Bitter Lemons
IC date: Summer 64
OOC date: August 23
PCs: PERSON PERSON
NPCs: Rock'em, Sock'em
GM: None

Summer has begun to wind down, but the days haven't stopped being hot yet. The beach is back to looking pristine and garbage-free, and all signs that the Midsummer Bash even happened are practically gone. The Harbor is back to business as usual, and this evening that amounts to various ponies going about their day to day work and play.

Well, almost business as usual. The Harbor Watch ponies, as rough and tough as they've been lately, have been busy on the ol' beach boardwalk. Under the guidance of their Captain, one Mad Mare, the crooks that currently keep the Harbor peace have gone and constructed a great wooden booth, just half a block or so down from a rickety looking stand. Maddie herself has taken to sitting behind her newly constructed booth, with her two most trusted ponygoons behind her, Rock'em and Sock'em.

But what are they doing, exactly? Well… The sign on the booth, in bright letters, reads: 'The Best Lemonade In Town'. Apparently these three stern-faced Watch ponies are…selling lemonade. Two bits a glass!

Though business doesn't seem to be that great. Every time a pony wanders close to the booth to check out the price, or the lemonade, they earn a glare from the Mad Mare that quickly sends them scurrying off. This…isn't how she planned it. So it's rather aggrivating. Which has only made her scowl that much harder at the world, and drive off more business, which…

Well you get the idea.

The rickety booth? It's empty at the moment. Apparently the foals that man /that/ lemonade stand are on break.'.

Peak-Dreamer swoops in from the sky above the harbor, gliding down in the direction of the shade cast by the Rusty Bucket. He begins trotting in the direction of the empty lemonade stand, only to stop dead in his tracks upon noticing the Best Lemonade storefront and the crew behind it. He looks around nervously for other purveyors of refreshment, but these ponies are the closest and cheapest on the port. "Ah, flap it." He breathes a sigh through an unpleasantly dry nose and trots with trepidation toward the stand.

A rather small, light blue colt wanders onto the scene. His yellow mane is unkempt and his coat is covered in dried up sweat. He's carying a number of black saddle bags. From his worn out appearance it is apparent that he has traveled some distance. The colt stops to take in the scene, and takes a deep and satisfying breath of sea air. He glances around, looking for a place to rest his sore hooves, and spots a lemonade stand. "Now that's convenient," he mumbles to himself. He then musters the last of his strength to trudge over towards the promised lemonade.

Rising-Chaos trots onto the boardwalk with her wagon behind her. She squints her eyes in the glare of the sun. She is wearing her glasses and her cloak is draped across her back. She is levitating a notebook and pen beside her. Her wagon is mostly empty except a few books.

Rising-Chaos takes a moment to take in the sight of Portside, seeking an area with some shade, sweat is apparent on her brow. She picks out a spot near the rickety, deserted stand and rests there. From the corner of her eyes she spots Mad Mare's stand, and sighs to herself. Soon she is deep in concentration, writing in her notebook and consulting several books.

Oh look! More potential customers! Given that the few other passing ponies have given her stand a wider berth than necessary, it's easy enough to spot the two that actually dare to approach.

This, of course, doesn't save either of them from getting glared at. The Mad Mare eyes both the approaching pegasus and the worn-out traveller, brushing back her short mane with a hoof. She glances over her shoulder to see if her goons are ready to serve (or whatever), only to find them both…snoozing. Snoozing! Unacceptable! This earns both Rock'em and Sock'em a quick, if subtle kick of a metal hoof to either of their shins to make them both start and snort awake. "Huhwha?" "Nghfivemoreminutes…"

Sigh. So hard to find good help anymore. Anyway, customers! Maddie finds it in her to put her glare away for all of ten seconds, to smile a /very/ off smile. "Good evening!"

A thin white earth pony trots in from the town square. He lifts his head and takes in the sea air, letting it tossle his brown mane. A particularly strong gust rattles the chainmail shirt he is wearing, the links clinking softly. A saddle bag with the celestial crest is thrown over his flanks, and a quill and partchment poke out.

He glances around and quirks an eyebrow at the strange shop, shakes his head, then sits by the sea, listening to the water and conversation. "What on Equestria does Celestia want to know about this place?" He mutters to himself.

Peak-Dreamer walks up to the stand, thirst beating out intimidation. "The best lemonade, please." He drops two bits on the stand and looks at each of the watch/lemonade ponies in turn, then glances around to see who else is in the area. He is visibly relieved to see a decent number of ponies around the port.

Next, the blue traveler reaches the larger of the lemonande stands. He casually raises a hoof as he approaches to grab the sale's pony's already active attention. "Umm, can I get some uh…" he starts, but then notices the offputting smile that Mad Mare is giving him. His shyness gets the better of him at this awkward stare, and he starts to sink back. "Some uh… the uh, lemon…" Then he notices that he's cut in front of some other pony. Awkward silence ensues.

Rising-Chaos perks her ears up as the scene around the bigger stand begins to unfold. Carefully she sets her notebook down on the ground beside her, and takes off her glasses. "This should be interesting" She mutters herself, and gets ready to enjoy the show.

Royal twitches an ear towards the conversation going on at the stand. This 'Mad Mare' is setting off all sorts of warning bells for him. Plus, her smile is more than a little off putting. Whatever happens, duty is probably going to call.

The curiously dressed quill-bearing pony gets an especially hard glare from the Mad Mare behind the lemonade stand. If only because of how official-looking he is. That moment passes quickly though, what with actual customers to tend to and all, Maddie resuming her not-quite-right smile to the first (second?) pony what wandered up. Y'know, the one that actually put bits down on her countertop.

The bits practically disappear with a quick gesture from the Mare, her smile disappearing as quick as it had come. Fleeting like a breeze, it is. She turns her head to nod once at her goonponies, prompting Rock'em to scramble for cups, and Sock'em to get the pitcher picked up, the two somehow managing to get a cup of lemonade filled up without too much splashing all over the counter. "You'd think you two never poured a drink before…" Maddie mutters when the cup is set in front of the pegasus, both Rock'em and Sock'em looking embarassed with the whole ordeal.

"…Enjoy the drink." Maddie grunts to the served customer, her eyes catching sight of another pony huddled behind the first one. "…Hey, shrimp. Can we help you?"

Ruby-Blossom trots into the Port from the Townsquare; intresting perking as she sees a line formed around what she percieves to be the filly's lemonstand. She trots over to say hello to the girls with a cheerful "He…" deflation followed by a dead-pan glare "hay?" glaring from Maddie at far, awefully confused why /she's/ selling lemonade from her own stand. She trots a little closer to get a eye on the action.

Peak-Dreamer sips the lemonade and grimaces. "It's… um… refreshing. Like a rainbow. I mean rainwater." He turns to One Shot and says, "Here, you can have this if you want," while shaking his head "no" vigorously. "I'm actually in the mood for anything else. Something else, I mean!" He tucks his head in near his wing and spits out the taste of the "lemonade" as discreetly as possible.

The traveler, known as One-Shot, tries desperately to gather himself together after that awkward line-cutting snafu. Normally he might just shy away and go without, but he's very thirsty. He reaches into his… huh? Which bag was it, the one with his wallet? One-shot can feel the lemonade line bearing down on him as he looks for his bits. He doesn't want to keep anypony waiting. Just as he picks out two bits from the bottom of one of the side bags, he sees Peak-Dreamer offer him lemonade in the weirdest way.
"Oh, no thank you, I found some bits," One-Shot says as he flashes the bits.
He thinks to himself, "does he think I can't pay for my own lemonade? I'm not that desperate… yet." He then slaps the bits on the counter and takes a glass.

Royal rises to his hooves, taking small strides toward the shop.

The reaction to Maddie's lemonade recipie earns Peak a harsh glower! "That's not how it's supposed to go… You don't share the lemonade. Every pony buys their own cup!" Again the Mad one peers over the counter, /staring/ until he puts bits up on the counter. Then the smile returns! Briefly. "Just like that! I'm glad some ponies know how business works. Boys?"

Again Rock'em and Sock'em get to pouring a second cup of lemonade. Two cups in less than two minutes! This is a record! It totally beats their record yesterday of no cups in twenty-four hours! …Trying to do this legitimately is really, really /hard/.

Once the glass is delivered to One Shot, Maddie's smile again disappears. There aren't exactly any other ponies behind the poor nervous colt to worry about, but that doesn't stop Maddie from pretending like there are.

"Enjoy your drink." Maddie mutters, then in a louder tone, "Next!"
Ruby-Blossom watches the scene unfold with interest; almost giggling as the first 'satisfied' customer tries desperately to dispose of the purchased drink. She trots a little closer while still keeping her distance; it's a great opportunity to observe Maddie, and some unfamiliar ponies.

In his thirst, it takes four or five chugs before One-Shot notices something odd about the lemonade. The terrible realisation comes at the sixth chug, and by then his body is already prepared to rid itself of the foul liquid. One-Shot braces himself on the booth's counter with both hooves as his stomach starts to lurch. "What is this?!" One-Shot yells in an uncharacteristically loud voice. "How can you *cough* How can you even sell this?! Who's in charge here anyway, I want to talk to your…" Before One-Shot can finish his sentence, the lemonade and other contents of his stomach spill out onto the ground in front of Mad Mare's stand. One-Shot stumbles a bit before collasping on the ground.

Peak-Dreamer jumps back as he sees One-Shot lose his lemonade. "I was just trying to save him. Save him a few bits, I mean," he shoots back. "What do you do for a living, anyway? This can't be your livelihood, because…" He looks around. "Because business is so slow, even on a hot day. Right, that's why." He looks back at Maddie expectantly, but approaches the emptied One-Shot to make sure he's alright.

Rising-Chaos begins to chuckle as the customers first try the 'lemonade'. Her expression turns to worry as One Shot collapses, with a sigh she stand up and brushes herself off. She puts everything back on her wagon. She fixes her cloak, adjusts her glasses and hitches herself up once again. With a faint smile on her face she approaches the stand.

As One Shot starts to yell, Royal quickens his pace. In a few moments he is at the unfamiliar but ragged pony's side. Careful to avoid the… unpleasent contents on the ground, he walks up and trys to help One Shot back to his hooves.

As he does so, he glances back over his shoulder at the mare working the booth. "What kind of stand are you running here?!" He cries. "In the name of Princess Celestia and under the authority of the Castle of Canterlot, I demand an explanation!" He fixes Mad with a solid glare.

For the love of Pete… If Maddie could scowl any deeper she'd be a bloody gargoyle. A pony loses their lunch in front of her booth, and has the nerve to accuse /her/ lemonade!? It hardly deserves an answer! Let alone help of any sort! She rests her front arms on the countertop to peer over at the fallen pony, squinting down at him. "Oh cut the dramatics! It's just lemonade!"

"Dirty lemonade, even." Rock'em pipes up, grinning from over Maddie's shoulder. Sock'em, too, from the other shoulder, "Y'know. Lemons. Sugar. Rum. Spices. It's good stuff!"

Maddie rolls her eyes, turning on her companions. "You aren't supposed to blurt out the recipie! This is a /contest/! What if they tell the opposition?" Grr, grr.

By the time Maddie's turned around again, there's somepony helping the obviously-faking-sick pony. Glaring at her. This earns a lifted eyebrow from the Mad Mare, who resumes resting her forelegs on the countertop as though nothing had happened. "I think the sign's obvious enough. Lemonade. Obviously. Which that one's apparently allergic to. I suggest taking him to the local doctor."

Ruby-Blossom can't help but snicker as Maddie's little lemonade stand gets a new coat of 'paint' curtiousy of One-Shot. She trots in closer to curiously peek down at Maddie's victim, but her attention is quickly drawn to Royal-Coat and his little decree. For the first time Maddie and Ruby are in agreement on something, scowling - only Ruby's less noteable scowl is directed towards the unfamiliar Canterlot pony.

One Shot gives an appreciative nod to Royal for helping him up. The combination of exhaustion, the late summer heat, and an unexpected stomach-full of whatever that was proved to be too much for the frail pony. One Shot makes an effort to stay on his hooves, but finds his muscles won't take the combined weight of his body and his saddle bags, so decides to take it easy in the shade made by the stand. By this point he could care less about the scene starting to unfold. He imagines the hard ground is his bed and passes out.

Peak-Dreamer shakes his head at One Shot's state. "Contest, huh? I'd try my hoof at a lemonade contest. Tell me more." He looks at his glass. "Doesn't seem like the competition is too stiff."

Royal helps One Shot as far as he can go, starting to talk to him as they walk. "My name is Royal, coming from Canterlot. Is there any place I can…" One Shot abruptly falling to the ground cuts him off. Checking to see if the pony is okay, he places himself between the others and the fallen equine.

Seeing that Ruby stepped forward, he calls out to her. "Miss? As much as I like to leave others to their goings on, I don't think this is the best place to leave him. And as much as I hate to admit that she seems to have the right idea…" He twitches his head, pointing to Mad. "…she might be on to something." He gives a soft smile. "Would you mind helping me get him to a doctor? Then I can come back and help clear up this mess."

Ruby-Blossom is taken aback as the Canterlot Pony calls on her to assist, a small but obvious twitch to be had as she musters a polite "S…sure." It's very obvious she's not pleased with the scenario as she trots a little closer to the ill-fallen pony. How wonderfoal, she's stuck between a Royal and a nutcase.

"We'll take care of the mess." Maddie calls out to Royal and Ruby. "Just get the…poor boy to the doctor already." Maddie waves a hoof dismissively. "Shoo~"

Then she turns to Rock'em and Sock'em. Both of which are still staring at Royal. "Boys? Mess?" The twin goons blink, shake their heads, and peer down at Maddie. "Oh! Right." Rock'em says, with Sock'em already grabbing sponges and such to clean up the front of the booth.

Maddie sighs. Again. And resumes her easygoing lounging, squinting next at Peak. "There's nothing to tell. I'm selling lemonade…"

With Ruby's assistance, Royal tries to move One Shot, but the limp pony is tougher to move than he thought. "My apologies." He rubs a hoof along the back of his mane. "Seems there was a reason I never made the guard."

He looks concerned for a moment. "I don't really want to leave him here, but I feel he needs to at least be looked at." He smiles earnestly at Ruby. "Would you mind watching over him, miss? I'll return with a doctor in short order!"

Barely waiting for a response, he wheels about, casts a final glance at the scene, then runs around the corner. Royal promptly gets lost looking around the unfamiliar city.

Peak-Dreamer rolls his eyes. "And I'm selling Equestria's best apple pies. Fresh out, though! Point is, it's clear you're new to lemonade. Have you even read Lemon Drop's 'First Ade'? It would do you some good!"

Rising-Chaos notices Ruby's discomfort and trots forwards. "Miss, I can handle him for a while, don't worry about it." She unhitches herself form the wagon, takes off her cloak, folding it neatly and tucking it away with her books, and kneels by the downed pony. She spares a glance Mad Mare's way. "Nice to see you aren't cheating by the way."

Ruby-Blossom is stuck foal-sitting before she has a chance to respond, one hoof raised as she prepares to call out to the Canterlot Pony; alas he's already gone. So there she is stuck with an unfamiliar pony, and Mad_mare. A heavy sigh to be had as she nudges the 'corpse before stepping over it to put a little room between herself and Maddie's latest victim. The offer from the unfamiliar pony is welcome and entices a small albiet mildly forced smile "That might be for the best." a little sideways step to give the strang mare some room.

Peak-Dreamer heads over toward Rising and One Shot, shaking his head at Mad-Mare's "business acumen" all the while. "Hey, good to see you again. How's he doing?" He looks over One-Shot from a few different angles, including overhead, where he hovers, blowing air gently on One-Shot's face.

Maddie glares as Peak gives her a 'suggestion' and then just leaves! …Even if it's only a couple steps away! Hmph. "My recipie is just /fine/ thank you!" she grumbles out, settling back into a sulk.

A minute or two later, she's joined by Rock'em and Sock'em again, and the stand is all shiny clean! Huzzah! Maddie keeps /glaring/ at the fallen pony. Obviously this is all /his/ fault.

Rising-Chaos takes off her glasses and sets them aside. "I'm going to cast a quick spell that will make you feel better, all right?" She asks, not waiting for confirmation she casts a small spell. Her eyes quickly flash white and a small groan comes from the sick pony. Chaos gets to her hooves and puts on her glasses and cape again. She approaches Maddie's stand, looking her straight in the eye. "It could very well have been an allergic reaction," she says slowly, "he'll be fine in a bit." She looks at the stand critically. "I'll have a glass for myself," She says, pulling out two bits from a pocket in her cloak and setting them on the counter.

The jolt of unicorn magic was just what One Shot needed to come back to his senses. That, plus all of these ponies standing around is making it hard to snooze. With so many ponies watching, he starts to think this is making too much of a scene. He slowly gets back on his hooves a second time, still a bit shakey. "I'm fine," he lies. "Can somepony just, umm… I just need a glass of water."

"And a hotel room, a hot bath, and a bottle of Tylenol," he adds in his head without actually saying it.

Peak-Dreamer zooms over next to Rising and looks at Maddie. "Get the poor colt a glass of water." He looks at Rising. "Maybe instead of that glass of lemonade." His voice drops. "Really."

So dejected! Maddie would probably be crying if it weren't completely against her nature to do so. That time with the foal was an exception! She's still very pouty though, and extra-scowely, even when another potential customer wanders up. She doesn't immediately recognize Chaos, but the sound of bits ringing on the countertop are good enough to earn a reluctant nod from Maddie to her cohorts.

The ponygoons fill up their third glass of lemonade since the stand opened! It's /still/ exciting to them, and they're finally getting the hang of the whole 'pour drink into cup' mechanic now, so there's so very little spilling this time around, the filled up pushed towards Rising. Maddie splays her ears. "Enjoy your drink." she says flatly, squinting back at One Shot and Peak. Squint! Glare! Grr! Those two are SO lucky she's trying to be nice! "If he wants water so bad, there's a whole bloody sea over there!"

Rising-Chaos rolls her eyes at the remark, and lifts the glass with her magic. "We were never properly introduced when first we met, my name is Rising Chaos, pleasure to meet you. I ask you to pardon any earlier rudeness." She puts on a grin and takes a sip. Her expression doesn't change, but a faint glossy look comes over her eyes and for a moment her smile could be called 'waxy'. Slowly she lowers the glass to the counter, and swallows with no apparent effort.

Peak-Dreamer closes his eyes for a moment and smirks knowingly as Chaos swallows. "Tasty, and good for you, I'm sure." He turns to Maddie. "Oh, and I'm Peak, Peak Dreamer for long. Pardon me as well. I'm just trying to help improve lemonade the world over."

The prospect of actual conversation makes Maddie's eyebrow twitch. She's not here to make friends! She's just here to sell lemonade and outsell a bunch of stupid foals and be a watch captain! Why does this require pony interaction?

When Rising Chaos doesn't exactly react to the lemonade the way the other two did, Maddie dares to almost crack the barest hint of a smile. There, see? It's not bad lemonade! Some ponies are just overly sensitive! …the introduction, however, is left to linger in the air for a minute or so before Maddie finally responds. "It's pardoned… This time. You both may call me Maddie. Or Captain."

She squints pointedly at Peak. "It doesn't /need/ improvement. It's already the best. Just because ponies here haven't developed the proper tastes to enjoy a brilliant mixture of alcohol and lemonish refreshment is no reason to go insulting my product."

One Shot is still shocked by Mad Mare's outburst. He starts to think that maybe he walked up to the wrong lemonade stand. This pony running the operation doesn't look like your average lemonade stand filly. But he's glad to see other ponies that can show a bit of basic courtesy. He was worried a place like Horseshoe Harbor would be too rough-and-tumble for a city pony like himself. One Shot puts on the best smile he can muster in his current condition and returns the courtesy.

"Hi, I'm uh… My name's One Shot. I'm just touring Equestria and happened to find myself here. Sorry if I don't look my best. It's been a long day, and this hasn't been the best of circumstances to make introductions."

One Shot stares in awe and disgust as Rising Chaos finishes off the glass of so-called lemonade. "Um, are you going to be alright?" he asks in a worried tone.

Peak-Dreamer raps his forehead with his hoof. "Of course, this is lemonade for sailors. Sure, maybe that could work. Maybe it would help to… you know… tweak it so unsuspecting ponies don't gag on it, though? There must be a middle ground here." He looks thoughtful. "Is there a library in town? I could play around with this…" He catches a scowl. "Or not. — Say, did you say "Captain"? Captain of what?"

Rising-Chaos perks up, as if she remembered something. "Oh drat, it's that time. I'll be right back!" She hitches up her wagon and canters off into the streets.

"Of the local Harbor Watch, naturally." Maddie responds to Peak's question, her expression still carrying that sour note. It hasn't been a great day for her stand. If this keeps up, she may have to resort to other measures after all…

As Rising wanders off, and One-Shot asks such silly questions, the Mare puts a hoof to her forehead. "Come /on!/ It wasn't that bad! Geez, if you can't handle this stuff, you better never step into a bloody bar around these parts. That'll outright kill you!"

A small, minty-colored colt steps gingerly out onto the sand, trying to look sure of himself. He counts each hooffall in the sand as he heads towards the little, hastily-constructed lemonade stand. He could do this! Totally. He was sure he could.

Peak-Dreamer looks thoughtful. "Harbor Watch, huh? I've done some watching. Got any interesting work for an able-winged pegasus?" He flaps his wings. "References available on request, if you can catch them."

From insulting lemonade to asking for work! This pegasus sure has guts. Maddie would be impressed if she weren't still ore or less upset that her wonderful plan isn't going as planned. Why does nothing ever go as planned? Needless to say, Peak is given a stonefaced look in reply to his question. "We're not exactly hiring at the moment… But if we think of something we can use another set of wings for, sure. We'll keep you in mind."

What was his name again?

Rising-Chaos trots back into Portside at a leisurely pace, the wagon behind her now has several rocks on it, but is otherwise as it was before. She is still wearing her black cloak and glasses. She returns to the lemonade stand, noticing the small filly on the way. "sorry about rushing off so fast." She apologizes, "had an experiment that needed tending."

Spearmint finally makes his way to the stand, tapping a hoof along it as he works his way around behind it. He bustles about, feeling his way to pull out cups, mixing bowls, a bag of sugar, there's the lemon juice, and water, and ice, from a bag in his saddlebag right into the little cooler. Ready! He reaches up to flip the 'closed' sign around. Hopefully it had said 'closed' in the first place!

Peak-Dreamer nods to Maddie. "Well, maybe I'll just have to give you a few tips on being a watchpony too." He grins, zooms up to second-story level, notices Spearmint, and dives down there. "Hello! Are you selling lemonade?" He asks hopefully, with a hint of desperation.

Into the fray of happy foals runs a gangly colt who's just growing into his limbs. The bags under his eyes and the thousand-yard stare suggest he hasn't been sleeping all that well. He glances around and spots… ah hah! Running up to Spearmint, and pushing Peak-Dreamer out of the way, he slams his hoofs down on the counter. "HELLO!" he yells, a bit too loudly, "Are you an herbalist?? I need an herbalist!"

Great. The one pony that hasn't insulted Maddie's lemonade is back with a cartful of rocks. Lovely. Maddie rubs her face with a hoof and /growls/ when Peak pretty much taunts her. Why is she being good? /Why?/

Next thing she knows, the foals' stand is getting attention. So much attention. Much more attention in, like, ten seconds than her stand's had in almost two days. It's all she can do to stare. "…Seriously. What do they have that I don't? My lemonade is just as good. Better, even! I tasted it!" She drums a hoof on the countertop. "This isn't /working/…"

Rock'em and Sock'em play cards on a barrel behind their boss. If there's nobody to serve, there's nothing for them to do! Right?

Spearmint blinks and grins at the voices. "Hi! Uh, yeah, I am selling lemonade. A bit a glass." And then, yelling. He steps back a bit, laying his ears flat. "Uh… ah… a… what, mister? I…" he blinks milky eyes in the direction of the voice. "…I just make the lemonade when Sadaka's not doing it. Are you looking for Sadaka?" Who knows what zebra foals do! Then again, he'd be much more likely to peg Siyana as doing weird zebra-y things. Sadaka didn't seem weird and zebra-y so much as just… quiet and kind of sad. Hm. "Or, uh, Siyana, maybe?"

One Shot notices the second stand change from closed to open and perks up. Now he finally has a chance to get some much needed refreshment. He eagerly approaches the stand , but he's too late. The stand is already being overrun by weirdos. That pegasus from before nearly dive-bombed into the stand, and then that colt just tackles her out of the way? One Shot doesn't want to get hurt, so he keeps his distance and watches the chaos unfold from afar, waiting for his chance to get a drink.

Peak-Dreamer backs off from the crowd. "Lemonade question answered." He resumes hovering, looking over the port and the other visible parts of the town, but he watches the lemonade stands closely.

"Uh… YES! Yes, ZEBRAS! PERFECT!" Polaris' voice cracks, and he gets a manic grin on his face, "Where are they? Sadaka, Siyana, Zecora, anyone who can help me!" He looks around, and spots Peak-Dreamer.

"Hey!" He hops in place, coming eye-level with Peak at the top of his bounce. "Do!" Hop! "You!" Hop! "Know!" Hop! "Where!" Hop! "The!" Hop! "Zebras!" Hop! "Are??"

Spearmint blinks a couple times. Wow. This guy really wants to find zebras. "Well, uh… Sadaka lives with Mr. Blackbird, I think she said he's the schoolteacher? And Siyana… well, er, I don't really know. We don't… talk much." He scuffs a hoof shyly. "…D-did… anypony want some lemonade?"

Rising-Chaos finds a shady spot and unhitches her wagon and lies down. She pulls out her notebook, opens a book, lays a rock in front of her and is soon engrossed in her work.

Peak-Dreamer flaps upward a foot or two upon seeing that Polaris can bounce so high. "Um, no, sorry, I wish I could help! Why do you need a zebra, anyway?"

"I need an herbalist! I need to get a healing potion for…uh…" Polaris stops mid-sentence, eyes widen as he spots who's at the other booth. His eyes narrow, hatefully. "…thhhhhings…" he finishes, carefully, and starts to edge slowly around Spearmint's stand.

Hmmmn? Maddie suddenly feels as though her attention is being purposely avoided… She comes out of her moping long enough to peer at the other lemonade stand, adopting a perfectly bored look to do it with.

Peak-Dreamer says "I wish I could help, but— oh!" He descends to the level of the stand again. "Lemonade?" He beams hopefully at Spearmint and holds out a few bits.

Spearmint blinks and perks up a bit at Peak's voice. "Yes, sir! Lemonade! Would you like a glass? Or two!" More is better~ Without waiting for an answer, he's already hurrying to mix the ingredients, keeping a small cup seperate so he can taste a bit of the result with every new addition. Blind measuring's no good! Gotta make sure you know what you're putting out! And it takes a bit of tweaking to make him happy with it. 'Cause it's gotta be /just right/.

Polaris backs away slowly, still glaring at Maddie in her other stand…and turns and bolts off towards the town! "Siyanaaaaa! Sadakaaaaa! Zebraaaaaas!" he calls as he runs.

Maddie's bored expression lasts all the way until Polaris runs off! "O-kay. I think I've had enough of this. Boys, close up shop. Time to pack up and let the foals have their turn." Because, y'know, she /chose/ to give up those customers out of the /goodness/ of her heart. For her part, the Mad Mare wanders out from behind her counter, taking a glass of her lemonade with her, perched ever so skillfully atop her muzzle as she steps over towards the other booth.

One Shot has been waiting patiently for the one pony still in line to get the first glass of actual lemonade today, but enough is enough. the way his day has been going, his second glass of lemonade could very well be poisoned as well.

"It's probably easier to get lemonade at one of the bars around here," he thinks, but a quick glance over at the Rusty Bucket and he decides against it.

Tired and thirsty, but certainly not beaten, One Shot wanders off to find water and a place to pitch his tent for the night.

Peak-Dreamer watches Spearmint with single-minded determination. "Just one… no, yes, two glasses, please. Definitely two. If you have a little salt, could you add a dash?" He barely notices Maddie and One-Shot leaving.

Royal stumbles out of a nearby doorway, a clatter of random objects falling out behind him. "On further thought, it probably wasn't the best idea to go running off with no idea of where anything is in this town."

Noting that One-Shot seems to be missing, he sighs. "Just as well, at least. I never found a doctor."

Spearmint blinks and tilts an ear. "Salt?" Hm. He's not entirely sure that'll taste any good! But, what the customer wants. He fishes in his saddlebag to pull out a saltshaker — who knows what /that/ was doing in there! — shaking out a bit onto a hoof to taste (gotta make sure it's actually salt) before adding a dash into two glasses and setting them on the counter, holding a hoof out for the bits! "There you go, sir! Two glasses, dash of salt in each!"

Peak-Dreamer hands over the bits, and sips… and sips and gulps and finishes one glass. "That's the stuff!" He looks around. "Anypony else, or should I finish this one too? I mean, they can make more. They should make more!" To Spearmint. "You should make more!"

Maddie studies the scene for a moment. Hanging back, just out of the line of legitimate lemonade-wanting ponies. Obviously debating something /mean/. And what is that meanness she's debating? The right moment. The perfect timing. That second, when the blind pony isn't paying attention to the lemonade bowl, to trot up, tilt her head, and pour her lovely glass of lemonade, into the kid's lemonade bowl.

She tosses her glass away, turns around, and starts to trot away, feeling /so much better/ about herself~

Spearmint chuckles. "Well, there's plenty more! And I can always make more than that. But, uh, without the salt. Unless, er, anypony else wants salt? I dunno, I think it'd be weird. But, whatever you like!" He takes the bits, happily dropping them into a pouch. Best to keep stuff like that on-hoof! At least when 'keeping track of the cashbox' is not your prime skill.

Royal follows Mad, as it becomes apparent she hasn't seen him. He gives her the benefit of the doubt until the last moment, when it becomes apparent what she's planning. With a quick motion he grabs the bottom of the glass, preventing Mad from tipping it over all the way. "Wure yu fink ure oing?" He mumbles through his teeth.

Peak-Dreamer finishes the second glass. "Oh, that was really good. Thank you! Thank you, um, what's your name, anyway?"

Maddie's evil plot is stopped! Her glass never makes it to the 'good' lemonade! And why? Because…of a dang 'hero'. So much for feeling /better/. Maddie goes right back to scowl-city, openly glaring at Royal, but not in the mood to stick around the foal's lemonade stand. It oozes way too much 'goodness' for her to stand it too long.

"I think I'm doing whatever in Tartarus I want." she grumbles, walking away from Royal and the unspilt lemonade. "…And if you're smart, you'll stay out of the way next time."

Spearmint blinks and smiles. "I'm Spearmint!" he introduces himself happily. "I'm glad you liked it, mister." Yay, he likes making good stuff~

He turns back towards the bowl to scoop out a few more cups. Best to have them ready! Though Maddie and Royal's 'conversation' does catch his attention. If only because… what are ponies doing back behind the stand? "Uh, hello… did, um, did one of you want some lemonade?" He tilts an ear, twitching his nose. …And what smells so weird? Sniff. Not the lemonade bowl, luckily!

Royal snorts. "I think when doing what you want comes at the expense of others, then you might want to rethink your priorities." He stomps a hoof for emphasis, but smiles back at her deep glare.

"And I think I'll be standing right in your way next time, miss." Breaking into a slight grin, he calls to her retreating back. "Have a great day!"

Turning to Spearmint, his ears wilt a bit. "Sorry, I'm just heading back around front." In his hurry, he manages to knock the lemonade over and splash it on his bags. He sighs. "If it's not one thing, it's another." Returning around front, he addresses Spearmint. "Do you happen to have a towel?"

Those words! Maddie stops, mid-stride, ears perked up. She turns her head to cast a very…wide-eyed gaze at Royal. Wide eyes, pinpricks for pupils. The fact that a 'Have a great day' was added to it? Ugh. Just, ugh.

But that dang conscience of hers keeps her from trotting back and bucking the ever-living daylights out of a royal-ish pony. All she does is stare, gradually turning her head back away to sulk off to her stand, and help her ponygoons pack up for the night. Oh but she'll remember… She always remembers. Just ask that teacher and his little pet zebra.

Spearmint blinks and nods. "Oh! Uh, sure, just… hang on!" And there he goes rummaging under the stall, pulling out this and that until he finds something that feels soft and fuzzy and towelly enough to probably be a towel. He holds it out to Royal. "Here you go!"