Freeport Venture: City of Giants

by Ponibius

Chapter 1: Prologue

Load Full Story Next Chapter

Sunset Shimmer

It’s not every day you read about one of your friends in a Daring Do novel.

Normally when I sought out Freeport’s foremost information broker it was because I wanted to know something. Like when or where to find someone, or to make sure someone who wanted to hire me wasn’t too sketchy. Or if I needed a sounding board for any of my ideas. He was pretty good, if kinda irritating, about telling me about any problems with my plans and how to make them better. But that wasn’t what I wanted to see him about today.

It wasn’t often that I got to learn something new about Puzzle Piece. To be honest, I actually didn’t know all that much about him. That wasn’t something I liked considering how dependant I was on the Free Mind. A lot of what I knew about him was common knowledge—namely that he was an information broker, mercenary, and all-around problem solver. He was very good at what he did and was reasonably well-off as a result, even if he didn’t care that much about money. By contrast, he knew an almost creepy amount of stuff about me, and worked with the Council to some extent. I also knew he was a pretty curious guy, and could be drawn into an adventure if it were interesting enough.

Puzzle didn’t talk about himself all that much for his part. I could get him to talk about one of his previous jobs on a good day, though my attempts to get him to talk about his personal life hadn’t met with much success. I was starting to get him to open up a little bit after working with him, especially after some nasty business that found his marefriend on the wrong end of a blood fued. Still, everything I got to know about him came in bits and pieces, which was pretty irritating considering I didn’t like unsolved mysteries and since Puzzle had been one giant mystery that had been plaguing me since I came to Freeport.

So I was tickled when I was certain I had found out something new about him. Thus, I followed a tracking spell with my apprentice Kukri Doo in tow. Puzzle hadn’t been in his office when we stopped by, which meant he could have been anywhere in the city or even in the out-islands. His work took him all over the place, and if he had normal working hours outside his office hours I hadn’t been able to determine them. Thankfully he wasn’t using whatever methods he occasionally used to block my tracking spells today, and I managed to track him down to one of Freeport’s many docks.

The little island harbor was filled with the yachts of the well-to-do of Freeport. The ships ranged in size from little sailboats to some pretty outlandishly sized vessels, and from the simple and utilitarian to gaudy spectacles that looked like buoyant manors. Several of the ships were moored in the harbor or in the waters right outside of it. Cries of fun and celebration competed with the sounds of the sea as people went about enjoying themselves on a nice sunny day. It all reminded me of the time I had taken a trip out on Mom’s yacht with her—a trip that felt like a lifetime ago.

My tracking spell led me to the next step of the search—or splash, as it were. I followed the signal and saw Puzzle’s yacht anchored out just beyond the mouth of the harbor. It was a nice-looking ship, and while it wasn’t nearly as big or splendid as some of the ships around it, it had a kind of quiet dignity to it as it bobbed in the gently rolling waves.

Kukri waved enthusiastically in Puzzle’s direction. “There he is! This one can see him, Shimmer-mare!”

“Yeah, I see him too.” Though that left me with the problem of how to get to him. I didn’t feel like going through the trouble of renting a boat when I had other options.

I quickly dismissed the idea of teleporting to the yacht. I had tried that not long after coming to Freeport, but Puzzle had some kind of ward on his ship that blocked those types of spells. My first and only attempt to teleport onto the ship had resulted in me taking a swim, and I hadn’t liked it when I’d been ‘helped’ onto the deck of Puzzle’s yacht soaking wet. He claimed that the ward was in place to keep his enemies from doing something like summoning a demon onto his ship, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it was also intended to keep a specific pony from boarding unannounced.

That left me with a quandary of how to get to Puzzle’s yacht and how to do it in style. I looked down at the watery barrier between me and Puzzle, then grinned. Checking to make sure I wasn’t about to ruin someone’s ship and get myself sued for destroyed property—I was more careful than I had been in the past—I began casting a spell.

The ocean in front of me crackled as I stole the warmth from the water. I grunted as a solid bridge of ice formed between me and the yacht. Once that part was done, I had to deal with the heat I’d leeched away. The waters around Freeport were warm year-round, and drawing out enough heat to freeze a long pathway hadn’t been easy. I could have safely dispersed the heat into the air, but I grinned as I came up with a better idea. Multiple spiraling sparks shot from my horn and flew high into the air, and once high enough, they burst into multicolored blossoms of magical flame as they announced my arrival. The others in the harbor oohed and aahed as they watched my magic go to work, and I smiled in self-satisfaction. I technically hadn’t needed to do that, and it had taken more magic than I’d have liked, but it was totally worth it to make my entrance.

I turned and smiled down at my apprentice. “You remember that ice-walking spell I taught you?” It had struck me as a good idea to teach Kukri some novice-level magics to help her deal with the effects of some of my favored spells, and now seemed a good time to try one out. Nothing like practicing in the field to give a young apprentice some experience.

“This one remembers,” Kukri said with a nod. She closed her eyes and stuck out her tongue as she slowly went through the process of casting the spell.

“And what did I say about closing your eyes and sticking out your tongue while casting?” I asked with a hint of reproachment. She was getting better about that habit, but every once in awhile I caught her backsliding. Casting while closing your eyes was a bad habit a lot of unicorns got into, and it wasn’t something you should do if you find yourself in a fight. Not to mention sticking her tongue out was just undignified.

Kukri sighed and opened her eyes. “Yes, Shimmer-mare.”

“And don’t call me Shimmer-mare in public,” I reminded her. “Call me ‘Master’ or ‘Magus’ if you have to call me something.” Her parents had asked me to help her get better at maintaining her disguises out in public, and using Free Mind speech patterns was a dead giveaway. It didn’t strike me as a huge deal either way, but apparently Puzzle was the exception to the rule about letting people know he was a changeling even while in disguise. Most Free Minds made a point of keeping their species a secret from most everyone else. It seemed that old fears about Queen Chrysalis still held strong, and to be fair, my one encounter with her more than proved their point.

Kukri sighed in a way a recognized I used to make when Mom lectured me. “Yes Shim—Master.”

“That’s better. Now complete the spell before the ice bridge cracks.” Ugh, I could hear myself starting to sound just like my parents. Funny how being a responsible adult can sneak up on you.

Kukri nearly closed her eyes as she started casting but snapped them back open. She finished the spell, and a wide smile spread across her face. “I did it!”

I checked the spell over and confirmed that it was working right. “Good job. Now let’s pay Puzzle a visit.”

Kukri nodded. “No kidding. This on—“ I shot her a disapproving look that made her pause. “I have so many questions.”

“Better.” I cast my own ice-walking spell and stepped out onto the ice-bridge. Thanks to the spell, we were easily able to trot our way up to Puzzle’s ship without slipping on the ice. I noted the name Trustworthy printed on the side of the ship. Puzzle had a funny sense of humor.

By the time we reached his ship, Puzzle was busy working at a grill built into the deck. He was in his zony-pegasus disguise that he seemed to favor for casual interaction. If he was perturbed by my ice bridge and sudden appearance, he didn’t let it show as he casually went about sticking slices of vegetable on a metal spike and placing it on the grill. “You know, you could have rented a boat to reach this one. No need to do anything quite so...” He glanced out at the ice-bridge. “Elaborate.”

I snorted. “Yeah, but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun.”

Puzzle smiled and shrugged. “Well, this one wouldn’t want to stand between the Shimmer-mare and her fun.” He stepped over to a cooler filled with ice and bottled drinks. “Come on board, you two. Do you want something to drink?”

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

Kukri rolled her eyes. “It’s not like this one doesn’t know what alcohol tastes like.”

“The answer’s still no,” I told her. My apprentice had led a bit of a wilder life as a cabin filly on a merchant ship, and she’d picked up a few habits I didn’t approve of. I was pretty sure the crew of the Venture had never let Kukri get drunk, but they’d definitely let her sneak a sip or two of something. That wasn’t something I was going to encourage. Being an Alpha-level unicorn and magus had a way of enforcing a teetotaler lifestyle. No one liked seeing the unicorn who could set a whole building on fire drunk, and since Kukri was learning to become a magus, it was best she picked up the right habits for how to conduct herself now.

Puzzle pulled out a couple of bottles and handed them to me and Kukri. “Not a problem, this one has some lemonade, coconut milk, and other kid-friendly drinks.”

“Thanks, Puzzle.” I took a lemonade from him.

Kukri sipped her own lemonade without complaint. She might have wanted a sip of the forbidden drinks of her elders, but she wasn’t about to turn down a free sugary drink. “Thanks.”

I looked around the deck to see that in addition to the grill, the food stacked up next to it, and the cooler, he also had a crate sitting on the deck. “So what’s the deal? You expecting someone?” It was possible that Strumming or someone else was below deck, but I was certain Puzzle wasn’t planning on spending this trip alone. There was too much food and drink for just one person.

“This one’s expecting an old colleague to pick up some merchandise she purchased.” Puzzle returned to the grill to turn the shishkabob. “Though she had some prior commitments to meet before she could come out here.”

“And who's the mystery mare? Anyone I know?” I grinned. “Strumming doesn’t need to be worried, does she?”

Puzzle finished fiddling with the kabob and shot me a grin. “You can stick around and find out if you want. This one didn’t have many plans for today anyway.”

“I guessed as much when you’re setting up a grill here.” I took another drink as I contemplated a few questions. Puzzle was of course being his typical mysterious self. Well, if he was okay with me hanging around to see who his special guest was, then I had a few other things to ask him. “So, Kukri and I went to the A.K. Yearling book signing earlier today.”

Kukri started tapping her hoof impatiently as she drank her lemonade.

“This one remembers hearing about that.” Puzzle picked up a bottle for himself and popped the cap off. “The latest Daring Do book just came out, right?”

I nodded and couldn’t help but grin. “And I was reading through the book when I noticed something pretty interesting.”

Puzzle raised an eyebrow. “Like what?”

Before I could get to the point, Kukri yelled out, “Why are you in a Daring Do book?!” She whipped out her copy of Daring Do and the City of Giants and presented it to Puzzle. The cover sported Daring Do facing off against a zony-pegasus backed up by a hoofull of menacing individuals, Ahuizotl laughing maniacally behind them, and a pyramid ruin inside a jungle background. “This one needs to know! Do you know Daring Do?! Are you one of her bad guys? Did she lie about you? Why were you in Zanzebra? This one has so many questions!”

Puzzle blinked in surprise and leaned his head back.

I pointedly cleared my throat and tried to keep my voice level. I’d intended to reveal what I had learned myself, but it seemed I needed to have a talk with my apprentice about timing. “Kukri, it might be a bit easier for Puzzle to answer one question at a time.”

“That would help, yes.” Puzzle tilted his head as he took the novel from Kukri. “So what makes you think this one is in this book?”

“Because it blatantly says so.” I pulled out my own copy of the book and flipped to a page I’d memorized. “‘And so it was on the Happy Venture that I met one of the most devious people in the world, Puzzle Piece.’” I looked up at Puzzle. “Remind you of anyone?”

Puzzle grinned as he flipped through the pages of the book, stopping briefly to scan one page in particular. “This one doubts it’s the only one that’s had the name Puzzle Piece.”

I turned to another page I had memorized. “‘I’m from Freeport.’” I flipped to another page. “‘You could say I’m a professional problem solver.’” I turned to the next page. “‘There was a green flash, and where there had once been a zony, there was now the black chitinous form of a changeling.’” I raised an eyebrow as I looked up from the book. “Once again, remind you of anyone?”

Puzzle opened his mouth to answer, but that took exactly half a second too long for Kukri. “It’s you!” My apprentice vigorously tapped the cover of her book. “You’re in a Daring Do novel! This one is so jealous! Can you introduce me to the Do-mare?! Can this one be in a Daring Do book?!”

“Whoa, Kukri.” I placed a restraining hoof on her back. “Give him a chance to answer.” For good and ill, Kukri was a pretty enthusiastic kid. Giving her some lessons for patience might be a smart idea. Right after I got some for myself, maybe.

Puzzle chuckled as he shook his head. “Maybe you should ask her yourself.” He looked around my shoulder. “What do you think, Do-mare?”

There was the thump of hooves on wood as somepony landed behind me, and the voice of an unfamiliar mare replied. “I think I might be able to field a few questions while I’m here.”

Kukri spun to see who had spoken. Her eyes widened and she gasped. “D-Daring Do!”

I turned and blinked at who I saw. Before me was a pony who I had seen on the covers of Kukri’s books more times than I could remember. Daring Do posed and grinned, quite enjoying our surprise. Or at least she looked like Daring. Feeling a nagging suspicion, I frown Puzzle’s way. “This isn’t one of your jokes, is it?”

Puzzle smiled as innocently as a cat with a canary feather in its teeth. “Now, would this one do something like that?”

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.”

“You did say you missed not being able to spend the holidays with family,” Puzzle pointed out.

I groaned. “And having a fake Daring show up is exactly the type of thing you and your changeling buddies could pull off. And you did say you knew about the A.K. Yearling signing today.” In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew exactly what was in the latest Daring Do book and had set up some elaborate prank on the assumption that I’d come around asking questions.

“True, but this is no prank.” Puzzle smiled Daring’s way. “This one assures you that this is indeed the Do-mare in the flesh. We had some business to do while she happened to be in town.”

Daring chuckled. “Yep, it’s the real me. Granted, you have to take my word on that, but if this is a prank there isn’t any fun in it if you’ve already figured out the gag.”

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.

Daring smirked. “Sure, I’d love to sign your book. Do you have a pen?”

“Um.” Kukri patted her saddlebags for something to write with, but didn’t find anything. She looked around desperately, her eyes eventually focusing on Puzzle. “Puzzle! Can this one have a pen?!”

Puzzle grinned. “What’s the magic word?”

Kukri groaned melodramatically. “Please! This one doesn’t want to lose its opportunity to get the Do-mare to sign its book!”

“There should be a pen by the wheel.” Puzzle pointed to the wheelhouse. “Go ahead and get one.”

“Thanks!” Kukri was off like a lightning bolt.

Daring chuckled and shook her head as my apprentice darted off. “Cute kid.” She looked to me. “She your sister?”

“What?” It took me a moment to realize that Kukri was wearing her disguise that looked a lot like me. It was pretty endearing, really. The coat was a different tint than mine, and she had an orange stripe in her mane instead of my yellow, but everything in her appearance right down to the manestyle was eerily close to mine. Daring wasn’t the first one to draw the conclusion that we were related. “Oh, no. She’s my apprentice. I’m Sunset Shimmer, by the way, Magus of Freeport.”

“Daring Do, but I think you’ve already gathered that.” She offered me a hoof that I shook. “I’ve heard a bit about you. Most of the stories being about you setting fire to something.”

“I do tend to set bad guys on fire.” I beamed in pride. It might have stroked my ego a little bit to have somepony as famous as Daring say she had heard of me.

“Must be a full-time job in a place like Freeport.” Daring motioned with her head towards where Kukri was rustling around in the wheelhouse. “So your apprentice is a changeling, huh? I’ve never heard of a Free Mind magus before.”

“She’s a pretty enthusiastic learner. I think she’ll be just fine.” I probably shouldn’t have outed my apprentice as a changeling, in hindsight. Not when most Free Minds tried to keep that a secret from casual acquaintances. The problem was that it was a bit awkward to explain Kukri’s current appearance when she looked just like me. Maybe I could claim she was my cousin? Ponies would buy that if they didn’t know too much about me.

Daring shrugged. “As long as it’s working out for you two.”

Kukri returned at a run and offered a pen to Daring. “Here you go!”

“Great.” Daring took the pen but then paused. “Got any ink to go with the pen?”

Kukri gasped and turned to everyone’s favorite enabler.

“Also in the wheelhouse,” Puzzle answered before she could ask.

“Thanks!” My apprentice bolted back to the wheelhouse. We were really going to need to work on her patience and thinking things through before acting. Maybe Mom would have some pointers on how to work on these issues. Great, I was going to have to ask Mom about it. I might as well just accept my descent into being a proper responsible adult.

“So I guess you and A.K. Yearling are meeting up here in Freeport?” I had about a hundred and one questions right then, but that’s the one that shot forward first. I was curious how Daring and her author knew one another. Their relationship was a bit ambiguous from the interviews I had read in the newspaper.

“We both had business that needed taking care of here,” Daring confirmed. “Of course, coming to Freeport does come with the risk of running into this jerk again.” She grinned and motioned to Puzzle.

“The Do-mare wounds this one so,” Puzzle said, covering his heart with a hoof. “And after this one was so kindly going to donate some artifacts to the museum.”

Daring answered with a teasing tone. “Suuure, you’re an all around nice and altruistic love-sucking bug who just happens to be a shady information broker on the side.”

“This one can always send all of this right back to a warehouse where they can collect dust.” Puzzle tapped the crate to emphasize his point.

“Don’t make me go through the trouble of rescuing those artifacts.” Daring grinned in a way that said she wouldn’t mind doing just that.

“You mean steal?” Puzzle gave her an amused flat look.

“I’m sure you got all of this through completely legal means.” Daring started opening the crate, but Kukri came running back out of the wheelhouse.

“This one has the ink!” Kukri presented the inkwell to Daring. “Please tell this one you can sign its book now!”

“No way I could turn down such an enthusiastic and cute fan,” Daring said with a grin. “So what’s your name, kid?”

“Kukri Doo!” Kukri gave her a big smile. “That’s Doo with two o’s. Though this one wonders if you’re related to Clan Doo? Since you’re last name is Do with one o.”

“Near as I’ve been able to tell, I had ancestors from Pegasopolis on both ends of my family. A mixture of Doo’s and Strikers according to my genealogy research.” Daring signed the book and then passed it back to Kukri. “There you go.”

Kukri squealed and danced in place as she hugged her book to her chest. “This one got the Do-mare to sign its book! This one got the Do-mare to sign its book! This one got the Do-mare to sign its book!” She giggled giddily as she hopped around the deck.

I presented my own book. “Mind signing mine while you’re here?” I did my best to maintain a calm dignity, but it was hard considering the circumstances. It had tickled me to get Yearling to sign my book earlier that day, but to get Daring herself to sign it was something else entirely.

“Sure, as long as a whole line doesn’t start appearing behind you.” 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. “I am here on business, after all. I can’t spend all day signing books.”

“It is the risk of having a famous persona,” Puzzle said with a wry grin. “It must be hard juggling so many responsibilities.”

“I manage.” Daring gave me back my book. “There you go.”

“Thanks,” I said. Getting Daring to sign the novel was nice, but it wasn’t why I was here. “So, how do you two know one another?” I looked between Daring and Puzzle. “I admit, it was kinda a surprise to read about one of my friends starring in a Daring Do adventure novel.”

Daring raised an eyebrow. “You’re friends with this jerk?”

Puzzle pulled out a crowbar to help Daring open the crate with. “This jerk is donating rare objects to your museum, it will remind you. Some of them were quite difficult to procure.”

Daring playfully punched Puzzle on the shoulder. “You might be a loveable jerk who gives nice things to me now and again, but you’re still a jerk. I’m sure your ‘friend’ will agree with me.”

I couldn’t help but smirk. “You’re a little bit of a jerk.”

Puzzle rolled his eyes. “This one gets no respect.”

I snorted. “I’ve heard the way your employees and half the city talk about you, you get plenty of respect. You can tell I’m your friend because I deflate that ego of yours and bring you back down to the ground now and again.”

Daring pulled the lid off the crate after Puzzle wrenched it loose. “Besides, if you’re giving me something it’s because you want something in return.”

“Maybe this one just wanted to see the Do-mare while she was in town.” Puzzle set the crowbar aside.

Daring started carefully sifting through the packaging to get to the artifacts inside. “That’s still wanting something, and I’m willing to bet that isn’t all that you want. It’s just a matter of figuring out what you really want.”

Puzzle let out a melodramatic sigh. “It seems that this one will forever be doomed to not be trusted.”

I had to agree with Daring. Puzzle could be a nice guy, but he rarely did anything purely for altruistic reasons. If he was being nice to you it was probably because he wanted to butter you up and get on your good side. Well, okay, it was a bit more complicated than that; as Puzzle himself had told me, the most productive and long-lasting relationships were ones where both parties benefited. It worked, too. Despite the fact I knew I should be careful around Puzzle, I still trusted him. It was a trust I was certain he had carefully built up over the years, and now I considered him a part of ... whatever my little circle of people I knew was.

Kukri smiled up at Daring with bright eyes. “Can this one get you anything?”

Daring hummed as she carefully pulled out a Zebrican shaman mask to look over. “Is there a bottle of rum in the cooler? It’s been awhile since I’ve had any good Freeport rum.”

“Let this one check.” Kukri trotted over to the cooler and rustled around in it.

I looked between Puzzle and Daring. “So, this confirms that you two know one another. Though I’m curious about how Puzzle ended up in one of your novels.”

“Because I’ve ran into this jerk on several occasions during my adventures.” After examining the mask from top to bottom, she placed it back in the crate. “It was about time he actually showed up in one of my books.”

Kukri returned with a bottle of rum and presented it to Daring. “Here you go!”

“Thanks squirt.” Daring took the bottle and took a swig. “Mmm, it’s been way too long.”

Puzzle motioned to the novel I was carrying while Daring was busy drinking. “Can this one have a look?”

“Sure.” I levitated it over to him. “I only bought the book today, so I haven’t had the chance to read through the entire thing. Though as I was reading it, I was wondering how much of any of it is true.”

Puzzle opened my book and his eyes scanned one of the first pages. “‘This book is a work of fiction, and any relationship to any real people, places, or events is entirely by coincidence.’” Puzzle raised an eyebrow at Daring. “Pity, this one really should be receiving royalties for it being used in your books.”

Daring grinned as she fished out an ornate pot. “Hey, you weren’t even calling yourself ‘Puzzle’ back then—and like the book said, everything is made up.”

I frowned as I caught the subtext of what she was saying. “Except it did all happen?”

Daring shrugged. “More or less. Some of the details get changed by me—well, A.K. fictionalizes a few things to make for a better story and to make sure nopony gets hurt.”

“Except those that the Do-mare has locked horns with, apparently,” Puzzle mused as he flipped his way through the book. “Likely you’ve ruined the reputation of most of your rogues’ gallery.”

Daring snorted as she pulled out an old bowl. “Good luck to any of them trying to sue me. Most of them are wanted in multiple countries.”

Puzzle continued flipping through my book. “Ahuizotl would be lucky to get to the courtroom before he got turned into stone and carted off to become a lawn ornament for the White Pony’s garden.” He looked up at Daring with a frown. “Though this one will remind you that it is a respectable business owner, and not some villain.”

“Respectable by Freeport standards maybe.” Daring smiled innocently at Puzzle. “Relax, I didn’t make you look any more of a jerk than you actually were.”

Puzzle shot her a flat glower. “The wording of that statement does not encourage this one.”

“So what actually happened at Zanzebra?” I asked. “I want to know what really went on. From what I’ve read it sounds like you two had quite the adventure.”

“Yes, can you tell us a story?!” Kukri asked with a big smile. “Hearing a story directly from the Do-mare would be amazing!”

Daring looked away from the Zebrican artifacts and smiled down at Kukri. “Tell you what, I’ll trade a story for a story.” She smirked my way. “What do you say, Magus? I’ll give you the unabridged version of the story if you and your apprentice can give me a good yarn each.”

I grinned right back at her. “You’re on.”

“Yesyesyes!” Kukri bobbed her head up and down. “This one can tell you all about how it got to meet the Shimmer-mare!”

“Great!” Daring casually leaned on the crate as she smirked Puzzle’s way. “But Puzzle has to tell his half of the story about how we got to the City of Giants, too. This new book got me thinking about how there were several details I didn’t know about and really wished you were there for me to ask.”

“You could have written a letter to ask,” Puzzle grumbled.

“And probably have you ask me for a small fortune for the truth.” Daring poked Puzzle’s side. “Isn’t that right, Mr. Information Broker?”

“Not necessarily...”

“Great to hear!” Daring leaned an elbow on Puzzle haunches as she grinned. “Then that means you’ll tell your half of the story to your good friends for free, right?” She batted her eyelashes for Puzzle. “We are friends who are just telling each other fun stories, right?”

Wanting to strike the finishing blow, I said, “You did say you would keep fewer secrets from me.” I shot him a grin. “Not going to back down on that, are you?”

Puzzle sighed as his resistance crumbled. “Oh very well, this one will tell its half of the story.”

“See, you’re as friendly as you claim to be.” Daring gave him a friendly slug to the shoulder. “Do you want to start, or shall I?”

“This one might as well.” He grinned back at her. “This one is afraid it might look like a bad storyteller if it goes after you.”

Daring did an immodest shrug. “What can I say? A.K.’s rubbed off on me.”

Puzzle grabbed some more drinks and started handing them out. “Everyone get comfortable, this isn’t a short story.” He rubbed his chin. “Now where to start? Hm, perhaps when—“

“Um, Puzzle?” Kukri interrupted. She sniffed the air and shot a worried frown at the grill. “This one thinks the shishkabab is burning.”

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

Author's Notes:

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.

Next Chapter: Chapter 1 Estimated time remaining: 10 Hours, 47 Minutes
Return to Story Description


Login with