Wanderer returned Vindicars stare just as intensely. Despite being a scrawny earth pony and a writer, he didn’t look the least bit intimidated by the Hippogriff soldier sitting across from him.
Starbuck turned to the guard looking at Vin. “Hey, Jerry!” His name was not Jerry. “He was my apprentice. Don’t give him that fuckin’ look.” He then turned to Wanderer. “And you! This is a military operation. Keep yourself and Rosa calm or leave.”
Vindicar remains unphased by the look he receives, only turning to the alicorn. “Looks like the plan is set. Anything else, Mythic?”
He shakes his head, “No… I will grab the stone when it falls as long as things to go plan… dismissed,” he speaks.
The guard who is not named Jerry frowns, “Hey, he shouldn’t even be here, apprentice or not, he is just a pet project-“
"Captain Wall!" Mythic speaks, voice becoming dangerous, "You will not speak false accusations about my friends, nor will you continue to disrespect Sir Vindicar!"
The guard captain jolts a bit hearing Mythic’s voice being anything but calming ans sure, “… Yes sir,” he grudgedly responds, before bowing to Starbuck and Vindicar, and walking out of the room unhappily.
Rosa couldn’t help it, she let out a few sobs as tears began to trickle down her face. Of course Wanderer was the only one on her side. Of course everyone else thought so low of her. She couldn’t help but fantasize about mind tapping the pair and doing god only knows what to their heads.
"Oh my goddess. Arcel, why are there civilians here?"
Hippogriff met Wanderer’s glare with a cold look. His friend was in real danger, and there was a plan to save him. He might hate himself for saying that later, but right now that was all that mattered.
The guard looks at Vindicar as Starbuck says what he does says this, thinking the same thing about him by the looks on his face.
"Everyone calm down please," he shakes his head, "The security of Pony Kind is why she was not informed, not just her, it is why almost no one knows of the notes existance, outside this room their are only a handful of others… we can not let Philosophers Stones become a more common place thing, they are just to powerful."
"If I had those notes I probably could have made multiple Philosophers stones and saved him myself! But oh no, god forbid we trust the freak with the lifes work of her own father! Oh no, instead we’ll just set her aside with nothing but an unfinished house out in the middle of the Everfree and a smoldering crater back in Ponyville!" The plant mare sounded like she was on the verge of tears as she used her forehooves to cover her own eyes.
Starbuck facehoofs. “Oh my Goddess, Rosa. Can you not think about yourself for two minutes? So you didn’t get to read Arbors fucking diaries. Boo fucking hoo. We are trying to fucking save him right now and if you can’t be a goddess damn adult, maybe you should leave!”
"Stabuck is putting it too harsh, but he’s right. Get a hold of yourself, girl. Once it’s over, I’ll take a day off just to listen to you. But right now we need you cooperation. Arbor needs your cooperation. And if you can’t or won’t provide it, just tell us now. Who knows how much time we have left."
Mythic sighs once more and looks up, “Quiet, all of you… the notes were not kept away from Rosa for any sinister purpose… the notes are kept away in the interest of all pony kind,” he nods, “Tarturus, with just a single Philosopher’s stone, we made a bomb that cracked a hole into reality, the full repercussions of that which are still unknown,” he states, “The Philosopher’s stone has the ability to do great things, but it is also an extremely dangerous weapon in most other ponies hands… far more dangerous then most anything else in Equestria, you can understand us not wanting the information on how to make them known.”
"Yeah, what he just said! I should at least been informed of the existence of these notes! I thought they were all destroyed when he burned down his shop!" Rosa was feeling pissed. Not at any particular pony in the room. She was just mad because she felt as though she had been denied a vital piece of information that she felt entitled to for quite some time.
"Is this really important right now? We’re trying to think away to save your dad any you’re worried about his fucking journals!?"
Hippogriff sighs. “Rosa, don’t you think Mythic could’ve simply assumed Arbor told you more than any of us, up to and including the fate of his work journal. Anyway, you will have enough time to get angry over it once it’s over. Until then, we need you calm and collected, okay?”
"No Vindicar… this was actually purposefully kept from her… the notes and journal in question are not the regular ones… they are the ones pertaining to his construction and use of the Philosopher’s stone," he nods again.
"You have copies of his notes!? Why was I not informed of this!?" Rosa snapped.
"If I could make suggestion for holding the creature, how about Nightmarium? I mean given its origin, we can assume that this creature is many parts made of magic so therefore, the magic consuming alloy could be very useful in containing the creature."
"It’s toxic, remember? And even if don’t hurt the beast, what will happen once Arbor become pony again? But if the moster can use magic, nighmarium might indeed come handy," Vindicar replies. "By the way, I will have to talk to Archaedus. His blades have served me well so far, and I’m sure he can craft another one, for a special purpose."
"Payment can be discussed Wanderer, I am open to trade for this," he nods, then glances at Rosa, "We have access to his notes with restrictions, technically they are held by an alternate Equestria, but I can arrange for you to have access to them if needed," he nods.
He finally turns towards his two Ebony Star knights, “Nightmarium is an emergency protocol for this, as he is dragon like, it is likely that the low amounts we normally use will have no effect, and the higher grades would poison him with how we would have to introduce it… it is our last ditch effort in case we can not save Arbor and he becomes to much of a threat,” his voice was steady through it all, though his eyes betrayed him, showing how he hated saying this.
"That sounds both tiring and dangerous Wanderer." Rosa commented.
"And also… super gross."
"I might have an idea…" Hippogriff notes slowly, looking closely at the image.
"First of all, look at that band keeping the stone in place, and compare it to the side of beast’s neck. I think a sufficiently sharp blade could cut through the band - and if it’s short enough, it won’t cause much damage, leaving only a shallow cut. Given I have had enough practice with throwing blades, both regular and telekinetically bosted, I think I could pull it off… but there are problems.
First, as far as I understand, the beast resides in a thick woods. It has to be lured out into the open and distracted if I’m to have a clear shot at its neck.
Second, once the stone comes loose, somepony will have to grab it. I won’t be able to do so, since stone is hanging on it’s chest, and I’m planning to strike from above and behind, plus I can’t take risk of splitting my attention between controlling the blade and catching the stone.
Third, if I’m correct, the beast will try to retrieve the stone. It means we can use it to lure the beast into a trap… a trap we need to plan and construct first. The trap must be sturdy enough to contain the beast while we figure out how to use the stone.”
Vindicar sighs. “I don’t have any other ideas as to how we can get the stone with minimal damage done to Arbor AND minimal risk for ourselves.”
The blue pony nods, then looks to the Bolter, “Think you have a team that would be up for a baiting maneuver in the first place to pull it into the open?”
The bolter thinks, “I think we will be up for it sir,” he responds.
"Good, Captain Wall," he speaks to the Guard Captain, "See what you can do with the castles backing on constructing the trap, and speak with the research teams about dragon level tranquilizers, just to be on the safe side," he nods, and the captain salutes in return, he then looks to Wanderer, "Speak with Somnus about the Resin, see the levels at which they can make, as well as if they would be willing to assist, Changeling Resin is actually probably more effective then any other adhesive we could use and engineered to keep their captives alive, unharmed, and stuck in place, biological adhesive at its finest," he nods once again.
He looks to Rosa, “Do you think if you had access to all of Arbor’s notes and research, you could figure out how to use his stone to return him to normal?”
"Question, so what do we do once we get the stone?"
"We use it to save Arbor!"
"Rosa is right. It would be extremely dangerous to retrieve the stone, and, assuming the worst case scenario, the monster will actively try to return it. We need to know what are we going to do with the stone once we have it, because we might not have enough time to figure it out on the fly."
He sighs again, “That is part of the reason I called the meeting… we have three distinct things we must figure out before the plan proceeds,” he explains.
"First," the image shifts to a full body shot of the monster again, "How do we capture the beast and disable it without causing it great harm," a cage appears over the beast, not part of the plan, just a visualization of what they have to accomplish.
"Two, how do we get the philosopher’s stone from the beast," image of the stone appears, "Assuming our capture method would still allow it to thrash and move about or that we fail to out right capture."
"And finally… how do we use the stone to fix things," a simple question mark appears in a third spot on the table, "We will need to do research, or find an alchemist of good enough skill to accomplish this…"
"He never did tell me anything about that stone." Rosa muttered.
"Let’s go get it! Let’s rock that stone!"
"Arbor had one, but is its current location known? Or are our alchemists capable of reproducing it?"
Mythic pauses, then sighs, the image of the creature grows it seems, focusing on its neck, it seems to have a band around it, and a very clear red stone is seen upon it, “… we believe this to be his Philosophers stone…”
"How could this happen?" Wanderer wondered out loud.
Starbuck removed his helmet, and set it on the table, the 3-D map reflecting on his sunglasses.
There is a muffled noise of surprise coming from hippogriff, who has been completely unaware of the monster’s origin. As the present military ponies glance at him, Vindicar asks, “Go on.”
"The creature’s origins are not fully known, but from information garnered from an accidental mind link with the creature and Arbor, we know it is an outside influence, and that the Philosopher’s stone is key to returning him to normal," the pony nods.
"I told you it was a waste of time Wanderer." Rosa replied as she entered behind the earth pony.
Starbuck walked in wearing what Nightmare referred to as his “Parade armor”, a more regal suit of armor denoting his office as lead of the knight’s guild, while sacrificing actual protection in combat. He said down across from Arcel. “Good evening, everyone.”
Hippogriff nodded silently, still checking his own gear. Mythic certainly could be more precise when giving an order to “be ready for anything”.
Along with the representatives of the Ebony Star, their was also one from the Nightmare Guard, and one from the Blue Bolters, they don’t seem talkative though. Mythic nods to each in turn, and when everypony is seated, he uses his magic to seal the room, and then create an illusionary 3D map on the table in front of them of Moon City and the surrounding forest.
"Good evening, I am sure most of you are aware of why we are here, but to briefly go over it once more," he speaks, before the image shifts to just that of the large beast, "We are here to capture and secure this beast… with the goal of returning it to his original form, that of the pony alchemist Arbor Green."