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Bee
by on September 11, 2021
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A dazzling new day broke through Bee's curtains, to find her already lacing up her leather gauntlets for what promised to be a grand adventure. Birds greeted the sun from the trees outside. She tied her leather pouch on and slipped her red cloak over her head - up went the hood, just covering the two sharp horns between her ears, and it was time to get started!
Bee moved almost silently down the tavern's stairs. She tossed a few bits in the tip jar on her way to the door, as not even the owner was up this early! The door creaked open, then shut behind her. Her aim was to go to the very depths of Tartarus and retrieve three golden hairs from the head of a demon - she had been commissioned by a king. There was nothing about what the king intended to do with these hairs, but she was confident that she could keep them away from him if it turned out poorly.
Naturally, her path was long before her. Not just anypony could get into Tartarus itself. It would take her days or weeks to arrive at the gates, if all went well.
The first three days passed quite uneventfully until she came upon a quaint little town to restock in. She renewed her rations, had a lovely lunch, and then she encountered quite an odd crisis. The town's water supply came in the form of a fountain which had always served them well... until a month ago, when it had suddenly run dry! Now they could only purchase water from merchants. Bee was asked if she could solve this dilemma for them, and she promised that in two weeks' time, she would return with a solution.
She set back upon her path cheerily, and by the end of the first week, she'd come upon another town. This time she refilled her water supplies. It was then that she discovered that this town, too, had a problem. In the town's square stood a tree which had once born golden apples, and now could not grow even leaves. Bee was once again asked to aid them, and she promised that in one week's time, she would return with a solution.
At last she neared the end of her journey, and she came upon a deep and fast river. She met a ferryman, and as he took her across, she discovered that he had never meant to be a ferryman. He had taken the job for a month only, to be relieved by the next ferryman, but none had come. In this manner he had found himself rowing back and forth, back and forth for years now. Bee was asked once more for an answer, and she promised that in two days' time, she would return with a solution.
Finally she came to the gates of Tartarus, and made her way secretively to the realm of the demons. Here, Bee befriended a lesser demon, who explained to her that she must have been sent to die! Though it was unfortunate news, Bee was not afraid, and so the lesser demon guided her to her target. The adventurer disguised herself as another demon, and she came to the one with the golden hair. She brought him a large dinner which she had laced with a potion of slumber.
He ate, and once he had finished, he felt quite tired, and so reclined upon a fine chair. Here he fell asleep immediately, and so Bee's opportunity had come! She stood still by his head, and she plucked the first hair.
For a moment, he was roused, and he frowned. "Why have you disturbed me?"
"O lord, you know all. I only wondered - what could cause a fountain which once flowed with clean water to dry up all at once?"
"Hmph. A toad sits beneath a stone. Were it removed, the water would flow once more."
Bee nodded, and let him fall asleep once more. She waited for a half of an hour, and then she plucked the second hair.
He stirred, and asked again, "Why have you disturbed me?"
"O lord, you are wiser than I. Can you explain how a tree which had once produced golden apples would fail to produce even leaves?"
"That is easy!" He growled, "A mouse gnaws at the root. Were it removed, the tree would produce golden apples once more."
Again, she waited for a half of an hour from when he had fallen asleep, and then she plucked the final hair.
He roared this time. "Why have you disturbed me?"
"O lord, truly you are a beacon of knowledge. What is it that would make a ferryman go on rowing and rowing, unable to move on?"
"A trifle. He has only to place his oar in the hooves of his passenger, and he may go free while the other rows! Do not bother me again, foolish demon."
"Yes, my lord." Bee tucked the hairs safely into her pouch, and once he had fallen back asleep, she snuck secretly and quietly away. The lesser demon bid her farewell.
First she came back upon the ferryman, as she had promised. He asked her the answer, and once he had brought her back across, Bee explained to him. "When next someone comes, simply give the oar to them, and you will be free to leave."
The ferryman thanked her. She went on her way, and came upon the town once again. They asked her for the solution, and so she led them to the root of the tree, where a mouse chewed at it. She received a pouch of gold for her assistance, and set on her way once more. When she came to the town deprived of water, they asked her what they should do. Bee smiled, and plucked the toad from beneath the rock herself. At once the fountain flowed with crystal clear water as it had, and they thanked her. She set the toad on her back so that it joined her adventure.
And now, at last, she returned to find the king. Before she presented the hairs she asked for what he needed them. He told her that they were to be used in a spell that would strengthen his armies, so that they could conquer the neighboring lands. Bee considered his answer.
"King, I am only an adventurer, yet I cannot see the value in such bloodshed. Surely a stallion of your esteem could form alliances instead?"
The king had not thought of this, but he could not admit such a thing.
"Foolish vagabond, I am a king. You know nothing of politics. How do you dare to criticize me?"
"To sacrifice your own citizens for power is the mark of a coward. I stand by my words and challenge you to consider the consequences of your actions."
He was quite red in the face now, and called for his guards. The king told Bee that if she did not present him with the hairs, he would have her arrested for treason. She answered that were she to have them, she still would not give such power to a tyrant, and her adventure ended in a prison cell. It was a miserable time which she has never spoken of since, even to the toad that stayed by her side.
Forever after her escape, though, her cloak was bound shut by three golden stitches.
Topics: lore gang
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Chow Chow
The devil in I.