"Princess Twilight, I am NOT setting hoof in there," Kevin said firmly.
"But...it's just a bakery?" Twilight pointed out as they stood outside of Sugercube Corner.
"Wrong!" Kevin denied, glaring at the building as if it would attack him, "To you, it's a bakery that a happy mare and stallion live in with their two foals along with some random other pony. But to me it's a delicious, diabetic, alcoholic, addictive, sugar rush nightmare from which there is no escape!" He elaborated with overdramatic grimness.
"Sooooo, no cake then?" Twilight asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Are you daft? Of course I want some cake! I'm just not going to risk my health to get it," Kevin explained simply. "So, not to be rude? Please bring me back a piece."
Twilight giggled at that before heading inside, "Pinky Pie! I need a cake!" she announced in amusement.
"Oh, what kind? What occasion?" Pinkie Pie asked enthusiastically, popping out of the cupboards.
"Why are you up there?" Twilight asked in confusion.
"Looking for Gummy! He's always hiding away when I'm on duty!" Pinkie answered, giggling a bit. "Duty."
"How would he even get up- you know what, never mind," Twilight backtracked wisely. "Any kind will do. I'm just showing a...diplomat of sorts around," Twilight answered carefully.
"Oh, you mean Kevlar! Wait, if he's the diplomat, he must be working! So it would be Kevin! I have just the thing for him!" Pinkie Pie deduced, zipping around the shop.
"You knew about him being a changeling from another land?" Twilight asked with a deadpan, her eyebrow twitching. "How long?"
"About a week before the wedding? I was going to throw him a "Welcome the Changeling to Ponyville!" Party, but all of our cake supplies were busy being used for the wedding cake!" Pinkie Pie informed as she produce a pink box. "One cake filled with Chocolate, Unrequited Love, and Peanut Butter!"
"Pinkie, if you were any other pony, you would probably be locked up for treason," Twilight remard before sighing fondly, producing a number of bits. "I believe this should cover it."
"Pleasure doing business with you, your Sparkliness!" Pinkie Pie said with a playful bow.
Twilight rolled her eyes as she left her random friend, "Okay, Kevin, I got the-" she paused as she saw the changeling was pointedly ignoring the two dozen-maybe more- ponies that were doing a poor job of eyeing him. "Cake."
"Still no incident yet," Kevin gave with a shrug as Twilight approached with the box on her withers.
"Come on, let's take this to- er, I'd invite you to my palace, but I live in a library," Twilight offered sheepishly.
"A tree library. I'm honestly impressed with that, Druidry isn't exactly a common talent in your kind," Kevin remarked fondly before scowling. "Just as long as that white unicorn isn't there."
"Rarity? Why, what's wrong with her?" Twilight asked defensively.
"Nothing. Bit too melodramatic for my tastes, but your drake's puppy love for her is like dangling a rare and freshly prepared fruit right under my nose," Kevin grumbled.
"Oooooh. Yeah, I guess I can kind of understand that," Twilight accepted. "...Didn't it bothering you being around newlyweds then?"
"No," Kevin answered flatly.
"...Well, why not?" Twilight couldn't help questioning.
"Their love, even the scent of it, is basically looping back and forth between themselves constantly right now. It also helps that they're not overly lovey-dovey. Now, if your brother and sister were out on a royal date? Yeah, I'd need something to snack on. Though, that said, I doubt the Alicorn of Love would notice one changeling skimming off the top," Kevin rambled on, more and more to himself than Twilight.
"Don't need to think about that image too vividly," Twilight muttered as they reached Golden Oaks, heading inside to avoid the various looks of the town. "I guess this is a good time for a snack," she decided, placing the cake on the table
"Annnnd you want to probe me for more information," Kevin deduced as he opened the box, taking out a slice. "So, what do you want to know?"
"Well, you seem to know much about the world at large, and you said you wanted to frame everything before telling me more, so...?" Twilight answered with a prompting motion.
Kevin chewed thoughtfully on his slice of cake. "Well, I suppose the main thing to tell you about is the Commonwealth."
"The Commonwealth?" Twilight repeated curiously, her notepad instantly appearing as she took notes.
"The Commonwealth of Staxaes. Technically speaking, it is the largest and most powerful entity on the world stage," Kevin explained.
"Technically means only in theory, implying not in application," Twilight realized expectantly.
Kevin nodded idly. "It's a collection of vastly different countries and vastly different creatures. In reality, they each usually function as their own independent nations."
"I'm...confused," Twilight said with a scowl. "How can they be considered one political entity even in theory?"
Kevin nodded absently as he finished off his slice. "It doesn't make sense when you think about it, until you've been to a few of their countries. No matter how much the cultures differ, they each have some things in common," Kevin explained.
"And those would be?" Twilight asked with a head tilt.
"A shared currency, simplifying their economic dealings, and a uniform language. Most countries have Kiffolic as a second language these days as a result," Kevin elaborated, licking his lips clean. "Beyond that are the obvious pacts to aid each other from outside threats to the Commonwealth."
"That's it?" Twilight asked in surprise. It had taken the Flames of Friendship and the Tree of Harmony to pull the three tribes together, so it was more than a little surprising.
"That and the royal family, but I don't think there would be a Commonwealth without them to begin with," Kevin mused. "Moving off to the side while we're still on break, you wanted to know about other immortals?"
"Well, I am the youngest, so I'm kind of playing catch up right now?" Twilight answered sheepishly to Kevin's amusement.
"Well, most countries have an immortal ruling them, Commonwealth or not. Like Equestria, some have more than one. But how everyone becomes Immortal can normally be summarized into four categories: Sorb, Ditom, Feln, and Steson. Or, in your tongue: Self, Item, Born, and Chosen," Kevin said as Twilight listened with great attentiveness, scribbling away in her notes.
"Huh. Well, with those translations, I can guess what most of those mean now, but I'd appreciate the clarification," Twilight requested with a head tilt.
"Certainly. We covered Sorb, those who become one on their own merit. The rarest and trickiest to do or explain since the "goal" one must reach to shed their mortality changes between each individual. Feln or Born is straightforward, but comes in two forms. The first is Dinfeln, or Inborn: someone that is born to one or two immortals. While not exactly common, it's not unheard of for Immortals to pass on their unending lifespan."
Twilight paused with wide eyes. "So, wait, does that mean Cadence might-?"
"Give birth to an Alicorn that your brother sired, yes. While her genes would be the ones doing the work, that has to be some kind of ego boost to the male that sires a Feln," Kevin stated with a snicker. "The second kind of Feln, while extremely rare, is an immortal that is born that way for no explicit reason."
Twilight stopped at that. "Spontaneous Immortality. Wow. That is-Just- I mean, on the face, it wouldn't sound like too big of a difference until you realize what you're saying. Born from an Alicorn, become an Alicorn? That is startling, but comprehendible. Alicorn coming out of a regular mare with a normal stallion for a father? That would be...strange, hard to believe, and a little suspicious," Twilight summarized.
"Hence why it's so rare. They're supposed to be called Dinnaxato, for Innate, but most just nickname them Outborn, or Eutfeln, for the fun of it," Kevin explained in amusement. "Cause if you somehow became an Immortal from conception without any help, you should at least let others get a laugh out of how you landed on easy street."
"I guess I can see how that's funny," Twilight answered with a shrug. "I'm guessing Items are what they sound like?"
"Yes, but again, in two categories. Well, technically three categories…four if you count Corrupting/Possession types, but I digress," Kevin continued, stroking his chin. "Ditoms can either be permanent or conditional. Dolmanonk and cectitienar in Kiffolic, but since this has less to do with one's own self and more them just having an object, they usually just go by Ditoms in general. A Permanent Ditom will keep the one it is bound to immortal as long as the item in question is not destroyed, which is why the immortal will never grow old or die of old age. Conditional means it has a requirement. Like armor you can rarely if ever take off, or needing to kill someone once a year, or just being in the same given area as the item," he elaborated before scowling. "A side clarification to each of these is Cursed Items, or Culsow. You can probably guess what this entails."
"Immortality at a steep price or catch," Twilight said with a shiver of dread. "Like ones that just keep you alive no matter how old or damaged your body becomes. I'm guessing that just leaves Chosen?"
"This is the easiest and most common way to become Immortal. The old legends say High Lord Battle Shift himself was uplifted by being Chosen," Kevin remarked.
"Yeah, but Chosen by who or what?" Twilight asked curiously.
"This comes in a few varieties," Kevin warned. "The first is simple: Whoil, or Heir, is when a powerful enough Immortal can and does ascend a mortal. Only a very few are able to do this, usually only once or twice a century. The second is vague as it is being Chosen by a supernatural force. I'm not sure how Princesses Celestia and Luna ascended, but if it was through their connections to the Sun and Moon, they would qualify. Granted, it's often hard to tell the difference between those who became Immortal this way, and Sorbs as the line between them greys."
"And what are those called, in your tongue?" Twilight inquired after a short pause.
"Axavaxataxal," Kevin answered bluntly.
Twilight stopped writing and blinked. "I'm sorry, what?" she asked slowly.
"Axavaxataxal," Kevin repeated with a smirk
"Are you making that up just to be funny?" Twilight asked suspiciously.
"Ha! No, but don't worry. We all find that one unwieldy as sting too. The slang word for them is Spilit...or Spirits. I guess that word more or less got shared between our different languages," Kevin remarked with a shrug. "The last is the Fropt."
Kevin paused as Twilight giggled a bit. "Okay, I'm s-sorry, but that word just sounds a bit funnier than I expected," she apologized with a small blush.
"Careful with that one. Some Fropt take insult with that, depending on how proud they are of it." Kevin warned in full seriousness.
Twilight sobered up with a worried look. "Note, do not insult how "Fropt" sounds," she said to herself as she wrote the same words in her notes. "So, how are they chosen, exactly?"
"That's a...complicated question with a very long story that I am not equipped to explain in a manner that would do any part of it justice. Let's just leave it at this: While some Immortals can ascend a mortal or two, there are others that can do it as often and as many as they desire," Kevin explained ominously.
Twilight's eyes boggled at that; someone that could make others immortal, just like that, without consequence or requirement? That alone spoke of the power of this entity, and why Kevin spoke of him so carefully. "You said...your High Lord was a Chosen?" she asked curiously.
"Yes, Princess Twilight, he is a Fropt himself," Kevin answered with a nod before looking worried. "I...wouldn't bring up how that happened at your first meeting with him."
"Huh? Why, is that rude among Immortals?" Twilight asked in concern.
"Not exactly, no. The High Lord just has some bad memories of the events that led to his ascension. I don't have the full story, but-" Kevin explained until Twilight held up her hoof.
"No, no, it's fine. You...sound like you have a fairly friendly relationship with your High Lord, so I'd rather not intrude on that with an unintentionally personal question," Twilight intervened with a smile.
"Hmm, you really are good at this friendship thing," Kevin remarked curiously. "Well, that was a lovely cake, but I believe we have a tour to get back to?"
"Oh, yes, of course!" Twilight agreed enthusiastically, teleporting away her quill and notepad. "Well, before we go anywhere, this is obviously the town library."
"How many ponies actually use this place as a library still?" Kevin inquired curiously.
"Oh, more than you would imagine, but less than they should," Twilight admitted, both sheepish and annoyed with the topic. "So, where would the Changeling Ambassador like to visit next?"
"A newborn Nursery?" Kevin tried offhoofedly.
"Sure, right this-wait, what?" Twilight asked in alarm, doing a double take.
Kevin grinned. "Sorry, I couldn't resist. But in all seriousness, we sometimes do that as an anti-depression activity. Love to and from a newborn is a very uplifting thing," Kevin explained.
Twilight stared for a moment, her mouth wanting to say something her head said she shouldn't.
"Yes, Princess, this got my kind labeled as baby-nappers a lot in the olden days," Kevin confirmed to her unspoken thoughts, snorting at her sheepish look. "Don't worry. The Entomian Hills as a culture decided to take the old jokes about us and, instead of being insulted by them, we own it."
"Oh, that's a relief," Twilight said with a sigh. "But, again, anywhere in particular?"
Kevin shrugged. "I heard something about an interesting clock tower."
"Ah, yes, the one with the odd optical illusion that makes it seem like it only has eight hours on it from certain angles," Twilight recalled as she headed to the door. "Right this way, Sir Crustlar," she said in jest.
"Princess, you only get to call me Sir if you make me a knight," Kevin returned in kind.
"Huh...wonder if I'm allowed to do that?" Twilight asked to herself.
End of Chapter
Well, here's a new chapter. I really need to come back to this story more often, but other ideas and life in general often get in the way. Hope you all enjoyed this little look in the Realms of Isceld.
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