In My Sights
IC date: Winter 40
OOC date: 28/1/13
PCs: Hemlock, Sodium Fizz
NPCs: None
GM: None

…crank… Crank… Click. THWOMP!

The sound echoed though the small grove of trees just outside the Harbour as a purple-featherd crossbow-bolt dug into the tree. Not the tree it had been aimed for, but one of to the left and behind. The target hanging on a tree was depressingly un-mared from impacts, though there were a few. That was why the mare standing on her hind-legs in the middle of the clearing, her forelegs and wings working the crank, was training after all. A quiver of bolts had joined the vials and pouches hanging from the belt around her midsection, matching well with the rich purple hue of her long-tailed waistcoat. The colour rather complementing Sodium-Fizz natural dark grey coat and dusky purple mane.

With a sigh Fizz let the front-end of the crossbow drop to the ground as she leaned at it while her foreleg pumped, winding it up once more - only stopping for a moment to flick the soggy curls of her mane out of her face and looking skywards. "Rain, water…" she muttered for herself. "I like it, but this is getting a bit to much…"

Hemlock is doing his usual patrols around the edge of town, taking his camp with him. that stallion may have moved to the ship, but he'll be cursed before he spends all his day on it. Heh, cursed, funny choice of wording there. The stallion shivers at the thought, but keeps his jaunty stroll going. His whistle drowns the sound of a crossbow and mare talking to himself, by all appearances he's totally lost in his own thoughts as he stroll in to the glade.

…crank… Crank…. Click. THWOMP!

The quivering tip of the crossbow stood shaking in the wood right before Hemlock. After a moment of confused blinking at the stallion - who had more or less appeared out of nowhere - Fizz gasped and leaned forward. "Uh… Hemlock, was it…? Are you alright?"

Hemlock had stopped in his pace just in time to avoid it! He stares at the still vibrating bolt in the wood in front of him for a couple long moment. The stallion, his entire camp carried on his back, sits down, and starts to laugh. After a couple seconds of laughter, he looks over to the pegasus. "Oh, that was you miss Fizz? That was fun!"

"Fun?" asked Sodium-Fizz, rather incredulously. "I wouldn't say fun… More like risky…" She sighed and looked down at her crossbow. "Go figure I'd almost hurt somepony…"

Hemlock gets back up and prances over to the mare. "Of course it was fun! There's not enough adrenaline in my life recently. Playing in the rain is fun and all, but it lacks a certain feeling of adventure, wouldn't you agree?" He nudges the pegasus, smirking. "Oh come now, you wouldn't have got me. I'm far too aware of my surrounding to be taken out by a simple crossbow bolt."

Sodium-Fizz gave Hemlock a uncertain stare for several long moments before dropping it to the crossbow. "I don't… I mean… I…" The grey mare fell silent, seeming deep in though.

"I… wonder how you do that. What makes it a adventure, and not a nightmare?"

Hemlock puts a hoof to his chin, giving it some thought. "How do you mean, miss Fizz? I just trot on through life and take my joys where I can. I'm nothing but a simple stallion." There's a small smirk on his muzzle, but he sounds soooo serious.

Hemlock pokes the mare in the chest, his face shifting in to a serious expression. "Perhaps I should ask you, miss. Why such a beautiful, smart mare would turn her entire life in to a nightmare. Why she would ignore the beautiful world around her, even if she feels doomed to destroy it." He pulls back and look down at her, worriedly.

Sodium-Fizz flinched and pulled back. "Don't… call me beautiful. Don't even insinuate it… Ever!" The last word was accented with a visible shudder running through her body. "As… as for why it is. It's not my doing… it's the whole stupid crazy I live with!" Fizz growled and kicked the dirt. "It just takes things and buck them all up… for… I don't know, wealth? You know, the first mare I had a crush on… I wound up kidnapping her and showering her with bits stolen from the Trottingham Royal Bank… 'Cause she always said she'd marry rich… Ugh… That's the kind of thing. 'I'll kidnap her and rob a bank for her' is not a reasonable reaction, buck it!"

Soda sighed for herself, shaking her wet mane out of her face. "And… and I guess I want to be better than that… That might be just as bad."

Hemlock takes a step back at the reaction, but frowns. "Very well miss Fizz, but I call everypony beautiful, because they all are. Even if not on the outside,they all are on the inside." He lets the topic drop though, he knows when to stop. He watches the pegasus critically for a while. "I know you can be better Sodium Fizz, I know it. I would bet my life on it, in fact. Your crazy is just that, crazy. You are not that pony."

"I -know-!" came the frustrated shout from Sodium-Fizz. "And I try, I try to do the right thing by everypony. I try to help out when I can, I try to make sure everypony know what they're getting into dealing with me. I even try to make sure I don't do anything crazy… But it keeps happening, and the side of me that wants to be good hates it and the crazy side of me hates it when I try to fight back and… And…" She sighed before glancing at Hemlock, both angrily and somewhat tiredly.

"I… think I figured out what it would be, the thing I hate the most…" she muttered.

Hemlock leans in, looking at her curiously. Surely, he thinks he knows, but only Sodium fizz can know for certain. "I know you do, miss Fiz. I know you try, and I want to say that I'm proud of you for it." He smiles reassuringly. "So what did you figure out, miss?"

"First I thought you meant something like… I don't know, opening up to my friends, or find love or something else stupid like that," muttered Sodium-Fizz as she leaned on her crossbow once more. "I mean, I don't really want friends… It just mean they get dragged into everything… And love… Love, don't even get me started on -that-! It terrifies me…"

Hemlock leans back, listening intently. He does nod though. "Love is probably the… Fourth scariest thing I've ever encountered, yes. Though it has it's uses." The stallion gets up to stretch his 'tired old legs' and starts trotting around the glade. "So what do you hate the most?"

Sodium-Fizz shook her head fiercely. "It's the second most terrifying thing I've ever run into… and it have no use other than to make ponies fools liable to be stab in the bloody back. The most… terrifying thing I can think of, Hemlock… is letting the other me, the crazy part of me… run free. Let it out."

Hemlock shakes his head calmly. "I'd ask you to trust me, based on my experiences, but that won't happen." He thinks about her announcement carefully for a while. Such a serious thing deserves his respect. "I think you should try it. A controlled use of your villainous tendencies may actually be less destructive than an explosion caused by bottling it up." He grins, actually looking forward to this. "It's been a while since I had to go up against such a charming villain. It would be my pleasure to foil your plans, if you like. As for your friends, they never have to know if you don't want them too."

Sodium-Fizz frowned at Hemlock. "Not charming either, it makes my skin crawl…" and indeed it did as Fizz shuddered slightly. "It… drags up bad memories. And… and I don't really want to… It's… scary. I've been bottling this up for… ages."

Hemlock frowns again, he's just being friendly. "Friendly villain then, companionable, amiable? What I'm saying is that I think you a pleasant pony to be around, and would be honoured to help you." He stamps a hoof, this is nearly frustrating. "And it would be scary! That is, in fact, the point. It is up to you, and nopony else, to decide if you want to buck up and do it." That's probably the harshest language he's used since coming to the Harbour, huh. He must be rather serious about this.

Sodium-Fizz of course doesn't have a clue about Hemlock's harsh-language use, or lack therof, and doesn't even register it as being out of the ordinary. Instead the mare's head dropped as she stared into the ground, leaning more heavily on her crossbow. "Yeah, I know… And… I think I still need to think about it… Figure out what to do…"

Hemlock nods sympathetically. "You take your time. It's hard, a very hard choice to make. Whatever decision you make, just make sure it's the right one for you, okay?" The hero prances over and yanks the bolt that almost hit him out of the tree. "And hey miss Fizz?"

Sodium-Fizz peered up at Hemlock. "Yes?"

Hemlock holds the crossbow bolt and eyes it critically. The thing is damaged from the impact, so is unusable. "I'm proud of you, not many ponies have the strength to do what you've done. Whatever else, you're a hero to me, perhaps just as much of one as I am." He casts a glance her way, seeming to forget about his comment immediately. "You mind if I keep this? I'll get you a new set of bolts and everything."

Sodium-Fizz blinked for a moment - not really seeming to be buying it, though nodding anway after a few minutes of hesitation. "Um… Sure. I had Iron Stocks make them… She's one of the metal-crafting ponies in town, Winter-Solstice's employer… But… Why?"

Hemlock slips it in his saddlebags. "I may have an idea. But mostly I'm gonna keep it as a souvenir. I like to pick up little things to remind me of the ponies who inspire, reminds me why I fight at all. I'll get you some real special stuff though, I am rather well connected for these things." He prances around, looking himself up and down. "I should really visit your store some time. I do love mixing things around, maybe we'll share recipes or something."

"Maybe you can fix something that's non, lethal. Iron Stock wasn't quite up to making elixir-delivery bolts unfortunately… I'm keeping the rest for target practising though… And maybe I should set up some warnings," mumbled Sodium-Fizz for herself. At least for a moment. "And… I suppose we could, yes, Mr. Poisons."

Hemlock chuckles and shakes his saddlebags, there's a rustling and clinking of dozens of little vials. "Elixir delivery? I happen to have a few if you want them, thought they may not fit that beast of a thing. Perhaps I should give you a little gift, and replace mine later." He looks around and chuckles. "I would love to learn from you, my knowledge of anything except poisons and antidotes is woefully lacking, comes from experience, I suppose."

Sodium-Fizz nodded herself. "I know… I can mix healing elixirs in my sleep, with my hooves tied behind my back -and- only using warm stones and grass," said Soda with a slight chuckle.

Hemlock rummages around in his other saddlebag, the one without all the vials. After a bit he pulls out a mini crossbow, only about the size of his hoof. He tosses it to Fizz, along with a quiver of bolts. "That's a fiendish little device, and those bolts are rather high quality. They were made to deliver poisons without damaging the target, so in theory you could heal someone with it from a distance. It's yours if you want it. It" He winks. "Under two conditions. One, never tell a soul you got it from me, and two, I'd like to help you practice with it."

Sodium-Fizz blinked for a moment as she scrambled for miniature crossbow. After a moment or two of comedy-style juggling, that particular kind of frantic of somepony desperately trying not to bounce it out of her hooves, Soda settled down, panting softly. "It…? Sure…" Fizz turned it around in her hooves for a moment before chuckling. "Something like this would have been good to have when I stole Nightmare's Will petrified head… Certainly would have saved me a petrified hoof for a few weeks…"

Hemlock chuckles at the scrambling. "You know, the more I hear about that place, the more fun it sounds. I really must find a way to take a trip there for a weekend or something." He looks about, and smiles to himself. "Well, I need to go set up my camp somewhere. You can find me on the dock if you ever want me to help you learn that thing."

Sodium-Fizz nodded again. "Of course… I should head back myself anyway… I'm starting to feel cold down to the bone, now."

Hemlock bows low. "It was a pleasure being shot at by you Sodium Fizz, you get home and get warm." Hopping back up, he starts strolling through the forest again. By all appearances he's even happier than he was when he arrived. The whistling starts again, and soon he's disappeared in to the forest.

Sodium-Fizz looked after Hemlock for several long moments before shaking her head and rolling her eyes. "Silliest stallion if I've ever seen one," Soda muttered for herself before turning onto the path home herself, her big crossbow on her back and it's new, much smaller companion tucked into her waistcoat. Still, there might just be a very tiny upturn in the corner of her mouth.