The Deathwish
IC date: Summer 18
OOC date: July 8th
PCs: Mad-Mare Manyara
NPCs: Rock'em Sock'em
GM: None

Night has fallen in the Harbor. A clear, beautiful night as far as the skies go, so many stars visible and nary a cloud to marr the sight. Much of the town is busy with their night-time activities, shows, end-of-weekend fun and whatnot, but the outskirts of town are, as ever, almost eerily quiet. Especially around a certain gypsy pony's tent. This is good news for certain ponyfolk, three shapes that lope through the darkness towards a common goal.

The three ponies enter the tent, one wearing a dark grey cloak, and walking with hoofbeats heavier than the other two. Upon entering the tent, the three figures stand tall and take stock of their new surroundings. It's a very interesting tent, for sure, with all the unique and curious items of questionable use on display every which way. A long moment is spent taking it all in, matching the sights to the stories they'd heard. Eventually the two stallions of the group softly step next to their mare-leader, voices echoing despite their attempts to lower them in the general silence.

"I still don't think this is a good idea, Boss…" "Yeah, Boss. This place smells of nothin' but trouble. Trouble, 'n strawberries. 'n swamp."

Their Boss, one Mad Mare, merely looks to either side with a half of a smile. "Isn't that why we're here? For trouble? Come now, if this pony is even half as powerful as the rumors say, I can't possibly pass up a golden opportunity. What's the worst that could happen?"

"We…could lose our lives?" Rock'em grunts, taking a half-step backwards. "Or our souls?" Sock'em adds, also taking a half-step. "Or maybe both! I've heard of ponies turning into zombies cuz' of gypsy-folk. I don't wanna be a zombie."

Maddie turns her head to regard Rock'em critically. "And you call yourself a stallion… Well I'm not leaving until I find out what all this is about, so you two can either sit tight until I've concluded my business here, or run away and see what happens when I /find/ you…" The dangerous tones in the end of her not-so-veiled threat make both her ponyguards gulp. They don't like creepy, but they like getting kicked a whole lot less.

In the silence that followed Maddie's words, slight sounds could be heard; a faint jingling, and a shuffling as though of somepony moving about behind the heavy velvet curtain. The occupant is in no hurry, however, and will indeed give them a few minute's wait before the slim creature steps out from behind the curtain and looks the three over with a bright, appraising eye.

"Well, well," she finally says, softly. "It is a late hour for visitors to be calling."

The arrival of the tent's occupant brings the bickering of the pony trio to a halt. For this was a pony that definitely solidified what the vision of a 'creepy gypsy' was to the two ponygoons. Maddie, on the other hand, has locked her gaze on the pair of horns atop the other mare's head. A…zebra unicorn? Unicorns come in stripes?

The 'shock' only lasts for a moment, at least in Mad's case, the Syndicolt mare shaking herself out of the reverie with a flip of her head to push her hood back. She favors the tent occupant with a fakeish smile, "Yes. Yes it is. Which is why we're here, of course. I couldn't possibly risk coming when there might be others to peek in, see?"

Rock'em and Sock'em gulp again, scooting closer to each other next to the tent exit. They're totally ready to bolt at the first sign of weird soul-stealing mumbo-jumbo, they are!

Manyara nods faintly, gaze fixing coolly on Maddie. "Indeed, I do. Some creatures just prefer to operate in darkness, I suppose."

She trots past them to settle down on a cushion by the tea table, casting a glance over a nearby shelf. Said shelf held an odd assortment of things: a little toy pirate ship set beside somepony's prettily-framed family photo; a completed illuminated text done up in fancy inks, with a large blank area at the bottom of the page for any sort of sketch to be added; a pink, heart-shaped bottle; a vase of lovely blue flowers; and a little stuffed pegasus doll, set beside a glimmering rainbow shell and a small, newly-drawn starchart that appeared to be of the skies above the harbor and centered around two bright, close-together stars.

She admires the shelf for a moment before looking back at Maddie. "What is it you desire from me?"

Shelf-admiration, however, isn't what Maddie is there for. So she naturally shows some impatient tapping of a hoof while Manyara settles herself down, casting a dangerous glance back at the two ponyguards. Making sure they're still there, no doubt. When she finally is addressed again, the Mare clears her throat, as though her words will have the utmost of importance to a creature that can defy and reshape reality.

"I desire information first. Then perhaps a favor. You see, there's a lot of rumor and speculation about what services you actually provide to the unwashed citizens of this poor Harborage." Maddie does, at least, step closer to the shelf in question as she talks, eyeing each object in turn. "Some say you're a healer. Some that you're a seller of mystical artefacts of questionable power. There's even a few rather tall tales of you being able to grant wishes.

"Now I don't exactly believe any pony has that much power…" She casts a critical gaze to the tent's owner, eyebrow lifted skeptically. "Not even our…esteemed Queen has that much power. But, all stories point to you being at least a powerful pony in these parts, so I came to find out for myself just what it is you /do/ around here." Maddie carefully arranges herself to set back on metal haunches, giving Manyara an expectant look. It practically screams 'impress me'.

Manyara crosses her hooves casually on the table. "Well I suppose what I do depends on what is asked of me. I have skills as a healer, yes. And I do indeed sell artifacts, potions and charms of all sorts. I can read your cards and tell your fortune. I've even been known to gaze into a crystal ball, time and again." She lowers her head slightly, peering over at the three. "As to the other possibility… I cast spells, I weave charms, and yes, I may grant a pony's wish. For a price. Of course." Lifting her head again, she turns her attention to a nearby cabinet, larger horn glowing gold as she tugs it open and lifts a teaset from it, floating it over to the table. "After all, few things in life are ever free."

"Oh of course. I wouldn't expect a pony of such power to go giving her talents away for /nothing/ now." Maddie, too, rests a limb upon the tabletop, resting her head propped upon its hoof. "Just what /is/ the going rate for a wish these days?" Her eyes are practically glimmering with the whole concept. Even if she still doesn't exactly believe it. A few of those other mentioned items were intriguing too! Fortune telling. Hah!

By this point, Rock'em and Sock'em have gotten over their initial fear. This shopkeep doesn't seem nearly as creepy as they were led to believe. Cryptically businesslike maybe… So they've dared to budge off their posteriors to start peering around the tent, specifically at the potions. Maybe there's one that cures insanity they can chip in to get as a present…

"That depends entirely upon the wish," Manyara states simply, "and the wisher." Into the teapot goes a pouch of herbs, a stick of cinnamon, a sprinkle of sugar, a splash of juice from a little bottle, and then water from a pitcher that… where exactly /did/ that pitcher come from? One could swear it hadn't been on any nearby tables a moment ago. For that matter, when was a fire lit in the pocket below the teakettle? It couldn't have been burning like that inside the cabinet, surely.

In the words of a certain pink pony. Oooh, she's goood….

Where magic's concerned, it's difficult to be /too/ surprised by things mysteriously appearing and disappearing. Teleportation was a known unicorn trick after all. So Maddie doesn't show much concern over that. Rather, she frowns for a different reason entirely! "Based on the wisher?" she repeats, pursing her lips in a soft pout. "That hardly seems fair… Why would you charge more to one pony than another?"

Rock'em points to a potion on the nearby potion shelf, making Sock'em snort in amusement. Love potion. It might not make their boss any less crazy, bit it would definitely distract her. …But then they both shake their head. They couldn't possibly inflict an insane mare on any other pony and feel good about it.

"Because everypony is different," Manyara replies, as if this should be clear, "in knowledge and in means. Take, for example, this flower." She plucks one of the blue flowers from its vase, floating it over to Maddie. "Say I were to ask you for such a flower as this? Where would you find it, how would you transport it? What is it, what could it grant? Of what value is this flower to you?"

The Mad Mare squints, first at the flower, then at the shopkeep. She's not quite getting the point. "What's a flower got to do with the price of tea in Canterlot? Or a wish? Here I am, ready to pay good bits for something to get done, and you're going on about botany." She breathes out an annoyed snort, giving the flower another, annoyed, look. "I have no idea what it is, where it grows, or what it's worth to you."

Rock'em and Sock'em squint at other bottles. Stoneskin? Invisibility? Antiacid? …Size Reduction. Both of the stallions sneak a glance back at their boss.

Manyara chuckles, nodding slightly as she sets the flower back in its vase out of reach. "That, indeed, is Windigo's Kiss. It grows exclusively in very cold locales, often on cliffsides, and withers quickly in the sunlight. It is nearly impossible to cultivate, harvest, transport. It has many uses in potions and elixers and has even been said to freeze one's very aging in its tracks. Nigh immortality, if one believes in such things. To somepony, this bit of botany may be /very/ valuable."

Manyara turns her attention to the now cheerily-steaming teapot, pouring the liquid into cups. "My interest is not so much an item's worth to /me/, my dear Mad Mare, but its worth to /you/. Tea, boys?" And she casts a surprisingly warm smile towards the two browsing stallions.

Rock'em and Sock'em both jump, nearly knocking the shelf of potions! Sock'em manages to save any from tipping over though, leaving Rock'em to turn to the tent owner to shake his head, "Erm. No thanks. We're um…" "Not thirsty." Rock'em interjects, both stallions going red in the face.

Maddie looks at the twins, one eyebrow lifted. She says nothing to them though, turning back to Manyara instead, with the same skeptical look. "So you don't deal in bits then." she states, her tone going somewhat flat. "You do more dealings in stuff. Items of various worth. Alright…" Sitting up, Maddie crosses her arms over her chest. "That's going to make this a bit of a bugger, isn't it? I suppose I shouldn't wish for something as grand as world conquest if I don't know what you'll ask for. So maybe something smaller for a test run. Maybe something that will help with a more immediate goal…"

Manyara chuckles to herself, pouring tea for herself and Maddie. "I deal in bits when it comes to potions and charms. Wishes, though, wishes come with steeper prices."

"I suppose I can understand why." the Mad Mare admits, her shoulders rising in a shrug. "Which brings me to business." The Mare sits up straighter, both hooves flat on the tabletop. "What would the price be if I wanted a certain pony removed from being an obstacle in my desires?"

Rock'em and Sock'em have drifted on. From potions, to trinkets. Looking at some of the weirder objects. Is that a pair of glasses..?

Manyara nudges the teacup towards her before picking up her own, sipping at it calmly and certainly seeming not at all in any sort of hurry to proceed with 'business'. "'Removed', is it? Well, there are many ways to 'remove' somepony. Are you looking for a distraction? A call out of town? A convenient injury — broken leg, perhaps? A bedridden illness?" She tilts an ear thoughtfully. "I suppose that depends what sort of 'obstacle' they are presenting, and to which desires."

Maddie pauses, picking the teacup up in both hooves. She savors the armoa before she takes a dainty sip, eyes lifting to regard Manyara's expression when she gives a little more detail about her thoughts. "I had hoped I wouldn't need to spell it out, but I suppose if it's to be a truly granted wish instead of a shot in the dark…" Another sip, another pause of breath, Maddie turns sideways to the table to glance around the tent, as though making sure nopony new had decided to come in while she wasn't looking. "I need the Mayor removed from the mortal coil. I need her disposed of. Destroyed." Yet another sip, Maddie's eyes flicking back towards the gypsy. "Dead. If she still breathes, she can continue to threaten my plans, and I can't have that."

Rock'em and Sock'em look up from the trinket table. Rock'em actually put the glasses on…

If the abada is startled or put off by this, she doesn't show it. The smallest of nods, perhaps the faintest hint of a… smile? No, perhaps a smirk? Or nothing at all! It's hard to tell as she turns her attention back to sipping at the tea. "Hmm. Interesting. So out of the way in a more permanent manner. I see."

Rock'em might not /immediately/ notice an effect, or at least not one of note. Just everything may have started to look a little bit… rosy. Positively pretty, in fact! And just so cheerful. Oh, look at those flowers! Those are nice flowers. Lovely. And isn't the decor in here just oh so stylish! And that tea smells simply delicious. Everything's just ever so /wonderful/!

Surely such requests come in often! At least, in Maddie's world, everypony's constantly trying to off every other pony anyway, so who wouldn't want to throw in a bit of magical backstabbing now and then? The lack of a reaction does make Maddie pout though. This is such a /hard/ Harbor to get much of a reaction out of anypony from. Maybe that's why she feels so frustrated with this place.

Regardless, the Mad Mare sets her teacup down, mostly drained of tea anyway, her head bobbing slowly to Manyara's assessment. "As permanently as you can do, yes. No offence to her, but I don't have the time for an endless chess match between her and I for control of this dingy place. Assassination attempts may fail, and there's no guarantee of success. So this… /If/ you can actually do it, seems my best course of action. So." Out comes the fake smile! "What's your price for that?"

Rock'em blinks through those curious glasses. Sock'em's giving him A Look, starting to back away when Rock'em suddenly starts smiling. "Huh. Hokay, maybe this place isn't so weird after all. Yeah… I kinda dig it." Sock'em squints. "You've never 'dug' anything in your life."

Manyara blinks slowly, looking over at her and fixing her with a sharp silver gaze, silent for a moment. "All I ask," she states slowly, tone lower and more serious than before, "is that you truly understand what it is you are doing, and know the weight of the actions you take."

What? That's it? Maddie squints, waiting a full minute after Manyara states her 'price', her head tilting one way, then cocking the other. "That's…it? You'll grant my wish, so long as I understand what I'm doing?"

She throws her hooves in the air! "What kind of price is that? Of /course/ I know what I'm doing! That's why I'm wishing for it!"

Rock'em grins, rocking rose glasses, looking at every little trinket. "Oooh, that one's cool. So's that one! I wonder what this does… Awww whatever, it all looks awesome." Sock'em keeps trying to swipe the glasses away, but Rock'em's head keeps bobbing /just/ out of reach each time! "Ooh Sockie, look over here! This hat's, like, your perfect size!"

Manyara nods, crossing her hooves lightly in front of her. "It is a price. Understanding is a thing of value. Feeling the weight of one's actions is of great importance. I would not desire to do something of such significance if you did not understand what you were doing, you see."

The Mad Mare rubs her chin with a hoof, thoughtfully pondering the words of the Wishmaster. It seems so simple. So easy. Too easy. Way too easy. Maddie shakes her head. "No, no, there has to be more of a catch than /that/. Boys!"

Rock'em and Sock'em look up. Sock'em, now sporting a bowler hat. "Yeah boss?" they both answer in unison.


Both of the goons trot to park their rears next to where Maddie's sitting. To which the Mad Mare gives Sock'em a nudge in the side. "Wish for the Mayor's death."


"You heard me."

Sock'em blanches. "Uhm. Boss, I don't think me'n Rocky should be doin' yer wishes for—"

Maddie reaches back, and stomps a hoof down on Sock'em's forehoof. "/Do it/."

Sock'em yelps and lifts his injured hoof up. "N.. Uh…" He glances up at Manyara, then to Maddie. His ears splay out, his head ducking in a wince, "… Iwishthemayorwasdead!" He promptly ducks his head further, like fearing some magical doom to suddenly befall him, too! Maddie and Rock'em, meanwhile, look back to Manyara, Maddie with a lifted eyebrow, obviously expecting something to happen. Like she totally beat the system.

Manyara looks between the three ponies, casting a small but reassuring smile to the cowering Sock'em before looking back to Maddie. "She will have passed from her body by morning. She will not live to interfere with your desires."

All three ponies blink in unison. "Just like that?" Maddie says, her head tilting. "But…"

Sock'em sits up straight, his eyes widest of the three. "I… Oh Celestia what did you make me do? What have I-"

Maddie rolls her eyes, standing up enough to lash a metal leg out, catching Sock'em in the gut just hard enough to knock the breath out of him. Rock'em, meanwhile, is on his back. Laughing. "Ohhhh man, poor mayor. She won't know what hit her."

"Good point." the Mad Mare notes, leaving her two ponyguards on the ground, leaning herself on the tabletop to peer at Manyara. "The price didn't change, did it? Even though he spoke the words, I'm still going to pay whatever it was you meant by what you said, right?" Her eyes squint. "Is it too late to request that it not happen until I'm there to watch? Or at least a recording of the look on her face when it happens? I can't gloat to a dead body!"

Manyara chuckles faintly and shakes her head a bit. "I am afraid I am not the sort for undue damage. She will pass peacefully enough. I do not think you will have to worry about lacking the chance to gloat to somepony, however… I suspect that you will be presented plenty of opportunity to do that."

"Plenty of opportunity? What's /that/ supposed to mean?" Maddie taps a hoof on the tabletop, "Either she's dead, and I can't gloat, or she isn't dead and the wish didn't work, so I have no /reason/ to gloat. There's not exactly an in-between there."

Sock'em still looks traumatized, so Rock'em gets up to give him a nudge. "Hey, man. It's okay. It's gonna happen to everypony anyway. At least she's gonna go peacefully." He steals Sock'em's hat and puts it back on the table. "That's life, man. That's life."

Manyara gives her a smile and a shrug. "You'll have the whole town. I presume. If you're taking out the Mayor I can only infer you must intend to take over the Harbor."

"It just won't be the same…" Maddie gives a soft hum of noise. Still, the deed is apparently done. The Mayor will be no more! All that's left is to install the replacement, and that's just a matter of cutting the right red tape at the right offices… Not her department, no sirree.

So why does this all have the feeling that it might have been a horrible idea? Something within Maddie feels…bad about having done it this way. Like an uncomfortable lump in her gut. The discomfort makes the mare wrinkle her nose and bob her head at Manyara, hefting herself up properly to all four hooves. "Something like that, yes. Thank you for the wish, I believe that concludes our business for the night. Rock'em? Sock'em? We're leaving." She starts to head out of the tent, expecting her goons to follow suit. Something about what she's done isn't sitting right, and she can't quite bear to stay in this place a minute longer than she has to!

Both the ponygoons get up, Sock'em finally managing to steal Rock'em's glasses to place them back on the trinket table. Which makes Rock'em give a very dazed look as the three Syndicolt ponies leave the tent. "What..just happened?" "We killed the mayor." "..We? No we. You. You did it. You said the words." "Sh.. Maddie made me!" "Pff. Bad pony. No treat for you…"

"Both of you shut up! Technically it was my wish, so I did it. Seriously, I oughtta buck you two into next week!"