Meddling Hearts
IC date: DATE
OOC date: July 31
PCs: Mad-Mare Lily-Heart
NPCs: Rock'em Sock'em
GM: None

The last time Lily tried this, it was a bit of a fiasco. Lots of confusion, panic. The tenderhearted pony was in tears that she couldn't fix the sick Mad, but she swore. She swore she would do it someday.

And that day would be today. Fiasco or not, Lily strides confidently into Mad's cabin, chin up and ears fluttering back and forth as she tries to fight her natural inclination to pin them back. "I am going to fix you!" she declares loudly.

It's been a right crazy few weeks.

Thanks to the misplaced, if heartfelt efforts of Rock'em and Sock'em, the twins that are supposed to be guarding Maddie full-time but have recently been delegated to Detail Duty, one empathic pony named Lily Heart has been the 'guest' of the Syndicolt. Given her own cabin and everything. And a title.

Maddie's Psychiatrist.

Maddie didn't want this. She /hated/ the fact that, after the last game of Emotion Breakout, she felt more conflicted about everything than ever. The only thing that could make it all worse would be if a certain ghost managed to find her out-of-town hiding place, but so far at least /that/ lucky break has held up.

Needless to say, when Lily bursts her way into the captain's quarters, Maddie is not exactly happy to see her. Her bodyguards, both of whom happened to be in the room at the same time, both grinned and bobbed their heads to the filly. Maddie, on the other hand, scowls a deep, dark, dangerous scowl, and takes a threatening step towards the opened door. "Begone, ye blasted daughter of a cupid's foul arrow! Begone lest I kick ye into next week!"

"Bego-" *CRACK* *THUD* *CRUNCH* That would be the sound of both bodyguards promptly piling onto their boss. "…Yeah. Um." Rock'em starts to say, Sock'em finding a convenient scarf to shove into Maddie's still-cursing mouth. "…She hasn't slept in three days. Something about the Bone Mistress coming and she has to make tea."

"Aw," Lily says undaunted, beaming at Maddie with that terrifically awful habit of hers of assuming the best of everyone, "if you kicked me into next week I'd just wait for you there!" The bodyguards pile on, and Lily grins. "Thank you, boys. Now… don't worry, this won't hurt too much."

Trotting forward, the unicorn lowers her head, and touches her horn to Maddie's forehead, channeling love and warmth and healing powers directly into the Syndimare. "Just let it in, Sunshine. Let the love flow through you!"

"MmmfphffmmphfMMMPPH!" Maddie continues to scream, muffled as it is through dark purple material. Poor crime boss. Lily's decided use of both the Mad Mare's real name…and the word 'love' in the same thought earns the unicorn the darkest death-stare ever to grace those insanity-soaked eyes. And then…they unfocus. Magicks take hold, Maddie stops struggling, and both of the ponyguards breathe a sigh of relief.

"Yeesh… I swear, Rocky, some days I wonder why we keep doin' this gig." Sock'em grunts, sprawling to act as a weight for the prone mare, so she don't accidentally roll away or something. Rock'em sighs in agreement. "You know dang well why. But this time, I think she ain't gonna stop until she gets us all killed."

Inside the Mare's 'emotional landscape', everything has…shifted. Yet again. Every time, it seems, Lily's magicks take a little more hold. Progress, if you can call it that, is being made, visible by the way the checkerboard landscape has started growing patches of grass in lieu of white squares, competing with angry red and black 'molten' squares. There's even a sky this time, adding a blue ambient light to the scenery.

But it is no more peaceful than it was the first time Lily stepped hoof in here. First it was a sea of fire… Then two knights fighting. Now? Now everything is in conflict. It can be seen in the checkerboard itself, where grass and fire fight where each square touches each other. In every lake, where creatures of water lash out at creatures of sand along the banks. Even in the air, where the clouds have taken the shape of horrific faces, darker clouds gnawing at lighter ones, trying to blot out the only speck of light in the sky, while the white ones attempt to keep it clear.

Off in the distance, one of the knights from the last encounter is visible. The white knight, to be precise, towering above a nearby war camp just filled with the more friendly-looking things that litter the landscape. Like an amassed army…+

Oops! Floor is lava. Lily hops onto one of the grass squares and blinks, looking around. A stream of pink energy splays from her horn, practically floating up hearts into the atmosphere, as she starts hopping from square to square, keeping hooves out of dangerous heat. "Grab your coat and get your hat," she starts singing loudly, as she works her way toward the distant army and discharges Love and Friendship into Maddie's emotional atmosphere, "Leave your worries on the doorstep! Life can be so sweet on the sunny side of the street!"

As though feeling these…oh so positive thoughts, this aura of 'love' and such, the distant army shimmers. Suddenly it's not so distant. Lily finds herself smack dab in the center of it! With that big, imposing, white-armored knight-pony staring down at her with oddly-soothing, if pupil-less eyes.

"You who spreads feelings of love and cheer… Who are you?" a deep voice rumbles, felt more than heard, radiating out from this knight. "You were here before." the voice continues, the 'serene' feeling in its eyes faltering briefly. "You interfered, and let The Madness escape. Are you here to interfere again?"

"Eep!" Lily jumps as she's suddenly where she hadn't expected to be, but she blushes. "I'm Lily-Heart, sir! I'm healing Sunshine. I'm here to help, not to interfere. There— there was a mistake last time, but I won't make it again! I'm just easing her pain, and helping her recover." She nods firmly. Yes. This is the case.

"A mistake!" The white knight thunders, stamping a great hoof, the impact shaking the ground and leaving a spider's web of cracks behind. "Aye, mistakes were made. You must not interfere with this battle. There must be conflict!" The knight's white eyes blaze, any feeling of serenity replaced with heat, as though all this creature's righteous ire were being directed upon this poor little filly!

"It will be a grave mistake if you interfere further… Without conflict, the rules are forefeit. The penalty will be severe, and you will share in her fate!" Just like that, all the fiery heat dissipates. The knight, back to its more peaceful stance, snorts once. "You have been warned… There is nothing for you to heal here."

"Wh— I beg your pardon, sir! There is lots to be healed here! Conflict is not the way of the world, and it certainly doesn't have to be Mad's way either. Conflict, it just makes things harder. Peace and warmth and serenity. The sunny side of the street!" She hops up, and sings loudly, "I used to walk, walk in the shade with my blues on parade! But I'm not afraid! This rover, she's crossed over!"

The knight…pauses. Then laughs. It's a deep, haunting, reverberating laugh. Like a great belly laugh, if this thing had a belly! When it stops, and those white eyes gaze down again, the knight seems to shrug its massive shoulders.

"Conflict is the way of /this/ world, young filly." it explains, patiently, and with the most condescending tone any 'immortal' could use. "If the conflict stops… If one side wins… Both sides will cease to exist. Do you understand what this means?"

"No! No, both sides will melt together into a single cohesive hole! A— a personality structure cannot exist and work well if it's broken into pieces that don't fit together. You have to ameliorate your differences and— and become one again. Aren't you so much more powerful together than apart? Maddie can't handle this — it's going to tear her apart one day!" Lily brims with tears (again) and she stomps her foot. "I'm sorry, but I can't allow this to go on any further." And just like that, that stream of pink loving energy shoots out to wrap around the white knight, like a length of string around a pinkie.

"You…! What are you doing!?" the knight asks, its voice equal parts curiosity and outrage. Enveloped, suddenly, by a stream of pink energy, it stamps the ground in something that could be likened to nervous energy. "You know not what will happen if you tip these scales! This has been ordained by powers greater than you!"

"I'm a /heart healer/!" Lily shouts, squeezing her eyes shut and putting her all into it. "I /heal hearts/! And this heart cannot exist so divided! Embrace the love, Sir Knight! Let it flow through you!" Her shoulders square, her hooves set firmly on the ground, and she leans into it, straining as all that loving emotion she carries just pours out onto the knight and into her surroundings. Poisoning the ground, as it were.

The white knight sputters! As though its strength were suddenly leaving, it drops down to its knees, causing the surroundings to quake. White eyes flicker, gaining a pinkish hue to them. "You are…corrupting…" it groans, then falls silent. Its eyes dim, the air around it growing suddenly thick.

It goes quiet in the realm. Every sound of conflict, every hint of 'life', suddenly going very, very still. As still as the hulking form of the white knight.

Lily rears up a bit and dances back in nervous energy, as her actions seem to be having an effect. And not…the one she expected. But still, nothing's wrong with love! So she doesn't stop! She just keeps pumping it all out until she's so drained she falls on her front knees with a pant. "I'm fixing you," she gasps. "Just let me fix you!"




The ground vibrates with the sounds of something…new. Perhaps Lily forgot the other side of the coin in her efforts to argue with the White Knight. Each vibration grows stronger, more prominent, until the source of the vibrations makes its appearance.

Lo! A Black Knight approacheth! As big, hulking, and menacing as the White Knight, with its midnight armor sucking in all the light as though it were jealous of its existance. It approaches the camp at a near gallop…distant enough away that it will take all of a minute for it to reach the camp. It looks angry. It looks like it wants to trample this very camp.

It's /looking/ at Lily. There's no eyes, but in this world one can just tell. It has felt the disturbance, and it /does not like it/.

Lily looks up, up, up and quails, scrambling shakily to all fours so she can TRY AGAIN oh god. Her eyes squeeze shut and she funnels all of her effort into the very tip of her horn, pushing, pleading, /begging/. Stars start to erupt from it, tinkling and vanishing as she urges her expended magic to just go a little further. "Please! Please!!"

Such pleas fall on deaf ears, it seems! The Black Knight speeds up, the very ground threatening to rip asunder before it even steps hoof into this camp of 'goodness'! One can almost see the blackened fire that makes this Black Knight's heart deep in the light-absorbing shell of its armor… Feel the heat of its wrath, of its rage! It holds a blackened sword, nearly half its own size in its considerable jaws, that mighty head lifting, rearing back… The sword swinging, whistling death as it streaks through the air towards the camp! Towards the would-be 'healer'!

But the impact doesn't strike the ground, let alone the poor empath. Pink light erupts from the surrounding land, lashing out at the great black behemoth, stopping its swing, slowing it down. It rears back with a confused, outraged whinny! All this power… It seems to be coming now from the White Knight!

Indeed, it stands again, tall and proud and…no longer white. Pink. Very pink. From its eyes to its armor. Its sword is even pink now, radiating that happy energy. It seems stronger now. No longer an even match for this black beast…

This is more evident when the Knight itself strokes a blow, bludgeoning the Black Knight with its weapon, creating a shower of black and pink sparks all around! The Black Knight rears again, stumbling, then spinning to kick its newly buffed opponent, yet the kick seems to do…nothing. Not even a dent. Not even a budge.

The Pink Knight roars! Great hoofbeats ensue, as the Pink Beast takes menacing steps towards the blackened one, prompting it to whinny in…fear? The first hints of fear that Madness has ever had, leaking out in trails of inky pools, as though it were bleeding the stuff! The Pink Knight tears off after it, leaving its own trail of pinkish mist behind. Way too fast to catch up to easily.

This is a moot point though, because the emotionscape itself seems to be twisting in this magic that makes it, buckling beneath Lily like it were made of stale cracker, opening a great chasm in the blink of an eye. The landscape itself has had enough of this meddling!

Lily can just gape, her knees giving way completely until she's collapsed and staring up. She sees her own mortality zooming fast up to meet her at the blade of the knight's sword— only to have it whoosh by her as the wh— Pink Knight steps in to save her. She suddenly brightens considerably, her heart soaring. "YES! Yes! Yes yes yes! Save her! FEEL THE LOVE COURSE—aaaieee!!" The unicorn pony plummets into the chasm with a squeal of fear, falling from sight…

Suddenly the surroundings are quite familiar again. Complete with Maddie, screaming her fool head off, eyes rolled back and ears flat to her skull, and both bodyguards piled on her to hold her down!

"What in the hey just happened!?" Rock'em growls, both of the twins giving the Heart Healer a /very/ concerned look. "She just started..thrashin'..and-whoa!"

Despite the weight of both goons, Maddie lurches herself up onto all hooves! "Get… Get away from MEEEE!" she howls, bucking the weight off like so much baggage, and charging for the captains quarters doorway! Much like her emotional 'knights' did.

The unicorn collapsed on all-fours here too, and Lily blinks dazedly as she comes out of her trance. "You're… you're loved, Sunshine! LOVED!!" she yells after Maddie, before straight-up passes out. THUNK.