Salty's Lifestone

Mwai sits staring at the sea. He has the look of somepony who is trying to concentrate very hard on something. His hat is still missing, and he's wearing a glowing red gem around his neck. It almost seems to be quietly muttering.

Jellybean rarely has the look of somepony who is trying to concentrate very hard on anything. Unless he's writing. Then he does. But he sees the zebra staring out to see and, curious, flies closer to join him. He's quiet for a foal. "It's pretty, isn't it?"

Mwai furrows his brow. He nods. "Even tonight. I was trying to figure out if this thing was actually speaking or just muttering," he says, tilting the glowing red gem around his neck slightly. "But I think there's just snarling and gurgling sounds."

Jellybean looks at the gem and tilts his head. "Is that jewelry? Did somepony give it to you? Are they your very special somepony?"

Com'n, where is he? -Where- is he? How is she suppose to report to the team captain if he's not anywhere arou — oh, there he is. There's a brief burst of air from above as Windrose flies down and skids to a stop next to Jellybean. "-There- you are. Clouds for the south side of town have been all set up for toni—What's with the zebra with the glowy necklace?"

Mwai looks at Jellybean with the sort of aghast look that takes years of practice to pull off properly, and wide-ranging experience with the clueless to refine. "So Salty, right? The old mayor? Notice she's a bit off lately? And by "a bit" I mean out of all seven rainbow hues of her buckin' mind?"

Jellybean waves to Windrose. "How about the east? We're supposed to have a small flurry there, but I don't want it to get out of hoof." He looks back (and up) to Mwai. "I know mayor Salty. She was mayor when I started being a weatherpony here."

Windrose jestures over her shoulder with a hoof. "Another group is taking care of that one." Then cocks her head at the zebra. ".. That, ah, 'special' pony is the ex-mayor?"

Mwai says, "So, the reason she's off is because her soul got called to the wrong body after that unforunate business with the Weathervane. Or bodies. And then her real body got hijacked, bewitched, corpsified, undead, evil, and had its head melted off. This," he tilts the amulet again, "is the last part of that. The Bone Mistress (she's got me on a leash these days) wants me to use it to get this Snowfield character her proper life span back, but… I donno. This crazy is above my pay grade, and I've done crazy at the federal level." On "the federal level," he shoves a hoof accusingly skyward.

Jellybean nods with satisfaction to Windrose. He's learning to appreciate the art of organization. "Snowfield? She lives in the Wintersong Woods. She knows all about all kinds of magic stuff, so I bet she'd be really helpful." Mention of the Bone Mistress makes the little pony shiver a bit. "I miss Salty. Can I help somehow?"

"You know what's sad? I'll tell you what's sad." Windrose sits down on her haunchs and looks to Jellybean. "That story is still not the weirdest thing I've heard since coming here, that's what."

The Bone Mistress flutters down to the boardwalk and sits across from Mwai. "Well, it does get weirder."

Mwai sighs "Aaaoow, can't I even sit down and brood for five minutes between misadventures with you anymore?"

Windrose slaps a hoof to her face at the appearance of pony grim reaper. "Me and my big mouth."

Jellybean trembles when the Bone Mistress shows up, but then remembers his manners and bows his head in respect. "Hello, Mistress. H-how are you? Can I help you somehow?"

The Bone Mistress shifts her wings and regards Jellybean kindly. "You WOULD make a nicer helper than this old pirate," she says, tilting her head at Mwai, "but, his fate lines are tied around the Pirate Saltlick's so tight that it would be… ill advised… for anyone else to wear that necklace. It houses her life force, tainted by dark magic and fraught with infernal torment." There's something odd about the way she says that last bit. Like the way she makes "infernal torment" sound sort of like, oh, "honey glaze".

Mwai says "Hey! I'm not old, I'm 37!"

"Yeah, that sounds just so pleasant. I think he better keep it." While not a troublesome pony it seems Windrose has developed a slight bit of a snark after the otherworld adventures.

At least until she remembers just who they're talking to here. -Then- she scoots back a bit from the Mistress and ulps. "I mean, I'm sure you know what you're talking about since this is, kinda, y'know, your job."

Jellybean makes a little 'meep' noise, then shakes his head. "I won't touch it, I promise." To Mwai: "Is there any way I can help? I'm good at finding things and guessing things. Mostly just finding and guessing."

The Bone Mistress sighs. "Oh, to have such eager help. Mwai is my bearer for this, and I already know the way to the place he must go before he can face the Pirate and rid her of her curse. But perhaps you can be our eyes and ears here in the Harbor while we travel to the edge of the underworld. Keep an eye on the Pirate Saltlick. We will need to reach her quickly once our work below is completed."

Windrose's wings briefly flicker in a restrained shudder. Okay, if there's one thing that'll ruffle her after Nightmare Winterworld, it's mentioning -that- place. That's still bucking creepy sounding. "… Wait, I thought we were talking about the ex-mayor?" She hasn't quite put two and two together.

Jellybean blinks. "I guess she used to be a pirate. I just thought she liked to drink grown-up juice a lot." She can do two things, Jellybean. I promise I'll watch for her. Do you know where to find me, Mwai? Mine's the cloudhouse near the center of town with the bellrope hanging to the ground." There may not be any other cloudhouses in the area.

The Bone Mistress smiles. "I know where to find *everypony*."

Mwai shudders.

"Yeeeeeeaaaaaaah…." Windrose tries not to let on just how much this alicorn of the other side is kinda creeping her out, even after past adventures. "We'll just keep an eye on Miss Drooly Undeadpants, yeah."

Jellybean nodnods with Windrose's sentiment. "I'll do what I can to help. I want her back soon too. I wouldn't have my job if it weren't for her." Granted this is because there weren't any weatherponies when he came to town and he ended up being captain by simple virtue of having seniority when others finally started showing up, but there you have it.

The Bone Mistress smiles in that way that really ought to look sweet and motherly but still sends chills down your spine. "Excellent."

Mwai says, "Now wait just a minute— if you know where everypony is all the time, what do you need somepony else keeping an eye on Salty?"

Windrose's bit of snarkiness returns, maybe just because it's not the Mistress she's speaking to. "Maybe she needs all her focus to keep you in line, mister."

Jellybean just meeps, looking worried.

The Bone Mistress shoots a look at Mwai that would have made anypony who hadn't been dead several times cower, or at the very least think better of themselves. "Saltlick isn't exactly alive in the traditional sense at the moment. It doesn't mask her completely, but even I don't know exactly where she is now."

Windrose gestures with a hoof. "See, she's already part dead so the mistress of the afterworld can't entirely sense her. Makes perfect sense to me!" Or you just don't want to argue with the Bone Mistress. Probably both.

The Bone Mistress stands with a flap of her large wings. "We are wasting moonlight. The Well of Purity does not reveal itself by daylight. I thank you, Jellybean. You are a most agreeable pony."

Mwai stands. "Seriously it's like a Zebra can't even put destiny on hold to get a drink these days…"

Windrose AHEMS as Jellybean gets a thank you. "I'm here and said I'd help too."

Jellybean looks up. "I'm sorry, but I need to check in with the ponies on the east side of town. Take care, Mwai. Windrose, I'll see you when I'm done?" With that and a mighty(?) flappaflappa of his wings, he's away.

The Bone Mistress gives Windrose a nod. "I imagine you will. Not everypony is so…" the Bone Mistress seems to be feeling around for a diplomatic word, but settles on "…unmanagable as the good Captain here."

Mwai shrugs grouchily. "I aim to displease."

And then Jellybean takes off before she gets a chance to even properly say goodbye. "Welp, I'm on break, so I guess I'll go get something to eat. But I'll keep my eyes open from above when I'm on shift, don't worry. Later.. uh.. guys…" How do you say goodbye to the grim reaper alicorn? She settles on just a brief wave before bounding off in another direction.

And then this happens: