Light In The Dark
IC date: Autumn 51, 1007
OOC date: November 9, 2012
PCs: Winter-Solstice, Sodium-Fizz, Ruby-Blossom
NPCs: Pinkie Pie, Fauxfield?
GM: Appljeack, Trixie

The moon is fading from its fullness. Half-full maybe, casting as much shadows as it does light amid the trees that line the forest's edge. Getting here was easy enough. Between Pinkie and Ruby's knowledge of the nearby Nightmare Moon encampment, dodging the general patrols and whatnot was a breeze. Now the group gathers at the same place where Pinkie once saved ponies from spiders, and where, once upon a time, a brutal battle took place between a single zombie and Pinkie herself.

Speaking of the pink pony, she's got her Zombie suit on. It's great for forest forays, and surprisingly warm! Though that could be the…modifications she's had done to it to make it something of a snowsuit too. That way it better masks the whole 'scent of the living' and such. She bounces next to the shadowy trees, giddy as a schoolpony at having company along on one of her 'spy missions'.

"This ought to be fun! Sneaking deep into enemy territory to find out their deepest, darkest secrets…" she practically chirps between bounces.

Winter-Solstice is bouncing along right with Pinkie. She probably smells rather alive, and the only zombie her suit resembles is perhaps a recombined muppet zombie dredged up out of a box in someone's closet. But she's having fun. That has to count for something, right? Right? "I hope we find out something interesting! And not just that there are zombies and they hate people. Maybe we'll get to meet Evil Snowdrift. Maybe we can work out a deal with her. What do you think, Pinkie?" She glances about at everybody else. "Ruby? Soda? What do you guys think, huh? Huh? What if we arrange, like, like we arrange like we try to arrange a mutual agreement thing to go take on the Queen, huh?"

Ruby-Blossom has swapped her snowsuit out for a far dirtier hand-me down - this one isn't stained with blood and will become far more useful after the group comes across it's first zombie. "It's been my experience that the ponies around here aren't exactly chatty." one hoof rubbing the wound on her neck. "They tend to be a tad more…stabby and bitey." cynical mare! "Keep your eyes out for a zombie to kill. It'll be far easier to sneak around if I can get a little bit of their…uh…smell and the like." Sure she has a plan, a disgusting plan - but none the less a plan.

Sodium-Fizz hovered along towards the rear of the little colomn of ponies. She had, honestly, not been part of this little expedition to begin with though nature had called. In this case the urge to spread her wings, something even the typicaly ground-bound pegasus had to do at times. "While it would be neat to get the zombies as allies… I'm afraid I have to go with Ruby on this one, the chances of that is about the same as the sun suddenly rising. Very, very slim." The pegasus fell silent for a moment. "Well, if nothing else the audacity of plain asking would make enough shock and confusion for a getaway, I supose! Though hopefuly we won't need that."

"That sounds like a fine idea to me!" Pinkie chirps, giggling, "Maybe they're just a buncha misunderstood flesh-eating creatures of the night!" Winter's bouncing is making Pinkie bounce more, just adding to the general excitement level of all this. Dark forest, creepy zombies, evil ponies, oh my! Suddenly she stops bouncing, her ears perked, head turned. This lasts all of five seconds before she turns back to the group. "Okay, so. I figure I'll get us to the hive, and depending on if the zombies are having another party we can either go in the front door, or the super-ultra-sneaky-special back way…"

Ruby-Blossom quietly stares at Pinkie "Of course there is another way out…" sounding a tad bitter about that. "Well them." she chimes warmly "Off we go - no need to dwaddle; Today is a good day to die, and all that." the mare begins to trot forward.

"Sneaky is good," says Winter. "I don't… know if I can do it myself, but, but I can, like, I can hold the entrance while the rest of you sneak in? Maybe?" She turns her head to glance back at the others, and watches Ruby trot past. "And c'mon, Rubes! Do you remember what she was saying to the Queen that one night? The Queen isn't letting spirits up into the sky. Evil Snowfield didn't seem all that happy about it. She's not happy about it but she hasn't been able to do anything about it so far, so maybe we'll give her that chance?" She turns to look at Soda, next, watching her for a few moments.

"If you don't mind, Ruby… I'm not really planing on doing that, okey?" Sodium-Fizz gave the younger mare a smile as she folded up her wings and dropped to her hooves, trotting along behind. "As for… Evil Snowfield's problem with the Queen, if I did remember correctly she was also cross with the Queen for trying to steal her kills. Namely us. No problem asking if we have to, but I wouldn't pull it as the first option untill I got proof she's -not- trying to tear us limb from limb and add us to her undead hord of hideously horrible monsters."

Fizz smiled thinly. For a moment, then shoot Pinkie a glance. Or more accurately, the costume she was wearing. "Tell me, does sneaking in somehow involve creating our own zombie 'costumes'?"

Ruby-Blossom glances over her shoulder at Fizz "Oh, I've got that all covered. We just need to find a Zombie to kill then we can use some of your Fizzy stick-all to cling parts of it to our suits." Glad you asked, Fizzy?

For a moment, Pinkie blinks at Winter. "Huh. So maybe they're all cranky because they can't go to their final resting place? But…" Blink. "Do you know how to send spirits to wherever they're supposed to go?" Without waiting for much of an answer, or rather following Ruby in so they can get to where they're going quicklike, Pinkie bounces to her position as 'forest guide' and starts the path towards the Hive! She answers Fizz as she goes. "You can if you wanna! It's not /that/ hard… But it's a little gross. I only did it because if I didn't I'd be zombie chow right now, and I can't be zombie chow when I have sooooo many other things to do." Hop, hop. "I've always thought everyone would get along better if they could just laugh a little instead of stab each other. But I guess if I was dead and couldn't go anywhere I'd be pretty mad too. … And hungry…"

Luckily enough, most of the zombie presence doesn't really begin until later on, towards the entrance of that once-beautiful clearing the Hive occupies. Now the equivalent of a zombie mosh pit. What with a veritable ton of the undead buggers milling about, groaning, eating from a pile of other caught things, and playing pin the tail on the donkey.

With a real tail. And half of a real donkey.

The slim 'entrance' to this zombie camp is unguarded. Because honestly, who's going to walk into a big group of zombies with ill intent? There is, however, evidence that shamblers do come through now and then… Probably hunting parties. This is where Pinkie stops, peering in through that slender entrance, ears perked alertly for signs of other zombies around aside from the throng lurking just beyond. "…Wow. I think there's even more of them now than there were last time…"

Winter-Solstice is soon favoring the back of the group, as she lets the experts- at zombies, at sneaking- go first. It's not that she's SCARED, and judging from the eager, tense way she leans forward she's as curious as ever, it's just that, you know… not sneaky. And lots of zombies. She makes a face at Pinkie's observation. "Definitely the sneakier back door," suggests Winter to the others.

"No, no. Not if I can avoid it, I'm not keen on putting on a zombie's skin, I can tell you that much…" whispered Sodium-Fizz as they creept up behind them, sticking to Winny and sharing the sentiment. The sneaky mares better take a peek first and foremost. "Yes, that might be a good idea. I don't think I have anything that would make it easy for me or Winter to get through -that-." Judging by the look on her face, that admission stings. And isn't particularly comforting.

"I don't like not being prepared…"

Ruby-Blossom doesn't have much to say about this site - the mare quiet for a long moment before commenting. "Ew….

"Good thing there's a back way in, huh?" Pinkie whisper-giggles, inching away from the clearing entrance. She starts bouncing along the heavily wooded perimeter. It's not too terribly long of a walk, but it does take a bit of diving through brush and other things that aren't exactly forest paths. Including one close-encounter with a drift widow pile. But eventually Pinkie leads the group around to an inconspicuous pile of brush, planks, and rocks. Yep. Totally inconspicuous. And apparently undisturbed!

At least until Pinkie starts pushing the pile out of the way. "Here… Uncover this… It's a little bit of a steep drop, but it's only a few feet, and then you're in. It's dark though. Who brought the flashlight?"

"Not me," says Winter, helpflly. She smiles down at the dark tunnel entrance and then back up at everybody else in the expectant fashion of someone used to other people doing the helpful things.

Sodium-Fizz did not look particularly amused as she pulled herself from a bush, struggling for a moment to pull a wing free. Spitting a clump of thin, sickly leaves on the ground she turned to peer down the tunnel for a few moments before shaking her head. "Don't look at me… I… havn't prepared anything special for this," that's what she gets for practicaly nagging her way into going outside. She shoot Ruby a glance, specificaly her forehead. "Only got pegasi eyesight. Ruby? Do you have any ideas?"

You paged Ruby-Blossom with 'You got some very weird flash lights…'.

"No lights huh? Oh well!" Nonplussed, Pinkie finishes clearing the way, promptly hopping in to the hole. "Whee!" A moment later. "Oh hey… I guess we don't need a light. Come on down girls!"

Ruby-Blossom sighs loudly "Fine…" clearly not happy with the idea. A sputter then a flicker and finally unicorn light from the tip of her horn; somehow she's okay with this - cause who knows if Winny will even notice. But certainly Ruby has masquared as an earth pony since arriving at the harbor, and in this forsaken waste land. Her light certainly is not as strong as more talented unicorns - honestly it's kind of pathetic.. Of course this is already done by the time she's told to hop down - Ruby giving Winny an encouraging nudge towards the hole; not dumb enough to go /before/ the goliath.

Fortunately for Ruby's little ruse, Winter is too readily enticed by Pinkie's invitation, and is already readying to hop down before Ruby even gets into nudgeworthy distance. Just a little tap, and down she goes! "Wheeeee!"

Ruby follows suit - she's totally okay with a feather bra…err weight following her.

A few moments later the Sodium-Fizz landed right next to Ruby, giving the younger mare a smile and a encuraging flank-bump. "All fine?"

It's dark in the Hive, but not oppressively so. Despite Nightmare Moon's and the zombie horde's best efforts life always seems to find a way to eke out an existance. In this case that life is algae and moss growing on the walls and ceilings in spidery, veinlike patterns which is emitting just enough of a glow to see by. The light in this part of the hive is a dark yellow bordering on amber.

Once in the quiet of the Hive a gentle melody can also be heard drifting through its twisting tunnels, the source masked by the numerous echoes that give the lullaby a haunting tone. The words are indistinct but occasionally snippets of it make it through.

……. … …… …. still asleep … dream … … …. … heaven's safe …. …….. … we sung … …… .. soft as … ……. endless fields … …. . long for those days … ….. ..

Winter-Solstice scoots back up against the wall and turns to glance back at the others. "Sneakers first," she says, smiling cheerfully to Soda and Ruby.

Ruby-Blossom listens intently to the lullaby - ears perked and curious to say the least; the mare more than a tad focused on the lullaby and it's melody as she trots behind Pinkie.

Despite being somewhat familiar territory, something about the lullabye puts a twitch in Pinkie's ear. "That could be a good thing… Or it could be really really bad. I mean, we've only really seen one zombie speak in anything other than grunts and groans, and that's the big Evil Enchantress boss herself, sooooo…" Pinkie's head turns towards her three best sneaking buddies, light reflecting eerily off her eyes.

"Watch out~"

Then the zombie-clad pink pony puts her hooves to use, trotting down the hardly lit tunnel. She finds herself humming along with the lullabye in short order, leading on down towards the potential source of the hive lights. And possibly the music too.

"I don't like this," whispered Fizzy, her gaze nevously sliding back and forth the walls. Not only is she unprepared, but this place is just creepy as Tartarus. To say that the pegasus looks edgey would be an understatement. Though, hey! She manages to keep her professional priorities straight anyway as she, more absentmindedly than anything, scrapes a few clumps of moss and alge from the walls, stuffing them into her cloak. And sticks way back with Winter.

"Keep your chin up, Fizz!" says Winter, beaming a smile to the anxious alchemist. "It's an adventure! The best adventures are always the dangerous ones, and this one is totally dangerous, so that means it's totally great. And if it's great, that means we're bound to find something neato! Now we just need to go find out what it iiiiis!" She is, to her credit, not entirely totally loud, though there's not much she can do to mask her hoofsteps as she follows along after Ruby and Pinkie. Seeming to realize this, she glances down at her feet, then frowns, and adopts a sort of shuffling gait. Sounds more zombielike. She then turns to make a face at Soda. "Blurrrgh zombie uuuurgh."

Ruby-Blossom is all serious in spite of Pinkie Pie - the ruby-eyed glare quietly staring at the crazy mare while following her; in retrospect everypony in this group is crazy - Pinkie's just the cunductor of the crazy train.

The further into the abandoned hive they travel the more words of the lullaby the investigators can understand. The steady yellow glow on the walls and ceiling has given way to a pulsing purple that travels along the paths of algae with a steady rhythm reminiscent of a heartbeat. The tone of the melody has shifted as well to sound more pleading and wistful.

… …… … prayers to the sky … …… … ….. see your face …. … carry these memories inside … … colored by love …. … grow wings … fly high … ….. …… … watchers look on as they dance in their—

The ground underneath Winter Solstice's hooves gives way as the group picks their way down a relatively steep descent, drowning out the rest of the verse with the sound of tumbling rocks and quite possibly tumbling ponies. Hopefully taking up the rear won't take out everyone in front of her as well!

"I've been on one or two, it comes with my… well, you know." The grey mare pouted. "I'm actualy relly, really… bad… at adventures." Winny's attempt at zombie humor earns her a swat of Fizzy's tail, the smaller mare picking up her pace slightly. A small frown forming on her face. "Maybe… Maybe offering some help is… not an entirely bad idea…"

Winter-Solstice shuffle shuffle shuffles, and grins ghoulishly after Sodium. "Don't stress, Soda! I'll teach you the basics. First, always rememmmb- aahhh-" Her voice is cut off as her hooves give out from under her, and while she throws her weight back, that doesn't help at all! Soon she's tumbling downward, legs kicking about before her as she tries to arrest her downward flight, expression pulled into a grimace of surprise.

Pinkie Pie is right in the way of a tumbling avalanche of rock and pony! S"Whoooooaaaah!" she squeaks, barrelled into along with the rest, wherever this steep tunnel will end!

"I can't help but st-…" The alchemist eeps as the sliding Winter-Solstice rams into her backside, promptly barreling over Sodium-Fizz and sweeping her down in the tumble. No good with adventure indeed, if nothing else than for being unlucky when something does go wrong.

Ruby-Blossom ends up flat on her back with Winny's sprawled atop of her - not quite as 'romantic' as the tumble Ruby and Fizzy had the other day; and no where near as romantic as the tumble Kludge and Solar had. Managing to pull herself free she mummers softly "That's smarts…" rubbing her neck - which was already sore to begin with.

Winter-Solstice squirms about underneath Ruby, groaning. She's not hurt- it's just a little slide, after all!- but she is dreading what might have happened as a result of that little tumble. Lifting her head, she squints an eye open and holds as still as she can manage, peering about, looking for zombies, or evil snowfields who lead zombies, or something similar to them.

But there appears to be nothing!

Oh wait, there's a zombie! AHH! …Oh, no. That's just Pinkie Pie getting up off the ground. "Ugh. That wasn't very fun… Everypony okay?"

Sodium-Fizz coughed as she pulled herself of the floor, whafting away the dust in the air with a wing. Who would have imagined miniature rock-slides being so dusty! She doesn't get halfway through her own look around before putting covering half her muzzle, and one of her nostrils with a hoof. Another sneeze, the ping of high-velocity gravel bouncing of the floor. Sneeze-velocity gravel. "I'm… fine… And I'm not sure I agree with your definition of fun."

At the bottom of the incline is a new variety of algae which coats the walls entirely instead of tracing strage patterns. It glows a pretty vermillion which gives everything a subtle red glow much like what one might expect to find in a photographer's dark room. The tunnel turns a corner some fifty meters ahead where the color changes to… white? Everything seems bright at the end of the path and a chill breeze comes from that direction.

The song is much clearer here. The source must be nearby.

Silent black, the dawn, and time tell its tale…

Darkened blood, it flows, the forest receives…

Look within the dark as deep as you dare…

There inside you find destruction you seek…

The gravel ricochets off a wall and then another and there's a soft *thump* as Winter's head cants slightly to the side. "Oh," she says, blinking. She then smiles up at Pinkie. "Yeah, I'm fine! I…" She quiets as the song seems so much closer, turning her head towards the white light. She blinks a few times and cautiously begins to pick herself back up, creeping as slowly as she can manage, which means she's about as loud as two other ponies walking about without making any efforts to quiet themselves at all. "I'm really bad at interpreting song lyrics," says Winter, "but I'm pretty sure it's about love."

Sodium-Fizz cocks her head, her ears standing straight as she listens. And whimpers. "You know how I said it sounded like a good idea to talk..? I'm not so sure right now. Just want to make that clear." The pegasus snuck forward herself, after taking a moment to scrape of a sample of vermillion algae and depositing in her cloak. Priorities.

Stealth seems to have gone by the wayside. What with the avalanche and all. Pinkie the Red creeps herself along despite the noise caused by the muc bigger pony's attempts at sneaking, to that curiously colored bend at the end of the tunnel. "I didn't expect whatever this is to be /that/ close to the back door…" she notes, "Must be our lucky day!"

Ruby-Blossom huffs softly - clearly impatient as she begins to sneak forward /towards/ the song. The snowsuit clad mare sneaking despite the obvious entrance of the entire body. (This will likely be one of those nights…)

As the party of ponies approaches the bend in the tunnel the light becomes clearer. It is definitely white light! Of course, that wouldn't explain the white walls and floor. White light would make them wall and floor colored. The snow and ice rimed on every surface? That'd make thing white.

Sneaking! Always with the sneaking! Ruby quietly trots forward in hopes of sneaking a peek or peeking a sneak at the room without notice; sure the group just tumbled down a secret entrance in a impressive fashion - but a mare can still hope!

Winter-Solstice hangs back, though as before on the surface, she's leaning forward so eagerly it's clear she's not holding back out of fright but because she has an actual rudimentary knowledge of her limits regarding sneakiness and her lack thereof. "Ruby! What do you see?" she hisses after Ruby. "What is it? Is it the outside? Is it an abominable snowpony? Oh! Oh! Evil Snowfield, I bet! Evil ice! I bet she makes evil snowcones and evil snow-angels!"

Sodium-Fizz fought back a worried whinney as she fell back further, dropping towards the back of the little column of sneaking ponies. There'd been way to many small problems and mistakes during this trip for her liking. Most others would just take that in strides no doubt, but Fizz did not like knowing she had messed up. And failing to predict what she needed to pack in way of potions was absolutely failing. That was failing horrible! It wa-

The alchemist blinked as her head jerked around. It was just Winter, speaking. She let out a sigh of relief.

"It never got /this/ cold inside before…" Pinkie Pie notes to nobody in particular. She's not being super-stealthy herself, perhaps too enthralled by the way the tunnel is so thoroughly covered in ice! Like it had been this way all along, and nobody ever knew! She stops just before the tunnel's turn though, sliding down onto her belly to poke her head juuuuust barely around the corner. She's totally opting for a pony totem pole or something. "Psst… Girls, check this out..!"

Great, she hadn't even noticed the drop in temepartures untill Pinkie had pointed it out. Another stupid little mistake for Sodium-Fizz to add to the pile to fret over. A few moments her slate grey muzzle joined Pinkie's in peaking around the corner.

Ruby-Blossom 's position is certainly forced to change as Pinkie wedges herself to the front, and flat on the ground; she shifts back a bit to remain leaning forward at least until Fizz piles atop of Pinkie. She mummers softly under her breath "I'll regret this." then hesitates before plopping atop of Fizzy - motioning Winny over first; both for her own comfort and Fizzy's delight.

Winter-Solstice shoulders her way in and peeks around the corner. By virtue of being the heaviest, she should be on the bottom, right? No, by virtue of being the tallest, she should be on the top! No! By virtue of being the mightiest, she pushes her way into the middle and collides with everybody else along the way. -Errypony's- gettin' shoved around by Winter.

The singing continues as Ruby et al poke their heads around the corner. The tunnel opens into a large, open area. In another life this may very well have been a primary brood chamber for the changelings that once called this place their home. Right now, however, it is a wintry wonderland. A very bright wintry wonderland.

I call out these prayers to the sky, heavy with thought, see your face…

I carry these memories inside, thoughts of a soul colored by love…

Playing in the middle of the room is a single filly. As Winter Solstice has correctly surmised the mare looks strikingly similar to Snowfield with her off-white coat and teal blue striped mane. She has a few pink flowers tucked behind one ear and the cutie mark on her flank appears to be an hourglass with a couple of bells hanging off of it.

See me grow wings and fly high, passions will die down below…

At the room's very center is… sunlight. Trees covered with a thin layer of frost. Fresh mountain air. /Sunlight./ The view is hazy but there's no mistaking the bright shine of Celestia's glory gracing every surface of the room.

I burn in a basin of fire, watchers look on as they dance in their merciless sky…

It's not just an image, either— aside from the snow that has blown into the brood chamber a few vines creep out from the other side of the rift and have stubbornly taken root in the cold floor. They're already sprouting pretty blue roses, defying the odds in the deathly catacombs.

Watching me… watching you…

The alternate Snowfield (Fauxfield?) throws herself into a small drift that has blown into her cavern, causing a spray of powder to go skyward with a cute little *poomf*. She sighs wistfully at the rift.

Watching me…

Ruby-Blossom is certainly glad she's not in the pony pile when Winny starts pushing and shoving to get the best position in the house: all of them. The sight certainly has her curious - curious about the 'sun' and exatly what it is - doing her darndest to figure out exactly what she's looking at without being grossed out by evil dead no eye-balls zombiefield. The biggest thought on her mind is 'Can I steal this?'

Also the Snowfield in the middle of the room looks very much like a perfectly ordinary Snowfield and not like a horrible undead monstrocity, save for the whole 'being happy' bit. Kind of like the first time she was spotted outside the Hive.

"Hey… Stopit!" Sodium-Fizz shot Winter a annoyed glare to go together with the harsh whisper. Under other circumstances this would have been interesting, but… Pale yellow eyes turned towards the room again. That, that was most likely the single most beautiful thing she'd ever seen since they wound up in this frozen pit of Tartarus! Beautiful and… confusing. "What do you think it's doing here…? The… light."

Ruby-Blossom glances sideways and downwards - softly whispering. "I think it's remembering…" the turquoise mare comments while resiting every urge to go talk to yet another villan.

Winter-Solstice turns and glances up at Pinkie. "Does this look familiar to you at all?" she whispers to the only one here that ever has any idea what's going on. She looks back towards the mysterious filly. That… doesn't look like the Lich. Wait, what? Snowfield didn't just get an evil twin, she got an evil triplet? She scuffs a hoof- how come some ponies get all the cool alt-u duplicates!- and inadvertently thumps Fizz in the butt in the process. "She doesn't look evil. I'm gonna say hi."

Sodium-Fizz lets out a not-quite eep as she feels the pie-plate hoof on her backside and shoots Winter a glare. "No you're not," she hissed, "till we figure out what's going on!"

Pinkie looks confused! That's how she looks. She can't even look into the room for too long without shading her eyes. "So… So bright! It's downright cheerful!" And that's the confusing part. "This doesn't seem right…ack!" She sprawls flat! If only to keep from getting bullied around /too/ terribly much. "It doesn't look like there's any extra creepy zombie things hanging out though, so…" She's totally ready to scoot on after Winter. Yep.

Bad Choices are to be had; there is only one pony for this job! Let's just hope this pony doesn't have sharp impliments - cause all the evil ponies Ruby tries to talk to tend to go straight for Ruby's throat. The mare catiously steps forward in what is sure to be a foolish feat - but at least she's humming the tune of that song mildly-less-creep-than-lich-Snowfield was singing.

The filly in the snow pile seems to have finished her song. She sighs again and gets back to her hooves, shaking the snow out of her mane. "I wonder where they've gotten off to," she says to nopony, for nopony is in the room as far as she is aware! "I wouldn't be surprised if my zomzoms got lost, and the gargoyles may as well have rocks for brains, but not even the ponygeists came back. I wonder what they found out there…"

The thump of graceless hooves and the looming presence of someone tall accompany Ruby. Ruby may be the Bad Decision pony, but today she's going to have to share the crown of impetuousity with Winter, who is tagging right along with. "Hi!" she says, calling out across the room towards the Mysterious Filly. "You have a real nice singing voice! My GOOD FRIEND Ruby and I couldn't help but hear it when we were passing through and came by to see who we should be thanking for the serenade."

Sodium-Fizz outright whimpered this time. In no small part becaus in the resulting scuffle to get out of the pony-pile Fizz found herself on top of Winter's back, carried along out into the open. Smilling nervously she waved. "Um… hello?"

Winter-Solstice pauses, and glances up at Soda. A rush of emotions cross her face- surprise, concern, then a bit of elation. Winter was happy to let Soda and Pinkie remain hidden if they so decided… but Soda coming along for the ride? Well then! The pegasus must just really like adventure more than she lets on. Winter is happy to share. She grins back at Fauxfield. "And my GOOD FRIEND Soda, too. She's shy."

The filly yelps in surprise as there is a thumping of LOUD HOOVES behind her and then BELLOWED INTRODUCTIONS. She responds in the polistest, most eloquent way possible: by instinctively sending a wave of force towards the intruding ponies to slam them against the wall to their left!

"…oh! Oh, I'm so sorry!" the unicorn says as she notices that she's attacking her guests. "I didn't know I had visitors! We usually don't get them all the way out here." She pauses to take a few hesitant steps forward. "Are you alright? You're not bleeding, are you?"

Pinkie is suddenly nowhere to be found! Despite her agreement of how great an idea it would be to go say hi. Wherever did she wander off to?

Ruby-Blossom winces notably as thrown back against the wall; fortunately Winny is there to cushion the blow! The mare shaking her head before putting a hoof to it's side. "Hi…" the mare mutters - glancing catiously up at the not-so-evil-yet mare. "We were curious about your light. Quite honestly something we'd love to see return to all of Equestria…can you tell us about it?" Managing to get back to her hooves and pop her hood to reveal normal Ruby face!

"Hey what are you doOOOF"- Winter is about to be all friendly when she finds herself sailing, sailing! towards the wall. She hits it hard and grunts, winded- Sodium, atop her, is cushioned by the blow. Then Ruby lands atop her as well, a moment later, eliciting another, breathless grunt from the big mare. She looks dazed as she slides to the floor, eyes unfocused and limbs atanglin' as she pools up at the base of the frost-slicked wall, but there doesn't seem to be any lasting damage as she slowly picks herself up and staggers to an upright position. "Uhh wha?" She blinks her eyes shut a few times. "Yeah, what… what she said."

The problem with being a lightweight pegasus, and even more so a fairly small lightweight pegasus with - at best - poor exersice habits, as Sodium-Fizz finds out, is that one can't take blows particularly well. Even a big, comfy Winter-Solstice shaped crashbag helps particularly much as she winds up face first into the large earth pony mare's barrel before sliding to the ground where she lays sprawled flat on her back, her eyes quite litteraly spinning in her head.

After a few moments she rolled onto her chest, running a hoof across her nose and mouth. It does come away bloody…

"This light? I don't know!" The filly bounces once for emphasis. "I had a feeling that something important was going to happen here so I got a bunch of my friends and checked it out! And then after a couple weeks this showed up!" Bounce! "It's so bright and warm, it seemed like a much better place to live than out here. But my friends who went to look around haven't come back yet." She sadfaces. It is the biggest sadface.

For the moment she hasn't noticed Sodium's bloody nose.

Ruby-Blossom is more than a little catious as she attempts to trot forward to have a good look at the light. "It's a shame your friends don't tend to be more friendly…" Ruby eyes darting towards Snowfield Mark III. "We'd rather make friends than anything else." Ruby's certainly curious about the light but can only focus so much while keeping an eye on potentially even mini-mare. "What about the song?

Winter-Solstice is feeling a little better before long. She shakes off any lingering effects of the three-mare pileup and blinks towards Ruby and Fauxfield, listening for now. While she listens, she glances past, towards the light… and begins to approach, head tilted, eyes wide as she tries to gaze curiously at the source of the sunlike glow. It's so bright and warm… and it seems so alien, so long has it been since she's seen anything similar.

Sodium-Fizz groaned again and pressed her hooves to her head, trying to get the world to stop spinning. "Why did I want to come along…?" Fizz stood up shakily, looking as if about to keel over to one side. Still, all good! Right? Her muzzle scrunched up at a familiar taste, a taste of iron. Lifting a foreleg she ran it across her face once more and looked down. She squeeked at the sight of her pastern smeared with blood. All good? Nope!

"Oh, that? Just a lullaby." Fauxfield waves a hoof dismissively. "You don't get very cheerful lullabies out here." She takes another step closer to the group. "How did you get down here anyway? You don't smell like you snuck past all my zomzoms."

The squeak of surprise from Sodium-Fizz gets the unicorn's attention and she glances in her direction. "Oh, no! You're bleeding!" She rushes over and puts a hoof on Sodium's chin, trying to move the pegasus' head around and look at the wound. "Where did you get hurt? Is it a cut? A nosebleed?" She tries to push the poor mare's head up to look up her nostrils.

Ruby-Blossom 's eyes dart to the more-than-likely dangerous mare examining Fizzy; she notices the nose bleed for firmly but politely snapping. "I'd ask that you not get too close to our friend. I'm afraid we still have concerns about your zomzoms, and your relationship with them.' Leg tense on the ground - ready to unsheathe her hidden blade at a moment's notice. "Please step away - I'm not trying to be rude; we can still be friends…we just need to be catious.
cautious

Nosebleed? Check! Also, blood slowly dripping from the corner of her mouth. Aperently Sodium-Fizz must have manged to bite herself or something of the like. The pegasus whimpered softly. "I didn't bring any healing potions… Why did I have to forget a healing potion…? Stupid, stupid, stupid…" She bit her lower lip, the rant continuing through clenched teeth, her eyes dilated and staring into nothing.

Winter-Solstice continues towards the light, seemingly oblivious to everything else. There's a rush in the back of her hearing, drowning out the rest of the world. Discovery, adventure. -Answers.- This is what it's all about. This is what a quest builds up to. But then the conversation behind her pierces through that veil of adventurous exultation and Winter blinks away from the light, turning to look back at the others. "Soda?" she asks, worried. The big mare then turns about and bustles over to crowd in, trying to peek at Sodium's nose as well. She doesn't seem especially worried about any particular threat that Fauxfield is posing, instead worried about her friend. (Though it took her long enough to start doing so she doesn't get any points for doing it.)

Pinkie suddenly pops up behind Winter! "Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh! That's /real/ sunlight! Really real sunlight! Like, the kind Celestia would be bringing if she were really real and not some ponytail in the sun or something! This is soooooooo cool! It's so green and so fresh and so not-deathlike over there! Have you ever /seen/ anything like it before? Is that what your world's like? Is that your world? Ohmygosh you have a way home! That's amazing! Hey why's she bleeding…?" Blink.

Fauxfield waves off Ruby's protests. "You're a real worrywart! I'm just checking if I broke the skin or n—" Suddenly PINKIE! She looks at the hyperactive earth pony in confusion for a few seconds before her face twitches into something perilously close to a snarl for a brief moment. Then back to cheerful! "Hey, stay out of there! That's my weird light hole! Find your own!" She hops back from the pegasus to place herself between the foursome and the rift.

Ruby gently nudges Winny while tilting her head towards the way the group came. "Winny. I think we shouldn't linger. Get these two out of here while I keep her talking." knowing this probably a moot point to reason with Winny or Fauxfield. "Don't worry. No pony is going to take your light; our only intrest is bring warmth back to all of Equestria. We're just looking for friends to help us with that." charming smile! "I don't want to take your light hole - but I'll work to bring more light for you to enjoy, okay?

Sodium-Fizz shivers, and not from the cold either. Unlike everypony else she's having a downright horrible day, she almost got eaten the -last- time she ran into the zombie horde and now she's bleeding all over the place. She'd seen the way they'd hunted after Solar-Wind and the Shadowbolts Captain, all chitterin' teeth and biting and gnashing, right behind even those two. She wouldn't even stand a chance, it was just teeth, teeth and more teeth al-…

Fizz shuddered as, well, suddenly Winter! A thin, nervous smile breaking across her muzzle. "C-could we… g-go now, please? Please?"

Winter-Solstice slips in to take Fauxfield's place and inspect Sodium's nose. "Yup, that's blood," she says. "It's red, too. That's a good sign. You want it to be red." She chucks Soda on the shoulder, then slips a foreleg around the pegasus's shoulders as she turns to smile at Pinkie, then Ruby, then Fauxfield. "Yeah, what Ruby said!" says Winter. She apparently is not trying to leave. Maybe she's tired of always being the one people tell to go someplace safe while they do something heroic. "We're trying to bring the sun back to the world so everybody can enjoy it. How do you get along with Nightmare Moon, huh? Wanna help us stop her from stopping the sun from rising?" The leg around Sodium's shoulders squeezes a bit, keeping the pegasus pinned against Winter's flank unless she decides to try and fight her way free, while Winter setttles back and lifts her other foreleg to moosh it up against Soda's nose, stopping up the blood. Her skinned muppet snowsuit is going to look even worse after this.

Sodium-Fizz whimpered again, though… Right, Winny's there. Then it can't be too bad, right? After all… she's a lot better eating, isn't she? Yeah, she had to be better eating. Thus reasured the pegasus let out a sigh, leaning against the larger earth pony mare. Right, better eating…

"Uh, no," the Snowfield lookalike says flatly to Ruby. It's as if the real Snowfield was here too! "You're not fooling me for a second. 'Looking for friends' is just code for 'find people to fight my giant army of zombies'. You think I don't know how horror stories end? I'm in one."

Winter's heroic speech about bringing sunlight back to the world also gets an even frown from the unicorn. "I don't think that's going to work. See, I need for this place to stay dark. It keeps ol' brains-for-brains up in the sky occupied running the place and out of /my/ mane. If you bring the sun back, well, who's to say that her sister's not going to go on a zomzom hunting spree? I've got much bigger plans than being a star in the sky, thank you very much.

"Look, as fun as it's been entertaining you guys, I've really gotta do something about you guys," the unicorn says with a sigh as she rubs one of her hooves against the side of her head "It sends such a bad message to my zomzoms if I let living ponies just prance in and out like they own the place."

"Huh?" is Pinkie's immediate response to Fauxfield's almost-irate warning. She breaks out into giggles, "Oh! That's /your/ sunhole? My mistake! I guess we'll just be off to go find one of our own then!" She pats Winter and Ruby both, "We better get going! Don't want to keep the Professor waiting!" She leans over conspiratorially towards Ruby. "He gets gas when he's anxiously waiting for ponies to come back home safe. It's /horrible/."

Then Winter goes and suggests working with them to stop the Queen. Which is just interesting enough that Pinkie stops pushing at pony flank to, y'know, see what happens.

…Yep, that's about what she expected. Sigh. Slightly worried face comes back! "Yep! That's zombie-talk for 'get out of here before I eat you myself'!"

Ruby-Blossom glares quietly at Fauxfield as she talks, and talks, and talks. Eventually she chimes. "I recommend you just let us go - because we wouldn't want to hurt your friends, and don't want out friends to be hurt eithers…" gently nudging Winny with a back hoof to encourage the gal. "I'm sorry to hear that our goals don't exactly align, and it sounds like you don't want to be friends - despite the fact Winny's super awesome and all that." Front left hoof gently wiggling against the ground in a manner akin to a nervous tick. "Are you sure you won't reconsider?

Winter-Solstice looks crestfallen as Fauxfield shoots that idea down. It was going to be awesome! All the people of the world- the zombies, the nasty barbarian pegasi, homeless foals armed with sticks and snowballs- rising up as one against a tyrant ruler. The songs they would sing! She sighs, briefly, as she resigns her little fantasy to a small box in her head where she can keep it until she thinks of another way to bring it about that maybe involves candy and pie. Besides, right now Fauxfield wants to pick a fight. Winter makes a face, and, tugging Soda with her- Winter is not about to let her pull a Jellybean and start panicking and screaming- she makes her way back towards the entrance. "Well, we're gonna go, then. We won't tell your zombies we were here and we won't come back. It'll be nice and copacetic for everybody. For what it's worth, though, I really DID think it was a nice song."

That sent Sodium-Fizz going ramrod stiff. "You're going to… send them at us…?" That sent a new wave of panick-induced shivering down her spine, at least untill Winter began hauling her away. Big, strong white knight of a mare. That got her breathing again. After one or two false attempts she got her hooves under her, trudging along right next to Winter. She wanted to get out of here, back to her warm-ish, safe-ish bed at the base… "Guess everypony is selfish around here… If we just… talked… we could find something everpony would be happy with." It was a muttering, if a suprisingly loud one.

"Actually, it was zombie-talk for 'I'm going to eat you now but start running so that it's more fun'," the unicorn explains to Pinkie. "See, I don't mind if you hurt my friends. They can be put back together. You don't even need to use all the right pieces! It's kind of convenient, actually." She waves a hoof dismissively at the group. "Well, go on, get going. I'll be right behind you after you've gotten enough of a head start to feel safe and let your guard down."

The unicorn shrugs at Sodium's suggestion of talking about finding a nice medium. "I'm never happy," she offers in way of explanation.

Even in disturbing alternate universes, some things are just universal constants.

Pinkie immediately perks right back up. "Oh! Well my zombese is a little rusty so I must have misunderstood. I guess we'll just have to take that head start now!" She gets to poking Winter and Ruby again. "Time to play 'outrun the zombie horde!'"

Winter-Solstice, bristling, glances back over her shoulder, eyes wide and pupils dilated as she looks at Fauxfield. She looks ready to say something when she feels Sodium shuffling along behind her. Shuffle, shuffle. Blood pounds in her ears; her nostrils flare. Blood cakes her sleeve. Warmth seeps in from the pony at her side; the cold of the passages beyond the chamber breathes against her face.

With several deep breaths, she relaxes, and tucks forward. There's a renewed urgency to her support of Sodium; it isn't about keeping the panicking pegasus from running off anymore, but making sure she's able to keep up for what is sure to be an unpleasant flight from the hive.

Ruby-Blossom certainly appears more calm then Winny as she slowly backs away as the rest of the group retreats - all the while keeping her eyes on Fauxfield. "It really is a shame you don't want to be friends. Enjoy your sunhole while lamenting about the warmth of life and all that." She'd love to pound this creep and every other one just as much as Winny - even if she's far less capable.

Sodium-Fizz certainly seems to be the only pony that relishes the chance to get away from here, sunshine or not, as every step away restores a little sliver of confidence. A quick glance around, at Pinke, at Ruby and at Winter seems to reafirm it. They're leaving, leaving ahead of the mass of gnashing, chompy teeth. Go back where it's safe and warm, where the sun might not shine but the light is all the more brighter for belonging to all of them.

The unicorn waits patiently for them to stop insulting her and start running. "Sticks and stones, my little ponies," she says simply. "Tick tock."