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Now, Embrace (Zipp Storm x Anon) [Complete]

By RealDash
Created: 8th October 2021 06:49:28 AM
22nd October 2021 05:11:22 AM

  1. >There comes a time where you wonder how you got here in the now.
  2. >This is one of those times.
  3. >You're Anonymous, and right now you're about to infiltrate an underground organization and retrieve an ancient artifact, all without getting caught.
  4. >How's that for exposition?
  5. >No?
  6. >Well, let's start from the beginning, then.
  7.  
  8. --------
  9.  
  10. >It was about two weeks ago when it all started.
  11. >Sunny Starscout, having taken after her father Argyle's work, wanted to bring more awareness to Equestria's history, to prove to the already united territories that friendship and magic go hoof in hoof.
  12. >You first thought she wanted an excuse to pillage some graves, but Sunny definitely had her heart in the right place, proving you wrong in the end.
  13. >So the six of you journeyed to an abandoned temple nestled in the canyons north of Zephyr Heights.
  14. >It wasn't hard to infiltrate; it was a decrepit old place, and any traps that would've worked fell apart thousands of years ago.
  15. >According to Argyle's findings, the temple was home to an ancient society's key energy source, in the events it could be returned to its rightful owners in time.
  16. >Surely now was as good a time as any!
  17. >But to Sunny's shock, she discovered the temple had already been tampered with, by a discreet organization known as the Embree Society.
  18. >How'd she figure that?
  19. >Well, by the signature they left above the empty chamber, of course: a drawing of a pocket watch with a heart etched into it.
  20. >The few ponies that knew of the Embree Society, knew very little of what they did.
  21. >You heard rumors, but nothing seemed too bad or too good to be true.
  22. >Foal-killers, has-beens, elites, simple thieves... you had no clue.
  23. >But what you -did- know was they had a habit of stealing ancient artifacts in the last hundred moons.
  24. >Nothing ever came of it, so there was definitely something off about it.
  25. >Nonetheless, you had to get it back.
  26. >There was just one problem...
  27. >You didn't know where they were.
  28. >Fortunately, Sunny was able to narrow down the area.
  29. >Over the last hundred moons, they pillaged more than eighty-four locations, all showing off their infamous logo.
  30. >Taking every location into account, Sunny placed them all on a single map of Equestria's east coast, and after careful inspection, they all converged onto one location.
  31. >Zephyr Heights.
  32. >So that's where Zipp Storm came in.
  33. >It was hard to tell whether she was more brawn or more brains, but she knew Zephyr Heights inside and out; from the darkest, stingiest sewers, to the cleanest bathrooms in the Royal Palace.
  34. >Made sense, Zephyr Heights was her home, after all.
  35. >And the whole, you know, princess thing.
  36. >You've lived in Zephyr Heights since you were a young colt, but never thought beyond the quickest route to school or work when you got older.
  37. >You heard whispers and murmurs of Embree, but every bout of interest always led to a dead end and you forgetting about them every few years.
  38. >Now you were likely going toe to toe with them.
  39. >You just had to find them.
  40.  
  41. -----------------
  42.  
  43. >You sat on a ledge overlooking the valley below Zephyr Heights, taking an occasional sip from your beer bottle.
  44. >The view was lovely from up here, and it was only after magic returned that you actually had a purpose beyond here.
  45. >Even if that purpose was currently still -here-, but you get the idea.
  46. >"Care for some company?" a feminine yet tough voice perked up from behind you.
  47. >You turned to see Zipp Storm, future Queen of Zephyr Heights, standing behind you—with a six-pack of beer held under one of her wings.
  48. >You gave a chuckle.
  49. "Go ahead."
  50. >Setting the pack on the ground and giving her wings a stretch, Zipp walked up to the ledge and plopped down right beside you, her legs dangling over a mile drop to certain death.
  51. >Of course, this was normal for pegasi: Before magic, you could just glide your way down and hitch a balloon back up.
  52. >The other races? Not so much on the falling down part.
  53. >Zipp pulled one of the beer cans out of their plastic wrap and flicked it open, before taking a couple chugs and letting loose a satisfied sigh.
  54. >You really, -really- wondered how this mare could possibly be the next Queen, but that's a question for another time.
  55. "Have any trouble getting here?" you asked.
  56. >"Eh," she said with a shrug, "apart from a couple paparazzi and some kids looking for autographs, it wasn't that bad. But I'm betting I'll see some wicked bed head in the paper tomorrow morning."
  57. >You stifle a laugh, but it gets a chuckle out of Zipp.
  58. "Anything about Embree yet?"
  59. >You hoped you weren't jumping on the subject too fast, but Zipp, amid chugging down the rest of her first can, just gave a muffled 'mm-mmm.'
  60. >"Not much. Every hint of their... headquarters, I guess? ... just keeps leading to dead ends. Like there's something there, but then it's just gone. But I found eight of their symbols on Moon Street alone. They're here. I guess we just need to keep looking."
  61. "Should we start on that street?"
  62. >"No," Zipp replied with a shake of her head. "I already scoped the place out. It's just apartment buildings and I think a... uh... strip club."
  63. >Zipp blushes.
  64. "You mean Musk n' Husk'?"
  65. >The blush immediately fades from her face, and she slowly turns to look at you with a very suspicious glance.
  66. "Okay, before you say or think -anything-, I only know of that place because some of my friends from college took me there for my 18th birthday."
  67. >"Really. Just the one time?"
  68. "Nah." You grab your bottle and finish off the contents. "Few times after that. After that, they stopped taking me because they realized I didn't like going there."
  69. >"Why?"
  70. "Just didn't really -like- any of the mares there. I mean, no judging them or anything, but they just didn't really interest me. Plus, that place always felt off."
  71. >"How so?"
  72.  
  73. "I don't know, just... felt like there was something -else- that I wasn't seeing, something... missing..."
  74. >Your face goes blank, and the two of you look at each other.
  75. >You're thinking one thing, that's obvious.
  76. >Zipp's probably thinking something else.
  77. >And she's not liking it.
  78. >Less than thirty minutes later, you and Zipp were staring up at the illustrious sign for the club Musk n' Husk, one of Zephyr Heights' rarest yet most popular strip clubs.
  79. >Moon Street was essentially the city's red light district, though it was incredibly small and wasn't as glamorous as some would claim, that most ponies never would've noticed it.
  80. >But tonight, being a Friday, of course it was going to be popular, judging from everypony walking about.
  81. >Luckily Zipp was dressed up enough to avoid suspicion.
  82. >After a few seconds of looking at the animated sign of a pegasus mare giving a wink and a kiss, Zipp turned to you with a deadpan look on her face.
  83. "Come on," you say with a shrug, "think about it. Something missing? Hidden in plain sight? That old saying?"
  84. >...
  85. >"You just wanted a reason to come back here, didn't you?"
  86. "... The burgers are good..."
  87. >Zipp sighed.
  88. "But that's not why we're here. Think about it. Every time I went here, this place was always giving me the creeps. Like I was just barely scratching the surface of something. And now we're looking for a group that's got -mysterious- undertones to them. What if the Embree Society is in here, hidden in plain sight?"
  89. >She grimaced with uncertainty and shrugged.
  90. >"Ehhh, I don't know, Anon. Hidden in plain sight, sure. But a strip club would also be -the- place to expect something... deeper."
  91. >You opened your mouth, then closed it.
  92. "... Okay, fair point."
  93. >You scrunched your lips and looked back to the club entrance, then sighed.
  94. "Well, I can't imagine any other place in the city giving off a vibe like this. Don't suppose you found any other... districts?"
  95. >Zipp just shook her head, forcing you to sigh again.
  96. >You looked up at the animated mare.
  97. >Wink, kiss. wink, kiss.
  98. "... Wanna get a burger?"
  99. >Zipp rolled her eyes and chuckled.
  100. >"Yeah... 'burger.'"
  101.  
  102. ------------
  103.  
  104. >"And now please give a waaaaarm round of applause for—you know and love her well—Bell Bottom!"
  105. >A roar of mostly male applause ripples through the club as a mare around your age steps onto the stage, sporting some risque-looking wear.
  106. >You weren't paying attention to that much though; you were busy sitting in your booth, chowing down another burger.
  107. >Zipp, on the other hoof, was watching the show unenthusiastically.
  108. >"This is awful," she says simply, almost completely drowned out by the hoots and hollers of the stallions in the crowd.
  109. "Agreed," you say after swallowing a bite. "Don't get me wrong, she's pretty and all, but she doesn't seem like the kind of girl to be doing this kind of stuff."
  110. >"I don't know how any guy can watch this stuff."
  111. >You notice her glancing over to you through the strobe lights.
  112. >"And I don't know how -you- can even stomach those things," she says, referring to your burger.
  113. "Because they're cheap and cheesy. ... ttpp... A bit greasier than I remember, though. But hey, you at least tried some."
  114. >Zipp looked down at her own burger and bit her bottom lip in slight disgust.
  115. >"Yeah, three bites. Because that's all I can stomach. Meanwhile, you've had how many?"
  116. "... Four...?"
  117. >She just stared at you, mouth slightly open, forever screaming silent.
  118. >Those eyes judged you more than any mortal ever could.
  119. >A few seconds later, she pushed her burger over to you.
  120. >"Well, you enjoy that then, Mr. Hoover."
  121. >With a wink, you grabbed her burger and placed it into your box.
  122. >You were already feeling full, so this would be a great lunch for tomorrow.
  123. >You and Zipp continued to sit in your booth and watch a few more mares come to the stage and "work their magic."
  124. >Every single one of them left with bags of bits—some of them of pitiful size, but others that needed a bit more of a helping hoof.
  125. >At least they were getting paid well.
  126. >"So..." Zipp lingered, "... none of these mares are your type?"
  127. >You shrugged, scrunching your lips.
  128. "Not really. I don't mind beautiful mares, but... they're just not what I'm looking for."
  129. >"So what -does- interest you?"
  130. "Honestly? A girl who doesn't have to try looking good to be good. Someone who isn't just trying to look pretty for the cameras in hopes somepony's gonna sweep them off their hooves."
  131. >Zipp gave a soft chortle.
  132. >"Then I guess I don't have to worry about you snatching Pipp."
  133.  
  134. >You chuckled.
  135. "Pipp's fine. But the kind of mare I want is someone who is willing to be themself. Otherwise... why bother, you know?"
  136. >Zipp gave you a surprised glanced before nodding.
  137. >"Yeah... That makes sense. You want someone who's real."
  138. "Exactly. No facade. No hiding. Just... Zipp."
  139. >"... W... What?"
  140. "Look."
  141. >You placed a hoof on Zipp's shoulder and pointed the other up towards the stage, towards the mare walking up to the front pole.
  142. >Her chest was puffed outward, her dress sparkled with a gray overtone and a subtle shade of blue.
  143. >Her mane fell down to her shoulders, and her lips sported a cherry red lipstick and a pearly white smile to boot.
  144. >There was something odd about her, but that was not your focus.
  145. >"I thought you said you wanted someone like—"
  146. "No, -look-. Around her neck," you emphasized, pointing again.
  147. >Hanging around the mare's neck, in bedazzling pink and white, was the very symbol of the Embree Society: a pocket watch with a heart in its center.
  148. >Zipp's eyes opened in astonishment and she recoiled slightly.
  149. >"Wow. That took me a sec. Good eye."
  150. >The crowd went wild as the dancing mare removed her top and made a striking pose, before blowing a kiss.
  151. >"Icy! Icy! Icy!"
  152. >You were probably the only stallion there not cheering.
  153. >Mainly because you noticed something familiar about that mare...
  154. >Ten minutes and an encore from the crowd later, Icy gave a saucy little curtsey and strutted off the stage, bags in her winged grasp.
  155. >You and Zipp snuck off to the back while the crowd was distracted.
  156. >You'll admit, you've never seen the back of a strip club before, but it literally looks like the backstage area in the auditorium of the school you attended as a colt.
  157. >Which is... creepy, to say the least.
  158. >You turned the corner to see Icy disappear into a room, with a security guard standing just near the now-closed door.
  159. "Always a guard when you -don't- need one," you joke with a grunt. "So, I... take it you're not willing to convince him to let us in?"
  160. >"Unless I want my family to get plastered all over the news by morning... no."
  161. "I mean... you've done it once already, right?"
  162. >Zipp just looks at you with a blank stare.
  163. "I'm kidding."
  164. >As you think of any way to get past the guard, a thought suddenly hits you.
  165. >It was crawling in the back of your head back in the main room... funny enough, just by looking at her.
  166. >Icy blue coat, shoulder-fallen mane, sparkly dress, cherry red lipstick...
  167. >... Fresh hell, how did you forget?
  168. "Okay, so I have... kind of an idea."
  169. >"Go on."
  170. "Just... don't jump to conclusions."
  171. >That raised an eyebrow from Zipp.
  172. >"O... kay..."
  173. "C'mon."
  174.  
  175. >Leaving the cover of the dark corner, you started to walk down the hall in a calm manner, with Zipp tailing behind you.
  176. >She let out a little nervous hum, but otherwise didn't stop you.
  177. >Once you got close enough, the guard turned his gaze to meet you and Zipp.
  178. >"Whoa, whoa," he said with a deep grunt, "this area's off limits to customers."
  179. "No worries, bud," you say immediately putting on a confident face, "just here to see Icy, that's all."
  180. >"Yeah, well you don't exactly look like her hairdresser, pal. No pass, no entry. Go back the way you came or you and your friend are gonna have trouble."
  181. >You turned around quick to gauge Zipp's reaction.
  182. >She was trying to hide her face as best as she could, even if she was wearing a disguise.
  183. >But she was also giving you a look as if to say, 'What now?'
  184. >Letting out a little awkward sigh, you turned back to the guard who was now standing a foot closer to you.
  185. "Look, I... I know Icy, alright? Just tell her... tell her it's—"
  186. >"Double A?" a voice suddenly calls out.
  187. >You look behind the guard to see that the door is now opened, and in the doorway stood Iced Cherry, no longer sporting her dress-wear, and now fully in her natural attire.
  188. >"O-M-G! It really -is- you!" Cherry shrieks with glee as she ran over and gave you a tightening hug. "It's been ages! How are you?"
  189. "Uh..."
  190. >You glance over at Zipp again.
  191. >She may not be saying it, but she's thinking of every conclusion she could think of.
  192. >"Cherry, you know this guy?"
  193. >"Of course I do! This is Double A, the stallion I kept telling you about! I'd recognize that cute little face anywhere!"
  194. "Uh..."
  195. >"Don't worry, I got this, okay?"
  196. >His posture softening, the guard gave a shrug and nodded.
  197. >"C'mon! C'mon! Ooh, and bring your friend too!"
  198. >Cherry scooched you into the dressing room, while Zipp followed behind.
  199. >Once the two of you were inside, Cherry shut the door and locked it, then turned around with a smile on her face.
  200. >"So! How've you been? I haven't seen you since Hearth's Warming!"
  201. "Well, I uh... I've been busy. I've been meaning to keep in contact more, but—"
  202. >"Pfft," she interrupted, waving a hoof, "don't worry about it. To be honest, I'm probably worse at keeping touch. And I work at a strip club, am I right?"
  203. "Heh... yeah."
  204.  
  205. >Your nervous laughter was halted when you noticed Zipp staring at you.
  206. >Smugly.
  207. >"Haven't been here in years, huh?"
  208. "Oh. Uh..."
  209. >"Who's this? Haven't seen her at our get-togethers before."
  210. >"Oh, so is -that- what they're—"
  211. "Can you stop... ugh, okay. One at a time."
  212. >You suck in a deep breath and exhale slowly.
  213. "First things first, you can take that off," you say to Zipp, referring to her disguise.
  214. >Despite your permission, Zipp hesitantly started to remove the wig, as well as remove the wash-in cutie mark from her flank.
  215. >As soon as her toothpaste-colored hair was visible, Cherry gave a gasp before clamoring to the floor in an awkward bow.
  216. >"Oh. No, y-you don't have to do that. Really, that's more of a thing with my mom, but... I'm cool."
  217. >"Oh... of course. Sorry, Princes—"
  218. >"Zipp. You can just, call me Zipp."
  219. >Zipp chuckled awkwardly before turning back to you.
  220. >"So, uh... care to...?"
  221. "Right. So, Cherry... you already know... Zipp. Zipp, this is Iced Cherry."
  222. >"Nice to meet you, by the way," Zipp said as she held out a hoof.
  223. >Cherry took her hoof and shook it for a moment with a jittery rhythm.
  224. >"Wow. I'm sorry, but... Princess Zipp is in my dressing room, and I just shook her hoof. Agh, it's like a filly's dream come true!"
  225. "Oh, and she's a big fan of you."
  226. >"I can tell," Zipp replied, giving off a genuine smile at the mare's delight. "So, how do you two know each other?"
  227. >Once the initial joy wore off, Cherry turned to Zipp while leaning towards you.
  228. >"Oh, well we actually met right here at the club. A couple of his friends took him here for his 18th, and funny enough, I was his first experience with the whole 'strip club' thing."
  229. >You eyed Zipp with "I told you so" eyes.
  230. >"I didn't think anything of it at the time; just another happy customer. Then his friends kept bringing him back and back, and after the fourth-ish visit, I knew he really didn't want to be there. But I didn't hold it against him. Instead, I started hanging out with him in my off time, get to know him normally. We used to do get-togethers pretty much every week, but... then I started getting more hours, and all the work just kept piling up, and... you know how that goes."
  231. >Zipp's eyes opened slightly.
  232. >"Yeah, I can imagine. Ever since magic came back, it's been tough trying to hang out with everyone. Anon and Pipp are the only exceptions... for obvious reasons."
  233. >"Yeah... but hey, it seems you're trying your best to be with them! And that's what matters most, right?"
  234. >Zipp smiled and gave a little tilt of her head.
  235. >"Yeah, I guess you're right."
  236.  
  237. >Cherry let out a cute giggle—one that was definitely enhanced by Zipp's presence, but she was well composed enough to keep it from being an issue.
  238. >The two of them continued to talk a bit, laughing and smiling at anything that piqued their fancies.
  239. >That was Cherry's talent, of course: showing someone a good time.
  240. >Plus, Zipp was definitely itching for more company.
  241. >You sat at an empty side of the dressing table and took a few bites of the burger Zipp gave you, something to pass a minute or two.
  242. >Being full, you could only stomach three small bites before you put it back in the box and shoved it into the corner of the table.
  243. >After a couple minutes of listening in, the conversation died down.
  244. >"So, Anon! When did you start dating Zipp?"
  245. >You stopped eating and turned to her.
  246. "Huh?"
  247. >Even Zipp looked confused, sporting a decent blush and stammering in silence.
  248. "Oh! No, we're not dating! We're just friends," you said, feeling your face warming on its own.
  249. >"Are you suuuure? Because she definitely checks off everything on the list!"
  250. >Oh noooooo, Cherry, don't mention the—
  251. >"List?" Zipp speaks up.
  252. >You give her one glance.
  253. >Her blush is still there, faded.
  254. >But that smug little smirk of hers, that fucking smirk, is front and center.
  255. >You turned away and started eyeing whatever was on the dressing table.
  256. >Which wasn't much.
  257. >"Oh yeah! A few years ago, Anon was telling me and his friends about the ideal mare for him. Firm body, athletic, tomboyish charm, definitely a smart cookie, and... permission to swear?"
  258. >Zipp snorted and shrugged.
  259. >"Go ahead."
  260. >"Ass! And girl, you passed the test with flying colors!"
  261. >Zipp bit her lips to stifle a chuckle, but the compliment about her... rear had her blushing again.
  262. >You tried to shake it off, but the red on your face was making it hard to convince them otherwise.
  263. "Okay, first of all, I made that 'list' when I was 19. And it was just a lot of things that I liked at the time. Still do, but... it was just a list."
  264. >"And there's nothing wrong with that," Cherry assured with a smile. "I mean, my ideal stallion is a buff guy who's a softy during the day, but during the night he shoves you into the bed and just fi—"
  265. "Uhh," you pipe up, "I, uh... think we should get back on topic. Um, Cherry... I'm not just here to reconnect. As great as it's been. But Zipp and I were hoping we could talk to you about something."
  266. >Once she was back on track, she cleared her throat.
  267.  
  268. >"Oh! Right. Sure. What about?"
  269. "Uh... well... it's kind of complicated."
  270. >"It's about the symbol around your neck," Zipp said bluntly. "We're looking for the Embree Society."
  271. "A—w—Okay, what she said."
  272. >Cherry's expression suddenly switched to that of surprise as she held the necklace in her hoof.
  273. >"Oh! Well... oh, wow! I didn't... uh... well, that definitely explains why both of you are here, then."
  274. >You raised an eyebrow at her, but didn't think much of it.
  275. >"So you know them?"
  276. >"Know them? I'm one of their core members," Cherry explained. "Well, not really -core-, but a regular. Muuuch more regular than -here-. That's the big reason for the longer hours. Sometimes I get a bit... carried away. Ehehehe..."
  277. >You and Zipp exchanged glances, but again didn't think too much of it.
  278. >But at least you could narrow down their capabilities.
  279. >Hopefully.
  280. >"So why are you looking for Embree?"
  281. >Well, you couldn't exactly tell her you were looking for an ancient artifact they may or may not have stolen.
  282. >But you didn't want to lie to her eith—
  283. >"We're looking to join."
  284. >Or Zipp can just do that, why not?
  285. >"I had a feeling that might've been the case, but... aren't you worried your family might find out? I don't want you to get stuck in a scandal because of me."
  286. >"Don't worry. I've got that covered."
  287. >Cherry looked at her necklace, then to Zipp, then to you.
  288. >She bit her inner lip, thinking hard.
  289. >Suddenly, she blushed and giggled nervously for a moment before composing herself.
  290. >She walked over to the dressing table and pulled out a sticky note, then started to write something down.
  291. >She then pulled off the note and gave it to you.
  292. >"Meet me here on Sunday at 9PM," she said. "I'll be waiting at the front."
  293. >Cherry turned back to Zipp.
  294. >"Are you -sure- you want to do this? I mean, I'm a stripper, but even the Embree Society can be pretty... eccentric is putting it lightly."
  295. >She shrugged.
  296. >"Ehhh, I've had my fair share of eccentric in the last few months. What's one more adventure?"
  297. >Cherry gave a hum, but the nervousness started to fade.
  298. >"Well... if you say so~"
  299. >Stuffing the note into your satchel, you zipped it up and got up from your seat.
  300. "Thanks, Cherry," you say, shaking her hoof. "You saved us a lot of time. Seriously."
  301. >She smiled warmly at you.
  302. >"Aww, it was the least I could do."
  303. "And hey... if you're not busy this weekend... maybe we could have another get-together on Tuesday?"
  304. >The question caught Cherry by surprise, but she grinned.
  305. >"Well... it has been a while... and I've missed hanging out with you... so sure! What's one day off work? Ooh, can Zipp come too? I'd love to get to know her better!"
  306. "Uh... sure!" you exclaim, taken aback by the request, but welcome to it. "You free that day, Zipp?"
  307. >You eyed Zipp as she started thinking.
  308. >"Hmm... other than the Day Court, I don't think I've got anything else planned. So sure, I'm game."
  309.  
  310. >Cherry let out a girly squeal of joy and trotted in place.
  311. >"I'm gonna be hanging out with Princess Zipp. Agh, it's like I'm five years old again!"
  312. >You knew Cherry tended to get amped up about a lot of things, but never at this level.
  313. >But Zipp was more than okay with it, smiling and chuckling at the mare's filly-like joy.
  314. >Once the details were all set up and shared between the three of you—and Zipp was dressed up again—you and Zipp said your farewells and left the dressing room.
  315. >"See you guys soon!" Cherry shouted from afar.
  316. >The two of you waved her goodbye and rounded the corner.
  317. >The club was still fairly active, so there was no issue leaving undetected, only to realize it was already nighttime.
  318. "Shit," you said under your breath, then turned to Zipp. "I don't suppose you have a curfew or anything, right?"
  319. >Zipp shook her head.
  320. >"No. Ever since I turned 18, I've been pretty much free to do whatever... as long as I'm in the court by morning. Why do you ask?"
  321. "Well, my apartment's a couple blocks from here. If you want, you can stay the night, save you a trip. Then we can call the others tomorrow and make a plan. Sound good?"
  322. >"Oh... are you trying to invite a smart, athletic, firm-bodied mare to your home? How bold of you, Anon."
  323. >You couldn't help but wince.
  324. "Ugh... please tell me you're not going to make this a thing."
  325. >"Oh, I'm making it a thing. I'm totally making it a thing. This is a thing now."
  326. "It's getting harder and harder to believe you're my princess."
  327. >You stopped dead.
  328. "I mean—"
  329. >"Oh, -your- princess, you say—"
  330. "Yeah, yeah, I walked right into that. Come on. My place is on Staple Road."
  331. >You could hear Zipp give a half-chuckle, half-giggle as she followed behind you.
  332. >"After you... Prince Anon."
  333. >You opened your mouth, then slowly, carefully, shut it.
  334. >Your grave was deep enough.
  335.  
  336. ---------------
  337.  
  338. >The next two days passed by quicker than you hoped.
  339. >You gave Sunny and the others a call and updated them on the situation over the phone, keeping it as vague as possible for suspicion's sake.
  340. >When Zipp was off to the palace for Day Court, you were using your free time to scope out the address Cherry gave you last night.
  341. >284 Laureno Avenue.
  342. >You probably been to Laureno Avenue once in your entire life, and only to visit a friend who used to live there back when you were a colt.
  343. >When you arrived to the street, you were amazed to see the immediate contrast from your own neighborhood.
  344. >Most of Zephyr Heights' buildings were tall, swanky, and a bit on the fancy side.
  345. >Even Staple Street was a bit high class, despite such 'normal' looking apartments.
  346. >But Laureno Avenue was like the suburbs of Zephyr Heights, with most of the buildings going no higher than four floors.
  347. >A small diner was fitted into one of the apartments near a playground, so there was at least some activity during the day.
  348. >It didn't take long for you to find the address.
  349. >The building looked the same as any other building around it; average, four floors, a bit worn but still standing proud.
  350. >But the building was definitely abandoned, likely within the last couple years and was due to be demolished any day.
  351. >So unless any members are interested in drinking from used syringes, you can't imagine the Society would be hanging out in there.
  352. >On the plus side, it meant the trip was probably a short one.
  353. >You were getting really close, and thought was exciting you.
  354. >Maybe making you a bit nervous too.
  355. >But you trusted Cherry; she wouldn't lead you and a standing princess to your own deaths.
  356. >... Right?
  357. >Overstaying your welcome, you started to leave the area.
  358. >But a ruffling sound caught your attention, coming from the side of the building.
  359. >When you looked, however, there was nothing there, other than the garbage chute poking out of the side.
  360. >*fwoom*
  361. >The still functioning garbage chute, mind you.
  362. >Huh, guess this place isn't as abandoned as you thought.
  363. >Still not going in there.
  364.  
  365. ------------
  366.  
  367. >Which brings us back to the present day.
  368. >Sunday night, at last.
  369. >After planning and preparing with the little information you had, it was time to move.
  370. >It was dark and cold, especially this high up, but the city was still bustling with life on all corners.
  371. >Some of the teenage colts and fillies were out on the town, having a little fun before the school week began tomorrow.
  372. >You and Zipp didn't take long to get to Laureno Avenue once you knew the route.
  373. >It was a bit rainy, and Zipp couldn't risk her disguise getting blown off in the wind, so you two walked.
  374. >The diner mentioned earlier was the only part of the street busy tonight, making it fairly easy to get to the meetup spot without much trouble.
  375. >Even from afar, you could still make out Iced Cherry's familiar figure, only sporting a short green raincoat.
  376. >Guess she planned ahead.
  377. >She quickly noticed you and Zipp approaching and put on a happy grin.
  378. >"Double A!" she exclaimed while bringing you in for a hug. "And Z—I mean, Pearl Button, looking awfully sexy tonight! You're right on time!"
  379. >Thanks to Izzy's handiwork, Zipp looked completely unrecognizable, apart from her white coat.
  380. >She was sporting a red, ruffled mane, red eyeliner, a bunned-up tail, and a stick-on cutie mark with the design of a pair of lips smushed together—and now a blush on her cheeks from the compliment.
  381. >The disguise wasn't meant to be too fancy, just enough to fool everyone.
  382. >Even fooled you at first; that's how good it was.
  383. "Wouldn't miss it, Cherry," you claim with a smile of your own. "I hope we're not too dolled up?"
  384. >"Not at all! In fact, you're probably under-dressed, but pfft. Like that's a bad thing here, am I right?"
  385. >With a sigh of relief, you joined in the brief laugh with Cherry.
  386. >"So... are you two ready?"
  387. >You turned to Zipp, and she turned to you.
  388. >She had this nervous look in her eyes, but it was clouded with clear determination.
  389. >You hoped you had the same look in your own.
  390. >But in any case, there was no turning back now.
  391. "You bet. Lead the way."
  392. >"Of course~"
  393. >Cherry started walking up the front steps of the building behind her.
  394. >...
  395. >Uh...
  396. >"Well? C'mon!" Cherry reiterated with a smile.
  397. >...
  398. >"Wait... it's... in here?" Zipp asked cautiously.
  399. >Cherry giggled with a little snort.
  400. >"I know, I know. I was thinking the exact same thing when I first joined, buuut it'll make sense in a second."
  401.  
  402. >Zipp eyed you with a worrisome glance, and you'll admit you did the same thing back to her.
  403. >Nonetheless, the two of you cautiously followed Cherry up the steps.
  404. >She opened the door and allowed you inside first, then Zipp.
  405. >You heard the door close behind you and Cherry walk past the two of you.
  406. >The hallway of what seems to be the building's lobby was decrepit and worn, like it hadn't been properly maintained in years.
  407. >At the very end of the hall, there stood an elevator with four buttons for all four floors.
  408. >The lights were off and there was nothing to indicate it even worked.
  409. >That is, until Cherry pressed 1-4-3-2-EMERGENCY-2-4-2" in that order.
  410. >Suddenly, the buttons came to life, glowing a familiar shade of yellow, followed by a loud DING! that startled you and Zipp.
  411. >Cherry pressed 1 on the pad and you could hear the elevator spring to life.
  412. >The lights above showed no indication of where the elevator was coming from.
  413. >But it seemed like it was going... up.
  414. >From -below- you.
  415. >Except you were on the first floor.
  416. >After a few seconds, the rumbling stopped, and the elevator doors slowly slid open, revealing a golden-walled elevator that very much resembled that of the Royal Palace's elevators.
  417. >Cherry walked in first, then you and Zipp hesitantly followed behind.
  418. >The interior of the elevator was a nice, warm temperature that had you ruffling your feathers a bit.
  419. >You saw a keypad on the wall showing off the individual floors of the building, but there was an extra button with a heart in the center instead of a number.
  420. >Cherry reached forward and pressed it.
  421. >Immediately, the doors slid shut and the elevator began moving -down-.
  422.  
  423. >Suddenly, the lights in the elevator began to die until they turned off completely, which lasted a few seconds before they started to glow a dim pinkish hue.
  424. >You turned to Zipp, whom you could only make out because of her brighter coat.
  425. >She was more confused at the moment than nervous.
  426. >A few seconds of silent rumbling later, you could hear the sound of muffled, distant chatter coming up from below you.
  427. >The elevator then came to a stop and let out another loud DING!
  428. >"Double A... 'Pearl Button'..."
  429. >Cherry reached down and pressed another button on the keypad.
  430. >"Welcome to the Embree Society."
  431. >The doors of the elevator slid open.
  432. >You and Zipp couldn't help but gasp at the sight.
  433. >Exiting the elevator, you entered a vast ballroom painted with a pink-purple hue of light that surprisingly wasn't a total eyesore.
  434. >The ballroom reached up two whole stories, fitted with a grand staircase near the back, and a large pool in the center that sparkled both pink and blue.
  435. >There was a small bar on the top floor, or at least one you could very faintly make out.
  436. >But the very first thing you noticed was how -packed- the entire place was.
  437. >Ponies. EVERYWHERE.
  438. >Talking, laughing, screaming with joy in the pool, dining at a buffet table, and some of them definitely drunk.
  439. >Despite all that, the overall volume in the place wasn't as loud as you were expecting.
  440. >There were loudspeakers hanging on the ceiling throughout the place playing music (( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oWyMakvQew )), and you could hear that far better than any of the rampant conversation.
  441.  
  442. >"I've memorized every corner of this city since I was four," Zipp said to herself. "How did I never find this place?"
  443. >"The Embree Society likes to be -very- discreet," Cherry suggested with a wink. "And Mrs. Embree will have any other answers for any other questions. And I'm sure you've got more than plenty, am I right?"
  444. >Cherry's giggles blended into the crowd's ambience.
  445. "So, uh... what do we do?"
  446. >"Well, for now, just make yourselves comfortable!" she exclaimed. "Go for a swim, dance to some music, maybe a couple drinks at the bar to lighten the mood a little, eh? Give me a half hour, and I'll make sure you have a great time. Sound crystal?"
  447. >"Sure, Cherry," Zipp answered with a smile. "You know where to find us. Which is... anywhere, I guess."
  448. >"Of course, 'Pearl'."
  449. >Cherry headed off towards the grand staircase in a fit of giggles.
  450. >You and Zipp looked at each other, shrugged, and made your way over to the poolside.
  451. >There were plenty of ponies swimming about in the pool, splashing around or playing a game of I See, No See.
  452. >Lights were scattered around the walls under the water, so you could see everything in clear detail.
  453. >"Huh," Zipp muttered softly as she sat down on the edge of the pool, letting her hind hooves dangle in the water. "This honestly isn't what I was expecting at all."
  454. "Yyyyeah," you answered slowly as you sat next to her. "I don't know what to think of it."
  455. >Ponies would occasionally walk or swim around the two of you.
  456. >Many of them would give you a brief 'hi' or 'excuse me,' but a few of them noticed the two of you were new.
  457. >You'd have brief conversations with them; nothing too important, just enough to introduce yourselves, before they went off elsewhere.
  458. >And that was the interesting part.
  459. >It was genuine.
  460. >Normal.
  461. >There was no sinister undertone to the way they treated you or talked to you, no inkling of something nefarious underneath their kind spirits.
  462. >They were genuinely some of the nicest ponies you've probably ever met.
  463. >And Zephyr Heights had some assholes.
  464.  
  465. >"So..." Zipp lingered with a sigh. "Should we start looking?"
  466. >You bit your cheek.
  467. "I don't know. Maybe we—"
  468. >You stopped.
  469. "Uhh... Zipp...?"
  470. >"Yeah?"
  471. "I think I know what kind of club this is now."
  472. >Mouth slightly agape and eyes unsure of what they were seeing, you pointed your hoof to the opposite side of the pool, exactly across from where you were sitting.
  473. >A stallion, half submerged in the lukewarm pool water, had his forelegs wrapped around the hind legs of a mare, with his face buried between her thighs—clearly going to town on her muff.
  474. >His hips were rocking back and forth for a few moments before another mare suddenly emerged from underwater, appearing before him and opening her mouth to present to him.
  475. >She closed it after a second and took a big gulp before letting out a laugh.
  476. >The mare being eaten out was screaming in raw, unfiltered pleasure.
  477. >And nopony around them cared.
  478. >Except the few that cheered them on.
  479. >"Oh... OH. Uh... wow."
  480. "Yeah."
  481. >...
  482. >"Uh... you're getting kinda—"
  483. "Yeah, don't-don't draw attention to it."
  484. >"Kind of hard not to, to be honest."
  485. "... Let's go to the buffet."
  486. >"Yeah, sure."
  487. >After less than ten seconds of rushed hush-hush conversation, you and Zipp got up from the poolside and started to walk over to the buffet table.
  488. >"Need any help?"
  489. "NOPE," you said calmly.
  490.  
  491. >Despite hearing the mare at the pool wail in sex-crazed ecstasy, you were more focused on the buffet table now before you, filled with an assortment of all kinds of foods and desserts.
  492. >From brownies and ice cream sundaes in fancy bowls, to freshly cooked tuna patties and wieners, all of which both sent your nostrils into overdrive.
  493. "Now I know where Musk n' Husk gets their burgers from," you joke as you grab a tuna burger and dig in.
  494. >Only to stop after the first bite.
  495. "Oh come on, I thought I was joking."
  496. >...
  497. >You begrudgingly kept eating.
  498. "Tastes a little better, at least..."
  499. >"So," Zipp sighed as she chose to grab a small brownie, "all I've managed to gather in the less than five minutes we've been here is that the Embree Society is nothing more than a casual sex-slash-swingers club, where the patrons not only freely bang in the public swimming pool, but can eat an entire buffet table right next to said swimming pool while getting a blowjob from a total stranger, and not a single pony will bat an eye towards you. OR... they will join in. Am I missing anything?"
  500. "Probably a lot," you said blankly, "but that's the gist I'm getting too."
  501. >Zipp sighed again.
  502. >"I just... I don't get it. They don't look anything like the myths claimed them to be. At least, nothing I've seen yet. So why raid some ancient temple?"
  503. >She turned to you with genuine curiosity.
  504. >"Why steal some old crystal heart?"
  505. >Before you could say anything, you felt a gentle tap on your rump.
  506. >You turned around to see a young mare, likely in her early 20s, standing before you with an innocent smile and an apparent blush.
  507. >"Hi!" she said cheerfully, yet with a nervous undertone. "I hope I'm not bothering you at all, but I... I just wanted to say you have a really nice dick."
  508. >Well, emphasis on the -casual- here.
  509. "Oh!" you say, caught by surprise. "Well, uh, t-thank you!"
  510. >"You're welcome," she replied with a fit of nervous giggles. "And, uh... sorry, I'm nervous... I was wondering if maybe I could suck on it a bit? See how much I can fit in my mouth?"
  511. >...
  512. "Uh... we-... I—"
  513. >"Sorry hon," you heard Zipp say from behind as she placed one of her hooves on your shoulder. "This guy's all mine."
  514. >The mare recoiled in embarrassment.
  515. >"Oh! Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't—"
  516. >Zipp just chuckled.
  517. >"Don't worry about it. But hey, word of advice? Deep breaths. It really goes a long way. Trust me."
  518.  
  519. >The mare lets out another nervous laugh and hastily nods.
  520. >"Okay. Thank you! Sorry again!"
  521. "Nah, it's o—"
  522. >But she was already walking away, back to a group of other mares sitting nearby.
  523. "—kay."
  524. >You watched the mare sit down with the others and give a shake of her head, but a smile persisted on her face.
  525. >"Aww!" you heard them all say in unison.
  526. >"Don't worry sweetheart, you're getting some tonight," another said.
  527. >Zipp led you away from the buffet table before you could hear anymore.
  528. >The two of you navigated your way around the various sections of the ballroom before you eventually found a sort of lounge.
  529. >There were a few ponies scattered about, but only two of them acknowledged you before going back to their conversation.
  530. >You and Zipp found a small private area of the lounge with a loveseat and beverage table, fitted with a privacy curtain.
  531. >Zipp closed the curtain behind her and sat down on the couch.
  532. >You sat down beside her.
  533. "Hey," you said softly to her. "You alright?"
  534. >"Yeah," Zipp said with a sigh. "I'm cool. I just needed to get away from all that for a second. Bit more -overwhelming- than I thought."
  535. "Yeah..."
  536. >"What about you?"
  537. "I'm... good. Not really used to the whole casual "can-I-suck-your-dick" question, but I'm pretty sure that's asked a lot down here."
  538. >Zipp chuckled, then huffed.
  539. >"How much time do we have before Cherry comes looking?"
  540. "Um..." you paused as you looked at your watch. "Twenty minutes."
  541. >"Okay."
  542. >Zipp sighed.
  543. >"Then what do we do for the next twenty minutes?"
  544. >You shrugged at first, then looked back to the beverage table.
  545.  
  546. >Reaching over, you peered inside and noticed a few beer cans sticking out of the mountain of ice.
  547. >You pulled them out and hoofed one over to Zipp.
  548. "Take the edge off?" you asked with a shrug and a gentle shake of the can.
  549. >Zipp shrugged back and took the can.
  550. >The two of you flipped open your beers and began to chug them down.
  551. >You grabbed the nearest trash bin, crumpled up both cans, and shoved them to the bottom, before leaning back into the couch.
  552. >It surprised you how comfortable and soft it was; you were practically sinking into the faux-fur fabric.
  553. >A sigh escaped your lips.
  554. >Then you looked down to your waist.
  555. >You were still hard.
  556. >You quickly looked away and tried to cover it with a pillow, but none of the pillows were big nor soft enough to make it possible.
  557. >But Zipp just chuckled at the sight.
  558. >"You might as well just let it hang out," she suggested. "I've already seen it, and it's not like I haven't already seen a dozen of them since we got here."
  559. "Yeah, I know, but... you know me. It's different than a stranger showing off, you know?"
  560. >"True," Zipp admitted, "but it's gonna be hard to blend in when we're trying to hide everything."
  561. "Fair enough, but..."
  562. >You scrunched your lips, trying to figure out how to justify not showing your rock hard cock to your best friend.
  563. >"Here, look."
  564. >Before you could say anything, Zipp lifted one of her legs onto the couch, and the other rested on the beverage table.
  565. >Her thighs were now spread open and presenting her glistening pussy to you.
  566. >"See? I'm doing it."
  567. >Your heart started to race at the sudden sight.
  568. >Zipp's pussy was neatly shaven, save for a little slip of blue fuzz near her clitoris, and her folds were wet and dripping slightly.
  569. >"It's been like this ever since I ate that brownie," she said. "I guess they put something in the food. I'm guessing it's Ponogo."
  570.  
  571. >It would explain why that burger tasted different earlier.
  572. >It was sweeter, juicier, but had this hint of blandness, but you didn't think anything of it.
  573. >Your thoughts were quickly jaded by the sight of Zipp's pussy winking at you.
  574. >"What's wrong?" she asked. "Doesn't this cross off something on that list of—"
  575. "Yeah, yeah," you reply in jest. "Alright... fine."
  576. >Hesitantly, you remove the pillow from your lap, letting your hard member stand tall.
  577. >"That mare wasn't lying," Zipp said with a wink—from both ends.
  578. "Uh... thanks."
  579. >You were trying to look at anything else, but the private room you two were in didn't have much in it.
  580. >And the only other person in the room was Zipp.
  581. >And she was still spread eagle next to you.
  582. >And her scent...
  583. >Whew.
  584. >The sight—and the smell!—made you hard enough for it to hurt.
  585. >Zipp seemed to notice right away.
  586. >"Jeez," she exclaimed, "how can you guys even walk around with something like that?"
  587. >You took it as a compliment and blushed.
  588. "Well, we usually don't walk around with them like this."
  589. >"Not even in the morning?"
  590. "... Well okay, -maybe- in the morning too."
  591. >You found yourself holding your dick around your forelegs, not stroking, but really showing off just how hard it was to Zipp.
  592. >The mare looked mesmerized at the very sight of it, from the small yet pulsing veins to the medial ring halfway in that would no doubt make anypony gag.
  593. >Zipp had a look of intrigue in her eyes, and she bit her lip with curious intent.
  594. >The sight alone was turning you on more than ever.
  595. >"Can I, uh... -touch it-?"
  596. >You felt your heart jolt in your chest, and your dick twitch.
  597.  
  598. "Yeah. Sure. Just... be careful with it?" you said, your voice dying to a whisper.
  599. >"Yeah... of course," Zipp promised, her words drifting away from her as she got close to you.
  600. >She pressed herself right up against you on the couch, close enough that you could hear her breathing heavier than usual.
  601. >She looked nervous, but you honestly couldn't tell all that much.
  602. >Slowly, she reached her hoof out and pressed the back of it against your hard shaft.
  603. >The softness of her fur brushing your cock made it twitch with excitement.
  604. >Zipp shuddered subtly and swallowed.
  605. >"Wow," she whispered. "It's really hot. Like, actually 'warm' hot."
  606. >She chuckled softly with a nervous undertone.
  607. >You reached out and gently grabbed her hoof.
  608. >Gently, you began guiding it up and down your shaft, the soft fur sending shivers through your body.
  609. >You felt your breath get caught in your throat, and you looked up at Zipp to gauge her reaction.
  610. >She was looking at your cock nervously, sharing the same expression as you, before she turned to meet your gaze.
  611. >"Does that feel good?"
  612. >You nodded.
  613. "Mm-hmm," you whispered. "Just like that."
  614. >"Okay."
  615. >Your cock throbbed from her touch.
  616. >You could feel your ears burning and throbbing of their own accord, but you paid that no attention.
  617. >You looked at Zipp's face, watching the emotion in her eyes jump from one to the next, from excitement to nervousness to definite arousal.
  618. >She looked back at you, took one look at your face, and she smiled very faintly, almost unnoticeable at first.
  619. >But you saw it.
  620. >So she sped up a little.
  621. >You gave a small grunt.
  622. "Z-Zipp..."
  623.  
  624. >Suddenly, the private curtain flew open.
  625. >Zipp quickly pulled herself away from you, while you flung your hooves towards the nearest pillow and shoved it against your shaft.
  626. >The two of you turned towards the now open curtain to see Iced Cherry staring back at you, only to give a surprised yelp.
  627. >"Oh! Sorry!" Cherry exclaimed with a heavy blush, but a casual smile. "Didn't mean to interrupt anything! I heard you two came in here and thought I'd come get you!"
  628. >Zipp cleared her throat and tried to play it off.
  629. >"U-Uh, we—we're fine," Zipp stammered. "We were just, um... passing the time?"
  630. >The look on Zipp's face made it clear that came out wrong.
  631. >"Well, what a way to pass the time, am I right?" Cherry asked with a giggle.
  632. >"Yeah... yeah, what a... what a—so, so you came to get us?"
  633. >"Yep! Got everything ready early! Mrs. Embree is ready to see you now."
  634. >Cherry turned away for a moment, then turned back.
  635. >"Oh! But, uh, if you want, you can finish! She doesn't mind waiting a few extra minutes!"
  636. >You had to admit, it was -very- tempting...
  637. >But deep down, you still had a mission, and Zipp seemed to realize that too.
  638. >"Nah," Zipp said shaking her head. "We'll be fine. Just... lead the way."
  639. >Cherry shrugged.
  640. >"If you say so~"
  641. >She turned away and began making her way towards the nearest door.
  642. >Clearing her throat again, Zipp got up from her seat, and you reluctantly did the same.
  643. >You were still hard as a rock, but it didn't make walking too difficult.
  644. >You got a good view of Zipp from behind.
  645. >She was dripping wet still; you could only imagine what she was thinking.
  646. >You quickened your pace just enough to walk beside her.
  647. >"Sorry," Zipp whispered to you.
  648. "Why?" you asked. "You said it yourself: We can't really hide anything down here."
  649. >"No, I—I mean sorry you couldn't..."
  650. >She leaned closer to you.
  651. >"-Finish-."
  652. >You laughed nervously and looked back to her.
  653. "Oh, don't worry..."
  654. >You extended your right wing and delicately brushed one of your feather tips against her lips.
  655. "I will."
  656. >You then winked at her and gave a smug grin of your own.
  657. >Zipp just blushed and cleared her throat in silence.
  658. >Then she smiled.
  659. >"... Okay."
  660. >You throbbed against your stomach.
  661. >Cherry picked the absolute worst time to come find you.
  662. >But that didn't matter right now.
  663. >It was finally time to meet the big lady herself.
  664. >You don't suppose she'll mind the view, right?
  665.  
  666. >After a few minutes of navigating through the crowd and up the grand staircase, you and Zipp were brought into a small office room.
  667. >Immediately, you noticed the change in lighting, now generic white-yellow instead of the purple-pink mix that filled the ballroom.
  668. >Just in front of the door was a maple wood desk and two faux-leather chairs, presumably for the both of you, with a water cooler fitted in between.
  669. >A third chair, seated behind the desk, was looking away from you, towards a large circular window that seemed to peer out into the ballroom.
  670. >You thought it was just one big clock.
  671. >"Mrs. Embree?" Cherry called out.
  672. >Less than a moment later, the large leather chair turned around.
  673. >Sitting in it was a surprisingly young pegasus mare, probably no older than 40, clothed in a short yet elegant dress.
  674. >Her mane was pulled back in a bun, held together with a diamond-encrusted scrunchie.
  675. >She donned a set of eyeglasses, and her lips were painted a cherry red, recently applied it seemed.
  676. >But the one thing that caught your attention right away was her smile.
  677. >Genuine.
  678. >"Oh!" Mrs. Embree exclaimed then laughed. "I didn't even hear the door open! So sorry about that!"
  679. >After a few seconds, Mrs. Embree composed herself and turned to Cherry with the same smile.
  680. >"Thank you, Cherry."
  681. >"Of course!" Cherry replied. "Do you need anything else?"
  682. >"Nope, I've got it taken care of. You go and enjoy yourself, okay?"
  683. >Cherry nodded with a smile and turned to you.
  684. >"See you two in a bit!"
  685. >With that, Cherry turned and made her way out, shutting the door behind her.
  686. >"Welcome!" Mrs. Embree said to you and Zipp, motioning towards the chairs. "Please, have a seat."
  687. >You eyed Zipp for a moment before inevitably taking the right seat, Zipp the left.
  688. >"So, Double A and Pearl Button, I take it?"
  689. "Uh, Anonymous," you reply. "But just call me Anon."
  690. >"Right, of course."
  691. >Mrs. Embree just smiled and reached out and over the table to shake your hoof.
  692. >Wanting to make a good impression, you reach out and and shake.
  693. >"And a pleasure to meet you too, Miss Button," Mrs. Embree said to Zipp as she reached out for the same.
  694. >Zipp was reluctant, but shook her hoof back in the end.
  695. >Mrs. Embree sat down, sighed, and grinned at the two of you.
  696. >"My name—rather, my full name—is Care Mi Avana Embree. But of course, you're more than welcome to just call me Care. Or Mrs. Embree! I don't mind either or."
  697. "Well, uh, it's a pleasure to meet you, Care."
  698. >"More than a pleasure, it looks like," Care replied before giving you a wink.
  699. >What is she—
  700. >Oh your stars, you're still hard.
  701. >Instinctively, you tried to cover your erection, but there was no way to cover it here.
  702. >However, Care just laughed.
  703. >"Not to worry, I don't mind it. In fact, if it's bothering you, would you be interested in a quick blowjob before we get started?"
  704. >Wow.
  705. >The leader of an underground organization just asked to suck you off.
  706. >That's flattering, honestly.
  707.  
  708. >... Would she kill you if you refused?
  709. >"Oh. Oh! I'm sorry! I'm so used to asking those questions to my regulars. I forgot you're still new to all this. So so sorry!"
  710. >Guess that answers your question.
  711. "I-It's fine," you say with an awkward laugh. "I'll, uh... get used to it eventually."
  712. >Care let out a sigh of relief.
  713. >"Well, take all the time you need! But still, if you're in need of release, please feel free to do so of your own accord! Or if you two are... you know... then that's more than fine!"
  714. >Well, that definitely helped fill you in on how far you could -go- down here.
  715. >"Uh..." Zipp spoke up for the first time in a couple minutes, turning to you then back to Care. "Maybe in a bit. But for now, I think we should get down to business, if we can."
  716. >"Of course," Care said with a nod. "But first, care for some water? It'll definitely help calm any strayed nerves. And just in case I happen to know what you're thinking... -no-, it's not poisoned. And yes, I'll explain."
  717. >You started to come to that conclusion pretty early.
  718. >No sense in putting on this much of a show just to kill you.
  719. >You and Zipp grabbed two plastic cups and filled them with cold water.
  720. >You gulped down the contents in seconds, and already you were feeling just a bit refreshed.
  721. >Hey, even your erection was going floppy, thank the stars.
  722. >"Much better, isn't it? We always try to keep the water as clear as can be. There's nothing more rewarding, -especially- after a fun night, am I right?"
  723. >Well, you can definitely see where Cherry got her habit from.
  724. >Or is it the other way around...?
  725. >"Huh. I think clear is a huge understatement. This water is... great," Zipp said with surprise in her voice. "How is this...?"
  726. >"Oh, well, it's actually a variety of factors, but to sum it all up: Boil, salt, boil again, then cycle and filter. Repeat every hour, mix a little bit of Vonquestro and viola! The cleanest water this side of Equestria."
  727. "Uh, salt?"
  728. >"For gathering up any excess bacteria the first boil might not have picked up. The second boil should finish the job, then the cycle filters out what's left of the salt. We got the idea from Bianca, our lead chef. She's been an excellent help keeping things around here cleaner than a whistle!"
  729. >Care giggled at her joke, leaving you to glance at Zipp with a smile.
  730. >With a sigh, Care looked at the two of you.
  731. >"Now then, shall we get down to business? I imagine you've got plenty of questions to ask."
  732. >"Something like that," Zipp answered. "But I suppose we should start with a basic question?"
  733. >"Whatever suits you!" Care beamed.
  734. "Okay then," you say, before waving your hoof around the room. "What is this place? Or rather, what's the purpose of it?"
  735. >"That's the question I was hoping to answer first."
  736. >Care giggled before hopping out of her chair and walking around the office.
  737.  
  738. >"-This- is the Embree Society. That much you already know. But what you've also no doubt heard is plenty of rumors and myths about who we are, what we do, and how we work. I've heard them myself. Cannibals, rapists, drug dealers, even foal fiddlers."
  739. >Care sighed sadly, before perking herself up.
  740. >"All false, fortunately. But all propagated by former members, -un-fortunately."
  741. >"Former?" Zipp asked.
  742. >"Members who've been expelled from Embree. While you yourselves have seen what we typically strive for, we also have a steady guideline to follow. And the first, and most important rule to follow is simple: Respect."
  743. >Reaching into a nearby cabinet, Care pulled out a small folder and set it in front of you and Zipp.
  744. >"Luckily, the list of ponies we've kicked out of the Society is a small one. We never enjoy excluding anyone, but when you can't bother to be respectful, well... you have to be pretty disrespectful for even the Embree Society to ban you."
  745. >Inside the folder were photos of various ponies of gender, size, color, and even...
  746. >"Wait... when were these pictures taken?" Zipp asked as she flipped between the couple pages.
  747. >Care just chuckled.
  748. >"I take it you've noticed the folks of the non-pegasus variety?"
  749. >The various photographs, all of which looked fairly recent, as recent as within a hoofful of years, contained pegasi, but also earth ponies and unicorns.
  750. >None of them looked like they were truly happy to have their picture taken, and the very few that -were- smiling all had clearly fake grins plastered on their faces.
  751. >Zipp, after a moment of bewilderment, put down the folder and walked over to the window, and you followed behind her.
  752. >You both peered out into the ballroom, gazing down at the mass array of stallions and mares.
  753. >Some of them were getting dirty on railings and in the pool as before.
  754. >But what stood out amongst them all was that many of them -weren't- pegasi at all.
  755. >You could see plenty of unicorns and plenty of earth ponies conversing, kissing, touching... and a lot more.
  756. >Care just giggled to herself.
  757. >"Fascinating, isn't it?" she asked after a moment of silence. "They're all different from each other, and for a time they were born and raised to hate one another. But down here, we didn't pick sides. We just talked and enjoyed the company."
  758. >Zipp couldn't help but quietly chuckle.
  759. >"So while we were all running from each other up there..."
  760. "We were fucking each other down here."
  761. >Zipp turned to you with an eyebrow raised.
  762. "I mean, that's what -you- were gonna say, right?"
  763. >"Not exactly the way you just did, but... yeah. That."
  764. >You smirked and continued to watch the party.
  765. >After watching both floors, you noticed two ponies at the far end of the second floor balcony.
  766. >It was pretty clear they were going at it hard, with the stallion ramming into the mare's backside and spanking her without restraint.
  767.  
  768. >Meanwhile, the mare was bent over the railing, violently moving back and forth with every thrust, screaming her lungs out, begging for more, begging for every drop of seed he could give her.
  769. >It's funny, she looks a bit like...
  770. >Wait... that...
  771. >That's Cherr—
  772. "Alright!" you exclaimed hastily as you scooched your way away from the window and out of sight. "S-So uh, back to the, uh, the issue. These-These ponies, uh... what were they banned for, exactly?"
  773. >Zipp eyed you, mouthing if you were okay.
  774. >You just scrunched your lips and nodded.
  775. >All while trying to keep your erection down.
  776. >"Well, as I've said before," Care began, seemingly unaware or unconcerned of your sudden shift, "the Embree Society has a strict guideline that follows the idea of respecting one another. That respect is simple: No touching unless wanting to be touched, always ask permission, and never, -EVER- force yourself on anypony without their explicit consent. Beyond that, you are free to do as you please."
  777. >Zipp flipped the pages of the folder beneath her hoof and then pushed it aside.
  778. >"And they broke those rules," Zipp said.
  779. >"Exactly. If it wasn't one rule they broke, then it was all three. Copper Stick, he was one of our older members in both ways. He'd been part of the Society for over twenty years. He was loved by a lot of folks here. Truly loved. I even considered him part of the Embree Family."
  780. >Care seemed to smile, but it faded as quick as it came.
  781. >"But as he got older, he became far less... respectful. From trying to make out with mares and spanking them at random... to trying to slide into mares without asking. He'd become so used to the idea that sex was so normal down here, so casual, that he forgot how casual he -couldn't- be, in a matter of speaking."
  782. >She sighed.
  783. >"After enough complaints, we all made the decision to ban him. Less than a month later, we started to hear the rumors and the myths from newcomers and ponies throughout the city who'd heard of us. "The Embree Society will eat your children! They'll kill you for sport! They'll rob you blind!" After everything we did for him, how kindly we treated him, this was how he repaid us. With lies and slander and libel. To think I gave myself to him..."
  784. >Care closed her eyes and shuddered.
  785. >When she opened them, she glanced at you and Zipp, then cleared her throat.
  786. >"My apologies. Anywho, that's the kind of thing that will get you permanently banned from this place. We are a place for love, not for hate. We leave that to the Badlanders. As long as you respect our members, then you will be family in no time. Understand?"
  787. >"Of course, Mi—Care," Zipp corrected. "I couldn't agree more."
  788. >Care smiled sweetly.
  789. >"I know you do, dearie. And that's another important rule here in the Embree Society: Honesty. Here, we strive to be honest and open with each other. To be unafraid of letting our passions and desires intertwine. Here, there are no masks, no smoke and mirrors. Here, we are as we are."
  790.  
  791. >She walked up to Zipp, never losing her smile, instead letting it grow in warmth and welcome.
  792. >"And so I ask you this: May you please reveal yourself, Princess Zephyrina? A lady like you should never have to hide herself away."
  793. >Zipp gasped and stepped back slightly, but Care wasn't fazed by it.
  794. >Instead, she rested her hoof gently upon Zipp's shoulder and shushed her just as much.
  795. >"I...I—"
  796. >"It's okay," you heard her barely whisper. "I promise."
  797. >Zipp gave you a glance, as if asking for your approval.
  798. >You just lightly shrugged and gave an encouraging thumbs-up with a wing.
  799. >She scoffed silently and turned back to Care.
  800. >A look of worry returned to her face, but you both knew she probably didn't have much of a choice.
  801. >Slowly, Zipp reached up for her red mane and began to pull it off, revealing her real pink-aqua mane, and placed the wig on the desk beside her.
  802. >She reached behind her and undid her bun, letting her tail flow freely, before pulling off the stick-on cutie mark.
  803. >Apart from the eyeliner, Zipp looked just like her regular self.
  804. >It made Care that much happier, it seemed.
  805. >"There. Doesn't that feel better? To not have to doll yourself up just to go somewhere?"
  806. >Zipp opened her mouth, trying to say something, but nothing came out.
  807. >"It's okay. We won't tell a soul. That's the third rule, after all: privacy."
  808. >Zipp slowly smiled, as nervous as she was.
  809. >"Thank you."
  810. >"Of course."
  811. >Care lifted a hoof and brushed it against Zipp's cheek in a comforting manner.
  812. >While Zipp seemed alarmed at first, she welcomed the gesture, as odd as it seemed.
  813. >Care then stepped back and returned over to her seat.
  814. >"Now then, I suppose with that in mind, we should discuss the real reason you're here."
  815. >You were hesitant to answer initially.
  816. >But given what just happened, it was probably for the best to just...
  817. >Follow the rules.
  818. "In that case... We're not just here to join. We're actually here regarding an artifact that your society recently... uh... retrieved from a temple a couple weeks back."
  819. >Care hummed with approval.
  820. >"Now we're getting somewhere, see?" she asked with a smile. "And I figured that was the reason the two of you seemed so suddenly interested in joining."
  821. >"I'm sorry?" Zipp asked as she sat in her seat.
  822. >Care laughed awkwardly.
  823. >"I should be the one who's sorry. I guess I should explain that first."
  824. >She cleared her throat.
  825. >"As you may already know, the Society has been involved in numerous excavations up and down the east coast. And as we do so, we leave our mark. Some may say it's a warning, to keep away from the big bad Embree Society. But that's not at all the case."
  826. >Care got up from her chair and made her way over to a nearby bookcase and reached up to grab one of the books.
  827.  
  828. >The book slid back with a click, and suddenly the entire bookcase began to slide open like a door.
  829. >It was probably the first time in your life you ever actually saw that trick be used in person.
  830. >So worth it.
  831. >Behind the bookcase was a small wooden room, with a large wooden platform standing in the center, concealed by a thick cloth with a rope beside it.
  832. >Care motioned for the two of you to follow her inside.
  833. >Reluctantly, you did so.
  834. >Care entered the room and walked her way up to the rope, holding onto it with both hooves.
  835. >"The Embree Society doesn't take what doesn't belong to us. We take back what was always ours."
  836. >She firmly pulled on the rope, allowing the cloth to fly upward and revealing what was concealed beneath.
  837. >Sitting upon the wooden platform was a large crystalline heart, kept into place with supports that allowed it to stand upright.
  838. >Upon being exposed to the light, the heart began to glow a bright, exuberant pink that adorned everything in its luminescence.
  839. >You turned to Zipp, who seemed overwhelmed a bit by the experience.
  840. >Her white coat was now pink, the aqua stripes in her mane were now cyan, and the pink stripes were... well, pinker.
  841. >But the one thing that you noticed right away was that she sparkled.
  842. >So did you.
  843. >Everything sparkled.
  844. >It was... amazing.
  845. >"The Crystal Heart. Forged in magic and earth, this very stone was a source that powered an entire empire for generations. Even when cursed to darkness, it was able to bring hope to those who lost it. To remind others that hatred is a not a death sentence, but a lesson. To show in us all, that love is not a concept. It's who we are. It's who we can be."
  846. >Care placed the rope on a nearby hook in order to keep the curtain up.
  847. >She turned to you, her eyes, her mane, her dress all shimmering in the light.
  848. >"That is what the Embree Society is, and always has been. In the time of the Dark Era, my greatest ancestor, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, founded the Society with the hope of keeping that message alive. In a time where trust was a myth, where death lurked around every corner, when love couldn't be savored... Cadenza wanted to change that. After the loss of her own family, she created the Society as a means of connection. Whether it was to fill an empty void, or to preserve her title as a leader of love... I can't be sure. Much of my family line of that period is lost, maybe forever."
  849. >Care frowned at that last part, but she looked back up firmly to the both of you.
  850. >"But I do know that my ancestor created the Embree Society for one sole reason: to make every second count. Whether it's to tell someone you love them, or to unleash your deepest desires without fear of prejudice or judgement... what mattered was that you had the time for it. And Cadenza gave everyone what she neglected to give herself: Time. Time for "I need you." Time for "I want you." Time for "I love you.""
  851.  
  852. >Care gazed at the heart with a brighter smile than ever.
  853. >She closed her eyes and basked in its warmth.
  854. >You turned to Zipp.
  855. >She was looking back at you, seeming nervous or unsure of what to think.
  856. >Her hooves fidgeted against the wooden floorboards, and she let out an occasional sigh through her nose.
  857. >The two of you watched Care as she embraced the heart's warmth.
  858. >The sight lasted for several moments before Care eventually removed the rope from the hook.
  859. >The curtain fell over the heart, and the pink light all but vanished instantly.
  860. >It felt cold now.
  861. >"I heard of the heart for years," Care mentioned. "Every expedition brought us artifacts of her time, but the one thing I sought after most was the heart. I believed that if we found this heart and revealed it for all to see, not only would it repel the neighsayers who have tried to bring us down—but it would bring back hope for every single pony who lost it. And that's why I'm presenting it tonight."
  862. >She turned to both of you again.
  863. >"And I want you to present it with me."
  864.  
  865. ---------------------
  866.  
  867. >Ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum.
  868. >Ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum.
  869. >A repetitive drum beat rumbled throughout the ballroom, bringing nearly all activity in the place to a grinding halt, and attracting everyone to watch.
  870. >You and Zipp, however, were standing behind the staircase, out of sight, waiting until the time was right to come out.
  871. >Sure, you were nervous; who wouldn't in your position?
  872. >But the idea of helping contribute to bringing hope to these folks had you smiling.
  873. >The smile faded when you turned to Zipp.
  874. >She was fidgeting still, and her breathing was abnormal.
  875. >It was as if she was trying to keep still and composed, but she clearly was fighting something else.
  876. "Hey. You okay?" you whispered to her.
  877. >She nodded hesitantly.
  878. >"Yeah."
  879. >She sighed.
  880. >"No. I mean... I can't say I'm not proud to be doing this, but... am I -really- doing this? Are -we- really doing this?"
  881. >You snorted.
  882. "Yeah... I guess we are."
  883. >You saw Zipp stare forward and gulp nervously.
  884. "Hey," you call out to her. "It's not too late to change your mind. I can talk to Care before—"
  885. >"No, I... no."
  886. >Zipp closed her eyes and sighed calmly through her nose.
  887. >"Care's right. These ponies need to see, to feel like it's worth something. Like she said, right? And maybe... maybe seeing -me- will help."
  888. >She turned away slightly.
  889. >"But at the same time... what happens if this gets out? What would they think? "Princess Zipp, a slut in disguise?""
  890. "Hey..."
  891. >"Sorry... but you know what I mean. What would they think of my family? My sister? My mother? Even with the significance of this place, what it stands for... would Zephyr Heights ever accept it? Understand it? Or would they just shut us all out, shun the ponies here, shun my family from ever showing our faces anywhere ever again? All because I decided to take the leap?"
  892. >Zipp stared down, deflated, her ears sunken.
  893. "You'll be helping these folks know it's not all for nothing. They'll trust you."
  894. >You gauged her reaction, but was only met with another sad sigh.
  895. >You rested a hoof on her shoulder and inched yourself closer to her.
  896. "If it makes you feel any better... I actually know some of the ponies here."
  897. >...
  898. "No, not like that. I'm meeting this at the same pace as you. But I know some of the folks here before I even heard about this place."
  899. >"Really...?"
  900. "Yep. This one guy, Dart Buckle. We work in the same place, hang out, have some drinks. He's a chill guy. But he's shy and nerdy and... well, he's the -last- guy you'd ever expect to find here. Didn't really seem like him. But then we're on the way to Care's office, and there he is in the pool, ramming a mare pelvis to pelvis and calling her a good little slut. I didn't say anything at first, because I wasn't sure if it was him. But I saw his glasses. Broken, twisted, patched together nerdy glasses. That was him, alright. And now I know what his dick looks like."
  901. >Zipp snickered at that last part, covering her mouth behind a hoof to stifle her laughs, but it was in vain.
  902.  
  903. >It was cute.
  904. "But that's the thing," you continue. "Tonight's the first I'm hearing of that. I've known Dart for probably six years now, maybe seven. And judging the way he was getting along with that mare, I'm betting tonight isn't his first night here."
  905. >Zipp squinted her eyes slightly in thought.
  906. "And nopony at work ever gave the slightest indication they knew of it, either. So...? What does that tell you?"
  907. >She looked at you.
  908. >"Privacy."
  909. >You nodded.
  910. "Privacy. If the only ponies who know about this place are the ones who get invited in, then I can imagine trust here is the one thing they've got the most. So trust them. And if not them... then trust me."
  911. >Biting her lip, Zipp turned to you.
  912. >She gazed into your eyes for a moment, and you could see hers glisten in the purple light.
  913. >She smiled warmly.
  914. >"Okay. I trust you."
  915. >You smiled back.
  916. >"Fillies and gentlecolts!" you heard Care shout just behind the wall, her voice directed towards a now populated ballroom. "Gather around now, please!"
  917. "You ready?"
  918. >With a determined look in her eyes, she huffed and nodded.
  919. >"Yeah."
  920. >"Long ago, in Equestria's Darkest Era, my great, great ancestor—Princess Mi Amore Cadenza—in a time of despair and uncertainty, founded the Embree Society with a common goal in mind: to make every moment count. And for the last five-thousand years, this Society has seen its fair share of moments and times that remind us all to never take love and passion for granted."
  921. >A short flurry of cheers circulated throughout the ballroom.
  922. >It sounded like a few, but even a few were enough to make the room rumble beneath your hooves.
  923. >"After the fall of the great Crystal Empire of the Second Era, its artifacts were left scattered across Equestria, hidden in the darkest of tombs and temples with the intention of protecting them from even the slyest of thieves, with the hope that one day, their rightful owners would find them and bring them home."
  924. >Care paused for a moment before continuing.
  925. >"One of those great treasures was none other than the Crystal Empire's very soul; a soul that shone as a beacon of hope to any and all who basked in its light; a soul that guided the lost and the weary home; a soul that deep down, resonates within us all."
  926. >And that was your cue.
  927. >Exiting from behind cover, you and Zipp walked side-by-side, carrying on your backs that very symbol of hope, concealed in a thick cloth.
  928. >You and Zipp yourselves were clothed in dark robes, part of the presentation, so no one immediately pointed out any of you.
  929. >As soon as the two of you were at the base of the grand staircase, you and Zipp grabbed the symbol using your wings as its support, before transferring it to your hooves, then slowly and carefully placing it down on the floor in front of you.
  930. >"My dear fillies and gentlecolts... we are proud to finally say..."
  931. >It didn't take long to undo the straps on the cloth and uncover the prize to waiting eyes.
  932. >"We have found our Crystal Heart."
  933.  
  934. >On cue, the Crystal Heart was revealed to the entirety of the ballroom crowd.
  935. >In an instant, a rush of cheers and shouting filled your ears to the point where it hurt.
  936. >But honestly, you didn't mind it.
  937. >The crowd was ecstatic.
  938. >Hooves were stomping about and making the entire place shake and rumble.
  939. >As they did so, something interesting happened.
  940. >The heart began to move on its own, rising from the floor and into the air.
  941. >The cheering died instantly, replaced with a series of murmurs and gasps of amazement.
  942. >It even caught Care off guard.
  943. >The heart rose further and further into the air, until it was floating above the pool, near the ceiling.
  944. >It was in just the right spot for many of the lights throughout the ballroom to shine upon it.
  945. >The heart instantly sparkled, expelling a pink glow across the entire ballroom, and everypony in its view sparkled with it.
  946. >The crowd erupted in a series of oohs and ahs as the lighting in the room changed from its familiar pink-purple to a warming solid pink.
  947. >Even when the lighting was still dim, somehow it felt much brighter around here.
  948. >"Isn't it beautiful?" Care asked.
  949. >You smiled, watching the heart slowly rotate and shimmer.
  950. >With a glance to your left, you saw Zipp's mouth curved into a smile, even as the rest of her face was concealed by the hood of her robe.
  951. >But you knew she was really happy.
  952. >"Ready, you two?" Care whispered to both of you.
  953. >"As ready as I'll ever be," Zipp answered after a moment of silence.
  954. >Care stood back up to address the crowd once more.
  955. >"After searching tirelessly for years, our efforts to preserve our values are not in vain. Instead, our values, our worths, remain stronger than ever before. Because you have ponies not just within the Embree Society, but ponies among the land who strive for that very comfort, and who—with their dedication and their hearts strengthened and unbroken—ensure our legacy will refuse to go quietly into the night. Ponies... like these two."
  956. >Care motioned towards you, and with a nervous sigh, you removed your hood.
  957. >"Anonymous Aurora."
  958. >You heard a few surprised gasps, no doubt from ponies who've probably met you or know you well outside of this place.
  959. >It didn't take long for you to find Dart Buckle, staring back at you with a wide open mouth.
  960. >You just gave a sheepish shrug at him.
  961. >You turned just in time to see Care motion towards Zipp.
  962. >She was definitely more nervous than you were, but it was now or never.
  963. >Swiftly, she removed her hood.
  964. >"Princess Zephyrina Storm."
  965. >Everyone gasped at the same time.
  966. >It sounded louder than their cheering.
  967. >Everyone stared at Zipp with looks of disbelief, confusion, or just pure amazement.
  968. >Zipp was frozen, afraid to say anything or move, but kept still.
  969. >It was silent for several moments.
  970. >Then there was one stomp.
  971. >Then two stomps.
  972. >Then four.
  973. >Then ten.
  974. >A few ponies stomped their hooves, then more joined in.
  975. >Then more joined in.
  976.  
  977. >It didn't take long for the silence to be overshadowed by applause.
  978. >Within seconds, the entire ballroom was overwhelmed with stomping hooves, shouting mares, and whistling stallions, all of whom had pure grins plastered on their faces, their eyes sparkling with glee.
  979. >Zipp's face slowly formed into a smile, and she gave a couple soft laughs, no doubt out of nervousness.
  980. >But she was clearly happy, relieved even.
  981. >She turned to face you.
  982. >You were just smiling at her, mouthing the words "told you" to her.
  983. >She grinned warmly at you for a moment before turning back to the crowd.
  984. >There was no end to the cheering, to the applause.
  985. >Everyone was happy to see her.
  986. >And you think that's exactly what Zipp was hoping for.
  987.  
  988. -----------
  989.  
  990. >"Now... Embrace."
  991. >That was Care's closing words for the ceremony, before allowing members to mingle and celebrate the joyous occasion.
  992. >And what better way to celebrate it than dancing, drinking, eating, and fucking?
  993. >How about drinking a beer with your friend?
  994. >You and Zipp retired to the second floor of the ballroom, sitting in a booth at the bar you could see a glimpse of when you first came in.
  995. >The bar itself was actually a pretty spacious place, somewhat walled off from the rest of the ballroom enough to keep the music out and the atmosphere quiet.
  996. >It was almost no different from a typical tavern you'd come across throughout Zephyr Heights.
  997. >Well, except for the mare giving a blowie a few tables away.
  998. >Zipp chugged her second can of beer in the first two minutes of you sitting down, and you were chugging your third.
  999. >Luckily, both of you had eaten enough today that getting plastered wasn't going to be much of a worry.
  1000. >This was more of a calm-your-nerves type chugging.
  1001. >Zipp shivered as the drink rippled through her, then let out a silent burp.
  1002. >"Excuse me," she said. "So, who ordered these again?"
  1003. >You set your cup down on the table.
  1004. "Dart Buckle," you answer. "The guy gave me a friendly little chewing out before I came up here. Told me all my drinks are on him for the next month."
  1005. >"Huh. Wow. That's actually pretty generous of him."
  1006. "Yeah. Not sure if it'll make the next time I see him outside of here -not- awkward, but... eh, I'll get used to it. Kind of already am."
  1007. >"Really?"
  1008. >"... No. Not really."
  1009. >Zipp giggled before taking another sip of her drink.
  1010. >When she placed it back down, you noticed her swirling her tongue around in her mouth, and her mouth scrunching up in thought.
  1011. >She huffed.
  1012. >"So," she began, "what are we gonna tell the others?"
  1013. >... Oh yeah.
  1014. "I, uh... honestly didn't think about that."
  1015. >"... Me neither."
  1016. >You snorted with a smile, then clicked your tongue.
  1017. "Well," you said with a sigh, "on the plus side, we can tell Sunny that the Crystal Heart is right where it belongs. As for the whole, uh... -everything-... I think we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
  1018. >"Fair enough."
  1019. >You raised your can, and she raised hers.
  1020.  
  1021. >With an audible metallic clink, the two of you finished what was left in your cans before setting them in the nearest trash bin.
  1022. "So, uh... how are -you- feeling? About all this?"
  1023. >Zipp trilled her lips and gently tapped at the tabletop with her hooves.
  1024. >"It's gonna take a while to adjust to all this. But... it's not as bad as I thought it'd be. Plus, the idea of being able to just be me, maybe pig out and get hammered, and not worry about anypony judging me for that for a couple hours... I gotta say, I'm leaning towards sold on that."
  1025. >You couldn't help but let out a hearty laugh that managed to earn a few looks from some of the nearby patrons.
  1026. >You quickly stifled yourself and apologized to Zipp, but she seemed to find your outburst amusing.
  1027. >She rested her chin on her hoof and looked out the nearest window, which just presented you with a side-view of the ballroom.
  1028. >Things were much quieter than they were before, but the place was in no way empty.
  1029. >In fact, you could see up to six ponies, two of them stallions, having an orgy by the pool.
  1030. >The two stallions were Prench kissing, while one of them pounded a mare from behind.
  1031. >The other stallion was having his shaft sucked by another mare.
  1032. >Two of the mares were riding another laying on the ground, while they made out and occasionally moaned.
  1033. >Yet you could barely hear any of that, which just went to show how thick these walls were.
  1034. >Didn't stop you from getting a little excited down there.
  1035. >You turned away from the sight and cleared your throat, but Zipp was still looking out the window.
  1036. >It seemed like she was deep in thought, her eyes just blankly staring out.
  1037. >You saw her open her mouth slightly, then she bit her lip and swallowed.
  1038. >"You know..."
  1039. >Zipp turned to face you with glistening eyes and a growing blush on her cheeks.
  1040. >"I still owe you for earlier."
  1041. >Suddenly, you felt something press softly against your soft shaft, rubbing gently against it.
  1042. >You realized it was one of her hind hooves, the soft band of her fetlocks guiding its way up and down.
  1043. >Your breath got caught in your throat, and you shivered at her touch.
  1044. >But she just smiled sweetly—and maybe just a bit nervously—at you, her body almost completely still apart from the occasional moving back and forth.
  1045. >It wasn't long before you were at full mast.
  1046. >It only made her smile more, and her blush grew stronger.
  1047. >She shuddered to herself.
  1048. >With a bite of her lip, Zipp slightly motioned her head to the side.
  1049. >You didn't have to be a genius to know what that meant.
  1050.  
  1051. -----------
  1052.  
  1053. >Less than a minute later, the two of you nearly knocked down the door of a private lounge in the back of the bar.
  1054. >With a quick slam of the door behind you, you grabbed Zipp with both hooves, lifted her up, and held her against the wall as you mashed your lips against hers in a drunken fit of lust.
  1055. >Zipp more than welcomed the gesture, her forelegs wrapped tightly around your shoulders, and her hind legs around your waist.
  1056.  
  1057. >You could feel her hot breath escape her nose and hit you in the face.
  1058. >It escaped in short bursts and shudders, but she didn't stop.
  1059. >One of your hooves reached beneath her flank to support her, but your other hoof rested against the wall, intertwined with her own.
  1060. >As the two of you kissed, you could feel her free hoof guide its way down to meet your hardened member.
  1061. >She trailed the back of her hoof back and forth against your dick, roughly but carefully jerking you off.
  1062. >You could feel the warmth of her body burning against you.
  1063. >Her wet pussy dripped with anticipation, her juices running down her butt and onto your legs.
  1064. >She smelled so good.
  1065. >Not just down there, but -everywhere-.
  1066. >You pulled away from the kiss and sank you nose deep into her neck, then gave a whiff.
  1067. >The smell of perfume and sweat filled your nostrils.
  1068. >And by the fucking gods, it was so good.
  1069. >Zipp whimpered and held onto you tighter.
  1070. >"Anon..." she mewled quietly, refusing to let you go.
  1071. >You started peppering her neck with kisses, and any parts where she got particularly moany, you nibbled.
  1072. >She gripped you harder, threatening to break you in half at this rate.
  1073. >You'd regret it later, but right now you were more than okay with it.
  1074. >You continued to kiss Zipp's neck, then lowered yourself down to her shoulders.
  1075. >You took your free hoof away from hers and motioned towards her legs, attempting to free yourself just enough.
  1076. >Zipp took the hint and pulled her legs apart, freeing your body and allowing you to go lower than her shoulders.
  1077. >You kissed her chest, playing lightly with twirly parts of her fur.
  1078. >She let out a content sigh and some light giggles with a moan mixed in.
  1079. >Then you got lower, down to her belly button.
  1080. >You gave it a quick kiss, sending goosebumps through her body, before going further down.
  1081. >It wasn't long before you reached her teats, a small pair of mounds and erect nipples.
  1082. >You turned your head upward to see Zipp's face.
  1083. >She wasn't looking at you; instead, her eyes were closed, as if she were embarrassed about their size.
  1084. >You just held her hoof and gave one of her nipples a lick.
  1085. >Zipp gave a wince of pleasure and tried to hold back a moan with her other hoof.
  1086. >She didn't stop you, so you kept licking, occasionally suckin on one nipple at a time.
  1087. >Zipp whined and shuddered in your touch.
  1088. >Her hoof left her mouth and rested on your head, petting your mane gently—yet at the same time, pushing you down further.
  1089. >Knowing what she wanted, you didn't waste much time to reach her pussy.
  1090. >Wet and glistening, it was aching for attention.
  1091. >You reached in and gave it a lick, putting some extra attention on her clit.
  1092. >She tasted like mangoes, surprisingly.
  1093. >Zipp leaned forward and let out a heavy sigh, reaching up towards what looked like a coat hanger for support.
  1094. >For extra assurance, you held her firmly in place by her hips, then got right back to licking.
  1095.  
  1096. >You cupped your lips over her pussy and began burying your tongue deep into her folds.
  1097. >The sensations were no doubt driving Zipp wild; every look up at her face was something new.
  1098. >She was staring back down, looking into your eyes.
  1099. >Cloudy-eyed, disshelved mane, panting madly, trying -so- so hard to not be loud.
  1100. >Gods, she looked so cute like this.
  1101. >Zipp's free hoof remained firmly planted on your head, trying desperately to keep you between her thighs.
  1102. >Hey, you weren't going anywhere.
  1103. >Occasionally, you ran your tongue along her clit and ran circles around it, causing her to moan and sigh loudly, and her legs to shake from the feeling.
  1104. >She was breathing heavily now, and you knew it wouldn't be long before she—
  1105. >"W-Wait," she shuddered quietly. "Wait wait wait wait, not yet not yet not yet..."
  1106. >She pushed on your head delicately, prompting you to stop.
  1107. "You okay?" you whispered as you pulled away.
  1108. >Instead of answering the question, Zipp leaned down and pulled you up straight, before bringing you in for another kiss.
  1109. >Her tongue forced its way into your mouth, and you began sucking on it intensely.
  1110. >With both hooves, you lifted Zipp with all the strength you could muster and pushed her back against the wall, letting your body hold her in place.
  1111. >After a few moments of sucking on her tongue, you went back to making out with her.
  1112. >She moaned into your mouth and her hot breath came down on your face all over again.
  1113. >Zipp pulled away from the kiss and pressed her forehead against yours.
  1114. >"Fuck me," she begged in a whisper. "Just fuck me."
  1115. >With a dry chuckle, you leaned forward.
  1116. "Okay," you whispered in her ear before beginning to nibble on it.
  1117. >Zipp let out a whine and buried her face into your neck.
  1118. >Luckily, from this angle, you were able to nibble on the base of her ear, which—based on her muffled gasps and moans—seemed to be far more sensitive.
  1119. >You took one of your hooves and held your shaft, guiding it to her entrance.
  1120. >As soon as the tip poked her, Zipp's grip on you tightened.
  1121. "Ready?"
  1122. >You felt her nod.
  1123. >With that answer, you slid yourself into her.
  1124. >A high pitched moan escaped Zipp's lips, and a grunt escaped yours as you felt yourself bottom out within her pussy.
  1125. >By the gods, she was so tight.
  1126. "You okay?" you grunted.
  1127. >She hastily nodded.
  1128. >"Go go go go..." she repeated into your neck.
  1129. >You didn't waste any time as you began pulling out, only to push yourself back in.
  1130. >"Ah!" Zipp yelped into your neck, doing so with every thrust. "Mmh! Mmh!"
  1131. >You trailed one of your hooves along Zipp's flank, brushing on her cutie mark.
  1132. >You slammed your hoof hard against her ass, leaving a visible mark.
  1133. >Zipp gasped and pulled away from your neck.
  1134. >She reached forward and started kissing you again, but it lasted for only a couple seconds before she pulled away.
  1135. "You like that?" you growled at her with a sultry grin.
  1136. >She nodded in a feverish manner.
  1137. >"Don't stop..."
  1138.  
  1139. >Zipp rested her head against yours, holding your bodies tightly against each other as you fucked her hard against the wall.
  1140. >You picked up your pace a bit, and by now your hips were smacking loudly against her pelvis even as close as you were, with a wet slickness to accompany it.
  1141. >Her arms rested over your shoulders, but one of her hooves brushed through your mane, sending shivers down your body.
  1142. >With one hoof on her butt, you brought your other to her face and caressed her cheek.
  1143. >You could feel your heart beating like crazy in your chest, threatening to rip itself out, but you didn't stop.
  1144. >Not that you could, anyway.
  1145. >You kept a steady rhythm, slowly pistoning in and out of Zipp, while music played on the speakers above you ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KdBCFclSC0 ), but you could barely hear it over both your and Zipp's heavy breathing.
  1146. >From time to time, you would reach down and sneak a kiss on her nose, on her lips, maybe a peck on the cheek.
  1147. >She'd smile for a moment, then go right back to whimpering and mewling, begging you to not stop.
  1148. "You are so cute right now, you know that?"
  1149. >She held you tighter.
  1150. >You stayed in this position for a while, just holding each other and letting the pleasure overtake you.
  1151. >Then you went back to nibbling on her ear, and she was getting all vocal again, but this time she wasn't afraid to let it out.
  1152. >"Anon..." she sighed. "Anon... A-Ah..."
  1153. >Zipp's head fell against your shoulder.
  1154. >"I'm gonna cum..." she whispered.
  1155. >You could tell; her body was beginning to tense up, her breathing quickened, and her grip on you grew stronger.
  1156. >A grunt escaped you, both from the pleasure and the fact that she was crushing you.
  1157. >She seemed to notice this and lessened her grasp.
  1158. >"S-Sorr—"
  1159. >Before she could finish, you used both hooves and firmly wrapped her legs tightly around you, but held her in a way that kept you face to face with her.
  1160. "Don't be sorry. You just cum for me, okay?"
  1161. >Without anything to say, Zipp just nodded, with her mouth left barely open, and her eyes looking back into yours.
  1162. >She didn't stop staring.
  1163. >You bit your lip and began picking up speed and started ramming yourself into her as hard as you could without hurting her.
  1164. >Even then, she continued staring into your eyes, while hers became jaded and unfocused.
  1165. >She began blinking frequently as she struggled to look any further and smacked her forehead against yours.
  1166. >Her entire body began to tremble, and her moans increased in pitch.
  1167. >"Right there...! Don't... fuck, don't stop—A-Anon...! I'm cu... I'm cumfffffuck...!"
  1168. >Zipp buried her face into your neck again as she came.
  1169. >A muffled girly scream escaped her throat with such suddenness that it actually startled you.
  1170. >Nevertheless, you didn't stop, and you continued to thrust in and out of Zipp's twitching pussy, which left her breathless.
  1171. "Good girl."
  1172. >"Nnngghh... ffuuckk..." she stammered with a cry as she struggled catch her breath.
  1173.  
  1174. >But it wasn't long before she was back to kissing you.
  1175. >It was a weak kiss, but a more-than-welcome one.
  1176. >You felt a familiar sensation rising in your loins.
  1177. "Hey," you said to her while continuing to thrust. "I'm close."
  1178. >Zipp swallowed.
  1179. >"Pull out, pull out, pull out..." she repeated, more so overcome from the continuing sensation.
  1180. >You gave her a few more thrusts into her pussy, earning an extra moan from her, before pulling out and resting your cock against her pelvis.
  1181. >Zipp freed one of her hooves and reached down to your shaft, then began to quickly slide it up and down.
  1182. >Her hoof grew wet with a mix of her juices and cum, which made it easier for her to work her magic.
  1183. >You shivered as the feeling continue to build up.
  1184. >The head of your cock began to flare.
  1185. "Don't stop..." you said as you closed your eyes.
  1186. >But just as you did, she stopped.
  1187. >Before you could ask why, the feeling of her hoof was replaced with—Oh~
  1188. >Oh fuck.
  1189. >That-That's her wing.
  1190. >Zipp's wing took a firm hold of your cock, wrapped around it snugly, and began moving up and down.
  1191. >The pleasure that stemmed was leagues better than her hoof.
  1192. >Her wing was soft, yet she had a tight grip and was far more capable of jerking you off.
  1193. >You felt yourself getting closer.
  1194. >Her eyes caught your attention again.
  1195. >She was watching your face, and it was definitely a lot like hers a hot minute ago.
  1196. >Your breathing grew heavy, and your body started to shiver.
  1197. "Z-Zipp... ah... I'm cumming... fuc—"
  1198. >Same as her, you couldn't even finish your sentence before your orgasm struck you hard.
  1199. >You let out a gutteral moan as a thick burst of cum shot out and struck Zipp in the face, landing on her left cheek and chin.
  1200. >She closed her eyes in preparation for more, but the next shots started to coat her chest and stomach.
  1201. >Her wing didn't stop jerking you, which made the feeling all the more overwhelming that you nearly lost your hoofing.
  1202. >Zipp directed your cock upward, and another shot hit her face again, this time landing on her nose and forehead.
  1203. >She continued to milk your dick until there was nothing left, with your remaining shots landing and pooling against her belly.
  1204. >"Good boy," she whispered.
  1205. >You forced out a chuckle as you tried to catch your breath.
  1206. "Fuck," you sighed. "That... fuck..."
  1207. >Zipp, now clearly exhausted, numbly nodded.
  1208. >"Yeah..."
  1209. >With a silent chuckle, you reach forward and shared another sloppy kiss with her.
  1210. >It wasn't an intense one, just your way of saying thank you.
  1211. >And given the moan she let loose, she was content with it.
  1212. >You could taste a bit of your cum on her lips, but you didn't care.
  1213. >As you pulled away, you took a real gander at Zipp's body.
  1214. >Her chest, belly, and face were coated in your seed.
  1215. >You were surprised that none of it managed to get in her mane.
  1216. >But fur wasn't any better either.
  1217. >Probably should do something about that.
  1218. >You motioned your head to the door.
  1219. "Let's go get you cleaned up."
  1220.  
  1221. ----------
  1222.  
  1223. >A minute later, you and Zipp made it to the nearest bathroom, just down the hall.
  1224. >Thankfully, it was empty for the moment, giving you and Zipp a bit of privacy.
  1225. >Zipp walked over carefully to the sink counter and propped herself up on top of it.
  1226. >She turned on the sink next to her and ran her hoof under a bit of cold water, then began wiping her chest, to little success.
  1227. >You grabbed some paper towels and wet them under the faucet.
  1228. "You'll probably be more efficient with these," you say as you hold them up to her.
  1229. >She chuckles and grabs one of them.
  1230. >"Thank you," she said as she applied the wet cloth to her chest.
  1231. >She let out a shiver and started to wipe the paper towel up and down, trying her best to clean up as much of your cum as she could.
  1232. >You used your own paper towel to wipe off her face, getting the rogue strands of cum off her forehead and cheek.
  1233. >The sensation seemed to tickle Zipp, who moved slightly and kept smiling as the cloth ran along her face.
  1234. >You saw a little bit of cum left on her chin and quickly did away with that.
  1235. >Once you made sure her face was squeaky clean, you discarded both your and Zipp's paper towel into the nearest toilet, then grabbed another set and repeated the process.
  1236. >Zipp focused on her belly, wiping it down in circles, while you spread her legs to focus on her thighs and nethers.
  1237. "Is it alright if I...?" you ask her just in case.
  1238. >"Yeah," she answered, "just be gentle."
  1239. >With a smile, you started first with her thighs, trailing the cloth back and forth and scooping up a fair amount of semen that dripped down her body.
  1240. >Once you got to her nethers, you flipped the paper towel around and gently dabbed it bottom to top.
  1241. >It didn't stop Zipp from wincing and letting out a muffled moan.
  1242. "Sorry," you whispered with a slight grimace.
  1243. >But Zipp didn't stop you, instead letting you continue to wipe her nethers clean.
  1244. >She rested her hoof upon your own, but didn't do much to guide you.
  1245. >Zipp let out a deep sigh through her nose as if trying to relax herself.
  1246. >Luckily, your cleaning didn't take too long, and the now cum-stained paper towel joined the rest in the toilet.
  1247. >With Zipp now as clean as she could be for the time being, you turned your focus to your own dirtiness.
  1248. >Wetting a fresh set of paper towels, you began wiping down your softened member and sheath and around the base.
  1249. >You were a bit more delicate around your balls, but luckily there wasn't much to clean.
  1250. >You folded the paper towel and wiped off your waist and stomach, then took a quick peek in the mirror.
  1251. >Not a trace left, it seemed.
  1252. >With that, you threw away the last paper towel and flushed the toilet, before returning to the sink to wash your hooves.
  1253. >Zipp, still sitting on the sink, did the same while awkwardly leaning to the side, but she got the job done.
  1254. >As the two of you wiped off your hooves, you couldn't help but notice a nervous look on Zipp's face.
  1255.  
  1256. "Everything alright?" you asked. "I didn't miss a spot, did I?"
  1257. >She shook her head.
  1258. >"Nah, I'm clean... ish. It's just something else."
  1259. "Bad?"
  1260. >"No. I... It's that..."
  1261. >Zipp grew frustrated as she seemed unable to find the right words.
  1262. >"I, uh... I liked that."
  1263. >She bit her lips softly.
  1264. >"I liked it a lot."
  1265. >She let out an awkward chuckle.
  1266. >"Not really sure what else to say beyond that."
  1267. >It got you laughing too.
  1268. >With a warmth in your cheeks, you spread Zipp's legs apart and stood up between her to meet her face to face, then held her hooves.
  1269. >Zipp didn't seem really nervous, just more so unable to speak.
  1270. >A snort left her nose as she smiled.
  1271. >"And I... would... like to do it again. More often, if you'd like."
  1272. >A part of you seemed taken aback by the request.
  1273. "Really?"
  1274. >Zipp nodded quickly, but then winced.
  1275. >"That wasn't too forward, was it?"
  1276. >You just shrugged and sighed.
  1277. "Honestly, after tonight, I think we're long past the point of being too forward with each other."
  1278. >Zipp snickered into your chest, and you just held her close to you as you laughed with her.
  1279. >When she pulled away to look at you again, she just smiled.
  1280. "Well... maybe after our get-together with Cherry on Tuesday, you can... come back to my place? I can order pizza, maybe find a movie on Hooflix? Like a date? Kinda?"
  1281. >Zipp grinned brighter and let out a shy giggle, but her eyes glistened openly.
  1282. >"Sure. It's a date."
  1283. >You smiled.
  1284. >Your hooves brushed against hers delicately as she leaned in for another kiss, which you gladly accepted.
  1285. >But there was no lust, no desperation in this kiss.
  1286. >Just pure, comforting affection.
  1287. >And you embraced it for all it could give.
  1288. >This was nice.
  1289.  
  1290. --------------
  1291.  
  1292. >"So they were never stealing anything?" you heard Sunny Starscout ask.
  1293. >Soon after you and Zipp left the Embree Society, you gave Sunny a call and told them to meet up at your place when they could.
  1294. >Sunny, Hitch, and Izzy were staying at a hotel a few blocks down, having taken a few days off their schedules for the occasion, so keeping together wasn't impossible for now.
  1295. >They arrived at your apartment the next morning, and after finishing Day Court, Pipp and Zipp swung by around one o'clock.
  1296. >Now the six of you were sitting at your table, eating takeout and "debriefing.""
  1297. "Apparently not," you answered Sunny. "Turns out their leader is a descendent of a Princess Mi Amore Cadenza."
  1298. >"Cadenza? That sounds familiar."
  1299. >Dropping her food, Sunny reached into her satchel and grabbed her journal.
  1300. >After a few seconds, she landed on a specific page.
  1301. >"Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, ruler of the Crystal Empire. She went missing during the Dark Era and was presumed... deceased."
  1302. >That last word left a bitter taste in Sunny's mouth it seemed, but she continued to read.
  1303. >"Based on what my father could find, she ruled the Crystal Empire for almost a thousand years. When the Empire fell, she had its most important artifacts scattered across Equestria and hidden in strategic temples."
  1304. >"Which we already knew," Hitch said, before realizing how that sounded. "I mean, since we were exploring them."
  1305. >Sunny rolled her eyes with a brief smile and continued.
  1306. >"She was hoping the Dark Era would be realized as a mistake and subsequently ended; only then would her artifacts be retrieved and her kingdom restored to its former glory."
  1307. >She flipped through the next couple pages, only to scrunch her lips.
  1308. >"There's nothing here mentioning the Embree Society at all, or the fact that she founded it. Then again, my dad wasn't able to finish cataloguing that era..."
  1309. >Sunny frowned, but she cleared her throat a moment later and looked up to you and Zipp.
  1310. >"Are you sure she was telling the truth?"
  1311. >"Of course," Zipp answered. "And that's the strangest thing... nopony there was lying, about anything, to anyone. Every time C—Mrs. Embree talked to us, there was no indication she was dancing her away around the truth. She never lied to us once. And she even had enough proof to back that claim. And when we presented the Heart to everyone there... the way it -moved-... it was like it knew exactly where it was supposed to go. Like it knew it was home."
  1312. >Sunny adjusted her eyes and gave a content snort.
  1313. >"It explains why they never went for anything else. Those temples were full of countless ancient artifacts, and yet those were completely left alone. Only the things that had any correlation to the Crystal Empire were taken away."
  1314. >She furrowed her eyebrows.
  1315. >"How did I not connect -those- dots too...?"
  1316. >You gave Sunny a sympathetic smile and shrugged.
  1317.  
  1318. "Look at it this way: The Embree Society got back everything they wanted. And now those ponies are happier than they've ever been. And who knows: It could be something to learn for all of us."
  1319. >"What do you mean?"
  1320. >You learned your elbows against the table.
  1321. "Those ponies, in spite of everything they've faced, never just laid down and gave up. They persevered for thousands of years, tirelessly searching for the one thing that brought them hope. And now they have it back, and they have more hope than ever before. Their hearts were always in the right place."
  1322. >You took one of your hooves and placed it in the center of the table.
  1323. "So let's do the same. For Equestria."
  1324. >Knowing what you were getting at, Sunny smiled warmly at you and placed her hoof on top of yours.
  1325. >"For Equestria."
  1326. >The rest of them exchanged smiles and did the same and put their hooves in.
  1327. >"For Equestria!" they exclaimed.
  1328. >"We'll do our part..." Sunny said.
  1329. >"Hoof to heart!" the rest of you exclaimed and lifted your hooves into the air.
  1330. >The joy that emanated around the dining room was contagious.
  1331. >Everyone's mood instantly lifted, and their motivation came back in full stride.
  1332. >Zipp glanced at you, sharing a comforting smile.
  1333. >You couldn't help but smile back, holding her hoof beneath the table.
  1334. >Everypony was ready to bring a better world to Equestria.
  1335. >And the first order of business, according to Sunny?
  1336. >"Join the Embree Society!"
  1337. >Yeah!
  1338. >...
  1339. >Wait.
  1340. >What...?
  1341.  
  1342.  
  1343. END

Now, Embrace (Zipp Storm x Anon) [Complete]

by RealDash

Without Her (Sci-Twi x Anon) (JeffMango)

by RealDash

Pearly Whites (Complete)

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