The Foalnapper S Journal
IC date: Summer 90
OOC date: September 18
Location: Mane Affair
PCs: Ruby-Blossom Sunshine-Stormcloud Magpie

Between the numerous happenings happenings the past few days, and numerous little foals - it's no surprise Ruby simply hasn't had a moment to dig into the journal she 'borrowed' from the batponies. Now late evening with all the foals in bed, Ruby settles down near the fireplace to flip through the journal while lounging in a plush beanbag chair.

"What'cha reading?" comes a voice from right behind the chair. Oh look, it's Sunshine! Whom has also been relatively busy, between entertaining batpony guards, chasing clues, and dealing with other troubling issues.

"Is it that book you…got from the gift shop?" she continues, settling her flank down next to the beanbag.

Ruby holds the book in one hoof while using her other foreleg to pull Sunshine onto the beanbag chair. She beams cutely "Uh-huh - right from the gift shop." seeming to emphasize the fact that is totally untrue. "I was wondering what kinda clues it's leatherbound badness holds." she glances at the spine of the book then back to Sunshine, and just offers a tiny teasing grin.

"Well, unless the batpony foals were disappearing through the local gift shops…" Sunshine murmurs. She doesn't resist getting tugged into the chair, as far as the shifty beans allow anyway. Certainly she's playing up the whole 'i believe what you say' angle. "So what's it about?"

The spine gives no clues, of course. It's blank. The front is a simple leatherbound book too, so that's no help. Even the first page has nothing but a date and a couple words written in a somewhat sloppy sort of nature: Summer 60: It Begins.

Ruby might surmise Sunshine's lack of inquisitive nature and deduction skills may be to blame for her poor performance as an investigator, but she'll keep this to herself. "Mmm…well, I just started reading." she tells the other mare whiel skimming the pages.

"How dramatic." Sunshine states, leaning into a sort of sprawl. Her metal legs make great props to keep her in the beanbag chair with, at least.

The next page has a few more tidbits. Though it seems to jump ahead a few days. 'Summer 64' is the date on the page.

'I don't know why I'm writing in here. I swiped this book from a mark a couple months ago. Thought it might be worth a few bits, but never quite got up to getting rid of it. Darn thing keeps popping up in my equipment, so… I guess now's as good a time as any to write. I hear keeping journals is a good way to keep thoughts in order. Guess we'll find out, won't we?'

"Interesting." Sunshine hums. "A good fiction, I suppose."

Ruby-Blossom hmms quietly in repsonse to Sunshine as she continues to read. "Sunshine." she speaks the mare's name a tad more seriously. "It's a journal, and I borrowed it from the quarters near the hall where you and Moon-Willow were chatting with the chief or whatever he is."

Sunshine gasps, bringing a hoof to her chest. She looks up with a look of utter surprise! "You? Stole from the chambers of an overly dramatic and obviously upset pair of upperclass batponies already upset at everything for losing all their foals?" She can only hold the look for a moment though, the guardsmare making a soft snort. "I figured you got it from somewhere important… Pretty impressive sneaking somewhere everybody was standing around in."

Summer 70
'This is too easy. Or maybe I'm just that talented. Either way these little'uns practically tumble bonker over snout into my traps. It's amazing my kin managed to survive as long as they did if they're willing to leap into a net for the sake of a sucker. Heh. I guess that's a pretty accurate name, isn't it?'

Ruby hmms softly "I suspected it might have been an inside job." she flips the page and continues reading. "It's pretty impressive. But I've done better, I snuck into an enemy encampment while on the otherside and blew it up. She was quite angry about that, but far angrier with how I colored her coat and mane." Clearly this can't be true, right?

Sunshine purses her lips. "Inside job.." she echoes, then paws at the air with a hoof. "Ruby, are you secretly a super-world-spy on top of being a world-class thief, mane-stylist extrodinaire, and family mare?"

The next entry: Summer 72
'Two whole days and I got almost all the little buggers. I wonder if it'll be enough… Starting to run low on supplies though. Candy didn't work nearly as well as little shiny things did. Luckily for me there's a neat little building nearby that just screams 'rob me'. Bet I can find some neat things in there…'

Ruby-Blossom promptly clamps the book shut and glances towards Sunshine. "Yes." she dryly replies before re-opening the book to look for other clues; her suspicions growing about a particular batpony already.

Sunshine quirks an eyebrow. Both at the book and at her friend. She shifts quietly, getting up from the beanbag and scooting behind it instead. Just so she can lay hooves on the other mare's shoulders and set about kneading into them. It does make a fine vantage point to keep reading from too.

'Summer 75'
'Hah. Talk about perfect timing! Who'da thunk there'd be a convenient little shrimp in the right place at the right time! I tell ya I could hear the arguements from here. Too bad I couldn't keep all the loot… Oh well. There's other places. Like that neat little candy shop near the school.

I wonder how much I'll get paid for this. Maybe a little overtime's in order…'

Ruby might actually coo when Sunshine gives her that little massage, it is quite lovely. "Huh…" she mutters while leaning back into Sunshine - but not enough to interrupt the kneading. "This book came from their palace or whatever - it has to be one of those guard ponies…" she continues reading, intent on coming to a solid conclusion.

Sunshine knits her brow. "That would..maybe explain why they knew where to go when they found that one foal, wouldn't it?" The kneading continues. When one only has two real hooves, one gets very good at using them! …Though this is her first real attempt at a massage of any sort, which may be somewhat painfully obvious.

The next entry… 'Summer 80'
'Feh. Someone tipped one of those pesky guards off where I was stashing stuff. Well that's just fine. I'ma leave'em a little present and see how long it takes to turn on each other. Tell you what, my little book of secrets and lies, I ain't ever seen a more paranoid bunch of morons in my life. Almost makes me miss hunting for real game.'

Ruby-Blossom hmms quietly. "I think we need to set a little trap to get to the bottom of this, Sunshine." she turns her head just enough to catch a glimpse of the other mare. "I want to wrap this up quick, I have alot of preparations to make before Nightmare Night." her tone suggests she's not thinking about candy or costumes for that particular night. She turns back to the journal in hopes of finding any additional clues.

Sunshine quirks her muzzle. "Indeed." she agrees quietly, her massage ending on a good note at least. She lays her forelegs over the other mare's shoulders, rests her chin just behind where a horn would be on Ruby's forehead.

'Summer 85'
'I guess the kids from that Harbor aren't quite as gullible as the ones from that cave. Go figure, huh? Kids stuck under a rock forever fall for everything, but kids who play pirate get a little paranoid! Didn't help her any, but that's life. Ended up being a stroke of good luck too. Now I got a contract for a whole bunch more! I'ma be rich when this is all said and done. Maybe I'll buy my own little island and stock it up with enough rare creatures to keep me satisfied. Maybe I'

The entry ends.

Ruby-Blossom shuts the little journal she aquired and hmms quietly. "Sounds like we have a suspect, and a motivation - but the real question who's the buyer." she taps her hoof quietly against her cheek. "I've never made fake batwings before, but I don't think it'd be too hard…"
Magpie gasps from behind Ruby. "Who got kidnapped from the harbor?!"

Sunshine's expression is downright frowning. She hums too, staring at the closed book. "I don't…think you'll need to even do that. Not if whoever it is started—" then Magpie pipes up! Sunshine grimaces. And sits back from where she'd been leaning on Ruby's back already. "I know who. We got the report in a couple days ago. The one who took the report just didn't think much of it at first because this filly has gone 'missing' before, and I had a reliable source say she was seen wandering off with another known pirate."

Ruby doesn't turn to look over her shoulder - because that would dislodge Sunshine's who's directly behind her, but when Sunshine moves Ruby glances back at her and asks without hesitation. "Lavander?"

Magpie gasps. She covers her mouth with her hooves. "We have to find her!" She runs around to the front of the two mares and gives them her Very Serious Look. Sticky helps by glaring at them. "It's NiceCo, right? They're behind it!"

"Yup." Sunshine confirms to Ruby first. "Well. This makes the case a little more urgent, now. I mean…" She rubs the back of her head with a hoof. "Knowing all those batpony foals were missing was pretty urgent enough, but if /more/ kids are going to start disappearing now too…"

Then Magpie mentions NiceCo, making Sunshine tilt her head. "There's no evidence of that yet." A hoof goes to her chin, the other idly rubbing between Ruby's shoulderblades. "…The NICE factory was a target of whoever it is that's swiping foals. I don't know too many businesses that would make someone steal stuff from them to get a job done when they could just give it and write it off as some kind of business expense." Apparently her time in the Syndicolt taught her a thing or two about corrupt business.

Magpie says "But! But! That furnace power fire thing is fake!"

Ruby-Blossom raises her hoof. "I think having an orphanage around would it ver convienent to falsify paper legal documents, and would enable the foals to pass through any sort of inspection without notice." she quietly rubs her chin in though. "I've had a sneaking suspicion about a thing or two. I'd like to check it out."

Sunshine still seems a little skeptical about the idea of NICE. She taps her chin. "I guess anything's possible." she admits, shrugging, "But a fake furnace doesn't mean they're stealing babies. It's more likely to mean they've got something that isn't as clean as they say powering everything. …But it doesn't remove them from the list of possible sus—" The guardsmare blinks, peering down at Magpie again. "How do you know it's fake?"

She's only a little distracted then by Ruby's piping up. "H..uh? Oh. Well… The orphanage is under Harbor control. Lorelei is in charge of funding it and Rising Chaos is in charge of running it. Which means it should be pretty easy to get in and investigate if you really want to check things out there."

Magpie uhs. "Well, I opened it up and stuck my head inside. And there's nothing! It's just like… a little grating thing. There's no power thingies!" She staunchly stands by her theory. "Maybe instead of using magic green fire, they actually power it all by making foals run on treadmills!" She knows how this works!

Ruby reaches out to gently pat Magpie atop of the head. "No, foals eat too much - it's not economical."

She also gently nudges Maggie's flank.

Sunshine squints. "Why would they let you poke your head inside a furnace to check if it's fake or not?" The mare shakes her head. "Besides, even if it was them it's going to take some legal doing to get any sort of search together, assuming they're keeping anyone at that factory of theirs. I think we're better off tracking down whoever wrote this journal and getting some answers out of them…"

Magpie turns pink. "I am not!" she protests at Ruby.

Magpie huffs. "I didn't say they LET me."

Ruby leans forward to rub her cheek against the side of Magpie's flank. "So soft." She quickly leans away. "She takes after mommy."

Ruby-Blossom says "The sneaky part, not the chubby part."

Sunshine-Stormcloud's eye twitches. Just a little. "Ruby… How do we know you didn't steal all the foals to keep in your basement?"

Magpie says "I can vouch for her on that."

Sunshine-Stormcloud nods. "Unless you're in on it. For all your fuss, you take an awful lot after your mother."

Sunshine-Stormcloud lifts her nose. "I wouldn't be surprised to find an aquarium down there to go with all the foals."

Magpie looks blank. "Why would I have an aquarium?"

Ruby-Blossom scrunches her nose. "I don't even /have/ a basement." well she does - it's just very well hidden. "For your coltfriend, of course."

Magpie says "Oh, no, he uses the bathtub for that."

Ruby slips to her hooves and turns to hug Magpie and Sunshine. "I'm going to head to bed, I've got a lot to ponder." she gives each an affectionate nuzzle - motherly of course.

Magpie nuzzles Ruby's cheek and hugs tight. "Hug the twins for me."

Sunshine-Stormcloud breaks her serious face with a grin. But just for a moment. Long enough to hug and nuzzle right back. "Sleep well.."

Ruby-Blossom stops to glance over her shoulder. "You can always come hug them yourself. Always room in my bed, long as you don't mind Windrose." then she slips into her bedroom.

Sunshine-Stormcloud flops over into the beanbag when Ruby disappears. "…She confuses me."

Magpie trots over and leans against the big filly. "I wanna help," she says quietly.

Sunshine-Stormcloud lifts her head, turns enough to throw her forelegs around the littler filly, and huffs. "I'd like to say something like 'your mother would kill me', but she was already planning to put batwings on your back."

Magpie blinkblinks. "Wait really?"

Sunshine-Stormcloud mhmmmns. "Before we found another entry that said the foalnapper was stealing our foals. You were almost bait. I got the feeling she figured you wouldn't object. Between you and Ruby, I don't know any place that's got security tight enough."

Magpie gives a little nod as if that's obvious. "Yeah. I want 'em to grab me. Then we'll see what happens."

Magpie hmms. "I could braid my tail and hide a lockpick in it."

Sunshine-Stormcloud wrinkles her nose. "So here's the real question. Do we set the trap to be sprung when they grab you? Or when they get to where they're keeping the other foals?"

Magpie says "Oh! No, no, you gotta wait 'til I get where the others are!"

Magpie says "We might never find out where they're takin' 'em!"

Sunshine-Stormcloud nods slowly. "Suppose I should probably leave following'em to Ruby's capable hooves then…"

Magpie hugs. "We might need your big metal stompy hooves too," she points out. "I'd feel better if you were going too."

Sunshine ponders this, choosing to rest her chin next to a little unicorn horn. "Maybe I can put a little padding on my hooves then. I won't be too far behind, I just meant she'll be better at tracking. Once we know where everybody is, I can get a few stompy-ponies going."

Magpie giggles a bit. "And I'll see if we can get out from inside." She makes a face and mutters, annoyed, "Can't wear my hat."

One of Sunshine's ears perk up. "Hat..?" She makes a face. "I wonder how one goes about planning a foalnapping. …My area of expertise didn't exactly involve a ton of abductions." A pause. "Not of foals, anyway."

Magpie coughs. "Well. I'll put on my disguise and then sleep in a box in an alley. If they want foals that bad, they'll find me."

Sunshine-Stormcloud hmmms… "That could work. We'll just have to watch that alleyway."

Magpie eyes Sunshine. "Not too close. Don't let 'em figure it's a trap."

Sunshine-Stormcloud's ears tinge a faint shade of red. "Of course! I..haven't forgotten what a good trap looks like. I promise."

Magpie giggles and squeezes.

Magpie taps Sunshine on the nose. "When do we do it, then?"

Sunshine-Stormcloud wriggles her nose! "Soon, I guess… The sooner, the better?"

Magpie thinks. "Can I have fifteen minutes?" she asks.

Sunshine-Stormcloud blinks. "You… Tonight?"

Magpie says "That's the sooner..?"

Sunshine-Stormcloud coughs, "But Ruby just went to bed!"

Magpie says "…well if you're gonna get picky I guess we can let poor Lavender langish in a terrible prison for /one more night/…"

Sunshine-Stormcloud's ears splay, then tip back. "I'm just saying our main foal-tracker is off-line until the morning."

Magpie scuffles her hooevs. "I know. I know. I just — I wanna help. Now I can help, I wanna do it…" She huffs.

It'a very Ruby-like huff.

Sunshine-Stormcloud giggles and gives Magpie's mane a soft brushing with a hoof. "Yes. Well. You and Ruby are probably going to be a big help here. Be patient, let's take the time to set the trap right so it'll work. Half-arsed traps tend to yield horrible results."

Magpie blinkblinks. "oh. Um. Okay." She salutes. "I'll do my best to make sure it's a completely arsed trap!"

Sunshine-Stormcloud grins. "Good. And I'll make sure to round up a few able bodies." Her muzzle opens in a wide yawn. "Mnf…"

Magpie gives a little shrug. "If you think it'll help."

Sunshine-Stormcloud twitches an ear. "I think I want more than just me and Ruby chasing your foalnapper around. What if they've got more than one? It could be a whole gang of'em."

Magpie says "It's okay, you've got me there."

Sunshine-Stormcloud squints down at the filly. "You're going to take'em all out?"

Magpie nodnods, straight-faced.

Sunshine-Stormcloud hmmmms. She takes a hooftip, and nudges the filly's ribs. "What if they do this?"

Magpie eeek!

Magpie giggles and paws at Sunshine's hooves. "Nooo! Not allowed!"

Sunshine-Stormcloud snorts. "You think they're going to play fair?" She gets her other hoof involved! Both sides, at the same time! "If they know you can be tickled, they'll break out the feathers!"

Magpie eeee! She squirms and writhes, tries curling into a ball! "You're bad! You're eeeevil!" she giggles, swatting at Sunshine.

Sunshine-Stormcloud snickers, only stopping once there's a Magpieball. Which she goes back to hugging. "I was once!" she reminds the filly. "Maybe there's still a little bit of that left in me~"

Magpie peeks out at the big filly. "No," she mutters, and hugs 'er. "Not at all."

Sunshine-Stormcloud puffs a breath. "Not even a little mote?"

Magpie hangs from Sunshine's neck. "Wellll…" She holds her hooves very close together. "Maybe a teeny bit."

Sunshine-Stormcloud nods her head in satisfaction. "But just a bit."

Magpie gives Sunshine a nuzzle, then sighs. "I guess I gotta go sleep too."

Sunshine returns the nuzzle, gives the filly a pat. "Me too. Long days ahead… Sweet dreams you."