Spinning Out Of Hoof
IC date: Winter 29, 1007
OOC date: Januari 17, 2013
PCs: Spindrift, Sodium-Fizz
NPCs:
GM: None

The day finds the beach a different place than it was yesterday.

Okay, well, not that different. The storm, the Spire, all of those are the same- but the intervention of the soldiers from the Starlight Kingdom has taken a noticeable bite out of the force of the storm. It's "only" as violent as it was about a week ago. They're not just battling the storm, though- they're actively searching for Spindrift. Every few hours, a couple of them either walk their way down the beach, or swim along the coastline in full seapony form.

At least, for Spindrift's sake, there's only a dozen of them- and they have enough to do that they can't be everywhere at once. That's probably why she's gotten away with setting up shop on the beach a bit further from town, just atop the ridge of the northern cape that helps give Horseshoe Harbour its namesake shape. A few scrubby trees and some rocks give her a vantage point that lets her see oncoming visitors or patrols before they get close enough to spot her… which is probably how she manages to linger near the town without having been spotted so far.

Of course, not all who comes down along the path have given Spindrift a reason to be worried - at least no more than is reasonable. For example, the pony coming stumbling down the path have been more supporting than anything else, or at least that's been her intentions. Villains need to stick together after all, everypony needs a friend even when nopony wants to be friends with them. Sodium-Fizz took another unsteady step, not that she seemed to notice - her eyes was misted over and vacant as her body stumbled onwards, seeming almost dragged along by the seemingly permanent misty breath steaming from her mouth.

Onwards she stumbled until finally a hoof snagged on a stone, sending her toppling to the ground, the mist at her mouth dispersing and seeming to roll back within her - leaving her blinking dizzily and looking about. Rocks, trees… a scattered bundle of supplies, those that she'd carried with her.

There's nothing at first. Nothing here but rocks and trees and sand and dirt and the scrubby, winter-worn grasses that line the edge of the beach.

Eventually, though, Spindrift leans out from behind one of the rocks, staring intently at the fallen Sodium Fizz. Her sea-green eyes have that oil-like slick around their edges, and focus only with considerable effort and several moments of tense squinting. She watches the fallen pegasus, then glances up to the beach further towards town, back down to the pegasus, and calls out. "Are you ill? Do you need help…?" She pauses. "Can you walk, at least?"

Sodium-Fizz blinked a few times to clear her own vision as she peered up at Spindrift. After few moments she wiggled a hoof. "Y-yeah, I'm fine… That'll… teach me to trust zebra potions…" she groaned before a small smile split her muzzle, "but hey, it works. I found my lost seapony… Give me a moment to get… up…"

Getting up was easier said than done though, the pegasus taking a few false starts before managing to get on her hooves. And another few to get her pack onto her back again. With a deep, steadying breath she set of again, heading up towards Spindrift.

Spindrift squints briefly. "You… drank a potion? To find me?" Her gaze wanders a bit as she considers this. "They have potions for seapony finding?" The found seapony looks back to Sodium with alarm. "Who sold it to you? Did they have more?" Again, she casts an anxious glance down the beach. The soldiers are visible back in town, bright spots of silver amidst the murk of the waterfront. "And does it have any lasting effects? That mist on your breath looks… looks unwholesome. Come up here, you foolish pegasus, and get out of sight."

Sodium-Fizz frowned at Spindrift. "Oi! It's not my first time sneakin' around the law just… just give me a moment…" Soda muttered as she made her way up to Spindrift, panting rather noticeably by the time she's there. "As… as for the potion, I made it… I'm alchemist after all. And it was something called a 'dream quest' elixir. Complicated zebra crap… And I don't think so, will… take a bit for me to sort my head out right."

Behind the rock, Spindrift is in much the state Sodium encountered her in the other day: thin, wasted, mane tangled, eyes sunken and haunted. Gone, at least, are the sores on her legs, though there are a few bald spots that mark their former presence. She sags back into place as Soda joins her, and sighs with relief now that the two are apparently out of sight. "A dream quest?" she wonders. "That's… a bit elaborate, isn't it?" She pauses, then opens her eyes with a start, scooting back. "Did the soldiers send you on it? Is THAT why you went to all this trouble?!"

"I know right? Go figure zebra's would do something like that," said Sodium-Fizz with a thin smile. One replaced with a frown at Spindrift's accusation. "Really, what do I look like? A patsy for some seapony guards? No, it's really rather simple. I figured you… need help." To emphasize her point Sodium-Fizz stepped forward, jabbing a hoof in Spindrift's direction.

Spindrift watches Sodium warily for a few moments longer, then slowly relaxes with a nod. "You're right. I believe you." She draws herself back up. The grass behind the rock isn't THAT bad a place to flop, kept moist by the sea breeze blowing in off the cape. Probably no worse than the grit of the beach. "It's just like you bewildering land-dwellers. Since all of this started you've been more inclined to help than fight. I don't know what this says about your sense of self-preservation, but it's a credit to your kind in any case… one I wish I'd seen to begin with."

Sodium-Fizz shrugged slightly and chuckled, though it did break down into a bit of a coughing fit. "G-gah, stupid potion… As… As for that, maybe we're being foalish… but I can't leave a mare in trouble, especially trouble like this. I'm trying to give Rising Chaos a hoof, I'm trying to give you a hoof. Everypony needs a friend, even when you're painted in shades of 'villain' and 'evil'…"

"In fact, that's when you need a friend the most…" Soda continued after a moment, her expression going somewhat reminiscent and vacant. Till she shook her head. "So yeah, I'm just here to spend a bit of time and be a friend." She stood silent for a moment before grinning and dumping the package between them. "I brought takeaway, even!"

At the mention of Rising Chaos, Spindrift's eyelids flutter, and she reaches up, idly curling a leg around the Black Heart, which hangs still from the chain around her neck. She starts at the dumping of Things, however, blinking her eyes open and turning to look at the gathered supplies- suspiciously, at first, at least until she catches herself and relaxes. "You even brought food," she muses, with a slight smirk that might be approaching a smile if that was something she did. "Rising Chaos was here the other night, too. She is one of the few that can tolerate the waterfront these days. I think she would agree very much with your philosophy."

Sodium-Fizz's ears pin back slightly as she throws a glance in the direction of the harbour. "Yeah… Though I wouldn't figure so myself, but… maybe I should have to talk with her about it. We have surprisingly much in common really, both of us are bad-gals cause of who we are, both can be dangerous, we have similar preferences and we even have our own labs… Which bodes bad for the Harbour, now that I think about it, should we ever really go… crazy… on each other…" Sodium-Fizz hummed for herself thoughtfully as she opened the bundle, revealing several packages of oats and cereal - and milk - as well as a few loafs of bread, several more potions and… steaming hot buns, smelling strongly of chili.

"But yes, I brought some supplies. Just in case."

Spindrift rolls over with a grunt and props herself up, forelegs folding before her, and assumes a position where she can watch as everything is arrayed before her, eyes gradually widening. "This is… quite a feast," she says in a tone of mild surprise. "And far more than my paltry appetite appetite can take. I- nnnhh…" The seapony sinks to the ground for a moment, ears pinned back, eyes rolling into the back of her head. One of her forelegs draws back, clutching at the Black Heart, which throbs with a sub-audible beat. After a few moments of some internal struggle, though, the seapony lifts her head, eyes squeezed shut and expression strained, and eventually manages to blink herself back to coherence, panting softly. "The buns… I remember those. My… my friend spoke fondly of them. It was the food here he liked most, I think."

Sodium-Fizz started forward, placing a hoof on Spindrift's shoulder. "Oi, take it easy… No… No big emotionally feely things… I think. Those does not seem to be particularly good for you. As for the food, I picked up some supplies to last just in case, and I found the buns on the way."

Soda sat silently for a few moments, eyeing Spindrift. Once she seemed moderately sure she let her hoof drop. "You okay? Well, as okay as you get during the circumstances?"

Spindrift shakes herself out of her reminiscing with a little turn of her head, then scoffs softly at the question. "I am as okay as I get during the circumstances, yes," she says. Sitting up once more, she reaches out, taking one of the buns and drawing it close. She unwraps it carefully, or maybe just tiredly. "Ultimately my 'condition,' if you can call it that, is fatal. That has never changed. But thanks to that fool Rising Chaos's flagrant lack of consideration of her own well-being, I have a greater… insight on the nature of the Black Heart. Specifically, how it operates… and how to avoid the worst of its attacks." Bun unwrapped, she stares at it cautiously.

"That's… good, actually. Think I could do anything to help with it?" asked Sodium-Fizz carefully. "And… I suppose I'll have to go and check up on Chaos too. I swear, of the two of us I feel like I'm the sane one and I carry paperwork proving I'm not…"

The grey pegasus chuckled for herself and shook her head. "And… And we'll see, maybe you'll make it. I hope you do. You'll return home. Or stay. Or… go somewhere else. Trottingham is nice if you don't mind the rain and like musicals and theatre."

Spindrift shakes her head briefly. "I wish I could join you in that hope, but that is precisely what this…" She raps her hoof on the Black Heart. "Will not permit." She lifts the bun, then, and regards it evenly. "I will perish, the town will be obliterated, and the friends I have made here will be lost with it. Of this I fear I must be sure." She then takes a big bite with a firm, confident fashion, starts to chew, then slows, mouthing that bite more thoughtfully. "Mmmh…"

She then freezes, then her eyes fly open, and she lashes out, fumbling wildly for one of the bottles of milk, starting to cough around her mouthful.

Sodium-Fizz blinked, giving Spindrift a very worried look… until it dawns on her what's going on. The alchemist practically have to stuff her own mouth with a hoof to keep herself from bursting out in laughter at the sight.

Spindrift knocks one over and fumbles repeatedly with the second as she drags it close and starts trying to open it, coughing all the while, a weak sort of redness colouring her cheeks. Eventually she gets it open and lifts it to chug in a most ungraceful fashion, gradually relaxing. Even as she lowers it with a gasp, though, her brow is furrowed and expression dark with wounded pride. She takes a moment to collect the bun from where it had fallen to the grass, setting it down someplace where it won't get dirty, then turns away to recompose herself, sniffling slightly and reaching up to wipe at her muzzle with the back of a hoof. "Ridiculous," she pants. "No wonder that addle-brained fin-chaser loved them so much: for the sheer absurdity of it." She coughs once more, then glares over her shoulder at the fallen bun. "It… it IS delicious, otherwise."

After being sure she's not going to laugh out right at Spindrift, Sodium-Fizz removes the hoof from her mouth and just sits still, listening. With a somewhat goofy grin at that. Though after a few moments she cocked her head slightly, curiously. "Fin-chaser… Like tail-chaser? Huh… I kinda thought the two of you were… together."

Spindrift snorts. "No," she says. "Many… many ponies thought that, but no." She mulls over her milk for a few moments, rolling the flavour about in her mouth. After a bit of consideration she lifts the bottle and squints at it. Cow's milk? Is that what this stuff is? Bizarre. "He was more like a brother." Her conversational tone takes on a forlorn quality. "We grew up together."

Sodium-Fizz smiled softly and chuckled. Her ears flicking for a moment as she thought, before just throwing out whatever came to her mind. "I have a brother… he's several years older than I am, almost a decade… He's the only one in the family that's not… bright," another chuckle, "though never tell him I told you so. Of course, unlike me he gets ALL the mares. Always. He's a male model… and… it's just plain weird really. He's the model of unicorn stallioness, it got kinda awkward when I studied when some of my classmates had posters of him in their lockers…"

Spindrift sets the bottle aside as she listens, her demeanour muted, and retrieves her chili bun to pick a few bits of grass off. Not having proper hind legs to sit back on makes it a little tricky to do all of this, but by propping the elbows of her front legs up it gives her a little room to manipulate things. She furrows her brow after a few moments of the tale, and as Sodium concludes, turns to peer sideways. "He's a blood brother? You're a pegasus, though…?" Someone apparently doesn't know much about complicated land-dweller genetics. "It sounds like he is making good use of his gifts, in any case. The pursuit of one's potential even in such… superficial matters is commendable."

Sodium-Fizz let out of a soft… 'snerk' one can describe it as. "Yeah, I suppose that's one way to put it. Still embarrassed to see my classmates with picture of my brother… As for the whole wings-not-horn thing I wish I knew, some weird genetic thing I suppose. I have a pegasus a bit back in the family tree, before that it's been a pure unicorn family. I'm the first pony born as a unicorn though. Which is a bit annoying. I mean, can you imagine growing up amongst ponies that does -magic- while you can only sit by and watch? And they can't share in what you can do, fly…"

Soda shock her head. "Well, it turned out fine, eventually… Though it does bring something to mind… From what I understand, seaponies can use magic?" The grey alchemist leaned forward curiously. "How does that work?"

Spindrift finally gets the bits of grass off her bun and then starts carefully disassembling it, exposing the spicy chili sauce inside so that she may better know her enemy. It smells good. She nods in quiet agreement with Sodium's story of being at odds with one's family on so fundamental a level, but is presented with a question before she can same much on the subject. The seapony blinks up at Soda… "It works… well, like unicorn magic, I suppose," she offers. "Save that, from what I understand, our magic is more volatile, more susceptible to emotional whims. The horn, you see-" She reaches up and taps her forehead. "It gives them a focus we lack. If you should encounter the soldiers, notice they have horns built into their helmets to help mitigate this very thing." She regards the bun curiously once more. "The phylactery is a focus of sorts. The Spire…" She turns her gaze up towards the looming Spire, and not without a touch of resentment. "Is also a focus. You may think of it as a giant, oppressive unicorn's horn, if you so choose."

Sodium-Fizz nodded softly and slowly, settling back on her hind-quarters herself, her own attention turning towards the Spire for several long moments. "Huh… I suppose that makes sense, kinda…" she muttered before settling her gaze back on Spindrift, a small smile on her muzzle. "But… Um, sorry, I'm rambling a bit… What about you?"

Spindrift is caught mid-bite as Soda looks to her, and her gaze darkens as she realizes this, the seapony self-consciously drawing her bun a bit closer as she works at the bread of it while carefully avoiding getting too much of the chili. She lifts a hoof to cover her mouth as she watches Soda, chewing and swallowing before responding at last. "What about me…? Magic?" She shrugs slightly. "I can use it."

Sodium-Fizz cocked her head to the side for a moment, before shaking her head slightly. "I… meant in general, really. I mean, I know your name but that's about it…"

Spindrift sets the bun down. "I came to the town, insulted its population and then threatened to destroy them all," she says, in dry tones. "That is what is most relevant. Is there something else you wanted to know?"

Sodium-Fizz leaned backward slightly. "I was just… curious. Besides, didn't you say you had a mission last time? Though I suppose it might have been a self-imposed one… I'm just curious of the whole pony-under-the-sea thing, I guess? And you're here, so I figured I might just ask in general…" Soda fell silent and looked away, up towards the Spire. At least, for the most part, she glances back over at Spindrift a few moments later.

Spindrift maintains a prickly bearing for a few moments, then relaxes gradually, sullen gaze cast to the side. "You're right, that was an unnecessarily harsh response." She picks are her bun a bit more, though absently, obviously either procrastinating, or losing herself in thought, or considering what to say, or any combination of the above. "Brume and I came to this town looking for a friend," she muses. "The… the surface world has a way of attracting the curiosity of our kind. It has done this in spite of- or perhaps because of- a thousand years of warnings that it is a place that promises naught but misery."

Sodium-Fizz nodded, her mouth opening for a moment… though she seems to think better of actually interrupting Spindrift now that she got the seapony mare talking. Instead she settles her gaze back at the Spire, though the tilt and turn of her ears show's she's paying the utmost attention.

Spindrift isn't forthcoming with much more in the way of details, though. Pick, pick. She tucks a bit of plucked bun into her mouth and mulls it over for a few moments, eyes briefly wincing as the chili sauce does its work. "But we failed. She was dead and our time here was wasted. And now Brume, too, is gone, as a result of that foolish errand." She sets the bun back down and shrugs. "And soon I will be as well. So, I suppose they were right."

Sodium-Fizz sighed softly and turned towards Spindrift, giving her a sad little smile. After a moment or two the pegasus mare picked herself up, closing the gap between them in a moment before wrapping her forelegs, followed by wings, around Spindrift in a tight. Rather heedlessly of the black hearth hanging around the seapony's neck.

Spindrift sees the pegasus drawing close, lifting her head from her picked-at quasi-meal to watch her, curious, then a bit surprised, and then resigned when she sees this is where it's going. She'd like to say she's surprised but at this point, she's not. It does mean she has a chance to wrap her legs up around the Black Heart, though, shielding it from contact with the pegasus, a task further helped by Spindrift's position lying on her front. As before, she is frail to the touch, her body chill, though perhaps not as soggy and clammy as it is when she's moping around on the beach itself, then.

The seapony turns her head to regard Sodium quietly from the close proximity the embrace provides. "The potion helped, by the way, though not until the tenth time Rising Chaos insisted I drink it. Thank you for that. It won't make a difference in the end but it helped with some of the exposure."

"Maybe not… but if it helps, it's good. I don't want to make you suffer if I can help it… I got a few more potions packed away too, for you…" Sodium-Fizz smiled softly as she leaned backwards, if not really letting go of Spindrift. "'Cause, you know… everypony needs a friend, especially when it looks the darkest. I don't know about everypony else, but… at least you got Chaos and me. I think, Chaos is hard to read and at times makes me want to bury her in Tartarus…"

Spindrift knows from experience that she can't really pull herself out of one of these accursed ~land dweller hugs,~ who use the freakish strength given to them by having twice the normal number of legs to make them inescapable, so she resigns herself to her fate. That, and it feels nice, in a way she is very careful not to acknowledge lest it trigger another attack from the fel device that hangs from her neck. She keeps the Black Heart wrapped up, but otherwise leans her slight weight into Sodium's hold for now, and closes her eyes. "No, she is there as well. She does not hide her intentions as well as she thinks." The seapony scoffs quietly. "But you are right, she can be infuriating. We did… not get along when Brume and I first arrived. Several times we were close to outright trying to murder each other in the streets."

Sodium-Fizz chuckled, or outright giggled really, and pulled back after a few moments, forelegs and wings unwrapping from around Spindrift as Soda sat down once more. "Oh, I can imagine! Kinda wish I could have seen that instead of decapitating ponies-turned-statues and mega-sizing mares for battling dragons… though I suppose that's part of the reason I've felt surprisingly sane lately," the last part comes out a mumbling, mostly for herself.

Spindrift sinks back down to the grass with a little squirm. The hug was nicer than she really thought it should be. For a brief moment she finds herself wishing the pegasus might try it again, until she feels the Black Heart stir and swiftly suppresses the desire before another attack sets in. Sodium might well interpret the scrunch of Spindrift's nose, and her pinned ears, as a look of passing irritation. "Mmh. Grown mares hurling threats at each ohter in the streets? I suppose it may have had a certain theatrical appeal," She considers. "Probably not as much as the adventures YOU apparently got up to in that other place."

Sodium-Fizz chuckled softly. "Not really that thrilling, most of it was spent sitting in a small hole in the ground and freezing my tail off… and you… saw what we've been facing. It wasn't a particular fun thing, all in all… Easily one of the worst situations I've found myself in." The grey mare smiled thinly. "I've rather enjoyed being back here where there's only a moderate amount of crazy… with a bit of apocalypse on the side."

Spindrift seizes the bun once more and resumes her calculated approach to eating it, one deliciously uncomfortable bite at a time. "Mm," she murmurs in absent acknowledgement. "I cannot even begin to consider how they compare." She opens her mouth as if to continue speaking, then pauses. "I will spare you any further musing on whether this is ultimately the best place to be, though. I guess I have already promised enough doom and gloom."

Sodium-Fizz glanced at Spindrift for a moment and grinned. "I'd love to see the look on your muzzle when things don't come to pass," she said teasingly. "Last I head a bunch of ponies went out to take a poke among the seaponies to figure out how to stop this thing…"

"But I imagine you've already heard about that."

Spindrift looks up, towards the water, considering. "Is… is that where they went? I knew they were leaving, but not where to. Did they really head to the Starlight Kingdom?" Her thoughtful expression turns to a dark frown. "No, that's impossible. They would never have been allowed in. Surely they are spinning about in the ocean without a clue on where to go." She shakes her head. "But they are out of the storm's path. Good." The seapony turns to fix Sodium with a stare. "Why didn't you go?"

Sodium-Fizz shrugs. "I have, frankly, no idea where they went. I only heard of where they were supposed to be going… To the seaponies." Soda glanced back at Spindrift. "As for why I'm here? I have enough of problems to deal with by myself, really. I'm still a bit iffy in the head, to put it mildly, I have stallion problems, I have a store and some kind of freedom from myself for the first time in years, I'm a bit smothered… And frankly, I don't really know what I'm doing right now!"

Spindrift mms, and shrugs. She apparently decides she has had enough for now and wraps the bun up in its paper wrapper and sets it aside with everything else. The seapony rolls over with a wince and onto her back, then rests her head back against the grass and closes her eyes. "That makes two of us, then." She considers. "Though I do not mean to demean the kindness you have shown me, I nevertheless find myself wondering about its motivations in coming out here today. Not even Rising bothers to bring me a picnic lunch, after all. But you do not strike me as the type who would want to simply use me for her own ends, so it is more than mere opportunism at work."

Sodium-Fizz looked back over to Spindrift for a few moments before offering another shrugs, with her wings this time. "It seemed the right thing to do… I told you, everypony needs a friend… especially when they're in the deep end. And when I say that I speak from experience… Seeing you, and Chaos for that matter, both being in deep over your heads I feel like I have to be here. Somepony who knows, just a bit, what it's like and is taking your side - for the most part…"

The grey mare looked away, sounding almost sulky. "'Sides, I believe you'd look a lot better if you eat up a little bit… You look a bit like a zombie, right now."

Spindrift scoffs quietly. "I have a tough time keeping down food. Better it be saved for someone who can appreciate it." She peeks an eye open and turns her sea-green, oil-stained gaze towards Sodium. "But you say you do this for my benefit. This is an altruistic gesture, and certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but that seems a bit odd with your claim to be of villainous persuasion."

Sodium-Fizz sighed. "I am by necessity, not by choice. I suffer from Science-Related Memetic Disorder… A mental disease," Soda muttered, "that induces compulsory behaviour in those suffering from it. It only ever affects ponies with talents within scientific fields like magic, mechanics, chemistry and alchemy. It… makes us do strange and frankly bizzare things at times, and not good things either. It's like being forced to be the villain out of a comic book or a story…"

"And something you are evidently resigned to, if your tone is any indication," suggests Spindrift. She watches Sodium directly, now, fitting her direct questions. "Is this something you embrace, then? Or do you feel it is somehow your duty to make up for it?" She pauses. "Is that what this, is?" The seapony gestures to the food. "Some manner of karmic payoff for foul deeds done?"

Sodium-Fizz sighed, much more heavily and loudly this time, as she laid down, her forelegs folding as she dropped her head on them. "Yes, I'm resigned to it… Not much else I can do really. As for making up for it… it's hardly you I should make it up too - it's the ponies who've lost homes becaus of me, or been scattered by the wind from some creation of mine… or life. But I can't, so I wont." That she said with a loud huff. All that… that… was somepony else's problem, it's hardly -her- fault for being a walking catastrophe. At times.

"As for this, I told you so… We… we all need friends. I've been run out of almost every town I've visited for the last ten years! The only city I haven't is Trottingham, and that's only because I only visit my family for a day or two… two times a year? One time a year?" Fizz shook her head angrily. "So no… I just know we all need somepony there for us, when nopony would be… 'Cause I know, now, I'd have wanted that."

Spindrift stares at Sodium all this time, expression steeled, her ears- taller than standard pony ears, with faint webbed ridges to give them a suitably aquatic look- perked as she listens. She lets the pegasus finish, then nods, and only then settles back to the grass.

"Very well." Her finned tail stirs slightly against the grass. "I will not question your motives further, then, so long as you seem sure of them yourself." She lets her eyes slowly slip shut. "Do any others in town know you are here, offering this to me?"

Sodium-Fizz shook her head. "No. At least, I don't think so. I guess somepony might have followed me when I was… out and my body did all the walking for me. But I kinda doubt it. By now I've unleashed a food-devouring monster into town, a horde of musical oozes and taken a exiting sewage-pipe adventure ride… I don't think most ponies find it strange that… I do strange things."

Spindrift nods once, flicking an ear at the list of bizarre escapades. "If you say so. Frankly I find it easier to merely overlook the bizarre manner in which so many of you surface-dwellers conduct yourselves. I think the relative lack of pressure in the atmosphere does strange things to your heads." There's a brief gleam of sea-green as she peeks one eye open to look to Sodium. "Perhaps the flying ones most of all." She closes her eye once more. "Good. though, that nobody has followed you. I am still not convinced the town as a whole will not turn on yourself and Rising Chaos should your… deeds become known. Although in Rising's case, she seems as though she may embrace the notoriety."

Sodium-Fizz frowned at Spindrift, and then hit her with a petulant pout. One that would hit right in the feels! If Spindrift was watching, but… Well. "Oi! I'll have you know I'm not addle-minded from having wings, thank you very much! 'Sides, that's just rude. I'm not calling you seaponies… I don't know, killjoys just 'cause you have fins you know."

"As for Chaos… she seems to do that, yeah. I'm a bit worried. Me? I'd prefer not, but… I believe it's important. -They- all have somepony… Ponies like us should too."

Spindrift lifts one leg and lays it across her face, and doesn't respond for a while. When she does, it's on the back of a low and heavy sigh. "Yes, I suppose we should at that."

Sodium-Fizz smiled thinly, spreading her hooves slightly. "So, that's why I'm here… To be that somepony. It does help, rather a bit, that I can stand your company too and that you are rather intriguing to talk to."

Spindrift lowers her hoof, revealing the sullen gaze of morose thoughts poorly concealed. "I think it speaks more to your desperation than my appeal," she grouches, before wincing slightly, biting her lower lip and reaching down to clutch at the Black Heart. "Nnnggh…" she wheezes as she relaxes a moment later. "A moment after I said that I realized I was hoping you wouldn't take it too harshly. I forget that I'm not supposed to do that."

Sodium-Fizz flinched slightly, then sighed. "Perhaps… I don't know, I never know what goes on up here," Soda tapped her own head, "it just does. I'll leave you alone if you want too… but…" Another sigh as she studied Spindrift for a moment before reaching out, placing a hoof at her shoulder.

Spindrift relaxes gradually, sagging back against the grass, and sighs with a touch of relief as the pain passes. She soon has enough presence of mind to shake her head. "I didn't mean you should go," she said, ruefully. "Though I won't keep you if you've had enough." Her expression clouds, and she furrows her brow and stares absently at the sky. "I don't… mean to seem as ungrateful as I am sure I come across as. I've fallen out of the habit of being gracious."

Sodium-Fizz smiled thinly. "Well… No, not really. I… just don't know, maybe you're right and I'm doing this for myself, or… Something." Soda rolled onto her back, staring up into the sullen sky herself. "I hope I can really, truly, make friends with Chaos… and you for that matter. I have friends, I have Winter… but at times I'm worried that I'll… I don't know, hurt them if I let all the ugly stuff spill out…"

"If they are truly your friends, then they will stand beside you all the same," offers Spindrift, with a slight tilt of her head. "You think Rising Chaos and myself can offer something the others cannot?"

Sodium-Fizz sighed. "I don't know… It's just… maybe you know, just a bit…" Soda rolled onto her chest again, peering at Spindrift. "I… don't want to share my past with them, they're all just… I don't know, innocent. Sure, some have hardships in their past… but I'm worried."

The alchemist fell silent for several long moments before muttering, "Winter… My marefriend… She tells me it's no worries when I become upset and sad or paranoid… She helps. She even tries to get me to reveal what's in the past at times… But… I don't feel comfortable doing that. She's almost like a foal at times, all smiling and happy, and I'm worried I'll tarnish that by telling her… Heck, I'm worried I'll tarnish her by just being with her…"

Spindrift narrows her eyes for a moment as she regards Sodium, but that brief moment of consideration passes. "You have been nothing if not candid with me, and you barely know me," she says. "Can you not be as straightforward with her regarding your concerns?" The seapony leans her head in slightly. "Is -she- not as straightforward with you?"

"Because you're not all happy and smiling and I'm not terrified of making you something less by telling you!" Soda practically shouted back. "You've made mistakes, big, deadly mistakes! I don't have to be worried about you or Chaos looking down at me in spite because… because of that!" A grey hoof extended, pointing at the Spire.

"Winter…? I'm worried she'll just… lose that little thing that makes her happy, smiling Winter and… wind up loathing me for ever daring to get close to her, of making her something less…"

Spindrift's eyes flare open at the mention of mistakes, on the implication she cannot be any more diminished than she already is, and for a brief moment it looks as though she's about to get angry. And, indeed, if she'd suffered the same accusation a month ago, then she might actually do just that. As it stands, though, after a tense moment, the seapony gradually deflates, settling back against the grass with a slight nod, conceding the point by virtue of never rising to challenge it.

"She would have to think rather highly of herself to so hold an act of honesty against you," says the seapony, at last. "Is she really so conceited?"

"No…" sighed Sodium-Fizz. "She's nice… Really, really… nice. Always nice. And I don't know what to do then. I mean, how do you deal with somepony that's always nice, so nice they make you terrified of making them not-nice somehow?!"

Spindrift lifts her chin slightly. "You do so by realizing the fear of breaking the things that are important to you is more paralysing than the pain caused by a mistake made in earnest," she says, watching Sodium evenly.

A wide array of expression dance over Sodium-Fizz's face in the span of a few moments - confusion, then at least four kinds of fear, then resignation… and hope, which swiftly gets interrupted by doubt, which is supplanted by indecision backed up by another two kinds of fear and then just to blankness. "I… I… don't know what you're talking about…" the grey mare muttered.

A hoof planted firmly in the ground, followed by another, and another until she stood upright, shivering slightly and not because of the weather. "I think I shall be going now…"

"Stop. Before you go…." says Spindrift, likewise rolling over and pushing herself upright… though only getting so far. Because, you know. Fish tail and all. Though she's tall by land pony standards, the half-upright posture does give her sort of a disadvantage as she turns to regard Sodium evenly, expression neutral, focused.

Sodium-Fizz came to a uneven halt, her wings halfway spread as if to take to the sky - a bad idea in this weather to say the least - and after a moment of hesitation the she turned around to peer at Spindrift. Those pale yellow eyes look surprisingly moist, though considering the rain…

Spindrift looks a bit taken aback, eyes widening briefly, before she finds herself again. "Clearly I… I don't know the full extent of whatever trial you face. Not if you leave me like this, so suddenly. But whatever the case…" She hesitates, glancing towards the storm, then looks back to you. "Hold your loved ones close, and be true to them. And hopef……" At the mention of that word, the seapony winces and nearly topples forward; the Black Heart throbs quietly as it hangs from her neck. "… h-hopefully… your bond will… will see you through the storm."

With a gasp, she sinks to the grass, reaching up to clutch at the accursed crystal heart. "It's all that we can ask of our loved ones. It's all we can ask of ourselves. Good luck, Sodium Fizz, and thank you."

Sodium-Fizz smiled sadly. "Why does everypony talk about love…?" she muttered out loud for herself. "Those I love… I don't truly know the last time I loved anypony, Spindrift… I've never had time, or maybe I don't dare." The alchemist started forward. "I mean, what's the point? Love and care don't see me through my storm, it makes it worse… 'cause holding 'loved ones' close just means they can stab me in the back all the better…"

Soda stopped above Spindrift before gently reaching down and turning her over to her back with a hoof. "It's the worst mistake in my life, believing in love… I was going to lose my life over a common talent, a foal and a wedding vow because I was stupid enough to believe it… It's the -only- good thing this stupid madness have brought me, my life. And at times I wonder what's the point of it… I'm all over the place, I'm nice and I'm angry, I'm silly and sad, I hate and lust and want and need and give… I feel like I'm little more than somepony else's reflection in a broken mirror at times… I feel broken, and I don't want anypony else to cut themselves on me… I'm broken here," a grey hoof tapped Spindrift's forehead, "and here." The hoof drifted down, tapping the heart ever so lightly, bringing a flinch. "And… I try my best to run away from it, because that's the only way I feel safe, sane… I don't want to think about this, but… you…"

Soda let out a soft sniffle, running a wet pastern across her moist cheeks. "You just had to tell me that…? You just had to make me turn and look it in the eye… I don't like looking it in the eye, because I see everything that I want and that could have been, a family, a pony that I can love without fear that I'll sully them by being with them… I see all that, all that ruined by the thing I loath the most… that I HATE the most… and it's not even him… It's me." Soda took a shuddering breath. "Good day, Spindrift…" Fizz turned once more, trotting back towards the harbour.

The attack of the Black Heart leaves Spindrift weakened, largely unable to resist, such that pushing her onto her back is easily done by anypony with half a mind to do so. She watches Sodium warily, eyebrows furrowed, jaw still clenched following her little interlude… but even through the gradually clearing haze of pain she can see something unpleasant has overtaken the pegasus.

And it's all she can do to sit back and watch, lying against the grass, head resting back, legs looped weakly about the Black Heart. She tries but is too late to try and intercept the touch against the gem…

And even a brief tap is like plunging one's hand into frozen water. Hope itself is fed into the jewel's depthless hunger- leaving a chill in the soul, such that as Soda withdraws, the problems she's describing may feel worse, for any reprieve suddenly feels so much more distant, so much more remote a possibility.

By now the seapony's expression has become pained once more- not with her own agony, but by seeing what she has inadvertently done. She stares mutely at Sodium Fizz, and makes no move to respond, or to interrupt, or to stop her as she goes, not until she disappears out of sight.

And then she simply rolls over onto her side, curls up around her burden, and lays still.