Small Talk
IC date: Summer 41
OOC date: July 31
Location: Harbor Outskirts
PCs: Sunshine-Stormcloud Rising-Chaos

It's once again a cold, cloudy day. Why is it so cold? This is the question of the day. Something that has been nagging at certain pony minds for some time now. Something worth investigating.

Something…that isn't trash duty.

For that reason alone one particular member of the Harbor Guards has happily put up with the cruddy weather, for she has become the main link in the Guards for figuring out what's going on with the odd weather. For this reason, and surely no other alternative motive, has Sunshine Stormcloud wandered to the outskirts of the ol' town, once again in search of a particular pony's wagon… The last time she saw it, anyway.

It's not far from where she last saw it, some ponies don't move around much. Not that there's a whole lot of reaosn to move around. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should, especially when you are, like Rising Chaos, a small nerdy pony who would have to drag a wagon larger than you are.

By all accounts, Rising hasn't even noticed the cold. Her behaviour hasn't changed a bit, and if she wants to find out what's causing it, she'll do that in her own time. For now, making an illusionary maze for Glyph to run through is far mroe important. He gets a treat if he gets to the other side.

Chaos is cheating, of course, but the prize is real!

This makes locating Rising's wagon easy enough! Sunshine seems pleased with this, keeping her head high as she trots off the beaten path to find the little nerdy unicorn and her…game? Maze? What? She pauses just at the edges of what may be a polite distance from the curious event, squinting her eyes at the illusions. Far as she's aware, Glyph is an illusion too.
"Er… Afternoon, Ms. Chaos." she hazards to say, following it up with a formal clearing of her throat.

It's not the biggest maze ever, located right up against her wagon (and evern underneath it, at one point). It's even in theory very simple. The issue is it keeps changing so Glyph never gets anywhere important. Meanwhile, Rising Chaos is studying this intently, for reasons only she will ever know for certain. "Hello, Sunshine, how may I help you?" Perhaps realizing that her work is interrupted, she ceases the illusion of the maze. "Glyph, come, say hello to Sunshine."

That's how a little 4 inch long white and blue lizard made out of cloth scurries over to Sunshine. Normal things happen here.

"Glyph, eh?" Sunshine repeats, glancing down at the odd lizard…thing. She gingerly uses a hoof to nudge the cloth lizard, squinting down at it. "Huh. Y'know, I really didn't think you were the type to play with dolls." she comments, stepping over the (in her eyes) stuffed toy to advance closer to the pony she's here to visit. "I was inve…" she pauses, turns her head, and coughs softly. "That is, I happened to be in the area, and thought it'd be nice if I paid a visit. We didn't exactly get to finish our pleasant chat last time around."

"I'm not, and do not own any dolls. Automata, on the other hoof, I find ather interesting." Rising Chaos is used to ponies not taking Glyph seriously, she doesn't either. The aborted sentence gets a raised eyebrow, but she nods along. "Very well, I'm glad you did. I'd love to answer any questions you may have."

"Oh." Sunshine says, brow creased. She glances back at the little cloth thing again. "Auto…mata. So…" She scrunches her nose. "Puppets? That's more interesting than outright dolls at least." And typical for a unicorn, she imagines. A brief shrug later, Sunshine ambles her way up closer to the other mare, easing her metallic legs down into a seated position. "They're personal questions. More or less. I'm just curious why you offered to help me. Y'know, back when I was a mare of mixed minds and all that. You were nice to little-me, but you plotted with big-me."

The little cloth thing looks back, before creeping forward until he gets to one of Sunshine's legs. Then he looks up with the best approximation of a pleading look an unmoving cloth lizard can make. Up?

Rising Chaos considers the question in silence for a while. "Well, I cannot say that my intentions with Stormcloud were dishonest. In other circumstances, I may have gone through with the plan." Her voice, as always, is nothing but calm. "However, Sunshine was a little filly. Having been in that exact situation not long before, there was no way I was going to let Stormcloud destroy you. It was clear that Stormcloud didn't care much about being opposed, she was strong and quite frankly, insane. So I conspired with her, to earn some trust. If she ended up winning, and getting a holf of Sunshine, she would hand you over to me, and I would keep you safe. If she failed, I lost nothing."

Sunshine nods slowly, ears perked towards the ever-calm mare. Her gaze drops when she feels the nudge of cloth against a hoof, prompting a couple quick blinks at Glyph. Blink. Blink. The cloth lizard gets a couple pats from one hoof. "…Your toy is staring at me." she notes quietly, not trying to interrupt the brief bit of explanation.

"I suppose that makes sense." she says after, attention lifting back up to the pony in question. There's a moment of studious silence, then the Guardspony tilts her head. "You're…really not the bad sort at all, are you? If, either way, you were going to help lil' Sunny."

"It wants up. Glyph was magically programmed to explore and learn about any new thing sin it's environment. It was a golem I created mainly to help me in research." Rising chaos lets Glyph does what he wants, for now. Since he has no teeth or anything, he literally can't hurt anything. The assumption does catch her off guard, thoguh it only shows as a raised eyebrow and moment of silence. "I'm not cruel. I have made a promise to myself that I will not take away the freedom and individuality of another pony. That doesn't mean I am nice. Whether or not I'm a bad pony is a conclusion you'll have to come to on your own."

Up? Sunshine glances down at the cloth toy again, scrunches her nose for a second time, and plucks the little lizard up on a hoof to lift it onto her shoulder. Seems like an adequate place. Explore, whatever, all she has is her hide anyway.

"Of course…" she agrees. "The whole question of 'good is subjective' and 'what is good and evil' and all that." She points a hoof at the other pony. "But you don't have to be nice to be a decent pony. You had a choice, you chose to help rather than hurt. Or even do nothing at all. Even though you didn't end up having to do anything."

The hoof is lowered, Sunshine peering intently towards Chaos. "…And you apparently help, or have helped others, too. I'm satisfied with my judgement." She even looks slightly smug about it. Like she's figured something out that nobody (or maybe everybody) else had known.

Glyph takes his time to investigate everywhere around him. To this little guy everything is fascinating and new. He apparently also has a fondness for manes.

"I am glad you've found satisfaction, then." Rising Chaos shrugs casually, as if it doesn't really matter. "It seems I have a reputation in town then as a helpful pony. I can live with that."

Sunshine can't watch Glyph poke at her mane, but she can sure feel it. There's some squirming involved. "I'm not convinced you weren't trying for that reputation." she notes. "Keeps doors open in case you ever need anything, yea? But that's how friends work, so." She trails off, hunching her shoulders. "…ack! Ticklish spot!"

"Glyph…" Rising Chaos' voice actually adopts a tone. It's a warning tone, but it's a tone nevertheless. It drops back to calm as she continues, though. "Of course I tried for it. being helpful is a ncie thing to be known as. It's not all I'm known for though. I am respected, mroe or less, around town, and few ponies bother me." She frowns. "Twice."

"I'm pretty sure few ponies have bothered you at all." Sunshine notes, recovering when Glyph moves on elsewhere. "…now my back's all itchy." she grunts, lowering herself to a sort of sprawl on the ground for the time being. "Anyway. I was…happy to confirm that. I mean, I'm still kind of not sure about things, but seeing as how lil' Sunshine 'won', I'm happy to know that you were a good pony instead of waiting to steal my brain, or something."

"Sunshine Stormcloud, you would be surprised at how wrong that assumption is. However, that's not important. I'm glad I could ease your mind." Rising Chaos recalls Glyph, because he's being an idiot again. "I do apologize for my golem, I hope he wasn't a bother. And…" She allows herself a thin, cold smile. "Perhaps I can find a way to steal your brain later."

Perhaps realizing that she is the worst at joking, she hastilly appends: "Or maybe have lunch, or something along those lines. I would prefer to count you as a friend."

Sunshine squints at the little cloth lizard as it scuttles away. "Oh, no bother." She rolls onto her back, wriggling against the ground. "…just…gotta scratch an itch…" Ending in a sprawled flop. "Hmph. Better. Dirty, but better. Anyway, yes." She's now looking at Chaos upside-down. Possibly more relaxed than apprehensive as when she started the conversation. "Friends. Friends do lunch. It's a perfectly friendly thing to do. Maybe you can help me with another little issue I've come across."

Rising-Chaos watches with no emotion as Sunshine wiggles in the dirt in front of her. "Yes, it is. Perhaps I can, what isu the issue?" Whatever it is it's probably more interesting than lunch.

"A missing pony." Sunshine states, pointing a hoof at the skies. "Related to the current weather. We seem to be missing our local winter forest witch. We also seem to be missing summer. I've come across evidence that the two things may be related, and that windigos may be involved somehow. Also weird things are happening at Daybreak. More importantly, there's this /evil/ flock of pegasi that have done nothing but eat our food and claim all the good spots to take naps in town, and I'm not completely convinced they aren't somehow part of this whole scheme!" She snorts. "Extended family indeed."

See, more than anything, that shocks Rising Chaos. So much so that she stares openly at Sushine for a few seconds, mouth partially open. "Snowfield, is missing? That's… highly disturbing indeed. I knew about the windigos, they've forced a friend out of ehr cmap and in to my wagon, but Snowfield's disappearance is news indeed. I know very little about Daybreak,a nd the flock of pegasi just sounds like tourist nonesense." she frowns, those are far less important than a pony she respected being gone. Her face settles in to a frown. "What can I do to help? I know I can track magic rather easily, in fact, I'm very in tune with it in general, even if I can't actually do any impressive spellcasting. "

Sunshine goes about the arduous task of getting back on her legs. This involves first rolling onto her belly again, with a new coat of dirt, dust, and whatnot. Then propping herself up, and arranging her metal legs just so. "…Well that's the part I'm not sure about. There's lots of magic involved. Snowfield's cottage is pretty much wrecked. My current hunch is that the windigos came for her and..may have won. So if you can track her magic specifically that might help us figure out where she got dragged off to."

"I can do that, yes. Windigos are extremely powerful beings, so I am not surprised they could get the advantage over Snwofield, but I will do what is required to find out what hapopened, and save her if that is possible." She seems to remember something, which gives her pause. "Come contact me if you need me, any time."

Once she's managed to get upright, Sunshine beams a smile at Chaos, dipping her head once. "Of course. I hope to get an expedition going back into the forest soon to track windigos down. I'd love it if you'd join us. In the meantime there's a couple other things I need to ask about around town. Like..what the fortune teller over there knows. And maybe how we got a windigo lurking around here in the first place." Her voice drops a few tones. "I think it has something to do with Daybreak. They're being very…standoffish lately. Moreso than their usual, I think."

Rising-Chaos doesn't even need to think about those. "I have nothing else to share, as I know nothing about those. Best fo luck to you, Sunshine. It was ncie talkign to you again."

"Yeah, thanks for your time." Sunshine states, turning back towards the path again. "I'll uh..keep you updated. When I figure something out. Have a good rest of your day with Autothingie."

Rising-Chaos has already set the maze back up, as casual as can be. "Ineed, it will be very informative, and thank you."

Later that day

It's still cold. It's still mostly cloudy. It still doesn't feel anywhere near summer. And Sunshine Stormcloud is still okay with this. Partly because she's on the case, as it were, and partly because it keeps her off of 'garbage duty' with the Guard.

It still doesn't make her any more willing to actually go outside if she doesn't have to. Luckily she just got back from being out there! Chasing down leads, or some other silly nonsense, she dings the door of the Mane Affair open, does the best she can at wiping her hooves off (it's not like it's muddy out there or anything), and settles her dusty self onto a nearby seat. "Bleh… I've done /so much walking/ lately. I swear my legs are gonna fall off!" She gives one of her metallic hind limbs a knock with a hoof.

It rattles ominously.

Sunny winces. "Ruby? Does Kludge do any sort of metalwork?" Her ears perk up. In case Ruby's not actually here. She just…kind of assumed.

Ruby peeks over the half-wall seperating the salon from the guest lounge "I don't think it's his forte." she admits before disapearing around the half wall only to re-appear at the end of it as she trots around to join Sunshine. "Your legs bothering you or something?" leaning forward to give Maddie's legs a good look; admittedly Ruby doesn't know the first thing about artifical limbs or metal working, but she has picked more than her share of locks. Gently she nudges a leg with the tip of her hoof.

Said metal limbs look somewhat dinged up! Dented in places, definitely losing much of their polish. Does that one have a slight hydraulic leak? Sunshine flicks her ears back. "I…don't really know much about metalworking myself, so I've been trying to do my best not to ding'em up. But the frequent trips into the Wintersong are wearing'em out. They're not meant for endless hiking! They're built for…er…" She ponders this. "Intimidation?"

Ruby-Blossom purses her muzzle in thought. "Well, Winny knows about the metal working - however she's not the type of mare you'd want to handle such delicate work." she imagines Sunshine's legs covered in spikes and shakes her head to clear the thought. "Maybe Winny's boss - or somepony down at the docks?" she frowns dissaprovingly. "I don't know if I'm comfortable with anypony handling your legs without supervision." wee tad protective? "Intimidation? I find them charming."

Sunshine levels a gaze at Ruby when she calls the metallic limbs 'charming'. "In all fairness, Ruby, you also found my fruit-bat insane self something along the lines of 'charming'. I think you just like crazy things!" She studies her legs a bit longer. "I'll try the docks. You're more than welcome to come with when I do. Not like I'll be able to go very far once they start working on'em."

Sunshine recieves a large, all encompassing hug from Ruby who proceeds to rub her cheek against Sunshine's while proclaiming. "Maybe I can just see things for what they really are deep down? Ever consider that, did ya?" she releases the other mare and takes a seat beside you. "I just know what I like, common sense be darned." she gives a nod "Of course I'll go with you. I wouldn't be able to relax knowing you couldn't fend for yourself, it'd be the ideal time for somepony with a grudge to make a move. Speaking of that, you really need to tell me about the Syndicolt sometime."

Sunshine gives a soft grunt, but doesn't dissuade from the hug. If anything she sighs a quiet sigh and leans slightly into it. "I'll give you that you saw a spark of the nice-side. But there was a whole bloody pile of insanity keeping it down, Ruby. Only reason I was so buddy-buddy with you was because I was /already/ under the influence of magical conscience. Now it's not so magical and more genuine, so…" She pauses, her ears twisting. "I could. Sometime. They're not all pleasant stories."

Ruby-Blossom lightly pats Sunshine's shoulder. "Sunshine. I know you did some horrible things - but that doesn't change the fact you're somepony very special to me." offering that broad, super-cheesey grin that seems to be displayed all too often. "Don't you ever wish somepony would just rob the Syndicolt blind or something? Imagine if like Crimson O'Mare swooped in and stole a bunch of the Syndicolt's ill-gotten gains, wouldn't that be neat?"

"Neat in a 'ha ha' sort of way or in a 'I didn't think anyone would have had the guts' sort of way?" Sunshine wonders, idly. "I really..don't suggest it. I know what they do to ponies they catch that do things like steal from them. It's not pretty." She gives one of her legs another tap, then gives up on it and straightens them out again. They rattle again.

"Anyway… You're a special mare too, Ruby. S'why I'm gonna stick around.. At least for a while longer. And not just because remodling my old and busted ship is going to cost a lot more than I thought."

Ruby-Blossom leans forward to quietly peer at Sunshine for a long moment before finally proclaiming "Even with a fixed ship you ain't leaving, got too much going for you here - if if it's different than you're used to." smile! "You know it just occured to me, I think the Winter folk had some good metal workers with em - had to be real good to keep that furnance running. I imagine if they can handle a hot pot, they can handle a hot head."

Sunshine huffs, leaning back at the close and quiet peering. "I was never /leaving/." she clarifies. "Just..didn't wanna keep taking up random space in your foal-filled house, that's all. What if I did end up with a special somepony at some point? I couldn't bring'em here!" She puffs a breath, tips her head back. "…But that's probably not for some time anyway. Got too much to do first! Like..get these legs fixed. I might try Daybreak, but they're kinda having a little spat among themselves, so I don't know how much I want to trust them right now."

Ruby-Blossom waves a hoof cutely "Just bring me along, we're all chummy and such. I mean I slayed zomponies, and even blew up one of Nightmare Moon's camps. I'm like a total champ." Clearly dillusional, after all Ruby is just a stylist. "I'd be happy to accompany you there. I don't think you have to look very hard for a special somepony anywho."

Sunshine shrugs. "Maybe… Maybe not. But that's what I wanted to let you know about. I'm staying. For now." Her muzzle dips. "Figured that might make you'n Magpie a touch happier for the time being, right?"

Ruby-Blossom grins warmly "I'm plenty happy for the most part, sometimes a little bored - craving a little excitement. I mean different kind of excitement from wrangling foals; which in itself is all sorts of excitement." she gently nudges the other mare. "You should give the foal sitting a little shot."

Sunshine winces. "Are you kidding? With an obvious weakness? You might as well wound me and put me out for the frost howlers." She sniffs. "I don't think I'd be able to wrangle more than one or two at a time. Besides I'm a guard now! I handle..bigger things. Like crooks. And missing ponies. You heard about the missing pony, didn't you? And the windigos?"

Ruby objects "Nothing is bigger than five foals." she then shakes her head "I haven't heard really…I mean..I know Snowfield might be missing?" she fidgets "I wanted to help look into that more, but I didn't know where to begin."

Sunshine knits her brow. "Magpie didn't tell you about that..? Or about what your little feral rugrats have been doing? Or about the journal?" She tilts her head. "The busted up cottage? The windigo trail? Shoot Ruby, your kids are half the reason we have any clue at all that Snowfield was probably more kidnapped by evil spirits than just hiding from everybody."

Ruby-Blossom lifts a hoof "I was there." she says softly with a little pout. "I just didn't know how to follow up." she hangs her head with an adorable pout "Then there was the wedding, but I'm like…I want to go look for her too ya know." she huffs.

Sunshine squints. "That's right. You were. So you knew half the clues already!" She throws a hoof up! The other was too close to flail around. The lifted hoof is put up to her face. "Maybe I'm the one working too hard. Oy. Anyway! You…have obligations helping this horde of happy horsefeathers do their wedding thing." She makes a face. "Otherwise you're welcome to join the expedition. I intend to set one up and figure out what happened once and for all."

Ruby-Blossom nodnods "I'd be happy to help - just can't miss the wedding. I fear making Typhoon unhappy might the one thing to bring out the rage monster hiding deep within the sweet candy coating that is Jellybean."

Sunshine flashes a grin at that. "You may be right. The only thing worse than a happy horde of horsefeathers is finding a way to tick'em all off at once. I guess your service is greater than mine right now… But that's okay, I still have a couple more leads to follow before I go and raid the forest for our snowy friend anyway."

Ruby-Blossom nudges "No no, I seriously need to help. I couldn't /not/ help. I mean." she ponders "Unless you want to ask that strange zebra mare that lives with Toybox? She's kinda spooky..but I heard she's tough…or so Toybox says."

"I have a feeling there's going to be no shortage of ponies wanting to help when the offer goes out." Sunny notes. "For a grumpy ol' snow-covered sourpuss, she sure has a lot of friends around here." There's a soft, brief pause. "..So what /are/ your plans around here anyway? I mean… Are you…settled now? Now that you got a whole gaggle of foals of your own and a little business?"

Ruby smiles warmly. "Well, I have alot of plans - Kludge is still busy building the expansion - I'm thinking I'll expand the Spa offerings, and the second floor is a much needed expansion for the home. The third will actually be some rooms for the various foals who happen by…often. Kinda like a miniture orphange or something." grin! "But I also have some trips to take, and the twins seem to enjoy tending to the shop. Not my twins, I mean Seaside and Sunset."

Sunshine nods slowly. That seemed to answer her question well enough! "Well! Here's to the future then, whever it holds. I'll just..go crash now. It's been a long day." With that she manages to wiggle off the bench, heading towards the stairs! "..And Ruby? Thanks for bein' a friend."

Ruby follows Sunshine upstairs, perhaps a tad closer to usual - cautious about those wonky metal limbs of Sunshine's. She beams at the other mare "I'd say 'You're Welcome.' but that'd imply I didn't enjoy it." giving the other mare a snug at the top of the steps before sending her to bed.