Alive And Well
IC date: Autumn 9
OOC date: September 28
PCs: Mad-Mare, Salty, Jellybean, Kludge, Ruby-Blossom, Winter-Solstice, Sky-Sparkler, Solar-Wind
NPCs: Rock'em, Sock'em

The sun sets on this most chaotic of days. A whole week the harbor has gone under the influence of a massive joke, with very few actual adults out and about to keep the rowdy masses in control. One week, and everything is horribly dirty! Filthy! Hungry kids roaming the streets! Or maybe not quite /that/ bad, but if it goes on much longer who knows?

For this reason, and this reason alone, the town's Watch Captain, in her own cuteastic foalship glory, has put her grand ship back in action. It had been parked just a mile off shore, to avoid…suspicion. But it seems to be needed. In her adorable little mind, Mad Filly has come to the point where the only way to keep all the dang bullies of Horseshoe Harbor in line is with a show of force!

So it is that some ponies have gathered on the docks, whilst Maddie's ship of doom (which for some reason looks…smaller than usual. Could the jokes have shrunk that too?), floats maybe a hundred feet from the docks, Maddie herself perched on the edge of the railing, bullhorn and everything.

"Now hear this! You awful, awful kids! I've had enough of this nonsense! You've broken my jails, ruined the town, and I'm very surprised nothing's burned down yet! You will respect my authority and settle down this instant! I demand order! Order!"

"I'll have a daisyburger and hayfries, please!" quips Kludge, who is finding this quite amusing… although he is looking forward to getting over this joke.

Solar-Wind assists, or at least tries to assist Ruby with her cart of sweets. He trots aside the cart happily.

Ruby-Blossom trots Portside - hauling a small cart with a steadfast secured oven - the whole thing wafting the scent of fresh turn-overs in the air. This explains why her attempts to lure the town into the Mane Street were unsuccessful - everypony is at the port!

Solar-Wind jerks a hoof the direction of the /demanding/ and cute pony of the harbor, "Who's that, n'd why's she such a Bully?" he asks of the others, though mostly of the taller older ponies that are gathered here, "dddemands n stuff?

Thonk! Salty, blank as ever, has /somehow/ found her way on board the ship, and has run into the mast. She blinks and shakes her head in confusion, then looks around like she has no idea where she is or how she got there. Which, probably, she doesn't. So she slinks over to Mad and nibbles plaintively on her tail, as sustenance has been hard to come by for the hungry ex-mayor.

Duh-duh-duhduhduhduh! A protest erupts from a nearby and far larger ship than Maddie's own - a glorious bastion of cleanliness and purity among the quickly the deteriorating conditions of Horseshoe Harbor! A small pink pegasi filly appearing at the gangplank of the ship Queen Pegasus; admittedly not nearly as regal or intimidating as her adult self.

The small pink Pegasus replying loudly with the assistance of a paper megaphone. I call foal! No pony should listen to a twit like you. Why you can't even keep your mane inline, let along a Harbor! Why you'd lose your own legs if they weren't attached. covering her mouth with one hoof Oh my, appears that already happened!

Somewhere down along the docks, a little ways beyond where the crowd has gathered for the *best* view, the door to Iron Stock's Sturdy Seaworthy Sinkproof Shipworks swings open and out trots its proprietor- a diminutive filly with a dark blue coat and black bangs that hang in her eyes- and her #1 Assistant, Winter Solstice. With her ability to handle the foundry's labor severely compromised by her artificially regressed age, Winter has been spending a lot of time doing productive things like folding hats out of newspapers- she wears one such hat now- and practicing her juggling. Thankfully, she is not juggling now. She is pretty curious, though, and quickly gallops off, leaving a glowering Iron Stock behind to mind the place as she bustles up to the crowd.

There's not a lot of room left, but fortunately for Winter, she has a way of making room. She shrugs her chubby filly self through the crowd, bumping into others and shouldering past other-others and wedging herself between groups of othery others until she's at the edge of the docks, leaning forward, and veritably ready to spill out into the water. Her folded paper hat slides down over her eyes, and she reaches up to sweep it back, then *puffs* to blow the red bangs that are now much too long for her mini filly face out of her eyes for a few blessed moments of visual clarity.

"Oh yeah?!" she calls back, in what is most assuredly the most compelling argument to be made in response to something she doesn't quite understand.

"Hush you! Nobody asked you to look up from your mirror and pretend to have an opinion!" the Mad Filly grouses, bullhorn turned to that particular Authentic Pirate ship for the moment. "You don't even belong in this town anyway! I have half a mind to blow that thing you call a ship out of the water! Maybe then all these runts would start acting their proper ages again!"

Yeah. Like her shipmembers. The group of foals Maddie managed to threaten enough to get the ship moving. You know how hard it is to corral a bunch of foals into proper sailing? It's really hard, that's how hard it is. Maddie flicks her tail, frowning at the blank, hungry Ex-Mayor. "Oh don't you even start… I'll push you into the water and see if you remember how to swim you blank-faced dolt!" She spins, hopping at Salty. "Git! Git back! How'd you even get on my ship anyway? Why are you always tormenting meeeee?" Whine, whine!

What's this going on here? Jellybean's inherent inquisitive inclinations have led to him flying aimlessly all over town today, and now he sees that there's something happening by the docks. He comes to a somewhat awkward landing next to Winter Solstice, flapping his wings curiously. "I really like your hat. What's happening over there?"

Salty blinks rapidly and stumbles a few steps back before slinking back behind some crates to peek out. She looks mildly wounded by Mad's words, as her stomach adds its own commentary with a loud gurgle. She turns to try and gnaw on the crate.

Solar-Wind scales Ruby's cart so he can get a good view over all the other ponies gathered to watch the 'show-down' between the two ships, "ooh, its a pirate battle! Yearr!~"

Kludge looks over the crowd. He doubts that the blobs will show up when there's this many ponies awake and active, but he's still keeping an eye open. The commotion on the water is amusing, but he suspects that it's safe… for now.

Winter-Solstice perks up like she was shocked in the butt with a taser as Jellybean lands nearby. She's met him before! This automatically means he is a good friend she is totally jazzed to see, although you can't really see it in her eyes, what with her bangs hanging in front of them. Still, she's grinning like a fool of a foal. Reaching up, she scoops her hat off and presses it into Jellybean's hands. "Here! Take it! It will look so totally fabulous on you!" she ebulliates. "I don't know what's going on at all! I just heard yelling. The captain of the watch is out there telling us to stop doing what we're doing, and then the other pink one over there started yelling at her. I think there might be explosions, I don't know!"

Turning back towards the water, she bellows with a volume to match the unlikely strength of her girthy frame. "HEY, ARE THERE GOING TO BE EXPLOSIONS?!"

Ruby-Blossom ponders this entire situation with a curious ponderfication - wearing a slightly silly look on her face that clearly betrays her current pondering. She glances to Solar-Wind "She's not that mean, she just likes to play like she's in charge." offering the colt a playful grin.

Queen-Pegasus huffs adorably before calling back to Mad-Mare with her paper microphone. "Come here and say that to my face you metal-flanked dimiwit. Why I have half a mind to level what's left of your pathetic little harbor! You know the parts you haven't managed to destroy or run into the ground with your grandiose incompetence!

Hoots and hollers ringing out from Queen-Pegasus ship her foal crew are strangely obedient given the situation shooting a lollygagger or two will have that effect!

Jellybean blinks: he's confused. Then smiles: he has a hat! Then he whimpers! "B-but explosions are scary! I don't want there to be explosions! IF THERE ARE EXPLOSIONS I'M TELLING ON YOU!" This to the captain of the watch.

Maddie flails her real legs in frustration, glowering at Salty. Her ears perk to Queenie's re-taunting… Yeah, the little fiery brat is just mad enough to keep the taunting going. She hasn't really had a proper taunt-flinging match in…a while. Since Siyana got her cutie mark at the expense of her inability to out-song-insult her. Hmph.

The littlest mob boss returns to her bullhorn, "If I could get you to stop looking at yourself for five seconds maybe I /would/ say it to your face! You're fulla stinky hot air, and you don't have one whit of the wit these Harborites do! I think that's why you haven't done anything, you're too chicken!"

Not that there wouldn't be good reason. Why, Maddie could tell stories of just how mean the /foals/ of this harbor are. Let alone the adults. Let /alone/ alone adults turned /into/ foals!

Hey! More yelling from the harbor! Maddie aims her bullhorn that way. "There won't be any explosions if you all behave and stop horsing around! Otherwise there'll be plenty of boom! BOOM!"

Oblivious to the yelling match, Salty suddenly bolts upright, fear flitting across her usual blankness, as she scrambles out and gallops for the railing to look out over the distant ocean. Off and far away, if one squints, one can barely make out a tiny plume of smoke, rising from a little black speck.

Winter-Solstice is honestly taken aback by Maddie's retort. She stares out over the water for a bit, before hauling up onto her hind legs and cupping her mouth with her forehooves for -more yelling power.- "I AM GETTING SOME MIXED SIGNALS HERE! SO IF WE BEHAVE WE DON'T GET EXPLOSIONS? THAT'S NOT A VERY GOOD INCENTIVE! I THINK YOU SHOULD WORK ON YOUR OFFER A LITTLE MAYBE!"

As she yells, the crowd around her backs off a bit, not only because she is Very Loud but also because if there's going to be, like, a cannon shot at her, they don't want to be caught in the crossfire. (They don't back off TOO far, though, because they still want a good view.) Winter doesn't seem to notice, dropping back onto all fours and turning to beam a smile at Jellybean. "Don't worry, Jellybelly! They'll be cool explosions, I bet. If not I will promise to make you some cool ones to make up for it."

Solar-Wind Cheers out, "Boom, Boom! Woohoo, Fireworks!" he looks about to the other ponies, "they're gonna let out fireworks! Fireworks!" he practically cheers

Queen-Pegasus flicks a hoof towards Maddie in a general 'FU' fashion before disapearing on deck - hidden by the the railing of her own ship. The sound of sizzling fuse going unheard due to the ruckus of the ports, but the loud explosion of a firing cannon certain does NOT. A resounding boom hailing the firing of a single cannon with the intended target of the Town Square; sadly her foal crew didn't pack nearly enough powder into the cannon resulting in a lack-luster shot that hurls through the air - missing the intended target and instead smashing into the half-constructed Harbor Watch HQ!

Queen's rage of a mis-fire quickly subdued by the delight of damaging Maddie's construction project. The filly reappears to flip Maddie off again. "I'm trying to understand what you're saying but you're facing the wrong direction!" she squints "Dear Celestia, that's /not/ your flank?

Jellybean's eyes go big and wobbly at Winter's 'ressurances.' "B-but, but I DON'T WANNA BE EXPLODED!" Sniffle, sniffle. He rubs his nose with a hoof. "We should stop them from making explosions. Or at least the kind that hurts ponies."

Kludge is tempted to find (or construct) something to launch the cannonball back at Queenie's ship, but isn't quite inspired enough to do that much for one cannonball. Now, if the shot had wrecked a project of his, then he'd understandably start working on a trebuchet or catapult immediately!

Solar-Wind shouts, "Fireworks!" the little foal about jumps, but stays grounded, as he is about as flightless as a penguin but with less style. Those birds have suits n everything!

A spooked Salty? This isn't anything new. Most of the crew aboard Maddie's ship don't take much notice of this. Fortunately Mad-Filly's main goons choose that moment to pop up out from belowdecks, carrying a tray or two of food for the crew. Which they set down near the 'zombie' mayor. Apparently they may have been responsible for getting Salty on board the ship. At least, their presentation of food to a hungry 'zombie' hints at this. Rock'em turns to trot up to his boss, shouting at Everything, while Sock'em digs out a couple treats from the tray for himself, looking up at Salty, looking out at the horizon. "See anything interesting out there?" Sock'em wonders. "Don't go lookin' at the sun now."

Then there's cannons going off! Ahh! Most of the shipmates scatter! Loud noises! Maddie, on the other hoof, frowns. Not so much that cannons were fired on her /fully completed/ Harbor Watch HQ fort as much as just that…she has no idea if that's what Queenie was even trying to fire at. She clears her throat, turning to the pirate ship again.

"Dearie, the point of shooting cannons is to hit something important with them. The last thing you wanna do is shoot at the sturdiest object in town." Hey, Maddie's at least somewhat smiling now though. Maybe this is how Salty feels when she's got Mad all riled up. "Or maybe you were trying to aim and comb your mane at the same time? Sweetie, leave the trick shots for the professionals, and stick to the pirate beauty pagents~"

Winter-Solstice 's head tracks the progress of the whistlin' cannonball as it smashes into the building, and promptly erupts into a cheer, hauling up onto her hindlegs to pump her hooves above her head. "WOO!" she woos, bangs briefly bouncing up out of her eyes. She drops back down and shouts. "IRON STOCK'S STURDY SHIPPY SOMETHING STORE CAN OFFER YOU A GREAT DEAL ON ARMOR FOR HOUSES AND STUFF!" she bellows out towards Maddie's ship. "STOP BY AND SAY GOODBYE TO THE INSECURITY BROUGHT BY BEING SURROUNDED BY ONLY FRAGILE WOOD OR COLD, UNFEELING STONE! SUPER BOSS STEEL PLATING IS IN THIS SEASonngggnghhhaaugh *cough* *cough*" The porky filly doubles over as her throat finally objects to all the canterlock going on. After catching her breath, she waves Jellybean over. "Look, Jelly, you're a good cop, but talk like that doesn't get criminals off the streets. Besides, explosions are cool, and I think you're really not taking that into account."

Queen-Pegasus plants one hoof on the rail of her deck while the other sternly holds her megaphone. "You're nothing but a coward Sunshine, you've barely two legs to stand on! Cowering away from port with your silly little foals!" the small foal climbing atop of a grovelling crewmember to point at Maddie from the deck of her ownship. "I dare you to bring your scrawny metal flank over here, and settle this! Or has the Mad-Mare truely lost her bite, and become a docile little Harbor Kitty." beckoning at Maddie mockingly while calling out with her megaphone. "Meow Meow.

Salty stares fearfully at the horizon… until suddenly there's food. Well, /that/'s forgotten. Ominous foreboding things? Pff. She trots immediately over to the spread and shamelessly starts to chow down, noisily and with great gusto.

Jellybean whimpers and crouches into the street, tugging the hat down over his eyes. "This is scary an' I want my mommy," he moans, sucking on a hoof. Now there's cannons going off and everything.

Ruby-Blossom wanders a little closer to Jellybean after unhooking her harness - offering the the other foal a fresh baked cherry turnover. "They'll likely just tucker themselves out after exchaning perverbial blows." patting the boy atop the head.

Windrose had been out around the edges of town, trying to relax herself again by using her mapmaking as something to focus on. And because Chaos had requested it. Unfortunately an energeticly foalified mind doesn't want to focus very well at all and in semi-defeat the lanky pegasus had flown back into town. And into a ruckus it would seem. "What in the name of Celestia is going on -now-?!" She panics for a moment, but then spots a familiar face down below and quickly dives towards it. Partially to avoid becoming a potential target. "Ruby! What the hay is going on?!"

"Oh who's hiding from who?" the Mad Filly shouts, practically gleeful that she's finally found /some/one she can make mad! Seriously. Everypony else is all 'I'm calm and you're a jerk' to her. Except the punching bag, but you can only taunt the same punching bag so many times before it loses some of its zest. Anyway.

"I come by every day! I wander the streets! I'm everywhere, Darling, and you never leave the happy confines of your precious little sportsboat to say hi, let alone dare to scratch a hoof in a real fight! When /you/ get brave enough to do more than look like a dumb and pretty pinup pony, come see /me/!"

Rock'em snorts. For once he actually /likes/ the insults his boss is throwing out. He trots around to peer over the railing of their ship to see if he can sneak a peek at anything in Queenie's ship. Sock'em, meanwhile, is munching with Salty. Sharing food and whatnot. He peers into the horizon too, after the zombie-mayor's looked away to stuff her face. "Huh. Something on fire waaaaaay out there. Waaay waaaaaay out there."

But it's getting closer.

Salty, oblivious and simple and happy, munches away on the food. She doesn't seem to notice Sock'em's presence, except when she bumps into him, spooks, and scrambles away a few steps… then forgets about it and ambles right back to munch again. Until she bumps into him. And spooks again. Rinse, repeat.

Too bad the foalification happened before Kludge was able to work on the siege tower - it'd be tempting to launch a sneak attack on Queenie's ship whil Maddie keeps her distracted. Of course, with most of the Harbor population stuck as foals, moving it would be nigh impossible; so much for that idea.

He does start scavenging for materials, though - a trebuchet might still come be useful, and other things might need to be built and/or repaired in a hurry by the time this is over.

Winter-Solstice drops down into a seated position, then slouches so that her forelegs hang off the edge of the boardwalk and swing limply down below. She was all excited after the whole shooting cannons thing but now it's getting dull. "Hey, Jelly, maybe we should make our own ship. What do you think? We can go out there and race them. Sound like a plan?" She turns to look back over her shoulder. "Jelly? Oh- oh. Hi, Ruby! Nice turnovers. Fix Jelly, would you? He's crying." She looks back to the water and hangs her head as she hangs her hooves. Come onnnnnn someone sink a ship already i mean golly gee

Jellybean sniff, sniff, sniffle. A tasty treat is given to him. Sniff sniff. Jellybean is too scared of explosions to think about food. But it looks so tasty. Hesitently he leans forward and has a bite. Yes. Yes, this was a good plan. He hoists the hat on his head just enough to let an eye peek through. "You wanna build a boat?"

Ruby-Blossom is quick to address Windrose with a friendly smile and answer. "Maddie thought it'd be a good idea to pull her adorable little ship out of hiding and threaten the townsfolk into submission, buuut she didn't stop to consider that Queen Pegasus would totally respond." rolling her eyes in an adorable filly like fashion. "So now they're having a shouting match - frankly I wouldn't antagonize queen…"

Queen Pegasus slams a hoof against the rail of her deck before her wings flut-flut-flutter into action - then another pegasus, and another, and another…that's alot of pegasus pirates! The pink mare shooting a cold glance back towards the crew who obediently drop back to the deck of the ship leaving only Queen-Pegasus and her weapon-master Tough-Love to gingerly flutter across the waves. The queen landing gracefully on the railing of Maddie's ship! The gruff looking Tough-Love sporting a miniature cannon between his front hooves a deterrent for any of Maddie's goons that decide to interfere. Sky-blue eyes peering at Maddie oh so sternly. I think your boys better back off. Wouldn't want any interference, now would we?

Closer. Smoke is getting closer. That means that something is on fire, and coming their way. Sock'em squints, trying to make out what it could be, but… Apparently Luna hasn't gotten around to that whole moon-raising, sun-setting thing yet. So it's right there conveniently in his eyes. Makes it difficult to really see what That Thing Is.

"Uh… Boss? Something's comin'." Sock'em says anyway, glancing back, and finding not one, but TWO loud-mouthed ill-tempered fillies staring each other down. Oh dear.

Maddie doesn't look cowed. She's just…sitting there. Most of her goons are already finding good places on the boat to sit and watch the potential foal-fight.

"You know that means you lose, right?" Maddie says, polishing one of her real hooves on her chest without bothering to look up at Queenie's stern expression. "In fact, you pretty much lost when you got mad enough to shoot a cannon. You're pretty awful at this whole insults game thing. Maybe you should take up another line of work?" She lifts her gaze, "Beach Bimbo, perhaps~"

Rock'em's eyeing Tough-Love. Then Queenie. Then Tough-Love. Then…that little cannon. "Geez boss. Even their guns are cute. Why don't we have any little cannons?"

Windrose ooohs at Ruby's explaination, and flutters her wings to raise up a bit more to try and see. "Pirate shinanigans. Awesome!" Pause. ".. Wait." Pulls what looks like a travel brochure of some sort out of wherever ponies hide the things they carry around and unfolds it. "But this thing said there's totally -not- any pirates in Horseshoe Harbor!" She half crumples it and holds it over her head in the crook of a hoof. "That's false advertising!"

Winter-Solstice doesn't seem to catch Jelly's question, too busy swinging her hooves off the edge of the pier. The brewing showdown between Maddie and Queenie is a little hard to make out, what with all this hair in the way and the lack of shouting going on. Still… there is something on fire. She's even less able to make it out than Sock'em is, but she can see something is out there, and lifting her head, then sitting upright, and then standing up on her hind legs to shield her eyes with a hoof and peer out towards the water (doing that helps you see farther, don't you know), she quickly identifies it as….

"There's something on fire, in the water! That is totally not what fire normally does, is it?" Dropping back down, she looks back, spots Windrose, and waves at her. "Hey! Windy! Hey! You can fly, right? Go fly out there and see what the thingy that is burning is, would you? Better yet, carry me! Carry me out there to see!"

She blunders over to bounce around Windrose. She is still quite chubby in foal form, and built like a tank beneath that chub. "Carry me carry me carry me carry me!" This is a bad idea. Do not listen to her. "Carry me!"

It looms closer on the distant horizon, blotted out by the sun. But as it draws nearer, it becomes more and more likely that it's a…ship? Probably.

Solar-Wind sees it, but its sooo far away. "Fire? Fire?" he jumps off the edge of Ruby's cart wings extended, and down he plummets landing with a firm "Oooof" spread eagled, he straightens himself and takes off running full tilt weaving through taller ponies legs, darting, bouncing off others, and makes it to the fountain where he manages to find a bucket. He jumps into the fountain with the bucket in his mouth. /SPLASH!!!/ He comes up on the other side, and manages to drag that full bucket behind him. Mind you he half empties the bucket when he gets out as mini-foal as he is the bucket is practically him sized! Only thing in his mind is 'put fire out!'

Queen-Pegasus turns to trot sideways on the slim little railing of of Maddie's ship - the foal clearly has sea-legs as she manages to trot along the thin railing while the waves lap at the boat. "That's the difference between you and I Sunshine. You play games, and I don't." hopping onto the deck of Maddie's ship while staring down the other mare. "You're a joke, nothing like the rabid dog I've heard about." turning her flank on Maddie. "Then again…" The pink mare half-turning to face Maddie all the while glaring at her. Your blade better be sharper than your wit, for your own sake.

Oi Queen! calls a crew-member from the crow's nest of Queenie's ship. Incoming ship on fire. another crew member pipes As in the ship with the cure? The crew-member in the crow's nest shrugging with sincere ignorance and a charming pretty boy smile.

"Hu.. oh? Oh!" Two things happen here. One is the brochure is tossed away, because foal-Windrose has a bit of an attention problem. That's why she got to be so nitpicking later in life. The other is that she's still new here, and thus has no idea how much of a bad idea this may be. "Okay, hang on." She tucks her forelegs around Winny, gives a few beats of her wings, and "… this would be easier if we weren't both kids…" None the less starts winging towards the thing Winter is trying to see.

Ruby cheerfully calls out "No Windrose, it'd be alot harder if Winny was an adult. She's a big, big girl." grinning addorably before ducking out to slips up beside Kludge (+2 Charisma). "Awefully quiet, lunk.

Winter-Solstice is so excited she is probably about to explode, and as a dedicated fan of explosions, the prospect of it makes her even MORE thrilled. She's practically vibrating by the time Windrose gets her upright.

But she doesn't go far. She's enough of an anchor that no matter how much Windrose flaps and tugs, she finds herself rooted in place as surely as she would be if she was chained to the pier by a… a.. a chain.

Winter wobbles about in her half-aloft, all-grounded state. "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! This is what being a pegasus is like!" she whispers breathlessly. Her rear hooves scrape about on the wood of the boardwalk. "The clouds in my nose! The horizon ablaze! All are ants before meeee!"

Winter-Solstice eventually gets pulled aloft, though, because that is also fun, although shortly after actually leaving the ground, she falls utterly silent, eyes wide and grin all-encompassing. Windy could probably drop her into the ocean and Winter might not notice until she was halfway to the sandy bottoms.

Wingbeats take Windrose and Winter slowly closer — to hear laughter. Manic laughter. The ship appears to be of zebra design, and yes, it is indeed on fire. Very much so. Though, somehow, the sails are still full and sending the vessel toward the harbor. At its prow is a pony — a mare — crouched on the rails with her horn glowing bright green. She seems…. intent. And insane.

Kludge sighs. Between the phoenix fire, having to repeatedly rebuild Rising's residence, and the general foaldom, it's incredibly hard to find any spare construction material. Phooey. "Hey Ruby. I'm thinking about building a catapult or something like that, but there's not enough materials to even get started."

"I'd be stronger as an adult!" Windrose shouts back between clenched teeth and scrunched expression in general at the strain, not to mention cute… and not getting entirely anywhere other than dragging the fat foal along who's too wound up to realize it. Straaaaaain!

But in the end the fact that she has such awkward large wings for a foal her current age pays off, catching enough sea breeze to force airborne despite the extra weight.

*clop* A firm little hoof whapping Kludge firmly - but gently - on the side of his head. "What did I tell you about antagonizing Queen? What would I do if you got hurt? Who would build my house? Who would lug my heavy things? Who would buy me dinner?

Maddie can't resist. She flashes Queenie a rightly rogueish look. "At least you've heard of me." she says, leaning on the rail.

"…Uh, Boss?" comes Sock'em's concerned voice.

"If you're serious about this whole 'beating me up' thing, the least you could do is actually throw a kick or something. Shoot a gun. A bow. Bite. I don't know." Maddie continues.

"/Boss?/" Sock'em tries again, looking out at the horizon. Rock'em sidles up alongside his cohort, squinting. "…whoa."

Oblivious, Maddie continues. "Honestly, you have /no/ style. It's all 'ooooh I'm a big bad pirate queen, fear me because I'm beautiful and I'll shoot you'. There's no respect there! I should know. I tried that same schtick here, and lost my legs for the trouble."

"BOSS!" Rock'em and Sock'em both shout, sounding quite awful panicked now. That Thing must be really close! "I think we better move!" Rock'em says, already diving for the railing. "Like, now!" Sock'em agrees. Both ponygoons landing in the water with a splash, leaving Maddie to blink and squint at the horizon herself. "What..?"

Queen-Pegasus scoffs as she turns to fully face Maddie and trot straight for her - only to have the other mare to turn her attention to the horizon - prompting a firm poke-shove from the pink pegasus. "Why the hoof do you think I flew over to this dump of a ship for!" another firm shove-poke with paw. "To kick your flank!" she fumes as Maddie seems to pay more attention to something else! The very thought of being ignored nearly inducing a child like tantrum from the pink pegasus - thankfully she manages to restrain herself "Sunday we'll duel, you clop-cow." fluttering into the air to head back to her ship.

Ruby curiously glances over her shoulder before nudging Kludge "Something's happening, like on the water.

"Heh, maybe it's something that will encourage Queen to leave," Kludge responds with a slight scowl. "But if Queen is going to open fire on the Harbor, then it's time to make plans to fight back."

Winter-Solstice eventually shakes herself out of her amazed stupor and blinks down at the blazing ship and the strange unicorn at its prow. She twists about a bit- no doubt trying Windy's hold on her in the process- to peek up at the ambitious pegasus. "Hey! Who's that? Wait, you're new here. You probably don't know. Unless you came from the same place she did. Does she look familiar?" Peering down at the blazing boat and its mad captain, she raises her voice- a little hoarse still- and shouts down at Whoever It Is. "HEY, YOUR BOAT IS ON FIRE, YOU MIGHT WANT TO GET THAT LOOKED AT!" She pauses. "ALSO YOU LOOK A LITTLE CRAZY, NO OFFENSE, BUT YOU MIGHT WANT TO GET THAT LOOKED AT, TOO." Her dangling legs waggle about. She drops her voice a bit before talking up at Windrose again. "I'm getting a bad feeling about this, Windy!"

"And I've got almost no feeling in my legs now," Windrose grunts back, slowly realizing why this was not such a smart idea after all. But she's a foal right now, can you blame her for being cutely naive and impulsive?

That ship is barreling closer. Now everyone on the dock can make out what the lofty foals could see. And it's coming /right/ for the narrow space between Maddie's and Queenie's ships. Laughter now rings across the waves as the burning vessel plunges closer, and its mad captain flings her head back to look at the flying foals with glinting icy blue eyes.


Salty, meanwhile, squeals in terror and charges away from the railing, away from the ship, and barrels right past Mad and Queenie to try and scramble at the far railing. But she is dumb, and simple, and inept, and she can't make legs go work right how do I shot web.

Winter-Solstice starts to wriggle about in Windrose's grasp. "Augh! She's giving off major villain vibes! Windy, take us in! I have no idea what she's planning, but anybody who laughs like that needs to get bonked on the nose!" She kicks her legs a bit more, once again setting her already considerable weight to swinging ponderously beneath Windrose.

Windrose gahs as Winter starts squirming around, straining as he pulls back and beats her wings… but she can't just hold on any longer, her legs are already going numb. "Grip.. slipping… can't.. hold…" And then Winter might end up getting to do just that. I mean bonk her on the nose. Literally. With herself. From overhead. Depending on how far they got before Windrose couldn't hold onto the cubby foal any longer.

"W..what.." Maddie starts to say, the loud cackle of a voice seemingly amplified by the very waters themselves! "N..noooo!" She was just starting to get the hang of this insults thing too! She was just starting to have fun! Why does her fun always have to get ruined? Whyyyyyyyy

But she can't dwell upon this for long. Not with her crew having already hopped ship to swim to shore, leaving her ship to drift closer to Queen's ship, right in the way of the insane pony driving a flaming boat. Survival instincts kick in before much else, and Maddie leaps off the side of her own ship! Which…turns out to be somewhat of a mistake. Seeing as how metal legs don't swim very well. "Ackglub!" Flail! Flail! Flail!

Yelling and profanities fill the air as the scallywags aboard Queenie's ship do their best to get the ship underway before too much damage occurs! The behemoth of ship simply can't get underway in time to avoid Maddie's ship - so Queenie does the next best thing! Deafening boom after deafening boom filling the air as Queen's crew set to making swiss cheese of Maddie's ship as it slowly nears - certainly they won't be able to sink the thing before collision; but this at least prevent Maddie from salvaging her own ship! Surely Queenie's going to be stuck in dock for months of ship repairs following this collision!

A heavy sigh escapes Ruby as she watches the scene unfold - suddenly realizing that Maddie can't exactly swim - she rushes towards the end of the docks and dives into the water - after all you can't leave somepony who said you're their special somepony to just drown.


Salty is doing just that, huddled now on the ramp up from the water. Quaking. Whimpering. Crying.

Well, there's enough chaos going on… Kludge figures he might as well help Maddie & Company. Ruby might appreciate the backup, and Rock'em & Sock'em could probably use the assist, too. With a battlecry of "I have /got/ to be kiddiiiiiiiiing~!" Kludge follows Ruby right off the docks and swims towards the swimming crew.

Winter-Solstice feels Windrose's hooves slip. She feels that questionably secure grip fail, the embrace of the lanky filly's legs give way to the cool whistle of the evening breeze. A moment of alarm gives way to exhiliration. This is what being a pegasus is like! This is so awesome! She spreads her legs out at her sides and, for a brief moment, she is as free as a bird.

That bird is a penguin in a pair of lead pants and it's dropping straight towards the flaming ship and its mad captain. The porky filly accelerates rapidly and hits the forecastle with a grunt, bouncing once, rolling over, and wobbling to her feet afterwards. Dazed but intact, she focuses quickly on the fire, on the yelling, on the… Saltlick? Wait, the dead mayor? Isn't she… but she was… -this is so confusing.-

When in doubt, knock things over. Porky filly Winter galumphs towards the bellowing captain and tries to bowl her over from behind. "Welcome to Horseshoe Harbor!" she grunts on impact, even if that impact is with the railing following a timely dodge by Salty(?). "Your ship is REALLY ON FIRE and you are REALLY KIND OF FREAKY, but if you're the REAL Salty, can I get your autograph, after you stop being so freakishly scary?!"

WHOMP. Saltlick, so-called, stumbles forward a step at the impact and turns to light a bright, terrifying smile on the filly. "Why hello there, Small Citizen!" she hollers over the flames. "Have you come to be my apprentice? YES. I SHALL MAKE YOU MY APPRENTICE. Only the most daring of foals would plunge onto a ship on fire led by one Dread Pirate Saltlick! COME, APPRENTICE! LET US LAUGH! HAH HAH HAAAHHH!!" She turns and tries to heft her up by the scruff, and grunts. Because she's such a porky adorable little filly. "Grrff. HRRGGH. HNNFFFF." Finally she's plopped onto Saltlick's back and the pirate turns her gaze back out to the harbor, all full of spit and vinegar.

The harbor, by the way, is very close. In fact, the distraction has caused the unicorn to lose some control of the ship and it's started careening to the side as she laughs uproarously. With an ear-shattering CRRRRRAAAACK, it slams into first Queenie's ship, and then Mad's, sending large portions crumbling inward. Somehow, she seems to have managed to brace herself for that enormous impact, because she's still there, cackling her fool head off with Winter draped over her back.

"Oh no oh no oh no!" Windrose recovers, and loops back to orient herself to dive towards the flaming ship. "I'm sorry Winter, I couldn't hold any longer nd you're heavier than I thought and whoa that ship really is on fire and oh horseapples!" She shoots right past the ship, and skips off the water a few times like a thrown stone before getting back into the air, abiet way on the other side of the ship now. Windrose hovers there… having covered her face with her forelegs. That she peeks over when she didn't actually crash into anything. "Sorry, forgot I was an awkward flier even with my sense of direction!" Starts panting as she wings back towards the ships. Forgot how much being a foal doesn't have as much endurance too!

Winter-Solstice experiences a rare bit of fear when her blundering charge results NOT in ponies being cast skyward like obliterated bowling pins, as is her expectation, but her bouncing off and landing on her duff. She is suddenly, shockingly reminded that the power and strength she has come to take for granted has, sadly, been sapped by her condition. It leaves her stricken and wide-eyed beneath her overhanging bangs, and quite vulnerable to being picked up- heavy and struggling, but defenseless, and soon… seated on the Captain's back.

She really has no idea what's going on. This is terrifying. This is exciting beyond most anything else she's seen here in town since she arrived here. She's not sure if her Hero Instinct needs some serious recalibration. Still, there is fire and explosions, and the heat of them seeps past her childish chub and boils her blood. Whatever is going on, it's fun. Okay, so she's not being a very good hero, and she might get keelhauled in short order, but laughing in the face of madness? That she can do!

"BWAAAHAHAA *snort* AAHAHAHAA *snort* HAAAAAA!" she cackles with genuine enthusiasm, pushing herself upright. She lifts a forehoof and punches it out in front of herself as bulk of Maddie's ship buckles inward. Something inside her that resents tyrannical power structures thrills at the spectacle of it.

It seems Maddie is to be saved from drowning a horrible watery death! This is good, though Ruby has a very difficult time of it considering that Mad Filly just won't sit still and be rescued. She's flailing, practically in tears herself, that /awful awful voice/ ringing in her ears! "Nooo*glug**cough*oooooo! Not p-thptppptpble!" Her abandoned ship drifts, shot up with cannonfire, a wreck on the water. So much kindling in the face of the Dread Pirate Saltlick's return!

Rock'em and Sock'em do not in fact need any help. They've managed to climb up onto the dock just in time to watch Kludge sail over their heads and into the water. They wave at the Kludgey foal, then look up to behold the chaos befalling the ships, and soon to be the dock too. "What'cha think this means, Sockie?" "I dunno, Rockie." "Think we're gonna be out of a job now?" "Yeeeeeeah… If we're lucky."

Profanity and anger rings out from Queenie's ship "My ship, my beautiful ship, you klod!" throwing a random object - ie crew member at Saltlick from her vantage point high above! The ship lists to one side before settling - this damage will prevent sailing all winter! "Stuck in this backwater hole of a town, argh!" the pink mare less than excited with the current situation to say the least - well at least she sank Maddie's battleship and provided Kludge his desired scrap in the process!

Ruby growls addorably as she squeezes the pudding out of Maddie to maintain a grip while doing her best to swim back to shore - Kludge's arrival is more than welcome and makes the whole swimming situation easier - too bad Winny isn't down here; that flank doubles as a flotation device.

While he helps Ruby get Maddie back to shore, Kludge is giving a bit of thought to this new situation. The current power struggle is heavily tilted in favor of Saltlick, but he doubts that Queen Pegasus will let this incident pass. This could be useful, as long as certain groups keep a low profile during the expected struggles.

Ships are crumbling! Fires are burning! PONIES ARE LAUGHING!

Saltlick leaps off the prow of her ship and onto the remains of Maddie's as she skids down the swiftly tilting deck toward the harbor. Her horn flares and the rear railing explodes outward, making a convenient plank for her to take her to the dock. She trots eagerly, with mad grin and a pudgy apprentice.

"He-llo~, Horseshoe Harbor," Saltlick beams, and on cue, her ship — the poor remains of the Destiny Caravel — /explodes/ behind her in a multi-colored shower of fireworks. Or. Well. Fire, anyway. The sea-green unicorn mare bears the skull-and-crossbones cutie mark that her cowering counterpart on the docks lacks. She also lacks those rumpled, bloody mayoral accoutrements: an ascot and four gold-toed boots. Instead, her bare hooves are showing, chapped and crumbling in the most horrific and bloody way. If she was burnt by the flaming ship, she doesn't seem to show it.

Just getting tugged onto dry dock, Maddie stops her flailing, flopping onto her back and staring off into the sky. It's getting dark now… There's a look of shock on her face. From almost drowning? From seeing the REAL Salty return? From…realizing just how powerless she is as a kid in the face of a pony that /knows/ it was her fault she got killed? And if this is the real Salty… Why is she feeling more like bursting into tears than kicking her in the shin? So many questions she doesn't have answers to!

Rock'em waves at Salty. Sock'em salutes. "Welcome back!" "Weren't you supposed to be a ghost or something?"

Winter-Solstice hunkers down and makes good use of a low center of gravity natural to twinkies, corgis and fat ponies to maintain her perch, as the evil Salty bounds OVER to the flaming wreck. Now, that's not really too bad an idea, this is something Winter could see herself doing of her own volition, but she's not sure why they're there. At least this one's not exploding. The thrill of the situation is subsiding, and those uncomfortable notions of fear arre lapping at the edges of her enthusiasm. She staves them off with a shake of her head, long bangs swooshing up over her eyes for a moment before settling, and looks back over her shoulder. That was… the Zebra ship? She wasn't very familiar with it, but it does help to emphasize that she is quite possibly in over her head.

Nah, definitely. Not an unfamiliar place to be. She looks forward once more as she sits back up and peers over the top of Salty's head. "Are you here to kill a lot of people and burn the town down?" she stage-whispers to the Captain. "I, er, I need to know if I have the qualifications to be your apprentice for whatever is going on now and I think, I think, that's blood, yes, that's blood, I think the problem with your ship being on fire has sort of taken care of itself but those hooves, you might want to get THOSE looked at-" *Puff!* She interrupts her chatter to blow her bangs out of her eyes and scan the boardwalk for a more familiar face. She has no plan. Note to self: Start coming up with plans more often.

An exhausted and heavy sigh will likely be Ruby's only reward aftering hauling Maddie's flank out of the water. Heavy panting slowly subsiding as she nudges up into a semi-sitting position to curiously look down at Maddie before gently hitting her on the chest. "You scared me!" she scolds before hugging Maddie - as if they were friends and all that jazz! She glances to Kludge and sighs softly "Thank you.

Kludge gives Ruby a small smile. "Hey, what are friends for?"

"Kill? Nah! I'm just here to grab a pint and kick back, and see if the town's missed me!" Saltlick finally has to squat down and roll the tubby foal off her back with a grunt. "Woof. Welcome to land, Young Apprentice! Your first lesson is this: no matter where you are, you belong there. Act like it!" She ruffles the foal's over-long hair and then turns to survey…

All the foals?

Including…a little foal with metal legs… She blinks. And then guffaws. "Do mine /eyes/ decieve me?!" she barks a laugh. "Did the Mad Mare get shrunk into a /baby/?!" And now she's laughing. Oh boy is she ever laughing.

Winter-Solstice grunts as she is rolled onto the ground, which she finds she sort of missed. Maybe it's an Earth Pony thing. Maybe she just needs more practice at flying and boarding ships and riding hellmares through fire and dangation. She pops back upright with a little blubbery wobble, *puffs* her hair out of her eyes, and glowers about defiantly. "I *belong* here!" she announces to nobody in particular. Whirling about, she *puffs* and glowers at some fearful spectators at a distance. Yeah! Yeah!

Saltlick quirks a grin and chucks Winter on the shoulder. "/Exactly/, kid!"

Solar-Wind returns to the fountain and retrives more water, and starts making rounds at the edge of the dock. /little splash, little splash, little splash!/ He whew's as he just /tries/ to be what he's suposed to be, a big brave fire pony! He barks out a quick question, looking to anyone who will listen, "Buckets, n water, Buckets n' Water, We can DO this!" he shouts!

Maddie doesn't seem to notice the chest poke. Lost in her own world for the longest moment. Getting hit on the chest snaps her halfway out of it though, as does the hug after, the little crazy foal half-heartedly hugging Ruby back. "U..uh thanks. For saving my life."

Then she's being laughed at. By a very much alive Salty. Her pupils shrink nigh instantly, a very 'erk' expression forming on the foalified mob boss. It's not a very flattering position she's in! It's too much, in fact! Too much to handle, knowing that her 'nemesis' is very much alive and well again.

It's enough shock that other baser instincts kick in, Maddie's legs jerking in a sudden desire to get back on her hooves, /bolting/ out of the port. Somewhere else. Away from Saltlick! Away from the Harbor! Awaaaaaaaay!


Ruby-Blossom flops on her face in a rather ungraceful manner as Maddie bolts for - well whatever it is she's bolting for! The turquoise mare mummbling into the ground "You're wecome…" before peeling herself up to wander back to Kludge - looking down at her 'friend'. "So…this a night?

Solar-Wind waves to Kludge and Ruby-Blossom hoping for help with buckets, and a fire, least something else erupts in flames around here… …again.

Kludge looks out over the water at the floating debris. "Well, I think letting things sit for a while should be a good thing - let the flotsam drift ashore overnight, then salvage later. And as for power politics…" He glances around at the various powers, then continues "Might be a good idea to let those settle for now, too."

Ruby-Blossom waves to Solar Wind and points at the fire that is all but smoldering wreckage now in the water "It's alright Solar-Wind, it's alright." she waves the colt over "This fire isn't going to hurt any pony.

Solar-Wind hrumphs some but gives one last toss of his bucket, and trots over to Ruby, "Juss doin'myjob" he offers softly with a note of defeat in his voice. "mmmgonna hate to do that report on this town" he grumbles some totally pouty. He just snorts some

Winter-Solstice squawks a bit at the unexpected shoulder punch- more alarming than painful. She's still a little tank. She glances back at Salty, then sits up a bit more straightly and stubbornly.

"Welp. There goes the fun. Ah well, I'm sure we'll see her later. Now let's go grab a pint. You ever had a drink, kiddo?" Saltlick starts trotting quickly toward the Rusty Bucket, ignoring the whole…/fire/ thing.

And Salty, her doppleganger anyway, is curled in a tight little trembling ball under some debris. Safe from horrible ponies.

Winter-Solstice spins about. A drink?! With the captain?! This is not a good idea! Of course she's up for it! She smiles brightly. "Er, actually, I'm not normally a kid-" she says, as she falls into line behind the captain. "And I've had a drink, sure! Hey, if I'm your apprentice, do I get a hat? That thing with your hooves isn't infectious, is it? Are you going to burn ALL of the boats or just those two?!" By night's end, she'll either have lost the job through incessant chatter or found one of the few ponies in town with the grit to put up with it.