The Final Lesson: Reflections
IC date: Spring 6
OOC date: 27/03/2013
Location: Rising's Lab
PCs: Rising Chaos
NPCs: Red-Clone, Pink-Clone, Blue-Clone
GM: Winter-Solstice

Of course, you cannot have a story without loose ends. At least, not in the Harbour, it seems. After all that excitement and magic and roughhousing and zebras cracking jokes, there's still one question. What are we actually going to do with the clones?

Rising Chaos knows what she WANTS to do. After sleeping on it, taking a couple strolls aorund town to clear her mind, she's still having trouble. It seems that no matter how mad she gets at the clones, no matter how bitter she is about their creation. Destroying them is kinda hard. Right now she's sitting in her lab, which is locked up tight, and looking at them. For their part, they are all chained down, unable to move, or use magic. No escapes from this trio, not again.

Rising Chaos looks distinctly frustrated, in an unfocused kind of way.

The three clones don't look especially happy, either.

Blue Chaos was retrieved from a muddy field near the house, having attempted to drift away like a balloon. Most of the time she's spaced out entirely, staring across the room, though an occasional fit of lucidity she seems worried about the others in the lab, gnawing her lower lip and shuffling about anxiously where she's chained up.

Pink Chaos surges to her hooves and runs to the length of the chains before they pull tight and yank her back onto her duff, and snarls as she falls. The area around her seems cleared of all valuabls, which is good, since she seems inclined to try and smash things if given half a chance.

Red Chaos is clinging most covetously to a chipped flask. No idea how she got it, but she has it, and she's not letting go. Every now and then she turns and peers up at the ceiling, head turned slightly, as if listening for something.

They're not very chatty. Whatever process that created them only seems to have imbued them with a baseline of personality, but certainly not enough to really be good company, or show much interest in eachother.

Rising-Chaos is quick to limit her own freedom. Her horn bursts to life and the chains binding pink are pulled tight, and fastened so Pink has few option but to stand still. "Oh stop, you'll just hurt yourself." Probably literally. The mare sighs, looking over them. "You know, I almost think I should be learning something from this. Like you're all a specific facet of my personality or something. You're all brats, so you'd think if that were true it would be somehting to keep in mind."

The unicorn snorts, looking over the three. "You probably don't even understand a word I'm saying. You're all just magical accidents, who happen to look like me." Her face turns in to a sneer. "You certainly don't share much in the way of limitations."

Blue Chaos is zoned out. She doesn't seem to hear anything, much more interested in the door leading out of the lab.

Red Chaos curls her hooves protectively around her flask as Pink gets all rowdy, and afterwards, listens to Rising with an envious narrowing of her eyes. She's looking at the cloak, of course.

Pink strains and pulls and struggles against the tightened chains for a moment before slumping back, defeated. She grumbles wordlessly under her breath and stares across the room at Rising with obvious animus in her gaze. Despite their slight physical difference, the eyes of the three are all identical to their originator.

Then the relative silence is broken. "Maybe I should hurt myself," mumbles Pink. Her voice is hoarse and a bit inarticulate- fitting, seeing as this is the first time it's been used. "Maybe I should hurt you."

After that little thing, the silence gets even deeper. The sneer on Rising Chaos' face disappears, gone full neutral. Very slowly, she gets up, and walks to just outside of where pink could possibly reach. "Maybe you should, hurt me. All you seem to be is rage, no control, no planning." She takes on step closer, within range of Pink. "Yet, you cmae for the beacon, you have my body, my voice." Her eyes narrow, focusing. "You have my eyes. So maybe you're more than just an accident." Her posture shows no fear, just complete and total confidence in herself.

After a couple seconds, Rising eases up, taking a step back. "If I had my way, you'd all be long gone. Back to being a part of me, so I can be whole again."

She says that, but her cloak is removed, and floated over to rest of Red's back.

Not a second after Rising pulls herself out of Pink's range, the copy surges back upright and to the limit of her bindings once more, lips drawn back in a snarl! "I'm not afraid of you! I'm not! I'll show you! I'll show you!" She rattles and strains a bit more, then slumps forward, leaning into her chains, holding them taught behind herself. "I'll go where I want, I'll take what I want, I'll hurt what I want, you can't stop me, you can't stop me, you can't stop me! I don't care, I don't care!"

Red maintains her protective posture- as well as her silence.

Not so much Blue Chaos. While Pink continues to growl and mutter angry little self-affirmations, Blue Chaos worriedly tucks up against the wall… and seemingly embolded by the sudden air of conversationalism, speaks up in a wavering tone. "Don't, don't," she says. "You can't take me back. You can't… I'm not… I'm…"

Oh good, they are taking turns. Rising Chaos doesn't dignify Pink's outburst with turning around. "You shouldn't be afraid of me. If you're anything like me at all, not a lot should scare you. If you weren't so thoughtless, I might even be impressed." Red gets a look, almost sympathetic as original flavour passes her.

Rising Chaos shakes her head, can't loosen up now. She wanders over to Blue, still all neutral and angry. "You must understand that I have to. Whether either of us are happy about it, you are part of me, I need that part back. Neither of us can exist seperated." She sits down, again, just within reach. "What aren't you?"

Blue squeezes up against the wall as best she can, and looks about the room… not anxiously, fearfully, but longingly. She appears as resigned as she is fearful. "I'm not… strong enough…" she says. "You'll be… weaker. I'll make you weaker. I'm not strong…"

Pink takes to hopping up and down against her chains, rattling and clanking and thumping each time. It's noisy. "NOT AFRAID, NOT AFRAID, NOT AFRAID!" she hollers for a few moments, before dropping back down and sulking.

Rising-Chaos frowns, deeply. She gets up and walks right on up to blue, putting a hoof on her shoulder. time to cheer herself up (?!?!!?). "You, are just as important to my well being as any other part. Don't be absurd, and think you're too weak." She gets up, and walks back to the middle point, a look of reflection on her face. "Strong is not one of my defining features, after all."

She drops down to her flanks, looking at the three. Pink gets a glare, a pretty mean one. "Be quiet, or I'll teach you how to be afraid. Either that or you can explain, calmly, just what is making you so angry. I do not want you making a ruckus and awakening the others. They need their rest, I've been enough of a bother as it is." again, her horn sparks to life, but this time it goes in to a prepared spell. Pink probably just feels chills, but it was the beginnings of the reassimilation spell. Scary, if she recognizes it.

Blue doesn't seem to have been reassured much. She relaxes somewhat as Rising leaves her alone, but that only seems to lead to an unresponsive flop against the wall. Resignation has given way to defeat.

If it's supposed to be scary, Pink doesn't seem to have gotten the memo. Her eyes flash up at Rising, and her frown deepens, but she remains rooted in place and full of ire. "Go ahead. I don't care," she says, in what is perhaps becoming a familiar refrain. "I'll wake them up. I'll break them. I'll leave them alone. I don't care. I don't need them. I'm not here for them. I don't need anypony in this town. I don't care what happens to anypony in this town! I don't care what happens to anypony!"

Red Chaos is holding her flask up towards the original- or more specifically, the gleaming horn. She shakes the flask a few times in a scooping motion, then claps a hoof over the top of the flask and smiles deviously as she draws it back to her chest.

Rising-Chaos keeps the gaze locked right on pink. She contoinues the spell, enough to take Pink's breath away and weaken her considerably, but not enough to do permenant damage. "Then you're an idiot." She cuts the spell, suddenly. "You won't do any such thing, you need other ponies more than you could ever imagine, fragment. You're nothing, the only thing you can break is my patience." Rising drops her voice to mutter to herself. "And I still have problems removing these idiots?"

In so doing, she sees Red's peculiar behaviour. "What are you doing?"

The angry pink nerdrage clone wheezes where she sits, her grumbling and growing falling silent as she finds herself short of breath. Even with the wooziness that ensues, her unfocused gaze wobbles over the room with no less anger than it had before. "I don't need anypony," she says. "I don't need anypony. I don't need anypony… I don't…" She falls quiet and pants softly, eyes half-lidding.

Red Chaos starts and clutches her flask all the more greedily as she is accused. "Mine," she says, defensively. "My magic." She stares at the original for a few more moments, increasingly paranoid, then frantically uncovers the flask, lifts it to her mouth, and tips it back as if drinking the contents. "Mine now," she says, lowering it with a sneer.

Rising-Chaos rolls her eyes. "Oh good, so we have the three vices." She points at Red, then Blue, then pink. "Greed, Doubt, Aggresion, though I suppose you'd work for stupidity as well." She huffs. "Or, if we're being positive. Ambition, concern or selflessness, and bravery, though I still think you're stupidity." With her magic gone, her focus is free to roam across the three. "Am I supposed ot learn something from all of this? Is that it? Is this some kind of cosmic joke pulled just to get me to realize something? You're all idiots, I've never been as bad as you. Sharing is crucial to success, sometimes you have to be cowardly, and care about others." She doesn't say anything about self doubt, self doubt is complicated.

Rising Chaos gets up. "Well, if I was supposed ot learn soemthing, it's failed. I alrady knew it. So I may as well take you all back, if you're just that. Fragments, lessons, not even a fully functioning pony. Disgusting." It sounds like she's talking herself in to it, more than anything.

Pink seems half-asleep by now. She's even drooling a little, slumped over where she is. Even in a quasi-catatonic state, though, she seems angry. Anger seems etched into her features. Maybe she's just too stupid to remember how not to be mad? Who knows.

Blue is looking towards Rising, listening to her, but still seems floppy and dejected. The chains are probably entirely uneccesary. Maybe even the magical wards that keep her from floating off are at this point, too.

The envious red clone smirks and settles back, gaze darting betwen Rising and her cloak. "No lesson… I have it. It's mine, now…" she says. "I have the lesson. I have it."

Blue glances over towards the sinister red clone before looking back to the original. She glances about before speaking up. "I'm not much of a… much of a lesson…" She stares at the floor. "The blue pony with the black hair didn't think so, either…"

Rising-Chaos wasn't aware it would ahve such a profound effect on Pink, she didn't even do anything. Still, original doesn't move to help. Red gets ignored just as much, she's just greedy, there's nothing there. Blue, on the other hand, said somehting interesting.

"Blue pony with black hair? What about them?" The only one she knows like that is Rune, or maybe Spindrift. Is Chaos stalling so she doesn't have to cast the spell? maybe.

Rising-Chaos has partially disconnected.

Maybe the angry pink copy is all bluster, and it doesn't take much to take the proverbial wind out of her sails? She isn't exactly forthcoming with details, even when she's alert.

Blue Chaos doesn't respond at first, acting as though she didn't even hear the question. Eventually, though, she glances up, squirms slightly and says, "Blue pony… came and watched us. Didn't… didn't seem to… like what she saw…" She quiets. "Not a very good lesson…"

Rising-Chaos frowns, so somepony has been in her lab? "Somepony came down and watched you? I didn't say they could. Did they do anything else?"

Blue is looking increasingly fearful, and cowers slightly, lifting up a hoof in front of her face. "She… asked questions? Couldn't answer. Didn't know… she was disappointed…"

Rising-Chaos isn't sounding mad, isn't changing her tone form gentle,neutral. "Do you remember what kind of questions she was asking? Also, can you describe her a little morefor me, please?" This has gotta get sorted out.

Blue is quiet for a while… either she doesn't want to answer, or she doesn't know what. Eventually, though, with or without prodding, she starts speaking up. "Don't remember. Couldn't answer… didn't know… didn't say anything…" She spaces out and bobs her head slightly, retreating into some inner world. When she comes back around a few seconds later, it's with a more distracted voice and a directionless gaze looking across the lab. "Who are you…?" she says. "What are you? Are you Rising Chaos? Can you understand me?"

Rising-Chaos wacthes Blue carefully. "I am Rising Chaos, the only one. You three may have a part of me, but you are not me. I wonder why they came down here. Either way, I need to have a talk with them, it is none of your concern." She sighs, suddenly looking uneasy. "I guess that means it's time to reassimilate you three then."

She pauses, reluctant to start casting the spell. The three get another look, halfway between disgust and love.

Pink is slowly coming to, though it's only to glower at Rising's hooves. Her chains rustle as she adjusts her position but doesn't get up.

Red is listening intently, eyes alert and scheming as she looks between the other three unicorns. She looks like she not only knows something the others don't, but is endlessly delighted by the knowledge… or at least she THINKS she has privileged information.

Blue curls up on the floor. "I'l ask you one more time. Are you Rising Chaos? Can you speak?" she mumbles to herself, still lost in whatever recollection has posessed her. "Do you know Stormdancer? Do you know Daisychain? Do you know Spindrift? Do you know Queen Pegasus?"

Red sits up slightly and grins. "Mine," she mutters to herself. "All mine."

Blue continues. "Do you recognize that name? Who is Queen Pegasus? What is she?"

"Mine, mine…" murmurs Red. "Mine…"

Rising-Chaos gets up, slowly. She walks over to Red, slowly. Just as slowly, she steps on the mare's neck, and only now does the anger come out. "Queen Pegasus," she hisses. "Is mine, and nopony else's. Before I break you down and take back what drives you, what is mine by right, you WILL understand that fact." Hey look, a reaction. She's not really pressing down hard on Red, only enough to keep her down, the clone wouldn't be in any kind of physical discomfort so long as she doesn't flail about. "Queen Pegasus is the world to me, I recognize it. The others are my associates and friends, they are responsible for saving my life on numerous occasions."

The chipped flask clatters to the floor, abandoned, as Red reaches up with her hooves to try and push Rising's hoof off her neck. The greedy clone squirms about until it starts becoming uncomfortable for her to do so, then goes still- though it's a tense stillness, and perhaps not the abject submission Rising was hoping for. Head pressed to the floor, she turns her gaze to look up at Rising, eyes narrowed. "Nnnhf-" she grunts. "B-but…"

Blue falls silent, shuffling about slightly, then sits up, blinking at the room as though waking up from a slight dream. She quickly spots the physical confrontation across the way and shrinks back against the wall, shaking.

Rising-Chaos is fine with tense stillness, she doesn't want co-operation. she isn't trying to amke friends here, although she's made them in weirder ways in the past. "No, there is no but. She is mine, forever, understand? You are nothing, and I will not lose the most important thing in my life to a nothing. Especially not one that is an inferior version of me." He lets go and walks away, back to her position. Because there's actually a reason for being there. "Now, are you all ready? I can do this with, or without your co-operation." There may, just may, be benefits to co-operating though.

Pink sits up with a rattle of chains and assumes a seated position. She is groggy and uninterested in the proceedings.

Blue just watches, sullen. She hangs her head and waits, attentive.

Red, rubbing her neck, scowls as she rocks up to her hooves, bumping the flask in the meantime- it goes skittering across the floor, forgotten. She freezes in place after a moment, though, watches Rising out of the corner of her eye, then leans forward with a sly smile, -very interested.-

It may be that collectively they lack the awareness and vocabulary to express a desire to assist, but the dejected blue copy seems at least willing to go along with things, where as envious red seems so interested it's almost suspicious.

Rising-Chaos does only one more thing before continuing, she takes the cloak back form Red. She's going to need it for this, if she doesn't want to get as badly hurt as the clones. "Well, since you clowns aren't going to reply, I will take you back myself." She watches Red carefully. "What's got you so excited?"

The greedy clone shakes her head, still grinning. "Nnnhhheh heh heh," she says. "What do…. what do I do?"

Blue lifts her head slightly, looking towards her envious counterpart, listening.

Pink is just a grump.

Rising-Chaos ties the cloak, and takes a sip fo some arcane potion (tea, but shh), and then another. "Just don't ressit me, is you come along willingly, if you focus your energy on mine, you'll find it to be less. Well, excrutiatingly painful is seling it a little short."

Wtihout waiting for that to set in, her horn lights up and she starts to cast the spell. It's a pretty big effort, but Rising can totally handle it. The clones would feel cold, emptiness creeping over their whole body. Just as it starts to speed up, Rising cuts the spell again.

She's staring at the ground, looking rather distressed. "I need, I need ot try that again."

The feeling puts a bit of fight back into angry pink Rising. She squirms about and scoots back, pinning her ears back and rearing up for a moment, then drops back down with an angry wheeze.

Blue is just a lump. Totally resigned.

Red's smile spreads into a grin and she leans forward towards the original! Then pauses as the spell stops, grin faltering. She then frowns. "Huh…?" she asks. "C'mon. What?"

Rising-Chaos snarls up at Red. "Oh forget it, you wouldn't understand why this is so hard for me. You don't understand anything. Nothing about freedom, individuality, you don't uinderstand what it feels like to just take it away to get what you want. You wouldn't hesitate, you're a monster without conscience." She takes a few deep breaths. "I am not a monster. I would do almost anything to get power, but that. I almost did that once. It's not worth it."

Her little freakout done, she composes herself. "So lets begin. You aren't individuals, I just have to remember that."

None of the clones really seem to know what to make of the little tirade. Blue has lifted her head and watches Rising, tense, worried. Pink is watching her with a curious, or possibly suspicious expression- it's certainly the most thoughtful she's looked in along time.

Greedy Red just seems impatient. She obviously doesn't get it, and tugs about in her bindings a bit, pacing briefly before returning to a centered position and leaning towards Rising expectantly.

"I don't know…" murmurs the worrisome blue clone. She turns her head a bit, her mane- much like Rising's but disheveled- falling in front of her face. "Maybe we don't know… but you do. And that's why…" She hesistates, apparently struggling to voice her thoughts, rubbing her face with a hoof. "You should… you should do it."

Rising-Chaos sniffs, obviously reluctant to cast the spell again. "I learnt it the hard way. A pony, being who they are, being an individual, that's important. Taking those thought, feelings, dreams, all of that away, that's horrible. I don't care so much about intimidation, or forcing others to do thing with threats or manipulation, but taking away that pony's self. That's too far, for anything. You understand that Blue? All at once, I want to destroy you, but you're a pony. Even if you're just a fragment, incomplete, even if it means I lose my magic, or worse. I don't know if it's worth it." There's a long, long pause. "I should stop being ridiculous. I sound melodramatic and silly like this." A humourless chuckle escapes her lips.

The blue clone stops her fidgeting and falls quiet, even thoughtful, as she watches and listens. Her worried demeanor seems to relax- slowly, at first, and then until she seems calm. She still has the hunched posture of one without a moral backbone, but she doesn't seem so jumpy anymore, at least. As the confession concludes, she glances around, then shuffles a hoof. "I'm not mad," she says. "It's… a good thing. Maybe it will be… good for… good for us?"

She looks across to Red, who continues to wait, eagerly.

The fearful copy continues. "Will make us whole?"

Rising-Chaos takes a deep breath. "Yeah, it's for the best, I think. Doesn't stop it from being hard. Let's try it again." Her horn flashes to life, and the spell starts again, more slowly this time. Paced, and calm. Looks like her nerves have been at least a little settled. "Even if you're fragments, I do love you."

"Love is tricky," says Blue, in either an honest admission of her own lack of understanding or a rare bout of sudden inspiration. She closes her eyes and shudders slightly, but relaxes. There's no resistance there.

The red clone squirms in eager anticipation! It takes some effort to calm herself. No resistance there, either. She welcomes the magic, revels in it, biting her lower lip and posiively vibrating with eagerness.

The angry pink clone… doesn't resist. Then she does, arching back and hissing like a cat before going limp as she gives in once more. This continues for a bit, wild alteration between being cooperative- or perhaps detached enough not to care- and fighting. Eventually, simple negative reinforcement encourages the former, and hunching against the floor, ears pinned back and posture as tight as a coiled spring, she lets the spell play out.

Rising-Chaos starts to get to the part of the spell where the clones start fading out. "Yeah, don't I know it." She's a mare who's had a rocky relationship with emotions over the past few months. Still, the spell goes on, not wavering. Rising watches Red though, the clone may be up to something, and she doesn't like it.

Blue goes out with neither a bang nor a whimper. The bedraggled unicorn fades away without a sound and without protest. She seems to be at peace with the process, or at least as much at peace with it as someone who seems inherently not at peace with herself can be. There's a shimmer of energy left in her wake- not so much seen as sensed- that whorls about before drifting towards Rising like a fog, suffusing her… essence temporarily lost, now returned.

The pink clone bristles and squirms in place before disappearing with a *puff.* There's even an angry little poof of pink smoke, through which suddenly vacated chains fall to the floor with a rattle. The released energy hits Rising like a splash of hot water, perhaps surprising in how invigorating it might be.

And the red clone fades much like the blue- she's not resisting. She's still relishing this. And when her energy returns to the original, it's with a brief semblance of a thought: exultation. Victory! 'Now all of it will be mine! Mine, mine!'

So now comes the hard part, getting that power back without going,y'know, insane. Rising Chaos is pretty clsoe to that threshhold anyways, and sudden influxes of power while doing magic, not helpful. Thankfully, she's had like, 20 years of training, and a enchanted cape to help, so there's not THAT much dnager.

Blue essence flows in naturally, that peace easing in the transition, and Rising immediately feels better. With that co-operation, may even come a little bit of preserved individuality, maybe, who knows?~ Perhaps Blue will stick around for a bit, but not as a full pony.

Pink's essence, doesn't go as well. The splash of power almost knocks Rising back, she has to grit her teeth and stand her ground to stay safe. The cloak glows brilliantly for a few seconds, never quite dims down. The power was all unfocused, torn apart, Pink is well and truly gone. Rising gets all that delicious power back.

Red may think that she was gonna surprise Chaos, but that's not the case. A unicorn who knows herself, and has trained herself to be able to make snap reactions, can't be caught off guard by something that ham hoofed. The energy hits her, making the loak flare up again, but Rising was like, totally on it. That exultation, brief glimmer of victory is squashed beneath Rising's will. There's no room for competition, and Red is extinguished like the insect Rising thought of her as. Turns out Rising has quite a lot of willpower, no matter how weakened. Blue better take note.

Once it's done, Rising takes a moment to compose herself. That was hard, even if the actual magic involved was relatively simple. He eyes slowly fade from black, which they had flashed to in the final moment of the spell. She's exhausted, but invigorated, feels whole again. That ache, tiredness in her bones, to the core, is gone.

The room is otherwise still. The chipped flask lies against the wall where it rolled earlier. The chains that once held the copies are strewn about, manacles still shut and locked.

Professor Lancet's return is soon. Better get to work, Rising Chaos! You've still got time to pull this through into a totally clutch victory!

After a couple minutes, long ones, Rising Chaos feels all better. She shakes her head, and looks around the room clearly for the first time in days. "Back to work." She does just that, and is soon buried deep in her paperwork and preperations.

Some time during all of this, she takes off her cloak, takes out her sword, and takes off her ring. The cloak goes to where Red was, Ring to where Blue was, and sword to where Pink was. They don't get any attention, but she feels like somehow, it's the right thing to do.