The Great Cookie Caper
IC date: Summer ??
OOC date: September 6, 2014
Location: Town Hall
PCs: Feverfew Lavender Magpie Page Shadowbuck Tattered-Tapestry Twilight-Dancer Winter-Solstice
NPCs: Mayor Lorelei, Professor Redmane, Lord Phantom, Fugue
GM: Applejack

It's a tragedy! A horror! An absolute crisis! One moment it's just another lazy summer day in Horseshoe Harbor, with fisherponies fishin', drunkponies drinkin', bakerponies bakin' and lazyponies lazin'. The scent of morning scones, breakfast cookies, and other baked pastry-type things battling the salty sea breezes and chilly forest winds. The next moment that was all gone! In the blink of an eye, every donut, cookie, or sweet bit of bread was suddenly replaced with little cardboard mockeries, complete with crude, crayon-drawn markings that are apparently supposed to pass for 'chips' or 'nuts'.

Needless to say, this was quite confusing and called for immediate action! Action in the form of a town meeting to figure out just how big the problem is, and what to do about it!

Many of the town's residents are already there in one form or another. Bewildered bakers, concerned cooks, panicing parents and fussy foals alike missing their regular daily sugar rush have come to express their concern (or ideas!) for the future.

Of particular note on the stage, with a few tables set up as a makeshift bench, are a trio of the area's leaders. Mayor Lorelei of the Harbor, Mayor Professor Redbeard of Daybreak, and Super Legendary Most Awesome And Spectacular Lord Phantom of the Bric-A-Brac Batponies. Really, that's what the nameplate says in front of the dark, broody, bulky bat-winged pony.

Of the three, Lorelei looks the most concerned. Perhaps even stressed, all things considered. Professor Redmane, his beard looking more grey then red lately, looks more tired than concerned, casting borderline cranky-ish looks at the other two leaders, sometimes at the rest of the gathered ponies. Phantom, meanwhile, manages to look both bored and filled with barely contained seething fury! But mostly just bored. Next to Phantom, looking similarly bored, is Fugue, his colt, trying his best to look as bored as his father. But mostly looking hungry instead. Or maybe traumatized…

At the entrances are the usual town guardsfolk, directing ponies to various seats, offering what refreshments they can in various fruits and veggies and drinks and whatnot. "Have a seat, have a drink, the meeting will begin shortly!" is told to those arriving and those here.

Shadowbuck keeps to the rafters, keeping an eye out on anypony who would dare threaten His Super Legendaryness, or his colt. Dayponies; can't trust em, and can't beat em up preemptively. At least not in any legal way she's aware of.

Tattered-Tapestry slips in among the throng, interested in what all the fuss was. Being a seapony, he didnt have the tastes that they did and hardly ever ate sweets and pastries, except on special occasions or when offered. Also sugar affected his abilities. But he was genuinely concerned with the problem, and interested in the strange anomaly.

Twilight-Dancer comes in, wearing his best uniform, which he manages to make more militaristic than it has any right to be. He's got his employment contract tucked under a wing, with a little note where it SPECIFICALLY SAYS that the city is supposed to supply him with daily donuts, in addition to his regular salary.

Lavender has been caught up in the spectacle of the missing cookies. Quite an event! That, plus some admitted concern about the future scarcity of these baked goods, leads her to a spot near the stage. She waves to Fugue as she settles in.

Feverfew , looking equal parts upset and curious, is there with the crowd. She is standing near a corner with a good view of the rest of the hall. Said view is occasionally blocked by a big moth perching on her head and idly snacking on one of her ribbons.

"Why, thank you," says Winter Solstice, accepting a little bit of celery with peanut butter on it and munching it on her way to a seat. She hangs back, though, rather than sit down, frowning thoughtfully, backing towards the aisle… and then turns to slip out, wiggling past ponies headed inside and back out onto the street.

A minute later, Winter Solstice returns. Or does she? A very similar-looking pony wearing a bowler hat slips in and takes another peanut butter and celery stick. "Why, thank you," she says, in a Deep Voice. She then proceeds to hang around, then slip back outside when she thinks nobody is looking.

Magpie has collected a small stack of the fake cookie cards, just in case anypony needs to see them. Also just in case they suddenly turn back into cookies. "This is crazy!" she shouts up at the stage from beside Lavender. "Do you have any idea what the twins are gonna do when they find out there's no cookies?!"

Fugue watches ponies filter in, taking seats, fidgiting in his own seat as he very much fails the 'look cool and bored' roll. It's more of an anxious look than anything, right up until he spies Lavender and Magpie and a few other foalish friends appear! That, at least, makes him break into a grin and wave a hoof, until a soft snort from Phantom makes him pause, wrinkle his snout, and go back to trying to look 'proper' again.

Feverfew circulates around until she can pick up some raspberries. Overhearing something, she perks an ear towards the piebald filly. "Twins? Placated by pastries, much menace implied. Species?"

Magpie says "Dragons! I mean ponies. I mean, they're the Dragon Twins. They're wild ponies."

Twilight-Dancer harrumphs. "Don't get donuts, will show 'menace,'" he growls, overhearing Fever and Magpie. He stomps a hoof angrily. "Get meeting started!" he calls up to the front.

Shadowbuck swoops down from the sky (well, ceiling) and snags a couple snacks. As she passes by, her ear flicks at the mention of dragons. Then falls at the mention of merely 'wild' ponies. "All you dayponies are wild, by some reckoning," she suggests, as her swoop takes her back towards the rafter perch she's picked.

Lavender gives Magpie a confused look. "I was starting to really wonder what I'd missed. I didn't think we had any dragons around here. The town isn't nearly on fire enough for that!"

There's a few moments of Getting Ponies Seated, milling about, and probably a few angry shouts from townsfolk demanding answers already. Impatient ponies. What can you do in a town full of edgy delinquints though? Another couple moments pass, the guards making general 'harrumph' sounds to try and quiet the crowds, as the three leaders (plus one colt) rise from their seats. Lorelei shares a glance with Redmane, whom sets his jaw and clears his throat. "A-a-ahem! Ponies of Horseshoe Harbor! We — "

"GREAT TROUBLE IS AHOOF!" Phantom suddenly barrels out, completely interrupting Redmane's attempt at addressing the meeting. Loud, proud, nearly knocking over the table with a heavy stamp of one great hoof, Phantom gives all of a single dramatic moment (complete with fluttery cape behind him) to let that first shout sink in, then promptly leaps over the bench-like table to take a stand at the podium instead. "A troubling time is upon us! Our baked goods… GONE! Every last crumb, turned into some kind of inedible junk! Why I've eaten newspapers with more taste than these…these mockeries of baked goods!" His great flank settles on the stage floor, forehooves planted on the podium. "This land…IS CURSED! Bound to be bereft of baked bounty, forevermore free of frosted fun!"

Behiind Phantom, both Lorelei and Redmane sigh with a hoof to their respective foreheads. The Mayor glances at Redmane, gestures at Phantom (or his back), to which Redmane shrugs and settles back, crossing forelegs in front of his chest. Apparently they intend to let the Drama King have his moment.

Winter-Solstice lingers near the snack table, cheeks stuffed, peanut butter smeared on her chin, bowler hat skewed to one side. At Phantom's pronouncements, the big mare gasps, bits of chewed celery spraying from her lips. "No-!!!"

Tattered-Tapestry chuckles. Drama King indeed. "There has to be some kind of cause of this…" He says, ruffling his cloak and drifting over to Feverfew. He nods to the batpony mare and says "Any ideas as to the cause of this?" he asks, wondering if the studious and adventurous batpony mare would have any ideas.

Lavender gasps! "I don't know if I want to live in a world with /no/ cupcakes /ever/! Someone has to do something!" She grasps Magpie by a shoulder and shakes her, incidentally in her horror.

Feverfew murmurs in a comment to Lavender, "Not yet." Shadowbuck gets a twitch of an ear. "…dayponies?", she asks nopony in particular. The Proclamation of Doom startles her! Darting up into the rafters, she bumps her head. "…ow." At least she has a moth to apply to the bump. "Unpastried land? Evil!"

"Where you lead, we follow, Most Awesome and Spectacular One! So say we all!" Shadowbuck's eyes are widened in admiration of the epitome of leadership, the acme of awesomeness, the… something of something else! Although it'd be nice if this 'mayor' and 'professor' person would show proper respect.

Twilight-Dancer puffs up importantly. Like a frog. "No donuts, no mail!" he calls out, straightening his uniform, before holding up his contract and pointing to the offending clause. A bright green snake pops up out of his bag, holding up a tiny wooden sign that reads 'no donuts, no mail' in its tail.

Magpie says "Yeah! This cookie catastrophe cannot continue! We must locate the larcenous looter who carried off our cakes and present him for punishment!"

Tattered-Tapestry is observing this and shaking his head. This could get out of hand really fast, maybe even devolve into a sugar riot. He nudges his way over to Magpie, seeing her load of fake cookies, and politely asks "Might I see one of those?"

Magpie says "Pfft. Yeah, they're worthless /now/…"

Lavender perks her ears. "Wait, just because they're worthless now… Maybe they're magicked so they just /look/ fake, and taste fake, but if we fix it we can turn them back?"

The murmuring, gasps, and cries of despair from the assorted gathered ponies seems to satisfy the big bat-pony brute. Phantom almost /almost/ smiles. But talk is already turning of What To Do! Faster than he intended! This…makes him frown. His script, darnit! There was supposed to be a dramatic pause, and then… Oh bah. At least there's one pony in the room that appreciates His Grand Gestures. His frown returns in full force, hoof thrust out at Tattered! "YOU! You…are absolutely right! There has to be a cause! A reason!" That hoof sweeps across the crowd, this time he doesn't bother hiding the grin as others speak up. "Yes! It is up to you! All of you! You must find the source of this perilous pastry problem! Find the clues! Find the culprit! Bring them HERE for PROPER justice!" Both emphasized words are given an added stomp of a thunderous hoof! Y'know, for extra emphasis. Then that same hoof is thrust into the air! "FOR JUSTICE!"

About this point is when the good Professor ambles out from behind his bench, takes up a spot next to Phantom, and gently puts a carrot stick in the big batpony's muzzle. "Alright, alright, in before we get an angry mob rioting over lost cookies, let's all calm down a moment. We do have a couple clues to what's going on, any additional information from any of you would be most appreciated."

Phantom looks a little deflated by the carrot, but does begrudgingly scoot a half-step to the side to give the Professor some space. Out of respect for another leader, or something. Not without his fair share of grumbling about spotlight stealers though…

"So for our part…" Redmane says, uninterrupted, "What we know is that at some point early this morning, something swept through all our respective territories, exchanging anything flour and sugar based with little cardboard cutouts. Now there were some traces of magic on some of the cardboard bits, but none of the Daybreak locals could get a trace on what kind of magic. There's also a few reports of some odd hooded figure, but that describes about half the ponies in my town and just about all the ponies in my esteemed collegues coven, so that's not very helpful… Anything any one of you can put forth for ideas will be incredibly helpful." Here the Professor goes silent. Perhaps to see if the gathered ponies can think of a few ideas to put forth!

Tattered-Tapestry take one, sighing. "You don't believe that overreacting windbag, do you?" He says, fishing out his artificer's glasses to get a closer and more in-depth look at the fake cookie. "That's what I want to find out, dear Lavender." He says to her with a smile. He also balks a little from Phantom's callout and hopes that he didn't hear his comment about Phantom being a "windbag"…

Magpie shrugs. "Eh, it's probably a giant Gingerbread Pony golem who came to life and wants to rescue his family from getting eaten, or something. We just gotta find him, catch him — which is harder than it sounds, apparently — and dunk 'im in milk."

"Excuse me! Sorry!" A filly pushes her way through the crowd, politely but insistently, revealing herself to be Page before finding Magpie and joining her. "Sorry I'm late. After I heard about what happened I knew I'd need to find my ha- I mean, do some research. This could be bad." The ha- in question is a deerstalker cap, of course.

Magpie gives Page a disappointed glower. "You forgot the pipe."

Page blushes. "My brother doesn't like it when I touch his pipe."

From the back, Winter Solstice holds up a hoof. "We need to assemble squads of professional smellers to prowl the countryside, trying to smell delicious baked goods! Whoever has burgled all of them surely has them in a hoard big enough that it'll smell great! Unless we wait too long. Then it'll just be stale."

Feverfew walks along the rafters and hangs upside down over where Magpie's cutouts are being examined. She squints. "Toss one up. Want sample." Once she has one, she presents the cardboard to her moth. Its feathery antennae flick back in distaste. "No moth-led chase, alas. Pet tracking termites, anypony? Giant silverfish? Dogs with odd tastes?"

Page looks at Magpie. "We need your siblings."

Magpie 's eyes go wide. "What? No! We can't! I haven't told 'em yet becuase… well… you know what they'll do!"

Tattered-Tapestry looks up from the fake cookie, his artificer's glasses humerous and needlessly complex with springs and wires and rune-enscribed extra lenses. "Has anyone just tried /making more/?" He asks somewhat flatly.

Magpie ignores his idiotic suggestion.

Shadowbuck turns to Feverfew, with a scowl. "That's silly. You're a silly pony. The answer is clearly to find the most likely suspects, and tickle them until they confess their guilt. Clearly it can't be a batpony, so it must be one of them down there."

Lavender looks at Tattered Tapestry like he's crazy. "But that wouldn't bring all the cookies /back/."

Page grabs Magpie by what would be the lapels were she wearing clothes. "These are serious times, Magpie! We need to be ready to make every sacrifice to see to it that we have cookies again! You're not the only one who's worried! My brother's sweet tooth is unbelievable!"

Tattered-Tapestry just sighs and goes back to his work, noticing little motes of magic, like magical crumbs, falling from the cardboard fake! He then stands and noses his way as fast as he can to the front, hoping to get the attention of this "Professor" and notify him of his findings.

Twilight-Dancer glowers at Tatters, like it's his profession (as a public employee, it might actually be his profession to professionally glower at ponies). "S'posed to receive donuts, not MAKE donuts." The snake hefts up the sign a little higher.

Tattered-Tapestry shoves past Twilight-Dancer in a less polite manner than the other ponies. "Maybe I wasnt talking to you, but the numerous bakers and cooks?"

One of the towns bakers pokes her head up, "Of course we tried to bake more! They all came out as burnt cardboard. Even worse than the ones that replaced the cookies to begin with!"

Phantom rears back and points a dramatic hoof at Winter! "Yes! Sniff out the crook!" he rumbles from behind his carrot stick. Then at Feverfew! "YES! Tracking termintes! I always wanted some of those…"

The Professor rolls his eyes. Though there may be some merit to the idea of looking for a place that smells good. "It's…a possibility we could find a place by smell. Certainly can't rule it out. Someone to lead a party of sugar-sniffers would need to step up." He smiles his peaceful, serene smile. Everything is going to be okay. Really. "And yes, we've tried baking more. As the townsfolk already answered." There's another moment, and the Professor glances up at Tattered, seeing as he seems to have something to say that isn't yelling out of ideas willy nilly. "Hmm? Yes?"

Tattered-Tapestry presents his glasses to the professor, preconfigured so that it would show what he had seen before. "Take a closer look at this phoney cookie, sir."

Feverfew gives Shadowbuck a very curious look. "Why not batponies?" Hearing the baker's explanation makes her ears wilt. "Thief less likely, unless speed, time shenanigans. New baking cardboarded, bad supplies or curselike work. Possibly conspiracy." She walks along the ceiling so both she and the moth can peek at whatever Tatters is showing.

Lavender scratches her head. "Maybe it's a conspiracy… If there's no baked goods to go around, then what else is sweet and delicious and selling really well right now?"

Magpie says "Candy?"

Shadowbuck is somewhat dismayed at Feverfew's suggestion being appreciated by his Most Awesomeness, after she herself had dismissed it as silly. But she turns back towards Feverfew, her voice now a bit uncertain. "Well… logically, since I know I didn't do it, and in fact I'm sure even I couldn't do it *that* fast, so I don't think there are any other batponies who could. That leaves magic. A unicorn or seapony. Or maybe a zebra shamare. Or… actually a dozen or so others I suppose."

Professor Redmane lets Tattered show him these magical crumbly findings, peering through the glasses. His ears twitch, "Yes… Yes, we're aware that the fake cookies have magic dust on them. That much we found already. The question is what can you tell us about magical traces like this?" he asks of Tattered.

Phantom, meanwhile, has finished his carrot as stoic and composed as one munching a carrot can be. But now it is gone. The distraction, no longer distracting, the mighty broad-shouldered bat-winged stallion sweeps those wings out, forcing his cape to once more flutter in a whipped up breeze. "We have…A PLAN!" he declares, earning a quiet glower from Redmane. "I shall lead a team of willing justice-ponies to search the Harbor for telltale scents of sweet delights! We shall find the sugar stash! We shall find the crooks responsible for this outrage! And we shall show them the might of our combined lands, to teach them a lesson about taking candy from colts!"

"Pssst, dad… Cookies!" Fugue hisses from his spot, safe behind the bench.

"…Right! Cookies! Who shall come with me on this most noble quest for glory, valor, and creampuffs?"

Page finds herself looking at Magpie. This is usually when Magpie steps in to take charge of the situation and she and TC fall in line behind her. She knows how these things work by now.

Magpie blinkblinks at Page. "What?" she asks, as she's eyeballed for no good reason.

Winter-Solstice throws a hoof up once more. "Will there be a reward for those of us who help out? Say, a reward of baked goodies? A biscuit bounty? A pastry prize?!"

Twilight-Dancer's snake puts the sign away and tugs on Twilight's mane urgently, then points its tail towards the Important Ponies at the front. Twilight glowers at the snake, but the snake seems immune to such tactics. Finally, the big pegasus sighs and rolls his eyes, but raises a hoof, volunteering for the Mission.

Page blinks. Blushes. "Nothing."

"Justice, eh. Cookies, sure. If, when find evildoers", Feverfew asks the Bold and Daring Leader, "can have their stuff?"

Tattered-Tapestry does have an idea. Though it might be just crazy. But he sighs. "I wish miss Rune were here. She'd know what to do." But in her absensce, he'd have to try his own methods. "I want to try something." He says, pulling his pouch of Time Sand out of his extradimensional bag. He originally thought that it was a simple repair enchantment, but recent research had suggested otherwise. He digs out a pinch and sprinkles it on the cookie, the possibly time-reversing effects taking hold of the cardboard. "Maybe this will show what happened to the cookie to make it so…"

Shadowbuck tosses a weapons-grade glare at Winny. Then she turns to the Most Awesome one. "This warrior shall aid, but alas, her sense of smell has been reduced due to a most dangerous training exercise."

Phantom throws his hoof up too! "YES! We are after the biggest of baked bounties! Those who accompany me shall get their fair share of the hoard when we find it! THIS I DECREE!"

Redmane leans to the side, "Phantom. They're not all yours. You can't just — "

"THIS I DECREE!" Phantom shouts again, pointedly ignoring Redmane, who sighs and shakes his head, turning his attention back to Tattered. "Hmm? What's that you're doing now?"

Lavender sits back and waves her front hooves in the air. "I'll go! I haven't dispensed any justice in a while! I'd love to help beat up some evildoers. And, uh. The sugar."

Magpie blinks at Page. "You're the one with the hat," she points out. Then jumps up, thrusting her hoof in the air. "You have my horn!" she volunteers.

Page looks up. "I guess I do." She certainly can't argue with that. "And my books! And also my horn too, I guess."

Feverfew thrusts her hoof too, upside down, more or less. "And my horn!" She glances around. "Well. In spirit, good thoughts. Here, settle for moth-o-kinesis though."

Phantom looks all too pleased. "Yes, yes! My loyal ponies of truth and justice! Leave no stone unturned! No windowsil unsniffed! No bush unrustled! No dirt unturned! No box unopened! No basement unsearched! No soulful gaze ungazed at! No basket uncased!" He could go on like this for hours.

Shadowbuck's look of admiration looks increasingly brittle as the Most Dramatic one goes on. "He's… not always like this, is he?" she finally asks of Feverfew.

The fake cookie Tattered sprinkled his dust on? It's…turning into a small block of wood. The stuff cardboard is made of, right? With a little plug of wax on top. A crayon!

Redmane squints at this, the dust and the effects. "That's…interesting. It's real cardboard, then? Which means the cookies are probably safe somewhere, if nothing else." Redmane nods his head at Tattered. If nothing else, he's helped solve one part of the mystery! "Ponies! I do have a second idea. Those of you whom do not wish to follow my dear overpuffed colleague here are welcome to join me at Daybreak. We shall be baking a fresh batch of goods. A very /big/ fresh batch of goods. And we will see what happens there. Maybe we can find a clue what's going on with all our desserts that way."

"Oh! Oh!" says Winter Solstice, popping back up, much to the annoyance of nearby ponies she nearly tramples in her enthusiastic bouncing. "Bake a really big batch of cookies, then eat them all at once, and maybe when they get teleported away, you'll go with! But make sure you pinch your nose and seal your lips real tight so they can't escape that way!"

Feverfew returns Shadowbuck's look with one of mild confusion. "Unsure. First time meeting. Familiar facehooves…" She points at some ponies nearby. "…suggest common enough. Come, come!" She (and the moth) flutter door-wards, to beat the rush of justice-minded ponies and watch which group the interesting-looking ones join.

Lavender calls to Winter Solstice as she heads towards the Justice Brigade. "You'd have to eat them real fast, don't burn your mouth!"

Twilight-Dancer harrumphs to himself. He straightens up to follow Fever out, his snake waving brightly at everypony as it gets carried out. Harrumph. And such.

Shadowbuck says "I technically haven't been in His Most Spectacular's presence since I was four…maybe five," with a flutter of her wings. Since there was no Martial Art Cookie Baking that she knew of yet, the decision of where to go was simple.

Winter-Solstice stomps a few times, to the continued annoyance of her neighbors. "No mere cookie can burn MY tongue!" she howls in response to Lavender's cautioning. "I mean, er-" The big mare calms down. "Right! Yeah!" She starts making her way for the doorway without much of a plan for what to do once she gets through it.

Tattered-Tapestry nods, suprised his dust worked. "Might I accompany you, Professor? I think I might be of use somehow." he says, eager to help.

"ONWARDS!" Phantom shouts, as his Justice Brigade already seems raring and willing to go, er, sniff around. "Search the town, find the cookies! This will work!"

Redmane just watches Phantomo goading several of the townsfolk out the door with a soft sigh. "Well. Maybe they'll find something." he mutters, then blinks up at Tattered, "Eh? Oh. Everybody's welcome to Daybreak for the cookie baking, don't you worry about that. In the meantime maybe you can see if you can find any more of these motes. It occurred to me that they might form a sort of breadcrumb trail. I mean, I don't think you'll find much right /now/, most of the magical traces are probably already gone, but this new cookie batch may leave a fresh trail…"

Tattered-Tapestry nods. "Of course, I'll keep these on." he says, putting the glasses back on. "Even if they do make the world a little blurry"