As the words leave Dodgeball's mouth, the keys all glow an assortment of colors and an image of a door appears in everypony's heads. Everypony knows where the door for the key they hold is.
Sun's Sense motive: Everypony seems shocked at the details given, and especially stunned when Mayor Mare had been revealed.
Arcana looks at his cards. "All I know is that they left ponyville to protect something." He stares at everypony; his colorless eye pouting into theirs. "And the event I shall call the Harmony effect is happening now because harmony has been forced to play it's hand three times in a short span. In Celestia's time, many years had passed between discord and Night Mare Moon's events, but being used thrice in a short time has caused a tip in the natural balance."
He closed his eyes, picking a card from his deck and casting a quick spell. "There's interference in my sight by a spell, presumably cast by the 6th element, but I can tell the mares hid something in their homes about what they're doing.
Sun nods and looks at the other ponies. "everyone, i believe that we all know what must be done, let us all take the keys and see what we can find, when we have finished i suggest we all meet back at the library in which Twilight lives, it's the most central building and should be big enough for all of us. i believe we should meet back there at least by sundown if we haven't found anything"
(if nopony has any objections)
i then head towards sweet apple acres, i believe i know where it is. since it's a pretty long ways away, i don't run the entire way, but i make haste as much as possible.
When Sun Flare had entered the hall, City had engaged him in small-talk at his leisure until Mist had crashed through the wall.
Knowledge (Local): 7
Now, though, she was still talking to the Pegasus. The only thing she knew about her was that she was a handypony, taking odd repair jobs. At the rush of words from the excitable mare, the Earth pony just tilted her head for a moment, then looked at the bow on her back.
"Well, I usually try to work as a detective. It's how I got my mark. But lately I've resorted to hunting in the Everfree Forest. I know I've needed Sun's medical aid a number of times," she said, acknowledging the priest of Celestia with a smile as he worked on Mist.
She fell to silence as the other two took to chatting.
Knowledge (Local): 8
At Strangeknot's running entrance, complete with half a sandwich still hanging from his mouth, she only blinked mutely. She recognized him, though. He was the Unicorn who had taken up residence in the town's library, probably giving the local librarian a headache in the process.
Knowledge (Local): 13 (10 max)
And the similar, albeit more wordy entrance of Dodgeball - a rather odd pony by all accounts - earned a raised eyebrow and a "Right."
And to round out the carnival of crackpots, Stormy! A paladin for Luna. Also sounded constantly like he was about to crush you beneath his boot heel. City certainly cringed a bit at the volume of his voice. It was hurting her regretfully sharp ears. And it sounded like he had every intention to yell about his goddess some more still. Great.
Mercifully, the green Unicorn had apparently decided that everyone he was waiting for and started explaining why he had gathered them all here today. City took it all in silently, though her thoughts were rampant. If the Elements of Harmony being used too frequently was causing an imbalance in the form of literally causing the world to stop, it went without saying that something had to be done.
Sense Motive: 6
But there was something more. Arcana kept glaring at the cowl on the ground near him. He wasn't being subtle about it either. While she preferred to observe and note information, it was time to speak up.
"What does the cowl mean, Mr. Arcana? The symbol on it is the wrong color for Celestia."
Stormy shifts a bit uncomfortably. "MY LOCATION APPEARS TO BE A CLOUD HOME! WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TRADE?" he asked the only other pegasus in the group. "I AM NOT ENTIRELY COMFORTABLE WITH BEING THAT HIGH UP!"
turning towards the paladin "sir, may i request that thou unequip thy helmet? 'this scaring the ponies. we shall be able to hear ye just fine without it" (trying for the royal weve here, i believe Sun is better at it than me)
Sun looks around to the other ponies and see how scared most of them are of the paladin.
"ponies, there is no reason to be unnerved, the paladins of the moon can seem rather threatening, but i can ensure that they are not to be feared, they are the humble protectors of our land and our princesses. is it not so mr paladin?"
Blinking a bit, he proceeds to remove his helmet, revealing his large and sleek black goatee and mustache combo. "Ah, sorry about that. Forgot I had the thing on. I was wondering why everyone was so quiet. Sorry if I frightened you all."
Location:Everywhere and nowhere, for location is subjective and thus meaningless
Dodgeball chuckled nervously. "Unnerved? Frightened? No, not me. Whatever gave you that impression? Eheheh..."
A brief awkward pause, and then: "I think I'll just go investigate Sugarcube Corner now if that's okay with everypony. See you at the library. Kay thanks bye!" With that, he dashed towards the exit at a course that would have collided him with the wall had he not altered his course at the last second, dashing through the door instead.
Perception to notice the wall in his way: 17 (14+3)
Knowledge (Local) to know Sugarcube Corner's location: 5 (2+3)
Unfortunately, he had to go back in a moment later. "Um, does anypony know how to get to Sugarcube Corner from here?"
Arcana sighs, a vein in his forehead throbbing. "Follow the path the key sends you on. And I mean that literally as the spell cast upon the keys will shine a colored light in the direction of the house."
Strangeknot's silvery-blue short mane streamed out behind him as he ran into the town hall, sandwich still in mouth, monkey perched on his back. Inside, he saw a few other ponies had gathered, one of which was an eerie looking unicorn stallion with a green coat and a purple mane that Strangeknot didn't recognize.
Perception (mysterious stallion), 5
Knowledge: Local (Water), 10 (untrained)
Knowledge: Local (City), 10 (untrained)
One of the others was a cute blonde earth pony that Strangeknot recognized as the mare with the freakishly long prehensile tail. He didn't know her name, but he had seen her on occasion spending time with his old acquaintance, Water Strider. Water and Strangeknot had attended the same university in Manehattan, and both had studied alchemy there. But Water had left after his... accident, and Strangeknot had left after... well, it's not really important anyway.
Water had become reclusive since the.. since coming to Ponyville, so Strangeknot hadn't really seen much of his old classmate. When he did, he was frequently accompanied by this mare. Now, the simplest and most logical assumption was that they were siblings. I mean, when you see a mare and a stallion spending lots of time together and looking at one another fondly and occasionally giving each other hugs, 'siblings' is the first thing you think, right? But of course the world isn't so simple. No, the more likely explanation was that she was a mare from his past when Water Strider had worked as a super spy for the Equestrian government, infiltrating the Zebra nation and disabling their giant robots armed with megaspells, terrifying machines known as... Metal Steer. It must be so cool dating a pony with a prehensile tail.
Strangeknot shook his head to dislodge a train of thought that could be summed up in the word "cyberpony". It was probably a better idea to actually learn about a pony's background than to fabricate one, even if it might be much more interesting. Still, Strangeknot held secret hope that "Solid Strider" might just turn out to be real after all.
Knowledge: Local (Mist), 10 (untrained)
One of the others present was the energetic handymare with a propensity toward attracting aggravated avians. He knew he shouldn't laugh, but he couldn't help a repressed snicker at the thought. Watching her getting mobbed by a flock of birds was just too funny. But she was also a fellow alchemist, and a mare with firepower is a mare to be respected.
Knowledge: Local (Sun), natural 20! (untrained)
The last was a pony Strangeknot actually knew to some degree. Sun Flare was a priest of good old Celly, Mover of the Sun, Princess of the Day, and Queen of the Cake. Sun had visited the library on occasion, being a scholarly sort, but wasn't really given to talk much, a trait that suited Strangeknot just fine. Strangeknot didn't know much more about him, but he seemed an okay guy. Apparently he had once wanted to be a paladin.
Of course, with a sandwich still in his mouth, Strangeknot was unable to converse with his fellows. At his approach, the others just stared awkwardly for a moment, before returning to their quiet conversations with one another. After a few moments, another stallion galloped into the town hall and started rambling about changelings. Of course, it made so much sense! None of the others were the mayor, that was for sure, but the mysterious green unicorn stallion was someone Strangeknot had never seen before. So this was what a changeling's true form looked like! Wait, no, that was stupid. He was obviously a changeling that had kidnapped the mayor and...
Just then, a terrifying bat winged pegasus in black armor descended from on high, bearing the judgement of the gods. Strangeknot screamed like a little filly, his eyes going wide, the pupils shrinking in pure terror, and pointing in different directions because... that's just what they did.
"I dropped my sandwich," Strangeknot mourned. "Oh well, I didn't really like it anyway."
Strangenknot fished his glasses out of his saddlebags with his telekinesis and set them in place on his head. His eyes immediately snapped to and aligned with one another. Looked back at the newcomer to get a better look. And screamed again. Nopony could hope to beat Strangeknot in a scream-off, he was simply the best there was.
"Sorry, it's the-" he brought a hoof up and moved it in a circular fashion in front of his muzzle. "...Beard."
As he glanced over at the mysterious unicorn who was now turning toward them, as if he had been waiting for this moment, Strangeknot noticed that his eyes were a milky white. He would have screamed again, but nopony seemed to be paying him much attention, so there was really no reason for it. No point in telling a joke if no one hears the punchline, right?
Knowledge: Arcana, natural 1!
As the mysterious unicorn, who called himself Arcana, gave his little speech and answered a few questions from the others, Strangeknot just glared at him. At last he could tolerate it no more.
"Alright, who are you, and what have you done to Mayor Mare, you changeling son of a draconequus!" he shouted. "That's right, you thought we would activate your trap card, didn't you? Well, your little card tricks don't fool me, and your little shpeel about things getting 'too harmonious' is nothing but a pack of lies roaming the Forest of Deception on the Planet of Misinformation! You know something you aren't telling us. Why? Because you don't want the truth to come out, that's why! See, I know a thing or two about magic, and I see right through your deceit. Now, I want some real answers, or so help me, I'm going to shove this key down your fat face!"
During his rant, Strangeknot sent a telepathic command to Zerubbabel. The monkey acknowledged and slid off the unicorn's back. The simian's soft feet made hardly any noise as he walked otherwise nonchalantly up to Arcana and grabbed the apparently blind unicorn's cowl from off the floor and brought it back to Strangeknot. It was on Strangeknot's head moments later. Blind or not, stealing his enemy's hat would surely strike him a resounding blow.
Arcana simply stares at the unicorn. "One, that cowl doesn't go on your head." He magics the cowl onto Strangeknot's back. "Two, Harmony can be as harming as Disharmony was." He moved forward and put his face right up to the unicorns. "Three, you do NOT insult my cards or I may have to find another pony."
13 for intimidate
He steps back and uses his magic to push Strangeknot out the door. "As for why the harmony can damage, I believe looking under Y in Magic's house will be helpful." He gives Strange and his monkey the metaphorical boot.