A Joker S Tale
IC date: Autumn 10
OOC date: September 29
PCs: Gamble, Rocket, Jellybean, Kludge, Ruby-Blossom, Winter-Solstice
NPCs: Captain Flintlock, Fuzzball
GM: Gamble

One week after the Great Foaling. Another bright, sunny day. Apparently the weather ponies, or at least /some/ weather ponies still manage to do their jobs even when they've got Foalitis. A youthful-looking rusty Gambler, complete with kid-sized coat and hat, wanders about Main Street. It's been a trying time, even for one who's used to very 'interesting' situations.

As it so happens, another pony is…here. A very forlorn-looking Young Captain Flintlock, sitting in front of the fountain, looking down at a dead fish. While this may or may not be surprising to your average pony who's dealt with this particular Captain lately, the look he's giving said fish is nothing short of sad, nigh heartbreaking. Such a sad little pony.

So sad, he's just /begging/ for someone to ask him what's wrong. Just /begging/ for it.

And Kludge is just the type to inquire when things are wrong - even when the pony in question is one that he thinks is about 54 cards and a box short of a full deck. "What's wrong?"

"What's wrong?" The face is upside-down and blue and has an enormous mop of lustrous red curls hanging from it. The face is Jellybean's, flying overhead and looking at the little pony with child-like concern which, honestly, isn't too different from his usual expressions. He finally seems to have found a dress that fits his current form. It's yellow.

What's wrong indeed! At the moment Gamble isn't sure he wants to deal with another round of potential crazy, after a week of crazy, after two other weeks of insane. But that /look/… Besides, there's at least a couple others hanging around, he might as well see if he can help too.

While Gamble trots up, Captain Flintlock quivers his lip. He looks between Kludge and Jellybean, then down at the dead fish, nudging it with a hoof. "It's..Jerry. He's a dead fish…"

Out of politeness, Kludge refrains from facehoofing. "When did you first notice that Jerry was a dead fish?" he asks instead. He has a couple of guesses, each of which might seem outlandish, but 1.) this is Horseshoe Harbor, and 2.) for each possible cause, it wouldn't be unheard of.

Jellybean's eyes get big. "He is! When did that happen? You must be really sad! Would you like a hug?" he asks, hugging the captain. At least he asked first?

Rocket has spent most of the week moping. Like being /tiny/ wasn't bad enough, now she's… she's… okay, well, she's bigger. But not big /enough/. She's still little. But an entirely different sort of little. /This/ little is kid-little. And small. And… and… /fluffy/!

For apparently Rocket was just that sort of child. Small and poofy. Small enough to quite possibly be the runt of the nest, and all floofy with down and fuzzy kitten fur. Far from imposing, she's positively /cute/. How horrid.

But embarrassment aside, even chick-griffs get bored. In fact, they're particularly prone to the condition! Which has finally urged her out of Gamble's house for a walk around town. Because the Forest… is big. And cold. And she's not scared! She's just so fluffy.

Aw hugs! The good Captain seems slightly startled by the sudden momentary attack of cute, but after a moment just..leans into it. "I think I've always known. This week has been very strange. I keep remembering things…" Again he nudges the fish. "You know how you remember things, and sometimes you're not sure if it was a dream you're remembering or if it really happened? Or if you're in a dream now and you're just remembering what really happened in another dream?"

Gamble hangs out a bit behind Kludge. Silent. Squinting. The Captain's not his usual crazy bouncy self?

Suddenly Fuzzball! Because a big bunny is hard to miss, bopping up the street without a care in the world. So long as nobody attempts to come douse him with any kind of joke cure. At this point, even when the big ship with the Cure comes, you won't find this bunny waiting in line! Nope! He's gonna stay big /forever/!

Kludge gives the Captain a wry grin. "Given the types of things that seem to happen in this town, I can see where it could be hard to remember if something was real or not," he says sympathetically. "What types of things are you remembering? Maybe we can figure out what was real and what… wasn't."

Rocket peers up at Fuzzball. "Man, why do /you/ get to be so big. Why aren't you a baby bunny." She clicks her beak a couple times. "I bet you were real fluffy when you were a baby bunny, too." Of course he was. He must've been. Baby things are fluffy. It /can't/ be just her.

Captain Sparkflint nods sagely at Jellybean's ultimate response. "I don't either." he states, his ears splaying out. "Maybe I can tell you guys a story? It may or may not be a true story. I don't know yet." His eyes fall on Gamble and Rocket. "…It's about your pirate, too. It's a fun story! Storytime for everybody!"

Fuzzball ends up bounding next to Rocket, shrugging at the chick griff in response to her question. He doesn't know! He just ain't gonna argue it. Instead, he pats Rocket on the head. Patpatpat. Good chick~

A story? Kludge always apprectiates a good story, and even moreso as a colt. He sits down with a smile, ready to listen to the Captain's tale."

Yes, storytime! Captain Flintlock seems a little happier than he was moments ago with the prospect of a storytime hanging in the air. Maybe it'll get a few things off his chest. So he looks for a convenient place to sit, dragging a crate or two, only slightly charred, over to where he's got ponies gathered together, hopping right atop it to park his rear. "Alright then! Uh. Do I need to wait for you all to get drinks?" Blink.

Rocket sighs. Pouts for a moment. Then, blinks and looks up. Story? Story! She likes stories. She starts to bound on over, but catches herself mid-bounce and heads over in a more… dignified manner. …As dignified as a fuzzy ball of fluff can manage to be.

Jellybean likes stories! He sits down, mindful not to get his dress dirty, and looks up at Flintlock with rapt attention. Stooooories.

Yep, he has all the attention now. Even Gamble and Fuzzball have taken seats! The good Captain clears his throat. "Okay then! Uh…"

"Once upon a time there was this pirate. He was a very special pirate. He didn't like to shoot ponies, or go raid harbors, or anything like that. He was a jokester…" Flintlock starts pacing on his small box perch. "His name, was Captain Jean Luc Faux Pas, but everypony he ever met just called him Captain Bad Joke. He earned that name too, his jokes were /awful/. I think that's why he became a pirate, his jokes were so bad it felt like you were getting robbed just listening to them."

Did someone say drinks? A cautionary tale against the evils of alcohol stumbles by shortly thereafter as a ragged-looking Winter Solstice makes her way by from a vaguely dockward direction. In addition to being a filly, and being chubby, and having hair that is too long for her face, said hair is matted and messed, there are enough circles under her bang-shrouded eyes to diagram a planetary system, and she smells like cigar smoke, bilgewater and the squandered fortunes of sailors on shore leave. Wobbling towards the gathered group- and recognizing some of them through a wince-inducing hungover haze- she drops her duff down and moves to listen, sittng far enough away that the LOUD NOISES of Flintlock's voice aren't QUITE so piercing. Sure, she may look and feel like low tide, but there's a story to be heard!

"Captain Bad Joke's favorite thing to do was to play pranks. He invented quite a few jokes himself to do it! We're talking explosive gold, explosive soup, explosive peg-legs, explosive /parrots/…" He scratches his chin with a hoof. "A lot of it was explosives, come to think of it. There were a few other tricks, but mostly he just liked watching ponies react to things that boomed. It got him in a lot of trouble though, because he did start doing other piratey things. He used his bad jokes to steal gold and bits from ships, or other pirates, or royal vessels… Until one day he got caught!"

Gamble taps a hoof on the cobblestone he's sitting on, giving Rocket a nudge. "This much we knew from the books already."

Jellybean waves Winter over and pats on the cobblestones next to him: he's listening to the story and clearly thinks she should listen too. Then, a hoof raises. "Oh! Oh! What kinds of jokes did he tell? Were they knock-knock jokes?"

Kludge shudders at the mention of exploding gold, but is still raptly focused on the story - it's just getting good!

Winter-Solstice is slow to react, but eventually hauls upright and totters over to Jelly's indicated spot, flopping down beside the fabulously bedressed colt. She then sags into a prone position and lies there, though little twitches of her ears indicate she's still listening despite appearances.

Questions! Flintlock seems the type that doesn't mind his stories getting interrupted by questions. So when Jellybean pops up with one, he smiles and shrugs. "Some of them were! He had a lot of jokes. Like… Why did the ghost cross the road? To get to the Other Side." Again he shrugs. "So he gets captured… And the royals, they haven't been enjoying his jokes much. Especially the exploding gold. See, Captain Bad Joke had gone and stolen a bunch of their royal gold, and replaced it with his exploding stuff. Then it went BOOM. It wasn't pretty."

At the terrible ghost joke, Winter laughs briefly, snorts, then hiccups and groans and covers her head, quieting soon afterwards. After a short while she mumbles. "Is the explosive gold naturally gold, or did he have to paint it? Because there was a LOT of it…"

Rocket blinks and nods at Gamble. "Yeah. Same guy. Hey, how long ago was it? Is he legendary or something? I mean…" she shrugged. "I'd never heard of him until all this."

Captain Flintlock dips his head in thought. "How long ago..? It was..long enough. Quite some time! Hundreds? Thousands of years? I don't know. My memories don't say. And I don't know if the explosive gold comes naturally in gold. That secret died with him." He pauses. "A lot of secrets died with him." Another pause. "The royals killed him… Hung him. But before he died, he said something very ominous."

It seems the group of ponies he's telling the story to has grown! This pleases Flintlock, and seems to make him put a little more effort into the storytelling. Waving hooves and whatnot. "They asked him if he had any last words. Captain Bad Joke said: 'I just can't wait to see the looks on your faces when you see my next joke. It's a real killer.'"

Ruby-Blossom 's mane slowly appears Kludge's shoulder, followed by her large, expressive emerald eyes - with everypony fixated on Cap'n Flintlock now is the perfect time to yell "AVAST YE SCALLYWAGS! DREAD PIRATE SALTLICK IS HERE!" her expression completely dead pan following the loud, sudden, and unexpected interruption to story time!

Jellybean screams at Ruby's sudden exclamation, scrambling to his hooves and galloping off as fast as his little hooves will carry him. Which isn't terriby fast, as he seems more than a little bit clumsy. "HELP! HELP! SALTLICK IS HERE AN' SHE'S GOING TO GOBBLE US ALL!"

Winter-Solstice, prone on the ground next to Jellybean, sits up with a start at Ruby's yelling, then immediately drops back down with a gurgle of misery, reaching up to cover her head with both fore legs. Jellybean's subsequentl yelping only causes her to curl up more tightly.

The words don't cause Kludge to jump as much as the canterlock right in his ear. With a yelp, he brings his hoof up to cover his poor ear without regard to whomever or whatever is in the way.

The Good Captain is…pouting. Pouting! Ruby just ruined his story! He plants his rump, watches the chaos, and waits. Patiently.

Fuzzball's already scattered, and Gamble is…on his back, hiccuping. Horrible. Just horrible.

Screech and leap! Rocket has no clue who this 'dread pirate' is, but LOUD NOISES! She bounds away in a puff of feathers and down, scrambling to hide behind the convenient crates.

Winter-Solstice unfolds one sausage of a foreleg and waggles her hoof at Flintlock. "Go on, go on," she mumbles. "What was his last joke gonna be?" She then waggles that hoof vaguely at Ruby in a gesture that might be 'shush' or 'come here' or 'mustard please' or who knows what.

Ruby-Blossom sudden and very haphazard prank turns far more hazardous as Kludge unintentionally whacks her in the face during his attempt to cover his poor ears - the mare landing flat on her flank in a rather well-deserved bout of intentional retribution. "OW!" she yells grumpily while covering her left eye with both hooves. "What the hay, Kludge!"

Kludge looks over at Ruby. "Oh, it's you. Hi Ruby - sorry about hitting you; didn't know you were there until I tried covering my ear. Wanna listen to Flintlock? He's telling a tale of Captain Faux Pas!"

"Oh no, I can wait." Captain Flintlock says, though he's now smirking after Ruby gets smacked for her troubles. Aww. "I mean, half my audience got scared away. I can wait a minute."

Winter-Solstice sighs raggedly and pushes herself upright into a seating position once more. She reaches up to pull her bangs out of her eyes for a moment, winces at the light, and then looks around the street for Jellybean or anybody else that needs to be wrangled back into the audience. It is storytime, gosh darn it, and if the story can only proceed by finding ponies and pinning them down to listen, then so be it.

Ruby-Blossom glowers at Kludge's response of 'oh it's you', that's just cold, bro. Without a pout she decides to sit with sausage legs - who actually motioned her over instead of saying 'oh it's you'. She plops down beside Winny and gives the big'ol foal a big'ol hug for her troubles. "Hi." she whispers before hushing - Flintlock's smirk is met with a little one-eyed glare - a mare never forgets.

Jellybean is, in fact, still running in circles and screaming his dang fool head off. Only now he has the hiccups, so it's really more of a "AAAAAAAAH-hic-AAAAAAAAHH-hic-AHH!" situation. You'd think he'd run out of energy eventually, but at least his path is predictable.

Winter-Solstice pushes herself to her feet, saunters over, and plants herself in Jellybean's circuit, so that if he does not watch where he's going he will simply bounce off her flank.

"AAAAHHHHH-hic-AAAAAAAAHHH-" thud! Jellybean does in fact run smack into Winter, falling over in the process. He's a little thing compared to her. It seems that interrupting his mad gallop also interrupted his nonstop screaming, as he simply looks up at her, nods meekly and rejoins the storytelling circle. Hoof's back in his mouth and he's whimpering a little, but there you go.

Gamble wrestles his hiccups under control and back into a generally upright position. Surprises, ugh. Fuzzball returns too! Kersprawl.

Once most of his audience recovers from the little filly's prank, Captain Flintlock nods and gazes out among the assorted ponies. "…So! To answer your question, my fine pudgy friend, nobody knows. Nobody knows what his last joke was. Is. Or will be. It hasn't apparently happened yet. But…" He goes back to pacing about on his crate, "I do know that he left ancestors, and that they have kind of a curse on them! A very, very, /very/ horrible curse to boot! A curse of…" He holds his hooves up dramatically. "Insomniaaaaaaaa…"

Winter-Solstice falls into line behind Jelly, following him back to the group. Hair in her face and obscuring her expression and hungover state keeping her quiet, there's not much to say. Because it is story time. STORY TIME. She sits down with a thump and waits, although this time she is strategically positioned to chase down skittish foals if it again becomes necessary.

Kludge blinks. "Insomnia? So, they found it hard to go to sleep? Or was it that they could NEVER go to sleep?" After all, this is a curse, and who knows what said curse could do!

Flintlock grins down at Kludge. "Never sleep. Ever. They were cursed to never rest until they followed through with Bad Joke's Last Laugh. I'm not kidding, that's what they call it! Now imagine what never being able to sleep can do to ones mental state! It's a wonder his family line didn't just die off from insanity. But it hasn't." He holds a hoof up. "I'm living proof of that! Being a kid again made me remember what life was like before I stopped sleeping." His ears splay out, his eyes widening with a sort of sudden realization. "And what I'm doing here…"

Rocket peeks up from behind the boxes. "You're related to him? …Do you know what he hid? Is it anything good?"

Winter-Solstice's eyes brighten a bit behind her bangs, her piqued interest piercing through the hangover more than ever. The music box! That is something she remembers well. She stands up and fidgets slightly, not exactly back to her usual exuberant self but certainly perkier than before.

Ruby-Blossom crosses her arms in front of her. "Sooo…likely there isn't any treasure at all and you're just tricking everypony into helping end your family's curse?" she asks rather matter-of-factly all while craddling her eye with one hoof. "Did any pony else catch that?

Something crosses Kludge's mind. "Were the slimy fake-ponies the kelpies, or the little colorful blobs that run around and bully ponies?" he asks Flintlock. "Because I don't like those little blobs."

"He hid lots of things." Flintlock notes to Rocket. "He died without anyone finding most of what he'd stolen. I don't care about any of that. I just care about one thing in his hoard."

Gamble does appear to have the key. And the music box. He's just as curious as Rocket by this point, floating both of the items over to Flintlock, whom lets his magic take over to guide the key to the box, winding it up.

"Not exactly." He says to Ruby, as a very cheerful tone rises from the box. Almost like a lullabye. Ruby would know it well enough, she's whistled it before. "There's probably treasure in there. Probably a whole gutload of it. I didn't ask anyone to look for anything for me." He hops off the crate he's been telling his story from, floating the little box along in front of him. He pauses next to Kludge. "…The kelpies. Those blob-things are something /else/ entirely…"

Ruby-Blossom hides a little beside sausage as she makes a flank of herself by accusing the Captain - her untrusting nature ever-present even as she's learning to make friends and have healthy relationships. If you call any relationship healthy that is.

Winter-Solstice lowers her head slightly, listening to the music. Once again her oversized bangs hide much of her expression. She doesn't have much of a visible reaction to the music, though she does glance sideways as Ruby draws near.

Rocket blinks and sits back on her haunches. "So this treasure trove is… /related/ to this whole 'last joke' thing? And that's supposed to be a… 'killer'? Hmph." She tilts her head, turning to preen at some not-quite-feathers. "So… is the whole thing just a big joke, then? …What is it /you/ want to find in there?"

Jellybean does seem to like the music, at least. "So we need to find the joke for you so you can sleep? That sounds important: I can't imagine missing nptime. I'd get so cranky."

Flintlock grins at Rocket as he walks through the crowd. "I don't know. I just know it will be there when I find it." Are storytellers supposed to be moving while they tell stories? Flintlock's path carries him to the other edge of his audience, where he stops and turns around to face the crowd. He points towards the harbor, "Not far from here is an island… Ponies can't get to it through normal means. It's surrounded by a dense fog that my great ancestor put around it. Magical fog. It confuses any pony silly enough to fly or sail through it, until they get so turned around that they sail right back out again. Or crash on rocks…" The musicbox is floated up for emphasis. "Unless they're hearing this melody. It's the key to getting to his island, see?"

Winter-Solstice turns about, following Flintlock as he moves through the island. She is incrementally more cheerful, smiling beneath her bangs. "Ooh! Can we go there now? Are there any boats left or did they all get burned up?" She looks about, spots Kludge, and tromps over to him. "Can you build us a blimp?!"

Blink blink. "Ummm… I've never built a balloon… but I might be able to make the basket for one," he admits. And he's intrigued enough to be willing to help on this. Wouldn't it be awesome if they can find and/or solve Bad Joke's last prank?

Ruby-Blossom glances towards the Harbor and Queen Peagasus almost sea-worthy ship - well aware the Queen is yelling at her crew to ensure repairs go swiftly as possible, doubleshifts and all. She glances to Flint Lock "So, this melody has to come from the music box or is it simply the melody?" sounding genuinely curious and concerned - seeing how things always go wrong around here.

Captain Flintlock shrugs at Ruby's question, closing the musicbox to stop the melody. "I don't know. But I can't sing it and sail at the same time." The young captain also looks happy that Winter would offer to help! But he's shaking his head. And backing up towards the port. "Actually, I'd rather none of you came with me. I don't want anyone to find his treasure. I'm going to blow the whole thing up! So… I'll be going now. I've got the musicbox, I know where the island is, and I have a pretty darn good idea where to find his treasure when I get there. I appreciate all the help in getting me this far, but I think it's best if you all stayed put."

He doesn't even wait for a response, turning around to start scampering off towards the docks. But he only makes it two steps before he turns around again, levitating the dead fish he'd started this whole story staring at up, to its proper place over his shoulder. "…Jerry's coming with me. Don't any of you follow or I'll blow ya up!" Then off he scampers again!

Gamble blinks. His eye twitches, and he glances sideways towards Kludge. "You think he went crazy during his story, or at the last moment?"

Jellybean whines. "Wait! Come back! We wanna help you! I don't think Jerry can sing that well either!"

Ruby-Blossom makes an addorable little mad dash towards Captain Flintlock - jumping and attempting to latch onto the Captain!

Winter-Solstice stares after the departing figure of the captain, silent and blank-faced. Then she squirms. Then she starts stomping her hooves, face screwed into a frustrated scowl. "I know I should probably be getting used to chasing this guy into dangerous unknown situations and all, but I'm really starting to think there's a better way to do this." With a shake of her head, she sighs, hunkers down, and vaults into a predictable chase. She is not as quick and powerful as she is an adult chasing the captain into a Kelpie Cave or an Exploding Dragon Cave, but she's still pretty swift, AND motivated by anger, AND she still has a headache, thank you very much! "MY FLANK GOT BLOWN UP FOR THAT MUSIC BOX, TOO!" she howls, voice echoing back towards any members of the group that do not join her in pursuit. "YOU CAN KEEP THE TREASURE, I JUST WANT THE EXPERIENCE POINTS!!!"

Ruby-Blossom 's attempt to latch onto the Captain is extremelly unsuccessfully as if has the slipperiest hooves ever imagined! Tiny hooves are all-over the Captain's body as he makes his escape - then again, Ruby's intent may not have been to latch on at all!

Kludge looks around at the rest of the audience. "All those in favor of helping him out anyway?" he asks, raising a hoof. After holding his hoof up for a moment (and not bothering to see the reactions), he scampers off to tail the peculiar captain.

Rocket squeaks and bounds after the fleeing Captain. She gets about four good bounces before tripping over a wing and sprawling out flat. Ooof. Yeah, someone forgot to not run with her wings spread.

Surely Captain Flintlock understood that when he tells a bunch of foals not to do something that their first response is going to be to try and do it anyway, right? Apparently not. He totally did not seem to expect getting suddenly jumped by Ruby, and chased by Winter or Kludge. He especially doesn't expect the key to get swiped! "Guh! No! I need that!" He quips, skidding to a halt, and performing a rightly daring jump, using the hot-on-his-heels Winter as a springboard to leap and reverse-counter Ruby! "Gimme that key back! You don't understand what I'm trying to /do/ here!"

Ruby-Blossom slips right between Flintlock's legs as he tries to recover the key - quite surprised he noticed the key was swiped admist all the random flailing hoofs - certainly her skills aren't up to par when foal-sized! Her daring escape involves slipping between Flintlock's legs then doing an awesome barrel roll before darting behind a pile of boxes! Fast as fast as you may be, you'll never catch me~

Winter-Solstice tanks the springboarding like a champ, and does her best to reverse her momentum, pie-plate hooves scrabbling over the cobbles for purchase as she turns about and starts charging back in the opposite direction. She's aiming to tackle Flintlock, since throwing herself bodily at things has sort of become her specialty lately, but decides at the last minute that maybe taking his feet out from under him might help, too. This decision may have been influenced by how, between her exhausted and still hungover state and clumsy filly hooves, she trips at the last moment and barrels in low towards the rogue captain (and anybody else standing nearby, of course), but let it not be said she's unwilling to improvise with unexected angles of movement. "I UNDERSTAND that you're- oof!- tryin' to- hog all the ADVENTURE to YOURSELF!" she retorts.

It's apparently true. Flintlock can't catch Ruby. But not for lack of trying! More because of the steamrolling he suddenly falls victim to, knocked flat over and tumbling into a pile of boxes! Jerry goes flying. The musicbox does too! Without the grasp of unicorn magic to hold sway, the little metal box launches into a pile of debris.

Gamble's just shaking his head, watching the chaos ensue. He's sitting where he was for all of storytime. Apparently just waiting for the dust to settle now. "Some ponies just never learn."

Flying music box! FLY! Rocket leaps after it with a caw. That thing's important! And she's got /wings/. So she can do that flying thing too sorta! So into the building she goes.

Kludge dives into the debris, searching for the music box. This will undoubtedly take some time, and it's not like there's a lack of debris to search through! He rummages around…

A rather unfamiliar pony quietly watches the chaos unfold - the young colt seems to have been eavesdropping for the story, and also seems to be wearing a little hat indicating he's a member of Queen Peagsus pirate's!

This would all be alot simpler if some unicorn would just snag that thing out of the air with their unicorm magics! Ruby on the other hand begins to sneak away from the pile of boxes where she was harding - rather a small wooden box with four tiny hooves can be scampering away!

Winter-Solstice either didn't notice the music box go flying, or suffers from enough tunnel vision she has neglected its significance, instead focusing on Flintlock. She wraps her legs around as many of his as she can grab and tries to keep him pinned, growling under her breath and mumbling about adventure shortages and how mean it is to deny quests to children in desperate need of entertainment.

In an erpution of busted 2x4s and burnt odds-and-ends, Kludge surfaces with a triumphant cheer, holding onto the music box! He checks it over for damage - unlikely, but better to be safe than sorry.

Grunt… Flintlock is sufficiently pinned down. He looks…pouty that his plan to escape and save his life have been so efficiently ruined. He strains his head to look up at the chubby filly holding him down. "…All I wanted to do was take Jerry home. Jerry wants to go hoooooome… Go hooooome Jerry." Sniffle.

Gamble trots up next to Winter, watching a wooden box scamper away. "…Uh. Ruby? D'ya mind maybe not runnin' off with that key? We're all gonna need it if we're gonna accompany the good Cap'n here to his dangerous island of doom."

Winter-Solstice turns her head to glower up at Flintlock, one red-rimmed, steel-blue eye visible between her bangs. "Look at it this way," she grumbles. Again, she's being the voice of reason, and it is loathsome. "If Bad Joke made it so tricky to find the music box, and the key, and he likes traps and explosions SO MUCH, it's probably likely there's more of it to be found on his spooky mist-covered island. Which means YOU could get into a LOT of trouble if you stumble in by yourself. So you should at LEAST bring some people along to help you get to what you're looking for." She reluctantly lets go of Flintlock's legs and pulls her porky self upright. "LAST time you tried this on your own, remember, you ended up in a cage in the middle of Kelpie village!" She briefly pauses. "Well, last time you tried this with only Jerry to help, rather!"

Jellybean lands awkwardly: he really isn't the fastest of fliers like this. He raises a hoof, looking a little out-of-breath. "I'd like to help him. I don't think anypony deserves to be cursed."

Ruby-Blossom peeks out from under her box like a turtle peeking out from it's shell before disloding the box and trotting back to the group; the key is no where in sight! "I agree, sure there may be treasure, but it like totally sucks for somepony to suffer." big, big smile - see she's smiling! "So like we're going to help you, and stuff." certainly not as refined as her big self but hay look at those big addorable eyes.

Kludge trots over, music box on his back. "Looks like you got yourself a crew, even if it's just temporary, Captain," he chuckles.

Flintlock begrudgingly nods his agreement. "You have a point…" he notes to Winter, not bothering to get up off the ground just yet. Though he does look up at the gathered ponies again. "..I was just afraid nobody would want to help me because I want to blow the whole place up. It could be any piece of it that Bad Joke hooked the curse up to. I'm not taking any chances here!"
Ruby-Blossom pops behind Kludge ready to add something! Instead she dips back down and pops up behind Winny instead "I'm the singing harlot." she teasingly chimes with her front hooves propped on Winny's back - ooo that's comfy and soft!

Winter-Solstice moves back a bit and plonks her broad backside down. With the adrenaline of the last few minutes dissipating, her headache is coming back, and she reaches up to rub a temple with one hoof. "Are you kidding? I LOVE explosions. Besides, maybe one of us can help narrow it down a bit so you don't have to blow up everything… just what you HAVE to. Plus whatever looks like it would be fun to blow up." She turns to eye Ruby warily. Harlot? With a sigh, she reaches up from her temple to pat Ruby on the head.

Jellybean makes a little 'meep' noise, wings trembling and hooves shaking. "I don't really like explosions but if it's what will help then I'll do what I can." Pause. "I don't know what I can do."

Gamble grins, giving Jellybean a pat. "I'm sure every little bit's gonna help in this one. I guess that leaves us one question then?" He glances to the captain. "When do we leave?"

Captain Flintlock wriggles up to his hooves, brushing himself off. "I… Well, I was going to leave now. So. Do whatever you all need to do to prepare." He peeks into the sky. "Or we can wait until tomorrow when it's daylight again."

Winter-Solstice pats Ruby once more, makes her way over to Jellybean and gives HIM a pat as well, before turning and making her way back down the street to prepare. She needs painkillers, for one, and she's thirsty, and she really should probably hop in the bath, and she'll need to find an adventurous hat.

Thus did the rest of the party of foals and fools scamper off their separate ways to prepare for the coming adventure. Unbeknownst to them, multi-hued figure with a hat and coal black eyes watches on, slinking off into the alleyways.

To be continued…