In Her Head
IC date: Spring 17, 1008
OOC date: April 7, 2013
Location: Soda's Head, left of Embarasing Foalhood Memories.
PCs: Sodium-Fizz Winter-Solstice Rising-Chaos Nocturne
NPCs: Hope, Trust and Joy
GM: Sodium-Fizz

Sodium-Fizz hasn't been seen for a few days. That's not entirely unusual, the mare have a tendancy to confine herself to the her store; either tending customers or in the gloom of her laboratory or bedroom upstairs. Usualy, though, that does meen the front door is unlocked and ponies can visit at their leasure. Not so much the last few days though. She'd told Winter she'd be gone for a bit a little while. She'd given her a key to the store too, and permision to come and go as she pleased (assuming, of course, there's no mucking around with bottles, jars, vials, flask and phials nor any alemics, crucibles, pots, cauldrons and so forth. She'd say no fiddeling with the cloud combobulator too, but since it's made from cloud-stuff there's no risk there. Still, there's a general keep awaysies on that too, who knows what cloud-bound alchemical compounds does to whoever sticks their hooves in it?)

Sodium-Fizz said she'd be gone for a little bit, now it's been a few days. And there's no clue where's she gotten too. There's only one thing to do then, snooping!

Which is exactly what Winter Solstice is doing. A quick survey of the main floor revealed nothing- and so the big mare is starting to poke her way up the stairs. "SOOOOOO DAAAAAAA," she calls. "SOOOOOO DAAAAAA."

You can hear her bellowing from out on the street- aided, no doubt, by the front door that hangs open and… inviting? Well… the lights inside are off, so it actually isn't very inviting. It's dark. And forboding. And there's some beast inside howling SOOOOOO DAAAAA SOOOOOO DAAAAA.

Outside the shop, a stone's throw away (if you're very frail and weak) sits Nocturne, playing his guitar on a bench as usual. The stallion has had little concern for the mare's absence, being rather oblivious to it; that is, until he stops playing and hears an odd howling from within the shop. He is often prepared to see or hear unsual things come from the shop, but this phenomenon in particular raises a bit of concern, as it sounds as though somepony is looking for Soda.

After a moment of pondering, he hops off the bench and approaches the shop, slowing down as he gets closer to analyze the sound. Finally reaching the door, he sets his guitar against the wall and pokes his head in. All seems normal on the first floor so far, and after hearing one more howl, he pauses, frozen in the middle of the store.

Well dark, and forbidding, and loud noises, and snooping are like, fun things. Rising Chaos certainyl seems ot think so, with how often she gets wrapped up in things like that. Take now, for example, where as she's passing the Fizzy Flask, loud noises happen. The mare is certainly not angry, and is in fact, in a good mood! This has been a running theme lately, along with boredom, but that seems likely to change. Since it's been a while since she's seen Sodium Fizz, and Fizzy is at least nominally her friend, she figures 'why not'.

Peeking her way in, using her horn to illuminat ehte area around her just a bit. Because darkness might be fun, but ti's only fun at a distance. She eases on in. "Hello? What's going on, why are you calling for Sodium Fizz?" She spots Nocturne, and comes in a bit further. "You responsible for this?" Because he was here, it's a logical assumption.

PONIES ENTERING THE DARKENED SHOP FIND WINTER SOLSTICE AAAHHHH

The big mare pauses, halfway up the stairs leading to the bedroom upstairs, turning to look back down at the shop floor. "Unicorns!" she blurts. "Wait, I know you! You're Rising Chaos! And you! You're Nocturne!" The big mare whirls about to face down towards the pair, grinning brightly. "Soda's been missing for several days! She's not responding to the door gettin' knocked on or me throwin' pebbles at the windows upstairs or me trying to climb up to the chimney and falling down and smushin' the garden over on the other side of the building. Then I remembered I have a key. Ha! Do YOU guys have keys? Did you- did she give keys to everypony!? How'd you get in!?"

Nocturne rolls his eyes as he is accused of making the sounds. "Yeah. Because that's what I do. Go after mares like that." He pauses for a moment with a hoof to his chin. "Wait…" Oh look, a distraction! A big, white and red distraction! "Now that you mention it, I haven't seen her leave the place for the past few days… Not that I, uh…" You're on a roll, Nocturne. Now what?

"Oh yeah," he mumbles with a hoof pointing to the open door. "You don't need a key for an open door, so… yeah. I mean, do you wanna go look some more?" He begins a slow trot towards the stairs, looking behind him to see if the others follow, making his way to the top floor.

Rising-Chaos has to stop herself form growling at Nocturne. "Yeah, right, of course you don't." Smooth move, colt. As he slowly manages to eat away all of his own respectability, she recomposes herself, and walks towards Winter, smiling again.&r&rRising coughs to clear her throat. "The, um, door, was open, Winter." She grins, and trots on over to her friend. "It's nice to see you here though, if you're here, Fizzy can't be in any trouble. I didn't know she's been missing for so long though, did she leave town, do you think? Maybe she's just deep in her work?" In her head, she reflects how it would be hard, if not impossible to be able to ignore a Winter Solstice who wants attention. Nocturne trots by and earns a look, but a nod also. "I suppose up makes as much sense as anything."

Rising-Chaos has to stop herself form growling at Nocturne. "Yeah, right, of course you don't." Smooth move, colt. As he slowly manages to eat away all of his own respectability, she recomposes herself, and walks towards Winter, smiling again.

Rising coughs to clear her throat. "The, um, door, was open, Winter." She grins, and trots on over to her friend. "It's nice to see you here though, if you're here, Fizzy can't be in any trouble. I didn't know she's been missing for so long though, did she leave town, do you think? Maybe she's just deep in her work?" In her head, she reflects how it would be hard, if not impossible to be able to ignore a Winter Solstice who wants attention. Nocturne trots by and earns a look, but a nod also. "I suppose up makes as much sense as anything."

Winter-Solstice sits down on a step and shrugs in traditional pony fashion. "I don't know! I figured she was, um… she was… in another of her moods. But I wanted to check on her anyway just to make sure she was okay? And- wait. The door was open!?" The big mare hauls to her hooves! "If the door was open, then maybe she wandered away! Maybe she left! Oh, no! Oh, no! I knew this would happen!"

While Nocturne heads upstairs, and Rising moves to follow, Winter avalanches down the stairs and across the shop floor and out the front door, howling all the way. "She's fed up! She's fed up with me and this town and living in one place and she's off to go be a wandering miseryguts again! SODA! SOOODAAAaaaaa!" The big earth pony's voice trails off as she runs down the street, then drifts away altogether.

Mostly becaus after about fifty feet she realizes what happened, stops yelling, and canters back with a bright smile. On entering the shop she bumps the door shut with her butt and makes for the stairs. "Wait, I opened the door. Oops! Ha ha ha!" And up the stairs she goes.

The laboratory seems like it's always been. Though perhaps a bit more tidyed up than normal, ingredients packed away in jars and flasks to be out of the way and tools laid out in neat lines ready to be used. It's gloomy, but then again it's almost always gloomy. Gloom was almost a prerequesit for an alchemist's laboratory. Or a mad scientist's one. The thrid floor though, is rather a lot more interesting. That's Soda's bedroom.

The room is small, not to the point of cramped but more coasy, and is decked out with warm red drapes and carpets, a dressed, bedside table, wardrobe, a small bookshelf and a desk upon which rested the mare's journal. And, of course, the bed - a cloud bed clad in enchanted fabric to make it usable by non-pegasi as well. Set by it's food stood a brazier laden with embers and trailing purple smoke into the air, accompanied by a pugnent sweet smell.

On the bed itself laid Sodium-Fizz, her normal garb discareded and packed away somewhere, revealing all the scars and blemishes the mare has picked up in the Nightmare Moon's winter world. In her hooves lies clutched a small vial and a sheet of paper.

Nocturne peeks his head into the room, Soda being the last thing he notices. Unsure if he should intrude, he tilts his head in Winter's direction, as if gesturing her inside. "She's… okay, right?" Eventually, he trots his way towards the pegasus, nudging her gently in an attempt to wake her up.

Rising-Chaos is exactly the type of pony to blast through the lab looking for Fizzy. Even if she did take a moment to oggle up some of the equipment. This mare's got it made, as far as Rising's concerned. It doesn't stop her moving on, because she has a job to do. Entering the bedroom is tricky, since she knows how private those places are, and she just peeks in around Nocturne. She sighs, this looks waasaay too familair. "Well, she's safe. I think." Shaking her head she mutters, "fizzy you fool, there's a process to this."

Sodium-Fizz absolutely, tottaly doesn't wake up. She doesn't even budge or fidget like somepony would typicaly do when poked and proded in their sleep. And anypony that knows Soda knows she sleeps lightly and very, very fitfuly.

"Soda!" is Winter's plainly shocked and surprised cry. The big earth pony is familiar enough with Soda and her mannerisms to know something is wrong the moment she sees her strewn out on the bed, and almost knocks Rising and Nocturne over as she hastens Soda's side. Reaching out, she tries poking, then shaking, then scoops the mare up in her hooves and pulls her close to look her over. Winter leans her head down and listens… "She's still breathing… she's not dead… yay! That's a, um- that's a start…" Her tone and worried expression indicate it's not nearly enough of a start. It's about then tht Winter notices the paper, and reaches over to retrieve it and take a look.

Nocturne frowns as the mare doesn't wake up. "Yeah, but… not waking up is pretty close to dead." Leaning over the big mare's shoulder, he peers at the paper, but his eyes wander towards the vial, causing his eyes to widen.

Rising-Chaos finally enters the room proper. "Wrong, actually. It's likely that she's just taken something, likely the contents of that vial, that has made her sleep. It's likely she's not in danger, physically. Mentally is another matter, though." She seems concerned, but, as always, distant. "Better read the note, then we cna decide if interfering is, advisable."

"Hello Winter," it began.

"If you're reading this, it meens I've been gone a bit to long or you've gotten a bit impatient waiting. Don't worry though; I told you I would be trying to find myself, to find something better. So that's where I've gone. This is a old zebra ritual that puts the user under and 'sends them within themselves', giving the consious ability to investigate and manipuate representations of their inner workings. While under there is somewhat of a percieved time compression, so I'll most likely be wandering around here for a few weeks. I'm looking forward to see you again once I sort… me… out, if I can. So, nothing to worry about!" That's good, nothing to worry about!

"P.S; If I'm not back in six hours of going in, please do round up some help. I left a few more potions in the chest, take a deep whaft of from the brazer and then drink it down." That's… less good.

Winter-Solstice's gaze burns through the paper, she reads it so quickly. Anybody who has seen the stacks and stacks of books in her room might have made the connection, but what most ponies don't know is that Winter is a voracious reader and can churn through a text like a champ. Now, whether she actually REMEMBERS what she reads, that's another matter entirely, but in this case she's paying quite a bit of attention.

The note is discarded hurriedly, fluttering to the bed, as Winter hastens to the chest and starts rifling through it. WHAT DOES SHE FIND?!

Behind the chest lid Winter finds… a set of chainmail stockings, a pouch of bits, six vials of mystery sleep potions and a few unmentionables best not said anything about. Also, a set of rather intruiging looking underwear.

Rising-Chaos grabs the note from the air after Winter tosses it aside, and reads it herself. no surprises here, she reads just as fast. "I suspected something similair, Fizzy you fool. I assuem you'll be wanting to go after her then Winter?" Rising makes no move towards the chest, it's being sorted out, but instead looks around the room, what does she find?

"Because if you aren't, then I'll be going in alone, I figure."

Nocturne groans in defeat. He wouldn't be any good of a pony to just leave. "Fine. I'll go." Approaching the chest, he peeks in for a moment before glancing about the room. The chainmail stockings in particular catch him off guard, making him feel uneasy for a moment, but he tries to hide it. "Now what?"

"Yup," says Winter. She looks at the chainmail stockings for a moment, expression grim, pensive, but determined. She finds the flasks a moment later, tosses everything else aside, nabs three flasks, tosses two of THOSE on the bed, cracks the third one open, shotguns it without a thought, tromps over to the brazier before the flavor can register, and takes a DEEEP PURPLE BREATH.

Rising-Chaos doesn't hesitate either, the seocnd a vial makes it's appearance she grab and opens it. Before doing anything though, she brings Glyph out of her bag. "Watch the door, if anything comes in, you know what to do. Priority zero, Glyph." With that, the little lizard is placed outside, and Rising takes a wiff of the smoke, and drinks the potion. The mare goes and curls up in one corner, not wanting surprises when she wakes up. "Smell the smoke, dirnk the potion, Nocturne, if you want to come along."

Nocturne rolls his eyes at the orders; he was gonna do it anyway. Approaching the brazier, he sticks his head straight in to get a large whiff of it before grabbing hold of one of the flasks and chugging it down. Afterwards, he sits down on his haunches and waits, not sparing the other two a glance.

And with that the world just drifts off…

…and everypony is treated to the experience of waking up in somepony elses head, and quite the strange exprience that is! Of course, it'd be a lot more of a experience if the palce they woke up in had been anything but four grey wals, a grey roof and a grey floor. Sure, there's a pair of windows and a plain brown wooden door between them. There's drapes, thin and threadbare and a faded purple. There's a little wellcome mat that's seen better days. There's a small table of to the side, upon which sits a small cluster of pictures.

Oh, and there's a miniature Sodium-Fizz, her back turned at them as she stirs a pot put on a toy stove. The miniature Fizzy looks rather radicaly different, her wings are small; really small, in fact, and seems to lack rather a bunch of feathers, and on poking from the curls on her forehead is the jagged end of a broken horn.

When Winter Solstice comes into being in the drab mindscape, she looks ready to tear the mountains down. She's tense enough her flanks hold tight and rigid as though hewn from steel; her gaze darts from feature to feature, taking in every detail only long enough to register it as unthreatening before moving on. Her short-cropped tail switches back and forth, rapidly, and on more than one occasion her flanks twitch or a hind leg kicks up slightly, a powerful bucking kick curtailed at the last moment.

But there's nothing to VANQUISHm, not yet. The big mare deflates slowly, brawlsome expression turning to one of confusion, even despondence, even as it settles on… on… "Soda…?"

This sin't the first time Rising has been transported somewhere else. thoguh last time was a lot more jarring and she was physically there, whereas this is more, mental. Mental is a good word for this place. The unicorn mare takes it rather well, but does have to sit down and hold her head for a moment, which is accompanied by a groan of pain. She can see all that's happening, and decides that, y'know, best to just watch for now. As a side note, she probes the area around her, any magic she can use? She's so very calm right now, not seeming bothered by anything as she checks herself over. Saddlebags still there? Swords? Limit Edge is probably there, since they are tied closely together, but who knows how this stuff works.

Nocturne shakes his head as the world comes back to him, glancing about at the oddly grey room. "Fizz?" He peers towards the small pegasus, but remains still by Winter and Rising. Burying his head in one hoof, he groans once more. "Winter, I think you should go first. You know her best."

Winter-Solstice looks from the Mysterious Filly, to Rising, then to Nocturne, and watches the stallion for a moment. She nods, then, pushing her way to her hooves. "Okay. Stick around, though, okay? Please? I don't- maybe I'll need help. I don't even know WHAT this is all about." And with that, she makes her way cautiously towards the weird little wingy horny filly, although Winter's 'Cautious' is what most ponies would consider a 'brisk trot.'

"HELLO."

The miniature, foal-sized really, Sodium-Fizz's ears perk up at the sound of Winter's voice. A moment later the little filly is up and galops across the room, wraping her forelegs around Winter's leg. "Winny! You're here, it's been ages and ages and we're worried and we're worried you'd not come to sort this out!"

Nocturne raises his head to peer at the miniature Fizz. "Fizz… it's only been a few days. How long have you been here?" Is that even the real Fizz? All of this is beyond him, and he shrugs, turning his gaze to Rising. And then back, because there's nothing that can be said there. Finally turning back to the foal, his eyes meet hers. "So… what needs to be sorted out?"

Winter-Solstice freezes in place as she is seized by the wee filly. Winter stares down at her for a moment, eyes wide, clearly unsure how to react. "Soda?" she asks, again. "Is that you? You're looking, um… different… g-good, though. We're gonna- you'll need new stockings, though, I think, and… actually… actually I'm not sure I really want to see you wearing them when you're, uh… like this."

Having confirmed that Limit Edge is still with her, along with one special book, Rising Chaos seems satisfied. Also her magic is completely there, so that's reassuring. She frowns, gets up, and circles away from the filly. "Note the use of plural 'we'. I don't think this is Sodium Fizz, or all of her at least. There's no way this is all of Fizzy, actually. I'd like to see ALL of Sodium fizz, please." Only the last sentence was said loudly enough to be heard by all.

Nocturne raises an eyebrow at the other unicorn. "You wanna what- oh. Right. Yeah." With a heavy sigh, he looks about the room in search of some sort of doorway or somesuch, eventually turning back to the miniature Fizz. "Fizz, is there anywhere else for us to go? We'd like to see more."

Filly Fizzy blinked up at Winter, seeming to blush a bit. "W-what…? Did you have to bring that up when they're here…?" She glanced at Nocturne and Rising. "I mean… Nocty… tottaly don't have to know about them…"

Fizzy sulked for a moment before glancing over at Rising, giving a slight nod. "And… yeah, Arcee's right. I'm not Sodium Fizz. Or well, I'm Sodium Fizz but not… Sodium Fizz. I mean, I'm not a representation of part of her, I'm not the consiousness as it was…"

The little filly with her broken horn and ragged wings raised a hoof, waving it at her dreary room. "I guess I'll go by… well… what I do here… I'm Hope, and this room is my place. And yeah, there's everything out there, but… you don't want to go there… I don't want to go there either, really. They are out there, the other two… Then again, we are out there too. I mean, I am… she is."

BAM. Do you know what that was? That was the sound of a door being kicked open.

By Winter, specifically, who never met a doorknob she wasn't above ignoring in favor of more dramatic entrances. Or exits, as the case may be. The big mare then reaches over to scoop Sodium-Hope up and deposit her on her back. "I DO want to go there, 'cause I want to find out who THEY are," explains Winter, as she starts making for the doorway. "If there's someone who needs to be punched in the nose, I'm gonna find 'em, and punch 'em, and if there's someone who needs to be HUGGED INTO GOODNESS, I'm gonna find 'em, and I'm gonna hug 'em. Rising, Noc, you guys in?" She heads 'outside' whether or not they are. The train for ADVENTURE is LEAVIN'.

At first, Rising Chaos nods at the confirmation that she's right. Before she cna add anything, Hope goes on, and Rising freezes. Before now, she'd been neutral, calm, confident. Now? Now she looks mad, cold, and even more mad. Something must have struck a chord.

"Well now, Hope. I don't agree with you. I want to go out there, and 'the other two' want to try and stop me, or continue to make you afraid." The venom in 'afraid' is quite overpowering. "Then they'll answer to me. I am not going to let you be hurt anymore, okay?" She gets to her hooves, and storms right along with Winter. "You have no idea how much I'm in."

Winter-Solstice reaches over to chuck Rising with an elbow. "Thanks, Rising. I always knew you were a good pony." Of course, Winter only THINKS she knows that, but in Winter's defense, Rising has been pretty bad at being bad around Winter.

Sodium-Hope eeps as she's hoisted onto Winter's back, looking a bit uneasy as she looks between the trio of real ponies. "It's… not that easy, a'right. Those two are… bad, reall bad. And scary… and worrisome."

Speaking of worrisome, off in the distance Soda's mindscape is lit up by a rolling fireball. It comes from the large, raised sprawl of Trottingham-style mansions and maze gardens, located dead center between two gargantuan towers. One is pristine white, beautiful like the marvels of archetechture found in Canterlot and flies penants of warm purple and grey decorated with Fizzy's cutie mark. The other tower, in contrast, is dark grey and grim, multicoloured smoke billowing from chimnies while large chunks of machinery juts from the wall.

The way up to this far of platoue is not readily apperent, though it seems to be onwards through a tangled maze of silver bushes and flowers to the quasi-city at the foot of the platoue. Hope shudered for a moment, eyeing the tree - though mostly Rising and Winter. "…though you're doing it anyway, arn't you…? Well, you can't! Not by yourselves… You can't fight them, you can't get rid of them… That'll just make things worse… you… can't remove, you have to… add…" The filly blinked for herself. "You have to add something to deminish them… and… I supose I know who we have to get for that…" A small hoof came up, pointing down the path where it split, seemingly out of the blue. One path seeming made of marble, alcoves set along it's lenght and paned over with glass. Kinda like a bing display room. The second is a lot darker and danker with only a narrow path leading through stacks upon stacks of… trunks and chests and bags. "They're down those paths…"

It's all Winter's fault, the mare is too adorable and inspiring and heroic for her own good. Rising Chaos finds it hard to be as mean as she would like when Winter seems to just believe in her so much. Honesty being the best policy though, she grumbles after recovering from Winter's punch. "I just don't like to see hope and minds oppressed like that. Fizzy's issues bother me a lot, and this was just to much. Fear is not acceptable, I'm going to make it fear ME." She doesn't appear impressed by the spectacle, or the speach about them being scary. rising's mind is made up.

"Well, I think you sell Winter and I short. We cna handle ourselves, and I'm stronger than last time you saw me. I know you can't just remove your demons, but we'll find something that will make them seem insignificant." She loks at the two paths, quickly making up her mind. "Winter, want to split up? I'll take that path." She points at the dark one. "I have my own lights."

Winter-Solstice is taking in the sights while Rising is saying this, having stopped at the crossroads to stare at everything. This is all truly amazing- something surreal, something straight out of the books and stories and games that have been the bread and butter of Winter's imagination. This is an adventure beyond the likes of which she thought she'd ever see.

But knowing what cost this adventure is being had at, and what is at stake, is giving it all a lot more gravity than she's used to approaching things with. There simply isn't time top stop and stare and ogle and explore and poke and prod and take and use every single item on every object trying to see all that there is to see. The mare she loves is in trouble and needs to be SAVED.

Winter glances at the dark path, eyes it for a moment, then nods and makes for the light path. "Right. Shout if you need anything. C'mon, Hopey."

Rising-Chaos wastes no time in heading down the dark path. "Don't rush through, I'll be taking my time." Her horn lights up the surrounding area. Limit Edge comes out of it's sheath in prepareation. The uicorn looks all about, being very cautious, slowing down to make sure she's safe. Cramped spaces are perfect places for funny business.

Hope pouted. "My name is not Hopey…" she muttered as Winter set of. Though even then she turned slightly and eyed Rising. "And… we need Joy, really… even if you know that we might not like it, okey?"

With that Winter and Hope dissapeared down thier tunnel, a tunnel soon revealing itself to be something akin to a gallery, each alcove featuring a scene out of Sodium-Fizz's life. And there's quite a variety too. There's a filly Fizzy, one that looks propper rather than the ragged Hope, together with four older ponies of simmilar colours. Her family no doubt. There's other sceenes too; a manicaly laughing filly Fizzy high upon a gantry over a massive baking soda vulcano, Fizzy - red ribbons hanging at her side - galloping in a attempt to flee angry ponies, Fizzy surounded by red-eyed rat shadows. There's more red, so much one can barely see her coat underneath the ribbons. Her shape even looks off untill one see that one of her forelegs just end in clumps of fabric. Over there is a Fizzy statuet in a snow-wrought landscape, and beyond that Fizzy and Winter sharing their first kiss. Then comes the great arch, draped with hanging purple silks though which one can see hints of statues. And hear the rustling of chains.

For Rising's part, she walks into darkness. And a lot and lot of boxes. There doesn't appear to be any funny business though, this doesn't seem to be the plase for funny business; it seems to downright suck exitement and life right out of everything. Like all of it just wants to be forgoten and left in the dust. This is where Joy is suposed to be? In a place of the forgotten, the repressed? Tha-… Is that giggeling? Or more specific, manic giggeling? Perhaps. In the ever dimming lights something glows in rainbow hues up ahead.

"YOu been out here before, Hopey, or do you stay cooped up in that little shack all day?" asks Winter, as she makes her way down the marble pathway. She stops to admire the vignettes as she passes them by, but sadly, can't stay to study them further. "Red ribbons… guilt? I guess? She never struck me as the kinda ribbon-wearing type. Er, you didn't…" The big earth pony glances back over her shoulder at Sodium-Hope for a suspicious moment, then goes back to surveying the scenery.

Hey, look. That one even has Winter in it. Winter stops and regards that first kiss memory, staring, then rushes past, towards… the arch. "Ah HA! The ARCH! It's always the arch!" Reaching out, she seizes one of the curtains, and tosses it aside. "AMBUSH!!!"

Excitement isn't exactly something rising Chaos has, to be honest. the atmosphere doesn't affect her so much more than slow her down to be careful. To her, it makes perfect sense Joy is here, because from what she can tell, to Fizzy, Joy is just so much more baggage, or has been buried under her baggage. The giggling interrupts Rising's thoguhts, and focuses her in on the source. After pausing for a moment, Rising climbs the walls and uses her magic to blend in with the darkness.

Meanwhile, Rising Illusionary Chaos, her horn glowing and looking just like actual Rising had a moment ago, walks in towards the sound of giggling. "Sodium Fizz? Joy? Are you okay?"

"Yes, I've been out… It's not fun, this place is a MESS," muttered Hope. "And it's not guilt… It's just the times I… we… got hurt…" The filly fell silent, the kind of brooding silence somepony that young should never exude. That is, at least, till the word 'AMBUSH!!!'. "Wait, what?"

She didn't get much further than that as Winter barged into the room to face… a rather massive hall, and four gargantuan statues. They seem to have the same motief and are wrought into the walls at the four cardinal directions; depiciting a well groomed and imperius uniocorn stallion looking to be somewhere around his mid forties or early fifties. From each horn hang chains off all shapes and sizes, from thin golden links to massive wrought iron ones, bowing down towars the floor heavily as they made their way over to the center of the room… to another Sodium-Fizz. This one looked a lot more like the real one, being much larger than Hope and lacking the broken horn. Still, this Fizzy's wings were not nearly as large as normal, and she seemed younger by almost a decade. Each chain laid draped over and around her, weighting her down.

"Trust…" breathed Hope from Winter's back.

The sight Rising Chaos is treated to is most bizzare, for within the tons of baggage there appears to be an alchemy laboratory. At least, it looks like it at first glance till one have a closer look, it seems to be a… something… cobbled together of a lot of things. There's alchemy things indeed, they're certainly the most promiment, though there are stacks of literature; a small stake seeming ment for hoof pupets, a larger one with a bar of soap carved into a microphone, big wads of cotton hung from strings in the cealing to portray a sky, a whiteboard with arcane formulaes for unicorn magic. Smack in the middle, louging on a threadbare couch, is a giggeling Sodium-Fizz; Joy. And by the looks of it, this pony have seen better days. The pegasus seems to be painted with red from the tip of her ears to her toes, lines both thick and thin. There's also a few other noticable things, her ear is notched with the same bitmeark as her's is in person for example… and her left foreleg just ends right before the first joint. With another giggle she reached out and turned the page before looking up at Rising. "Oh, hello Arcee! Why yes, I'm splendid!" Another manic, almost desperate, giggle came from the battered pony.

Rising-Chaos jumps aroudn from stack to stack to follow her illusionary double. this is BAD, and she can tell. The scene before her is that of a desperate, unhinged pony. Unfortunately, Rising feels like she's just the pony for the job here. For now, she'll keep her freal self hidden, sight and sound muffled by her illusion.

Illusionary Rising walks right on in. Since Rsiing is in complete control, the movement are natural, impossible to distinguish the illusion from the pony. "Some how I doubt that, Joy. You looks less than well, and I'm worried." Aha, plan made. "Perhaps it's because you have nopony to share your joy with? It's been a long time, why don't we have some fun?"

Chains are heavy things made of metal. Chains can be forged. They can also be broken, or pulled, or moved. This looks straightforward enough to Winter.

The big mare takes a moment to hitch herself up, then hauls over to the confluence of those masses of chains, and starts pulling and tugging and trying to haul them off the pony trapped at the center. "Trust, is it?!" asks Winter. "I'm Winter Solstice and I don't think we've ever actually met, but now that I know you're actually in here it's kind of a bigger relief than I think I can adequately describe! C'mon, let's you and Hope go on and, um… um… well, I'm not sure what. But let's go do it!"

Rising-Chaos creps downwards whilke making sure that no noise is made, and keeps her illusion distant. "You've a lot of joy to share, I expect. This is a fascinating little place you ahve here." Look how hard Rising is trying, BE PROUD.

"Fun? Fun!" The crippled Joy bolts upright on all three hooves and giggles, her grin wide. At least till she takes a step forward and almost faceplants. Starting down at her legt for a moment she sighs. "I… maybe not, fun… have a tendancy to go bad…" she mumbled as she hobbled forward, to one of the pieces of lugage. A wing came up and pushed the lid up, and out rose cornstalks. Stalks that swayed for a moment… before whiping around, throwing a smattering of corncobs around the place. Explosive corncobs, filling the hall of emotional baggage with balls of fire and concussive sound. Including the sound of Joy slaming the lid back down.

"So I'd rather not, really. I'm Joy, yes… but I'm also rather tied up in our neurosis; the madness is pure joy of unrestricted, unhinged creation…" said Joy with a tired smile. At least till she scowled slightly. "I must ask though, what are you doing here of all places? I mean, I know our plans for getting help from the outside if we got stuck in here, but… I didn't expect anypony to come and look for me. You're not lost, are you? It's dangerous to get lost in our head, you know."

"Hope…?" came Trust's shaky voice as she looked up. At least as much as she could with her head weighted down like this. "Winter…? Oh, Winter! You're here, I knew you would come for us! I… I… p-please… We want to get out of here…" The mare squirmed, or at least tried too. Winter's tugging seems to work, at least to a point, some of the chains do indeed just fall away at her insistent tugging, though some are just to massive.

Hope reached forward, gently placing a hoof on Winter's shoulder. "I'm not sure brute metaphysical strenght will help here, Winter… It's a prison of our own making, you know… She's Trust, Trust without trust… He took it from us, give it back…"

"Then where is he!?" howls Winter, tugging once more on a chain, then pulling off. She bumps Hope off her back with a little upward swing of her hips, then hunkers down, eyeing one of the statues, lowers her head, and charges! On getting close, the big mare wheels about, swinging her momentum into a powerful double backwards buck aimed at one of the looming stallions! "Ha HA!" CRASH!

Presumably it doesn't do anything, or at least doesn't do exactly what Winter was hoping for. She lifts her head with a snort and charges past Hope, past Trust, and back onto the path. "Silver Cauldron, Silver Cauldron…" The big mare looks for a picture that includes the stallion, or at least one that resembles the statues back in the chain chamber. "Where are you…?"

"What I have in mind is going to be ncie and simple. The first step is getting out of this oppresive atmosphere." Illusion Rising smiles at Joy, having narrowly dodged a corn passing right through her. "What do you mean by tied up in neurosis? Can I help?" Mention of unrestricted and unhinged creation is worrisome. "You can't just deny yourself pleasure, for worry that it will go wrong, Sodium Fizz. I've learnt that, sometimes, it's worth the risk."

Real Rising Chaos stays at about mid way up the wall, for now, she's moved around to the path that will lead them back to Winter, unless there's a better way forward, she may as well go back.

Joy snorts and rolls her eyes. "Right… But maybe… Maybe maybe… Say, you didn't say why you're here, who sent you, Arcee." Joy's wings dropped, holding up her front end as she raised her one forehoof to her chin, peering at the illusionary picture. "Is it tubby Gluttony? Or maybe it's s-… censored Libido trying to 'cheer me up' again. Or is it that faithless Trust? Or that hopeless coward Hope? Memory? Instinct? Flight? Suffering? Pain? Who sent you…? What are they trying to do? Or did one of… Them… send you?"

On Winter's side, the statue of Silver Cauldron comes down, sending dust billowing into the corridor behind Winter as she races onward. After several long moments a rather shakey sounding Hope speaks up from Winter's back, where she's clinging on for dear life. Up ahead a scene revealed itself, one of a terrified Sodium-Fizz bound up in chains and surounded by burly earth pony guards. In the picture there's also a trio of unicorn stallions, including Silver Cauldron, and a uncomfortable looking unicorn mare in a fedora and a mangifing glass cutie mark. "Winny… wh-what are you doing…? I… we… would appreciate if you don't go and muck up or memories… Sure, some are kinda bad… Most are kinda bad, horrible… But…"

Rising-Chaos takes careful note of just how many different Fizz's are mentioned. "I met Hope, but she didn't send me. I'm here on ym own, Joy, and I'm here to help you. For no reason other than I care." She continues to keep her distance, but really fizzy should know that that is normal. Rising is not touchy feely, nor is she trusting. She really wishes that Joy wouldn't have laughed at her, becasue now she's forced to not sound upset. "All I'm interested is seeing you safe and sound and happy. I want yuou to be free. What do you say Joy, want to come have some fun?"

Winter-Solstice stops, and stares at one of the pictures. She doesn't know who any of these ponies are, with the exception of Silver Cauldron and, of course, Fizz. The earth pony studies the scene for a moment, then turns to regard Hope evenly. "These are your memories? So if I- if I damage these, it'll mess up your memory?" She watches… "I know you'd never forgive me if I did that, at least intentionally. Even if sometimes I think what would be best is if you didn't even know Silver Cauldron ever happened."

She turns and looks back to the scene for another moment, and paces uneasily. She looks like she wants to start smashing. If only it were that easy…

The big mare shakes her head with an irritated winny and rambles back towards the chain chamber, skidding to a stop just inside. "Where did he put it, then? The trust? I don't know where to look, Hopey, I'm…" Wait, the statue tumbled! "Are THOSE memories?" she asks, gesturing towards the remaining statues. "Can I- can I smash THOSE ones, too?"

Hope fidget slightly. "Yeah… we'd prefere not to die… We had this talk with Magpie before we went here, losing memory like that… it's kinda like death, whatever we become after we are altered isn't what we were before. Sure, we evolve but… that's nutral, that's how it's suposed to be… We feel we've been mind-murdered enough by now…" The filly looked back in the direction of the room, then at Winter. "Si-… He didn't steal Trust, or hide her… He just… broke her, Winter. You're looking for Trust, she's… just right over there. But… but like me, she's not much of herself… I mean, I'm Hope but… there's not much to hope for, not with Them here. But… with you here, with all of you here… Maybe."

A small grey hoof came up, pointing at the room. "As for the… statues, it's complicated. They're not memories… they're what we've done to ourselves, Trust is… that. All that, is Trust. You guys are giving me a bit of hope, give her something to trust in…"

Joy frowned slightly. "Hope…? That little coward, you met Hope?" The revelation seems enough for Joy to plant her flanks on the floor in thought. "You met Hope… Oh, this is intruiging! She never meets anypony, she doesn't belive in hope you see… But if you met her, that meens… Oh, there's something going on, isn't there? Hope got hope, hope enough to talk with you… This is starting to sound interesting indeed…" A small smile started to spread on Joy's face, a wicked one. "And fun…"

"Something to trust in…?" says Winter, confused. Not because the concept is hard to grasp, but because… "That's what I've been trying to do, Hopey!" Winter's tone is plaintive and weary. "I don't know what else I can do beside just… besides just being here."

The big mare drops to her duff, sitting down beside the chained-up Trust, there in the middle of the network of chains. Winter takes a minute to study them, eyes following their lengths across the floor and up to the horns that anchor them. She frowns. "Smashing the statues wouldn't do any good… it won't actually untangle them at all…" She looks back to where Trust herself is chained up, and watches for a moment, before sitting up. "OKay, maybe if I just- slow down, and take it… take it carefully…"

Which she does, trying to gently untangle and extricate Trust from the mess, rather than yank the chains off like before. It's obviously difficult, the big mare rapidly growing frustrated by the mass of chains, but with a bit of huffing and puffing and some prancing in place she calms herself down and gets back to work.

Think Joy's smile is wicked, just wait until you see Rising's. The real one comes out now, and the illusion goes poof as she walks right through it. "There is something going on, Joy. We're breaking you out, and putting you back in charge. Now that I know you're serious, and you're really Joy, let's get down to business." She starts looking around for the way forwards, an idea starting to form. "Hope's got the right idea, now that Winter and I are here, you have something to hope for." Her eyes harden. "You can trust me, Joy. Nothing bad will happen to you, I won't let it. The days of your joy bringing sorrow are over. So lets go have some fun, any idea how to get to that city place? I think it would be a good place to start." Her eyes shine with the joy of evil, evil plans.

Joy chuckled softly, then raised a wing and pointd down another path. "Yeah, though I think we'll want to go this way if we're going where I think we're going… To meet Them… So of we go!" With that the mare turned around, hobbling off. "The others will show up there, 'cause we want them too."

Taking it slow and tearing down the chains seems to be a pain. It is, predicably, slow. And rather tiring and though and time consuming… And frustrating and… and… there's a hoof brushing against Winter's leg, and it's not Hope's hoof either. It's Trusts, free of the chains. "Winter…"

"Sup?" says Winter, who isn't especially creative but does have the luxury of staying power. She doesn't stop sorting through and untangling chains, pulling them free of the mass as soon as they're loose, before returning to Trust and resuming the business of untangling her.

Rising-Chaos wastes no time in joining Joy on the path. "I'll bow to your knowledge on the matters. So long as the goal is bringing you back to power." She makes a point of helping Joy walk, because that looks tough. She also illuminated the area plenty enough for the two of them . "So, what's the plan?" Her's was pretty much 'go to city, cause Chaos to happen.' She's GOOD at happening at ponies.

Joy shruged. "We'll see when we're all gathered up, though I have a idea of what we'll need…" Turning a corner they walked the dark corridors of baggage gave way for the smooth marble of another place. Another turn brought them up sheets of silk, and through that to a familiar room with a familiar pony. Joy rolled her eyes as she hobbled up to them, a wing extending to slap across Winter's rear end before she leaned in, whispering in her ear. "You know, I think you'd find it to work really well to give Trust a great, big kiss and a promise you'll be there for her."

Rising-Chaos follows Joy in to the room, trotting up quite calmly. "Hi Winter, I found Joy. How're you doing?" Joy is fun, she likes Joy.

Winter-Solstice is huffin' and puffin'. She's caught off guard by the wingslap and the whisper, yelping and looking just about ready to start launching Joy with a well-placed kick before she calms and listens with wide eyes. "What? But-" Winter looks to Rising, then back at Joy, squinting at the maimed Soda-fragment, who really looks kind of scary, before looking down at what little there is of Trust protruding from the chain heap. "I've TRIED promising, Spooky Red Soda," says Winter, reaching up and sweeping her mane back from her face where it has flopped down in the way. "I don't know if it's EVER worked…"

She leans down and does what she's told: rattling around in the chains, following that hoof that reached out from the mass, until she can uncover enough of the pony underneath to kneel beside and smile into the pile of links at. "Hey. We're in this together, okay? Which means I'm gonna make sure you get out of here."

Joy giggled and leaned forward, still supporting herself on Rising. Likewise did Hope, both peering down at Winter and Trust. The part of Fizzy in question looked up at Winter, seeming to be trying to messure just how much trustworthiness there is to be had in that statement. Trust wasn't something to give but… it's Winter, and here there's no other chatter, no other parts of her clamouring for attention and drowning her out. Trust's head rose slightly, despite the chains. "You promise…? I… I'll… take you on that, you're my Winter Solstice…" The mare proofed a hoof out.

Joy giggled again and looked at Hope, who offered a high-hoof. There would most likely have been one had Joy not forgotten her tripod status and faceplanted as she raised her foreleg. Hope smirked and looked back at Winter.

Winter-Solstice nods her head rapidly. "I promise! I promise. I swear, too. I swear that I promise." She sits up and reassesses the situation…

Winter-Solstice reassesses the situation! She nabs Trusts's freed leg and gives it a careful, if firm tug.

Rising-Chaos stays out of the mushy lovey stuff, it's really not her place. Hoewveer, when Joy takes a fall, she is right there to help the mare back up.

With a rattle of chains Trust came free, slumping in Winters forelegs. Or perhaps clinging to her. Or hugging her very tightly. "Thank you…"

Joy, on her part, is still giggeling. As is Hope, if rather a more reservedly. The little filly glanced at Winter and Trust, then over at Rising. "Right… I guess now that we got everypony here… we'll see about tackling the issue of Them, then. We need a plan."

"A plan with a million in one chance of success!" Joy piped in.

Rising-Chaos nods. "From what I've gathered, that city is the main focal point of your consciousness. If I am correct wiht my assumption, the bad things are in control, so it's only a matter of time before they notice us. I'd say we go and confront them while you still have the element of surprise. We cause some disruption in that central area and it'll bring plenty of stuff running." She looks ready to go, complete confidence in her plan. "Of course, I could be dead wrong. Perhaps what we need isn't a conforntation?"

Winter-Solstice seats herself on the ground and cradles Trust to herself, hooking her pieplate hooves around the pegasus- or whatever she manifests as- and taking a few moments to just hold her tight. YOU SEE. I MEANT IT. LOOK AT HOW SERIOUS THIS HUG IS.

The big mare relaxes after a moment, glancing past her at Joy, then Rising, a little worried frown crossing her face for a moment. Winter shakes her head, and looks to Hope. "I dunno about, uh… causing disturbances," she says. "If damaging things here can alter memories, if we go… breakin' stuff in other areas, won't that do something as well? And just who is, um… this… this Them you're speaking of?" She squints her eyes. "Is it, like… Doubt and Self-Loathing or something?"

Rising-Chaos frowns. "I don't mean breaking things, never that. I think just our presence would be disturbance enough. I mean, we have Trust, Joy, Hope, and Winter. That's not going to go unnoticed for long. No matter where we are."

"Them," said Hope, with rather a bit of spite, "are us. Well, as much as we're us. They are the two big voices in our head…" She raised a hoof, gesturing at the walls around them. Now rather different, decorated with a mural. In this case, a tiny Sodium-Fizz curled up between two towering shapes. One looks a bit like Joy, though if anything even worse. If in a almost predatory fashion. "There's the Madness, the thing we try to not be… It's a big bundle of everything we hate about ourselves, all we fear…"

Joy raised a wing, pointing at the other figure; one looking like a brilliant white unicorn. "And there's Dream, the thing we've always tried to be, hoped to be; perfect and majestic… and just as horrible."

Trust snuged Winter for a moment before speaking herself. "Now that we're here… the real us, the concious us… they're trying to get ahold of us, her. The most they can do is whisper in our head, sway us one way or the other… With us here, with her here… they can wrest control and ride out of here, in charge."

Joy pointed at Rising. "So we need to stop them. And you know, I like the way you think. We should just march right on in! Oh, we can march in with banners, and a band! They'll never expect that!"

Winter-Solstice looks back and forth between the two looming villains on the mural. "And we can't destroy them… they can only be diminished. By… adding something to them." She stares for a moment, then looks down at Trust and Joy, as she herself sits up, leaving Trust to stand on her own now. The earth pony's brow knits into a worried little arch and she looks to Rising. "Do you have any ideas?"

Rising-Chaos lisens to all of this, growing more and more angry at the situation. "A few. Obviously them being independent and powerful hasn't been working too well, but I'm not the best at all this. The only thing that springs to mind is to add them to each other, see if they cancel out. I'm not sure if I like what coudl happen though." Looking restless, she starts looking for the way out and towards the city. "We can think of plans later though, I want to stop them now. I wont stand for this to go on any longer." Not even trying to sound not mad. Seems the unicorn is no good at puzzles. "How do we get to the city? I cna provide the banners and fanfare."

Hope just pointed down of to the side, at a great arch that wasn't there before. "Right out there… And as much as I don't like the idea of following one of Joy's ideas, I think it might be the best… She's the one most… in tune with the crazy in our head."

Joy noded. "Indeed I am! And I say, we need a plan. A plan that can not possibly work, a one in a million chance! Our behaviour is, in no small part, dictated by narrative conventions… A one in a million chance is bound to work!"

"As for Dream and Madness…" said Trust. "We just need to stop them from trying to get into our head… out of our head? Her head? You know what we mean… Then you can return to your own heads, and we can get ourselves out of here."

Joy nodded as she picked herself up, aided by Rising. "Indeed… So right, lets head onwards. Fanfare and flags… and fun… We'll just play it by ear till we figure something out."

Winter-Solstice pushes upright and, with one more pensive look towards the looming murals, takes a deep breath and spins towards the new archway. "Right! Right… we'll play it by ear. And if things go wrong, um… um… Soda just… goes crazy! And I'll be the one that… made her… do that…"

The big mare tromps off towards the archway at a brisk charge, weight thrown forward and head tucked low, though her expression is nowhere near as GO GET 'EM RAUCOUS as her running posture.

Rising-Chaos is neck and neck with Winter as they run, she can keep this up for a couple more seocnds. "Nothing will go wrong, Winter." Her voice at a deadpan promise of what she's saying. She still sounds mad, looks it too. "I promise." Predictably, she drops back and adopts a more sustainable walk towards the city.

Traveling through somepony's mind is like a adventure at the very edges of somepony's imagination… which might be more truer than one might think, traveling with Joy - one of the embodiments of Sodium-Fizz's rather inefectualy repressed 'mad science' tendencies. Traveling down the floating, crumbling flagstone street - the wind whipping through it's cracks, producing the sensation of rapidly plumeting to one's doom - together with the crippeled Joy was Trust; moving skitishly as if expecting treachery at every turn, and Hope; the little fill with her broken horn and threadbare wings riding upon Winter Solstice's back.

The imagination they are traveling through, though, is not healthy. Wherever one turns their gaze upon the road and the floating homes and hedges alongst it two thing remains omnipresent; decay and corruption. The parts of the facades that are not crumbling away seems to be slowly just sliding down, forming grotesque bulbs and patterns, and the hedges are a mixture of wild growth and reaching, grasping thorn branches. In the darkened windows one might, at times, see a face or two; each one the same slate grey, with the same pale yellow eyes and the same curly purple mane. Each one in some different stage of Sodium-Fizz's life, each one battered and worn in their own way. Of course, the trio of Fizz's that travel with Winter and Rising towards the towering city gates ahead doesn't pay them much attention, like this is a everyday thing.

Rising-Chaos promised fanfare, and she delivers fanfare. As they approach the gates, she sends off several flares of light, the same purple as Fizzy's mane in to the sky. In addition a single clear note sounds, kind of like from a trumpet. Well, now it's obvious, they're here. The exertion took a bit out of the unicorn, but she'll be better in a little bit. Even before, though, she's slowly become more and more quiet, that anger that was so obvious before seeming muted.

Nothing would slow her down though, and she seems game to continue. "So, is there a central square? Somewhere big open and obvious? Since we've anounced our presence, may as well be easy to find."

With every turn in the path, every new sight, Winter Solstice's mood shifts. One moment she seems thrilled by the adventure, crowing about the sights and sounds and sensations, be they mundane or dangerous. She looks into the windows, she reaches out to poke at the thorns, she turns over cobblestones while pounding others smooth into the road. Hope is hard-pressed to maintain her perch as the big earth pony darts to and fro, surging ahead of the group to stop and admire something and be left behind only to charge back up and circle around.

But just as often the big mare is staying close, her mood… worried. Quite obviously worried, obvious not just because she's bad at hiding it but because it really isn't something she usually does anytime. She prances in place, anxious and nervously energetic, and lets her gaze dart this way and that.

And a short while after that she seems overwhelmed by the grim surroundings, and nearly on the verge of tears. She hangs her haed and slouches along, gaze downcast and on the road. A few times she has reeled Trust or Joy in to give them a fearful hug and babble a barely-intelligible apology. Then it takes her about twenty seconds to stop sniffling, draw herself up, puff out her chest, and get back into the spirit of adventure!

As the party nears the gates, the earth pony seems to be in a pensive, worried state. She settles nearby, glancing between the gates and Rising, ears perked and tail flagging at the sound of the trumpet. "Did it work?" she asks, glancing between Hope and Trust. "Is there an army? Are they going to send an army after us? Like an army of little bad memories? Are they gonna send a buncha like awkward teenage moments after us to try and, I don't know… imprison us in the Cells of Embarassment or… or something?"

Rising-Chaos frowns. "The trumpet was me, Winter. I doubt they'll be sending an army after us. Things like dreams and Madness tend to be more subtle, they'll probably try something worse." Because armies are EASY, right?

Hope shook her head. "Not really, we didn't have a lot of bad teenage memories. I mean, exept that time sis walked in on us when we…" The filly blinked for a moment, blushing. "You know what, nevermind… And to be frank, I'm not sure how Dream or Madness would react. They might not even care, I mean…" The filly waved a hoof towards the city center where another giant explotion rocked the glass and wrought iron spires near it. Retaliation came in the form of what appears to be rocket-proppeled poultry arching up into the sky… then back down, their trajectory terminating with explotions of iron-melting pink gas.

"As for open spaces, I imagine we should just head that-a-way. Those two seems to be making plenty of room for us! Pluss, it's like the least sensible thing to do right now," interjected Joy as she walked onwards into the city. There's not much of a army appearing, though the faces in the windows seems to become a lot more common, there's even a few peeking out through doors, watching.

Winter-Solstice sits up and follows Joy. She stops to wave to the various faces looking out at them. "So are they…" The big mare glances back and forth between the two towers. "Are they at war with eachother, or something…?"

Rising-Chaos ignored the watching faces, and follows Joy as well. "I suppose, they seem like completely opposites, and wouldn't get along. If you were a corrupt fragment of a personality strong enough to try and take over a pony entirely, you wouldn't want something on your level either. Throwing us in to the mix could make all sorts of fun happen." She's starting to look a little afraid, but tries not to show it and powers on through. rising shoots off a couple more flares for good measure.

"Yup!" said Joy cheerily and giggeled, wings extending as she took to the air, hoof on her chin in thought. "How is it the song goes again?"

"Face the fire on your own,
embrace the life you thought you could never know.
Can't erase the pain inside,
without a storm whitin.
They left their lies like scars underneath your skin,
the one you're hiding in. The one you're suposed to live in~!"

Joy let her voice fall silent there, a rueful smile on her muzzle. Trust nodded ever so slightly herself before speaking up, "We always kinda liked that one. Quite feels like us… You two… you're going to be our storm."

"As for them," said Hope, looking up at the windows. "They're other parts like us, small parts. They, like everyone else, have been living under the hoof of Them for a long time now… I don't think they will try to stop us." As she spoke the filly turned where she sat on Winter, peering at the faces following them, hiding behind debries and corners along the streets behind them. Up ahead the buildings fell off to each side, revealing another garden of silver hedges and steel flowers. Rising from it are pillars of glass and wrought iron, supporting the sprawling Trottingham mansion they saw when they left Hope's shack, a sweeping staircase rising from the streets to it's front door. It's seen better days, a large part of it have been damaged by the fighting between Dream and Madness. And there's other… things here, twisted pony shapes tearing each other appart. Apperently they do have minions - of some sort - and apperently they are in the way.

Winter-Solstice takes a few moments to wave to all of the various faces. "Do they know who we are?" she wonders, aloud. "Do they recognize me?" She watches them a bit longer, then seems about ready to slide back into another droopy, despondent mood, before snapping herself out of it with a brisk shake of her head and a few eager stomps of her hooves.

"Right! Storm! We bring the storm! We…." She falls quiet as she observes the dark forms. "M-monsters! Golly! Right, here we GO!" Winter CHARGES!

Winter STOPS! LIke three feet out from where she started her charge, frozen mid-step. She calms and stands still, glancing back at Hope. "Wait, before I go wading in and cracking skulls, do we need the mansion? Like, is there like… a better way to do this?"

Rising-Chaos continues to ignore the other Fizzes, it's just too disocncerting. "So, we're here, how do we draw them out?" Those things, monsters, whatever certainly SEEM like something that's relevant to their mission. Limit Edge comes out again from hiding, and she hold it in front of her as she mvoes to join Winter. "There probably is a better way, yes. I haven't the faintest idea what it would be though."

Hope sighed and boped Winter over the head, likewise Joy rolled her eyes. "Oh come on, you both know our view on the world is rather strongly influenced by narrative casuality… Or well, I guess you maybe don't… But it does, becaus that's how our neruosis works. We're litteraly a mad scientist, a comic book mad scientist… we kinda belive in the same rules… Same goes here. 'Good idea' really don't have much to do with things…"

Trust nodded ever so slightly as she walked up next to Winter. "And… well, we don't need it as such… but it's where the battle's going on, so… As for them…" She glanced behind her back at the Soda's. "Yeah, they know we know you, all of us know you. You and Arcee. Thats why they're here." The gestalt gave a soft chuckle. "I trust you to help put things right, they trust you…"

Winter-Solstice's head rings like a saucepan when bonked. She blinks. "What'd I say?" she says, glancing back over her shoulder, more surprised than hurt. The big mare wrinkles her nose and looks back to the scen ahead. "Well, then." Lifting a hoof, she checks the fit of the braclet nestled in the shaggy feathering of her left front hoof- still there!- and nods to herself before… charging! CHAAAARGE!

For the entrance to the mansion, at least. If anything gets in the way she's quick to whirl around and give it a good ol' Double-Barrel Buck Shot. Pow, pow!

Rising-Chaos huffs. "As if I know much about narrative causality." Her charge is much mroe sedate, moving at a brisk pace behind Winter again, for the mansion. Being out here and beating up monsters isn't going to get them anywhere, they gotta take on the bosses. Winter needn't worry, anything would get a taste of Limit Edge before it comes close, Rising isn't heistating for these things.

The look on her face is looking mroe and more afraid though, worried. Rising does NOT want to confront something in that mansion.

Of course, two heroes against a larger fource of oponents… the outcome is more or less guaranteed, the things falls like pins before Winter and Rising, leaving the long stairs to the mansion. Stairs that might end far to soon for Rising's liking, leading them up to a door and though to what must have been a grand foaye at one point, now a decrepit ruin. Another explotion rips through the building, it sounds like it's comming from dead ahead, from behind the two massive wood doors at the far wall.

Winter-Solstice doesn't stick around brawling for long. She seems to want to cut as expeditious a route as possible between the gates of the estate and the doors of the mansion- and only kicks what she has to in order to make sure the route is clear. Knees? Nice targets. So are FACES. On more than one occasion a big muscular swing of her rump sends a beasty sprawlin' and to the side. "Out of the way!" she howls. Bonk! "Stand aside! JUSTICE is here!" Whomp! Hopefully Hope is holding on tight. Maybe Winter should invest in some after-market seatbelts if she's gonna be giving foals a ride very often, 'cause seriously.

And when the way is clear, and the doors open, and a brief moment of respite is found inside the foyer, Winter takes a moment to look around, pinning her ears back. "So awful. Soda-" She turns to glance back for Trust and Joy, hoping they've tagged along. "Er, uh. Sodas. When we're done here, or at least have the bad guys beaten, I'm hoping this place is gonna look a lot nicer. Otherwise we're gonna have to come back and do some clean-up work, 'cause this is kind of scary." She takes another glance around, makes a face, then starts rambling for the big wooden doors to KICK 'EM OPEN.

Well here we are then, sounds like they'll find Madness and Dream soon. Rising Chaos is not reassured by this. She'd certainly made haste in, none of the monsters had even amde her stop walking. The decrepit hall doesn't even earn a second glance and rising just walks past Winter and to the doors. She tries to open them. If that doesn't work, she tries harder, with explodey magic, because it's time to get this over with. Her expression of fear and anger is totally trustworthy, doesn't she look like one of the good guys? "I'm not going to be coming back to clean up. I just want to fix this and get out of here."

The doors open quite readily, actualy. Even more so when Winter gives them a kick, which… seems enough to send the doors flying every which way in splinters. Joy and Trust walks up behind them, the former speaking softly. "There they are… Dream and Madness."

And indeed they are, the regal, snowy white unicorn with purple mane - Dream - and the battered and worn pegasus, black as sin, that is Madness turns to regard Rising and Winter, and the trio of fragments.

"What do we have here, hmh?" said Dream.

"It appears to be Winter," said Madness said dissmissively, "and little Arcee. I'd hoped to rid myself of this wretch before you lot showed up here."

In between the two princess-sized fragments of Sodium-Fizz's mind… laid Fizzy herself, curled up and looking downright terrified.

Winter-Solstice gets about two feet into the room before skidding to a stop, looking from one pony, to another, and then finally to the one in the middle. That one looks familiar- not like crippled Joy or skittish Trust or Hope, who seems a decent enough lass but has that whole weird broken horn thing going on. No, this one looks like Soda. The real deal.

The big earth pony slicks her ears back and frowns for a moment. She turns to scoop Hope up and set her aside. "Do what you have to," she says, before turning back to the group.

And approaching, head held high, steps even. Rising may be feeling pretty anxious, but Winter doesn't seem to be nervous at all. She's got that grim determination thing goin' on. She looks back and forth between Dream and Madness as she approaches, and as she draws near, turns to regard the latter, reaching out to point a hoof at her.

"You. I've never been afraid of you and I'm not gonna start now, so don't start monologuing or anything. You're something to be controled, restrained, -dealt with.- Not even, like, beat down, or something like that, and not even kicked out. We're just gonna make you small and easy to handle like you already are, if you ask me. And YOU…"

She points at the regal white unicorn. "-YOU- are a LIE. I don't even know who YOU are. Frankly, Soda can do a LOT better. I mean, seriously?" Reaching up, Winter waggles a hoof at her forehead. "A horn? That's not even- I mean that isn't even. That's just silly." Back over her shoulder, she comments to Rising, "No offense, Rising."

The big earth pony looks back to the trio with a scowl. "So are we clear on that? That I didn't come here to get talked down to by a couple of problems like yourselves? Can we get that out of the way and maybe save a bit of trouble on everybody's part, maybe not wreck the joint any further?"

There it is, Madness, the part that Rising Chaos was dreading to see. All her problems, all that fear and doubt and all those little things she herself doesn't want to face held together in one body. Tall and terrible and right there, which if she doesn't take care of one of her friends could lose herself forver.

Funny, really, how she doesn't feel afraid anymore. Rising, head down and glaring at the black pegasus steps up beside Winter.

"No offence taken. Horns are not a blessing, they are not a key to power. Sodium Fizz doesn't need one, that dream is nothing but a pathetic lie. These problems aren't going to hurt her any more, just like they never should have."

Dream, though, Dream isn't the target of interest here. Madness is. "I know you. I know your ways, your methods. I know what you want. It would be a compliment to call you nothing. You've been left alone to have fun for long enough, but I know just how to deal with you. How to take away all your little tools, all your little ways to make her hate herself."

By now, the unicorn is breathing hard. There's not a scowl on her face though, even the glare has cleared up.

Dream sneared at them, while Madness scoffed. "You think you can win, then? Even if you make your way past us here, we will still rule! We've had her ear for years and years, and we will keep it so. So you think you can win?" Madness scoffed once more, glaring down at the two ponies.

Winter-Solstice pushes closer, a deep frown crossing her face. She might not measure up to the self-important height of Madness, but she does her best to stand as tall as she can. Which is pretty tall. She likewise sets her shoulders and makes herself as big a presence as possible and otherwise totally gets up in Madness's space. "Yeah, I do think we've won! I DO! Because WE are here now! Because I am here now!"

She pushes in, and reaches out with a big pieplate hoof to try and give Madness a push on the chest. "You don't GET to have her anymore. I'm taking her from you and I don't care what kind of a claim you want to stake." Shove. "'Cause she deserves more than whatever short-sighted plans you have in mind. She's always deserved more and now she has it. She has a home, and friends that care about her, and someone who loves her. OH THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID IT!"

The big mare draws back and raises her voice for the whole blasted gallery to hear. "I LOVE Sodium Fizz. She's pretty and sweet and brilliant and she makes me feel good about myself and want to be there for her, and be the sort of pony she's happy to have around." Back to Madness. The big mare presses back in, going so aggro she all but tackles the looming spectre. "And I love her in spite of the sort of future you'd rob her of if you had the chance. You can't change that, you haven't yet, and you're not about to start. You don't have -anything!- You're done!"

Madness reared back, then again as Winter keept pushing her. "We only do what's best for us! We're better, we're better than you! We're better than everypony! We hate y-…" The big mare doesn't get much further than that as Winter barrels her over. Big, black and looming? Doesn't help much when you're a fragment facing a real pony.

"Hah!" scoffed Dream. "Servers you right, you filthy tramp!" she called at Mandess, walking over towards the real Fizzy - who recoils with a whimper that sounds rahther a bit like 'Winter'. "I knew she'd help me, even after her little tirade. After all, she loves us, and we love her. So you see, Madness, you never had a chance!"

Winter-Solstice isn't much of a hero, because once Madness is down, Winter goes and kicks her in the stomach. Whomp.

She then whirls about, steel-blue eyes blazing, staring at Dream. Winter stares at her for a moment, then tromps over, heavy hooves pounding on the floor, closes whatever distance remains between herself and Dream, and gives the unicorn a full-throttle headbutt. "Shut it!!!"

Well that all happened very fast, Rising Chaos is left with nopony to kick. Winter sure is efficient. There's one little problem, though, that Rising has kept in mind. You can't just kick Dreams and Madness down, and expect them to stay down. The unicorn, the proper one, stays where she is for now, watching the two closely. "Yeah, we can win," she says, softly. "We can win because we're better than you. You rule nothing."

Dream is sent flying, crashing through a pillar. At the same time, Madness is picking herself of the floor, snickering at her counterpats missfortune. "Yeah, the oaf really likes you, I'll say… See? We don't need anypony, they'll go 'oh, but we love you' and then stab us in the back! We're, me and us… We were ment to be, not you Dream!" The Mandess gives a cheery, demented giggle as she trots towards Fizzy, throwing a glance at Rising. "Ah, silly Arcee. We do! There's no one fragment that can stand before us!"

Oh, okay, that's IT. Rising Chaos snaps, all that neutrality gone in an instant. the second the words leave Madness' mouth she's on the move. "Leave this one to me Winter, it's personal. You take Dreams, show Sodium Fizz that you're the only dream she'll ever need." There's that snarl you know and love, with that madness in her eyes and growling voice.

After sending Dream sprawling, Winter is ready to turn back and give Madness another what-for, but Rising brings her up short. Winter whirls to watch the real unicorn for a moment, staring, INTENSE, but then nods. "Thanks, Rising. HEY!" Winter turns back towards Dream and stomps towards her. "Get over here!!"

Kneeling, the big earth pony hooks a foreleg around Dream's neck and hauls her upright. "Come here. Don't make me punch you with justice. Look. LOOK."

Keeping Dream held, she tosses her head towards Joy. "See that? That's Joy. Notice something." The big pony gestures to the Fizziest Fizz, there in the center of the chamber. "Notice Joy looks a lot more like Soda than you do. This is 'cause, like I said, you're a lie. You're fake. There isn't ANYTHING in you but a figment. There's more truth in the promise of Joy than anything you've ever provided!"

The earth pony lets Dream go, only to throw her weight against the white unicorn and sit on her. "But you're still a part of the pony I love. Both of you loathsome things! So we're gonna keep you around. We're gonna keep you around until Soda's dreams stop looking like what some blasted mind-muckin' creepazoid of a unicorn wanted to see in her, or whatever cruel idea her family gave her about what she's supposed to be, and START looking like the pretty pony I know. Like that one there." She points at Joy. "Or that one there." She points at the Fizziest Fizz. "Got it?! Now sit still already!"

One could almost feel sorry for Madness, having Rising Chaos bear down on her. As the unicorn approaches, her magic seems to work on it's own, and an eura surrounds her horn. "Don't you DARE say you do what's best for her. Don't even think of saying you'll help her, or will keep her safe." She's right on up in Madness' face now, having grown enough to stand face to face.

Now looking the pegasus right in the yee, Rising continues to growl. "The only thing you do is take. All your 'help' and 'advice' is the worst thing, and all it serves to do is cause mroe harm. Letting Sodium Fizz love, properly, would fix many of her problems, but you can't see that." Now, Rising isn't big and strong like Winter, but she does have magic. Said magic pick Madness up and puts her flat on her back against the nearest wall, Rising in hot pursuit.

"She's had to deal with you for so long. A poisonous, stupid, childish voice, who's only intent is harm. You've denied her so much. You locked away her hope. You're worse than a monster, you're disgusting." Limit Edge comes up, ready to strike. "I had to deal with my own demons too. I know exactly how."

That pose is held for just long enough to be uncomfortable, then Limit Edge drops to the ground, so does Madness, and Rising shrinks back down. The scowl is gone, as is all the madness. Wihtout a further word, Rising hugs Madness, tight. "I have to love you for who you are, as I love Fizz for who she is. You're nothing, and no one fragment can defeat you, because no one fragment can stand to look at you, you're everything she fears and doesn't want to address, but keeps coming back. But I won't stop caring, for Sodium fizz. the only cure for your poison is trust, and joy, and for her to love herself. Hating you only makes things worse."

Rising closes her eyes, and gets all quiet. there's totally not an angry tear. "So I forgive you."

Dream slowly raised her head, staring up at Winter-Solstice. She looks a bit battered, but far less than she have any right to be. Then again, she's one of the most powerful fragments of Sodium-Fizz's mind. And she looks completely unconcerned with what Winter have to say. "We're only what she made us, my wuvly little Winter," the unicorn-Fizz said, a small smirk on her lips. Dream reached up, a hoof cerasing Winter's cheek. "I'm what we've want to be. I'm what we've always wanted to be… You should help me, Winter, and we could have what we've always wanted. And you… You'd get us, too."

In Rising's arm, Madness looks -very- confused. "What…? I… don't give a rats arse about what you think about me, Arcee!" the fragment growled. "You can't change things! She's still ours, we still talk to her, help her! Well, I do…" The black pegasus shot Dream a dirty stare. "When you're gone, it'll be just us two again. Even if you snatch her way, we win. We still talk, she'll still listen; there's nopony else to listen too in our head! Hah!"

In the middle of the room, Hope, Trust and Joy gathered around the Sodium Fizz, the real one. Reaching down Hope offered Fizzy a hoof just as Trust settled down next to her, putting a wing around the trembling mare. "Don't worry, us… We're here, and… Rising's here too, she's helping… And Winter, she helps us too, she loves us… You can trust her. You can trust them…" Trust cooed, a hoof stroking Fizzy's mane gently.

Winter Solstice reaches up with a hoof and firmly pushes aside the carress at her cheek, and turns to scowl down at Dream. "Want this? Why would you want this?" she says, gesturing at the unicorn. "What's so special about this, huh? Just another puffed-up unicorn thinkin' they're so much better than everypony else. That's how they are, but why would you take it so seriously? Why would you listen?" She points at the middle of the chamber and the gathering there. "The REAL Fizz has WINGS."

Wait, that didn't do anything? Rising Chaos is disappointed, and pulls away, to look down at Madness. "You may not care what I think of you. That's fine, my opinion isn't important. The fact remains that Fizzy, is forgiven. Sodium Fizz is safe, because she is loved for who she is and what she does. All your lies cannot change that." Her magic pushes Madnes down further, to make sure no funny business happens too quick. "You lose, Madness, end of discussion. Sodium Fizz wins." Something is starting to really bother her, like it's not working.

"She won't be as long as we tell her she's not," sneared Madness. "You don't get it, do you? We arn't just some… thing… in our head. We litteraly -are- Sodium Fizz! We are thought forms that have grown over decades made manifest with our own wills within this thoughtscape. All our… All her self loathing and fear…"

Dream smiled up at Winter-Solstice, the kind of smile one would give a little child. "…her desire to be better, her want to love…"

"…her insanity, her terror over what she is capable off…"

"…her wish to be beautiful, her longing to fit in…"

"…her pain, her suffering…"

"…all the happines she wants, all things good she wants do…"

"…we are those things," they both finished together. "She's made us out of her wants and needs, her fears and loathing. In here, we have our own will and you will not sway us," continued Dream. "Out there, you can not change us, for the ones that speak in our head are me… and Dream," finished Mandess, a grin on her muzzle.

Winter-Solstice stares at Dream for a moment longer after she finishes her little duet of disaster with Madness. The big earth pony scowls once more, then pushes up and off the unicorn, approaching the gathering in the middle.

"Trust, Hope, Joy?" she asks. "What's it gonna take to make sure you three can stay here and be just as powerful as these two?" Lifting a hoof, she gestures to Madness and Dream both. "I didn't think we could shuffle 'em off entirely an' I can accept that…" The earth pony glances back at Dream once more, expression clearly troubled, but looks back to the others quickly. "But you're important, too. And if they can't be snuffed out, then you can't, either."

Rising-Chaos leans in and laughs. "No, Madness, you don't understand. I know you're just as much part of Sodium Fizz as anything else. The thing you're missing is that all you are, is thoughts, you're just a habit. She can break you, once she learns how. Nothing but a bad habit, so kindly stay down while the grown ups talk." She pushes madness down again, to reinforce her point, then walks over to Winter and the group. She doesn't feel there's anything to add, so just waits for an answer.

Hope, who seems to have been looking more and more down listening to Dream and Madness speaking look up and over at Winter. "I'm not sure…" She began haltingly, then blinked and looked down at Trust, who placed a hoof on the filly-fragments shoulder. Shoulders that she squared and before looking up again. "We'd need to speak… She cannot hear us over Them…" she almost spat the word, "our voices are not strong enough to carry… The three of us can't do it…" Hope's ears dropped for.

"Hah! See, Arcee? It will not change! Those three are to weak!" giggeled Madness.

"Cough, cough."

The voice that, for some reson, said those those, origionated with the grinning Joy. "Oh, true… We're not heard over them but, hold on for a moment here since I'm going to be brilliant… who said that it only had to be three?" She turned, looking behind them towards the door leading into the room. And the countless fragments standing, staring at the drama before them.

Winter Solstice sits up and looks around at all of the watching Sodium Fizzes. She stares for a moment, before a bright grin crosses her face. "Yeah! Yeah!"

The big earth pony whirls about and romps back towards Dream. "Okay, everpony! Here's a lesson. Proper sitting technique. First-" She reaches out and shoves Dream back down, then whirls about and plants her backside on the white unicorn, pinning her once more. "Here, a few of you come and try it!"

Rising-Chaos nods slowly. "Yes, We don't want to replace two dictators with three, no matter how positive. You shoudl all work together." She looks over all of them, seeming to settle down. Limit Edge disappears under the cape, and she settles down, going back to neutrality. Even if she still looks perturbed, it's quiet now. "How may I help bring this about?"

Hope giggled softly at Winter, shaking her head. "I don't think it'll help to sit on them, really… But the idea is sound!" The filly snapped around, pointing a hoof at Rising. "Arcee, would you be so kind as to lend a hoof with… well… convincing all the other parts of us that we… all of us… can be here. We can be different if we want too. -Despite- Them!"

"No…?" says Winter, bouncing a bit. She pushes up off of Dream once more, then looks around. "The mansion is big enough for everypony, then, isn't it? And if it's not…" She shrugs. "Why not make it that way? This is your world. You choose how broad to make it. Maybe this place needs a thousand bedrooms so everypony can live here." She tromps her way over to a window and peers outside at the surrounding urban landscape. "Or maybe the mansion itself should go and everypony gets their own little potion shop out there. But there's no real reason for those two-" She points at the Them. "Should dwell apart from anypony, is there?"

She leans to the side and peers upward. "Can we tear down the towers?"

Well that's a job and a half. Rising Chaos has never been much of a public speaker. Now, she's being asked to get a lot of ponies together to join forces and be a cohesive unit. Sounds interesting. She takes a little bit to think, then gives a small nod, stands up, and walks towards the Fizzys.

She uses her magic (not much left now) to amplify her voice, thank you Nocturne. "Sodium fizz, all of you. You are all a part of the same pony. You are all the thoughts, feeling, and parts of one pony. Each one of you are no less important than any other part. It is only with all of you together, that we can have a full, happy, complete Sodium Fizz. Your differences are what makes her a interesting, smart, kind, friend. I would see you all working together, living together, in harmony." Her face scrunches up as she realized she has no way to conclude. "Thank you," she finsihes lamely.

She wanders back to the group. "Well, I did my best, hopefully they follow through. Tearing down the towers would be a start in helping them feel better, I think." It's easier to be brave when not in their shadow, after all. Rising herself looks drained, it's been a lot of excitement today.

The fragments standing by the door glance at each other, then looks back out where both Dream and Madness lies toppled at the ground; where Winter and Rising stands firm and tell them they can be better if they want to, dare to. Where Hope, Joy and Trust comforts the mare they're all a part off. A mumble runs through the crowd as they shift.

Dream grined while Madness giggeled. "See? They're weak cowards! They have no reson to help each other!"

Then suddenly one of them steps forward; one that looks a bit older than the actual Fizz, her mane done up in a tight bun. The way she moves, the pricese manner she looks practicaly scream Procedure. She gave Rising and Winter a firm nod before heading over to the three fragments by Sodium Fizz, falling in with them. After giving Joy a dirty glance. Still, their differences are to petty for this.

Back with the crowd another fragment broke away, making the treck across the room. Then another, and another.

Winter-Solstice bounces over from the window and starts gesturing. "Come on, come on! See? You're fine. You'll BE fine. You belong here! You ALL belong here!" She hops about with a bright grin, calming down only with a bit of effort. "Nopony ever liked Fizz just because of her dreams, or her madness. Neither one of them can sustain her on their own. All of you need to be here- and all of you DESERVE to be here. You're all just as important as any other aspect here."

She reaches over to point at Dream. "And that includes you. You're a part of this group. Not above it- never above it. And if they don't give you the power to rise above, you'll never do that again. It is THEIR decision to make."

Rising-Chaos watches the croiwd with a frown as nothing happens. For one little moment, she thinks Madness might be right, then they start coming. Rising makes a point of standing beside where they walk, and nodding to each. A kind of silent 'thank you.'

The other fragments keep trotting in, first one by one though it swiftly becomes small clumps before the whole mass begins to pour into the room… which seems to have expanded greatly to fit all of them in the same room. The throng of Fizzy fragments drowns both Dream and Mandess out of view and herds Rising and Winter up in the center. Right next to Hope, Trust and Joy as well as a rather stunned looking Sodium-Fizz that seems caught somewhere between being in tears or bursting out in relieved, manic laughter.

Winter-Solstice reaches over and hooks a foreleg around that real-looking Fizzy. "You see?" she says, pointing to all the others. "Look at all of them! They're all here for you. I mean they are all you. Here. They're…. this is… this is confusing…" The big mare shakes her head, nose scrunched up, then again looks to a window. "Do we even need to tear the towers down? It'd be a lot of fun! But… can't you just make them not even there in the first place, if you all decided to? Or just make it so they… they don't even matter anymore?"

Rising-Chaos goes with the flow and ends up in the middle. "I don't think they matter anymore already. Once they are all together, Madness and Dream don't stand a chance." She looks around, thought she's not tall enough to get the best view. "I don't think we're even needed in here anymore, Sodium Fizz needs to do some things herself, and she has the power to now."

Sodium-Fizz blinks where she sits, leaned up against Winter, her eyes darting between Rising and Winter. After a moment she reaches out, her wings wrapping around both of them as she pulls them close. Tears seems to win out as she burries her face against Winter's white coat as she hugs them both close. "Th-thank you… Thank you…" With it, something seems to give out in the mental reality; a thread in whatever fabric it is wowen in snaping as it starts to unravel.

All of the fragments seem to notice as well, though it only causes them to set their expressions firm as they continue to pour in through the door. All but three of them. After a moment Hope and Trust joins into the big hug. And so does Joy, though how she manages to pop up right in the middle of it grining is anypony's guess. "That… was AMAZING! Oh, can we do it again? Please, I tottaly want to see you two toss around Dream and Madness, that was so -cool-!"

Hugs! Hugs all around! Winter is grinning pretty brightly herself. She's pretty clueless as to any threads coming loose- worried instead about hugs, and turning to gather up whatever central aspect that pegasus pillowed against her side represents and return her hug. "Aww, I didn't see where they got to, or else I would! But I'm sure if you treat 'em well they'll be better neighbors, so maybe you won't even have to toss them about any more."

Rising-Chaos, on the other hoof, is more concerned about unraveling. She does return the hug a bit. "I think I'd prefer not to, all things considered. Perhaps next time it can eb your turn?"

Hope giggeled softly. "Yeah, maybe next time… Thank you, both of you, for helping us out… I supose this is goodbye, for now. Well, kinda anyway. I mean, now… Now all three of us… -All- of us… got a voice out there!"

Trust smiled softly and nodded. "Indeed. Maybe… maybe we can drag ourselves out of where we've been hiding for a long, long time… I could almost kiss both of you for helping us, but…" She shot the reall Fizzy a glance. "I think I'll leave it up for us."

"You do that, Trusty! Me, I'm going to use this to my advantage," chirped Joy as she giggeled before leaning forward and planting a big one on Rising.

Off in the distance one can hear a pair of twin 'no's being shouted by defeated, desperate villains. As should be. Then the world shaked and shock.

And dissapeared with a pop.

It's probably a good thing it ended there, or Joy would get punched. "Oh great, another mare who decides to go and ki-"

Then the world fades away.

Rising chaos wakes up, still curled up in the curner. Her eyes open slowly, scanning the room. The first thing that strikes her is the alarm she can feel from Glyph. The unicorn poushes herself up to a sitting position, looking for her golem.

"Remember!" says Winter, as she sees the world collapsing. Which is kind of scary so she's not going to think too hard about it! "You're all important! You're all super smart! And you're all super hot stuff that looks good in chainmail stockings!"

When she awakes, she finds herself in a more graceful pile she collapsed in upon huffing the dream-inducing materials from before. The big mare pushes herself upright and wobbles slightly, looking around. "Wow! I had the most amazing dream!" she chirps, staggering towards the bed's side, and Fizzy.

Near the stairway, an animate swirl of dust with a pair of beady black eyes watches the group. Thunderknuckles, Spindrift's once-accomplice, seems to have let himself into the house at some point, but he's staying back for the moment.

Off in one corner of the room, a burlap sack, neatly tied, bounces around a lizard-like shape inside.

Sodium-Fizz blinked bleariy, as one might expect from somepony that's been asleep for several days and traped in their own head for the duration. Her bite-notched ear flutters upward for a moment at the sound of a voice. A very specific voice. "Winter…?" she murmured, pale yellow eyes searching the room unsteadily. "Winny?"

Winter-Solstice seats herself on the edge of the bed and reaches out to gather Soda close, cradling the pegasus's head in her lap. Or at least as much of a lap as a quadrapedal hoofbeast can effect. "I'm here! I'm here. How are you feeling?" She leans down and peers. "You got sleep crud in your eyes." The big mare reaches up to brush Soda's purple curls back from her face.

"Amazing is not how I would describe it." Rising Chaos gets up, already looking awake (though appearances are deceiving). She spots the sack, and grabs the whole thing, plopping it down on her back. "So it didn't work, and you got in trouble, how am I not surprised?" The lizard stop freaking out, now that he's near his master. Rising looks aroudn the room again, eyes finally resting on Fizzy. "Sodium Fizz?"

Rising only gets a very faint "Yeah?" in reply to her question, her attention turned towards Winter. A range of emotions dance over her face, many of them quite unfamilair for it. She seems to be about to cry. Again. Or for the first time, considering last time was in her mind rather than here.

Winter-Solstice meets Soda's look only with a bright smile. She shuffles a bit closer and drags the pegasus closer, forelegs hooked around her more slender profile. "How much time has passed?" she asks, turning to look back at Rising. "Can you take a look outside and see?"

Thunderknuckles whisks down the stairs with a whispering breeze. There's a subtle vibration in the walls, the sensation of a door closing, before something comes rattling back up the stairs. It appears to be… a picnic basket, supported by Thunderknuckles, wobbling back and forth as the miniature storm carries it in.

"Please don't scare me like that again. I thought for a moment that I lsot you." rising chaos shifts her wieght. "It was unpleasant, I don't want to lose you." Awkward moment over, she glances out the window. "A couple hours, maybe?" She heads towards the door, wanting to be home. "I'll leave you two alone, I hope you feel better, Sodium fizz. you're a good mare. Let me know if you need anything more."

She passes Thunderknuckles on the way out. "Bring them the food, they could use it. I'm going for a long run." She goes to do just that, musing to herself. "You never stop being kind, so you Spindrift?"

Sodium-Fizz tore her gaze away from Winter, for a few moments. Long enough to look after Rising. "Thank you…" It's that heartfelt thanks, the genuine, turly greatful one. The kind a drowning sailor might offer to a resquer or a mother to the saviour of their foal. "And… and I'm happy that you think so… Don't be a stranger, Arcee."

With a shaky smile she looked back at Winter, a hoof rising up to the earth pony's chin and gently turning her head back, pale yellow eyes briming with tears. Leaning forward her muzzle bumped aginst the larger mare's. "And thank you Winter… I…" Fizz drew a deep breath, seeming to try and gather her thoughts, ears flikering slightly as if listening to… something. "I… thank you… I l-love… you." The last two word was a barely auidable squeak as she leaned forward, pressing her lips against Winters.

The elemental waggles the basket at Rising Chaos as she passes, leaning forward to peer at her from underneath the bottom edge of it, but self-expression has never been one of his strengths. At length he can only give up and make his way over to the bed, tossing the basket up on top. There's a note attached.

All of that is ignored by Winter, of course, too busy listening to Soda, grinning at what she says, and leaning down to return that kiss. To Winter's credit she doesn't get all full-bore snoggy about it. She's still smiling as she draws off and mantles her chin atop Soda's head and squeezes the pegasus tight. "I know this prolly isn't the end of everything, but it's a start, Fizz. And we'll still be there to help you through the rest. I really meant it, I really meant all of it!"

Sodium-Fizz smiled unsteadily as she burried her head under Winter's chin, forelegs wrapping around the large mare as far as they'd go. "Thank you Winny, thank you…"

-Several Hours Later-

Sodium-Fizz sat at the edge of the bed, peering out the window of her resident. She couldn't go to sleep, not now. There were a milion thoughts running through her head, a milion thoughts that hadn't been there before she'd gone on her trip of self descovery.

She'd gone to find a truth, the truth. Her truth. What she'd come back with was something different; whatever truths she'd carried with her for years were… not gone, but they were certainly not absolutes. And more importantly, she'd come back with something much more precious. The ability to, however teneously, give her heart to somepony else. Soda smiled as her gaze drifted over to where Winter-Solstice was sleeping.

Picking herself of the bed she'd spent the last few days upon Fizz streatched and… Huh, the basket! She'd forgoten that in all the turmoul following her wakeing up. Reaching out she draged it to herself, taking the note of the side with a wing and fliping it open before her eyes.
Winter has always been a fairly light sleeper, and she seems to be napping right now- sprawled on her back, head thrown back, tongue hanging out the side of her mouth. She snores, although quietly.

The note is not fancy. It reads:

"Sodium Fizz,

I overhead yelling and came to investigate, suspecting something was amiss. On finding yourself and the others unconscious in the bedroom I remained so as to ensure your safety. I made sure Rising Chaos and the earth pony were properly settled and helped Nocturne to the street, as he was in a state of confusion. Nothing in the house was taken or touched more than necessary.

Thunderknuckles is delivering this basket for me; inside are some biscuits. I learned the recipe during my days in school: they are tasteless but highly nutritious fodder for students. As you have evidently been sleeping for a few days, you may find bland, nourishing fare to your taste if you have any lingering illness. They were made in Rising Chaos's kitchen with materials she had on hand, so please believe me when I say they are not poisoned. I prepared them regularly for Rising when she had more lab work than time to cook, and she did not hate them.

I do not know what trials you are facing but I hope your friends can help you find what you are looking for. Good luck.

-Spindrift"

Winter-Solstice has partially disconnected.

Sodium-Fizz smiled softly, a very soft giggle pouring out of her throat, making her blink in suprise and glance down at herself. Where'd that come from? Never mind! Fizz picked a biscut out of the basket… then layerd another on top of that and put both of 'em in her mouth at the same time, chewing them down. She'd have to thank Spindrift for them.

A third and fourth joined them in short order.

Sated for the moment the pegasus steatched once more before droping back onto the bed, nuzzeling up next to Winter. Placing a soft kiss on her cheek she droped her head across the white mare's withers, closing her eyes. And feelt oddly content.

The big earth pony mumbles and stirs and murmurs something about "loot drops from the dream dungeon" before calming back down. She reaches out and grabs Soda and pulls her close… but misses and gets a pillow instead. Aww. It's the thought that counts, or one could just sub themselves in for the pillow if they wanted. The pillow probably wouldn't mind.

Sodium-Fizz peeked an eye open and giggeled softly once more before nosing her way down, a hoof pushing the pillow out of Winter's grasp as she wormed her way into it. Once there she nuzzled her head in under Winter's chin. Much better.