Questions and Answers with Long Path

This story is a sequel to A Different Perspective
Long Path receives an invite from the head of the journalism department to a series of talks for the students, however when word gets out that he is going to have a no limits Q and A. The small meeting that was expected to be a short talk with under 30 students exploded into a week long series in the university's largest amphitheater with several hundred in attendance, not just those from the university.


2. 2

When everyone came back, Path blinked a few times; they were all wearing “Hello my name is:” stickers. He chuckled slightly and mumbled to himself. “Well, at least I’ll know whose questions I’m answering, hah!”

He watched a light blue aura wrap around the collar as this time a unicorn with a brown mane and orange coat cleared his throat. As he spoke Path’s eyes moved downward to his name sticker.

“Besides your “Thunderhooves” technique, can you cast any other spells?”

He lowered the collar and looked at Path before the earth pony stood up and walked to the front of the stage again.

“Good question, Gizmo Gears. Well, right now I can’t cast any spells without the help of a magitek assistance device. In the fight with the mad queen, I lost everything.” He turned to the side to show off his blank flank. “But before that event, there were two spells I had in my arsenal: Thunderhooves and Grounding Shield. One lets me bottle up the earth pony variant of magic and then release it out in one massive concussive wave. The other connects me to Equus so when a magical attack hits me, it’s channeled around me and into the ground. I used the first technique quite often, but the only times I’ve used the second was when I had to deal with a certain love-drunk changeling. There was a third spell that I was starting to develop, but now that I can no longer do magic, I am going to have to transfer my notes to another earth pony that is magic sensitive.”

The collar was handed off to a cream-colored unicorn. He started to speak as Path looked to his name sticker with a smile.

“Will you seek to regain your magic and cutie mark?”

Once the topic of magic was brought up, quite a few more unicorns looked and started to pay attention to what the earth pony had to say.

“Well Sanmer, I could’ve regained my magic if I had taken Discord up on his boon, but honestly, I believe that I can do what I need to do without magic, and there are a few countries that I have visited that tend to frown upon the use of magic. So in that case it is actually a plus that I can no longer cast my spells. That’s not to say that I’m weak; actually without the use of magic I’ve become stronger in other ways.” Path smiled a bit as he saw the collar get passed off yet again.

When a tan-colored unicorn grabbed the collar with his blue magic, Path again looked down to his name sticker.

“I would like to ask a few questions of Free Agent, if that’s okay?” Traveling Soul asked.

Path looked up at the clock – barely five minutes had passed. Path started to laugh as he looked back to the dean.

“I told you they would ask for you within ten minutes. You owe me dinner!” Path pointed with his hoof and grinned widely.

The dean rolled his eyes as he was covered in a green fire and in his place a red griffon stood.

“You know I figured it would’ve at least taken fifteen minutes, but a bet is a bet,” Free said. As he walked by path, it looked like the hoof/claw bumped before Path sat back down and Free looked at Traveling Soul.

“Ask away my lovelies!” Free waggled his eyebrows and looked at some of the mares, hens, stallions, and cocks.

“I actually have two questions. Number one: We know your favorite form is a griffon, but what is your second favorite form and why? Number two: What is your personal opinion of the other known changeling queens in Equestria?”

Free just blinked a few times. “Okay wow… I was not expecting it to get so heavy so soon. Okay so yes my favorite form is my griffon form, because it’s me, however when I need to go to super posh meetings in Canterlot I tend to use my second favorite form.”

Free flashed in green fire before a red alicorn stood on the stage. “All will swoon before the ravishingly good looks of the Alicorn of Awe…” Free was stopped mid speech when Path clipped him behind the ears. “Er… yes… this is my second favorite form.” Free nodded before going back to his preferred griffon form.

“Now for your second question… well it’s not going to have an exciting answer. This is because for three of the five Equestrian hives my overall opinion is ‘meh’. They do their things; I do mine. For the most part, we don’t ever talk to each other, except for when we have meetings with Celestia and Luna.” Free sighed a bit.

“However the Red and Green Hives I do have an opinion on. I personally don’t like queen Carpacia, and this is something I’ve said to her face several times. She’s way too uptight, blah blah protocol, blah blah honor, blah blah fight to the death blah… she really needs to cut loose and relax. Shining however loves her. They go on and on, talking about war tactics and military strategies for hours; it’s so boring really. On the other hand there is the Green Hive – I really like their queen. Not only is her daughter helping me run the Blue Hive, which is such a pain, but Dianthia has even gone out with me for a night out on the town once or twice. Of course we were disguised at the time… and I might be lying.”

He looked back and forth before whispering loudly to the crowd. “If you ever see a tipsy lime-green unicorn slurring out the words to “Sweet Home Appleoosa” in a karaoke bar with a deep blue pegasus cheering her on… well… you didn’t hear it from me…” The griffon grinned.

Path rolled his eyes with a grin and walked back up to Free as he talked to those that were assembled. “Yeah, Free always tries to get visiting dignitaries to relax and calm down. It doesn’t matter what country we happen to be in at the time; if it’s not the Club District in Canterlot, then it’s Pub Row in Griffonia, or The Crystal Haus in the Crystal City. He does whatever it takes to make people just relax; it’s easier to talk and make progress when one isn’t so tense.

Path looked to Free who was still posing and grinning. Path facehoofed.

Path watched as the collar was passed to… wait, what? The pony, at least it was part pony. Its front half was a pony with an eggshell coat and blonde mane, but its rear half was that of a giant snake with pearly scales and a pattern of golden brown diamonds running along its back. When he looked at the sticker it said ‘Sergal’.

“Missster Path,” the deep rumble of its... his... voice marking him as a male. “Are you not ssspiritually linked to both an alicorn princesssss and a changeling queen? Can't you sssimply borrow their magic asss Free Agent did to return sssome of your abilitiesss?”

Path thought for a moment before looking at free.

“Well… it’s not that simple… it’s hard for me to put it into words, but alicorns have a lot of magic. I mean a LOT. A normal pony such as myself can’t handle channeling that much power. So it’s not that I just have my magic drained. In the process my magic, as well as the mana channels that carry it were permanently burned out. It’s why I’m now basically magic-inert.” Path motioned for Free to grab something out of the bag. Free put what looked like a strange clear crystal on Paths back, and then clipped a horn onto his forehead.

“This is actually something that House Path’s R&D department is working on. It’s a way to give magic back to unicorns that have been in terrible accidents… it just also happens to work with earth ponies.”

Free shifted into his alicorn form and put his horn against the crystal as it slowly started to glow.

“This device lets me use others’ magic to do small tasks and abilities. I won’t be able to do major magic like teleporting, but I can lift small things like chalk and forks.” Path demonstrated by lifting up a piece of chalk and drawing a little doodle on the board. “So while I don’t have any magic of my own, and I’m unable to hold magic inside myself, there are other ways for me to accomplish things that most don’t really consider a task.”

When the collar was passed to another unicorn, Path again looked down to see the name, ‘Jodie’. He smiled at the pink Pegasus and listened to her question.

“I have a question about pronouns. There are many species in our world, many of them living side by side. However when a pony wants to address a crowd they will say 'everypony' even if there are griffins, dragons, et cetera in the crowd too. I'm not singling out ponies here, as most species do this, with terms like everygriff, everydrake, everyling, and so forth. My question is: do you think this is a specist way of excluding other races, or a harmless method of being proud of one’s heritage?”

Path grinned a bit at this one. “I always find myself tripping up on these pronouns. Everypony, or everygriff or everyling, or everyzeb. I don’t think that they are specist at all; it’s just that when these words were being created, very few ever ventured out of their homelands. The term ‘everypony’ was created because all there were in Canterlot at the time were ponies. Same thing with the other terms. Generally though at the campuses of House Path, because there are so many different groups, I tend to encourage the use of ‘everybody’ or ‘everyone’ since it is gender neutral and not species specific. But honestly it’s not really what’s being said as much as it is the context of how it is being said.”

Path grinned as he watched the collar move to another pony. He really liked how everyone was getting into the whole townhouse Q&A session.

A light grey pegasus was given the collar next. Once he had it, he put it on and adjusted the brown glasses he was wearing before looking up at Long Path with a warm smile. “First, allow me to thank you, Lord Path, for opening the question session to the public.” He cleared his throat and continued. "Now, I am a resident of Ponyville and also a writer, and I've been told that the Blue Changeling Hive, which is being established near Ponyville, is specialized in finding that which is previously unknown. Would they be willing, as a member of your House which promotes universal learning and sharing of knowledge, to work with ponies such as myself as a resource for research and source material for books? Non-fictional or otherwise?"

Path looked to Free and motioned for him to come up front. “I could answer that but I think Free here is more qualified.”

Free rolled his eyes with a grin as he changed into his changeling queen form, towering over everyone that happened to be in the large room, she looked down to the pegasus in the front row.

“While you are right that my hive’s purpose is to uncover what is previously unknown, that primarily has to do with science, technology and innovation. When it comes to biology and medicine that tends to fall under the purple hives area of expertise. I think that written works would be covered by the Green Hive. However, if you still want to talk to my hive or with me, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. I am your neighbor so to speak, so come on over!”

Free started to give the pegasus bedroom eyes before a rolled-up newspaper was brought down on his nose. He flashed back into his griffon form.
“Really, Path – a rolled-up newspaper again?” Free held his nose with a hoof.

“Don’t make the audience members swoon!” Path scolded him.

Most of the audience started to laugh as the collar was passed yet again, this time to a green-coated unicorn stallion. It took a few moments before he nestled it on properly. “So, all things considered, after the battle against the mad Queen, the fruit-bearing peace negotiations between Griffonia and Equestria... what will be next? What kind of legacy do you hope to leave behind?”

Path started to grin and Free groaned. “He’s going to get all preachy again.”

Path rolled his eyes. “I could go on for hours about that one question.” He looked at Free. “But I’m not! The short answer is education, understanding and exploration. I want everyone to be educated and well-traveled, to increase their world view. This is why education at our campuses is free, and it’s also why we will require that the students pick three other campuses to transfer into during their high-school years in order to gain a broader understanding of various cultures. It’s our aim that everyone that graduates is fluent in at least three languages. In the long run… well, we have some ambitious plans that would be a bit premature to discuss right now.”

Path nodded as the collar was transferred, this time to an earth pony with a tea leaf cutie mark. He smiled as he started to talk.

“Lord Path, you've stated before that you went to the Green Hive. Have you visited other changeling hives? Do you intend to visit the remaining hives in the future? And for my last question, do you know if changelings drink tea in abundance?"

Path thought for a few moments. “So far I have only been to three hives, the Green, the Red, and of course the Blue. I would like to visit them all at some point in the future, but since Free is now at all of the queen-princess meetings, there isn’t really a reason for me to go to their hives. Well, no other reason than because I’m curious and want to see what their hives are like. As for tea, I have never seen Free drink tea in my life because he personally hates the stuff. However, I know for a fact that three of the queens LOVE tea. Most of their hives drink the stuff like its water, but the way they prepare it is different. Instead of sugar they stir in a teaspoon full of distilled love. I haven’t tasted it, but they all tell me it’s very good. Also that brings me to another point. The distilled changeling love is a food source for the hive, but for any other species it can be very damaging. If you are not a changeling you should never EVER ingest it.”

Path looked around as the collar was handed over to another participant…

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