Freshly Squeezed
IC date: DATE
OOC date: DATE
GM: None

The Midsummer Bash has ended… The party had to end sometime, right? It's for the best, the beach is a total and complete /mess/. Litter, and mess, and wood, and…food. If the party went on any longer it'd become an eco-hazard. So the cleanup has begun, led by the Harbor Watch, whom nopony rightly expected at this point to actually take the lead on anything. Yet there they are. Goons and thugs and scoundrels, picking up litter. Glaring at the world while they do it.

Alongside the bigger food wagons and stalls packing up shop in the aftermath of the Bash is a little rickety lemonade stand. Hastily constructed, it looks like it would take nothing stronger than a stiff breeze to knock it over into a pile of kindling. Yet it withstood a couple days worth of steady lemonade sales! Indeed, being the Last Stand Standing, it's become a bit of a 'water cooler' for some of the parched Watchponies to take breaks between garbage collecting.

Needless to say, business has been good. Much to the absolute bemusement of one Dream Daze. Who may or may not have been sending little daydreams of lemonade to passing ponies to help augment their sales… It's hard to ignore a sales pitch when it's /right there/. So there she sits, behind the foal-powered lemonade stand. Helping serve cups, count bits, and otherwise be a dutiful little unicorn filly.

She's so very happy~

Running around back and forth behind the stand, Lavender does her very best at handling the coinage, snatching bits off the counter and depositing them in a nice safe /treasure chest/ that may or may not be a lidless box with some paint on it. All the while, she does her best to make sure that those ponies who have ordered get their just desserts. Uh, their just lemonade, which is hopefully rather tasty.

Sadaka is likewise working hard, mixing up lemonade at a pretty steady pace. She'd pretty well perfected a particularly nice mix, after doing a little… 'experimenting' with different recipes. Now it was just a matter of keeping it fresh-made! But things are going so well it's hard to get too worn out. Maybe this was a good idea after all!

Glass wanders onto the boardwalk, his gait casual and relaxed, but his eyes roaming over the scene. He watches the Watchponies - heh - picking litter with a bit of amusement. /Even corrupt, poorly-named criminal enterprises have standards, huh?/ Grinning to himself, he sets his hooves in the general direction of the Champagne Bay, but pauses when he notices the lemonade stand. Fillydelphia born-and-bred he might be, a rough-and-tumble P.I. who saved Equestria he might be, but come on. Cute kids selling lemonade? He's not made of stone. He heads over to the stand and stands there, making a big show of looking over the "menu."

She's practically swimming in the proof of her success. Dreamy can just see the hats now. Shoot, with the amount of bits they've made, they should be able to afford a couple different hats per foal! …How many is that now? Six members of the lemonade crew? Seven? Ooh and an honorary one for that nice foreigner pony…

With Glass' arrival to the stand, Dreamy snaps out of her own self-imposed daydreams to blink those adorable amber eyes up at the hardboiled pony. The 'menu' is as obvious as it gets, but the tension of whether or not this newcomer will order a glass still manages to put a nervous fidget in the filly's hooves.

Elsewhere along the beach… A short distance from the popular stand, another member of the Watch steps casually along the boardwalk. An off-white Captain, watching as her crew of merry criminals cleans up. The irony isn't lost on her. Nor, for that matter, is the irony of her whole situation. It's a constant debate in her head lately, the foreign, and yet impossible to ignore desire to Do Good Things, countered by her very nature to be an absolute terror to all around her. It's caused more than a few rumors of her growing imbalance! Today, though, seems like a calm enough day. Contemplative, even, as the Mad Mare watches her crew at work.

And the members of her crew taking a break at yon lemonade stand. Hmph. So lazy. Maddie alters course to intercept, her expression turning from contemplative to a purposeful frown, chock full of the intent to yell at ponies who aren't doing their jobs!

Glass looks down at the young lemonade proprietor, his eyes briefly flicking to her nametag, and smiles. "Hey, there, Miss Daze. Could I get a lemonade?"

Rising-Chaos drags her small wagon onto the boardwalk and is shocked by the mess on the otherwise scenic beach. She leaves her wagon on the boardwalk, tired after hauling it around all day. She then looks around, spying a lemonade stand. Having been without a drink since coming to town today she decides to go get a drink. She approaches the stand but hesitates, it seems the adorable fillies at the stand are busy with other customers.

Lavender is oblivious to the surely still thoroughly-villainous captain, her one true nemesis, or at least so goes the thinking in her daydreams of piratical adventures (and revenge). Oh, the daydreams. "Hey, hello over there!" she pipes up at the other purple pony who's waiting patiently. Dreamy can handle the other! Two customers at once, bonus! "Are you here to buy some lemonade?"

Sadaka, also oblivious to the approaching metal-legged menace, smiles shyly over at Glass as she moves to set a fresh pitcher of lemonade up on the stand. They're going through it fast! And that little chest is filling up~ She's still not entirely sure why they need hats, but boy, they'll be getting nice ones at this rate!

Dreamy's eyes totally twinkle when Glass takes the punge and orders up a cup. Nervous twitch shifts to excited fidgiting, the little blue filly always excited when another customer says those magic words. She bobs her head quickly, turning to Sadaka and the lemonade bowl to help serve up the cup!

Maddie looms… She's hardly mindful of the customer, nor the fillies, nor the stand in and of itself. Right now all she cares about are the members of the Watch hanging around, doing nothing. "What's all this then!?" the Mad one barrels out just shy of screaming. "Do we pay you bunch to loaf about when there's trash to take care of? Do you think this is some kind of after-party party, that you can sit around and drink tea while the rest of us bust our rears?"

The assorted Watchponies scramble! Suddenly, if violently, alerted to the presence of their 'commander', the three that had been lounging about bolt upright and comically collide into one another in their attempts to form a half-fast salute! " ma'am!" they shout in unified chorus, two of them immediately dashing off. The third one hangs back just a few seconds. Long enough to pause, glance back at the Mad Mare, and note: "It's lemonade, ma'am, not tea. You should try a cup!" Then he, too, dashes off!

Good thing too. Being corrected and all makes Maddie's face twist into an angry scowl, not to mention brings her attention to the stand in question! Which she glares at. The stand, the lemonade, the foals… Even the customers. Glare, glare, glarey glare.

"…Do you have a /permit/ to sell this lemonade here?"

Rising-Chaos edges up beside the brown stallion, and looks down at the cute little lavender filly serving her. "Why yes, how much fo- oh dear" she steps back and looks around in a surprise at the sudden chaos.

Lavender throws her hooves up on the countertop and goes all into angry filly mode. "We don't need no kind of permit, Salty woulda never made us get a permit and—Eep!" Suddenly, the little filly realizes who it is. Anger mode gone. Scared little filly mode activate. The Evil Mad Mare is still a whole lot bigger than her, and instead of heroic daydreams, terrible memories of explosions and swordfights gone wrong fill her mind! Without a ship or even a hat, little Lavender feels smaller than ever. She swallows and stares, pale as a ghost, hooves shaking with fear, but doesn't back away from the stand.

Turning to watch the show, Glass grins at the guardsponies' panicked reaction to their apparent boss' arrival. He keeps that mild expression plastered on his face when the pale pony turns his glare on him, but it vanishes abruptly when she addresses the kids. Without really thinking it over, he turns slightly broadside to the newcomer, a protective posture that shields the kids a bit more from view. He gives the mouthy one a quick, encouraging wink over his shoulder, then turns back to regard the guard silently.

One little zebra has a similar reaction to her once-pirate friend. Sadaka freezes with a squeak, nearly dropping a glass she'd picked up for filling. At least she doesn't try to hide — perhaps earlier happenings have given her a bit of bravery back in the face of the Mad Mare — but she certainly is looking pale, and a little quivery, and as though she half expects the whole stand to be kicked down any minute.

Rising-Chaos backs off form the lemonade stand, purchase forgotten and retreats to the safety of her cart

So startled by the whole ordeal, Dream Daze ends up dropping the cup she'd been so hoping to sell to Glass! Wide foal eyes watch in horror as her precious product bounces once on the countertop, tumbles past Glass' broadside defensive stance, and proceeds to splash right over Mad Mare's front hooves. The little filly's eyes water… Wasted lemonade! That was for a customer! Ooooh hmph! She turns to Sadaka, who's managed to keep her cup. But looks a little freaked out now… And then over at Lavender, whom /also/ happens to look very freaked out. It wasn't /that/ loud of an arrival. What's the big deal?

Maddie, meanwhile, finds her question of a permit not only mouthed off to, but interrupted by both Glass' bold stance, and the lemonade on her hooves. Her angry scowl looks down to the spilt mess, then up at the stand, and finally meeting Glass eye to eye. When she finally gets around to talking instead of giving everypony the evil eye, she casually steps on the fallen cup that once had lemonade to take that half-step closer to the rickety stand, Glass or no.

"Obviously Salty's not in charge anymore. Any food stand doing business within the Harbor needs a business permit. Being kids does not excuse you from the laws…" Maddie's gaze flicks, momentarily, to the open box of bits. "…Luckily for you three, I happen to be able to provide a permit. I'll even do it at the bargain price."

Lavender continues to quiver a little bit. She looks back at the box and sidles over a little bit, trying to position herself between Maddie and their spoils protectively. "W-what's the bargain price to keep our stand?"

Glass' eyes flicker down to the crushed cup, then back up to the mare responsible. He leans back only slightly, just enough to avoid physical contact, and uses the opportunity to take a good, surmising look at her. /Okay. Crazy angry lady, bullying kids. Pretty sure this'd be the local representative of the Marefia or Cartail or whatever./ He remains silent and still, waiting for the mare to either finish her little show or say something worth mouthing off to.

Sadaka gulps and droops a little, laying her ears back as she casts a glance back at the coinbox. Oh, this can't be good. Not at all. But… but none of the books said anything about a permit, and Mr. Blackbird hadn't… and… and… oh dear. They'd been doing so well! And now Maddie was going to mess it all up. Again.

Rising-Chaos rummages through the contents of her wagon, searching for something. After a few moments finishes her search and moves behind the cart for a moment. She reappears with a flowing black cap and a discreet white saddlebag underneath. She once again approached the lemonade stand, this time with more confidence. "Excuse me miss, is there a problem?"

The little unicorn filly blinks! Permits? What is this nonsense? Lemonade stands are pure, innocent, foal-built enterprises that don't need no stinkin' permits! It's every foal's right to sell innocently sugary liquid refreshment of questionable taste! Permits… Dreamy's ears flick back, and she joins Lav in standing guard next to the box of bits, wearing a stern look that just says 'No Touchy'.

With two foals being very defensive, and the third more or less cowering, the Mad Mare averts her gaze from the bits and the stand to her dripping hooves. She lifts one, studies it with a wrinkled nose, and oh so casually attempts to wipe it off on the nearest flank possible. Hi Glass, welcome to the Harbor!

"Given that you're new to the whole 'art of selling' and all, I'm willing to give a discount on the bargain price, even. Which, with tax, and your current…success…" She trails off, as though doing some mental calculations, before piping up with, "The total comes to whatever's in that box. Then we're square, and you may continue to sell lemonade to your little heart's content for the rest of your lives." Or, y'know, until she comes back.

Then somepony interrupts! This earns Rising Chaos a glare from the Mare. "I'm already handling the problem, thank you. Be on your way. Or buy some lemonade. They'll be needing more bits shortly."

Lavender discovers a new kind of fear from this great agent of chaos: Financial ruin! Punitive taxation! An inability to provide for oneself! "But…But, we earned all this! Me and Sadaka and Dreamy and all the others! And you didn't do anything at all! That's no fair, we'd never get our hats!"

Glass frowns as the mare wipes her hoof on him, but that's small-fry compared to extorting kids. He firmly puts a hoof on the guard's chest and tries to push her back a step. "Lady, I've seen some sad attempts at extortion before, but threatening KIDS? What, next are you gonna tell them they've got a nice stand, and it'd be a real shame if something 'happened' to it?"

Rising-Chaos is stunned and takes a step back. "well, a-alright then." She stammers. /what a terrifying mare/ she thinks to herself. She watches in amazement as the stallion stands up to the imposing pony, and is heartened. Once again she steps forwards. "I would be interested in knowing on what authority you ask for a permit, and what law states that a foals lemonade stand requires one."

Sadaka blinks and glances back at the box. Everything? /Everything/? But… but that's days worth of work! That… that's almost everything they'd made! What little hadn't been squirrelled away in various piggy banks while the chest was being painted. They'd worked hard for all that, and… and… For a moment she looks as if she can't decide whether to cry, or start yelling again. Or both. Maybe both. Maddie ruins /everything/!

What is /this/? Touched by another's hoof! So boldly, too. Maddie certainly does take that half-step back again, before batting the offending hoof off her chest. "/Excuse/ me, but their stand looks horrible and in need of demolition. Why would I bother with an insurance racket for something like that? I'm merely teaching them a life lesson." The Mare's gaze hardens, focused on Glass. "I'll happily hand out a free lesson to you, too. Or a tour, perhaps? Our jails are /quite/ nice this time of year."

When Rising steps in again, Maddie's voice edges with a bit of a growl. "On /my/ authority, in /my/ harbor, on /my/ laws." Her gaze sweeps over the cape-wearing pony. "There's plenty of room for both of you…"

Finally the Mad one returns her gaze to the foals. Expectantly. Despite Lavender's cries of fairness! "If you rather, I could just arrest the lot of you, take the bits and the lemonade, and call it a day?"

Dreamy, through all this, just looks…upset. Adults aren't supposed to act like this! They're supposed to be helpful like Windsplitter! Or all the ponies that bought their lemonade! This is so wrong… So she does what any upstanding justice-minded citizen would do. She bounces up onto the counter, and then onto Glass' back, to glare eye-to-eye with Maddie! Glare! Cute glare! Grr! Tail lashing, cute (soft) stomp of a forehoof, and everything! Hopefully the message is clear. 'Go Away!'

Glass starts to retort angrily, lifting his hoof to jab it into the mare's sternum again, but stops suddenly as the little filly pounces onto his head to stare down into the guard's eyes. /Too much… cute. Can't… be angry./ He keeps his hoof raised numbly, waiting to see the mare's reaction to this onslaught of adorable outrage.

Lavender looks back at the money with a wistful and greedy eye, but…No! Even little Dreamy is taking a stand, and so must she, in solidarity! She joins her friend in the hop to the countertop then stays there, getting enough height to look Maddie in the eye, and then some. "You're not going to take what's ours! You're an awful pony, you're the absolute worst!"

Rising-Chaos takes another step forwards and raises an eyebrow at the mad mare. "Well madam, where I'm from the law doesn't buly the young, and while I can appreciate your position of authority, maybe this is better handled by adults, and without the loss of all of their profits." Her expression softens slightly. "why don't you save yourself the trouble and leave the foals alone, I'm sure we can work something out"

Sadaka freezes for a moment. Arrested? Jail? Cowering turns to a shaky glare. Still somewhat teary glare. Angry tears! Because she's not scared of this mare anymore, nope. Not terrified out of her tiny stripy hide. Not at all. She stamps a hoof, which would probably be more effective on something not-sand, but seems to be a pretty default 'angry' move for the little filly. "Y-you can't do th-that! J-just 'cause ponies do s-stuff you don't like! I thought you w-were trying to be b-better!"

Maddie feels like she's back into her old element… Her scowly expression only gets more intense when Dream hops up to eye-level. Her ears and face darken with the flush of anger when Rising and Lavender pipe up. She lifts a hoof, her mouth open to start what would surely be a nasty tirade, when… Sadaka speaks up.

Just like that, the flush fades. The sour expression turns into a more unsure look. Confused, even, when Maddie glances sideways towards the little zebra, as though seeing her here for the first time.

"I… B..but…"

All the bite suddenly gone, Maddie lowers her hoof, gaze averted from the collected ponies. "…" Yet even a magicked up superconscience can't completely kill old habits, and that /was/ a nice little chunk of bits those foals had obtained. When the Mare's head lifts, the angry and confused looks have been replaced with a glimmer of something else. "Fine… I'll overlook this whole mess. But only on one condition."

Dreamy blinks through the miraculous transformation Maddie takes between Angry Pony and Mischief Maker, her head tilting ever so curiously. So… No more need for permits? She glances back to her two partners-in-lemonade. This is a good thing, isn't it?

Lavender watches the mare with suspicion and only somewhat diminished anger. "What's your condition, huh? What're you gonna make us do?" She doesn't believe the new, changed Maddie for one moment!

Glass glances up at the filly on his head, then at the suddenly-abashed guard, then back at the filly, then back at the guard. He tries to remember what the little zebra foal said. 'I thought you were trying to be better?' /Interesting./ Either the mare was genuinely trying to turn over a new leaf, guiding the town she'd apparently conquered into a new age of peace and prosperity, or she was a brainwashed cyborg killbot with an innocent-sounding deactivation code. Or she was just crazy. Whatever. Regardless, Glass kept his mouth shut and let his hoof fall back to the ground, though he was still ready to intervene if this 'ultimatum' proved to be a bunch of horseapples.

Rising-Chaos also backs down, deciding to let the foals handle this one.

Sadaka blinks, looking slightly surprised by this turn of events herself. …Was Maddie /really/ trying to be better? …Really? Or was this some sort of trick? Was she gonna pull out a whip the second nopony was looking? Or start kicking? Or… or… She gulps and tilts her beshelled ear slightly. "…Wh-what condition?"

The Mad Mare lets the question hang in the air for a nice dramatic pause, looking absolutely convinced that her idea is a good one. It will, at least, satisfy a little of her own cravings for all things dramatic, and potentially still get to make off with the bits! One can just imagine her mental self rubbing hooves together.

"I challenge your…you called this a stand? Anyway, I challenge you lot." Maddie says, waving a hoof at the foals. "I'll wager against the bits you've earned already, that I can outsell your stand over one week. Whoever earns the most bits at the end of that week gets all the bits. Your stash, my stash, and all the profits of that week." She nods her head. "Basically double or nothing, kids. I'll even give you a day's head start since I'll have to build my stand first."

Dreamy just keeps right on blinking. She turns her head to Glass, smiles her best 'thank you' smile, and hops off his back, to the rickety counter, and to the ground to sit between her friends. She peeks back at their pile of bits. It's decent… Surely enough to buy a couple hats at least. But is it enough..?

Glass raises an eyebrow. He looks at the girls, then back at the guard. "Uh, hey, not involved here, but… what's going to stop you from using your uniformed thugs," he gestures in the general direction of the trash-picking guards, "from bullying customers into buying from you?"

Lavender is, for once, speechless at that. She blinks a couple of times, stammers. After dragging the fillies into the adult world, is she relenting and lowering herself to their life, instead? What a bizarre thing to think…But! If there's one thing the fillies are good at right now, it's hard work and lemonade! There is just no /way/ they could lose. "We'll beat you fair and square!"

Sadaka is also speechless for a moment. She… wait… wha… but… uh… hm. "You're… you're gonna s-sell lemonade too?" Because that just seems too strange to /not/ question. But Glass's words get her attention. Hey, that's a good point. Everypony's scared of Maddie! Or at least they /should/ be. And she's got power in this town now, she's head Watchpony, and Mr. Blackbird said that was important. "…Y-yeah, how… how do w-we know you'll… p-play fair?" That wasn't a squeak there at the end of that sentence. Nope. Brave zebra is brave. And not still kinda trembly, certainly.

For a moment, Maddie flashes Glass a dark glare. Ohh he's so on her list of Fun-Spoilers to watch for now. But the question is valid, and she can't not answer it without looking as though she's up to something. Or at least, up to something worse than extorting little ones. She shakes her head, pointing to the customers. "I promise I won't cheat and use my goons to threaten the town into only buying my lemonade. But if I'm not going to cheat, you better promise me the same courtesy." Because yes, Maddie would expect foals to cheat. She expects everybody to cheat.

Dreamy, seeing as Lav is all the sudden gung-ho about this idea, throws her lot into the pot. She lifts a hoof, all victory-like! Yeah! They can't lose! Just look at how well they did in just a couple days! Surely they've already got all the bits, so there's none left to give to Mad!

Glass grins at the mare's menacing look, and finally moves a little out of the way, clearing room for the foals to address the uniformed bully directly. /Congratulations, Glass, you've ticked off another local crime boss. Hrm. I wonder where I could pick up a dictionary. I must've forgotten what the word 'vacation' means./

Lavender peers at Maddie. Peers. Peers with narrowed, challenging eyes from her countertop vantage point. Then she sticks out a hoof to her nemesis. "You're on. And may the best ponies win." The wording is clearly not an accident.

Sadaka gulps, admittedly looking somewhat less enthused by all this than the other two fillies. Maddie's got some sort of plan, she's sure of it. Trying to go good or not, this is just too… too… weird. Unusual. There's gotta be a catch, a trick, something up. But if she's being honest about not intimidating other ponies, then she can't imagine what the plot might be.

Too late to back out or change the plan, the Mad Mare steps up to shake hooves with Lavender. "Indeed…" she murmurs, post-shake, taking a step back again. "Starting tomorrow then." Her eyes drift back to Glass. "…Seeing as you're so keen on poking your nose into all this, you can be the holder of their current stash of bits. Then you can drop by the Mayor's manor to pick up my half of the bet. I'm /sure/ you'll want to see how all this turns out, won't you?"

Dreamy's all grins. She bounces back and forth between Lav and Sadaka, giving the latter a tiny nudge now and then to get her excitement going too. A contest! Really this fits /right in/ with her ideals of summer lemonade selling fun! They're even the underdog…er…underponies? here. So they're SURE to win!

All her books say so!

And, because there's an art to these sorts of moments, down the street trots Pumpkin, carrying another rather large sack of lemons on her back. She doesn't have her brother's juicer with her, but then that thing fills up the better part of a shed. She gingerly sets down the sack, looking to her fellow businessfillies in turn. "Sorry ah'm late, everypony. I got caught up helpin' out pa on the farm." Pause. "Did ah miss somethin'?"

Glass blinks. "Uh. Right. Sure. I can do that." He grimaces and looks at the kids. /Now *I* have to take their money? Oh, Celestia, please don't use your cuteness on me. I don't know if I can take it./ He clears his throat and extends a hoof in greeting. "Uh, hi, kids. I guess I'm… taking your money. Um. My name's Glass. I'm from Fillydelphia. Um, but I'm not… I mean, I'm not going to steal… I used to be a cop. But, um. I'm not anymo… uh." He rubs the back of his neck and tries again as the new foal approaches, putting on the winningest smile he can manage. "I'm Glass. I'm a private eye. I sort of saved Equestria once, maybe. You can trust me."

Lavender turns on the countertop, which she's getting all sandy from her hooves, and shoots Glass a glare. "Taking our money like that, you're still mean. But we'll show you and we'll get it all /back/." Misguided annoyance and a raspberry. Then, "Oh, hi Pumpkin!" She hops off the stand again. "We're going to war!" she says cheerily.

Rising-Chaos approaches the lemonade stand's counter with a confident stride, her head held high. She looks at the filly behind the counter. "excuse me miss, I would like to purchase a glass of your lemonade."

Sadaka looks up at Glass, then over at Pumpkin, then back at the chest. She gives a small sigh, sitting down in the sand. It's hard to be excited about things, especially with Maddie involved. She's too busy trying not to think about all the things that can go wrong.

Seeing as her part's done, Maddie feels the need for a hasty retreat. Consarn it, the last thing she really needed right now was to get wrapped up battling foals over lemonade. But what could she do? The heat of the moment caught up to her! Now her pride is on the line. Or…something. Maybe it's that darn conscience talking again… Either way she turns around, sparing one last glance back to the group of assorted foals-plus-gumshoe, a glance towards Rising, and she darts off down the boardwalk! Gone!

Dreamy watches Maddie stomp off, and Sadaka slump down. Confused, she gives the littlest zebra a heartfelt nuzzling! Then points at the counter, where Rising Chaos is now standing. Look! The first sale of their contest, already! How can this /possibly/ go wrong?

Glass clears his throat and looks nods toward the "treasure chest." "Gonna need that, girls," he says apologetically. "Bet's a bet."

Lavender huffs again. "Just make sure you get hers too, 'cause we're going to have so many hats when this is all over, we'll need…need to build a hat rack or something. And we'll be the queens of hats! And then she'll have to flee…far, far away from the queens of hats." She gives a little wide-eyed giggle, and totally neglects the counter. Sure hope someone else catches Chaos.

Pumpkin blinks at the stallion saying they need her friend's money. "Pardon me, mister, but just what do you think you're doin' with those bits? They belong to mah friends. Ah'll fight you for 'em. Don't think I won't just 'cause you're a grown-up." Yeah, she should probably be paying more attention to the counter too.

Sadaka blinks and looks over at Dreamy, forcing a small smile and climbing back to her hooves. "It's okay, Pumpkin… they… well, uh, we made a bet. I guess." She blushes faintly, scuffing a hoof in the sand before looking up at Rising. "Yes, ma'am, I'll get you a glass, just a minute…" and she hurries to mix up a fresh, non-sandy pitcher.

Dreamy whips her tail excitedly! That's more like it! Even if it /was/ forced. The lil' unicorn beams her own adorableness up at Chaos, while somehow keeping the hint of a wary eye trained on Glass. Ooooh he better be trustworthy… They're going to want those bits back when this is all over!

Then she realizes, she should be being helpful right now. So she goes for the cups, which had also fallen off the countertop and into the sand, quickly going about brushing them off for impending lemonade!

Rising-Chaos she nods, then uses her magic to open her bag. "Take your time, how much do I owe you?" She floats out a couple bits and begins counting them, a contemplative look on her face.

Glass nods appreciatively and takes the chest. He moves a little bit down the counter from Rising-Chaos, then gently tilt the box on its side, pouring its contents out in a clatter of coinage. He carefully sorts them and counts them up, then grins at the girls. "I'd like that much lemonade, please. Oh, wait." He dips his mouth into the pocket of his shirt and pulls out a small coin purse, from which he produces another twenty bits. "Plus that."

Pumpkin stares at all the coinage. "We might need to make a trip back to mah family's shed so we can use the juicer to make that much. Is that all right, mister?"

Glass nods. "Oh, sure, no rush. I'll just swing by later to pick it up."

Lavender peers between Chaos and Glass, watchfully, and leans back up over the counter to watch Maddie off in the distance. "And we'll kick her out of town and she won't come back, her and her stupid legs…" Huff! Single-minded, yes.

Sadaka blinks and perks her ears a bit, staring at the pile of bits almost as if they were new bits she hadn't seen before. That was… unexpected! "Oh… oh wow. Uh… well. O-okay, I'll… I'll make more lemonade!" And she scrambles to get back to mixing, though she does pause to pour a glass for Rising as soon as it's ready. Maybe they've got a chance at this after all!

Dreamy blinks! Her eyebrows knit, staring at what Glass does with the chest of their bits. But that… That's cheating, isn't it? Using their own money to buy more lemonade? She adjusts the stack of cups on the countertop, then plants her hooves next to the bit-pile, staring up at Glass with this /very concerned/ look that only a kid can pull off properly. The look kids give adults when they're doing something that even a kid knows isn't right. She shakes her head, and points at the bits, then the box. Then she crosses her arms!

Pumpkin beams. "All right everpony, just point me to where you need me workin'. Ah'm not about to let mah friends down after they've put this much work into this" To say nothing of the money. Then again Pumpkin isn't the most numerically-inclined foal in Horseshoe Harbor. Dreamy's little ethical qualm is met with a friendly little nudge. "Shucks, Dreamy, he's just standin' up for the little pony here. Just wouldn't be right if somepony like Madmare took all our money, would it?"

Glass smiles and shakes his head at Dreamy. "Hey, if anypony asks, some scruffy-looking out-of-towner stole the chest. And some guy bought a ton of lemonade. Nopony needs to know they were the same stallion." /I'll throw my own bits in the chest when I get back to the hotel. Don't need to get these kids in trouble. Means I'll be spending the next week surviving on noodles and water, but hay, I've lived through worse./ "You kids just work hard and have fun. And kick that tin-legged bully's flanks."

Lavender looks back to Glass again, and looks a little confused. "Wait…I don't get it, aren't you supposed to be taking…our…" The gears turn in her head for a little bit, then she jumps for Glass and hugs him around the neck, dangling heavily. "Oh thank you so much! We'll beat her for good, girls!"

Rising-Chaos reads the posted sign with the price on it, then counts out nine bits and places them on the counter "there's the payment for my lemonade, and a little tip for all of you cute fillies." She says in a sing song voice. "and good luck in your contest, adults shouldn't do that to foals." She leans in a bit, whispering conspirationaly. "I bet she makes terrible lemonade anyways."

Sadaka glances over at Dream, tilting an ear. "…I… wouldn't expect that mare to play f-fair, either…" she said slowly, frowning. But… what kind of example were they if they cheated somehow too, just because she probably would? She bites her lip for a moment, casting a glance skywards before sighing softly. "…Maybe… maybe we keep 'em but don't… count 'em towards sales for the week, since it's stuff we'd already earned…"

She blinks and smiles faintly over at Rising. "Yeah… she doesn't have recipes and stuff like us…"

Pumpkin bites her lip. "Well all right, that does sound fair. But not the purse he threw down: we didn't have that before, now did we?" She shakes her tail excitedly. "Now like ah was sayin', somepony tell me how ah can help, because ah aim to make that mare lose."

Dream Daze scrunches her nose up. She doesn't like the idea. It's like there's no faith in their ability to actually beat a Watch pony (Mafia Boss) at selling lemonade! She sulks on the subject for a minute, and just barely resists sending the group an image of everybody turning into Mad Mares for cheating. Because…that might get her thrown out. Somehow.

Dreamy's pouty-mood fades though, seeing how the others are so gung-ho, the lil' filly mustering up the energy to resume smiling so she can help get all this lemonade these two big ponies have purchased served up. If their competition really doesn't have any tricks up her sleeve, this is going to be an awful easy contest to win.

Glass shrugs and smiles ruefully. "Okay, wow. You kids've got conscience, I'll give you that. Just be careful with that; it'll get you into as much trouble as lying, if not moreso." /Seriously, Glass? You were going to IMMEDIATELY cheat to help these kids win? You are a terrible pony./ He paused. /See? Conscience. Worse than lying./ He leans forward conspiratorally. "But if you think she's cheating, and you need to hire a P.I. to find out, I'll work cheap. One lemonade an hour. Won't find a better deal in town."

Lavender finally lets go of the stallion's neck. "Oh that would be great! Yeah, we'll do that and you…well, you kinda paid for a lot of lemonade already. We'll do everything we can to win!"

That, at least, Dreamy can agree with. As well as Pumpkin's assessment that the small coinpurse is totally valid. Even without the Chest-O'-Bits, both Glass and Rising have very much given the group a head start for the week! It takes just a couple minutes or so to get the lemonade mixed up and ready, but eventually there's a glass for Rising, and a glass for Glass! Dreamy sits back with her friends, already in the middle of counting up bits for their NEW pile.