• Member Since 7th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen Last Wednesday



It’s not every day you discover that your friend is in an adventure novel, but that’s exactly the situation Sunset Shimmer and Kukri Doo find themselves in when Puzzle Piece, Freeport’s foremost problem solver, makes an appearance in the latest Daring Do book. They only naturally ask Puzzle about it, and uncover a truth far stranger than fiction: a tale of adventure, intrigue, tyrant lizards, the mysterious dromaed people, and the fabled City of Giants.

A Freeport Venture prequel.

Chapters (23)
Comments ( 431 )

The only thing that would have made this better was if Puzzle had worn a "Kiss the Changeling" apron.

Always great to see a new story from you! I must say, I’m very interested to see that Daring is actually a known figure, but her connection to A.K. Is a cover up. Kukru is as adorable as ever. All in all, great start to what looks to be a great story!

YEY for Freeport

Oh, this should be quite fun indeed. Especially if Sunset ever takes the time to compare the signatures in her book. Even if she doesn't, great framing device and Kukri cuteness. Looking forward to the meat of the story.

Really? You just wrote a book with dinosaurs in this story? If the dinosaurs are scientifically accurate, it’s fine.

I'm loving all the Kukri Doo.

old bowel. eww eww eww!


The only thing that would have made this better was if Puzzle had worn a "Kiss the Changeling" apron.

"Kiss the Changeling, Feed the Cook!"

A.K. fictionalizes a few things to make for a better story and to make sure nopony gets hurt.

I can just imagine the disclaimer blurb:

The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to ponies, diamond dogs, dragons, changelings, griffins, zebra, or other sapients living or dead is purely coincidental

...or out of spite

BAHAHAHAHAHA THAT IS AWESOME! That just made me snort my beer, and the pain was worth the amusement.

I snorted. “Yes, I still remember your Liberation Day prank where you transformed to look like you were my brother and pretended we were family all day. I don’t even have a brother.”

Starburst? :derpytongue2:

Kukri gasped and snatched her book away from Puzzle and ran over to Daring. “Please, please, please sign this one’s book! I already got the Yearling-mare to sign it, and it would be amazing if you would sign too!”

Puzzle snickered, probably because of how cute Kukri was with her enthusiasm.

Heh. Yeah, sure, that's probably why.

This should be fun. I wonder if Sunset is going to figure out the kinda-sorta secret before the end.

Yessssssssss! More Freeport Venture Stories!! <3 <3 <3

Though this is certainly an interesting change of pace. I am quite excited to see where this will end up! <3

Also, this is yet ANOTHER of your stories going into my Favorite List! It's all your fault for writing such enticing stories =P

Puzzle paused. “This one will start the story ... after it saves lunch.” He ran for the grill.


A good start to what promises to be an interesting story! :pinkiehappy:

“Sure.” I glanced down at Kukri. “As long as it isn’t something Kukri’s parents wouldn’t disapprove of.”

One too many negatives in there.

Daring snorted as she pulled out an old bowel.

Uh... I hope you meant bowl.

Daring took my book and signed it. Something nagged me as she did so, but I couldn’t place my hoof on it. It was like there was something I should be noticing, but wasn’t.

That feeling when you fail the roll by 1.

originally built as the Zebrican Empire’s southernmost outpost during the heyday Empire’s heyday

I think there's one heyday too many.

her curled duel-green mane

Should be "dual", not "duel".


It wasn’t a particularly large city; originally built as the Zebrican Empire’s southernmost outpost during the heyday Empire’s heyday,

Might want to just get rid of the first "heyday"

Fun story so far, and it'll be interesting to get Daring's perspective too. Haven't read any other story on this site with multiple first person narrators.

*shakes fist* Damn you eyeslide! I hate little easy fixes that still slip by. Thanks for catching it.

Puzzle was a joy to read from, especially in his young impetuous days. Not that he's careless...just moving really fast. The temple was pretty rad too, fungus is some nasty business indeed even when not sentient and evil.

Daring's part is sure to be a ride, I'm excited to see what snarky interruptions Puzzle can come up with to take her ego down a bit.

A ten foot pole? Testing for traps? Using acid to avoid a puzzle? This is just a session of D&D... but if that's the case, what class is Puzzle?

His main stats would obviously be charisma and dex, but he used a ten foot pole and has a decent modifier for history, so also a high intelligence. And yet, despite this, he still helps others and is in charge of information brokering.

If I were to build a Puzzle Piece character, I'd have him be a Rogue, using a subclass from Xanithar's Guide known as Mastermind as it makes sense, but if only using vanilla I'd argue he's an arcane trickster rogue.

Off to El Dorado! I mean Orazca! I mean the City of Giants! Huzzah!

Let's just hope the fungus elemental doesn't stretch far enough that it'll recognize Puzzle...

8752734 8753260
Thanks for catching those typos. They're fixed now.

It has been fun to take Puzzle a bit out of his element, and throw him into a new situation. Not to mention the fun of him being a younger and more adventurous version of himself.

Rogue/Mastermind would make a lot of sense for him. Admittedly, D&D has had its influence on me as a writer, both with the game and some of its novels.

Whatever the fantasy universe may be, there will always be the fabled city of gold, and explorers that want to find it. As for the fungus elemental, well...

Fun to see Puzzle on his own in his younger days before he became a major information broker (possibly the information broker) in Freeport. He's still crazy prepared and practical, but interesting to see him out in the field. Not that he's not still quite capable in the present, but now he's got his own army almost.

Ah, it wouldn't be an adventure without a giant boulder. I wonder how much Puzzle will regret that he didn't get out while he could (and whether there will be anything left standing by the time Puzzle and Daring are done looting, er, recovering historical artifacts. Looking forward to their first meeting, and how... interesting its going to be.

Going off a hunch, this one checked to see if it could find the pony’s coin-purse.

and took flight as pain lanced through , a flash of pain shooting through it as it did so.

Missing word?

Anyways, Daring gets no respect. Kukri skips the boring historic notes and Puzzle skips the boring puzzles, and instead vandalized an ancient work of Lizard person crafts-lizard-ship. This is why you solve the puzzles.

"Besides, a lot of history is really interesting.” Daring nudged Kukri with an elbow. “Don’t you like reading about all the cool history facts I put into my books?”

Nice slip there, miss Secret Identity...:unsuresweetie:

Thanks to my editors Chengaor Qordath and Comma-Kazie for all their help, and to my pre-readers Brony Writer, wolfstorm56, Trinary, 621Chopsuey, Rodinga, PoisonClaw, and Swiftest for their hard work editing.

I find this little typo hilarious.

Also, ooh, intrigue, you have piqued my interest.

This is what happens when I finish putting these chapters together before going to bed. Curse mortal weaknesses like the need for sleep...

Hmmm.... Sounds like Puzzle has good reason to be worried. We’ve seen this lady doesn’t care all that much about her employees, and that is an awful lot of money she’s offering a freelancer. Also, I’m pretty sure immediately sending out henchmen who have just failed you while saying “I want results, not excuses!” Is in direct violation of the Evil Overlord List.


I like Capital. He fought a bear!


I knew exactly what Capital Idea would sound like the second I read his name XD

They looked like the big, thuggish types Epherma loved to hire as goons, and something told me they were looking for trouble.

The biggest and ugliest of the lot—the de facto leader, unless I missed my guess—stepped up behind me with a nasty sneer on his lips. “Epherma sends her regards, Daring Do.”

“A few of Epherma's goons tried to take me out when I was picking up the compass.”

If we're lucky we'll leave Epherma in our dust.

Given that this is a character's name and not an actual word, as such, I'm not one hundred percent sure if these are typos, but I'm going to put them here just to be on the safe side.

The bear even had a pair of gloves, and to my surprise actually seemed to know how to box as a skillful left hook nearly took my patron’s head off.

Considering the level of intelligence MLP's animals tend to display, this surprises me not one bit. I mean, if a bear can be capable of making convincing wigs out of grass and leaves, then I'm sure a bear can also be a boxer.

I also can't help but read Capital Idea's lines in Fancy Pants' voice.

“Oh, you don't realize what the real treasures are?” A smirk spread across her lips. “How much do you know about the Dromaeds?”

“The basics.” This one shrugged. “That they're a species of sapient feathered reptiles

I... had actually assumed they were dromedaries. Because, you know. Ungulates, and fantasy Africa, and that. The Dromaeds being dromeosaurs makes much more sense, given their apparent association with dinosaurs.

tyrant lizards,

Well somebody read Exalted...

Those would be typos. Thanks for catching those.

I do love the dual-perspective treatment here. It makes for an interesting contrast when I find myself rooting for people on opposite sides of a conflict.

As for Ephemera's mission... Yeah, invading ruins that the natives deliberately leave untouched rarely ends well.

Or knows his Latin, given what Tyrannosaurus translates to.

I'm enjoying this story immensely I can't wait for more.

Ha! Be careful with someone who looks completely average. Nature doesn't subscribe to averages, average is the result of an intelligent mind, whether as a concept or in appearance.

This ship is a powder keg soaked in kerosene in an abandoned paper factory. Also that Captain was totally just trying to see how far he could push it.

Poor Daring. At least she's able to turn the Curse of the Protagonist to her favor with the book series. Though that's going to be a cold comfort to her during the boat ride.

Now I was really worried. Port Nowhere was a pretty rough place even for someone who knew how to take care of herself, much less for some posh noblestallion. Some gang might think he was a rich, easy mark and rob him, and that was one of the better-case scenarios. My anxiety wasn’t helped by the fact that I had heard about this Melih when I had first made the rounds to find the compass now in my possession. Apparently, he was one of the up-and-coming underworld types who had his hoof in a lot of dirty deeds. My patron could very well be taken away and kidnapped right that moment. That thought quickened my step as I looked around with increasing desperation, but what I found in one of the seaside market squares stopped me dead.

I'm guessing the patron is either Nigthlight or Fancypants, and I think both of them can handle themselves just fine. If Nightlight is anything like the rest of his family, then attempting to rob him will prove to be a huge mistake.

Edit: Boy was I wrong :derpytongue2:, a well this will be a fun development anyway.

So how do changelings actually feed in winningverse? Do they drink blood like vampires? It almost seems that way since they need to bite their "victims".

Or do they simply absorb love by some sort of osmosis if people like them, like showcanon Thorax? Neither Spike nor Thorax was even aware that Spike was feeding him until he noticed that he never got hungry anymore.

I'm guessing it's a bit of both. Seems like there is some nutritional component they need to get either from thymoplasm or biting ponies. Yet they sometimes receive strength without physically touching the one feeding them.

Maybe love freely given is stronger or drains the giver far less than love taken by force, bribe or persuasion? I mean Knives Doo has a changeling husband and two changeling daughters. She's gotta have a lot of bitemarks on her then, I guess. They seem like a happy family, outside threaths aside, so I'm guessing that they are either not feeding on the mother at all or Knives love for her family is not draining her much.
Yet Puzzle is talking about feeding like it takes a lot out of the giver. He worries about leaving a trail of drained bodies in his wake if he can't get enough thymoplasm.

Anyway I like the fact that they can use normal food to supplement their changeling diet, but not replace it entirely.

Free Minds feed in one of two ways. They can bite someone and drain their love that way, or an individual can be put into a cocoon and thymoplasm is produced. The thymoplasm can be stored, and lasts a while. Where biting is a more immediate thing. Free Minds need love magic in order to survive. Given it fuels their magic and certain biological functions.

Now Thorax style changelings feed differently, as seen in the show. They're based on a more recent version of drone Chrysalis made, and so have slightly different abilities as a result.

Love given freely is much more potent. Knives can much more easily feed her husband and two changeling daughters than a stranger could feed Puzzle all alone. It's also much less draining for Knives than it would be a stranger.

Thanks for clearing that up. Although now I wonder about how they produce thymoplasm on a large scale. I would be fun to write a story about that.

I was thinking more about the primal changeling in "Freeport: Haunted" than Thorax when I meant that they can absorb emotional magic without physical touch. Though you are right, makes sense that different kinds of changelings have different abilities. Earth Ponies can't cast spells or walk on clouds after all.

For mass thymoplasm production, they basically have places where people can be paid to be put into a cocoon for a while, and that business then sells the collection thymoplasm to changelings.

And Chrysalis has been experimenting with new changeling drones for a long, long time, to varying levels of success failure.

Well this promises to be one awkward boat ride.

And I already can't wait for the moment that Ephemera takes her proverbial look into the Arc of the Covenant

Huh, I guess getting stuck in a cocoon isn't so bad then, and that we are talking days and weeks rather than years
That's a bit more sensible and less exciting than my idea, still I am going to think about a story for that business venture.

At least she's not a quitter, gotta give her that at least

“I have a shapeshifting Assassin in my employ gathering information for me that my opponent doesn’t know the existence of. How do I best utilize him? I know. I’ll make him fight my opponent in a frontal assault and expose his existence. Delightfully devilish Ephemera.”

"You can see how well that went."
"This one never claimed to be perfect."

In any case, Ephemera's employer is certainly intriguing. And I can't help but noticed that she never answered the question about her house. Not a big surprise there. Looking forward to the fight.

Ephemera ain't quick, is she. Put the literal bug spy into direct and open combat where he can't cheat or hide. Brilliant. How did she even get as far as she did if she's this dumb? Maybe there's a plan where she steals Daring's compass using this as a distraction or something.


"Pride goeth before a fall", an' all dat jazz.

I'm going to echo 8933207 and 8933362 -- if you've got someone on your employ whose entire specialty, and whose value to your mission, centers around disguise, sneakiness and subterfuge, then by all logic you should have him do things like what he's doing now and spying quietly on the opposing group, maybe engaging in sabotage or theft, possibly even assassination -- Ephemera certainly isn't above those sorts of tactics. But shoving him into a fighting ring, where none of his skills are any use, when you have two perfectly good and deadly fighters on call who would do a much better job? That's just dreadful use of assets, that is.

Granted, if half of what Daring has said about Ephemera stealing her research and claiming it as her own is true and her modus operandi centers around stealing other people's discoveries, artifacts and information rather than working things out on her own, keenness of mind probably isn't one of Ephemera's main strengths.

Or she could be planning to try something while everyone's distracted and watching the match. Heck, she could be planning to lose and plant a tracker on the compass Daring would win for all we know. Highly unlikely, but I suppose it's possible.

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