With the exception of Surgas, Aqui, and Goober, the party dealt with the Love Five, a group of yellow-eyed changelings from Hive Prothorax, and the self-described defense force of Queen Prothorax, inspired by a grainy episode of "Pony Rangers" which they found on a VCR cassette they stole from a pony town once. They were quickly dispatched to nobody's surprise, as their equipment amounted to Supermare outfits and luchador masks. Love Green, the most reluctant of the fighters, apologized and took his brothers home via telekinesis.
Surgas, still disguised as Big, hung out with Shady Business while they were measured for tuxedos. Shady came out looking quite dapper in his, a perfect fit for his perfect day. Which I remind you is tomorrow.
Anyway, after that, Shady went to go check on the ritual at Paddock Park, which the party ensured would not have its key components, a bike horn and some seltzer water, by raiding Filly's party stores and destroying all that they found. Silver also found a beetle gun.
Now, the party finds themselves at a smoothie shop. While their smoothies, purchased by Zandali, are quite tasty, they do not satiate their hunger for love.
Goober, Zeppelin, and Corpus come back from the hallway leading to the shop's bathrooms, with new disguises. Goober is a white unicorn with a lazy eye, Zeppelin is a red diamond chihuahua, and Corpus appears to be a giraffe, his head now grazing the ceiling. Nearby bystanders watch him with morbid curiosity as to how a giraffe got here in the first place or why nobody seems to recall seeing him come in. Aqui, meanwhile, glumly sips his smoothie and watches a lovey-dovey couple sitting in the corner.
Goober picks up Zeppelin and puts her on a chair. "Hey, guys!" she whispers to you. "I'd change my getup if I were you, the fuzz is out, apparently someone called them while you were fighting those losers in the capes!"
Sure enough, outside, you see some guards standing across the street where you fought the Love Five, in the middle of questioning some eyewitnesses.
>>638405 Zandali makes her way over to give Zeppelin the smoothie she asked for before making her way over to Aqui. "You seem kinda down, what's eating you this time luchadork?" She nudges him playfully, hoping the silly name will cheer him up, sipping away at her own smoothie.
She wasn't too worried about the cops either, she acted in self defense when one of the Love Five attacked her.
When we last left off, Quirk had taken the greatshield and two notes from the shrine in the temple which the frostingponies apparently erected in honor of Gladius. The notes read that the Honkerlord, the bizarre clown-themed draconequus that is now performing tricks just outside using some frostingpony volunteers, was the key to getting through the portal safely. However, the second note revealed that the Honkerlord visited this pocket dimension to eat frostingponies, who seemed totally unaware in their limited intelligence.
As you slip outside with Buddy, both being totally invisible now, you see the Honkerlord continuing to perform a variety of magic tricks to the amusement of the frostingponies at the base of the enormous cake. However, on a roof top several houses down to your right, you see Gladius, his body still almost entirely obscured by ribbon, his limbs still broken and awkwardly held together.
This time, however, he clutches a broken greatsword in his teeth. Even at this distance, the look in his one open eye is clear: it burns with fury, fixated on the Honkerlord, who does not notice Gladius.
>>638405 Ci'thilix and Ci'thilix look up while sipping on their smoothies as the cops are pointed out. "I didn't fight any of them, but I guess its better to play it safe." Ci'thilix gets up, gesturing to his clone. "Come on, can't have you change when you copy my disguise in the middle of the shop." "Oh alright."
Both Ci'thilixes head to the restrooms to shift their disguise. This time a blue earth pony. >Shapeshift [d10]
>>638405 Surgas grips at his stomach under his disguise as Big, eager to fill his gullet but not wanting to distract himself and the team from their mission.
He turns to face them all under their new disguises, in particular staring up at Corpus, smiling.
"Corpus, you get an F for espionage. But I need to give you a A+ in style and ambiance. Nice work."
"Right, let's get our disguises changed, then go over what we have so far." He flips out the phone he swiped from Shady earlier
"We have the poison what got Aqui's daddy en route in 12 hours, we need someone at the station to pick it up. They might not appreciate Aqui himself, so I'm thinkin' Goober or Zeppelin, one of you could handle that so we can fashion a cure."
"Then there's the ritual: good work on gettin' all necessary material conveniently out of stock, that should mess up his plans a bit, but now our new plan is to take this another step."
"We're gonna break up Shady and Prothy the best way a changeling can: with a wonderful drama-induced misunderstanding." He opens up the phone to a picture of Prothorax, "Silver, can you transform into this lovely little bug well enough? After you do, we'll make plans for them to catch you and me 'in the act' for Shady to see. Then, before he slaughters us, escape via convenient cloud cover courtesy of Ci'th."
>>638409 Quirk opens his bag to let Buddy inside as he starts lurking closer to the crowd, making sure to keep an eye on Gladius. "Hmm…he seems pissed about something…question is, will he attack. Well, we'll just have to wait and see, eh Buddy?"
Something goes very strangely awry with your disguising process, and you turn into a potted rosebush, with your face appearing in each of the seven blooms on the bush. It's going to be difficult to move without legs. Thankfully nobody notices you under the table. >DC on shapeshift reduced to 3 next turn
Aqui glumly sips at his smoothie. "Do you really have to ask? My dad's slowly dying of poisoning at home, I was so scared of those changelings I hid with Surgas at the tuxedo place, and NOW the world decides to remind me that I'll never have a girlfriend. Because enough apparently wasn't enough for the world."
Corpus smiles and wiggles his eyebrows, craning his towering neck down to sip his drink. "There is NOTHING I like more than giraffes. Apart from beating ponies up, of course. Giraffes are a close second, though, depending on my mood."
Goober and Zeppelin exchange glances. Goober quickly puts his hoof on his nose, while Zeppelin just looks confused, and says, "What are you… oh, damn it, you have to call that out if you're gonna… oh, fine."
She nods at you. "You got it, sir, I'll grab the stuff. Can you like, sign a paper or something that'll get them to trust me when I show up? I doubt they'd just hand it over to any old loser who claimed to be a middlepony."
With a growl, Gladius springs off the roof with surprising force, flipping in mid-air, and plummeting down at the Honkerlord in a blur. He slices the Honkerlord clean in two, eliciting a gasp from the audience.
The two halves of the draconequus remain floating in midair. "Ohohohoho! THERE you are, my lovely assistant!" he cackles, a length of ribbon extending from his hand like a whip. "How funny of you to drop in, I JUST thought of a wonderful trick that absolutely NEEDS your help!"
The Honkerlord whips Gladius with the coil of ribbon. The whip ribbon attaches itself to the ribbon binding Gladius' body, pulling Gladius up into the air, despite his struggling.
"And now… a second volunteer! A third, while we're at it! Won't anyone out there in viewerland come to my aid?" the Honkerlord calls to the audience, cupping his claw over his eyes. Buddy quietly growls from within your bag.
>>638414 "Well I can see the whole hurt pride and dad dieing part… I might be able to help treat him though I don't know what I can do for massive dragons. But the no girlfriend part? Really? What makes you say that? I mean you're pretty cute. When was the last time you went on a date with a girl?" She asked, continuing to sip away.
>>638414 "Huh. That's an interestin' prospect on things you have there. Frankly giraffes just look like really tall ponies so I could go either way myself…"
He turns to Zeppelin, "Don't whine, Zeppelin, 'nose goes' is a time-honored protocol of the hive. We all know the rules." He looks to Goober, "Though, yeah, you are supposed to shout it out. slight breach of etiquette there drone, don't let it happen again." He does the 'eyes on you' motion to Goober.
He takes the phone out, looking for something, anything, that would give him an idea of how Big writes while looking through it, "Good idea Zep, but I have no idea how this dog writes…" [1d10] Searching for signature in phone
>>638418 "Simple, drone: we make this ritual we already ruined even worse by Shady conveniently seeing his beloved big bro and Prothorax havin' an affair. I know he's sensitive as all hell to it talking to him, it'll be like taking candy from a foal." He sighs, fondly remembering his first mission. "Those were the good ol' days."
>>638418 Silver speaks from under the table. "I believe the next course of action is to delay or cancel the… ugh, Honkerlord summoning. After that, Surgas and I will sabotage the wedding all together, by having me pose as nymphette Prothorax." >>638419 "We still need to find an operation zone for that- preferably at ground level, with a window in the room, and the other operatives nearby in order to confuse Shady."
Aqui's eyes light up when you mention treatment. "So, wait, you're a legit doctor?"
You note Zeppelin winces and glances at Aqui, with a hurt expression.
"If we get the original poison which they used on my dad, do you think you could figure out a cure? Th-that's what the apothecary in Hollow Shades said, but if you can, then we can help him right now!"
His head-frills flatten as the topic turns to dating. "Th… there was this one time at this Migration we went to. We talked, it was great…" he sighs. "It lasted about 30 minutes before I sneezed on her. She didn't like that."
Goober rolls his eyes and shuffles about in his chair, in an awkward victory dance.
You find one picture of Shady sitting in a hospital bed, a cast on his left hindleg. The picture was taken right in the middle of Big signing the cast while flipping off the camera with a big smile, though only half of the word "Business" is visible. The pawwriting is an awkward combination of cursive and graffiti-style writing.
The Honkerlord picks up an eager frostingpony from the audience, and begins to swing around the helpless Gladius on the ribbon. Buddy's growling only grows, rather than diminish.
The Honkerlord rubs his chin. "Hmm… it'd be so BLAND with two frosties…" he looks down at his severed lower half. "Ah-hah! I'll be the third volunteer!"
A gargantuan top-hat manifests below the Honkerlord. His top half throws in Gladius, the frostingpony, and his lower half into the hat. The floating upper half shakes around the hat for a few moments, making a drum roll with his tongue. The upper half then turns the hat upside down, dumping its contents onto the ground.
From the hat spill three equine figures, each a horrific mishmash of body parts taken at random from the Honkerlord's lower half, the frostingpony, and Gladius, as though each were a jigsaw puzzle made of random pieces.
The audience explodes with shrieks of laughter and applause. You hear a faint "Help… me…" coming from two of the figures, though it's not clear whether Gladius or the frostingpony is doing the asking.
>>638424 "Yes I'm a legit doctor. Though I can actually try to find a cure, it won't be as easy. I'll need to do a bit of testing and need to figure out how the poison was made in the first place and where it specifically attacks the body, but given a little time and research I can find one. Not to mention a spell book on cleansing the body of poisons or venom could help immensely, so if you can get your claws on one it would help."
She smiles when he mentioned the sneezing. "Did you at least offer her a tissue and apologize?" She then moves her chair to get closer to Aqui, hopefully now with the mention of a cure he'll feel better.
>>638424 "Hrmm…. Alright, it ain't much to work with but I think I see somethin' here. Hold on Zep, let me try it out."
He asks for a paper and pen from the nearest available source, and tries to spell out a written command in Big's speaking mannerism and hand-writing so that any who ask will know not to screw around with her. [1d10] Forging a note
>>638424 >>638423 "Hot damn, that's an idea! Nothing that would excuse it like a bachelor party. We'll have to introduce him to her earlier in the night then, maybe at the ritual: I think it'd send up a few flags if she just randomly appeared at the party, make it more believable."
>>638427 "You can synthesize a cure? Well hot damn! We got the poison itself comin' in 12 hours, maybe we can just pass it off straight to ya, Zandali."
>>638429 "Shady's on his way to the summons now, so as soon as we're all done with your smoothies…" he holds his stomach, "I could go for some real food, but no time: we have a ritual to ruin."
>>638430 With that said, Silver transforms into a black Earth Pony mare with a purple mane, pulling out a pair of neon-pink/purple stockings with a criss-cross design, and a quartet of polished black shoes. >>638431 "Atata, I'm not sure about that- I think if he found Prothorax with Big Business in a side room already making out, then that'd be a bigger shock. Besides, mares aren't allowed at bachelor parties unless they're entertainment."
>>638432 "I don't know. Shady doesn't strike me as the sharpest bulb, but I think he might smell something if he just suddenly saw Prothorax makin' out with Big. It'd be a bigger shock, but wouldn't it be more believable if he met her sometime before the party? Knew she was in town already?"
>>638433 "Huh, good point," she says, clopping her hooves against the top of the table while she rests with her head in her hooves, "I gueeeess she could make an early appearance, but it'd be hard to get away from him once she does."
Zeppelin straightens out her scarf. "I'm somewhat of an expert on the occult and rituals like this. I've seen a lot of pony movies and TV shows about it." she says sincerely with a twinge of pride. "Basically, what we can do is bring in a lot of pictures of the sun to the ritual, that always stops it. Just gotta find the right thing to hit with a sun image."
As you make your appearance, the crowd doesn't react, but rather leans in with captivation, clearly thinking you're part of the act.
The Honkerlord looks you up and down, apparently surprised at seeing someone from the real world here. He scoffs at your choice of weapon and Gladius' greatshield. "Oh-ho-ho-HOHOHO!" he laughs. "What's this, fillies and gentlecolts? Are my eyes working properly!? Is this a RIVAL to the grrrrrrreat and powerful moi!? Has some greenhorn come to challenge your spectacular and dashing ringmaster?" he cackles, ribbon trailing from his nostrils into the air, doing all kinds of flips and tricks.
The two figures who spoke earlier look at you. One of them, the one with Gladius' eye, fixates on the greatshield. "Who…" it strains with a gasp.
>>638435 "So she shows up beforehoof, meets up with him, then bids him goodbye before he finds her again at the party making out with Big, then?" >>638436 Silver tosses her mane back. "Hey, look at me, Goober, we're talking strategy here and you better pay attention."
>>638431 "Well as I said I need to research it too."
>>638436 "Hoooow abooout a library? Or a book store? Or even a magical trinkets shop? There's lots of places if you at least try."
"A little sneezing germs never hurt anybody, unless you had a cold at the time. I think you should try again, ask a pretty girl in town while we wait for the poison." She gives him a warm smile before she continues to sip away at her drink.
>>638436 "Hmmm…. eh, hold on Zep, takin' another shot at that. I think a hatchling could do better…." He tries it one more time, trying to get a grip on the penmanship with these bizarre sausages dogs call 'fingers'. [1d10]
>>638437 "That's what I'm thinkin'. Practically sounds like material for a soap opera, doesn't it?"
>>638439 "Still, easier passin' on to you rather than finding some other doc to get the job done. Spit-ballin' estimates, how long does it take to synthesize a cure?"
"Yeah, you would think so, but as it turns out, the more complexicated the ritual is, the easier it is to screw it up, because if one thing gets knocked out of place, it goes from demon summoning to nuclear apocalypse!" Zeppelin says with a bit too much enthusiasm.
"…Well, it's not usually that drastic a change, but you get the idea."
"I-I suppose I could try…" Aqui shuffles his claws. "But what am I supposed to do, just run up to some random mare on the street? Wouldn't that be majorly creepy?"
You notice a guard enter the smoothie shop, and glance about. His eyes gloss over all the newly-disguised party, but then settle on you. "Excuse me, ma'am? You wouldn't happen to know anything about a fight out on the street just now, would you?"
The Honkerlord's head rolls about in-place. "Oh, jeez-uh louise-uh! Looks like we got ourselves a wet tortilla, everybody! Wait… is that the phrase? Wet napkin, wet blanket, wet tortilla? Oh, it's something like that! Don't be such a spoil sport, sonny, lighten up! We're all just having a good bit of fun, aren't we, fillies and gentlecolts?"
In response, the audience stomps their hooves in applause, letting out whoops and cheers.
The Honkerlord laughs and pats the head of the figure with Gladius' eye. "C'mon, sonny, lighten up! Somethin' gotcha down? Marefriend dump ya? Got a bad grade on a test? House burned down? Just kick your hooves up and enjoy the show! An on-the-house performance, just for you!"
The figure with Gladius' eye strains, its right foreleg slowly trying to lift off the ground.
>>638441 "I don't watch television, I wouldn't know," Silver says, standing up and brushing herself off from the floor. >>638442 "Alright, Goober, now that you're paying attention, can you repeat to me what the plan is?"
>>638442 "Grrrr…. Corpus, remind me later that since giraffes have pretty long limbs they could stand to do extra laps. Around the city."
He hands over the notes, "Get yourself somethin' to eat but we'll handle ourselves Zep. Once you get that poison get it somewhere safe, we'll rendezvous at the train station tomorrow morning if you can't contact us. Keep that poison safe, it's the key to having the strongest creatures in Equestria in her Majesty's debt."
"The rest of ya? We're movin' out."
>>638443 "To be fair, neither do I, but that just sounds like something out of it, right?!" He says with a big enthusiastic grin.
>>638441 "Well… again I need to figure that out by studying the poison first."
>>638442 "Well no, you're supposed to make small talk at first and if the mare seems interested you just… ask her if she wants to go to a restaurant or something and you pay for it. I mean I could be a practice date for you to help teach you."
She then turns her attention to the guard. "Yes, officer. I was minding my own business, enjoying the sights and pondering which shop to check out. Then, I was attacked by those thugs… more specifically the pink one. In an act of self defense I had pulled out my stun baton and shocked him. After He stopped trying to attack me, I decided to make my way here to relieve my stress… Though I won't press charges on him." She speaks clearly and straight faced. >Persuasion roll in case: Compassion [1d10]
Gladius takes a gradual step forward, his eyes set on Buddy and the greatshield. Behind you, the audience begins to stir, clearly beginning to question how much of this is part of the show. Seeing this, the Honkerlord lets out a boisterous laugh and flies over, putting a claw around your shoulder. "Is a circus really a place for deep existential questions? That's so BORING! Circuses are for fun and entertainment, I think we'll all agree!"
The Honkerlord's mouth disappears from his face, then manifests in mid-air next to your ear. "I don't think anyone gives a damn how the props feel about the show, bug-ass." he sneers, the joy in his voice replaced with venom. "Now if you don't can it and sit down, I'll have to show you to your seat, got me?"
>>638450 Silver grunts derisively. "Well, that's good enough," she says, before going over to Zeppelin before she gets to far. "Zeppelin, I'll be requiring a surplus of drinks for the upcoming mission- at least one of each."
>>638450 "250k Voltage. As stated it may only be used in self defense and I conceal it in my travel pack. I sometimes use it in surgery that calls for massive patients such as large dragons when their heart begins to fail, so it is both a self defense object as well as a 'special-case' surgical tool. I could present my paperwork if you'd like." She says as she smiles. >Persuasion roll if needed: Compassion [1d10]
>>638450 "Hmmm, a fair point she brings up. Corpus, Goober? Which of you wants to volunteer to escort our medic? If she dies, we're all a little more fucked than we already are. I'd volunteer Aqui since it's for his daddy, but I don't think they'd react well to giving the poison to a guy who just tried breaking in last week to steal it. May raise a few flags."
He keeps a wary eye on the officer giving Zandali the business, ready to jump in if it gets rowdy but stays back for now as he waits for him to leave.
>>638457 "Well, look at here at the big bug stepping up!" He pats the closest Ci'th on the back. "Alright then! I think Zeppelin' will appreciate the company of a big strong defender like ypfffffff hahahahahaahah!" He chuckles, holding a paw to his mouth to stop, "Alright, alright, enough of the funny stuff. Sure thin' soldier, you're up keep 'er safe."
>>638458 "Hay, when you're as tough a bug as this fine insect in front of you, who needs 'em, am I right?"
The guard's eyebrows shoot up as you describe the voltage. "Two fifty big ones, eh?" he grinds his teeth. "Well, it corroborates the rest of the eyewitness reports… not like it's much dangerous than someone using lightning magic…"
He rubs his chin. "Next time, go easy on 'em, doc. Have a nice day, alright? And keep your nose clean." he says as he turns to leave.
The Stick passes through the top half of the Honkerlord, cutting through him as though it were fog. His body disperses like fog as well, then manifests in full on the first layer of the cake. "Unfunny?" he asks, lip quivering. "UN-FUNNY? Okay… you can insult me, you can insult my mother, you can insult everything I hold dear in the boundless universes, but never, ever, ever, EVER call me… UNFUNNY!" he fumes in mid-air, body turning all kinds of different colors one after another, as if not sure how to react.
The three figures fall to pieces, their forms disrupted by the lack of Honkerlord in their body. However, no blood comes from their bodies, and they fall to the ground as harmlessly as jigsaw pieces. Gladius' body parts all start to crawl towards each other like a bunch of inchworms. One of the disembodied arms waves itself about, shaking the ribbon around. "Cut… cut me free…" Gladius' weak voice strains.
>>638460 "Didn't have enough time, huh?" Silver says, pulling out her purse, "Get yourself a hotel room and brew some up in the tub, then." She hands a hoof-ful of coins to Zepp. "I like the Overdrive the most, make some of those if you can."
>>638460 "Good luck you lot. If you get caught, get the poison no matter what, then run like hell."
>>638460 He turns to Ci'th's clone, Aqui, Zandali (after the guard turns to leave), Silver, and Corpus. "Alright then, we ready to head off to Shady? That ritual ain't gonna foil itself. Changelings haven't made self-foiling plots yet."
>>638460 He thinks for a few seconds. "Okay, you're more amusing than funny, to be honest," he levels for a few seconds before he takes out a rare kitchen knife from his bag, and starts cutting away at Gladius' ribbons. "I don't know how this'll help, Sir Gladius, just…please promise me you won't die." He tries to work quick before the Honkerlord makes a move.
Following the route Shady took from the tuxedo place, you make your way down a couple blocks to Paddock Park. It's hard to miss; the park itself is quite large, and populated with a small pony-made river which runs the length of the park from the north end at a spring, and ends in a lake on the south end. The park itself is very hilly and has plenty of ponies walking about, playing on the grass, or just sitting and enjoying the view. However, with the light of the day beginning to wane, the street lights are coming on, causing the guests to begin to leave, one by one.
At the far end of the park, you see a large circus tent. However, it is encircled with a gate of caution tape. You hear faint music coming from within.
The Honkerlord's color-changing momentarily ceases, and his big dragon cheeks blush with embarrassment. "Well, gosh… I don't even know what to say! You are far too kind…" he stammers, momentarily caught off-guard.
As you hack away at the ribbons, you find them much stronger than they appear, no small feat to cut. But as you get more and more off of Gladius, his movement becomes freer, and he crawls towards his greatshield. "Th-thank you…" he coughs. "If… if he gets you with them, it's… all over. I've been trapped here… more years than I can remember… I just couldn't sit by while he took advantage…"
Buddy meows over and over, rubbing his head against Gladius' hoof. Gladius pulls off a bit of ribbon, and smiles at Buddy. Upon close inspection, you see wrinkles on his face, and streaks of gray in his mane.
>>638467 Quirk grins at the Honkerlord. "In fact, you remind me quite abit of some other performers I've seen in Equestria…I wonder, have you ever performed there? I'm sure you'd be a big hit, what with your He tries the flattering technique. >Kissing ass [1d10]
He turns to Gladius. "I should be thanking you, and Buddy. You indirectly gave me guidance through the notes. And Buddy here pretty much saved me from Quamala, or whoever that was."
>>638461 "That's what I like to hear, soldier. It'll be dangerous, but I'm sure you'll come back with at least one limb. Do me proud, son."
>>638466 >>638467 Striding into the park with a Big Business sort of strut, Surgas takes a look around the park before locking onto the circus tent.
"Hmmm.. if I were a bettin' sort of changeling, I'd put my money on that audacious lil' number. Good thing I also have a love of breaking the pony society's rules." He pushes up on the caution tape, headed in.
>>638468 "Yeah, I could understand goin the clown route for a birthday or somethin'. But a wedding?"
>>638473 "Heheheh. Yeah, maybe with any other bride, but as a queen who stands to gain a lot of love and power, I'm sure Prothorax will put up with it. Nah, we gotta make Shady break it off with her in a way there's no salvaging this bridge once we burn it to the ground."
>>638472 "That or the circus came to town. Heheheheh." He laughs heartily, staring at you. "That's a joke, son."
As you enter the tent, you find it is a much different scene than the park outside. A large tarp has been put over the ground, and a magic circle containing a black hexagram has been painted on top. In the corner sits a long table full of refreshments and punch, as well as a boom box which is playing circus music.
On the other side, you see five cultists, one dragon, one griffon, one zebra, one breezie, and one cow. Each are wearing a fruit costume. They're sitting around, mostly chatting to themselves.
In the center of the room, Shady and Gag Reel appear to be engaged in a shouting match. Or more precisely, Shady is shouting at Gag while Gag calmly tries to reply. You can't hear them from here, as the music drowns out their words.
Gladius coughs and puts his helmet back on, nodding with appreciation. "Quamala… the wretched queen of this domain. I'd nearly forgotten about her, it's been so long… she and the dragon are vile partners… without her, these frostingponies would not exist, and yet she sends them so cruelly, to be eaten by the draconequus…"
He shakily attempts to rise, legs nearly buckling. [1d10]
Meanwhile, the Honkerlord twists himself into all sorts of shapes, rubbing his cheeks. "Well, now that you mention it, I DO have a rather rabid following in a few cities, nothing TOO grand or over-the-top. You might even call it a CULT following! Bahahahahaha!" he cackles, rolling about midair.
As he notices Gladius attempting to rise, the Honkerlord stops laughing. "Hey! I don't recall asking for your help with another trick, paladin!"
>>638476 "Hmm, someone should get closer," Silver says, looking over the scene, then turning to face the group. >>638475 "Hey, clone, how about you go check out what little brother and Giggedy Rule are talking about?"
>>638476 Quirk gasps and supports Gladius as he tries to get back up. "Jeez, don't worry Gladius…how long /have/ you been here?…" [1d10]
He looks up at the Honkerlord. "C'mon Mr. Honkerlord, you know how a performance works, you gotta make sure your "props," he nearly spits that word, "are in good condition…speaking of performances, I think I can give you a few followers." >more sweet-talking [1d10]
They look like a frail bunch, none especially capable of putting up a real fight. However, you sense scant traces of chaos magic lingering on them, suggesting that they are, at the very least, actually capable of summoning this so-called Honkerlord.
As you approach, Shady turns around, a cigarette hanging backwards out of his mouth. "Bro! What the hell, dog, I THOUGHT your guys were helping set up the ritual, but lo-be-fucking-hold, Gag and his gaggle of merry useless assholes haven't gotten anything from them! I have a W-E-D-D-I-N-G I need this shit for, what part about that do your colts not understand!?"
There are a surprisingly decent amount of people out and about right now despite the dwindling light. Notable examples include an old griffon couple sitting together on a bench, an old donkey monk selling things at a stand, a couple of unicorn colts sitting on a set of apartment stairs, and a suspicious-looking zebra with a backpack three times his size standing at a street corner.
"Should I get a trash bag or do you think the three of us can hold the unlucky winner down?" Zeppelin asks.
>>638489 Silver scratches her chin, looking around at the various characters and checking out which one would be the best to start shooting at, as well as who would be the biggest problem. [1d10] Searching for Lawful targets [1d10] Searching for weapons
>>638489 Quirk smirks at Gladius. "Nah, you still got it, old-timer."
He turns to the Honkerlord. "Well, Mister Honkerlord, I cannot guarantee followers, but I've wandered through Equestria enough to know a few places in dire need of talent. You show your grade-A material, and I'm sure you'll climb up the ladder, and be performing in front of large crowds with cheers and applause all around you in mere days of entering the entertainment business. >"bribing" [1d10]
>>638489 "I… I think I'm going to pass on this guys, this is getting a little too weird for me. I'm going to head outside and see if I can't find Aqui, you guys need me just sniff me out." Zandali says, making her way to leave the tent in search of Aqui to see if his lady hunt has been any successful. >Searching for Aqui [1d10]
>>638489 Big struts in, keeping the fruit brigade in the back of his head as a possible threat for now while focusing on his 'bro'.
"Hey, hey! Bro, you gotta chill. Look, they all tried to find everything that Gag asked for but what do you want 'em to do? They couldn't find ANY of it, they can't just poof it into existence, dog. It's not their bad, it's not your bad, it's just bad shit. Deal with it bro."
He chuckles, "I mean, c'mon, does it really need it? What's wrong with this lively little set up, Gag?"
>>638492 "What, the good stuff's just about to start kid, you sure?" He says pointing at the fruit cosplays again, snickering.
>>638489 Ci'thiclone tries to stealth up again, stepping back towards the edges of the tent where its darker. >Stealth [1d10]
>>638489 "I think we can all hold them down, should be hard." Ci'thilix looks between the nearby choices, settling on the unicorns and the zebra. "That zebra looks easy to pin if we get him alone. Those colts over there though, we could each get our own… How confident are you two feeling?"
"I won't lie to any of you…" Gag begins, lighting a cigar using Shady's reverse cigarette. "It's technically… not impossible to do the ritual without those components. But at that point, it'd be like getting a tatzulwurm to pull a two-seat carriage down the street. Not impossible, just… prone to absolute disaster."
Shady's teeth bare in frustration. "Well, 'absolute disaster' is gonna be paradise compared to what'll happen if this wedding's all fucked just because we can't get the accommodations we need just because someone's gone and cleaned out the damn party stores on me! Come on, get to it, chop chop!"
Gag grimaces and looks to you pleadingly. "Mister Business… as the elder of the two brothers, I feel you should at least get a say in this matter before we're all blown sky-high."
>>638497 Zandali smiles as she heads into the library. She walks over to move a chair up next to Aqui and sit next to him to see what he's reading, keeping her tone down to a hushed town. "So, any luck on your mare hunt?"
>>638497 He nods at Gladius, and turns to the Honkerlord. "In return for getting your foot in the door, Gladius, Buddy, and I will be let free in Equestria. As a sign of good faith, I'll point out a few good places to start off your career…and I'll give you a warning."
He turns to the audience. "Unfortunately, you can't do what you do here, that is, harming others." He turns back to him with a smile. "But with your expertise, I'm certain you'll make it regardless." >an offer [1d10]
>>638497 Silver continues to scan for targets, pulling out her coat and turning it inside out, so the inside, which was a perfect mirror of the outside, but black with lavender stripes. From there, she prepares her bazooka, crystal gun, and ball and chain. [1d10]Scanning for weapons
Aqui holds up a claw for silence, then points ahead of him. A few tables down, you see a silver female goat (a doe, except not a deer) sitting at a table with a large stack of books in front of her. She's writing something down in a notebook while reading a book set up in front of her, every now and again taking a bite from a stack of blank paper set next to her, apparently as snacks. She's getting a death glare from the librarian.
Aqui holds a tin of breath mints out to you. "W-want one?" he stammers before grabbing a handful and stuffing them all into his mouth.
You notice an odd bulge in each of the cultists' outfits which look like the hilt of a knife. However the cultists themselves do not look particularly threatening, so it's possible they're just ceremonial in nature.
Gag Reel sighs and rubs his sunken cheeks. He looks at Shady, who just gives him an expectant glare and leans his elbow on your shoulder. Gag Reel rubs his forehead. "Alright, boss. You want it? You got it. It'll be an… interesting experience either way, at least."
He goes and stands at the lead point of the hexagram, rubbing his hands together.
"…So I slapped the bitch and told her to get out!" the breezie says, apparently finishing a story. The other cultists explode in laughter.
"…Good." one of the colts says defensively.
"Oh, don't start with that 'stranger danger' shit now." the other colt says, rolling his eyes. "He just wants to take you back into an alley or something, right mister?" he teases facetiously.
The Honkerlord scoffs. "Ugh, HARMING them? Who said anything about HARMing anybody?"
"I did." Gladius states, standing up straight. "I saw it myself, you know. I could never forget that, for it was what imprisoned me here for so long. And I doubt I could find any trouble in expressing that to your captive audience in a language which they could understand."
The Honkerlord scowls and twists in the air. "Oh, now you're just being nasty… but wait a minute, why should I trust you? For all I know you could just be a… a plumber, or a shut-in! Someone with no insight on the finer qualities of Equestria's entertainment industry! Why should I listen to you, eh? For all I know I could be out on a wild goose chase to get myself embarrassed in front of a live audience! Again!" >Paused
>>638505 Post sheets! Here's the summary, prepped early.
Last time on Changelings!
With a fresh cycle of disguises, the party hung out in the smoothie shop and planned out how they would sabotage the wedding of Prothorax and Shady Business, preventing the rival queen from returning to power in the vacuum left behind by Chrysalis' defeat. And with a barrel of the poison used on Aqui's father en route, it seemed like Zandali would be able to figure out an antidote in no time.
The party split up to cover more ground more effectively. Ci'thilix went with Zeppelin and Goober to meet the deliverypony for the poison, and in the meantime, started to look for someone they could drain love off of to fend off their hunger. Surgas and Silver went with Shady and Corpus to Paddock Park, where they saw Shady demanding Gag Reel to go forward with the summoning in spite of the lack of the crucial reagents, which would risk causing the ritual to backfire explosively. Zandali decided to keep an eye on Aqui, who, at her advice, went off to try to find a cute mare to spend time with in order to take his mind off their ordeal.
Quirk, still in Quamala's pocket dimension, confronted the Honkerlord, a clown-themed draconequus, whom Gladius mentioned in one of his notes as a monster who devoured Frostingponies on the regular.
With a heavy sigh, Gag Reel pats his cheeks in preparation and whistles at the fruit-themed cultists. One by one, they finish their conversations and crude jokes. The Breezie, who just finished a story about how she apparently slapped a bitch, burps and throws down a tiny acorn which smells of alcohol.
"This is the doombest thing you had us do, booss." she gripes. "Eet eesn't gooing to woork, I tell ya. We shouldn't doo eet at all eef we're not goona doo it right."
Shady folds his arms and stands tall, sternly glaring at the Breezie in defiance. He then breaks his pose and glances at you. "Back me up here guys, look tough and cool!" he whispers.
The two colts you approached met you with a degree of suspicion and humor. The one who tried to dismiss you with "Good" scoots back against the stair he sits on, pretending to look across the street to avoid looking at you.
The one who cracked the joke, on the other hand, smirks at his friend then looks back at you. "Sup, you need somethin', guy?" >Quirk
Despite your claims to have connections which the Honkerlord could use to gain fame and fortune beyond this tiny slice of pocket dimension, the Honkerlord remained wary of your claim. >Using the dialogue of last time because tight situation
"Why should I listen to you, eh?" he demands. "For all I know I could be out on a wild goose chase to get myself embarrassed in front of a live audience! Again!"
>>640521 Surgas looks at the Breezie, and the collection of other fruity cosplayers, and crosses his arms alongside Shady, putting on a menacing grin
"Then I guess you oughtta try your very hardest then. We can't get everything, tough, do with what ya got. My lil' bro is gonna have a weddin' to remember, or we'll be somewhat disgruntled, you hear me?"
The Breezie glares back at you for a few moments, then shakes her head. "Feh. Hey, zeebs! Get yer stripes oover heere." she calls to the zebra. The zebra takes a hoof-fan out of his suit and starts to wave it at the Breezie. The gust blows her over to one of the points of the hexagram.
The cultists stand at each end of the hexagram as the stereo goes to the next track. They kneel down and begin to whisper at the ground, each taking out a long green ceremonial knife. They start carving shapes into the ground inside the triangle at their end of the hexagram.
Shady takes a cautionary step back, but looks on in morbid fascination.
"Well, there's… city hall, that's cool, I guess? Pretty good landmark, too. Get mugged? Go to city hall. Lost? Go to city hall. Kidnapped and dropped off in a dumpster? Go to city hall. So that way, you'll know where you are! 'Cause, it's like… uh, city hall. There's also, like, the museum? Kinda boring, but they got some nudie art if you're into that."
"Right… get a grip, get a grip." Aqui mumbles. "S-sorry. Just, it's just been a while, alright? And I mean, c'mon, the library's not exactly the most romantic place to pick up chicks. I mean, what am I gonna do, spin a pickup line off the author of the book she's reading? Compliment her on not eating her book?"
He thumbs a page in the book in thought. "And… what if she has a coltfriend?"
>>640526 "Well first, you could figure out what her author is about and try to say 'oh that's my favorite author too' and find some shit to reference to her. Second that compliment isn't exactly the best even if she's a goat. Third, you find the next cute girl sitting in the library."
>>640526 Surgas looks at the spectacle of the cultists placing their knives down into the hexagram, tapping his claws as he watches for the fabled Honkerlord.
He turns to look at Shady, "So uh… there gonna be like a big flash or lights or any kind of chanting shit going on for this entry ooooor?"
>>640528 "Let's see if this goes south enough with our meddling alone at the moment, I don't wanna chance Shady catching wind of where a supposed shot would come from yet… could blow our cover, right?"
>>640521 Quirk smiles bright and wide as his wings begin to flutter excitedly. "W-well, I'd be /more/ than glad to show you!" He opens his satchel and throws out several smaller bags from within, and starts unloading their contents. "This, is my vast amount of collectible relics and trinkets. All 100% authentic, with a story behind each and every one!" He starts showing the Honkerlord all of his trinkets in the slim hope that he'll believe him. >convincing [1d10]
>>640530 "I hear ya, but trust me, we don't wanna just get in any ol' brawl with Shady, I've sized him and his brother up. We need to cheat BAD if we're gonna kill 'em someday. Thinkin' maybe rigging a building to explode, drop it down on them or somethin'… maybe a few fireworks worked in somehow, you know? Liven it up?"
>>640534 >>640534 "I think from the sounds of it, this summons is either not gonna happen, or it does and it's gonna go haywire soon as it's out here, in which case they'll WANT us to kill it by that point. It's a win-win, the former we don't have to do a thing and the latter makes us look more on their side then ever."
"It's getting to the good part… I think?" Shady whispers back.
As you look on, a spherical mass, like dark blue ink, begins to manifest in the center of the hexagram. Indistinct images begin to swirl across its surface. Seeing this, the cultists all stand up.
"Alright… easy part's over, ladies!" Gag Reel announces. "Now the REAL work begins. Up, two, three four!"
The cultists rise and begin to dance counterclockwise along the hexagram, the Breezie again being pushed along by a gust from the zebra's fan. As they do so, the images in the ink begin to slow and solidify. It congeals into an image familiar to Surgas and Ci'thilix: a bird's eye view of Quirk, standing in a field of white. However, the image is so murky that you cannot see anything around him.
The image begins to distort again. The scene blurs, and an image of a mass of thin metal appendages replaces your view of Quirk.
>>640537 Silver reclines on her side, resting her head on a hoof while she pulls her katana out of the sheath, then lets it fall back in. "Gotta wait, gotta wait, dananananana…" She starts checking her pistol and bazooka, making sure she's loaded up and ready.
>>640537 Quirk sighs. "Let me give you a bit of perspective." He rummages around for his map crystal to see if he can point out where he's been, like Fillydelphia and Detrot. The good parts, not the bad parts. "Basically, these trinkets are proof that I've been places, seen stuff, not necessarily met people, but hey, I'm a changeling." >convincing that Quirk's been places [1d10]
"Goo-guy? Whuh?" Shady begins to ask, peering at the inky ball. As the ritual goes on, the sphere grows larger and larger, eliciting worried glances from the cultists. The mass of mechanical limbs grows larger and more vivid in detail.
The surface of the sphere ripples, and the mechanical limbs begin to emerge from the surface. The limbs part like hair, revealing a massive, chrome buffalo's skull, decorated with war paint and a crown made of humongous teeth and feathers, with two piercing blue flames in its eye sockets. The limbs emerge from its face and mouth like an array of tentacles.
The cultists panic and begin so scatter. "Cut it, cut the ritual!" Gag Reel shouts, stopping the music. However, the sphere does not diminish in size. The enormous buffalo's head emerges from the portal inch by inch, slapping away the cultists with its appendages.
You notice that the vortex at the top of the cake has begun to grow. You can vaguely make out colors swirling across its surface. The Honkerlord looks at the crystal with vague disinterest. "That's just a fancy map, you big-talker. Any moron could have one of those and pretend to be Johnny Famous from Importantville!"
>>640542 "But you see, I never said I was important, I've just been around." He waggles his eyebrows. "I may not be very famous, but you don't have to be famous to know where famous people are." He discretely pokes Gladius, gesturing to the portal. With discretion. >more convincing [1d10]
>>640545 "Well yeah, I see it-" "Well yeah, I see it-" The two of them stand up and toss their hair in unison. "But like I said, you're the one in charge in the field, I gotta ask you for permission." "But like I said, you're the one in charge in the field, I gotta ask you for permission." >Silver, 5/3 Silver hefts up her bazooka, firing it at the buffalo skull. [1d10+3] Blast >Silver, 5/2 Silver pulls out the ball and chain, lifting it up and spiking it at the buffalo skull. [1d10+3]Normal Attack w/ Great Weapon
The two Silvers bash into the chrome buffalo skull, denting its surface, but the buffalo does not react. It slowly turns towards you, then grabs the dragon cultist by the tail before he can flee. It swings the dragon at the two of you like a club.
>>640549 Surgas groans, putting a claw on Shady's shoulder, "Bro, listen, I'm sorry. I know you didn't want it to turn out this way, I didn't either. It's your wedding bro, of course I want the best. But look at this thing! You think Prothy will want THAT takin' care of the party?! We'll have a jammin' ceremony without this thing, Shady, there's a time you gotta just accept that everthin' has a few bumps. Least your wedding is getting its bump outta the way early, right?!"
>>640548 >Silver, 5/3 Silver puts the bazooka on her back, drawing her katana and cutting at the giant hand. [1d10+3] >Silver, 5/2 Silver hefts up the ball and chain once more, tossing it at the hand as it swings towards them. [1d10+3]
>>640549 "Well then." He takes out a stool and sits on it.
"Allow me to tell you the tale of this little thing." He pulls out a pocket watch. "This watch has been through many hooves in it's time, and boy oh boy is it a long list…" He goes on to list off the famous, and not-so-famous equines and other species who had come into possession of the watch. >Telling a good story [1d10]
They're too far away to make out any distinct words, but the goat has a Bovindian accent. Their conversation is visibly awkward, but Aqui continues to maintain a (shakily) confident aura. When the goat turns her head back to her book for a moment, Aqui turns to you and winks.
You and your double sever and smash more of the appendages, causing metal to rain from the form. The head is noticably pushed back a little into the portal from the impact. The swung dragon crashes into the both of you with a loud crack, sending you and your double helpless. Your disguises fade away as it happens.
Silver 0/2 Silver Double 0/1
The Buffalo-Head opens its mouth, turning its attention back towards the fleeing cultists, most of whom are trying to hide underneath the snack table.
Shady slowly takes a sword-handle out of his coat, from which extends a thin, glowing yellow blade. "It's gonna trash Gag Reel's goons if we just run away now! Then what am I gonna do? How am I gonna get what I need for the wedding without them? I can't do it! I need them, dog!"
He grabs your shoulders pleadingly. "I can't just bitch out now, dog! For her, think of Pro-Pro!"
Zep and Goob nod, stepping out of the alley to follow you from a distance.
After a few blocks of walking and one left turn, the colt stops at the corner of a street and points ahead. "Alright, so you're gonna wanna go like… that way. For a little bit. Big place on a hill with some steps and a buncha pillars. Can't miss it."
You tell a long, long-winded tale about your pocket watch. Some members of the Frostingpony audience fall asleep during the presentation. The Honkerlord's head droops from sleepiness, his body curled up beneath him. Once the telling is over, he gradually wakes up and nods to you. "Ah… yes. Yes, that is a… very, very old watch. Many owners, many hooves. So, this means…? You know a guy who knows a guy who can get me a good gig in the watchmaking industry?"
Both Silvers pull out Healing Potions, chugging them down and standing up once more. The two Silvers then exchange weapons, trading the bazooka for the for the ball and chain. >Silver 5/3 Silver pulls out her singular can of Overdrive, popping the tab and chugging it down, before swinging the spiked B&C at the head again. [1d10+5] Normal Attack w/ Great Weapon >Silver 5/2 Now in possession of the bazooka, the secondary Silver fires at the skull. [1d10+3]
>>640554 >>640555 Surgas grunts, holding at Shady's paws holding him "Alright, alright dawg! Look, you get them outta here, me and my boys will put this thing down. I'll get ya some cover, just move their asses out while we take this thing down. We'll talk later about trying this again after."
He disengages from Shady, running towards Ci'th as Silver engages the creature, "You're doin' great Silver! Blast it out of here!"
He looks to the shadows where the pheromones lead him, whispering, "Ci'th, Ci'th, I need a cloud cover, if that thing hits me hard enough to change back we're screwed if Shady sees."
>>640555 "Thanks kid. Uh, hold on, I want to repay you for helping me out. Give me a second, sure I have some bits around somewhere." Ci'thilix stalls the colt by pretending to search for bits, keeping him distracted for Zeppelin and Goober to catch up and corner him. >Stall/Distract [1d10]
>>640555 Ci'thiclone checks out the summoning circle under the skull-sphere, wonder if there's anything about it he (the original) may have read about it. >Examine [1d10]
With strength renewed and energy brimming through your veins, the both of you bash at the buffalo-head as it tries to grab at the cultists once more. As you gain its attention, it lets out a grating, metallic growl. Its jaw slowly lowers again, and a plume of blue fire hisses at the two of you.
Aqui quickly turns back to the goat as their conversation resumes. It continues fairly unremarkably for a few minutes, but the ice seems to have melted nonetheless. After a while, Aqui smiles, and returns to your table. Meanwhile, the goat picks up her things and starts to head towards the stairs.
"She said I'm a great talker and listener! She's a transfer student from Bovindia." Aqui eagerly reports to you.
The Honkerlord reclines in midair with a bored expression. "Feh. Fine, fine! Alright, you've got a bargain. I deliver you from however it was you ended up here, and you'll help me find a springboard to my big break!"
He leans in and extends his claw to shake. "Have we got a deeeeeeaaaal?" he asks slyly.
Silver Prime swings the B&C at the skull once more, before closing her jacket and slipping her legs through her sleeves. [1d10+5] Attack with Great Weapon Silver Secundus fires at it with the crystal pistol, whistling at Dirgegun for assistance. [1d10+3]Ranged Attack [1d10]Dirgegun attack
Roll #1 6 + 5 = 11 / Roll #2 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #3 4 = 4
As you attempt to rush for the shadows, your paw catches the cable of one of the light fixtures, causing you to trip. The light fixture topples over, and the bulb explodes as it hits the ground. Fire starts to spread across the tarp. You lose 2 Hits.
You and your double duck and weave among the flames, which instead hit the walls of the tent behind you. Dirgegun charges the skull, but just bounces off the surface. >Silver 5/3 >Silver Dub 5/2 >Dirgegun 3/3
The skull lets out another grating bellow, its severed limbs writhing along the ground. While the skull's remaining limbs start to grab at the cultists, some of the ones you cut off start to jump off the ground at you, trying to attach themselves. >Silver and Dub roll instant dodge
Shady runs to the cultists' side, trying to help them evacuate.
The Skull starts to grab at them with its mechanical limbs.
"Ehh, well, it just felt a little… I dunno, creepy trying to get that colt, you know?" Goober says.
Zeppelin clicks her tongue. "Oh, don't be such a baby." she admonishes Goober. "Ci'th, I'm pretty sure you're de facto leader with Surgas and Silver off mashing lips somewhere right now, you want to get another shot at the colt? Just say the word, I'll see what I can do."
As you shake the claw, it pops off of his wrist! It explodes, covering you in grape jelly, much to the frostingponies' amusement. You are unharmed, but the Honkerlord rolls around in laughter.
"Oh sweet Celestia, they always fall for it!" he chortles for a while, then claps his claws.
In a puff of smoke, you, Gladius, and Buddy are taken to the top of the cake, at the base of the vortex. From here, you can see a swirling mass of metal in the vortex, but it's blurry and distant, and hard to discern.
"Hmm, seems the Zone Causeways are busy. Eh, traffic, what can you do?" the Honkerlord muses. "So, how about it? Are you ready to go?"
Gladius' breathing gets a little shallow as he looks into the vortex. He leans on his greatsword.
>>640567 "Well, that's just gloppin' fantastic… guess that's just what I'll have to do."
>>640568 "Queen damnit!" Surgas mutters as he trips over the light and sets fire to the tarp, not really keen on doing anything to stop it from spreading at the moment as he focuses on getting to a good spot to hide in so he can transform without Shady noticing him. He grabs at the underpart of the tarp, pulling it over him to try and hide under while he shapeshifts out so he can help his squaddies engage the creature
[1d10] Stealth from Shady, auto-drop disguise if successful
>>640568 [Come on, go away faster] Ci'thiclone thinks as he tries to wipe away the circle. With the glowing imprint remaining, he tries to rip up the floor/ground its on, hoping that might remove it. >Dig/Break [1d10]
>>640568 "Leader? I wouldn't call myself that… And yea, we already got him lured away so if this can be salvaged we should do it. Was hoping I could get both of them, you know, more for all of us." He looks over to Goober. "What was creepy about it?"
The both of you dodge the oncoming attacks. Dub's blast erases a small chunk of the hexagram's light. It's palpably resilient against your attacks. As you slam against the beast again, it's pushed back several inches into the portal, letting out a pained roar for once.
However, just as it seems to be pushed back into the sphere, you are pushed back by a tremendous force. The skull lunges forward, gaining a thick, serpentine body of mechanical limbs. Four smaller spheres manifest around you, from which smaller skulls, accompanied by horribly misshaped metal limbs, dripping oil, with cables trailing onto the ground below.
The Skull shushes you, reaching towards your weapons with its mechanical limbs.
The four smaller skulls whip at you and your dub with their limbs as the tent starts to catch flame around you.
The Honkerlord snaps his claw, and the vortex begins to swirl in the opposite direction, turning a faded neon pink color. The sounds of fighting can be heard from within. The Honkerlord's outfit turns from that of a ringmaster into a flight attendant. "Attention everypony, please fasten your seatbelts and keep all hooves and hooves inside the plane during the trip. Parents, please shut up your whiny children if you brought them along with you! Thank you for flying Air Honkerlord!"
He leans down and whispers, "That's your cue. You're on!" >Roll 1d10
Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #3 2 = 2 / Roll #4 9 = 9 / Roll #5 6 = 6 / Roll #6 1 = 1 /
>>640574 "GAH!" Surgas yelps as the fire catches on to him, patting it to put it out quickly, "Sure hope the dog didn't see that… alright, Silver, thanks for waitin', your commanding drone's got this now!"
He takes to the air, flying over the creature as he starts firing off glops at each of the spheres it formed with his mouth. "Eat glop!"
>>640574 Silver Prime runs over to the hexagram, putting her ball and chain away, working with Silver Secundus in digging up the hexagram, taking the bazooka and putting it back in her coat, as well. [1d10] [1d10]Digging
>>640576 "I mean when you'd ever need me or want to talk. Plus I still gotta teach you how to properly go on a date. Speaking of which, try asking me on a date. I wanna see how well you'd do." She relaxes on her hoof, looking Aqui right in the eyes.
>>640574 [Well, that's a start] Ci'thiclone keeps tearing away at the ground where the light is to ruin more of the circle. >More Breaking [1d10]
>>640574 "I don't really think they're our enemy. But we need ot eat, right?"
Ci'thilix looks down at the bag as its shoved at him. "Well, I guess that's one way. Goober, come on. I might need help with this." Ci'thilix holds to the bag, attempting to sneak up on hte colt as Zeppelin distracts him before throwing it over hte colt. >Bagging [1d10]
Before you can put the weapons away, the Buffalo Skull grabs them and wrenches them out of your grasp. Its arms retract back towards its body.
As you start to dig and chip away at the hexagram, you start to make decent headway, breaking off a triangle's worth of the light. The skulls' whips descend on you, scoring your flanks with many injuries. >Silver 0/2 >Silver Dub 4/2
Gladius glares with suspicion at the Honkerlord, before turning back to you. Bumping your hoof, he takes off his helmet and puts it on your head. With an exhausted look and a nod, he slowly steps into the vortex.
As you hop into the swirling vortex after him, the neon pink washes over you, blurring your view of Gladius.
Aqui gives you a blank stare for a few minutes before his cheeks flush red. "Uh… sheesh, puttin' me through the wringer here or what?"
He shuffles about and flexes his muscles a couple times, rubbing his mask. "H-hey, there. You– you studying there? Got any studying plans? There's a joint right up around the corner from… here." his voice awkwardly trails off. >Paused
Silver, Ci'thilix's Clone and Surgas, in dealing with the cultists' attempted summoning of the Honkerlord, found themselves dealing with a vengeful buffalo spirit, which took the shape of a chrome buffalo's skull, wearing a chieftan's headdress, with his hair becoming a mass of mechanical tentacles. While they fought the vengeful spirit, Shady tried desperately to salvage his wedding by dragging the cultists to safety.
Shady rushes back into the tent after having dragged the second of the six cultists to safety. Gag Reel is nowhere to be seen, presumably having fled already. The remaining three remain huddled behind the tipped-over snack table, the buffalo spirit between them and the exit. >Shady's 1
Just as Shady tries to run back towards the table, one of the buffalo's tentacles stabs him clean through the leg, tripping him. Shady yelps as the buffalo starts to drag him back towards the portal.
The smaller heads start to glow with blue flame again as they look at Silver and her double. Before they can act, however, Corpus, still disguised, rushes into the fray and positions himself between the heads and Silver. >Protect activated on Silver!
"Hey, so, Silver, do I have to call you 'sir' or 'madame' or somethin' fancy shamncy like that, or is a first-name basis good? I mean, we're all bros and sisses in glop, right?" Corpus asks.
Only half of the glowing laylines forming the floating version of the summoning hexagram remain, the rest having been dissolved by the party's attacks. The main buffalo, as well as the floating skulls, tremble and retract back into their portals slightly.
Shady tries to wrench his leg free of the tentacle's grasp as blood stains his tuxedo pants. [1d10]
In a somewhat more "peaceful" endeavor, Ci'thilix went with Zeppelin and Goober to find some pony to drain of love while they waited for the barrel of "special sauce" (poison) which was used by Big's goons to cripple Aqui's father. They settled on a smart-mouthed colt, who didn't look like he could put up a fight.
Zeppelin and Goober follow you into the alley as the colt wriggles around helplessly inside the bag. You just barely manage to keep your grip on the bag from his thrashing. Now safely inside the shade of the alley, Zep and Goob position themselves on the other side of the bag, arms raised to catch the colt if he tried to get out.
"Hey, weird thought, but can love spoil?" Goober asks. "Like, is it perishable?"
"…I don't know, actually." Zeppelin says. "Well, it can be preserved and concentrated, like with my caffeine pills, but I've never heard of it going rotten before."
In a really more peaceful escapade, Zandali checked on how Aqui was doing on his quest for marefriends. His one and only attempt to ask out a goat from Bovindia ended with the goat telling him she had no phone, and thus could not give him her number. Despite this, Aqui's spirits remained somewhat high, perhaps from the adrenaline rush.
Aqui stands there after delivering his pickup line to you, eyes wide as he waits for your evaluation.
In a somewhat-unexpected turn, Quirk's negotiations with the Honkerlord went well, and the Honkerlord agreed to bring Quirk, Gladius, and Buddy back to their world in exchange for Quirk providing opportunities for the Honkerlord to make it on the big stage back in Equestria. Suspicious, Gladius remarked that it was a mundane offer for a creature of chaos to accept so readily.
The swirling neon pink sways across your vision like ocean waves before gradually settling into a comprehensible shape. You float in a swirling ocean of constantly-changing colors. An island made of flat-colored squares manifests below your hooves. Islands similar to that disappear and reappear above and around you, some angled sideways or upside-down. In the distance, bizarre city-like architecture sits, populated by tiny, grotesquely realistic sock puppets.
"I'm just going to throw out a little hypothesis: this is your first time in the Old Chaos, isn't it?" the Honkerlord's disembodied voice says from above. "Hah! Well, you're missing out, quite honestly. I feel SO sorry for you flimsy mortals whose DNA can't handle a little non-equinian geometry every now and again. How BORING your worlds are. Anyway, we'll have to find the road back to your real world from here. The Zone Causeways are a bit backed up at the moment, you see."
>>641352 Quirk looks around the extremely warped and shifting reality around him as he squints at the unusual sock puppets that roam the distant city.
"Old Chaos? Never heard of this place before…then again, I don't think I've met a pony who'd even come to a place like this. I did know one pony who /claimed/ he was from a chaotic place, but this…this is much much more…unusual than he described his home was."
He looks up into the sky.
"Before we start searching for my world, where are Gladius and Buddy?"
>>641351 Silver Prime attempts to recover from the attack. [1d10]Recover "Frankly, Corpus, you should have been calling me 'madam' from the beginning, but I'll let that slide for this." Silver Secundus continues digging at the circle, hoping to ruin the rest of it as soon as she can. [1d10]Digging
>>641351 Ci'thiclone keeps working away at digging up the circle, trying to get rid of this spiritbeast before it kills somepony. >[1d10]
>>641351 "I don't think it does. Its not like a food or something physical, so I think its immune to rotting." Ci'thilix says as h holds tight on the bag (bu not too tight since the colt needs to breath). "Should we, uh, get his friend too? Think this will be enough for the three of us?"
>>641351 Surgas watches as Shady is stabbed and dragged by the spirit, flying up and over them trying to get as good a read on the battlefield as he can. With the spheres surrounding silver glopped up, he makes a pass at the main body of the buffalo, covering him up with glop to slow him down for easy attackin'.
[1d10] Trap on the Buffalo
As he does so, he tries to get a read on the being's capabilities as well. "Alright, Honkerfella, what are you made of.." [1d10] Instant Appraise
Gladius clears his throat. "I'm… down here. Or perhaps, up here. I'm not entirely sure."
Beneath you, on the bottom side of the island, Gladius stands, holding Buddy. They both appear to be upside down, but they're standing on the bottom side of the island as though they were rightside up and you were the one upside down.
A wire outline of the Honkerlord appears beside you, slowly filling up with color as though someone were pouring paint into him. "Yes, we get that a lot. Well, in order to move around, you're gonna have to sack up and tell the Chaos you want to. When there's a will, there's a way, don't you know? Go on, try it! It'll be fun, even if you fall."
"Maybe we could–" Aqui hoarsely begins, before he coughs and clears his throat before his voice can crack. "Er, maybe we could, um… go to the… ciiiiircus? Uh, th-that's in town, right? O-or we could…" he fidgets about. "We could… er, uh… I– I think there's a record shop? Around here, somewhere, maybe…"
You hock some glop onto the buffalo's eyes, blinding it as Shady scurries away.
An appraisal reveals the following about the buffalo spirit: >Chief Oneida's Spirit >Weaknesses: Lightning >Resitances: None >H/W: 100/10
Now free, Shady starts to grab two of the cultists and heads for the tent flap. The buffalo tries to swipe at him again, but the glop on his face detonates, causing mechanical tentacles to fly off left and right, stunning him.
Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 7 = 7 / Roll #3 6 = 6 / Roll #4 1 = 1 / Roll #5 1 + 1 = 2
>>641358 "Ugh… the circus… Last I remember the gang was back there and some weird fruit cult ritual was going on. Creepy levels were 11 out of 10. Wanna just head to the record store instead?" She then gets up from her seat, heading towards the exit with Aqui.
>>641358 "Corpus! Hang on, drone, those glopbags firin' on ya are about to get a really big headache." He detonates the remote charges he had fired at the spheres surrounding Silver [1d10] Instant detonation
And as the buffalo is blinded by the glop he had set upon its eyes, he takes a pass around as he flies, coating it in more green slime to immobilize it and its tentacles, "Prepare to feel the Surgas, ya ugly black pile of pod puss!"
[1d10] Glop: recharge 1 after effect ends, requires helpless target (assuming Trap worked?); You secrete a sticky green goo that prevents the target from recovering from helplessness for each round the effect is maintained(i.e. you take no other action). A strong target instead receives a cumulative -1 penalty to their recovery rolls for the duration of the effect. If the combat ends before the target manages to recover, the goo hardens into a cocoon and escape without outside help becomes all but impossible.
>>641358 "Come on, the dirt's gotta give eventually." Ci'thiclone keeps digging. >[1d10]
>>641358 "Alright, I'm not that starving yet, so you can feed off this one. Then once you're good, you can distract his friend for me and Goober to grab for ourselves." Ci'thilix offers, holding the opening of the bag towards Zeppelim.
You get back up at 5/2. The blast from your clone's bazooka obliterates another large chunk of the summoning circle, leaving only two of the six points intact.
Corpus drops to one leg as the skulls bombard him with fire. He barely manages to smash one back a few inches before it bites his neck. A smoldering chunk of the tent falls onto his back as the tent continues to go up in flames, exposing the open night sky.
You detonate the four smaller glops, blasting the skulls back into their vortexes, which now begin to phase in and out of reality from the damage to the summoning circle. You try to glop the stunned buffalo spirit, but only a rough cough comes out of your mouth.
The Buffalo Spirit tries to get back up as Shady limps back into the tent for the final cultist. [1d10+3]
You notice Shady looking around in confusion as the tent continues to go up in flames. "Bro!? Bro, where are you?" he shouts in dismay.
A sturdy wooden bridge begins to form ahead of you. You start to take a step forward, but the bridge quickly vanishes, causing you to plummet several meters until you land painfully on a floating blockade made of wooden furniture. The Honkerlord laughs uproariously at your plight. >You lose 2 Hits.
"Sir Quirk! Talk to me, are you alright?" Gladius calls from above.
>>641364 Surgas coughs and hacks, holding his throat in pain as he fails to make any more goo. "Damn it, gettin' low on love.. can't even make a few bits of glop." He shakes his head, aiming for the Buffalo spirit's head with a few more explosive charges, "Come on, under the tongue, there's always a treasure trove under the tounge!"
[1d10+2] Remote Charge on the Buffalo
As Shady comes back in, shouting for Big, Surgas winces, flying to the opposite side of the creature so as to be out of sight from Shady, then shouts back, altering his vocal chords using minor shapeshifting to sound off in Big's voice
"Grrr, Bro, I said get out of here with those fruity yahoos, we got this oversized tobacco wad!" [1d10] Instant, shapeshift vocal chords
As you get back upright, an ornate stone bridge manifests before you, twirling and curving through the sky. But no matter how much it twists or turns, you feel perfectly balanced, as though standing on normal, solid ground. Extensions from the bridge branch towards larger islands as you near them. You can see sock puppets, controlled by disembodied hooves, sitting and relaxing on the islands. With a bit of effort, Gladius flies down to where you are.
Ahead of you, a clear blue portal appears. Inside, you see a familiar face: Surgas. However, the portal is too small and the image too blurry to tell what's going on inside.
As the buffalo's mass of mechanical tentacles starts to shuffle about, you smack some more goop onto its face, stunning it again. But, as you call out to Shady, you realize your voice is back to its normal tone.
"You– you're not… Who the fuck…?" Shady asks in confusion as he looks around the burning tent. His eyes settle on you for a moment. "A changeling?" he mouths, before a burning support column lands between you and him.
The portals flicker and dim as Ci'thilix and Silver hack away at the leylines, leaving only one half of an intact segment. However, two of the burning skulls launch themselves at Silver's clone and Ci'thclone, exploding on impact. >Silver Double 0/1 >Ci'thclone 0/2
Corpus topples over in exhaustion, his giraffe disguise fading away as he hits the ground.
One of the remaining skulls breathes blue fire at Silver. [1d10]
The thrashing colt kicks you and Zeppelin in the face in his frenzy. You lose 4 hits. Zeppelin checks and rubs her injured cheek. "You little runt–! Now you've done it!" she growls, trying to drain him again. [1d10]
"Jeez, Zep, chill out, you're gonna get us caught!" Goober complains as he tries to restrain the colt. [1d10]
Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 6 = 6 / Roll #3 10 = 10 / Roll #4 9 = 9
"So… this is legit, gotcha…" Aqui says to himself. He diverts his eyes to the sidewalk as he notices you smiling. "Uh, n-no, but I do know it's down that way, we passed it on the way to the hair place."
As he starts to lead you down the sidewalk, you hear a commotion coming from an alleyway in the other direction. You recognize the voices as Zeppelin's and Goober's.
>>641370 >>641371 "Hmmn… Hold up… I think I hear the others. Considering how often they get into trouble I'm sure we should check on them before we head to the theater." She then heads to the alleyway, checking to see what's going on.
>>641370 Silver Prime and Silver Secundus become one again, joining together via skin contact as Prime touches Secundus. She then takes the bazooka and fires at the circle once more. [1d10+3]Blast Circle
>>641370 Surgas panics internally as Shady spots him, already trying to think of as many excuses as he can to explain to Shady what he saw. Thankfully doesn't seem that smart so it's a matter he puts to the side as flaming pillars crash around him.
He looks at the clone of Silver downed and bleeding hard, relaxing as she sees her merge with the true Silver and looking a little better for it. He tries to lay down another line of explosive goo on the spheres while detonating the ones on the Buffalo [1d10+2] Spraying spheres [1d10] Detonation
>>641370 Ci'thiclone crumples to the ground, more vulnerable to injury from being a conjuration. "Th-This s why I don't like being sent in to do work." He grumbles as he tries to recover. >Recover [1d10]
>>641370 Ci'thilix takes a step back as he gets kicked, holding his face. "Oww hey! Alright, you're going back in the bag then!" Ci'thilix grabs up the grab to stuff the colt back inside, after Zeppelin and Goober go after him themselves. >Re-Bag [1d10]
You and Goober bag the colt, restraining him enough for Zeppelin to forcibly drain love from him. Color drains from his coat as she does so, and his thrashing gradually slows and eventually stops as he is re-bagged.
Zeppelin burps with satisfaction and sigh. "Not bad! Nice to finally eat again! Okay, I'll hold him if you guys want some."
As you approach the portal, an enormous socpkpuppet worm swims through the sky from below, smacking you aside. It crashes into the portal, dispelling it like smoke. You lose 3 Hits, and go helpless. However, the stone bridge adjusts itself so that you fall down onto it instead of oblivion.
Gladius hobbles to your side and wordlessly helps you up.
The Honkerlord appears behind you. "Oooh, that looked like it hurt! Oh, do be careful of those, those wyrms like to play around here, if I recall. Hmm…"
The Honkerlord points dead ahead. "There!" A few meters ahead of you, another portal appears. "It won't be easy, but I'll hold this one open. Now, go!"
Surgas shoots goo at the skulls, but it collides with their streams of flame, and explode midair, pelting Surgas with shrapnel. He falls helpless, and loses a wound. Silver manages to persevere through the explosion, losing only 4 Hits. Her bazooka shot hits the remainder of the hexagram, destroying it.
The buffalo chief and the skulls slowly begin to droop down, losing their glow. The skulls are sucked into their portals, which close up shortly thereafter. However, the buffalo's body does not get sucked back into its portal, despite it laying limp and lifeless on the tarp.
>>641377 Zandali simply glares at her team before turning to make her way in the direction of the theater. "Barbaric… I do not understand the reason why they have to forcefully consume someones love rather than allow others to give it to them willingly. Sometimes I wish I wasn't a changeling." She mumbles the last part more to herself, although it's still loud enough for Aqui to hear her.
>>641377 >>641374 >>641376 Surgas grunts along the ground, struggling to pick himself up, looking to Silver, Ci'th, and Corpus to ensure everyone is in one piece. "Every changeling who's dead, raise your hoof. Good, nochangeling? Fantastic."
[1d10] Getting up from helpless
He looks to Silver and Ci'th's clone, "I think Shady might be on to me, I flubbed up tryin' to shout in Big's voice during the fight. We need to re-convince 'im, think if one of you turned into Big Business, and he saw me next to you, that'd fool 'im into thinking he just misheard things and his brother is NOT one of us."
>>641377 Ci'thiclone looks over at the beast as it lies there. "Did it not go away when we got rid of the circle?" He asks as he goes to get up again. >Recover [1d10]
>>641377 Ci'thilix gives a breath of relief when the colt is rebound. "Well, could use a little snack. And already went through the trouble to catch him." Ci'thilix reopens the bag and lifts the colt out, draining a bit of love to get satiated. >Feed [1d10]
>>641382 >>641382 Surgas nods as he picks himself up, "Either way works, but if you turn into me, when he asks about what 'I' said, gotta make up some believable excuse that he misheard what I was shoutin."
>>641384 "Hmm, this is gonna be tricky," Silver says, rubbing her chin, "Alright, I'll pretend to be you." [1d10]Transform to Surgas [1d10]Adaptability: Compassion >>641385 "Well, where's the original, then, clone?"
>>641387 "Well jeez, what's the point of splitting up if you don't know what's going on with the other one?" She swats the clone on his flank with her scabbard. >>641388 "Yeah, I got it- simple, loud, and leaving someone wondering why they spoke to you in the first place."
You do those things which you described. Corpus lays limp on the ground, badly burnt and nonresponsive.
You hear the sirens of firetrucks approaching in the distance. As you do so, two figures hop out of the portal which the buffalo is sticking out of. One is a skinny changeling knight with a greatsword and greatshield, while the other is a changeling with a dark blue cloak and a wide-brimmed hat. A small, changeling-like cat accompanies them.
Once they are through the portal, the buffalo spirit's body is sucked back into the portal, and it closes.
Ci'thilix and Surgas recognize the one in the hat as Quirk. (see below)
The knight one quickly falls to his knees, prostrating himself as he touches and kisses the ground.
The portal starts to shrink as you approach it. "Agh! Slippery bastard!" the Honkerlord complains. "I'll have to catch up to you little morsels later! But don't you dare forget about our deal now! Toodle-oo!"
Waves of color crash onto you as you and Gladius zip through the portal. Eventually, when the colors settle down, you find yourself in a burning circus tent. A hexagram is painted on the tarp below you. Sticking out of the portal behind you is a metal mass of tentacles, ending in a chrome skull that looks like a buffalo's. However, it quickly gets sucked back into the portal, which then closes.
Inside the tent are four changelings, three of whom you recognize (Surgas, Ci'thilix, and Corpus, who looks badly burnt and is unconscious) and one you do not (Silver).
You notice Zandali and Aqui standing at the end of the alleyway. Zandali doesn't look too happy.
The colt doesn't put up even a little resistance as you lift him, allowing you to drain love with ease, sating your hunger. Goober leans over and drains some himself, but with a somewhat conflicted expression.
>>641389 "Yeah, I- HEY!" He barks, "That doesn't sound like me at all, glop it. Everyone knows exactly why they talk to me, it's because I'm encouraging, inspirational, makes you feel like part of a real team where everyone listens to me."
>>641390 Silver tries to transform into Surgas again. [1d10]Changeling Disguise >>641391 "Oh, yeah, don't worry, I'll nail it down- loud, terrifying, and worried about what you'll do if they're not perfect. Don't worry, honey, I know what I'm doing." Looking at Quirk, Silver raises an eyebrow. "Who's this? He smells like candy."
>>641390 "Thanks Aqui… Just sometimes I wish I didn't need to have love to actually survive and live… Changelings don't exactly have good chances at finding lovers to feed them willingly either…" She then sighs a bit. "At least no chances when they aren't putting on a disguise…"
>>641388 "But it's not an excuse, I'm locked t whatever state he's in."
>>641389 "Well he thought it'd help cover ground, since we don't need both in on pla— Ah!" He jumps to the side after he's swatted. "Wh-What was that for?"
>>641390 C'thiclone walks over to Corpus' body, concerned. "Corpus, you alright?" He questions, checking to see if he's breathing at least.
>>641390 Ci'thilix sets the colt on the ground ,propped against the alley wall after the triple drain, probably needing the air outside a trash bag. "Don't think he has much more… Probably should just leave him to recover."
>>641390 >>641393 After setting him down and being done wit heating, he notices Zandali, feeling a bit bad. "Oh, h-hey there…"
>>641394 "Don't worry about it, I've got it handled." >>641396 After Surgas tells her about Quirk, she holds her hoof out to him. "Greetings, my name is Captain Silver Megagun, I'm the new leader of the squad, with Surgas acting as officer of operations." She then puts her cap into a coat pocket, then hands him her coat. "Hold onto this while I impersonate the sergeant, if you please."
>>641395 "All I'm hearin' is reasons not to try, Ci'th! Did ya even try?"
>>641396 He nods his head, saluting back, "At ease soldier! Sorry we had to do it, we couldn't find ya anywhere and we had a mob on our abdomens. Knew you'd find your way back somehow, Quirk, and if it's any consolation it looked way more killer than a simple train ride."
"And yes, you do soldier, it's a doozy though. Let's get out of this burning tent and away from the sirens and I'll give ya the entire story."
>>641397 "Grruumpl…I'll judge for myself there, Silver."
>>641402 "I'm Captain Silver Megagun of Hive Chrysalis. I was on assignment in Baltimare when the wedding operation failed, and started coming back to assist in the logistics nightmare that was sure to ensue in the following months. I've never heard of you, either, and I'm not interested in your collection of kitchen utensils, to be honest."
"That's… a rough life." Aqui says solemnly. "Sucks you gotta go through all that, but with the reputation changelings have, I'm not surprised it's like that… a lot of us dragons get that, a lot. Lotta tension and amnesty between us and ponies, so we usually stick to ourselves most of the time."
Quirk fails to bring up his disguise. Carrying the unconscious Corpus, you vacate the burning tent before you're injured. As you head back out into the park, you see Shady talking with a police officer as uniformed fireponies rush out of their firetruck and start to put out the burning tent. The cultists, looking mostly unharmed, lay next to Shady.
The changeling knight turns to Silver, Surgas, and Ci'thilix. He bows deeply, laying his equipment on the ground. "You are companions to Quirk? Then, Sir Silver Megagun, I am in your subordinate's debt. It is thanks to him that I escaped the wretched prison in which I rotted for so long. I cannot ask you enough to reward him for this salvation!"
>>641400 >>641401 "Grrr… yes, Silver technically outranks me Quirk. She's an officer right from our hive. Never heard of her but she checks out. But don't you let her push you around, I'm the field officer of operations, and we are OUT in the field right now."
>>641404 In response to GLadIUS' request, Silver nods her head. "I'll see to it, sir. If you don't mind, I'd ask that you please bow out for the time being, I have a performance to put on." >>641405 "Well, just wait until we get back to a hotel or something to recuperate, I'll show you who's in charge, then."
>>641404 "You know… Could you feed me a bit? I hate to ask but it's really the only way I can live. Plus I'm sure love that comes from a guy like you is pretty sweet." She gets her soft smile once more.
>>641404 Ci'thiclone follows with the others as they flee the tent. "So where were you? Must have been dangerous if it was the same place they summoned that giant beast from."
>>641404 "I've never drained a kid before, don't know how much he could handle." Ci'thilix looks down the alley as Zandali leaves. "I don't know, when we talked earlier she said she got all her love from being a doctor." Since they don't need to trap the colt anymore, Ci'thilix drops the trashbag to the ground. "So where should we go now? Still have a lot of time until the shipment comes in."
>>641404 Surgas, under the guise of Big Business, turns to look at the cops Shady talks to nervously, turning to look at the company gathered. He points to Gladius
"Hey, he's my subordinate first, drone. But you're welcome all the same, we're always lookin' out for our fellow hive mates, and we need all the numbers we can get now that her Majesty's AWOL."
He looks over to Shady again, "Alright, I'm gonna nip this in the bud as soon as the coppers vamoose. Silver and I will convince him the changeling he saw WASN'T Surgas he saw."
He turns to Corpus, "And will SOMECHANGELING find Zandali or Zeppelin for 'im?"
>>641406 "Probably still me. I'm a force to be reckoned with on and off the battlefield. Like a gun with no safety, or a constantly lit fuse!"
>>641408 "Alright Quirk, he's the hoofnotes: We found the kid of that dragon we were lookin to get a favor for by curing him. Turns out he needs the poison of these mob-dogs, Big and Shady Business, to do it. We infiltrated their ranks as Big himself," he refers to himself in his transformed state of a fox diamond dog with a feathery pink coat and shades, "And we got the poison delivering to the train station. BUT, you remember that Prothorax hive changeling we saw on the train ta Hollow Shades? That was QUEEN Prothorax herself, and she's looking to marry Shady over there to get back some of 'er former glory. We're lookin' to sabotage the weddin' tomorrow, and this whole fiasco was another brilliant step in that scheme if I do say so myself. Which I do."
Aqui stops walking momentarily, the flush from his cheeks showing through his mask. "Well, uh… how… um– how exactly do I do that? Is it gonna hurt? Do I, like, uh… do we need to be in a private… area, or…"
"We could regroup with the others, see what they're up to." Goober suggests.
"Nah, we're in charge of our own op for once, we're off the hook! We're our own bosses now. Let's like… do stuff that the enemy likes. Like, watch TV or listen to talk radio! I always wanted to try those. " Zeppelin says.
Zeppelin gives Zandali a look as they walk away. "Oh, so she's gonna be all high-and-mighty about it huh? Well, whatever. At the end of the day, we can't survive on anything else, so we're all in the same boat. No morals to surviving in this world."
Gladius composes himself and stands back up, but cannot resist another bow. "I understand, Sir, operations and all. I shall stand aside, but do not hesitate to call upon me if necessary; I will gladly begin repaying my debt in any way."
With that, Gladius slinks away into the bushes, he and his cat (Buddy) melding with the shrubbery.
Shady turns back to you with a suspicious glare. However, when he sees Silver disguised as Surgas standing next to the real Surgas, who is disguised as Big, his suspicion turns to confusion. Not walking away from the cop, he spreads his arms in a gesture which reads, "What gives?"
>>641415 "Well… All I would need is either affection, which can be done easily… or I can forcefully take it from you like the others did, but I don't think you can enjoy that… or we could… well… Do the dirty dance to put it lightly." She says, while he's taking in the info and choosing one of the options she looks around for a potential private place she can enjoy her potential meal.
>>641412 "….you're doing that thing again. You're taken what I say and makin' it into a… bed room thing. I don't know I like it."
>>641413 "Uh, I was just gonna leave the groom in a rage thinkin' his brother was cheatin' on his fiance, but sure why not? Nothing wrong with taking cake from a pony."
>>641415 As Shady continues talking with the cop, Surgas tries sending a signal of his out, mouthing 'BACK UP' to Shady while pointing a thumb towards Silver. He waits for the cop to leave before approaching Shady, seeing as how if the cops saw an 'untransformed' changeling there's likely to be even more trouble.
He says to the drones out of earshot, "Boy I hope he's still naive enough to buy this part."
>>641415 As the others approach Shady and the cops, Ci'thiclone tries to stealth up just in case, unsure of the situation. >Stealth [1d10]
>>641415 "Yea, though it would be nice to get a nice love set up like that where you don't have to hunt down and chase it every time you're already starving." Ci'thilix steps down the alley, looking down the road. "Yea, let's go keep ourselves occupied while we wait for that tank. We were told to pick it up, so we don't have to go back until we do." Ci'thilix looks back into the alley at the colt. "Let's uh, get far away from here first, just in case. Maybe find a movie theater, those are big TVs pretty much." Ci'thilix leads the Zeppelin and Goober into the city, searching for some classic pony entertainment to pass the time. >Quality Entertainment [1d10]
"Haaaa… uh… mmm… that's a… well, that's a… uh-, h-hey, look, the theater's right there, I knew it!" Aqui nervously says, pointing at the theater down the road. The theater's listings include: >IRON GIZMO STALLION 4 >THE LAST OF HORSE >WHINNY OF WALL STREET >GOODBYE EQUESTRIA
However, with your sharp eyes, you notice a motel several buildings down an adjacent street. Looks cheap.
The cop leaves after a few minutes. Shady hobbles over to Surgas and Shady, his leg still injured. An ambulance quickly comes down the street, pulled by a four-horse team. Shady's eyes are red-rimmed, and he sniffles every now and again.
"Well… shit's fucked, huh? Heh… Don't worry, bro, I got the heat off us. You know, a little of the old green?" He laughs sadly, looking at his injured leg.
"Wedding's… not lookin' too great right now, ain't it? It'll be a fuckin' week before they let me out of the hospital with this, huh? Celestia… what am I gonna tell Pro-Pro?"
He looks down at Silver. "So, uh… what's the deal? Why'd you… like, why'd you answer me when I was talkin' to him, huh? Heat of the moment?"
Zeppelin chuckles. "You'd know all about that, wouldn't you, Goob?"
Goober blushes and socks Zeppelin's arm. "Shut up, I don't know what you're on about. Not a word. Nope, not at all."
Zeppelin laughs with satisfaction. "You know what this drone's favorite movies are, Ci'th?"
Ci'thiclone fails to stealth, but real Ci'thilix sees a record store on the corner of the street. Beyond that, there's the red light district a few streets down, the theater which is directly past the record shop further down the street, a seedy hotel on a street adjacent to the one they're currently on, and a technology store across from that.
>>641421 Surgas slaps his knee. "Haha, well, you know how it is- HE'S THE BOSS, am I right? If he's busy with something, I'd like to be able to answer for him so he doesn't have to get distracted." >>641419 "Not that I mean to say my word's as good as yours, boss, just trying to make things nice and eeeeeasaaaaay."
>>641421 As Shady starts to cry in front of him, Surgas can't help but smile a little on the inside that things are proceeding so well for ruining Prothorax's scheme, but he forces a frown of his own, getting up to grab Shady into a hug,
"Hey, bro, relax, alright? I'm telling ya, we never needed this ritual shit for a bitchin' weddin' anyhow. You and Prothy are gonna have the day of your damned lives, dog, trust me."
He lets go of the hug, looking down at the leg, "Yeah… it's pretty fucked, man, shit. I musta got off easy. Well, how much does it hurt dog? Think ya could fake it tomorrow? Otherwise, we'll probably leave out the Honkerlord shit and say we got a lil' rough having fun at your bachelor party."
>>641423 >>641421 Big looks down at Surgas, smirking (forcibly) "Yeah, well, ain't I just that lucky? I know I was a lil' distracted, but I'd have gotten to 'im eventually, buddy."
>>641421 Ci'thiclone, failing stealth but with the cops having left, just sits back with the others.
>>641421 "You have some favorite movies? I haven't seen enough to get any yet." Looking at the options, Ci'thilix leads them to the record store. Maybe they could pick up something to take with them there.
Aqui nods, visibly relaxing somewhat. The two of you purchase your tickets at the counter, then head inside. The theater isn't too densely packed tonight, but the other patrons tend to avoid you when they see you're a changeling.
Clearly annoyed at their avoidance, Aqui cautiously squeezes your shoulder. "Uh, popcorn, drinks? I'll cover us."
As he gradually comes to, Corpus sniffs at the air. "What the… Q-guy! Quir… Quell, uh… Quirk! You're alright! Jeez louise, brotha, I was worried about you! Ah, this is great! Can't believe you're back… I'm… glad."
Strength draining, he lays down on the ground. You find some punch powder and a little tropical umbrella too.
Shady still looks a little leery and distrusting of the situation, but as the medics arrive, he resigns himself, and allows himself to be put onto the stretcher. "No, it… it has to be perfect. It… it just has to."
He sniffles again. "Leg's totally fucked… Well… maybe we could postpone. I'll… give her a call. Th– thanks bro. You're the best. And– and you guys too." he says, looking at the rest of the crew. "You're… I don't know what I'd do without you, dogs and bitches."
The ambulance crew starts to wheel Shady back to their carriage.
As you head into the record store, the lights dim and soft music plays over the stereos. The store has all kinds of music of all kinds of genres, on everything from vinyl to CD's to tapes, and even sheet music. There's also a clothing and merch section! The minotaur attendant sits at the counter, reading through a stack of comic books.
"Mister Quirk at your service, Mr. Corpse. I had quite the adventure, but that's a story for another day. Right now, I gotta force feed you this punch that I got. It's really good, trust me."
He rummages around for a mundane glass and some water to start his punch brew.
"So uh, what's been going on since I disappeared? Surgas gave me a quick rundown, but is there anything else I should know before the crash happens?" he leans down to whisper, "all I know, is that I'm stealing the cake~" he says in a sing-song tine.
>>641427 Surgas goes to put a claw on Shady's shoulder before he's hauled away, "Hey, bro, it WILL be the best, but you just worry about getting better first. But ya gotta start pullin' away from this Honkerlord shit, dog, I think tonight's a pretty clear indicator it's not the way to make it that perfect night. Listen, how about you let me take care of Pro-pro? Somethin' tells me hearing her go off on you ain't gonna be what you need tonight."
>>641428 He whispers out of earshot, "Looks like… which means our plan to get 'caught in the act' might need to change venues, huh?"
>>641427 "Should've had you scout out a snack then since you love that stuff." Ci'thilix chuckles.
As they get in the store, Ci'thilix looks around the selection and remembers unfortunately he doesn't have money on him. "Hmm… Wonder what they have cheap…" He looks over down to the tapes, probably the more affordable option for the group.
>>641431 Surgas bristles, then says to Shady, "Aww, c'mon, I think you can handle it! It's just your leg, I'm sure folks have gotten married while they've got an axe in their head! Heck, we don't even need the bachelor party, it's the marriage that needs to happen, isn't it?" [1d10]Persuasion w/ Compassion
With some bottled water and a regular cup, you brew a classic early 2000's cup of punch.
"Well, we're trying to disrupt the wedding of this total bitch of a rival queen, right? Prothorax… She was a former queen, but she lost her power when she was defeated this one time… so she's marrying some bitch dog to get her power back. And if she finds out Chrysalis got defeated, well, it'd be bad news for all of us."
The tape section is remarkably less expensive than the rest of the store, with prices never exceeding 10 bits. Tape players, likewise, are only 15 bits. Meanwhile, Goober goes over to the classical section, and Zeppelin heads into the clothing section.
>>641434 Some relatively cheap prices, Ci'thilix pulls out his little supply bag holding all the potions they got. Maybe when crawling around in that mansion or all the other running around of the day some bits got scraped up inside. >Lucky Change? [1d10]
As they cart away Shady, he turns to his group. "You know, I almost really am gonna feel sorry for what we're doin' to a nice mammal like that. Not even intimidated by changelings. But, Hive Wars are Hive Wars. Now he's in the hospital, we got pretty much free range to ruin the rest of the weddin' in any number of ways."
He pulls out Shady's cellphone that he had picked off him earlier, "Pro-pro is still comin' tomorrow, we could spring a trap for her at the cathedral, go through with makin Shady see his fiance kiss his own best bro, hehehehe…"
>>641434 Quirk shares the cup of punch with Corpus as he sits down beside him.
"Hmm…so we're doing this to knock her down a peg, as well as keep us and our hive safe…sounds legit. To be quite honest, I could care less about Prothorax, she'll just get demolished once more, I could just feel it in my inner stomach. Gut feeling, some call it," he smiles,"what I'm really interested in, is that cake." He winks at Corpus.
"So anyways, what's the plan, we going in sneaky-beaky like or are we gonna crash this wedding like a wrecking ball covered in mirrors and sirens?"
He starts making a brew of some foreign drink he's only heard of in stories. Luckily, if his memory serves right, he has the right powder to make it. >Making Haywaiian punch [1d10]
>>641437 "We'll have to ambush her," Silver says in her own voice once Shady's taken away, "I think you could meet her at the station, get her somewhere we can gang up on her, and go to town. We need Zeppelin to refill our stores of potions and Overdrive, though, I'm all out."
>>641440 "Blegh. But that's pony food. Who can stomach the stuff?"
He looks at The Stick with interest. "A big stick… primitive, but I can appreciate the draconian aspects of mammal-beatin' with the best of 'em. Is it a good stick?"
>>641441 "AH! Even better! We can take her out before the weddin' even starts, replace 'Pro-Pro' with our own. We could even take 'er prisoner, bring her back as a trophy for Chrysalis as a make up present for the failure of Operation Wedding Crashers."
>>641445 "Oh, truth be told it probably still could work. Change of venue is the only thing I'm worried about… though it does give great reason to explain why 'Prothorax' came along, don't it? She'd be worried about her source of love."
>>641447 Surgas' face droops. "Oh, right… idea was to get him mad to fight his brother but that's not gonna really happen with a leg that bad is it? Shady's easy to manipulate too, would be kind of a shame to let 'im go to waste."
>>641449 "Yeah, but, we don't have all the time in the world to play around with Prothorax and get Aqui his poison. Chrysalis is still waitin' on us, even a few days waiting for him to walk again could be enough time for some horrible, dastardly unfair malady to swoop down on our beloved monarch!" He holds his ears at the thought, "So, I think we'll just have to work with whatever a gimpy Shady gets us, son."
>>641451 "Right, just need to set up before hoof that Prothorax is there, give him the idea she came to see him after he got hurt. Been talkin with Silver about that, we don't want to just throw the scene at him either: he's dense but he may pick up on it."
>>641453 "That's the plan, Ci'th! Just need to arrange something for the real Prothorax. Seeing as how we have Shady's phone, and ya can't smell a changeling over the line, that shouldn't be an issue, huh?"
Nefarious plans were hatched. A film was watched. A music store was perused. Quirk traveled through time and space through an interdimensional portal while people fought a mechanical buffalo spirit in a burning circus tent. Corpus was horribly burned while protecting Silver, and Ci'thilix, Zeppelin, and Goober drained a colt to satiate their hungers.
However, Shady had been stabbed through the leg by said Buffalo spirit, and with Zandali at the movie theater, this meant he'd be in the hospital, and not at his bachelor party. Upon persuasion, a desperate Shady said he'd see what the doctors could do for him.
Additionally, the barrel of "special sauce" (poison) which would be needed to concoct an antidote for Aqui's father was set to arrive shortly, some time in the morning at around 7 AM.
In the distance, everyone hears a bell chime eleven times. Needless to say, you also heard the bell chime at the hour earlier.
The record shop you entered with Zeppelin and Ci'thilix has a moderately not-shitty collection. You also have 30 bits to your name. But with the bell chime, the minotaur at the counter looks at you and taps his wrist, indicating closing time approaches.
>>643280 Silver pulls her pipe out, stuffing it with pipeweed and lighting it up, sitting down next to Corpus as she smokes. "Thanks for helping out, Corpus," she says, tussling his mane and rubbing his neck, "Anything I can do for you?"
>>643280 Surgas wanders over to Corpus, patting his side, "Ya done good drone, you earned a break. We'll find Zandali and Zeppelin and they'll have ya patched up in no time fightin' for your Queen again."
He turns to look at Quirk, Ci'thlix, and Silver. "Alrighty, then we got our own plans to set." He pulls out Shady's phone, "We got everything we need right on this lil' beauty to lead the real Prothorax into a trap and keep the real Big away while we set up for taking out two birds with one stone. But first thing's first, let's get our drone patched up. Zandali couldn't have gone too damn far"
[1d10] Searching for where Zandali might have gone so we can get Corpus patched up
>>643282 "Hm. Primitive and violent. A classic combination! Good choice there, Quirk, take care of it. A nice stick is hard to come by."
In the guise of the foxy diamond dog, he puts a claw on Quirk's shoulders, "So, I've been trying to get you back up to speed on what's been goin on. My turn to ask: what exactly happened to ya back at the Shades?"
>>643284 He shrugs. "I fell asleep and found myself on a big ol' pile of garbage. Thanks to Sir Gladius' and his adorable cat, I was able to get out. He's been there for a looooong time! Did you see his face?"
The plot centers around a small town in central Equestria suddenly beset by a string of murders shortly after the protagonist gains somewhat-uncontrollable time travel powers. Yet in spite of all his attempts to warn the victims of their fates, they turn up dead every time.
Aqui leans over and whispers in your ear, "I bet the donkey with the red tie is the killer. Nobody else was still in the bank when the bomb went off!" >timeskip available whenever
Gladius sticks his head out of the bushes. "Ah, yes, that would be me. Sir Quirk found me in a subdimension created by the Witch Quamala– a fiendish demon who keeps the town safe… in exchange for the occasional pony sacrifice."
Buddy, his changeling-like cat, leaps out of the bushes and gives Surgas' leg a friendly clamp.
>>643289 Zandali shrugs at Aqui's assumptions. "Yeah maybe, but I think it's something similar to another movie I saw once. Just fate taking the ones that should die." She mentions, before going back to enjoying the movie. >Ready for time skip
>>643288 Surgas growls, turning towards Silver with a grumbling mumble.
"Grmgrmbgrmbb… I kinda liked being in charge after the invasion."
>>643289 Surgas looks down at Corpus 'dying' body with tears in his shapeshifted eyes, fully aware he's not in danger but playing up the scene.
"Son… for a final request, I'll see they oblige. You earned it, my boy…"
Picking up on the trail for Zandali, he decides to follow it and lead the troop on to find her, while looking through the contacts on the phone looking for Big's number (not calling yet)
>>643289 He turns to Gladius, eyes burning. "I see… good work getting out of there with him, we thought we lost our No. 2 for a while there. Just one question: Quirk says you're old. What's your rank?"
As Buddy clamps down, Surgas yelps in surprise, looking down at the cat. "What the, get off me mammal! I say I wanted ta get my leg chewed on by a warm-blooded parasite?"
>>643291 "Wait, what the… he's in the EQUESTRIAN army? Like, as a spy, right? He's a changeling spy hiding out in it?"
>>643289 Silver stands up, giving Corpus a smack on the rear with her scabbard. "I'll authorize two of those three requisitions." Leaving her things with the injured subordinate, she heads to a nearby convenience store, picking up a bag of ice and chicken noodle soup in a styrofoam cup, heating it up at the store. By the time she's come back, the soup's cooled down enough to be palatable. She drops the ice bag on his head, then sits down next to him. "Open up," She prompts, with the soup spoon in front of his mouth. >ready for time skip
>>643294 "Hmmm… good point, Quirk. Alright guess he's cool."
He hops on one leg, looking down at the cat, "Quirk, it's grabbing at my damn leg. I can feel its squishy little non-exoskeleton coat rubbing all up against me. Guaaaah, I think it's even purring…" He says with disgust.
>>643295 "Oh, joy, just what I always wanted… you know, I bet if we save Her Majesty, she'll give me a pretty darn big promotion for all the good work I've been doing. Maybe I'll outrank YOU, huh?"
>>643298 "Well I think what it wants is to infect me with its mammal cuteness and gnaw off my leg or somethin'. You can't trust mammals, Quirk, they're all the same. Right now he's lovin' on ya, next thing you know he's chewing off new holes in your legs!"
>>643296 "Oh, by the skies forbid," She says flatly, feeding Corpus and blowing smoke, "But if you're getting anything, I'll be getting at least as much. It's nice to know I'll always outrank you, sugar."
Buddy eventually lets go, then rubs his head along Quirk's hoof.
"I've no rank anymore. In my youth, I'd abandoned my home, my hive. Queen Vespine… I recall being on the front lines when our Hive clashed with that of Chrysalis, when she was but an upstart with hardly a hive of her own… the results were disastrous. The elderly Vespine finally met our maker. With no more leader, I finally decided to strike out on my own, live among the so-called 'enemy' ponies… I'd had enough of fighting my own kind. I was ready for peace, even if that meant living among the enemy."
You're sure you've never heard of Vespine, and Queen Chrysalis isn't exactly young herself. This must have taken place a very long time ago.
It turns out the donkey only did some of the murders. The rest, it seemed, was fate correcting itself whenever the protagonist tried to mess with the timeline. The movie ended with the protagonist realizing that sometimes you just can't fight fate. He then died in a cart accident, the last on fate's list.
Using the power of changeling pheromone detection, the party finally meets up at a somewhat-dumpy but fairly clean and cheap motel, booking two large rooms with a total of six beds and four couches. Currently everyone is gathered in one room to meet up after the long day. But there's nothing really keeping them in that room since they have two.
Unbeknownst to the party, Zandali and Aqui are in the room next to theirs.
>>643300 Surgas's eyes blink a few times, looking down at Buddy. "Er… he is?" He takes a few whiffs through his nostrils, somewhat blushing. "Oh dang, he is… guh, whoops, all the smog from the fire must have messed up my sinuses. He was just actin' so lovey dovey like a real one."
>>643301 "Grrr…" he looks at Silver, "You came in late on this operation, missy. I'm the one who ordered my men into certain peril to get a deal with the dragons, and I caught on ta Prothy and the Businesses first. I get extra credit."
>>643302 He rubs his back looking at Buddy. "Sorry about the rough stuff their soldier. Not used to gettin' clamped on."
He turns to look at Gladius, "I don't think I ever remember a 'Vespine' hive… but I guess it don't matter how old you are, if you're out of the hive you're outranked!" He laughs, "Ah yeah, we'll get along great. But, what the heck you mean by 'so-called' enemies? They ARE the enemy, no so-called about it."
>>643302 >>643290 Making their way to the hotel, Surgas stops sniffing at the air and growls. "Dang it, I KNOW I smell her close by…" He wanders to the next room, sure the smells are coming from there when he pounds on the door.
"Zandali! Zeppelin! Either of you two in there? Open up, we got a soldier dying in here with a last request!"
>>643302 Before making the call, Big-Surgas tries to shapeshift into a pitch perfect representation of Shady so as to fool 'Homie Dog G', using the knowledge he's used with hanging out all day with him to emulate properly
>>643302 "Well… You did seem to enjoy the shapeshifting bit… first time I've tried shapeshifting into a dragon too. Did you… Enjoy the part where I used my goo too?" She asks, a little embarrassed she used more of her changeling abilities this time than she has before.
>>643305 "Augh… Stupid pharamones… that last request better be a cyanide pill." She begins to pull the covers up on her a bit more as she begins to get a more annoyed look, hoping they wouldn't discover it's her in there.
>>643308 Surgas waits patiently (as patient as Surgas gets) at the door to the other room, taking another whiff to be sure. "Hey! C'mon, Corpus might not live another minute! If either of our medics are in there ya gotta come out, he only had one thing he ever wanted to see before he passed away into nothing! Poor Corpus… he was a good bug, I tell ya…" he makes pitiful wails from outside the door.
"It was… flexible. Squishy, that's for sure." Aqui says, scooting over. "B-but, well… shapeshifting and dextrous goop aside, I kinda thought the best part was that it, eh… well, it was you. 'Cause, y'know… well, you're the nicest mare I've met, no doubt."
>>643310 After finishing her pages, Silver pulls Zeppelin onto the bed with her. In a conversational tone, she asks, "So how many of those health potions and Overdrives were you able to brew this evening, Zepp?"
>>643310 Zandali gives him a smile, leaning into him a bit. "Thanks, Aqui… Nobody has really said that sort of thing to me before…" When she hears the nickname he gives her she stifled a giggle. "Zanny? What, am I suddenly your marefriend?" She says with a joking tone before nudging him slightly.
>>643310 Surgas blinks a few times, "Okay, well, I just wanna get something out of the way: the ponies ARE our enemies. Am I gonna have to worry about a 'enlightened' old drone going stabbing us in the back if we have to do our duty?"
>>643310 "Aqui! I know she's in there, you're no changeling and I smell changeling. Why ain't she answerin'?"
He growls, taking a momentary chance to return to the room and shout at Zeppelin instead for a moment.
"ZEPPELIN! You have a sense of fraternity to your dying hive brother, won't you? Won't you hear his last request?"
>>643310 With the transformation complete into the form of Shady, he takes a deep breath.
"Alright, here goes nothing…" and dials up Big on the phone with Shady's voice, hoping he gets the personality right on the first try…
"Aw, fuck." Zeppelin leans back on the pillow. "I kiiiinda forgot, somewhere between kidnapping some colt to feed off and going shopping at this sweet record shop that Ci'thilix took us to. I'll see what I can cook up tonight sir-ma'am." she says with a limp-wristed salute.
Goober shifts about on the bed. "Th… the minotaur at the counter kinda… he was… well, he was kinda scary so I didn't wanna go up to him. It was that big dumb nose ring he had!" he whispers, embarrassed.
Buddy jumps at Surgas and slaps at his legs a few times. Gladius leans against the foot of the bed in a meditative pose. "I have no such intention, hatchling. Nor will I interfere with your current operation. If my assistance is required, then I will gladly give it, in gratitude for what Sir Quirk has done for me."
Zeppelin doesn't get off the bed. Corpus is laying on the ground, and you see that his wounds have been lightly tended to as he sleeps. "Oh whatever. He pulls that dumb routine every time he gets a papercut."
>>643316 Silver pulls up her katana, squinting at Zeppelin. "Well, now that the tub's available, you better get to it," she says, poking Zeppelin's wrist, "And straighten that out next time you salute."
>>643316 He looks at Gladius one more time, "Hmmmm… alright, but I got an eye on you. Zandali's young and hasn't been in a hive before, but someone as old as you not realizing the clear and present dangers ponies and other races poses to us Changelings sets off a few warning flags."
He looks to Zeppelin next, almost pleadingly, "Dang it, this ain't a joke this time Zeppelin. Corpus is there lying on his DEATH BED, and all he wants to see is his squad medic save his life in a sexy nurse outfit. C'mon, have a heart!"
>>643316 With Big finally on the other line, Surgas takes a deep breath, trying not to blow it. He speaks in Shady's voice
"Hey dawg, sorry but this shit's important bro." He tries to make the voice sound a little strained, mixed between frustrated and a twinge of hurt. "Look, shit's gotten fucked up with the wedding going on tomorrow. The damn ritual I've been planning so me and Pro-Pro could have the perfect wedding blew up in my face big time, dog. My leg is fucked, and I ain't goin' in a cast… I'm pushing it out a week, bro."
"Meh. Shit happens when ya got an occult shopping list. Catch ya tomorrow. Bringin' the you-know-what, too. Not trustin' it with some delivery colt. Weapons-grade shit, right there." Big yawns, then hangs up abruptly.
>>643322 Surgas groans, "Even among us love-eaters, Zeppelin, that is just cruel. The dying wishes of your comrades echo in your ears and you fail to hear…"
To Gladious, he nods. "Hmmm… well, thank ya, I guess. You want another chance though, I take my loyalty as a sign Her Majesty is worth followin'. She could use the numbers now."
>>643322 >>643327 "Wait, what? Bro, I…" He gets off before being hung up, looking off deep at the phone. "Well damn it, that ain't good. Don't even know where the hell he's gonna meet me… figure he'll call, I guess. Just do the business, then get it over with…"
He moves down the phone to Pro-Pro herself, making himself ready to call her before turning to Silver, "Bad news, Big's still on the way. We'll work past him somehow tomorrow, but we still got Prothorax to call. Where should we tell her to go where we can get the jump on 'er, just the station?"
>>643328 "The station?" Silver asks, "Hhhuh, that's a bit too public… well, as long as we get her somewhere isolated that's fine. Even better if you can set up some bombs beforehoof so we can get extra ambush points. We've gotta blindside her and smash her ass as fast as possible."
You sleep peacefully as the night gives way to the day. Everyone is awoken by thin rays of sunlight seeping through the blinds. The clock on the wall reads 6:30 AM. The wedding was scheduled for this morning at 11 AM.
Everyone recalls that the shipment of poison used on Aqui's father should be arriving via train station shortly, only now, it will arrive, delivered by Big himself.
>>643332 Surgas pauses for a few moments, tapping a hoof. "Uh… Corpus is… a little extra special is all…"
He points at Corpus, addressing him, "And how about we leave it to the female soldiers to do it regardless, eh?"
>>643332 When the next morning arises, Surgas stretches his limbs, feeling his stomach growl at the lack of love he's been getting recently.
"Graah… hold on, stomach, just a lil' longer." He commands it as he gets up out of bed, looking at the clock and transforming into the form of Shady, making sure to get the details of a fucked up stabbed leg correctly [1d10]
"Alright, everyone, listen up: got our delivery for Aqui's poison in 30, and Big himself is delivering it. Aqui! You stay out of sight, Big ain't half as dumb as his brother and I don't think I can explain you being there. Hopefully Shady will stick in the hospital and stay healing, then we concentrate on capturing Prothy after Big is out of there. Any questions?!"
You find an asleep Zeppelin curled up in one of the chairs, dark bags noticable under her eyes in spite of her black coat. A hoofwritten note is laid across her wing. It reads, >"This was the best I could do. Didn't stock up on as many reagents as I thought when I left on Op: Wed Crash."
It's signed with a drawing of a zeppelin. Next to the note is one health potion and one homebrewed potion labeled "Eng Drk"
"Uh, yeah, no, that's a good idea. Real good idea, sir. Juuuust thinkin' out loud. Heh. Thinkin' sucks." Corpus nervously agrees.
"Capturing a former queen, even one in a weakened state, is always a gamble." Gladius notes. "I suggest an immediate sundering of her horn when attempting to subdue her, lest she break free of whatever flimsy bonds you try to put on her."
>>643343 "Yup… Hopefully I can avoid being caught too much in the crossfire. I'll need to get a hold of that poison and work on an antidote ASAP, but if those idiots get captured then there goes my chance to examine an actual changeling hive…" She says with a sigh. She then gets up and heads for the bathroom, getting ready for her own shower. "If you finish eating before I get out, tell the others next door I'll be over soon. Maybe you can help me get my hooves on that poison today."
>>643343 "I figure she might still have some fight to 'er, but she's been hiveless for decades now, she's got to have lost most of her pep. What's more, her royal guard have already been dealt with, and we got her outnumbered and outmatched. We'll set up a trap before we let her get there, but good idea on the horn, though. That paired with the best glop cocoon we can whip up should keep her out of commission. Then with Big out of town, all that's left is to have OUR Pro-pro suck up Shady's love instead."
With his transformation finished, he begins to head out the door, "Alrighty, time to get this over with. Everyone act cool around Big: he's trouble. If he wigs out we might need some trick maneuvers to get away."
>>643348 >>643347 Silver gets up close to Surgas. "Sergeant, I'm all for kicking her ass, but I strongly suggest killing her instead of just capturing her- we could even just throw her in the water while she's in a cocoon, or bury her in concrete."
>>643347 He turns to Ci'th, "As much as it pains me to say it, Silver had a good idea: why waste all that delicious love and power Shady's offering? We could break up their wedding… but then we still have Prothy on the loose somewhere as he and Big fight it out. If we lure her into a trap, we can make sure she never resolves their differences, and if we use one of us in her place, we can get her prize instead! It's a win-win-win!"
>>643349 "We could, Silver, but, think about it: she had a whole hive once. Probably hundreds of dirty little secrets and advantages she buried when Her Majesty put her under. If we take her back with us, we could get it out of her, right?"
"Well, Sir and Ma'am, it should come as no surprise when I say I'm with Cith on this one." Goober says. "I still don't like the idea of tangling with a former Queen, even if we've got the number advantage."
"Nah, don't listen to this wimp!" Corpus insists, standing up with a groan. "All we gotta do is smack her horn real good, right? Then she's ours! We could ransom her for all the money in the world!"
>>643352 "Youuuu missed the part where you stay far away from us while we pick up the poison we're getting from Big so we can make an antidote," Silver says, pushing him in his belly with her hoof, "like, get some binoculars and a gillie suit and hang out from a kilometer away."
>>643352 Zandali takes a moment to take her shower as the others talk to one another. After a short wash up she heads over to the room where everyone is. >Taking this chat cycle and next to shower and head to the room.
>>643344 "Like I said, I need love right now, not coffee. But no time to waste on that…"
>>643352 "Alrighty, Private Gutless, duly noted. We have to get rid of her somehow though, otherwise we're busted. And that's why we're not taking her on directly! We're making a trap for her before we lure her in. I'll gauge her first, get an idea of what we're up against."
>>643352 He turns to Aqui, "Plenty: turns out Big himself is the one making your delivery of poison this morning. We're gonna go meet him and get him out of town as quick a we can, but you're staying out of his sight. Big ain't half as easy to fool as Shady, no way I'll be able to explain you being there. After we have the poison, you're taking it out of Filly to secure it for your pap while we finish up business with Prothorax."
>>643353 "I'm sure she does, but that's why we're staging a trap for her instead. She's too dangerous to let run around, if she and Shady see each other she'll snitch us off and then we're dead. We ain't got a lot of choices."
>>643351 "Her Majesty thought she was dead all this time, we all did. That means she must know SOME things Her Majesty don't."
"Wait, he's bringing the poison? You're kidding me, I can't just stand back while all this is happening! I-I mean, knockin' his block off is why I even agreed to come with you in the first place…! C'mon, there's one, two, three… ten of us! I– we can take him!"
>>643358 He shakes his head, "I promised to get ya the poison and I am, but I know how tough Big is. If we're gonna take him, we need a plan. Setting Shady off on his own brother after we take Prothorax' place maybe will weaken 'im, and I'm sure your pa once he gets better can straight up devour him, but we're not just gonna go chargin' in as much as I'd like to. We gotta take them out subtly, and 30 minutes ain't exactly a lot of time to spring a trap."
"All battles are won before they are fought, Aqui, and this battle we haven't had time to plan for."
>>643358 "So… Who else is going to help me get the poison?" Zandali says before looking at Aqui. "I know it's important for you to get your revenge on him, Aqui… But you know your father comes first. Which is more important, teaching an old dog to play dead or curing your father?" She asks him, placing a hoof on his arm. >Persuasion: Compassion [1d10]
In frustration, Aqui shakes his head, but doesn't interrupt as you talk him back down. "…Right. Right. Sorry– got a little carried away. Still feels a little surreal, being this close to those guys. But hey– you're the pros… sort of."
Kissing Zandali on the cheek, he looks around the room. "Okay. Well, I… guess I'll stay here. But if– well, when something goes wrong, send someone to grab me. I'll do whatever you need."
Goober bites his lip then stands up. "Okay, well… lead the way, sirs. You want any of us to stay here and wait too? Like me? Please say me."
"DUDE! WHY'REYOUSOSLOW?!" he can't control his voice as he starts brewing a third batch of coffee, moving at an extremely accelerated pace as he frantically messes with the package once he finds it, and doesn't vibrate, but full on quakes in place. >fuck [1d10]
>>643363 "Just relax, Ci'th, I know what we're goin' up against. We'll take every precaution."
>>643364 "Well, no need to stay here specifically. Just stay out of sight and don't antagonize him when we meet him is all we ask. If we're gonna take him we're gonna need the element of surprise and maybe a full building loaded with explosive glop to drop on his tail."
"No, we're going now, every abled drone, Goober. We'll all transform and hide out among the station, keeping an eye on Big so he doesn't know our numbers right off the bat if he thinks something's up. I'll give a signal if we all need to mammal out and retreat."
>>643364 >>643362 He looks at Aqui pecking Zandali on the cheek, grumbling, "Ugh, don't remind me of food, kids. I haven't had a bite of love since yesterday."
>>643364 Despite freshening up, Silver seems to be still tired. She walks at the front of the group at first, but then slows down and lets Surgas take the lead, yawning occasionally and turning sluggishly.
>>643364 "You don't have to stay all stuffed up here, Aqui… Why not come with me? That way if we're looting some of the poison and somebody attacks me, you can come to my rescue." She then gives him a smile at the peck, returning one of her own to help her convince him to come along. >Persuasion rolling in case [1d10]
>>643366 "Hey not my fault you don't try going for the better quality love."
>>643369 "Hey, been busy posing as that slack-jawed love-sick puppy's older brother all day. Haven't had time to find any. Gonna swing by some college or something and see if I can swoon one of the school mares or something. Do young adult pony mares still go for the bad boy look, haven't tried that in a while."
Surgas disguises once again as Shady Business, with a very convincing gimp in his leg. Retracing your steps from your arrival yesterday, you head down to the train station as the last of the morning fog is steadily burnt away by the sun.
After about a 20 minute walk, you finally approach the train station. Aqui nods and heads into a convenience store to hide.
At the station, you notice a train arriving. Through one of the windows, you see a very tall diamond dog with a face like a fox. He wears a slim black suit and sunglasses with red-tinted lenses. He is flanked by a pink unicorn stallion and two smaller diamond dogs wearing very flamboyant outfits and hair that looks like it belongs in the 80's. Cith, Surgas, and Quirk recognize them as the members of Haute Couture. Surgas recognizes the fox-dog as Big Business.
As the train stops, Big steps off, carrying a wide briefcase. He scans the area a bit, then checks his phone, apparently not seeing anyone yet.
>>643374 Silver, in her preferred grey Earth Pony disguise, stops by the convenience store to get a taquito, sticking with Surgas in her coat and cap while waiting for Big. She wasn't paying attention to him, still tired.
>>643374 Quirk continues to jitter and shake as the crew approaches the train station, and stays next to Zeppelin as he tries to make his extremely mundane pony disguise not as mundane with his frantic shaking and twitching, clenching his teeth behind closed lips as his eyes dart back and forth.
>>643374 Zandali sticks to her usual aqua blue changeling form. She stares at the train as it rides in before looking over at Big Business, keeping herself silent as to not bring too much attention to herself already.
>>643373 "Hey, don't knock it till you tried it Princess. You have any idea how sweet the love of a child is? I'll give ponies this much, if there's one variety of them I can stand it's the kids. They're over-emotional, but kind of innocent at the same time. Makes their love a little more palpable."
>>643374 Surgas, spotting Big, grips his claws and starts making a convincing (but not pathetic) limp over to Big, whispering to those present, "Remember, don't crowd 'im. Don't wanna scare him off before we get the juice."
He moves forward alone, frowning wide and approaching Big Business nervously as he did when Surgas met Shady. He reaches forward and grabs Big by the paws. He recalls how panicked he was yesterday when he met him at the station, and tries to emulate that
"Bro… I'm fucked, bro. Whatami gonna tell Pro-pro?! I NEEDED that ritual dog, damnit I knew shit was gonna go wrong and now my leg is fucked and I can't see Pro for another WEEK cause of the delay and…"
>>643374 Ci'thilix and Ci'thiclone, both disguised as the same white pegasus, stick back behind the others as they head to the station. As he sees the Haute Couture members, Ci'thilix panics a little inside, hoping they don't get recognized somehow.
Big slowly raises his paw for silence. "Shade. Little bro. You called me last night at near shit midnight to tell me your wedding was off, moments after I arrived at the end of a long and ill-advised string of wild drinking and other poor decisions which I do not fully remember. I don't want to hear it."
"What I do want to hear is an explanation of why the office told me that… well, someone needed the you-know-what paw-delivered to them on express… and why that 'someone' was, well, me. I mean… well, clearly someone must have just made a mistake, right?"
As you go about doing your business, you notice a figure in the distance in the opposite direction of the train station, hobbling along the sidewalk. It's Shady Business, limping along with a cane, carrying an IV holder on wheels. A pony nurse walks along with him.
>>643380 The gears in Quirk's head are already on overdrive as he formulates a plan to get rid of Shady and the nurse.
He turns to Zeppelin and hands her his Flamberge.
"You. Cut me. Cut me hard. I'll go up to the nurse and Shady bleeding hard. She'll be like 'we need to get you to a hospital' and like, carry me off. Then, you usher Shady alongside us. he will follow you, I will follow him."
He grabs hold of her as he continues to shudder and quake.
"Don't mess this up, I've been doing this for years."
>>643380 Ci'thilix looks off, Shady coming this way is going to spell disaster here. He looks over at his clone, amulet glowing as he tries to readjust him tobe ready for any quick interception. >Conjure Esper [Stealth, Cheap Shot] [1d10]
CI'thiclone takes a few steps back, trying to blend into the shadows as he can see what might end up happening. >Stealth [1d10]
>>643380 Surgas rubs his neck, "Shit, sorry dawg. Just really fuckin' with my head is all…"
As he mentions the mistake, Surgas moves his brow up. He couldn't just tell him it wasn't him, otherwise what was the point in bringing the stuff? He'll just take it right back.
"What the fuck? Well… shit, that doesn't make any sense bro. I ordered the stuff, not you. Well, duh not you, you'd remember that, but you know what I mean. Look, even have it in my call history. Maybe the pencil pushers crossed a wire for which brother was makin' the order? Didn't think they'd bother you about deliverin' that shit. Guess we're gonna have to check in and see who fucked up." >Instant action to Appraise, get a read on Big and his cronies [1d10]
You bring up the call history on 'your' phone and show it to him. Big stands there impassively for a few moments, then hooks his arm around your shoulder with alarming speed. You're not sure if you could've stopped him if you wanted to.
"Heeeeyyy, what's the big worry, bro? Look, it's not gonna be the end of the world or anything! Delays happen. Life happens man. And life is shit! Look, we can call up the church and have 'em reschedule it if you haven't already. Hell, we could buy the place if we wanted to, you feel me? We'll just take it one step at a time. One issue at a time, alright. Now, c'mon… we've got some things to discuss." he says with a grin. >pausing
We can all agree a plot summary is in order I think.
Surgas the Sticky – M. Changeling Pathfinder – 5/5 (5/5) Ci'thilix – M. Changeling Elusive – 5/5 (5/5) Quirk – M. Changeling Samurai – 5/5 (5/5) Silver Megagun – F. Changeling Warlord – 5/5 (5/5) Zandali – F. Changeling Cleric – 5/5
So, after the party sabotaged the summoning ritual coordinated by Shady Business to summon a draconequus named the Honkerlord to get stuff for his wedding that couldn't normally be obtained on this plane of existence (Shady really, REALLY wanted a big wedding), they met up at a hotel to rest and recuperate.
The thing was, Shady took a metal tentacle through the leg while he was trying to extract the cultists performing the ritual from the burning circus tent. This new injury, combined with a little persuasion, put Shady in the hospital, delaying the wedding to some indeterminate future.
Prior to all this happening, the party tried to get their hooves on a sample of the poison Big's goons used on Aqui's father, so that Zandali could try to make a cure. Only problem is that Big decided to deliver the poison personally, since he was coming in for the wedding anyway and didn't see a reason to cancel just because Shady was in the hospital.
So, Big just rolled up at the train station surrounded by the members of Haute Couture: one pink unicorn and two diamond dogs with clothing and hair straight out of the 80's.
Ci'thilix and Silver are in a nearby convenience store watching the exchange happen. Quirk and Zeppelin are in an alleyway. Surgas and Zandali are standing in front of Big.
Shady Business limps along down the street with a cane and an IV bag, accompanied by a harried nurse.
>>646396 Zeppelin, as per your request, slices you cleanly across the arm, drawing a decent amount of blood. She winces apologetically at the sight.
>>646397 The Rather Big Spider™ gives you a disappointed fatherly glare. "A hive does not feed itself my boy. Why don't you have a real job?"
>>646398 The heavenly scent of convenience store taquito tickles your nose as you see Shady slowly limp down the street, accompanied by his nurse.
>>646400 Big gives your "gimped" leg an experimental tap as he squeezes your shoulder. "Ssssoooo… bro. Might you give me a little run-down on who exactly crossed you SO HARD you called in the you-know-what?" he asks, tapping the wide briefcase.
>>646401 ("What are you talking about? We have a job right now to get this poison stuff.") Ci'thilix says to the spider as he tries again to re-adjust his clone's abilities. >Conjure Esper [Stealth, Stances] [1d10]
>>646401 Quirk looks at his new wound, and he clutches it for a second as he looks up at Zeppelin.
"Y-y-you make sure n-no one sees th-that one dude, how do you do it, figure it out! I-I-I'll keep the nurse occupied, okay, let's go! Let's do this!"
He smashes his head into the nearby wall to daze himself as he darts towards the nurse and the real Slim Shady Business, attempting to push Shady out of the way as he nearly falls in front of the nurse. >pushing [1d10]
>>646401 Surgas, as his leg is tapped, tries to give a convincing wince of pain to make it seem authentic.
"I don't know 'em for sure yet, bro, but I think someone's tryin' to fuck with me on more than one level, and they're close. First, I heard about our boys getting their shit kicked in at Lakeside, then Fillydelphia just HAPPENS to be out of everythin' I need for the Honkerlord… this is going to be the best day of my life, Big. Anyone gonna mess it up, I want the good stuff to set 'em straight."
[1d10] Appraise, trying to figure out just how many hits Big has
As Silver sees Shady come up the street, she starts getting nervous. "Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom," She says, heading for the nearest tall building, heading up to the top floor while transforming into a black Earth Pony stallion on the way up. [1d10]Transformation
>>646402 Ci'thclone gains Stances. The Spider nods. "That's a start, but what's the salary? You've got to think about your future prospects. Time is money!"
>>646403 You bolt down the street and crash into Shady, who stumbles but steadies himself against the wall with a groan. He and the nurse look down at you in confusion.
"Hey… you're that… one of those guys from last night!" Shady says. He looks to the nurse. "W-well, do your nurse thing! He's one of my bro's colts!"
The nurse turns you onto your side and starts to clean your wound with a cloth.
>>646405 You slip into a nearby apartment complex by pretending to be with someone already entering. Re-disguising, you reach the top floor, where you gain a bird's-eye view of the street. You are alone apart from some seagulls.
>>646404 "Hey, hey, I can understand wanting a little insurance, but… this ain't our daddy's weapons-grade shit, Celestia rest his soul." he makes the sign of the Icaranian Sun Salute. "A troupe of bodyguards is way easier to come by than a vial of this… wait. Is that…?"
Big squints at something in the distance. Following his gaze, you see him staring at Shady and the nurse as Quirk squirms around at their paws/hooves. Big takes off his glasses and rubs his head. "Agh… fuckin' hangover."
>>646406 Quirk coughs and wheezes as the crash into Shady put him into a worse daze than before. He uses the nurse's rag as an excuse to make a move.
"AH, the pain!"
He tries to "accidentally" push Shady away a second time. On accident. In the meantime, he wonders why Zeppelin hasn't appeared in the few seconds since he bolted out. He labels her as "slow" in his mind. >caffeine-induced spasm [1d10]
>>646406 >"DAMNIT! What's the real one doin' here?!" Surgas thinks to himself panicked as he witnesses the real Shady over yonder, but lets out a mental sigh of relief as Quirk tries to handle the situation.
[1d10] subtlety, trying to get Big to walk with me in a different facing direction by walking away.
"I already got all the boys I need, Big. I know it's heavy shit, I do, but if someone's gonna fuck with the most important day of me and Pro-Pro's life, I don't want their asses kicked by some bouncers: I want to show them WHY fuckin' with us was the worst decision of their lives. Full stop."
>>646407 While some seagulls approach you, probably expecting free food, you see everything below you, metaphysically and literally. (see Below)
>>646408 With a twitch of the leg, you kick out Shady's cane, causing him to faceplant with a whine and a string of curses. As you do so, you smell Zeppelin's pheromones behind Shady; an unseen force slaps a rag over Shady's mouth and pull him towards an alley.
>>646410 "Yeah, yeah, I hear you. It's your big shit after all, far be it from me to impose on your day, and all. Now that reminds me, we gotta reschedule! When's good for you? We gotta make the bachelor party TWICE what it was gonna be to make up for this!"
You see the events unfolding to Shady (see immediately above) and smell a bit of Zeppelin's pheromones as well. Big puts his glasses back on, his body stiffly refusing your suggestion. "Heh, check it out, looks like some poor sap's gettin' mugged. That's called a Double Snap right there. Heheheheh!"
He can't help but watch the 'mugging' take place, brow gradually lowering.
>>646409 The Rather Big Spider pulls out a Rather Small Newspaper and smacks your ear. "I want to see the portfolio you're preparing to show the queen, my boy. You've got a portfolio, right? A resume at least?"
You see the above two posts happening while the scent of convenience store food tempts you.
>>646411 Surgas lifts up his leg slightly, tapping on it for emphasis, "Thanks Bro, I'd knew you get me. Docs say I should be out of this in like a week tops. Gonna need to push back the weddin' to around then, so I guess just any day before that bro… I have a good feelin' on the Honkerlord again this time, I tell ya."
As he looks at Shady being dragged behind the alleyway, he looks at Big's slowly lowering brow, praying to sweet Chrysalis he doesn't realize who that poor sap is.
Surgas jumps in front of him, blocking his view so he can't see him go down the alley, "Huh, where? I don' see 'em, where's the Snap bro?"
[1d10] Blocking view with the back of my head
>>646409 He desperately turns towards the two changelings, mouthing 'DIS-TRAC-SHUN' through his lips with pleading eyes.
>>646411 ("Ow, hey. I don't have a resume, why should I when I saved her?") Seeing the take down of Shady and Big watching on, Ci'thilix nudges his stealthed clone. ("Hey, go on and sneak over there while he's occupied.") ("What for? I thought they had things covered.") ("I think, but it doesn't look like its going too smoothly. If we can snag that poison stuff though if it does go south then that's less work to do later, and they can't even see you.") ("I guess that's true… Alright, I'll try.")
Ci'thilix watches on from the safety of the store while Ci'thiclone goes over to Shady-Surgas and Big to wait back behind the two stealthed.
>>646416 Ci'thiclone follows behind Big, eyeing around to see where the poison is being held. >Peception [1d10]
"Well, I've never needed one before. I've always just been told what to do." Seeing Surgas and Big head into the alley, Ci'thilix tris to adjust his clone's skills again, since it looks like they'll need more cover rather than something direct. >Conjure Esper [Sleight of Hand, Night] [1d10]
>>646416 Surgas mentally gulps as Big suggests heading into the alley.
"Seriously? C'mon, it's just a mugging. It's Filly, shit like this happens. Ignore it bro, we have better stuff to do: like let's just grab some breakfast or something since ya came all this way out, right?"
[1d10] Suggesting to Big, not pulling on him but walking significantly slower than he is, hoping he slows down so he doesn't leave his 'bro' behind.
>>646417 It clatters against the sidewalk. Big looks at it but doesn't stop walking. "Nasty city, thugs got no sense of professionalism." he remarks to himself.
>>646418 It appears the poison is inside the briefcase.
"Well, get on that, my boy! I'll help you, you can use me as a reference and everything!" the Spider says.
>>646419 The nurse yelps as you drag her into the alleyway, where you meet up with Zeppelin as she (unsuccessfully) tries to fit the lanky Shady into a trash bag. His head still sticks out.
Zeppelin hisses and panics as she sees you with the nurse. "Wait, no! She'll see the–"
"Now just what in tar-nation is the meanin' of this?" the nurse demands as you take her along.
You hear Big's voice getting closer… (see below post).
>>646420 Big turns back to glance at you with an amount of concern. "Homie. Dog. Bro. Shade! Look. I know you're worked up over the reschedule. I get it. Trust me, dog. I really do. But I do not leave one of my own hanging. And I'm gonna make sure I'm not. We're a cutthroat family, but we haven't gotten to be the kings of Baltimare by leaving behind our own. Chill."
Big stops at the mouth of the alley and glances in. Following him, you see Quirk and the nurse standing in the middle, and can detect Zeppelin's pheromones from behind a dumpster.
>>646421 Surgas groans, "Alright, dog, I hear you… fine, let's go." Surgas groans internally >"Please don't be there please don't be there please don't be there…"
As they enter the alleyway, only to see Quirk and the nurse, a quick whiff of the air tells him Shady and Zeppelin is hiding behind the trash.
He looks at the nurse and a significantly fucked up Quirk, and stares at Big "Bro, there's no dog gettin' mugged in here. Not even a dog in here. That hangover doin' worse than you thought, bro?" [1d10] Persuade him it was the booze!
>>646421 Quirk looks down at his bleeding wound, and up to Big and Surgas.
His dazed and caffeine-filled mind thinks of a ridiculous plan as he removes the bandage.
"N-n-nothing going o-o-on in this place, I-I'm just trying to m-make my hoof numb, y'know? I-it got cut open n' stuff!" He sets his hoof on a nearby wall, presses his other hoof on the wound, and pushes. Hard >convincing that he's trying to stop the bleeding himself [1d10]
>>646423 The Spider settles down into your mane. "I'm proud of you, my son."
>>646425 >>646424 Big grimaces, unnerved by Quirk's display as he scans the alleyway. "I… see."
He drops his cigarette and stamps it out on the ground, glancing at Surgas as he reaches for a weapon-handle inside his jacket. "Keep your eyes peeled. Maybe not right now… but I'm damn positive I saw SOME–" >everyone sees this of course >>646422 The round grazes against his shoulder, scattering red mist and fur into the air. "FUCK!" he shouts, hopping back out of the mouth of the alley, nearly slipping on the blood Quirk splattered on the ground when he ran out and tripped Shady. "The fuck was–!? Hit the deck, duck 'n' cover! Shit!" he shouts.
The dampened sound of the shot still reaches the townsponies, some of whom stop and begin to look around in worry from the sound.
Surgas' eyes light up as the bullet comes down, turning around as the shot rings out. "SHIT!" He hobbles over towards Big as he slips on the puddle. "The fuck was that?! You see what I mean, bro?!" He grabs at Big, trying to distract him from everything that is happening around him by very incompetently 'helping' him up, trying to look around for something to put him into cover behind.
[1d10] Keeping him distracted enough not to notice Ci'th behind him. Also if you don't mind incorporating this into the roll, checking for something to hide behind.
>>646426 ("Uh, thanks.") Ci'thilix looks up as the gunshot goes off, stepping forward a bit as he looks back towards the alley.
Ci'thiclone, seeing Big stumble and mild panic as the shot grazes him, circles the dog until he faces the suitcase. He rears up and tackles into the suitcase, planting his hooves onto it and hoping he can knock Big down from the impact and make him let go from surprise. >Stance of the Tiger, Instant Auto >Ram [Autocrit from Stealth] [1d10+2]
>>646427 There's not much cover out on the street save for a lamppost, a mail box, and a bench.
>>646430 You re-bind your hoof. From behind the dumpster, Zeppelin starts to shake as she unsuccessfully tries to stuff Shady deeper into the trash bag. "Help me, help me!" she hisses at you.
The nurse squeals and stampedes away, frightened by the chaos.
>>646427 >>646428 >>646429 Still reeling from the impact, Big fails to notice before Ci'thclone tackles the briefcase containing the "you-know-what" out of his grasp. Now visible, Ci'thclone lands in the alleyway with the briefcase. Ahead of him, the alley goes straight, with one branching path to the right.
"What the!?" Big snarls, looking at his now-empty hoof. "You little shit!"
He draws a weapon handle from his jacket and presses a button on the side. From the handle extends a blade, which gradually transforms into a boa constrictor. He cracks it like a whip, and the boa shoots out at Ci'thilix.
>>646432 >>646428 Surgas gives a little fist-pump of hurrah to himself as he sees Ci'thclone making off with the briefcase.
But then he realizes just how much deep shit he is in as Big takes a shot at him with that boa whip. He struggles to think of something to help Ci'th get away, knowing if he takes the shot his disguise will drop.
He falls down onto his back, gripping at his gimp leg, "GAAAAH! FUCK! MY LEG! MY FUCKIN' LEG!"
[1d10] Preying on Big's brotherly love to throw off his shot at Ci'th
You catch the briefcase and switch up the clone's ability. Big slaps a button on the weapon's pommel, and the weapon starts to reel Big in, launching him off the ground in your direction, and letting Ci'thclone go. Big flies towards you, arms spread wide, tongue hanging out.
"Where ya think you're going, baby!?" he snarls. >Roll dodge for Ci'th and clone, min 7.
Silver picks her things up, flying over to the building opposite. >Changeling Flight She then stuffs her things under the ledge, and redisguises herself as a plump, yellow-coated Unicorn mare. [1d10]Disguise
>>646440 You whisk yourself across to a building on the other side of the street just as Chanel (pink unicorn) bursts out onto the roof of the apartment. He scours the roof, not knowing you're already gone.
>>646439 You manage to pull back the dumpster enough to hide the bagged Shady behind it. Zeppelin begins to vanish. "Alright, good, let's get the fuck– eep!" she shrieks as she sees Big come flying down the alleyway.
>>646442 Arms spread, Big pummels the two of you, with Ci'thclone taking the brunt of the force as Big lands on you.
Ci'chclone 0/2 Ci'thilix 2/5
Big raises his paw and smashes it down onto Ci'thilix. "Drop it you little worm!" [1d10+2]
>>646443 "N-Never!" Ci'thilix groans as he hands the suitcase to Ci'thiclone. Shifting a bit to slip out from under big, Ci'thiclone springs up to run away with the case while Ci'thilix tries to kick Big off. >Ci'thiclone Escape Artist [Recover from helpless and escape binds] Auto >Ci'thilix Kick [1d10]
>>646448 >>646449 Surgas can't help but giggle like a child to himself quietly, looking back at Big's fallen form as he hacks up another bit of glop, this of a more sticky variety as he shouts from cover, "BIG! I can't see 'im, its like they're everywhere!" >[1d10] Glop on fallen form of Big >recharge 1 after effect ends, requires helpless target; You secrete a sticky green goo that prevents the target from recovering from helplessness for each round the effect is maintained(i.e. you take no other action). A strong target instead receives a cumulative -1 penalty to their recovery rolls for the duration of the effect. If the combat ends before the target manages to recover, the goo hardens into a cocoon and escape without outside help becomes all but impossible.
>>646451 After a few moments, Zeppelin scoots in and repositions your hooves at her waist. Normally changelings cannot feed one another except in exceptional circumstances, but you feel the dull hunger in your stomach recede a little.
"Is. He. Gone?" she whispers, eyes shut.
>>646452 "Where's this shit keep coming from!?" Big snarls as the goo begins to harden around him. Holding his head, he reaches into his pocket, retrieves a flask, and knocks back a swig. "Too early in the morning for some shit like this."
He seems animated with new vigor after taking that drink. He arcs his back and cracks the hardening goo, causing it to fall off him as he stands back up. He reaches into his pocket and starts to tap away at his phone.
>>646449 Now standing, Big impassively glares down at you. "A changeling… you got a Hive? Green eyes… so, you're not with Prothorax, eh? Seems I was barking up the wrong tree." he mutters to himself. Only you hear this.
Big pushes you aside as he takes a few steps down the alley, snapping a picture of Ci'thclone on his phone before he can turn down the alley.
As Ci'thclone rushes down the bend, he eventually emerges back out onto the street. Nearby are three notable buildings: a hayburger joint, a bank, and a phone store.
>>646450 Chanel cringes at the gesture, but then looks down at a pager at his waist. He quickly runs back through the rooftop access and starts to go downstairs.
>>646453 Ci'thilix quickly gets on his hooves and runs away, too taken of being afraid of beating attacked again to respond or worry about what Big is doing with his phone. >Escape [Roll if needed] [1d10]
Ci'thiclone, looking at the three options, flies towards the hayburger joint. Behind it, more precisely. The back alley of a fast food place probably better to hide for the moment, being undisguised. Getting back there, he tries to open the suitcase to see the poison and anything else inside.
>>646453 Surgas' face droops. "Ah, shit," as Big pushes past Ci'th and makes for the alley. He notices the phone Big has taken out the phone and is taking a picture of Ci'thclone as he makes down the alley.
[1d10] Instant, appraise: figure out if he's just taking a picture or sending it to a certain contact, and if it successfully does so before:
[1d10] Detonating my remote charge: trying to wreck the phone in the explosion
>>646453 Shedding her disguise and reverting to her Changeling form, Silver pulls her coat and hat on, going around the building until she can see Big Business again, tossing down her ball bearings in front of him before going to the rooftop access and running down, not waiting to see if he fell or not.
>>646454 Ci'thclone hides behind the restaurant at the back entrance. He tries to open the case, but it does not budge. He sees the briefcase requires a 4-digit combination to open.
You exit at the mouth of the alley, where Surgas is.
>>646455 Zeppelin's eyes wander around the dumpster, consciously avoiding you. "You taste like coffee." she returns, arms laid across your shoulders.
>>646456 The goo fails to detonate, but you do see him send the picture to three contacts; you figure that the most likely suspects in case are the members of Haute Couture.
He turns back towards you, face stony. Eventually, he starts to rub his chin, and a grin spreads from ear to ear. "Jeez… what a knucklehead! I feel bad for him. Every thief's got one of those days… one bad appraisal of a mark, and boom! Aaaalll over."
He puts his paw on his side and laughs uproariously.
He starts to walk towards you, when suddenly some ball bearings fall down on him, causing him to trip and stumble. He tries to maintain his balance, waving his arms from side to side. [1d10]
>>646457 You head downstairs. When you get to the ground floor, you see Big stumbling around in the alleyway on the ball bearings.
>>646458 [Aw man, can't try and force it open or the poison might break and spill everywhere. And I can't run out like this to meet back with the others… Maybe just a few random tries until the coast is clear.] Ci'thiclone gives the dials a few spins, trying a random number to pop the case. >Luck [1d10]
Ci'thilix, having scampered away, keeps running, disguising as a dull brown pegasus to not be caught out as a changeling. >Shapeshift, Autocrit [1d10]
>>646454 >>646458 As the Ci'thclone emerges where he lays 'helpless', and sees he has the briefcase he quickly whispers sharply to Ci'thclone ("Transform NOW! He has you marked, he sent your pic to his three cronies. If you change they won't spot you, get that brief case to Corpus and the others, PRONTO.")
He rushes over towards Big as he tumbles and spills over the balls, "Fuck, tell me about it! NOW do you see what I was talkin' about, Big?! Bro, hang on, I'm comin'!"
[1d10] Feign spraining my leg again, help him tumble over to let the Ci'ths get away. >Also, if Ci'th (original) is right by Big, whisper the same message
>>646458 Silver chooses not to leave the building, yet, reversing her hat and jacket, and taking her pink Earth pony form, with black hair and a black/white checkerboard pattern on her rear legs. [1d10]Disguise
>>646462 "Give… me some time to think about that." Zeppelin mutters, more focused on putting as much distance between herself and Big as possible. You head down the sidewalk, smelling lightly of garbage.
>>646461 You come out looking like you just stepped out of a high fashion magazine.
>>646460 You tumble onto him, and the two of you tumble down onto the sidewalk, tripped by ball bearings and (fake) brotherly love. Annoyed, Big roughly shoves you off him and gradually picks himself back up. "Quit trying to move around. I've sent Haute Couture after the thief. He'll be swatted all over the walls in an hour."
>>646464 >>646463 Silver comes out of the apartment building primping her hair, heading up to Surgas while she was disguised in her pink-coated, silver-mained, checkerboard-flanked disguise. "Hey boss, Silver says she's sick," she says, "So she had me, the ever-glorious Floral Shoppe, come in to assist. Do you require assistance?"
>>646464 Disguised and far enough, Ci'thilix stops as he leans against the nearest structure to catch his breath. Hearing the groan, he looks up to his mane. "Are… Are you alright?" He asks through gasps.
Ci'thiclone, being disguised up to mirror his counterpart, takes a breath of relief. [Good, at least I can find the others now] Circling around the restaurant to come out on the side he didn't enter, Ci'thiclone walks down the street, acting natural as he tries to merge with the passing crowds as he looks for where the others may be. >Looking for the others not near Big [1d10]
>>646464 "Agh! Jeez, tender, tender!" He says, getting back up and looking around, "Fuck, he has the juice… what if he stashes it before they swat 'im, we'll never find it!"
>>646465 As the disguised Silver comes up, Surgas gives her a tiny wink as he struggles to stand, "No, I'm sitting here with a bunch of balls and a gimp after we were just robbed of our prized commodity. What makes you think we need assistance?!"
>>646466 The Big Spider crawls down your neck, most of its legs smashed, and body dented. "I've been better." it stoically strains.
Cithclone starts to head in the direction he remembers last seeing Gladius, Corpus, Goob, and Aqui.
>>646468 "That briefcase ain't no ordinary pussy shit. Custom-made. It had to be, to carry that heinous thing inside. Four-digit combo code to boot; there's no way he's gonna get at the shit inside even if he does stash it. I can have every square foot of this shithole turned upside down if need be." Big laughs to himself with cruel exhileration. "Sheesh! What an… 'interesting' week this's turned out to be. Beats holing up in the office all day!"
He sticks his paw out for you to grab, long tongue hanging out. "Now… you ready for a hunt, little bro?"
>>646467 "We need that briefcase if Zandali and me are gonna make a cure for Aqui's father. Plus we gotta split the heck out before Prothorax gets here, and once she learns Shady's leg got trashed, that's gonna be, like turbo pronto!" Zeppelin says. >Paused
Surgas the Sticky – M. Changeling Pathfinder – 5/5 (5/5) Ci'thilix – M. Changeling Elusive – 5/4 (5/5) Ci'thclone - M. Changeling Clone - 5/2 (5/3) Quirk – M. Changeling Samurai – 5/5 (5/5) Silver Megagun – F. Changeling Warlord – 5/5 (5/5) Zandali – F. Changeling Cleric – 5/5
Last time on Changelings!
Big Business had difficulty recognizing Shady Business as the latter hobbled down the street towards the party due to his hangover, which bought the party enough time to incapacitate Shady, hide him behind a dumpster, land a few attacks on Big, and steal the briefcase containing the poison needed to save Aqui's father.
Carrying the briefcase, an injured Ci'thclone hid behind a hayburger joint for a while before looping around to try to meet up with Goober and co.. Unbeknownst to him, Big snapped a picture of him and sent it to his Haute Couture goons, who were on the case.
After his momentary bravado, Big looks with annoyance at the injuries on his clothing made from Surgas' attacks. "Punks. Too scared to finish the job too, looks like. Feh, whatever. I'll dole out a suiting punishment, you don't worry yourself too much about it, li'l bro."
As you walk down the end of the sidewalk and see Goober, Aqui, Gladius, and Corpus creeping behind a building watching Big, Zeppelin turns slightly red and rushes across the street, nearly getting run over by a cart in the process.
As you weave around the people standing on the sidewalk down to the end of the street (in the opposite direction Quirk went), you bump into a diamond dog, one of the tackily-dressed thugs of Haute Couture. The dog turns around and peers down at you with scrutiny. "Brown wingpony! You seem… hurt! You okay? You seen criminal round here?"
Still holding the briefcase, Ci'thclone finds himself on the sidewalk just outside Neigh's Hay(burgers). Ahead of him down two blocks is the approximate location of the others. However, he sees Chanel of Haute Couture about ten meters down the sidewalk, periodically looking down at a phone in his hoof and then looking up and around him.
>>647504 Surgas silently chuckles inward to himself as he picks his disguised form up, keeping the hobble from his leg. "I just can't fuckin' believe they had the nerve to pull this shit in the first place. What are we gonna do if he stashes it before your boys gut 'im, we'll never find it."
He turns around, looking, "Where are your boys anyhow? They even find that shooter yet?"
>>647505 "You don't get to the top and live like a king by being a pussy." he smugly answers.
>>647507 You dive into Zeppelin, ending up on the other side of the street as a cart shrieks past you, the puller shouting some obscenities. Zeppelin looks at the passing cart as though seeing it for the first time. "Sheesh, drivers these days. Uh, thankswhatever."
She heads to the sidewalk, conspicuously avoiding your gaze. Corpus the giraffe squeezes your arm. "So, what's the situation, you need us to rock and roll?"
>>647506 From his position hiding around the corner of a building at the intersection, Aqui locks eyes with you, mouthing, "Danger? Need me yet?"
You hear a light groaning from the alleyway, where you saw Zeppelin and Quirk stash Shady Business behind a dumpster (last session).
>>647508 "Uh, he this tall, and this big, and color of vanilla ice cream yes." the dog says, tracing out your previous incarnation's measurements. "He carry shiny metal case with important thing."
Heading in the opposite direction, Ci'thclone reaches an intersection which is currently undergoing construction. A couple of ponies holding STOP signs are directing traffic and pedestrians. Across the street is a public library and a theater.
>>647505 >>647506 >>647509 He grimaces, but turns it up into a smirk and taps his phone's case. "I always have a contingency. Some louder than others." he lets out a hissing laugh.
"Now… some say it's five o'clock somewhere but I don't let pussies tell me when to drink. Whaddya say me and your uh… curvy attendants go hit a lounge and hash out this marriage rescheduling?"
He smirks and adds, "You might have to ditch the help before Pro-Pro shows up, bro."
>>647510 >>647509 "Say, Shady, what time are we picking your lady up from the train station?" Silver says, nudging him in the ribs with one of her leg-elbows, "If you're gonna be hanging out with Mister Big, I better be heading over with the others, you know? Or do you wanna meet up with her yourself?"
>>647510 Quirk shakes his head at Corpus. "N-no idea, bud, Zepp and I had to hide Slim Sh-Shady, and we almost got caught doing it. N-n-not /that/ it, like, the /other/ it. A-as for the others, I d-didn't get a good look on them. I-I'd keep an eye out for trouble. I dunno, I s-s-still don't know why I d-d-didn't just stay in the w-w-witch's realm. Say, you g-g-got any coffee?"
He doesn't wait for a response before heading over to Zeppelin.
>>647511 You find Shady's semi-conscious form sticking halfway out of a trashbag, wedged partially behind a dumpster. His snout smells of chloroform. "I'll take a large numbuh fihhh… wif pickle horseshoes 'n' syrup." he slurs.
>>647513 Corpus pulls a hoofbook labeled 'pony phrases' out of Goober's bag and leafs through it. "Ooooh… that? Gotcha, saucy. But I don't think tax season is around just yet."
Zeppelin tosses a small white caffiene + love pill at you. "Here, take whatever you want, I'm not in the mood." she scowls.
>>647514 "Oh, ok. Well you holla holla for me if you do. He look like you, only you chocolate ice cream and less handsome. Me name Matchy-Matchy, who you?"
Ducking into the library, he finds the first floor mostly sparse apart from the receptionist's desk, some rows of public history records, a homeless pony eating his lunch under a table, and a sign advertising a public storytelling session for foals age 3-11.
>>647512 Big lowers his sunglasses and looks at your flank. "Ooooor you could come with me and discuss just how you got those lovely patterns back there." he flirts.
>>647515 'Floral Shoppe' shakes her rump and swishes her tail from side to side. "Oh, you like my checkers?" She asks, "They weren't easy, but they're nice to have. How about some other time, though, big boss?"
>>647515 "Sure, I can handle that. My name's, uh, Dust Storm."
>>647515 Ci'thiclone takes a chair to sit, resting a moment while he's safe. Looking around the library as he rests, he gets an idea. Standing back up, he searches the library for any books on lockpicking or briefcase opening.
>>647510 Surgas looks at his phone, wondering exactly what loud contingency he may have in mind. He prays it isn't also an explosive kind.
"Hehehe… yeah, I guess you do dog. What's the surprise?"
As he offers drinks, Surgas puts up a convincing blush as he mentions Zandali and Silver's figure. "Uh, I-I don't know what you're talking about bro, they're just like, secretaries sort of thing. Y-you don't think Pro-Pro would leave me because I hired them, do ya?!" He grabs at his collar shaking frantically.
>>647512 "Oh!" Surgas curses, looking at 'his' cell
"Uh, I can't remember, but I can call her and find out, arrange a time. I can't meet her yet, Silver, you know: bad luck to see the bride and all. I still gotta tell her about my gimped leg too…"
HE whines pitifully, hiding a small snicker underneath his grin.
>>647515 >>647512 He looks up at Big, eyes bulgin' out as he's surprised at how quickly Silver's working her magic. >"Holy crap we could get BOTH of these yahoos' love in one day if we play this right."
He chuckles, "Smooth, Bro. You're not lookin' to steal some of my posse are ya?"
>>647516 Big tugs at his collar a bit and exhales, the admiration in his gaze visible through his sunglasses. "Feh. Alright, dismissed, do whatever the whatever. And, uh…" he leans in so that only you can hear, "Keep an eye on that Prothorax. Shady's all over her, but turn your back on her type for an instant, and whack! She knifes ya. There's a bonus in it for ya if you make sure she's wife material for my hound-dog bro and keep quiet about it."
>>647517 He has a pretty grievous wound in his leg, which you heard happened when the summoning ceremony went wrong last night. Apart from some scrapes caused by what looks like tripping, he really doesn't look too bad, although he shouldn't be out of the hospital with that leg injury.
>>647518 Some of your love hunger goes down as you ingest the pill, and you feel your caffeine high re-sustained. "UGH. What are you asking me that for? You know what the deal is. Gosh."
Corpus, Gladius, and Goober all make the same knowing look at eachother. "Nymphs." they whisper collectively. Aqui mutters indistinctly at their misogyny.
>>647519 Matchy-Matchy takes your hoof and vigorously shakes it. "Is good to of meet you! Friends soon, yes!"
After a search in the directory, you come across a book called "B&E for Dumb Horses." It's pretty remarkable that they haven't thrown this book out. It teaches the fundamentals of breaking into a house and cracking a safe.
>>647520 He gently pushes you off. "Relax, fucker, I'm not gonna creep on your 'secretaries'. Mertyl at the front desk would have my head if I did!"
He taps his phone. "A very 'remote' clean-up. Thermite, explody shit, all the good stuff from the movies. Some people tell me I overdo it, but really, it's necessary to make sure none of the shit in there leaks out into the public. As cruel as they call me, I wouldn't wish that stuff on anyone that didn't really piss me off, knowwhatI'msayin? But, uh, to be safe, we should probably move a city over BEFORE detonating it."
>>647522 >>647520 "Bonus for assuring she's wife material, you say?" She asks, raising an eyebrow, "We should have a nice bath together, I'm sure she'll be happy to chat about such things so long as we're warm and wet."
>>647522 "Uh, y-yea, sure." Ci'thilix stammers as Matchy shakes his hoof, the rest of him shaking a bit with it.
>>647522 Ci'thiclone takes his book and finds a chair that's relatively out of sight, like a corner or behind a shelf. Reading through the book, he tries to apply some knowledge from it into popping this briefcase open. >Apply Learning [1d10]
"Uh, shit. Yeah, I guess that'll do it for a last resort, hehehe… wait, a town over?"
Surgas's eyes widen, his love of demolitions taking hold. "Just, how much a 'boom' we talking her, dog?"
>>647521 He whispers, "Yeah… you thinking what I'm thinking, right?"
>>647524 >>647522 He stares at Big, trying to stop from bursting as he nudges his shoulder, "Right, totally don't have to worry about you do I bro? Ah, this is great: two weddings in one year?" He sounds as though he's joking.
He turns to Silver, and passes her along Shady's phone. "Her number is in there, arrange a meetin' for her will ya cutes?"
>>647522 Quirk closes his eyes and takes a long breath of air, slowly but surely releasing it as he opens his eyes once more. He smacks his head into the nearest structure and twists his head to Zeppelin. "Wh-wh-whatdyameanIdon'tknowwhatyoumeanatallZeppImeanit'skindarudetonotanswertruthfullytosomepony'squestionwhentheyaskc'monmanthat'sjustnotcoolatallhey,justaquickquestioncanIhaveanotherpillIhaven'thadalotofloveeversinceIgottrappedinthewitch'srealmpleasepleasepleaseI'msolovedeprivedImeanyouhadalotinyouwhenwedidthethingbutc'monmanIhaven'tgottenanyforaloooooongtimewowIhaven'thadabreathforalotofseconds!"
>>647523 Shady sighs with relief as you close up some of his more minor injures. He groggily blinks, head slumping forward onto your shoulder. "You, uh… kinda familiar. You one-a… Pro's friends or… or sum'n?"
>>647524 Big sweats a little. "Yeah, you should get right on that. Like right now. Photo evidence is also worth another stack. Get the penthouse number from Shady, yeah?"
>>647525 Matchy continues to shake your hoof. The Big Spider, despite its injuries, crawls to your ear. "I'm happy to see you making new friends, son."
While Ci'thclone feels he COULD try to use some of that new knowledge, he lacks the tools to start working on the briefcase itself. He'd need a crowbar, a stethoscope, a lockpick and a screwdriver.
>>647526 "Well, I'm no numbers-dog and half the data the guys in R&D sent me looked like Japonese, but… well, it's 'enough' to get the job done, let's leave it at that."
>>647527 >"Sure, no plans atm, be there in 1 hr on metro."
The message is followed by a string of hearts, ending with "Tell Shay I miss him!"
>>647528 Corpus leans over your head with his big giraffe neck. "Dude, have you ever like… TALKED to a nymph before. They don't explain."
Zeppelin stares at him incredulously, before shoving five more pills at you and storming off a few buildings down, stopping at a light post.
>>647530 "I wouldn't say friend, just somebody doing their job while tagging along. You know you really shouldn't be on that leg, why aren't you in a hospital bed resting?" She asks him in a more motherly scolding manner.
>>647530 Silver runs a hoof down Big's chest while she taps on the phone's numpad. "Yeah, I bet you'd like to see those pictures, I love getting nice and soapy while I'm having a bath, and it's so much more fun when there's someone else helping me out," she says, while tapping out a reply on the phone. >>647529 Whispering back, she says, "Don't worry, I'm an ace at this stuff." Speaking up, she adds, "Also, Protho-chan says hi." >Alright, see you then
>>647530 Quirk eats a pill and takes a deep breath. He leans his head down and cracks his neck before looking at Corpus.
"Nymphs aren't hard to woo, Mr. Corpus. A cool head and careful words are the basic building blocks of speaking to a nymph properly, a lesson I will never forget. Also, thank the queen she gave me more than I asked, cause now my mind is clearer than glass."
He gives chase to Zeppelin, and remembers: cool head, careful word choice.
"Hey Zepp, wait, I apologize, that was caffeine-drunk Quirk you were talking to!"
>>647530 "..well, damn. That'll do it then, hehe…"
He rubs his neck as Silver confirms she can handle Pro, patting him on the back, "Well then, while they look for 'im, we can go grab that drink. But uh, you ain't planning to detonate anything until our weddin's over next week, right? We had everythin' ready for Filly."
>>647532 "Awww, tell my little Pro-Pro I said hi back! Tell her I can't wait to see her again…" he tries to make it sound all cutesy as Shady would.
("And be careful: remember, she used to be a queen. Don't underestimate 'er.") he whispers
>>647531 "Uhh… bro 'n' me wann'd ta… ta reschedule my weddin'… I really love her, dog, I wanna make it 'er best day ever, an… 'n' I didn' wanna delay, y'know? Jus' cause of a leg and all… it's really not hurtin' that much."
>>647533 Matchy's cheerful grin remains fixed as you pull away from him. "Okay then. You have good luck now!"
After making a flash memorization of the fundamentals, Ci'thclone steps outside. Chanel is nowhere to be seen. There could be a Stable Depot nearby Ci'th could use to obtain some of the tools needed.
>>647532 Shivering and blushing slightly, Big straightens himself out to his full height, readjusting his singed suit with several forced throat-clearings. "Hrmph. Ahem. Mm-hmm. Yes, well, Dogspeed, soldier."
>>647534 "Thaaaat's science for ya!" Corpus remarks, before looking back at the others and making a costanza face.
"Oh, and was it caffeine-drunk Quirk that tried to make out with me?" Zeppelin pouts, leaning on the lamppost.
>>647535 "It'll notify me if the worst-case-scenario pops off -that is, if that little runt actually manages to get it open- so we'll have plenty of notice to drink and chill prior to the lightshow." he boasts.
As he looks around, he sips his flask. "Alright, you know this dump better than I do, where's the best place to get a drink?"
>>647537 "That's probably just because I used a healing spell on your leg. The moment you put pressure on that leg, you're going to feel a lot of pain. Don't you think she'd be happier if she knew you were getting better?" She then helps him lean his back against the dumpster. >Persuasion: Compassion [1d10]
>>647537 "Keep it in your sheath before I get back," she teases, swishing her tail at his crotchular area before leaving the alley. She decides to head to the station, but keeps an eye out for a mare's boutique of some kind on the way.
>>647537 >>647536 ("I'll… uh… ask about how that's relevant to her danger later…") Surgas whispers to Silver, blushing. ("OH! One more thing Silver: the briefcase Ci'th stole has a bomb in it, and a passcode. Tell him not to try too many, I don't wanna chance this thing has a 'set limit of attempts', if you catch my drift")
As Silver makes her mission clear, he chuckles (nervously) as Big asks him for a place to drink.
"Oh, yeah, I do. It's uh… hm… which one is the best though…" He tries to think of any bar in particular, but due to his lack of knowledge in Filly comes up difficult.
"Ah, damnit, I'm blanking on the name but it's downtown, c'mon I'll probably remember it as we get close. Really damn good though." He says as he hobbles down the road
[1d10] Trying to think of if Shady mentioned any bars or saw any places that looked good in our stay in Filly thus far
>>647537 Quirk chuckles, and leans back on a wall, hoping the careful words come naturally.
"Well, to me, caffeine is, much like alcohol. I speak more, openly the more I have, y'know? And I act more openly as well, like when I asked you to cut me open? That was kinda an impulse action. As for the kiss, weeell…" He rubs the back of his head, looking away as a tinge of red appears on his face. "I admit, my caffeine high was wearing off."
>>647538 Looking with loopy confusion at his leg, Shady starts to sit up straight, poking his head over the dumpster. "Yeah, yeah… she's a sweetie like that. Real nice. So, you c'n' make me better, right?"
He looks around. "Why 'm I in a trash bag?"
>>647540 You're drawing a blank. Just as you start to walk down the street, your eye catches Shady starting to sit up against the dumpster. Yet, Big remains oblivious as he follows you, flipping through things on his phone. As you reach the intersection, you see Corpus, Gladius, Aqui, and Zeppelin hanging out at the corner. >roll 1d10 for a bar
>>647539 Across the street and sandwiched between a bank and a office supply store, you find a humble boutique that specializes in 20's fashion for all the hip young mares of today.
>>647541 Zeppelin scoffs. "Yeah, well, I'm not everyone's personal friggin' stuff-dispenser, only existing when they need me for something. So… ugh. Just hooves off, okay? You and like, Silver– just ugh! Ugh!"
>>647542 Matchy waves enthusiastically as you walk away. You get the feeling he's still waving after your back is turned. You see Big and Surgas walking down the street in search of a bar, so with the coast clear, you rendezvous with Corpus, Gladius, and Aqui at their hiding spot around a building on the corner, where you see Zeppelin and Quirk having a conversation. "Nymph troubles." Gladius whispers to you.
Ci'thclone turns back the direction of the others, only to bump headfirst into a very frustrated Chanel, who drops his phone. "Watch where you're–!" he shouts as he scoops it back up. When his eyes settle on the briefcase, he stops himself. "Ah… well, excuse ME sir, I didn't mind where I was going. Say… you headed to a– a meeting, or something?" he says, his eyes fixed on the briefcase.
>>647543 "I honestly have no idea why you're in a trash bag… Now come on, I'll help get you to a pay phone where we can call an ambulance to take you back to the hospital." She then helps Shady both get out of the trash bag and back up onto his good leg.
Afterwards, she begins to lead him away from where Surgas and Big are in search of a pay phone.
>>647543 Silver heads in and buys three bottles of the cheapest perfume in the store, before heading straight on to the metro. She heads into the bathroom, then splits herself into 2. >taking 6 on Body Partitioning >Silver 1 still in disguise as Floral Shoppe >Silver 2 in disguise as Silver's preferred grey Earth Pony form
'Floral Shoppe' hands off her hat, coat, weapons, and everything else to Silver 2, who assumes the normal Silver Megagun identity, as Floral Shoppe starts spraying herself liberally with the perfume, in order to mask her scent from Prothorax AKA Whole Wheat. She uses all three bottles up, rubbing the perfume into her coat all over her body, emerging from the restroom surely stinking of perfume, but not of her natural Changeling scent.
>>647543 As he notices Shady getting up and out of the dumpster, he tries to pick up the pace with his hobble and lead Big away from the alley. "Yeah, definitely one of the best I had in the city bro… say, was just thinkin' about the juice. I don't suppose you had any extra on you just in case something like that happened?"
As he sees up ahead, he notices Aqui and a few of the drones gathered around the corner. He panics internally at the sight of Aqui, and while Big is distracted by his phone, tries to subtly attract their attention with his scent, then making gestures with his paws for them to get out of sight as they come up.
>>647543 "Hmm?" Ci'thilix says confused at the greeting. "So, what do we have ot do next now?"
>>647543 Ci'thiclone stumbles back from the bump. "Oh, sorry, my mistake." He looks down as he see's Chanel eye the briefcase. "Oh, no, just back to the office. Was just at the library to double check some things, you know how it is." He says nonchalantly.
>>647544 Shady yawns and nods, slumping over across your back, mostly being dragged along but occasionally mounting the effort to take one or two steps. You spy a pay phone across the street. Heading over there, Shady reaches for the phone, then frowns.
"Hey wait… I have my own phone! It's right…" he pats his pocket. "Wait, no, I… thought… did I give it to my bro? Oh… I think I musta…"
>>647545 Affirmative. You come out fairly smelly, but a nice smelly. Still a little strong though. Anyway, the station is full of hustle and bustle, and you get a text. >"How's Sha-Sha doing, his leg ok? what happened, he trip or something?"
>>647546 It takes a while, but after wandering through and down many streets and answering Big's growls of "Are we there yet?" you finally find, well… a bar.
It's called "The Horse Pen" and there appears to be a picture of a stallion wearing assless chaps on the sign. Loud music comes from within. What's most surprising is that the joint seems to be open at this morning hour.
The cringe on Big's face could melt diamonds. "…And you're sure this is the place?"
>>647547 Zeppelin studies her hooves for a while. "Yeah, I guess…" she pouts and sits on a bench. "Look– I've never had, like, anyone ever really do that with me before, alright? Like, even all you drones get shown affection from Chrysalis, but nymphs like me get pushed off to the side. It's the stupid-ass hive mentality competition shit. So… me and affection? It's like two different languages."
>>647548 "They were doing their taxes together, and I think Zeppelin forgot some receipts or something." Corpus says.
Goober rolls his eyes. "Zeppelin's having a breakdown because it looks like Quirk kissed her and she just can't deal with it."
Chanel sidles up to Cithclone. "Well with a briefcase like that, you're assuredly a big, important guy. And big important guys like yourself need a little protection in this cruel cruel city, especially in these rough times."
Cithclone notices that Chanel seems to be guiding him AWAY from where the others are as they walk. They're heading in the direction of the crosswalk.
?(NPCs are East, Chanel leading Cithclone north in direction of crosswalk)
>>647549 "Maybe someone mugged you. Maybe once you're well enough you can contact police about it." She then reaches for the phone, using it for the emergency contact number. She gives the location and mentions that it needs to be an ambulance.
>>647549 "Oh don't worry about me, its not too far. Thank you for your generosity though, don't see that much around here." Ci'thiclone says, ignoring the guiding and heads east, hoping the others will see him if he gets close enough.
>>647549 Surgas' cringe is palpable as well. Of all the places he had to remember it would have to be THIS kinda bar.
He grins confidently at Big, trying to make the most of his blunder as he approaches the door. "Ah yeah, I remember alright. Not sure how I forgot, guess this kinda blocked itself out of me, heh… yeah, this is the place."
"My 'patterned' secretary chose it out. Kind of a wild one, heh, but I figured this way I can't risk being unfaithful to Pro-Pro at all. And while it ain't exactly Las Neighgas lookers in here, the cocktails are one of a kind in Filly, you'll love it dog. Morning shift should probably be light, hehehe…"
>>647549 Quirk sits next to Zeppelin and crosses his hooves.
"I feel ya. I've never like, done anything like that either, believe it or not…" He grins. "But affection? I think not! I'm hardly there to get any attention whatsoever, what with me being a sick scout and stuff. Erm…Even when I'm home I'm usually ignored…" His head hangs a bit low.
>>647550 Shady continues to mumble in confusion as you wait with him. Some time passes, and eventually an ambulance cart drawn by some nurse mares rolls up, and collects Shady. They thank you for your assistance as they roll away.
Aqui quickly runs over to you and squeezes you in greeting, stroking your wing. "Yeesh! Glad that's over. You alright there? He breathe on you funny? Give you any looks?"
>>647553 >"Fanfuckingtastic. How long's the holdup? Getting on train now, will be there soon."
>>647554 Zeppelin is silent for a while. "Well… maybe we can find common ground in our histories of abandonment once or twice."
>>647551 Goober looks in the direction of the train station. "You know I overheard Silver mention meeting Prothorax at the station. We should probably get over there, we'll have to deal with her sooner or later. That, or try to get that briefcase op– hey, where's your double at?"
"No, really, I insist." Chanel hisses, his horn subtly glowing a threateningly bright pink as he squeezes Ci'thclone's shoulder. "You really ought to find some protection for that briefcase you have there, friend."
Clone sees the others, but the construction workers are in the way, and it'd be dangerous trying to get around them while carts are passing.
>>647552 It's rather empty inside, save for some dancers doing warm-up routines on the central catwalk while some really fat glasses-wearing minotaur chicks dangle bits in front of them. At the bar sit some very depressed looking stallions and griffons trying to drink and converse with the bartenders. Big leers at you then sits at the bar, tapping the counter twice with a point at some expensive drink.
"So… this is the one huh? The real wife material, eh? Positive match, the real big catch?"
>>647555 "I'm not sure. He went off down the alley away from us, and I can't really track him or anything."
>>647555 "I wouldn't want to impose or take up your day. I'm sure you have important business yourself." Ci'thiclone says, feigning ignorance as he moves east more, getting close to the crosswalk as he sees the others, waiting for the path to clear.
>>647555 Surgas internally tries to avoid vomiting looking at these mammals stretching their meaty limbs and furry pink skin right in front of him like this, but keeps up a cool exterior as he wanders up to the bar with Big, ordering the same drink he does.
As he asks, Surgas lays back in his seat, trying to recall each and every single sappy, frantic confession of love Shady told him the other day.
"Bro… totally, bro, I just love her so much Big. She's perfect, she's hot and she's just… she's just too good for me dog!"
He holds his face in his paws, trying to sound a little pathetic, "She's the only one for me dog. If I miss this, it's over, I'm done, cut me off I'm done. I can't mess this up, she's absolutely the one for me. God I hope she doesn't take this leg deal the wrong way, I can't lose her. I'm 100% she's the one."
>>647557 "Ooh, can you like, feel it when he dies?" Corpus asks. "One of us should get after him if he's still got that case." Corpus says.
"No, no, no, I really think you should…" Chanel sighs and reveals a blade of a dagger in his sleeve. "Oh for Luna's sake, let's just cut the foreplay and get to the point already. You're going to give me that briefcase, because if you don't, this city's going to turn into a crater on the morning news, you understand?"
Within the span of about half an hour, a metro train pulls into the station, and ponies get out. Among them you detect the scent of a changeling, whose base you recognize from the fight with the Love Five. You follow it to a demure white earth pony mare with yellow eyes and a blue-and-green streaked mane. She raises her nose to the air, eyes darting around the room, but eventually lowers her face again, unaware of your presence.
>>647559 "Er… no. Big brought a sample of the poison with him, which you said you could figure out a cure with, but Ci'thilix, or his clone, I can never tell them apart, he stole it and is now on the run from Big's goons."
Aqui points over at where Goober, Cithilix, and Quirk are. "Well, let's meet up with the others so we can figure out what we're doing next here."
>>647560 She scrunches her face but clearly begins to lighten up. "Sure."
>>647558 Big raises his paw for silence about halfway through. "Uh-huh. Then I hope you understand where I'm coming from as a brother and benefactor when I say you need to watch your back these next few days. Changeling Hives are some of the stickiest motherfuckers to tangle with, and while integrating one into our family's network can and just might solidify our grip on Equestria's east coast for good, it could also knock us out of the underground for good. Look. Finances haven't been spectacular this quarter. The hairs in my muzzle are turning gray just looking at the papers; on top of that, business rivals have smelled the blood in the water. It takes one - ONE - bad play to knock people like us out of a position of power. And you know what happens to guys like us then."
"What I'm getting at is that if your mare uses your matrimony as a way to cross us for her own gain, well…"
He smiles and raises his shotglass. "To your marriage, and your health! However long… or short they may be." He sips and slams the glass down on the counter facedown. >Paused