A Quick Game
IC date: Summer 68
OOC date: August 27
Location: Main Street
PCs: Gamble Wishy-Washy Quintessent-Rune
NPCs: N/A
GM: N/A

Crystal clear blue skies and the hottests of heats are hitting Horseshoe Harbor on this particular day at horseshoe Harbor. it's the sort of day where the sun's harsh rays shine down in their most intense forms and drive ponies to seek shade and a cool drink.

Of course, Saddle Arabians take such heat in stride. sure, it's uncomfortable, but it's also preferable to the cold, to be certain! Wishy strolls on down Main Street after delivering a bunch of her sccented and enchanted bath oils to the Mane Affair. The usual alluring sway to her walk is on full display, possibly causing cumulative heat stroke to those unfortunate enough to be caught in the sun as well as caught by the dancing mare's beauty. As she strolls down the street, she looks over a few buildings curiously; perhapps a couple of other stores that happen to have established themselves here, The Hobknob theater, and other such establishments… a bag of bits jingles ff the side of one of her saddlebags.

it has certainly been an interesting summer, that's for certain. An odd year even! The winter wasn't really much of a winter with that awful storm that happened out in the bay, and now a summer that wasn't really a summer! It's certainly given certain ponies reason to pause and take stock of their recent life decisions.

Enter the Gambler. Er, Gamble. Whom today has attempted to take up one of his older past-times. A booth set not too far from where Main Street intersects with the Town Square, where the rust-red pony sits. A simple shell game is atop the booth, a tip jar to the right with a couple bits thrown in it. Right now Gamble's sitting back with his hat dipped down over his eyes, keeping up a general illusion that he's just this earth pony trying to make a living, y'know?

Wishy-Washy wanders on up to the little booth, using a hoof to brush one of her lime bangs out of her face. "Hello, good sir!

Suddenly a customer! The rusty pony flicks an ear to attention, hearing the approach before the words. Said ears helpfully tip his hat up away from his eyes so he can be a good, er, salespony, but the sight of…well, a downright exotic beauty seems to have a startling effect, as he tumbles off his cozy cushion backwards, crashing into a small heap. There's a moment or two of scrambling, Gamble popping right back up behind his booth, a friendly smile and wave of a hoof at the ready. "Afternoon ma'am." he offers.

Wishy-Washy smirks to herslef a tad… fIt was always cucucute seeing ponie sstumble over themselves for her. "I was wondering how much it is to play a game, good sir. I have not played a game like this since my tour took me to Neighvada."

A game! "Er.. Of course! That's what this is, yep. A game." Blink. Seems it's taking a moment to reboot. Was the pretty shock really that shocking? He shakes his head slowly, his next grin more on the sheepish side. "Jus' a bit per play. Guess th' right shell, win a bit back. Easy as pie, yea?" He goes about the show of tipping each shell up, showing one with a small coin beneath it. "S'all about keepin' an eye on th' right shell, right? Care to give it a go?"

Wishy-Washy places a bit up onto the wooden planking of the booth, giving a confident grin. "Very well! Let us see if my eyes and wit are sharp enough to keep up with your hooves, good sir."

"That's the spirit." Gamble says, matching grin for grin. The shells are closed, and hooves move, sliding shells back and forth, forth and back. The pace is slow starting, occasionally lifting a shell up to show that the coin is, indeed, still there. "Funny ya mention Neighvada. S'where I learned this game. From a stallion named Ol' Broke Nose."

The shells speed up. Scoot, scoot, slide, scoot, no more lifting of shells lest he give away the winning shell now! "Poor ol' Broke Nose. Earned 'is name by doin' this game to the wrong pony. Ended up with two broken legs 'n a sprained neck."

Suddenly the shells and hooves stop! All three are arranged neatly, each one tapped.

Wishy-Washy flicks her ears in careful concentration. she's very much confident it has to be the one to her left, so she taps that one. "Such a tale does not surprise me. even in a harmonius kingdom such as Equestria, hives of debauchary and avarice must exist."

The left shell is lifted. Behold! The coin! Gamble fishes up a bit from behind the booth, flipping it onto the table. "Not bad. Not bad at all. Care ta go double or nothin'?" he asks, tipping all three shells back up to their starting positions.

Wishy-Washy chuckles a bit and nods… she wasn't really expecting to make any net profit, only small talk. "I am Wishy Washy of the far-off arid sands of Saddle Arabia, by the way. Might I get your name?"

The shells are tipped back down again, and shuffling resumes. Shuffle, shuffle, peek, shuffle. "Saddle Arabia? No foolin'? Always wanted ta visit there." The rusty pony's not even looking at the shells anymore. Other scenery is so much more satisfying! "Always sounded like an interestin' place ta go. Prob'ly would've drifted there next, but…" The shells stop, get arranged, and then the pony tips his hat. "I'm Gamble. The pleasure's all mine, Ms. Washy."

Wishy-Washy this time she miiight have lost it. she humms gently before tapping her horn agianst the middle shell.

The middle shell is lifted. The coin is there again! Gamble gives a soft whistle. "Yer pretty good at keepin' yer eye on the coin, ma'am. Care ta go one more round? Four bits for one ain't a bad bargain if ya get it right!"
Wishy-Washy gives another nod. "I wouldn't mind that at all. I'm curious what brought a stallion such as yourself here? do you get a lot of customers from the sailors who stop in the port on leave, perhapps?"

"That's…actually kind of a funny story." the gambler pony admits. The shells are placed again, coin hidden, but this time there's no slow start. Those hooves cut right to the chase, scooting the shells around and around, occasionally showing off with a flip or a spin of a shell.

"I uh, sorta drifted here from a little coastal town a ways south of here. Had a bad run at a casino there." The rusty pony grimaces briefly. "Now I didn't start the fire, but they sure as hay thought I did. I mean, I can't complain since I was about ta bust out on a friendly poker game anyway, but that's how it goes. Win some, get chased out of town some." He shrugs! Somehow with a shell on one of his shoulders. Which gets flipped back onto the table. Shuffle, shuffle.

"Then I got here, an'…er…sorta ended up a hero for a day. Been helping the local teacher out with substitute days for the past few months since then. Longest I've stayed in one place since I was wee." The shuffling stops, the shells neatly arranged, Gamble spreading his forelegs out in a gesture. "Take yer pick, ma'am."

This time, wishy pauses and rubs her chin thoughtfully. "You work with blackbird at the schoolyard then, hmm? interesting… speaking of interesting was your technique there for shuffling the shells. Good showmanship. Before I make my guess…" Wishy levitates 4 more bits out of the sack she has with her, placing them into Gamble's tip jar. "… I want to say that I am fully confident that you didn't cause that casino fire. that being said." She points at Gamble's hat, a confident grin stretching across her muzzle. "There"

Gamble blinks! His eyes peek upwards, as though he could see under his hat. "That's a mighty close guess ma'am…" he admits with a grin, then reaches a hoof out to give a single brush to a lime-colored shock of mane, making the red bit tumble down onto the boothtop! Gamble sits back, looking pleased, if thoughtful, "Stopped hidin'em under my hat shortly after learnin' this game. Much too obvious there."

After that, the rusty pony bows his head, hat tipped and everything. "I thank you for the complement ma'am, and the pleasant conversation. Not very often I get such an interesting customer!"

Wishy-Washy giggles a bit and rests her forehooves on the booth. "VERY impressive! Happy to help keep food on your plate, Mr. Gamble. By the by, since you're already helping the little ones over at the school by being a substitute teacher… what do you think of that?" Wishy points across the street to the orphanage sitting there.

Another bow of his head. This time to help hide the fact that the rusty pony may be turning a shade of pink. "S'not about winnin' the game. S'about how ya play that gets ponies to like ya." he notes. Wise words from a drifter, yep. Then the subject changes, Gamble's attention drawn towards the freshly constructed young'un place. "Well…" Gamble strokes his chin with a hoof's tip. "Can't say I've got any bad vibes about it. It sure beats havin' a bunch of homeless lil' bits scamperin' all over the place gettin' into trouble an' turnin' into lil' copies of me. Competition's brutal, y'know?"

He flashes a grin to show the joke, then shakes his head, "I ain't too worried. Have ya seen the sorts of ponies that live here? Or heard the stories 'bout what they've survived just in the last year? If there's somethin' wrong with that building, it won't last long."

"Windigoes, a massive tsunami-death-beacon and - if I've heard it right - a zombie invasion does seem to be something most other towns would not, indeed, stand after," came Quintessent Rune's soft voice from somewhere behind, the young mare trotting up and stoping just short of them - a rather polite vaiting distance really.

Wishy-Washy spins about and smiles, her tail swishing backa nd fourth in front of Gamble. "Well, if it isn't Quintessent Rune! You are looking as radiant as ever! I was actually going to come and visit your shop today! and… Zombies?" Wishy gulps as her ears flatten against her head… "I… certainly hope this town had one of it's massive fires at that point to eradicate every last one of them. Becoming a shambling, rotting, undead nightmare is the -LAST- way I would want to go, that is for certain."

Gamble thusly tips his hat towards Rune and her contribution to the conversation. "Yeah, I remember the zombies…and there was definitely fire. Poor Feathers got herself all burned tryin' ta help keep the invasion down." He leans into his booth. "Rumor has it there's still a few undead things lurkin' up in the Wintersong near Daybreak, so there might still be one or two slinkin' around. Otherwise I think yer safe."

Quintessent-Rune's polite smile twitches slightly at Wishy's compliment. "Then indeed - zombies. I was not certain, since that was somewhat before my time here in the harbour. Hello, Miss Washy. Mr…?"

Wishy-Washy visibly starts to sink a bit… She went wandering into those woods to find the Windigo and there were -Zombies- out there that could have… no. she shakes her head, giving an uneasy and nervous laugh. "H-his name is Gamble. I was passing the time playing a fun little game before I was going to head to the shop and see what sorts of enchanted goods you currently had for sale. eh heh…"

Gamble trots out from behind his shell game booth, but he apparently doesn't need to introduce himself! He does, at least, give a cordial nod towards Rune, sucker for the pretty faces as he is. "It ain't worth dwellin' on it." he notes, giving Wishy the softest of bumps. "There hasn't been a sightin' in weeks. It's all just rumors and stories now."

Quintessent-Rune inclined her head ever so slightly. "Greetings, Mr. Gamble. As Miss Washy have already let slip, my name is Quintessent Rune. Though Quintessent or Miss Rune will do fine." Arching her head over towards Wishy she noded. "Indeed, they are supposedly not common these days and I can say I have yet to see a single zombie so far, myself."

Wishy-Washy calms on down and stands upright once again, seeming to have calmed down. "Well, then! Still, it was great to meet you, Mr. Gamble. perhapps our paths will cross agian? it seems that we've had similar fates of nomadic life until coming to this place."

"Fate's funny that way." Gamble admits, offering a bow of his head to Wishy and Rune respectively. "But I prefer to think I make my own path. Drop by again sometime, and I'm sure you'll see me again, Ms. Washy." He trots back around behind his booth, sets his flank back unto his cushion, and leans into the booth.

Quintessent-Rune's smile took on a rather genuine tone around the corners. "Indeed, I am with Mr. Gamble on this - we are forging through the world under our own power, with our will at the helm."

Wishy-Washy puts on a smile as well… that's a nice way to think of things. "If you'd be so kind as to lead the way.