Outside The Ol Watering Hole
IC date: Autumn 2
OOC date: September 21
PCs: Gamble, Rocket, Ruby-Blossom, Kludge, Salty
NPCs: Fuzzball, Captain Flintlock
GM: None

Friday night on the Harbor, and many Harborites have been left with nothing to do! Why? Because some fool fire burned down all the entertainment venues! Outside of…drinking and beach-partying.

Thus, the local drinking establishments are pretty much chock full of ponies. This is unfortunate, because two of the ponies that would be holed up with a drink to discuss things are now stuck discussing things, without drinks, outside instead.

Gamble and Captain Flintlock are thus occupying a makeshift table, a board laid atop a barrel, next to the alleyway near the Champagne Bay. Waiting, apparently, for the place to empty out some so they can get real drinking done.

Look it's Horseshoe Harbors Second cutest couple - Ruby and Kludge - second only to Ruby and Maddie! "I told you I'm fine." the mare protests while trotting along with Kludge. "I've had enough rest, and I'm not exactly comfortable in a borrowed room. I just want a dr…" no disguising the fact that she's let down by the sight of the crowded bar - muttering "I should have saved the liquor…"

And nearby, the trashcan tips over, and a blank-flanked ex-mayor spills out in a daze. There's a dead fish in her mouth and she's munching on it, though she doesn't seem to be enjoying it. Or recognizing it's a fish. Or that the trash tipped over.

Nom nom.

Rocket is running late! But you can't really blame the poor thing. Bunny-sized wings can only carry one so fast! It doesn't help that she seems to have missed the invitation to this little get-together, because /surely/ she was invited… /right/? But it's tricky to navigate when everything has gotten so… /big/. Grumblegrumblegrumble. "I know that place was around here somewhere."

"Better safe than sorry," points out Kludge. He's enjoying his break from working on the contraption for the assault on Queen Pegasus's ship, and what better way to relax than spending time with friends? And since Ruby has (understandably) not been getting as much rest as advised, he figures it's also a good idea to make sure the feisty mare has help in case she overexerts herself. No sense in trying to stop her from doing what she sets her mind on doing, after all.

"I still don't see how a music box is s'posed to help us get anywhere. What kind of clue is that? I mean, really?" Gamble looks confused at the good Captain. "This is either the dumbest pirate ever to sail the seas, an' his treasure's gonna be a big pile of rocks, or the danged smartest…"

Captain Flintlock, meanwhile, isn't paying any attention. Apparently the conversation went on without him. He's too busy checking Ruby and Kludge out. "Hey! Bar's busy. We're waiting. You should come over here, wait with us. We have cards!" …No, no they don't. At least not on the tabletop.

Then the Captain hears a commotion in the alleyway, leaning over to peer inside. He brightens right up! "Jerry! Hey Jerry! You ol' dog, I wondered where you slipped off to!" The dead fish Salty found is suddenly wrapped in a dark red light, and so rudely yoinked from the blank unicorn's mouth to float over and hover next to Captain Flintlock's shoulder. "Hah! I knew I'd find you again if I sat around long enough. You always come back."

Gamble…squints. First at Flintlock, his mouth open like he's about to say something, when he catches the sound of tiny wings flapping. That reminds him! "Where /is/ that griffon anyway? She sure is late… Not that it matters much." he grumbles, eyeing the still-full bar.

Salty blinks blankly when the fish is wrested from her steely jaws. She looks at her booted hooves, as though expecting to find it there, then looks up again. Oh, there it is, floating. She gets to her hooves and leans up to snap her teeth at it — and falls short, failing to account for trajectory. So she walks a few steps forward to try again. And misses.

Eventually, this brings her over to the Captain, where she leans up to reach for it, her hooves using the good Captain himself as a step ladder. Clack, clack, clack go her teeth as she keeps trying bone-headedly to grab the fish.
Ruby-Blossom peers at Gamble then at the bar - she points a hoof at Gamble - clearly not content with being cut out of the loop regarding the forest adventure "One moment." suddenly darting into the bar despite full occupancy! What is that mare up to?

Kludge gives the ex-mayor an odd look, then shoots an inquisitive glance towards Ruby. After looking for (and not finding) the cards the Captain mentioned, he quipped "I've heard of not playing with a full deck, but isn't this a bit much?"

Pant pant. Flitter flutter. Hey, those ponies look familiar! And so does this place. That's a good start! Rocket lands on the cobblestone and begins hiking her way over towards the makeshift table somewhat grumpily. There's excersize and there's overkill. This seems like the latter.

"Seriously, Captain. Jerry wasn't 'xactly funny the first time. He sure as hay ain't funny now." Gamble grunts, crossing forearms on the makeshift tabletop. Only to witness the bemusing sight of one blank-faced (and flanked) Salty start climbing all over Flintlock in an effort to get at the floating fish. The gambler points a hoof. "Now /that/, on the other hoof, is funny. You get that fish! Get it outta here! It stinks!"

Captain Flintlock is not as pleased with this development! The dead fish keeps floating out of reach, a bit at a time, as though it were so desperate to avoid being a blunt-toothed pony's meal! Whilst Captain 'Stepstool' Flintlock complains. Loudly. "AHHHH! That's MY FRIEND you're trying to eat there! You blasted crazy mare! Jerry, save yourself! Save yourseeeelf!" The dead fish is promptly tossed at Kludge! Because Ruby was smart enough to duck inside the bar before she could be any kind of target for dead fish. "Run! RUN!"

Accompanying the sound of Rocket's wings, a louder *Thump Thump* of something akin to a pogo stick can be heard down the street. And then the sight of a pony-sized white-furred bunny, once known as Fuzzball, but now known as DESTROYER OF CROPS! …Or still Fuzzball. Bounding lazily behind the mini-griffon, on their way to the bar. He doesn't exactly look too sorry about his new size.

And out of the bar slips the turquoise pony - full bottle of whiskey held between her teeth as she trots right out of the bar and over to the table; how did she manage to get such prompt service on a busy a night! She approaches the table and promptly plants her flank before setting down the bottle - proceeding to pull a bucket of ice and few glasses out of her saddle bag - how did she manage to get all this so quickly?

Salty strains after "Jerry," snapping her teeth. The table's quite a commotion, right now, with everything going on. She finally strains so far she overbalances and topples over, right onto Ruby, whereupon she sprawls on the ground in confusion. Blink blink.

Kludge now has a fish on his back and a somewhat confused look on his face. He circles around, trying to keep the fish away from the mayor to the best of his ability while making sure Ruby's not hurt. He does shoot a disbelieving glance at the Captain, though - a dead fish named Jerry? Seriosuly?

Ruby-Blossom was certainly not expecting to become the victim of another assault so soon; as if by the hoof of some horrible prankster Salty manages to whack Ruby right atop of the noggin which promptly sets the mare flat against the ground with all four legs sprawled >.< Maddie's love poison fueled confession, the violent assault by Queen, her shop burning down, and finally additional head trauma compliments of a 'unknown' pony - the mare can't catch a break; maybe she is suitable adoptive material for a victim prone zebra filly.

And suddenly so much flailing! And rushing about of hooves! Rocket dives to the side to avoid being trodden upon, giving an alarmed caw. She had not anticipated this particular downside of being tiny! "Hey! Watch it!"

The commotion sends the good Captain crashing into the table in a fit of 'Whoa!', which breaks the barrel and board neatly in half, sending the bottle of whiskey, glasses, and bucket of ice all flying up into the air!

Gamble watches in /horror/. He's seen no less than three barrels of fine booze meet similar ends over the course of a month. And now this bottle must suffer too? MUST WE ALL SUFFER!? No! For the gambling unicorn makes a most heroic effort of magic, that most base of unicorn spells of levitation, to grab the whole mess of glass in mid-air! Keeping it floating over the broken table. A look of total relief on his face. "…Got it!"

"Good show!" Captain Flintlock cheers. Though whether it's to the act of catching the booze, or to Kludge's willingness to play along with Keep Jerry From Getting Eaten is anybody's guess.

And then? Then Gamble glances over to the continued noises of wings, soft voices, and pogo-hopping, spying the sight of Behemoth Bunny. "Holy Celestia!" he squeaks, flailing and tipping back, his spell breaking, all that glass coming down into the ruins of the barrel/table. More for the mini-griffon to dodge!

Salty scrambles off of Ruby and regroups a few steps away, huddling against the building. And then the caw startles her further and she gives a faint yawp. When all the glass breaks, she just straight-up spooks, and turns to run, stumbling swiftly away to some easier source of food. Like rocks. Rocks were never a problem.

Looking at the calmly unfolding chaos, Kludge sighs and gets to work as field-crafting a slightly sturdier table. Getting ahold of something that can work as a broom, he sweeps up the debris, making sure to get all of the broken glass out of the way. Given how things are going, it would not be unexpected if someone landed in it.

Ruby-Blossom manages to slowly pull herself back to her hooves - without any help, thank you very much. She promptly plops herself on her flank with one hoof against her temple. "Son of a…

"That is /not/ 'watching it'!" The mini-griff calls up at them, ducking down under her wings as though they would be an effective shield against falling stomping crushy things.

With Salty wandering off, and the chaos somewhat..fading, more or less, Gamble picks himself up to peer at the big bunny. "Fuzzball..?"

The bunny nods, with a smile. He's so big~

Gamble squints. "What got into you?" Fuzzball shrugs! But he looks oh so happy that it did. He also points down at the mini-griffon dodging things, prompting another squeak out of Gamble. "Whoa! Feathers! Yer… …Yer like… Bite-sized. What happened t' you two?"

Captain Flintlock watches Salty go, giving a firm nod of his head. "Hah! That's right, nobody messes with Jerry and gets away with it! Off with ye!" He then trots over to magick Jerry back into the air, hovering the fish over his shoulder where, were he a different kind of pirate, a parrot might stereotypically be standing instead. "Now where were we? …Where's the table? And the cards? And the women?" He glances at Ruby. "Oh, there's the women. Alright then!" He leeeeeeans over, closer to the turquoise mare. "That's just one thing! We demand more service! What kind of sleezy bar is this!?"

Ruby already a little sour from the recent and unwelcome head trauma; firmly clops the captain square in the jaw with one hoof - ain't no love tap either, the mare packs a whallop as the back of Kludge's leg can still atest too! "I ain't serving no pony." *thump* Seems that taking a swing was counter-productive as Ruby ends up with her face against ground once again.

"One that relies on ambitious customers to supply tables outside of the main bar," snaps Kludge, leeeeeaning at the captain to try giving Ruby more space. The non-existing deck is looking more and more accurate as the allegded deck this odd piratical pony works with. Turning abruptly, he offers Ruby a helping hoof so she can get back onto her feet.

"I don't know!" Rocket grouses. "I woke up this way! And it /sucks/! /He's/ the happiest Fuzzball ever, but /I'm/ gonna be squashed by something at this rate!" Complain complain complain.

The Captain gets decked! He promptly goes sprawling on his back, his fishy friend flopping on his belly. "…oof…"

Gamble glances just in time to see the Captain get decked, and Ruby fall over again! Oy. Some meeting this is turning out to be. "Not sure if this guy's more trouble'n it was worth savin' him." he grumbles, leaning over to see about helping Ruby back up to her hooves again.

Big Fuzzball rolls his eyes too. Just another night in Horseshoe Harbor, right? The big bunny leans over, and picks Rocket up! Places her on his head, right between his big ol' bunny ears, then pats her on the head, comfortingly. Good little chick. It's okay~

Ruby-Blossom manages to sit back on her flank again with some assistance, quietly rubbing her head - surely repeated head trauma can't be a good thing - one more lump and she might end up as bad as Maddie. She glances about for her prized - whiskey - cause after all it's okay to drink with head trauma, right?

Fortunately, there's enough salvageable ice in the bottom of the bucket for Kludge to make a cold compress for Ruby. "This hasn't been your week, has it?" he observes with a sympathetic expression. At least he can offer what help he can. Pausing for a moment of thought, he finally asks the adventurers "So, what /were/ you talking about?"

Ruby-Blossom sinces softly as the cold compress is pressed to her forehead - seemingly the center of attention this week. Ruby red eyes glancing towards Gamble and the captain. "no whiskey?" she asks in a soft pout?

Rocket sighs and crouches down sulkily in Fuzzball's fur, grumbling. "Dunno what I'm s'possed to eat, either. What do you hunt at this size, bugs? I don't wanna eat a bug. Yech." She makes a face, then glances up at Gamble. "…Yeah, what /are/ we talking about?"

Gamble shakes his head slowly at the laid-out captain. Honestly. He sits himself next to Fuzzball, letting Kludge handle the job of getting ice on Ruby's poor achy head. Blunt trauma sucks!

"We were.. ..well, more like, I was tryin' ta discuss what in the hay this journal, and this toy key are s'posed to mean. I got a little bit outta him." Gamble says, a hoof pointed at Captain Flintlock, "An' I was gonna tell Feathers here, see if we could put together another little expedition t'morrow or somethin'." When Ruby asks about whiskey, Gamble winces, his gaze dropping to the ruined bottle amid the smashed glass and whatnot that Kludge already probably cleaned up. "…It got smashed. Uh. How much was it? I can pay ya fer the damage..?"

Fuzzball's still patting the grumbly Rocket. Because he suspects this is temporary, and he'll never get to do this again. Happy Fuzzball~

Ruby-Blossom tchs softly - looking noteably annoyed at the loss of her spirits. She shakes her head - a poor choice considering. "Ah…" a wince as she glances at Gamble "Any chance I can take a gander at what you have, for real?

While his focus is on helping Ruby with the cold compress, Kludge is still paying some attention to the talk of treasure hunting and such. Knowing Ruby, she's going to take part in the expedition; better have somepony on hand to help out if things are still going this bad for her during the expedition.

Rocket blinks and straightens up slowly — totally /not/ leaning into the petting, no, of course not, she's just… stretching, yes, clearly. …Is that a purr? No, nope. She'd never do something like /that/. "Well, do we know where we're headed for the next thingie we need?"

At this point Captain Flintlock promptly sits up. As though he'd just been paying attention this whole time! "Yes! We're going to a /dragon's cave/!" he says, in a triumphant tone, one hoof raised.

Gamble squints at the Captain. "…At least it's rumored ta be a dragon cave. No pony's ever gotten close enough to check it out. Supposedly dragon sounds always come outta it, an' nobody's bothered ta see if they're real or just some really bad wind." He shrugs!

To Ruby, the rusty Gambler also shrugs, digging the journal out of his ever-present sidepack to float it on over her way. "Sure. Honestly there's not a lot of actual information in it. Jus' this crazy pirate's journal entries."

Fuzzball has shifted from patting to scritching! Let's see that stubborn, grumpy ol' mini-griffon ignore /that/!

Ruby-Blossom begins to flip through the journal as it's laid before her - Ruby red eyes curiously scanning the enteries - thieves are good at hiding stuff, maybe she'll figure something out that a honest pony would miss!

Ruby stumbles across a journal entry with sheet music! That looks interesting, doesn't it?

Kludge starts contemplating what types of support supplies it would be good to have in an adventuring cart. Medical gear, of course; possibly some pre-assembled wall modules for quick shelters… the brainstorming goes on.

Ruby-Blossom knows music, right? She looks the music twice over before softly humming the notes to herself - unconciously committing the melody to memory while the boys around well..be boys.

Okay, THAT one was a purr. Rocket squirms around a bit, twisting this way and that until the scritches are in /juuuust/ the right spot. Ahhh. Yeah, that, that right there. Ooooooh.

"Dragon's cave, huh? Just gets more an' more interesting. Y'know, I met a dragon once. Surly ol' fellow."
From afar, Ruby-Blossom had another filly centric idea~

Admittedly, Gamble's written most of that book off as an insane pirate's ramblings. Especially after that journal entry whereupon Captain Faux Pas used gunpowder as a spice in seaweed stew. Crazy bugger!

"And apparently what we're after is a musicbox." Gamble continues, glancing sideways to the Captain, who's nodding with the biggest grin.

"Yes! A musicbox! For the toy key. Because if you wind it up just right, it plays a melody that…" His voice trails off, the tune Ruby hums perking his ears up. He gets a far off look in his eyes for a few moments, swaying where he sits. "..sounds…a lot like that."

Fuzzball's ears are perked too! Though his are more because the evil side that lurks in all bunnies is taking notes. Oh yes. He will remember this technique. He wonders if this works on all griffons…

Ruby-Blossom hmms curiously as the conversation around her stops suddenly, Ruby red eyes glancing up from the book as the mare cluelessly asks "What?" oblivious to the conversation - just aware it stopped!

Glancing from Ruby to the others and back, Kludge quietly remarks "You might be onto something with that melody. Not sure what it means, but if this reaction is any guide, then it's important."

"So a dragon's got a key to a musicbox an' we want it to play that song. Why can't someone just sing it, then? We gotta have the box?" Rocket has settled down quite cozily in the bunny fur, unabashadly enjoying the scritches. Hey — this is a new experience for /her/ too! Might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

When Ruby stops humming, the Captain's gaze goes back to what passes for normal. He looks around in a brief moment of confusion, eyes falling on Rocket's observation. "The…/tune/ is only somewhat important. We need the /box/! It's magic! Without it, playing that delightful melody, we can't sail to the /island/." He flails! "Do you all see how this fits now!?"

Gamble sets back heavily on his flank. "So there it is. We get the musicbox, an' then we can go to the place the treasure's buried. Just like that."

Fuzzball finally cuts back on all the scritching. Frankly, his paws are getting tired. Perhaps he'll come away from this with a newfound understanding of how bigger creatures can't scritch cute things forever. Even if they want to.

Ruby-Blossom purses her lips before curiously asking "Dragon cave? Well it makes sense a dragon would have a magical item, along with globs of gold…" she ponders this a moment. "But dragons…" she resumes flipping through the book looking for anything else of interest.

Ruby finds a single journal entry about dragons: "Dear Diary. Dragons suck and have no sense of humor. Sincerely, Captain Faux Pas~

Rocket blinks and nods slowly. "Ah. Right. Okay. So… Cool. At least we know where we're goin'."

On the other hoof, Ruby does find several journal entries that mention some kind of captain's pet. This is relevant because the first of such entries starts with "Instead of taming a dragon, I've created the best pet to ever walk the planet. I shall call him Jimmy."

Ruby-Blossom admits that these strange journal enteries are worth looking into - part of her believes they'll find something far more interesting than a dragon.

Gamble headbobs at Rocket, not quite grinning, but not quite stonefaced either. He /is/ happy that progress is being made. He's just not…sure about Captain Flintlock over here.

Whom has reclaimed his fish, hovering over his shoulder. "Jerry, you like music too, don't you? Maybe we should ask that pretty mare to sing for us again~"

Kludge hopes there's no dragon - or at least, hopes that they don't have to fight any dragons. Just a simple batch of wolves from the forest was enough to have him too uncoordinated to fight. If there's a dragon… well, there'd be fewer dragons by numbers, but more dragon by amount of probable fight! Why does he think about helping out on this crazy expedition?

He glances over at Ruby and sighs. Oh yeah - that's why. He's not going to let a friend walk into danger without offering to help.

Ruby-Blossom glances from the journal to the fish, and back to the fish "So umn..where'd you get Jerry Jimmy there, huh?

Rocket blinks and flutters her wings, stretching. "So what's the plan? We bringin' the whole group again?"

Captain Flintlock blinks at Ruby's question. "…From a danged fool pony's mouth. Didn't you see her chewing on poor Jacob here?" The magically floating dead fish nods its head!

Gamble shakes his head, rubbing it with a hoof. Yeah… That's enough information, isn't it. "Y'mind if I take that book back now?" he asks Ruby, then glances at Fuzzball and Rocket. "That's the plan. Any able bodies ready ta take a trip into the mountains t'morrow. Especially if there's gonna be a real dragon up there. Might need all the help we can get."

Fuzzball hops and lifts his arms, shadowboxing at the air. Bring on the dragon! He'll give it a right good sting!

Ruby-Blossom notices! "Oi, your feathered friend got small, and your bunny got big." ponder ponder "Strange." she hmms "I'm just saying…" pushing the book back towards Gamble "I don't see how a dead fish is better than a dragon…

Tomorrow, eh? Kludge can probably get something ready in time, even if it's not as well equipped as he'd like. At least he can get a sturdy cart constructed and some supplies gathered~

Rocket nods. "Sounds like a plan." She blinks and chuckles, patting Fuzzball's head with one talon — inasmuch as she can 'pat'. "Yeah, you'll give 'em what for, huh?"

"Yep." Gamble agrees. "Tomorrow. Which means we ought'a get a good night's sleep tonight, cuz' tomorrow's gonna be a long and potentially life-threatening day." That said, the gambler floats the journal back into his saddlebag, casting one more look at the Captain. "…That means you too. No offense, but it'd help if ya weren't completely off yer rocker when we go deal with somethin' big enough to eat all of us."

The Captain, in kind, squints up at Gamble. "Jimmy would like to argue the case." he says, floating the fish up to nod defiantly at the rusty pony. "We feel that crazy plans may be just what you need if there's dragons involved. Because nothing /sane/ is going to work." Another nod. "Besides, I can't sleep~"

Gamble's eye twitches. He lets it drop there, turning to Ruby and Kludge instead. "Er.. You two have a good night now. See ya both t'morrow." He begins to amble off down the street!

Fuzzball likewise salutes Ruby, Kludge, and the good Captain, then also spins about to start following Gamble away! Carrying Rocket with him~