Who S Trapping Who
IC date: August 3
OOC date: September 22
Location: Main Street
PCs: Sunshine-Stormcloud, Ruby-Blossom, Page, Magpie
NPCs: Snakebite
GM: Applejack

A little gray filly slinks out of the Mane Affair's back door as the sun is getting low. Actually, in good light, if you're looking right at her, you could pick out Magpie's black spots under the layer of dye. But in dim light, or if you aren't really paying attention, she's just a dark gray filly with a rather dirty coat.

While her mane and tail are the same color as usual, Magpie's tail isn't loose, as she usually wears it, but tied up in an awkward and lopsided did-it-myself braid. Her mane's been tied up with a bow — a dirty scrap of limp ribbon that's tied wrong, so it makes a big shock of her mane stand straight out to the side.

And she's not walking the way she usually does. While Magpie just turned 13, she's on the small side for her age and could usually pass for a year younger. But with her head and ears held low and shoulders hunched, legs kept in close as if afraid to touch anypony around her, she comes off as even younger.

Page is out tonight, as it happens. There's some clouds in the sky, which is a little frustrating for her at the moment, but there's still enough open sky for her to go stargazing, which she does with the aid of a telescope she's dragged out to her favorite bench in town. For the moment she's in her own world, looking at the stars and taking notes in a little notebook.

Admittedly - Ruby could have done a far better dye job, but for some reason Maggie was insisted she do most the work herself; which in retrospect is a good thing for the foal to practice. She did however help Maggie sneak couple small lockpick items into her tail and ribbon - just for good measure. For the moment Ruby just gives a small, super stealthy peek at the departing foal through the window shades.

Magpie, in fact, provided the lockpicks secreted in her braided tail herself. Who even MAKES rainbow-colored lockpicks? How is there a market for this product?!

Likewise is Sunshine, next to Ruby, peering out her blinds as Magpie begins to wander away in her new disguise. One of her ears gives a couple twitches in thought. "A filly on the loose. Wandering the streets of Horseshoe Harbor. A wandering vagabond of rags and wretched thoughts, just trying to survive. These are the stories of today's youth…" she intones in as gruff an 'announcer' voice as she can manage.

It's actually not that bad of an impression.

"…Anyway." she says, glancing towards Ruby. "Why did she need a disguise? This pony hasn't seemed like the ultra-picky type so far."

Ruby glances towards Sunshine. "Disguises are important. We don't know how much the culprit knows about us, he may be aware that Magpie lives with us - and we were both present they set us up to make us suspects."

Magpie walks through the streets in a sort of aimless meander, in no hurry to be anywhere in particular, but with a taut nervousness in her stance. She expects to be chased off at any moment. She knows she doesn't belong here, or anywhere else. She lingers close to any place with food-smells coming from it, but doesn't dare go inside. She's picking up quite a few dirty looks from business owners, and a few sympathetic, but she stays far enough from the latter to avoid any awkward offers of help. Instead, she wanders her way towards the open market down by the docks, pausing often as something attracts her attention to a storefront or street corner.

Once Magpie's down the street, and just barely in view - Ruby stops give Sunshine a small hug. "Head out in about 5 minutes." she pats Sunshine then stealthily slips out the backdoor of the salon. Quietly and stealthily making her way down the side streets while keeping an eye on Magpie. Magpie may be making her presence known, but Ruby does quite the opposite.

Page continues to jot down notes. She pauses from her gazing to look down at what she's written and turns the book this way and that. "Is that right?" She sees the passing, decidedly scruffy-looking filly, "Does that look like the Pleides to you?" Pause. "Are you okay?"

"I suppose…" Sunshine says, then blinks at Ruby'. She was about to suggest the same! "Right, right." she murmurs, then goes about putting on some extra gear. The metal-legg'd mare has affixed a little extra cushioning to her hooves for this venture. Namely some 'slippers' that look like they were cut from carpet. Probably to help muffle the sound she makes with those heavy limbs. When she does leave the store, it's difficult to hide. So she doesn't bother! She does attempt to stay a safe distance though, poking her nose here or there to make sure she's inconspicuous.

Very near that street corner where Page has stopped the scruffy filly, something glints in an alleyway. Glint. Glint! Something potentially shiny. Maybe even bit-shaped, with a little bit of moonlight just gleaming off of a polished surface.

Magpie shies away from Page. No no no no! She hurries her steps to get into the market. From there, Magpie slowly approaches a baker's stall. She waits for the baker to be distracted, then lifts a piece of bread. Now, realistically, if Magpie wanted to, she'd have whisked that loaf out of sight almost faster than the eye could follow and be ambling away before the baker even turned back around. So, to Ruby's eye at least, she's obviously sandbagging when the snatch is a little too slow, and the baker catches her in the act. She lets out a yelp and gallops away in a panic-rush, attracting all kinds of attention…

Finally she darts past Page going the other way, at speed, and the little dark filly goes diving into an alleyway followed by her larcenous loaf.

Ruby keeps one eye on Magpie, and another eye peeled for the expected stalker; she's very careful to avoid making her presence known - keeping a good distance from the potential targets.

Page says "Hey, wait up!" Page takes her notebook and leaves her telescope behind for chasing after the other filly. "I just want to help, honest!" She can manage a pretty decent clip for somepony as weighed down as she is. "Slow down! I won't hurt you!"

Sunshine, at least, no longer has to fake disinterest in the goings on. When something actually gets stolen that /isn't/ a foal, she feels inclined to trot closer. That was the plan? Steal something and disappear into an alley? How's that supposed to…work? Oh and now there's a second foal following too. That makes Sunshine grimace. "Cripes…" she mutters, picking up her pace, though she only makes a cursory glance down the alleyway first before trudging towards the bakery. Gotta do her duty, don'tcha know.

Magpie slows from her rush to locate a likely looking box. She pushes it over and turns it to face the wall, then wiggles inside it. Curled up with a loaf of bread in a box in an alley, the crying starts. It's not the red-faced wailing of a foal's tantrum or the dramatic sobbing of an actor's simulated grief. It's a nasty, snotty sniffling interspersed with occasional squeaky gasps, a little foal who's had too much to take. If this is a performance, it's method acting by somepony who knows exactly what that feels like.

Page is huffing and puffing by the time a few minutes go by but still managing to keep up, more or less. She staggers into the alley and stops to catch her breath. "Oh my… oh goodness. I haven't… run that much in… ever, I think." She pauses, hearing the crying, looking for the source. "It's okay. I really won't hurt you, I promise. I've… got candy?" she offers, trying to think of how to best get the filly to come out.

Almost the perfect setup. A foal in a box, crying, alone. …Almost alone. Not quite alone. There's Page too. A filly comforting a filly hard on her luck. A pity there aren't more ponies around to appreciate the sight of friendly foals taking care of one of their own! Alas, Sunshine is now embroiled with taking a report about a missing bread loaf, given half-heartedly by a baker who seems almost willing to just let the whole thing drop and just wants to find the foal because oh goodness she should be in that new orphanage where they can take care of her and give her the food and attention she deserves and…and…

In that alleyway where two foals lurk, a door opens and a pony exits. A pony in a dark cloak and an aussie hat, glancing one way, then the other down the alley. Who else could possibly be watching this touching scene? The figure casually ambles towards the two fillies. "Hey… Everything alright over here?"

Ruby is watching! Watching, sneaking, and waiting for the opportune moment to catch the would be foal-knapper in action. Stealthily she slips into the alley, taking advantage of the dusks dim-lighting and her own talent to sneak into a position behind some crates where she can watch.
Magpie 's sniffles go quiet. Oh no. No, no, don't *follow* the sad lonely foal, you idiot! "G-go away!" she snaps, and a little pebble pings off Page's forehead from within the box.

Page says "Hey!" Now she's incensed. "What was that for? I'm trying to HELP, you kno-" She pauses. She recognizes that voice and quirks her brow. "Magpie? Is that you? …did you fall in a bag of coal dust or something?" Oh hey, someone else! She turns around to face the gentleman in the hat. "Oh no, everything's fine here, sir! Just a simple misunderstanding which I'm sure will be sorted out in a moment." She smiles a wide, brittle kind of smile, the sort she gives authority figures when she's nervous. Which is to say, most of the time. "How are you tonight?"

The figure frowns. "It don't sound like no misunderstanding." the behatted figure notes. "Sounds like one of you two had a run of trouble. Maybe I can help? I'm a mighty helpful pony." It's a voice tinged with a sort of drawl. Soft and soothing with a hint of gravel edge to it.

Magpie pokes her nose out from around the box she's hiding and/or sleeping in. "Leave me alone. I don't need your help," she tells Page, wiping at her nose with the back of a hoof and giving a little sniff. "Or yours!" she adds, scowling at the big 'helpful' pony. She goes back into her box. "I'm just fine!"

Ruby squints to try and get a real good look at the stallion - she's mighty determined to sort out which of the ponies this may be.

This stallion? The cloak he's wearing makes it hard to make out too much, but he's got a pea-green coat and a purple tipped muzzle. He's doing a mighty fine job of keeping his eyes obscured, though a glimpse every now and then might show a hint of red in them. The foals get the clearest look, if they do look. "Aw come now… Don't be like that. Here, I know a good place you ought'a be hanging out instead of a dirty ol' back alley." With that said, the stallion bends down to move the box! Specifically to pick it up, Magpie and all, to put on his back. "There's this orphanage that just opened up… Surely they got a spot for ya." He glances down and winks at Page. "Right, kid?"

Page frowns a little at Magpie: she's more than a bit confused now. She looks back to the stallion. "Honestly, sir, everything's okay. My friend isn't an orphan, you don't need to be worried. We're just… playing games, right? You know us fillies, always playing… games."

Magpie huffs! This is not working! She glowers at Page, mugging furiously when the stallion isn't looking, then jumps out of the box. "Ain't goin' to no orphanage," she insists, annoyed. "And I ain't goin' back to that place neither," she says to Page. Seriously? Page is making a mess of things, and this isn't even a kidnapper! It's just somepony tryin' to be friendly and helpful. "I'm *fine* on my own, okay?!"

The stallion squints. Again he glances down the alleyway, towards where the ruckus happened, and where Sunshine is trying to write things with a quill and a hoof. Then down the other way where there's…nothing to see. Nope. No mares down there. Check.

"A'right, fine. I guess if I can't help ya…" the stallion murmurs, tossing the box back and reaching under his cloak. A bag is produced! Which the figure then uses as quick as quick limbs can be, attempting to scoop up both of the little fillies in one go! "I'll just hafta help myself!"

The moment Ruby's been waiting for arrives, and sure enough - suddenly Ruby! Ruby leaps over the crate she was hiding behind and dashes towards the stallion at full speed; she's at least sensible enough not to give a hearty battle cry like Winny.

Page is scooped into the bag, kicking and flailing and generally being an unhelpful load of dead weight. "Hey! What're you doing? Lemme go! Stop it! Somepony HELP!"

Books thump to the pavement from Page's heavy bags as Magpie lets herself get captured. Yes, lets herself. She certainly wasn't shocked by the sudden attack and unable to escape from its terrifying speed. Obviously. She yelps a very realistic imitation of a yelp of pure surprise as she's stuffed in a bag with Page, who immediately starts whining. She starts calling for help and trying to struggle free (but not TOO hard, now) and using a few words at her captor that she must've learned on the docks…

Despite Ruby's instinct to the attack the abductor, she manages to watch in silence as her little Magpie gets scooped up by the stranger; this really causes her to cringe - but Magpie and Ruby have been through worse. Patient Ruby watches and waits - ready to continue quietly following the foal knapper.

Two fillies in a bag! Willing or not, that bag gets slung over the stallion's shoulder, one more glance given towards the end of the alleyway to make sure nopony saw that. Heh. The bag's tied at one end, lashed around his shoulders, and then the figure calmly steps his way to the building he walked out of, stepping right back inside and closing the door behind him with a quiet click. The sound of shouting fillies fades…

Page says "This-" thump! Ow! "-is all your fault, Magpie! What-" thump! Ow! "What were you doing?"

Ruby quickly scribles down a small note and tacks to the side of the crate she's hiding behind before taking a good long look at the building; using the same door would be foolish so Ruby hops atop a near by crate then vaults herself towards the roof with clear intentions of leaning over the edge and slipping in through a window.

Magpie bangs against Page uncomfortably, noses bopping into each other as their captor moves. She finally just shoves a hoof over Page's mouth to muffle the noise, straining to hear what's going on OUTSIDE the bag…

Luckily there's plenty of convenient windows. This particular building looks to have been recently abandoned, some poor out-of-luck shopkeep unable to keep up with the fire insurance. It's cleaned out, of course, but a fine layer of dust makes it pretty easy to see where some pony had been walking around. Sitting on a dusty couch. Standing at a counter. Moving rugs…

The foals in the bag hear the sound of their captor snickering in soft hissing sounds. Hss, hss! They also hear the creak of hinges, twice, and then get to listen to the way that same hissing sounds when it's echoing off of what could be a long hallway.

Ruby swiftly and silently slips into the abandoned building. She's extra careful to move through the dust using only the tips of her hooves; hopefully concealing her steps as she sneaks and examines the interior of the building. If she's right she'll need to lift that rug to follow.

Lifting the rug reveals a trap door! It would be nearly seamless if it hadn't been used just seconds ago.

Ruby-Blossom rolls her eyes and quietly mutters "Mine's better." carefully she cracks the trap door to peek inside - ensuring it's safe before slipping down to quietly follow. (Wonder if this leads to the Harbor, the Factory, or the Orphanage?) she ponders while quietly lowering the trap door to shut behind her.

The tunnel Ruby finds herself in is…an intersection. There's at least three tunnels that lead off in different directions here. The ground is slightly wet with the drip of steady water that runs through, but the ground is more rock than dirt leaving little to doubt that these are not natural tunnels. Hoofprints lead off in all three directions and the echo makes it difficult to tell where those hoofbeats are really coming from, but there's just enough water on the ground to show a path of hoofprints leading off the leftmost path.

Ruby will clearly remember these tunnels - she might even neglect to fill Sunshine in on them. Sneaking is one thing, but sneaking through shallow water is another; the act requires Ruby to be extra careful as she tries to moves swiftly but stealthily after the culprit. Every step a potential splash that could reveal her position. She makes a mental note of the direction she's heading and compares it against the map of the Harbor that lives in her head; admittedly it's likely a map marked by where foals reside…but it's a map none the less.

Judging by a mental map, this should be passing underneath Main Street. What's interesting about this tunnel is that it seems to branch off into several little alcoves, possibly into many small basements. Many, many basements… It's a veritable underground tunnel system! How much of the town is covered with these tunnels anyway?

The hissing continues up the way. It's turned into something close to a song, and is accompanied by the sounds of fillies yelling every now and then.

Admittedly Ruby is surprised they didn't hit these tunnels when her place was built; but she doesn't linger on the thought rather she remains focused on following the sounds and the trail. ( I don't like this one bit, but I guess it's expected)

There aren't tunnels to every house, of course, but the direction and distance remain true. That tunnel probably links to the sewers… Some tunnels are caved in! Many have been overgrown by vines that have recently been hacked apart. For that matter, several of the tunnels have been spruced up, reinforced, and cleaned. The trickle of water's source is obvious enough, something that hasn't been reinforced yet must be where the fountain is. On the other side the wet hoofprints fade, and then stop altogether. Right in front of another branching in the tunnels. One tunnel leading towards Tinker Town, one towards the school, and the last towards the forest. How far out these tunnels go is anybody's guess… The sounds have been fading pretty rapidly at this point too, masked by a dull roar of noise coming from the tunnel leading out towards Tinker Town.

Ruby is visibly annoyed when she comes to another fork in the tunnel and there is a distinct lack of hints for where to go. She glances towards the tunnel leading to the school, then glances between the forest path and Tinker Town path. She hesitates then quickly points at each in turn. "Eenie meanie miney moe." she covers her own eyes before eventually pointing towards the path leading towarsd the school house; she can't stop to second guess herself now, and thusly shoots head.

Magpie is upside down in a bag in an echoey set of tunnels. She knows the tunnels under the harbor — used 'em a good bit gettin' around back-when — but she's soon turned around and pretty well lost down here, being in a blind bag like this.

The situation for Magpie gets worse when she finds herself placed into something with hard walls. "Next stop, The Beast!" the figure states, just before the sensation of motion ruins everything. Waaaaugh what is this! It's like a roller coaster! Possibly it's a mine cart? Who put a mine cart down here? Who put enough tunnels to /make/ a mine cart /system/ down here? Either way there's some fast motion and some ups and downs going on now for that bag of foals to enjoy.

Ruby, meanwhile, comes to where the tunnels end for this part of town. A tunnel obviously leading to the schoolhouse, and one to the side that leads to…approximately where Sugar Rush's Candy Emporium was built. A peek inside would reveal a small enclosure. With tracks. And a mine cart sailing off into the distance, rounding a bend, and disappearing from sight.

Magpie clings to Paige, letting out little yelps every time the cart goes down a slope. She really, really doesn't like this! eek! EEP! EEP!

Ruby does indeed see the cart darting off into the distance, around a bend, and out of sight; the very next moment she's rushing at the foal-napper - intent on charging him down and getting some much needed answers. Did we mention she's livid right now? Seriously, seriously, scary angry livid.

The foalnapper turns away from the cart just in time to see Ruby bearing down on him! "Wha- Where did you—"

Page is in pretty much the same state as Magpie here, only she wasn't expecting to be kidnapped at all tonight, so.

Oh Ruby is so so SO angry at the moment, and she doesn't hesitate in her attempt to clock the foal knapper straight across the jaw when he turns away from the departing cart. If Ruby is lucky and has her way she'll catch the stallion by surprise - she's got all sorts of thiefly impliments with her this evening; some rope, her blade, and a whole lot of anger - this stallion will have seen better nights.

Magpie hugs Page tight (inside the bag) and tells her, "It's gonna be oka-AAAY! I promise!" She can't say too much. No idea who's listening. Don't give it away. Stick to the plan. The plan is working. ohcelestiawhereisruby.

KaPOW! Right in the kisser! The pony's hat flies off onto the tracks, the figure himself landing in a sprawl on the nearby ground. Pea-green coat. Purple muzzle and hooftips. Red eyes. Fangs. Batwings… This is the face of the foalnapper! Actually it's more like XP when he's all knocked flat like that.

The minecart Magpie and Page were thrown in travels for what feels like for-ev-ar, before slowly coming to a stop with a bump. From there, more hooves grab the sack and lift it up to carry it off. Off to places unknown… Where other foals have already met similar fates! What will become of the Crimson Crusader now!?

Page just nods a little. "If you s-say so." She returns the hug.

A few minutes pass and the foal napper is rudely awakened by a splash of cold sub-terrian water to his face; one of the first thing's he'll likely come to realize is he's tied up, and upside down - the later isn't likely all that bad for a bat pony. Next he'll likely realize that Ruby clocked one of his fangs clean off, and next he'll see the face of an extremely angry looking mare with an all white coat, and all white mane but distinct ruby-red colored eyes. "You'll want to talk right now." she tells him before tapping her normally hidden hoof blade against the stallion's nose.

Ker-Splash! The figure starts awake with a jerk and a gasp! To find himself tied up. Hm. He sways in the air where he's been hung from, gently, slowly, back and forth, dripping with water now. Slitted red eyes fix onto Ruby, his ears twisting and flicking to the sound of the nearby mine system and all its twists and turns. Nigh labrynthine, those are.

"I'll want to do what now?" the green-pelted batpony asks, slitted eyes narrowing.

Ruby purses her muzzle and leans down to bring her ruby-eyed gaze to that of the batpony. "You're going to explain to me /why/ you're kidnapping foals, and where you're sending them." a very dangerous grin crosses her muzzle "That is if you *ahem* ever want a chance to have foals of your own." reaching up to tap her blade against her captive's lower belly to emphasize her point, and there is a point there - it's very, very sharp.

The figure answers with a grunt. He doesn't seem very phased by that. "That don't sound like a very mutually beneficial agreement, darlin'." he rasps out in that gruff, gravelly voice of his. "What'chu got against a poor soul just tryin' to clean up the streets a little, huh?" He grins. Which is notably missing a tooth now with one of his fangs broken off. That's gonna sting in the morning…

Ruby has the bound bat pony hanging upside down - she gives him a little push that causes him to sway just a little. "Nopony asked you to start. Not to mention potential infringement rights on my foal monopoly." she gives the bound stallion a little nudge that causes him to spin helplessly for a moment. "I'm not feeling particularly patient this evening. So how about telling me a little more about what's going on before I start poking for information?" she gives the stallion a good poke in the back of the flank with the tip of her blade.

The hanging batpony splays his ears. "Okay… Fine. I'll give ya a hint. Someone pays really well for foals, an' they ain't too picky where I get'em from." He rotates as he speaks, flashing Ruby a grin when he's facing her way again. "Good luck figurin' out who."

About then is when the minecart can be heard in the distance. Rounding the corner. Coming into view. And being ridden by two more ponies of a rather big and burly persuasion. Earth ponies, both of them.

Ruby taps the stallions nose as he grins "Syndicolt is one of my guesses. Do I get another if it's wr…?" she spies the coming ponies and grimaces; without further hesitation she whips out the camera she was given some time ago, and takes nice picture of the stallions face - the flash is totally right in front of his sensitive batpony eyes. She also takes a picture of the ponies quickly approaching in the mine kart - but that one won't turn out anywhere near as good. She's turns to rush away but stops for mere moment. "Oh, one last thing." she /roughly/ socks the stallion right in the apples before darting down the watery path.

Ohhhhh! That had to hurt… The batpony winces with a choked hiss of sound, going more or less limp where he hangs, upside down. No doubt that's gonna make him want to not move for approximately ever. And then Ruby's gone! Leaving two earth pony brutes to roll up in that mine cart and go about helping the poor trussed-up batpony get down from the ceiling. Wondering what that was all about.

No sooner do the brutes help the batpony down there is a small *crunch* under one of their hooves. *POOOF* errupts brilliant flurry of pinkish smoke from the floor, and thusly the three stallions are coated head to toe in flurescent pink. Unfortunately for them, this is one of Ruby's dyes - the same she uses on her own mane and fur, and take a very obscure color removal spell to be rid of. That's going to be embarassing.