things change a wee bit.

7356115
All fixed, and thank you very much! A rushed job on your part still kicks the hell out of my ability to proofread my own stuff any day of the week.

Very nice dark reflection of the opening dream.

Daring's first mid-adventure wing injury. Thus begins what will likely be a major theme of her life.

Ah. Cervile was a prototype, a proof of concept for restoring a wife and daughter who were, at the very least, incapacitated. Not even mage-lords were immune to tragedy.

Ghostly buckservants make everything better. :twilightsmile:

Ah. The truth comes out, in several senses. And Gallivant can't stand to see his part in sending somepony he loves into mortal peril. Not again.

Ghostly buckservants make everything better. :rainbowdetermined2: Definitely looking forward to seeing Gallivant's reaction to that.

7356719
You're welcome. :)
Also, I'm glad you think that, as I suspect that today's will also be somewhat rushed, when I manage to get to it.

Saving the Day with the Power of Friendship! :rainbowlaugh:

Well-played, sir, well-played.

Well, I would like to make a better critic when this fic is complet, but I wanted to say that this has being one of the best fics I've readed in a long time, really, way to go, I love it. This chapter specially.

7356937

"Ms Do, in my capacity as a medical professional, I fear I must inform you that by the definitions of medical science, you don't actually have something I can call a radius in your wing anymore. What you appear to have is a swarm of osteoblasts held together with duct tape and hope."

"Still functioning and fit to heal though, right?"

"In the face of all sense and physics and what a right-thinking Creator would allow, somehow yes."

Spot-on about Cervile. I did figure out the whole story of what went down in the freehold and how each of the soulforged servants were involved and what Fallow did to them, but I decided to roll with not necessarily putting it all on full display. Just enough for folks to guess at the details.

7357169
Simultaneously looking forward to it and dreading to see how often I've screwed up this time.:twilightsmile:

7357200
An eminently sensible thing with which to save any given day, with a superb track record in doing so.

7357834
Very flattered you think so! :pinkiehappy: The last chapter should go out tomorrow, so it should be fit for a full accounting then.

7357985
"Simultaneously looking forward to it and dreading to see how often I've screwed up this time.:twilightsmile:"
Well, I'm glad it's still something to look forward to. :)

I'm afraid, though, that, in addition to still being low on time, I'm also pretty tired, possibly leading to a further quality drop; my apologies again for this.

"Thin pieces of solid rust"
Do they perhaps look as if they formed from the deposits left by long-evaporated iron-rich liquid of some sort?

"sat a short away from Daring’s"
"short way away"?

"like hasty notes taken in a crisp hoofwriting, jotted hastily down"
Ought both "hasty" and "hastily" to be there?

"Maybe Loceros will send a suitably stupid messenger that shan’t be missed. If not, write — call in any remaining favours, ask for some thrall.
Aurum. Flora. Aurum. Flora.
It’ll all be worth it."
Hmmm. Sounds like things may have been going wrong for the family even before the Fall...
Or did he forsee the Fall, through magic or merely watching his society and correctly guessing where it was going? Was this an attempt to make this freehold a refuge for his family, one that was either never finished or finished too late?

Ah, thought it might be him when the light appeared. :)
The pit under the library must not count as part of the library for the purposes of his access restrictions.

Oh, splendid! :D
...What happened to all the guards, though? The ones in the library who let Daring's father go, and Steelhart down here?

Oh. Well, that answers for Steelhart.

"held her back and she looked"
"back, and"?
While I think that works here, though, I don't think it's quite grammatically correct. "back. She looked" or "back; she" would be better on that score, but I don't think they sound as good.

"said Cervile trotting over"
"Cervile, trotting"?

Hat regained. :)

"but had re-emerged, with a few scuffs"
"re-emerged with"?

"of disposing them without"
"disposing of them"?

"out of the way of somewhere if I"
"way somewhere"?

"surprisingly difficult, they were reluctant "
"difficult; they"?

"They rose a ghostly hoof to their"
"raised"?

"been reduced to tatter by this stage"
"tatters"?

"I’ll bring you to Lord"
"take"?

"“Please believe me, Miss Daring,” they said sadly. “You are in no danger at all.”"
...Well, that's not ominous at all...

"wooden door, and then looked"
"door and"?

Ah.

"from the start; an old ruin filled with"
"start: an"?

"a strange set of pillar overlooking"
"pillars"?

"peered closer, and realised"
"closer and"?

"along the ground, and was being hotly"
"ground, hotly"?

"of the desk and trotted"
"desk, and"?

Aww. :)

"“Lets.” Daring released"
"Let's"?

[winces]
Well, I... guess this place might have been in the background of the Ponyville we knew the entire time, but... that seems unlikely...

"questions about you"
"yourself"? Or is this Daring's manner of speech?

"trophy piece"
"trophy-piece"?

"like it from this place"
"it was from"?

"a old king’s"
"an"?

"had just made her back to the notetome"
"her way back"?

"nothing more that blue motes"
"than"?

"in the eyes, and saw that"
"eyes and"?

"Lord Fallow, and craned"
"Fallow and"?

"Mare on the Moon"
"in"?

"of your duo.” she hissed"
"duo,"?

"this had been for it."
"it!"? I'm not sure if that's the tone you want for it, though.

"one good eye, and draw himself"
"eye and"?

"track of was happening"
"of what was"?

"escaped him and he shrunk"
"him, and"?

"Dad racked her brain"
"Daring"?

"that she’d did it"
"done"?

Another excellent chapter! :)
Next time, we see how the story ends. I'm still a bit worried by the unknown status of the library guards, and that we've not heard of the oft-visited and well-buckservanted ruin in Ponyville before...

I, as a general rule, don't favorite things that aren't finished, but this has simply been too good (and to regularly updated) for me not to. You are a writing god.

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