Pushing Buttons
IC date: Summer 51
OOC date: August 10th
PCs: Rocket
NPCs: Mr. Bunny
GM: Gamble

The forest is still cold. And creepy. It's amazing how even in the dead of summer, this place can chill the ol' bones and turn the most stalwart of stallions into quivering colts. Why in Equestria would anyone voluntarily enter these woods anyway?

To hunt! Duh. Or at least, to try to hunt. Red-and-gold do not blend the best with the white-and-blue-and-dark of the woods. Normally not a problem when coming from above, but with flight hindered, the semi-colorful gryphon is forced to creep along the ground in search of prey. Creep creep creeeeeeep. All lion-like and stealthy. Rawr.

What is this? A rustle of bush… A soft scampering of tiny feet. And then suddenly, a bunny! Fluffy as a summerday is long, it pauses after two quick hops out of nearby brush, standing upright with its little pink nose twitching away and big brown eyes glancing this way and that. So cute.
Rocket blinks and crouches quickly, edging closer and preparing to pounce. Yes, Mr. Bunny, you might be absolutely adorable, but this gryphon is absolutely hungry! Nothing personal, you know. Circle of life and all that!

The bunny pauses… Ears go completely alert, twitching twice. It looks straight at the lurking gryphon! A half-second later, the little rodent bounds off towards another set of brush! Boing!

Curses! Foiled. (Again!) Rocket gives a little growl of annoyance and bounds off after the rabbit.

Naturally a merry chase ensues, for bunnies are masters of being chased. Masters! There's much zigging, and zagging, and tumbling about, each near-swipe of gryphon claws prompting the fluffy thing to break into even more panicked hopping!

Until one last dash, one last near-miss, has the bunny careening into a nearby tree with an awkward 'thump' of its tiny body into wood. What makes this odd is the fact that said wood looked like it had a hole there! Yet the bunny just…bounced off it! This could be bad for Mr. Bunny.

And leap! "Gotcha, you little bugger… …what the heck did you even run in to?" Bunnies aren't usually that poorly coordinated. Rocket blinks and glances up, peering quizzically at the tree.

Poor dazed little creature. Now that it's caught, it looks so very pitifully cute, trembling and quaking as it hangs, suspended by talons. But that's not important now, is it? The tree looks…odd. Different. It's much more rounded than other trees. Smoothish even. The bark /looks/ rough, but a casual touch would disprove this. It's smooth. And cold. And hard. Like…painted metal…

The hole, in particular, is the most obviously painted part, the paint barely scratched by the impact the bunny made moments ago.

Rocket blinks and peers at it, head twisting this way and that. She sits back on her haunches to poke at it with the talon that is not dangling a bunny. Then leans forward to peck it. Then pokes again. Taptaptap. "Why the heck would any creature make a metal tree?"

Clang! Clang! Clang! The tree certainly feels metal to each tap, and the peck makes a very…hollow echo within the tree itself. The bunny shrugs in answer to the question about /why/ anyone would make a metal tree. It's a secret to everypony!

"Geez, I'll bet you konked your head good, too, listen to that…" Rocket frowns, looking it over more carefully. Is it just… a tree? How tall is this thing? What're the branches? She glances irritably back at her wing. Boy it'd be good to fly right about now.

The bunny nods emphatically, rubbing a tiny paw over its forehead. Even as it dangles, probably moments away from being /devoured horribly/.

The 'tree' is…tall enough! Not quite as tall as the surrounding trees, seeing as it wouldn't have grown with the rest of them. It has branches, but they looks more like a bunch of wires than real wooden branches. Certainly not capable of holding any snow. There's another hole, a little further up, just shy of eye-level. Only it's not a hole… It's more like, a button. Painted black like a hole.

Well, the course of action here is obvious, isn't it? After all, it's only big, /red/ buttons you have to be wary of. Clearly. Certainly with a similar line of thought in mind, Rocket tilts her head and pokes the button.

Nothing happens for several long seconds. Nothing but the sound of chilly breezes making the dangling bunny turn and sway. His arms cross over his chest, his attitude going quickly from 'scared' to 'resigned to his fate'. This allows him to look completely unimpressed when the button push seems to do nothing.

But then, ever so softly, a 'click' resounds from within the hollow metal 'tree', and a section of the trunk, just a couple feet from the ground, unhooks from the rest of the tree, singing open an inch on squeaky, rusty hinges.

Rocket blinks and steps back a bit. "Huh. Well that's different." She moves over to the opening, reaching to pry it open further.

It takes some effort due to the extreme amount of disuse those hinges had, but the panel gets forced open! The panel was hiding a compartment. A small compartment at that, with a grey metal box. A box, with more buttons. Ten of them to be exact. Shiny, red, happy little buttons, two rows of five. What was that about red buttons now?

The bunny…tries to peek around the corner too. At least, as best as he can considering he's held by talons and all that. Good thing bunny ears seem to be impervious to pain, huh?

Rocket blinks again, looking the buttons over curiously. "Huh." She sets the bunny down nonchalantly beside the panel so that she can scratch her head with the now freed talon, the other still holding onto the 'door' thing. "Would'ja look at that. Some sorta machine thingy."

You better believe the bunny seriously considers bolting. But… Curiosity! Besides, it wouldn't get very far, no doubt, when gryphon instincts kicked back in. So Mr. Bunny peers into the little compartment, and at this mysterious machine with all the buttons. It seems harmless! But these buttons are so shiny. And red.

Peer. Peeeeer. Rocket stares down the buttons, clicking her beak. What could they dooo? Only one way to find out. But /which one/? That one! The gryphon stretches out a talon to poke the top left button. Might as well start at the 'beginning'!

Click! There's not even a delay in the click this time. Whatever this little contraption does, it's working.

Or is it?

The bunny squints… Nothing happens. Just a click, and nothing. He continues to look unimpressed. So much buildup in mysterious tree, and buttons, and the first one just makes a noise! It does stay down though, once it's pressed.

Well. Not that one! Clearly the proper thing to do now is poke another one. Always one to do the proper thing, Rocket proceeds to poke.

The bunny seems totally with this idea of poking buttons. He keeps pointing at them!

Click!

This time something /happens/. Not only something, but the ground beneath the gryphon seems to just suddenly disappear! Apparently that button triggered a trap door!

And in this pit? A lot of very dull-looking /spikes/… …That are…bending when dirt, and stuff touch them. Fake? For the gryphon's sake, they better be!

Yipe! Wrong button! She scrabbles at the walls of the pit, non-bound wing flapping in an attempt to slow or halt downward progress. Not the most successful of endeavors but you have to give her points for effort. Hopefully not spiky points, granted.

The spikes are most certainly not real, once the first gryph-lion paw brushes one. Foam? Most likely. Very soft. Very fake. But wow… Pit! At least the walls aren't completely smooth or anything, apparently this pit was designed to be climbed out of.

The bunny peers over the edge of the pit, actually looking…worried. Well, it's not like he would've /wanted/ to watch something get skewered horribly!
Rocket is left looking rather relieved as the initial panic fades. Hey, that actually made for a pretty nice cozy landing! Aside from, you know, being absolutely terrifying. "What the heck was the point of /that/?!" she screeches irritably, shaking herself off and taking a second to collect herself before moving to start to climb out. "Not that button."

The bunny shakes his head. Not that button indeed. He hops around the side of the pit where it looks most likely Rocket's climbing out, propping himself up against a nearby stump. That still leaves, like, eight more shiny red buttons!

Rocket gives herself another shake as she hauls herself out, dusting herself off and giving a small huff, peering back at the panel of buttons more cautiously. But not cautiously enough, apparently, because she reaches to push another one. After bracing herself against any new falls. This time she's ready for it!

Rocket might've been ready for it, but…

Click!

And this time the bunny disappears! Another pit! Only this one looks different. The bunny hangs on the edge by one paw, looking down into a much brighter, shinier set of spikes that aren't bending at all when the falling dirt hits them.

The bunny gulps… Good thing that wasn't the one that opened under Rocket!

Rocket squeaks and scrambles over to snatch the bunny out of the pit. "Woah! Geez. How many trapdoors does this place /have/?"

The bunny /clings/ to Rocket's talons! Huff, huff!

How many pits? Well there's only one way to find out…

Rocket settles the bunny onto her back, looking back at the panel. "Maybe you'd better stay up there. And hang on." Hm. Well, you can't open a pit where there's already a pit, right? Right. With that thought in mind, she perches herself on the edge of the foam-spike pit, ready to back into it should anything untoward happen when she hits the next button. This plan cannot fail!

The bunny looks thankful to have a pack to hang onto. He might even be trying to worm into a pocket, just to feel safer, peering at the button panel from over gryphon shoulder.

Click!

Whoosh! The trees suddenly rustle, as a big branch in particular comes swinging down! Tipped with the same dark grey, blunt, dull spikes that are in the pit Rocket's perched in front of!
Eeep and duck! The gryphon clings to the side of the pit, ducking down into it to try and avoid the branch of possibly-real spikes.

Good move! The branch swings, hitting the metal tree just above where gryphon had been standing seconds ago!

And bounces off. Rubber 'spikes' this time. Crazy!

"Geez," she mutters as she climbs back up, giving the branch a testing tug to see if it's fit to hang from. "There better be somethin' good behind all this."

The branch is pretty sturdy! It's old, like everything else in this particular part of the forest, but well built. The vines keeping the branch aloft look like they may have even been magicked to stay…fresh. The bunny pokes his head out of the backpack now that the danger's over. Again.

A branch and a pit! Hey, now we're getting some defenses here. One talon on the branch, still ready to duck back into the pit, she reaches for another button. This gryphon is gonna find what secrets you hide, metal tree. :<

The bunny ducks as the button is pressed!

Click!

Higher up in the tree, another compartment opens up. Something is…pushed out of this compartment. Rather forcefully. In fact, one could say it was shot at the gryphon button-pusher! Coming at high speed, is a /snake/!
Hey, lunch! For once hunters' reflexes can come in handy. Rocket ducks into the pit, stretching her head up to snap her beak at the slithery projectile as it passes. Hey, if she misses, it probably won't survive smacking into the tree. Maybe.

This proves to be a moot point, since the snake didn't survive the years it spent in the tree prior to being shot at evil button-pushers. So it's completely easy to catch. If one wants to catch the equivalent of a mummified dead poisonous snake for lunch, that is.

Blech. Poisonous, fine, just gotta leave the head… mummified, no thanks. She spits the snake-mummy out next to the pit. Blechblechblech. Now her mouth tastes… dusty. Yuck. Next button!

This button gives a click.

Click!

And a whirr!

Whirrrrrrrrr~

The nearby stump slooooooowly shows itself to also be a fake object, as the top of the stump just…reels back, to expose things inside, wrapped in a ratty old blanket.

Hey! That's something. Rocket clambers out of the pit and approaches the not-stump cautiously. A few minutes are spent examining the bundle, eventually poking at it to make sure nothing's gonna… pop out, or something. TRUST NOTHING! There might be another button! In… the blanket. Sure.

Nothing happens when the package is poked. It does, however, have the picture of a skull wearing a jester's cap on it. In fact, it looks suspiciously like a flag more than it does a blanket upon closer examination.
Rocket slowly moves to unwrap the blanket-flag. "Hm. Like somethin' off one of those old ships."

Very much like off of an old ship. It even still smells briny.

Wrapped within the flag are two items:

An old book, with the same skull-and-cap symbol on the front, and a name printed on it.

A parchment case. Intricately designed with many wavy-looking designs all over it.

Rocket blinks. "…Huh." She looks the items over for a moment before flipping the book open curiously. Hopefully there's pictures! 'Cause someone here can't really read. And it may not be the bunny.

There are…a few pictures. Hoof-drawn, naturally, but then everything in the book is hoof-drawn. Most of the pictures are little monsters, ships, or the occasional map-like drawing. It does look interesting, if nothing else, and smells ancient…

Hm. Hmmmmmm. …Hm. Well, it /looks/ intriguing. "…I dunno what it says. Can you read?" She glances back at the bunny. "Do bunnies read? I don't read." She looks back at the book, flipping through the pages. "Maybe Gamble reads."

The bunny can only shrug! Shrug and shake his head, half-burrowing back into the pack where it's safe from any last-second crazy trapness. Now that the button-pushing is done, he's exhausted!

"Hmph." The gryphon ponders for a moment before getting up, scooping up book and parchment case and flag. May as well take 'em back to town! See what comes of it. Maybe she can… trade something for food. Or something.

…As the gryphon leaves the area, book and flag and case in tow, the little grey box with all the buttons makes one more click.

Click!

…And the first hole, the hole the bunny had so skillfully bounced off of in the first place, swings open. A little dark-blue tendril of ooze pokes out, like a little snake head watching Rocket vacate the premesis.

The oozling exits the tree, slithering itself into the underbrush, and winds a slow path after the landbound gryph…