Suprise For Whistlestop
IC date: Winter 67, 1007
OOC date: Feburary 24, 2013
Location: The Ginger and Saltpeter
PCs: Skyflower Whistlestop Magpie Rising-Chaos Ruby-Blossom Windrose Winter-Solstice
NPCs: Uncle Pill Bottle
GM: N/A

Skyflower had been putting this together for about a week as soon as she found out that Whistlestop's birthday was coming up. She'd told him to come by today for tea but when he arrives at the store he'll find that all the lights are out and nobody seems to be there: she's hiding behind the counter. She'd managed to clear it with her uncle, so it's all okay.
Well, really what happened is that she'd asked him if she could do this for her dear darling cuddly lamb and he'd grunted. But she's fluent in grunt and so she's pretty sure that it was okay.

Surprise parties are the best parties! …. they're also pretty easy for a pegasus when it comes to surprising non-pegasi. Or pegasi that don't fly often. Surprising how few ponies think to look up, so Windrose just has to prop herself in the ceiling with the decorations and wait.

The door opens, and in comes a purple pony! Well, a different purple, and about one third the size of the birthday colt. Rising Chaos nose her way in to the shop, on business. She has questions for Skyflower, who she remembers does the whole fireworks thing. She looks around at the lights being out and the lack of ponies. "Are you closed?"

"SURPRI-oh hallo Rising, I hadn't expected to see you here." Skyflower scuffs a hoof on the counter. "I suppose I forgot to put up the 'closed' sign. What can I do for you? Only could you perhaps come here behind the counter and just sort of crouch down? We're expecting Whistlestop any moment and I DO want to keep the surprise."

Whistlestop, for his part, has completely forgotten that it's his birthday — as he's wont to do. The big lug decided to be a ~gentleman~ and pick up something for Skyflower on his way, so he happens to be carrying a battered, hoof-picked, half-squished bouquet of flowers from the weeds around town. As he approaches the store, he seems to realize hwo mashed they've gotten, because he drops them fretfully. "Oh, dear! Oh, no, this is not good…" He casts about for a replacement. Surely he can't knock until he has his present for her ready!

"SURPRI" But Windrose stops in mid drop from the ceiling at seeing the Unicorn instead of non-flying Pegasus, wings fluttering to keep her airborne. "Geez Chaos, don't ruin the moment." She hovers down long enough to give RC a quick hug, then push her towards the counter. "Yea, go get back there and get your help so he doesn't see you." Then darks back up into the ceiling.

What.

Rising Chaos blinks, slowly. "Expecting who? what's going on? So are you closed or?" She growls, when Widnrose comes down, but hugus back. "I'm not trying to ruin the moment I.. whatever, fine." Why does stupid stuff happen to her so often? "Fine, whatever, none of this makes sense but I'll hide." The grumpy unicorn walks over and crouches behind the counter. "You're all too silly to help me porperly anyway."

Meanwhile, outside the shop, a bush beside the road- just a harmless, ordinary bush, nothing to be worried about at all, nosiree, it has always been there- rustles about, before a shaggy white hoof pokes out, holding up a boquet of wildflowers, up to Whistlestop. Only some of them have little bites taken out of them, and by little I mean they have had their heads bitten completely off. "Here," says the bush. "You look like a fellow who needs a bouquet. As a bush, this is something I am in the business of providing."

Skyflower frowns a little. "Now is that any way to talk to somepony? I'd be happy to help you, only Whistlestop is on his way here and it's his birthday and I was trying to arrange a little suprise for him." She brightens up. "Now, what can I do for you?"

"Surprise party, Rising. Now get your help but keep it down so he doesn't hear you." And with that Windrose darts back up to hide in the ceiling.

Rising-Chaos is far less grumpy than she's making a show of being. "No, really, it's hardly important. I can join a surprise party, if you'll have me." She stays hunkered down, and offers a not-scowl to Skyflower. "I could go if you like, wouldn't want to ruin a party." That's right Windrose, she's not ruining the mood.

Whistlestop blinks as the bouquet is thrust out under his nose. He inspects it, and brightens. How lovely! "Oh!! Thank you, Mister Bush! You are so smart! I /did/ need a bouquet!" He takes it cheerfully, not stopping for a second to question the validity of a talking, bouquet-offering bush, and he approaches the door to WHUD! WHUD! WHUD! his hoof on the wood.

"HALLO, MISS SKYFLOWER! IT IS WHISTLESTOP! I AM HERE FOR TEA! I HOPE I AM NOT TOO LATE!"

Skyflower is about to answer Rising when the… unmistakable sound of Whistlestop's arrival makes the building shake just a little bit. She raises a hoof to her lips. "Shh! He's here!" She clears her throat, calling out. "Lamb! No, you're not late at all. Come in!"

The bush waves its emptied hoof to Whistlestop as he goes. "Good luck, chum!" it says, before the shaggy white hoof withdraws.

Then, while Whistlestop is bangin' on the door, the bush hikes itself up and sidles over on four hooves, then drops back down when it's closer.

Windrose is already back in her hiding spot. Nothing else to see here.

Rising-Chaos blinks at the sound, there is a lot of it. So that's whistlestop, oh. She hunkers down and doesn't make a sound. This would be her first surprise party, but the principle is simple enough.

WHUD. WHUD. WHUTHUMPTHUD!! That's the sound of Whistlestop banging the door open with his head. It flies open and hits the wall, revealing an enthusiastic but a little confused enormous stallion, his undersized wings buzzing in confusion. "Why is it dark?" he asks around the bouquet.

"SURPRISE!" Skyflower pops out from behind the counter, hopping over it daintily and trotting up to give Whistlestop a nuzzle. "Happy birthday, darling lamb!"

"SURPRISE!" And being sure it's the proper target this time Windrose drops from above the door to take care of the proper appropriating of a party hat to the larger pegasus's head from above! "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

Rising-Chaos peeks up from above the counter, and spares a grin. "Surprise!" She's not nearly as happy and bouncy as the others, but then again she doesn't actually knows who this massive, intimidating pony is.

The moment everypony pops up for the surprise there is a bright flash of light and distinct clicking sound only a camera shutter can make. Suddenly Ruby! The turquoise mare taking the most candid photograph of the whole lot - can't get much more natural than this, after all no pony knew she had arrived. "Surpise~" she chimes while peeking out from behind the camera resting on a tripod.

"SURPRIIIipptht… ugh! PRISE! SURPRIIIISSE!!" bellows Winter Solstice, popping up behind Whistlestop, and sputtering over a mouthful of leaves! She has a bush taped to her head, and as she hops to her hooves and cries out, more leafy twigs flutter away from her clever disguise. She continues to hop up and down behind Whistlestop even after the initial yell. "CAKE!" Hop! "CANDLES!"

Suddenly, ponies are yelling!! And jumping! And coming at him! And flash of light! Whistlestop looks mighty startled and confused. Hopelessly so. That is, until Windrose puts a party hat on his head. His eyes cross looking up at it, and it slowly dawns on him, as his eyes get reeeeeally big. "I have a /hat/," he gasps. "Because it is my birthday! IT IS MY BIRTHDAY AND I HAVE A HAT!!!" Oh the glee!! As he suddenly smiles reeeeeal big around those poor half-eaten flowers — he's nearly vibrating with excitement!

"Of course you have a hat, darling." Skyflower laughs with delight. "Oh, don't tell me you forgot about your own birthday. Come in! Come in! You too, Winter. And you, Ruby! However did you manage to sneak up on us like that? You are simply incorrigible, aren't you?"

Ruby-Blossom beams adorably while slipping the photograph into a small developing envelope so the instamatic can develop. With a grin she trots over towards the others. "Well I couldn't come without a gift, and it's important to make any special occasion with a photo that captures the moment." "Birthdays are very important." she nods sternly. "Happy Birthday, WhistleStop.

"Because that's what Rubys do best," Windrose replies in mock deadpan. Fortunately there's no fountains for her to end up in. Hopefully. She sits on her haunches and props her forehooves behind her head. "Hey, if he forgot, that just makes it all the more of a surprise. +2 to effectiveness."

Winter-Solstice tromps in with a bright grin. "Yeah! Happy birthday!" She reaches over to thump Whistlestop with an elbow, then winces and withdraws her limb. "Ow. Presents, uh… presents…" She pats herself down, looks backs over her shoulder, down at the floor, lowers her head to peek through her legs back at the open door behind her, and gasps. "Hold on!"

The big mare tromps back outside, picks up the leafy leftovers of her clever disguise, and shakes them briskyl until a box falls out with a thump. She picks this up and brings it in and sets it beside the other gifts. "There we go."

Rising-Chaos just stays behind the counter and gives a little wave. Ruby is given a surprised look, but Rising was probably out of the shot. "Yes, happy birthday Whistlestop. hope you have a nice day." The unicorn suddenly is forced to wonder what she's doing here without a present.

Whistlestop's eyes only get bigger, and rounder. His wings are buzzing with all the force of a thousand excited hummingbirds. He's even hovering a little! "I get /presents/?!" he gasps. And as he looks around and sees the handful of ponies at his party, he starts to wibble. "S…s…so many ponies came to my birthday!"

Windrose gives Skyflower a slightly concerned look when Whistlestop seems surprised at getting -presents- on a -birthday-, but if he's just confused or forgetful isn't really important right now.

With a sideways scoot scoot scoot over to the counter she nudges Chaos with a wing, then hands the unicorn a card behind her back and mutters "sign it" under her breath. Little miss perfectionist came prepared in case anypony came without a present.

Skyflower ushers the silly stallion into the store. "Oh, don't cry, darling lamb! Of course ponies came! We're all happy to see you, you know that. Now! Who wants cake?"

"Well, to be perfectly fair I wasn't really here for the birthday," explains Winter, sitting down near the counter. "But my party sense was tingling and you know what they say about tingling party senses! Well, besides, um, 'make sure it's not actually spiders crawling around on your face.'" She stares off across the room for a moment, then reaches up to rub her face with a hoof, then shrugs, perks up, and smiles across to Skyflower. "Meee do! Cake! That is. Wanting it!"

Ruby-Blossom snickers adorably as she trots over to Rising and sticks her tongue out playfully before turning around to face Skyflower and Whistlestop. "Delicious cake. Oh tell me there's some chocolate?" she blushes a tad "I mean, that sounds lovely!"

Rising-Chaos sticks her tongue out back at ruby, but signs the card. Thank goodness for windrose. Eventually coming out from behind the counter, she finds a nice little plac eout of the way to be in. "I'll pass on cake, thank you."

Whistlestop shuffles in, looking just plainly overwhelmed. And overjoyed. "I! I want cake! Please, can I have cake?" He picks up Winter's present and hugs the box to him as he goes, and finally remembers the bouquet in his mouth, which he holds sheepishly out to his special Skyflower. "Um…I brought you a present, too," he says in embarrassment. "I thought I was coming here for tea, not for a birthday! You are all such nice ponies!" Oh, yeah, wibbling again.

Windrose smiles at RC and bounds after the others once that matter has been taken care of. "Yes, cake! Second best part of the party next to the present opening!" Her present is already on the pile from when she first came to help.

Skyflower is handed a lovely and slightly eaten bouquet and hugs it, giving the stallion a little peck on the cheek for his troubles. "That was VERY thoughtful, darling. Now if you'll all excuse me I'll just go get that cake." Trot trot trot goes the unicorn out of the store and into the kitchen.

As she does this an elderly unicorn, grey of mane and reddish-brown of coat, makes his way into the store area. His cutie mark is the 'Rx' of a doctor's prescriptions. He has a small parcel in his mouth, which he hands over to Whistlestop as he passes him. "Grunt!" he utters before creakily making his way into the back office.

Winter-Solstice scoots over where she's sitting, sidling up to Rising. She reaches up to sling a foreleg around the shorter unicorn's shoulders. "Heya, Rising. How's it goin', huh? How's that sword working out for you? You have it with you? We can use it to cut the cake."

Rising-Chaos looks over at Winter, she wasn't even beiung grumpy this time. She's just staying out of the way to be polite. "Hello Winter, I'm fine. The sword is fine, and here, yes. I just stopped by to ask a question, but it seems they are busy." She smiles, having fun Chaos. "So I get a party instead, how nice. How are you?"

Ruby-Blossom settles in where she is - flank planted on the floor to watch as things unfold. Ponies having a good time, always a good thing.

"Even Skyflower's Uncle gave me a present!! Thank you, Skyflower's Uncle! … Is it drugs?" Whistlestop sits down by the presents, though he fidgets. Is he supposed to open them now? Later? Ever? He very carefully puts her uncle's present down on the pile. "Um! I do not think I know everypony's name! I am Whistlestop, hello! Who are all of you?"

Winter-Solstice sighs wearily, leaning up against Rising, threatening to bowl the unicorn over until she catches herself and pushes upright. "I have a tragic lack of cake inside of me right now," she says, mournfully. "A predicerment I hope will be shortly rectified." She smiles. "By cake." She pushes upright and hops about with a thump.

Windrose grins at Whistle. "First we have cake, -then- you open the presents," she explains to the lovable big doofus of a pegasus in Skyflower's absence getting said cake. Then lifts a hoof to her brow in a playful salute. "Windrose, in case you didn't know already." Honestly it's hard to keep track of everypony everypony should know in this town sometimes.

Ruby-Blossom puffs up her cheeks "You know who I am, you big lug." she offers him a warm smile.

Magpie bounces up next to Ruby. "Did somepony say cake?" she asks with a grin.

Rising-Chaos stuggles to stay upright and not fallen over, until Winter relents. "That is fortunate, Winter, because there is cake, so I'm told." After righting herself, and at the request for introductions she nods, and smiles for Whistlestop. "I'm Rising Chaos, nice to meet you Whistlestop."

Skyflower trots back into the room holding a stack of plates, silverware and a tray with what would appear to be a Black Forest cake with her horn. "Now then, everypony, stand back so Whistlestop can make a wish and blow out his candles." She sets the cake down on the countertop. "Go on, darling, don't be shy."

Ruby-Blossom giggles softly "Mmhmm. Skyflower went to retrieve cake - should be back out in a moment." Suddenly Ruby looks worried "Ah! Skyflower dear? Don't you think perhaps…"

"Cake," says Winter. "I am cake."

She stares at Whistlestop for a moment. "Wait. No. I want to eat the cake. What I am is Winter Solstice. That is that's my name. I…" She pauses. "Yeah, that's it. Winter Solstice."

Magpie scoot scoots to the side so as not to be downrange from Whistlestop when he blows the candles out.

Windrose just slaps a hoof over her face at Winter. Yes, this is totally normal for the big mare, but it's still facefault worthy.

Winter-Solstice stares at Magpie for a few moments. She looks around the room slowly, then looks back to Magpie, then turns to look at Rising, then Ruby, then Skyflower, and starts counting under her breath. Unicorn materialization tricks.

Whistletop carefully repeats back. "Rising-Chaos, Windrose, Nice Blue Pony, and Cake! … Er, Winter-Cake? Winter-Solstice— CAKE!" Why yes: a cake! "It is nice to meet you all! You are very nice ponies!" But now that that's out of the way, he eagerly hops up to take a deep breath…

And… WOOSH!! Blow out the candles! And also blow the cake. Into the air. QUICK, SOMEPONY WITH TELEKINESIS: STOP THAT CAKE BEFORE SOMEONE'S FACE DOES!

Magpie waves happily to Winny every time the big mare looks her way.

Rising-Chaos may be so out of her depth here she's underwater, but she does know when things go wrong. The unicorn makes a grab for the cake with her magic, trying to prevent some kind if disaster. Still, her magic's never been very strong, or quick.

Skyflower loves Whistlestop dearly, and part of loving somepony is knowing them well enough to anticipate certain things. Her horn delicately and gracefully plucks the cake out of its unfortunate flight trajectory, swooping it back around and setting it down. "Now then, let's have some, shall we? Are you sure I can't interest you in a slice, Rising? I'm sure it will be absoltely delicious, and then perhaps we can talk about whatever it is you wanted to know?"

And we have liftoff! Of Cake! Eeep! Windrose ducks as the cake is blasted away. "… Maybe he should of used his wings instead," Windrose murmurs. They're probably -less- powerful than his breath, considering.

But when there's no splat she peaks up. "Oh good, that would of been a horrible waste of cake."

Ruby-Blossom sighs in relief as she sees somepony picked up on her concern. She nuzzles Maggie then hops to her hooves. "Black forest is delicious. I would have chosen that or cherry chip with rainbow chip frosting or carrot cake or yellow with chocolate…"

Magpie reaches up and puts a hoof on Ruby's muzzle. "….Red velvet," she says very firmly.

Ruby scrunches her nose and quietly stares at Maggie.

Magpie takes her hoof away.

Blush. Whistlestop looks down in embarrassment. "Oops. I am sorry." He rubs the back of his neck and shuffles a little bit, though he blinks at Windrose. "…Does that work?" he asks, eyes widening and fluttering his normal-sized-wings on his oversized body.

Winter-Solstice is busy rattling a bottle of pills like a maraca and doesn't even notice anything going on with the cake. Eventually she pauses and glances back over her shoulder. Everything appears to be in order. She goes back to shaking the bottle, but says, "Did we sing? Did I miss the singing?"

Rising-Chaos smiles but shakes her head. "I'm not partial to cake, thank you Skyflower. My question was just about fireworks. I'm working on something with Sky Sparkler, and knowledge of it would be helpful." She motions towards the bouncy big buffoon. "He's more important, I can see. You two have a great birthday, and party. I should be going."

"Oh my goodness, Winter's right. We didn't sing yet!" Windrose gets caught up in the moment, and grabs a foreleg around Rising's shoulders before the unicorn can wander off. "Com'n everypony, we gotta do this thing properly." Poor Chaos, still getting dragged into it by her friends.

Ruby scoops Maggie up into a big ol hug and squeezes before letting her go. "Singing~ I guess I could do that."

Magpie grins. She climbs onto Ruby's back and lifts her hooves like a conductor. She starts singing, to the tune of the Volga Boatman, "Happy Birth-daaaay. Happy Birth-daaaay. May the candles on your cake, burn like cities in your wake. Happy Birth-daaaaay."

Whistlestop looks like a foal in a candy store, surrounded by /cake/ and ponies /singing for him/ and /presents/. He reaches up and adjusts his hat, smooshing it in the process, though thankfully the elastic keeps it in place as he looks Just So Giddy. And claps!

Skyflower simply shakes her head, a trifle sadly. "Oh, very well, Rising. Do come back when you have time and I'll be happy to help." She nods. "Oh, of course! Singing." She laughs lightly at Magpie, "Now now, none of that. Shall we?" She raises a hoof. "One, two, three:
For he's a jolly good stallion, for he's a jolly good stallion, for he's a jolly good stalliooooon, which nopony can deny!"

Magpie says "Which nopony can deny! Which nopony can deny!"

Windrose blinks as Magpie sings slightly different lyrics, but then shrugs and joins in all the same when Skyflower switchs to something more familiar. Fortunately she gets wrapped up in doing so enough that she lets go of Rising. "Which nopony can denyyyyy!"

Ruby-Blossom chuckles at Maggie before joining to a proper birthday song with the other mares present.

"Happy Birthday toooo yooouuu, happy birthday TOOO yo-" Winter stops, mouth hanging open. "Er, ah- which nopony can deny! Which nopony can deny! Which nopony can deny!" As the song finishes and everybody else stops singing, Winter carries on for another line before catching herself: "Which nopony can d- oh. oops."

Rising-Chaos scowls at Windrose, she has to go, and doesn't like singing. The unicorn doesn't sing, despite everypony else doing so. Once she's free of Windrose's iros grasp, she gives one last nod to Skyflower. "It will be a pleasure, enjoy yourself." Quickly, she's gone, before she can be trapped again.

"WHICH NOPONY CAAAANNNN DENYYYYYYYYY!!" pitches in Whistlestop, who is just so dang happy to be here, you can't even believe. "Do I get cake?! Is there cake for me now?!" Eeeeee

Magpie starts giggling and really has to just run over and hug the giant pegasus around the hoof. He's so doofy and adorable!

Skyflower starts cutting the cake, floating plates and forks around the room to everypony. "Of course you get cake, darling lamb! It's your birthday, after all! Everypony, enjoy!" She nuzzles Whistlestop and throws an affectionate hoof around Magpie's shoulders.

Magpie eeps as she's drawn away from the birthday colt and becaked.

"Seeya later Rising. Though don't know why you're leaving now." Shrug. Such an odd unicorn. It's quickly forgotten when Windrose is given her place and all too eagerly starts to dig in. "Mmmmmm. Delicious!"

Winter-Solstice starts cramming cake in her mouth with little regard to dignity or unobstructed airways. "Aummmgghmf." She watches Rising slink out, then looks over to Skyflower with cake all over her face and eager eyes. "Cang I hab her peefe?"

OM NOMF NOMF "Ahmfffgghh iff cherry chahlatt," Whistlestop says around the entire piece he's stuffed in his mouth. (Are we /certain/ he and Winter aren't related?) He holds out his plate for another, tail swishing all over the place in an excited manner. "IFF MAH BRFFDAMMFH!"

Ruby-Blossom smiles soflty as she watches the biggest ponies stuff their gullets with delicious cake. She settles in to enjoy in the festivities. "Skyflower." she offers the developed photograph to the mare. "Hold onto this until he's done eating?" She even managed to get Rising in the photo!

"If IFF yrm brffdammfh!" agrees Winter, giving Whistle another friendly chuck on the shoulder. Bonk. She spends a few charismatic moments slurping cake off her lips and cheeks and then raps her hooves on the floor. "Do we do presents now?"

Skyflower takes the photo from Ruby and nods, delicately nibbling at forkfulls of cake: she really does seem to be a dab hand at holding many things at once with her horn. "There's plenty enough for seconds for everypony, Winter. Help yourself." If she's off-put by the barbaric manners of certain ponies she's enough of a lady not to let it show.

Magpie eats with about the same degree of decorum as Winny and Whistlestop, but slightly neater. She has an important advantage: Magic! She just levitates the cake and nips bits off it. Magpie still has a mouth smeared with chocolate by the end of the slice, though.

Whistlestop uses his hoof to wipe his mouth, licking it clean. He is not exactly the cleanest, most mannered pony, nope. "Is it time to open presents?" he asks, echoing Winter and beaming at the chuck on the shoulder, which he returns with a THUMP. And then he brightens even further. "THAT IS A COOL PICTURE!" he yells, clapping.

Windrose joins right in with the others on having seconds.

Winter-Solstice endures the thump with a big grin, her whole body ringing slightly afterwards. The transfer of forces through her solidly-planted body, through her pieplate hooves and into the floor of hte shop causes a few pillbottles on shelves on the opposite side to bounce into the air and tumble to the floor.

Ruby-Blossom takes a modest piece and begins to nibble away with use of a fork and knife; after all she's not animal - well she is but that's not the point.

Magpie is, she'll cop to it. She grabs another piece of cake and starts wolfing it down. Or ponying it down. Whatever.

Skyflower looks surprised for a second. "Oh! I almost forgot." She trots towards the office and peeks her head in. "Uncle dear, did you want a slice? It's Black Forest."
"Grunt!"
"Oh of course, just a moment." She hovers a plate into the office before rejoining the rest of the group. "There we are. It wouldn't do to forget him. Now! Lamb, would you like to open your presents?"

Whistlestop nods as fast as his noggin can handle, rattling like a cow bell as he does. "PLEASE!"

Windrose aaahs, setting her dishes aside and sitting back with a pleased expression. "That was delicious Skyflower."

"Yup. A+++ would eat again," agrees Winter. Before staring at the cake. And reaching out to nab a second slice because she's a mare of her word.

Ruby-Blossom quietly scootches closer to Windrose while holding her plate of cake. She gently nudges the other mare.

"Well, it's your special night so why don't you pick something out? I just need to go take care of something and I'll be back." With that Skyflower heads off into the 'house' portion of the building for some Mysterious Errand.

Whistlestop claps again and then looks at the presents. And starts to fret. He rubs his hooves together, frowning and biting his lip. "…Which one do I start with? Nice Blue Pony!" He points at Ruby. "Will you please pick one for me? I do not know where to start." Sad pony.

<.< >.> And then Windrose snatchs the offered plate away from Ruby. Quickly stuffs the cake in her mouth before anyone can question who actually ate it, and smirks at Ruby.

Ruby takes a moment to perurse the presents before choosing the smallest "Start small - build up momentum." she blinks as Windrose snags her cake away - that's not what she had in mind when scootching over to snug the other mare.

Windrose looks the other way with an innocent look that totally doesn't work because she's still got cake crumbs all over her face. Your fault for not specifying.

Winter-Solstice's gift is fairly small. Hoof-sized-ish, and wrapped neatly in brown paper.

Skyflower returns with a package of her own and adds it to the small pile before trotting over to Whistlestop's side, draping her tail accross his flank.

Windrose's present is already in the pile. It's wrapped with paper that matchs the colors of her mane so its easily identifyable when the time comes.

Whistlestop looks at all of them, and then selects Winter's gift, looking at it and holding it up. "Okay! I will open this one, then." And he /does/. Mostly by being as delicate as he can be. Which is: not very much.

Good thing it's a pretty sturdy box! It doesn't look like it was really prepared for festive birthday purposes, but it isn't POORLY wrapped or anything. Just, you know, it's a little plain. Inside the brown paper is a wooden box; inside THAT is some cotton padding and within THAT is… a bell! A polished iron bell that makes a deep, sonorous tone when rung. The outside has an embossed design of stylized ponies cavorting in an endless circle around the sides of the thing. It would look sort of dignified in an ancient tribal way if they didn't all have giant goofy faces and party hats.

"Surprise! It's so you can make noise," says Winter. "If, uh, you like that sort of thing. I've been makin' a few of them for the doors of ponies with shops. So like, when the door opens and the bell rings, it's like BADONG GADONG instead of like ~tingaling.~"

Whistlestop's eyes wiiiiiiden and he picks it up in his teeth, eyes crossing to look (rather ineffectively) down at it. And then he shakes his head all over the place: DONGADONGADONG. He gives Winter a big wibbly ecstatic look. "I luff it!!" he exclaims, muffled slightly by the fact that, y'know, it's in his teeth.

Winter-Solstice throws her hooves up and hoots with delight as Whistlestop gets into the spirit of things! Even if the sound is a bit, you know, ominous for a cheerful cakey birthday party. "Woo! Yay! Happy birthday!"

"Well, there will be no missing when the big guy backs up now," Windrose giggles.

Ruby-Blossom snickers softly "Cute."

Skyflower's ears flick just slightly at the bell but she gives the big stallion a hug. "How utterly delightful!"

Ruby-Blossom nudges Windrose "Maybe we should get one of those for your flank when you're in bed - sometimes I think the only thing keeping me in bed is snuggling you."

Winter-Solstice pops over to Ruby's side and reaches over to elbow her. Thunk. "Heya, RB," she says. "You want I should make you one of 'em, too? For your shop." She stares at the bell for a moment. "I can even put frou-frou hairstyles on the ponies on it so it's in theme with the salon."

Magpie looks sideways at Ruby. o.o

Just so excited, Whistlestop takes Windrose's next! Eee~

Inside the pink and purple wrapping paper and the sizable box beneath is a pair of high quality goggles from a reputable manufacturer all the way up in Cloudsdale. Though instead of flight goggles they're hardy work goggles, with shatterproof lenses and extra thick frames and blinders to keep all the dust and grit a big pony like Whistle surely kicks up while hauling things out of his eyes.

Yes, they're Extra-Large sized. And thankfully have an adjustable strap as well just to be sure they fit.

Skyflower ooos appreciatively. "That was very thoughtful of you, Windrose."

Ruby-Blossom snickers softly at Winter "I already have a bell. But if you want to make something a little daintier, I would be happy to have Winny custom." she leans over to snug the mare. "I feel like I haven't had a proper word with you in forever and a half."

"GOGGLES!" Whistlestop throws up his hooves excitedly, bell still in his mouth. But now he wedges thew new eyewear down on his head, grinning like an idiot. "These are fancy!! Thank you, Windrose! Oh! And Winter-Cake too!!" Beam!! Now he takes Skyflower's Uncle's package, just so beyond thrilled at the moment. One happy stallion.

Winter-Solstice grunts softly at the squeeze. "Yeah? Do you need to have a word with me?" She watches the opening as she says this, and oooohs softly. "Nice gogs, Whistlestop." After another moment's admiration, Winter blinks at Ruby. "Am I in trouble?"

Windrose just shoots Ruby a bit of a look for that remark, but chalks it up as revenge for eating her cake and lets it slide. She probably deserved it. That and it's hard to stay grumpy when Whistlestop is having such a good time with his presents. "Glad ya like them"

Ruby-Blossom snugs Windrose all firmly and gives the mare an affectioante nuzzle - after all this is her bunk mate. "Naw, I just haven't had a proper sit or word with you in ages. In fact, didn't even get a chance to give you your Hearth's warming gift." she goes silent then motions towards the birthday festivities as she realizes she's a distraction at the moment.

Uncle Pill Bottle is a thoughtful and quiet sort, a stallion of few words but much wisdom. Apparently he decided that the thing that Whistlestop really needed, more than anything else in the world, is a pair of earmuffs. They're brown.

Well, with all that running around in the snow, undoubtedly he'll need to keep his ears warm. Whistlestop beams and tugs them down on his ears. Now he can't hear nearly as much, but he looks ridiculously pleased, bell in mouth, goggles on eyes, and muff over ears. "Thank you, Skyflower's Uncle!" he calls. "These are VERY WARM!" Clap clap clap.

Finally, Skyflower's gift! He can't even contain his excitement; he just rips it open.

"Grunt!"

Magpie says "Should I be concerned that most of his gifts are protective gear?"

Windrose leans on Ruby, and snickers a bit at Magpie. "Only if you get in his way…"

Winter-Solstice glances towards the gift-giving, then back to Ruby. "Heart's warming gift?" The big mare stares at Ruby for a moment. "But it isn't even Hearth's Warming anymore! Psshh!" She smiles as she settles back where she sits and goes back to watching. Here we go! This is the big finale, surely. And surely Skyflower will have gotten her special somepony something ~exciting.~

Skyflower had been thinking of what to get him for a while. Apparently after much thought on the subject she'd decided on a coat: an elegant navy blue one, clearly meant for fancy occasions. It's generously cut for the dapper and muscular stallion.

"Woooowwwwwwww…!" The stallion hefts the coat up and looks at it, clearly amazed. "This is so fancy! Are you sure it is for me?" Whistlestop looks at Skyflower, a little concerned. What if she packaged the wrong thing??

Windrose whistles softly. "Swanky."

Winter-Solstice whistles under her breath. "Wow. Prop a stick up under that and you could use it as a tent for a normal sized pony," she muses. "Shucks, you could prolly fit Magpie in one of the pockets."

Magpie lets out a loud snort. "Who ELSE would it be for?" she shouts at Whistlestop with some amusement. "It's the size of a TENT!"

Skyflower giggles, "Oh lamb, of COURSE it's for you. Who else could it be for?"

Ruby-Blossom mutters to Maggie "A full grown dragon."

Magpie pfffftgiggles into her hooves

"It is so fancy for me… What if I mess it up?" But he's still looking at it in awe. "Thank you, Skyflower! You are my favorite pony." He beams and pulls her in for a BIIIIIG hug and a BIIIIIG smooch.

Windrose laughs. "That's why you only wear it for special occasions, ya big goofball!" Which is followed by an "Daaaaw!" when he appropriately smothers his favorite pony in affection.

Ruby-Blossom giggles softly "You got such nice presents Whistlestop. I'm sure you'll take care of them, and Skyflower will make sure you do."

Skyflower yelps, squealing happily when she's suddenly grabbed and blushing mightily when she's kissed. "Darliiiing, everypony's watching! You cad!" Of course, she kisses him back and so clearly she can't be that upset with him.

Winter-Solstice awwwwwwwws. Though halfway through she wedges some cake in her mouth so it's more like awwwwwwwggghmmffgdds.

"That is okay! They can know you are my favorite too!" He beams and then hugs the coat to him as well. "Everypony is so nice! It is the nicest picture and the nicest bell and the nicest goggles and the nicest ear muffs and the nicest coat and the nicest cake and the nicest /party/. I have never had so many ponies at my party! Thank you very very much! I would give you all kisses but I only kiss Skyflower." He blushes and grins a little. "Thank you thank you. This is the best birthday ever!"

Ruby-Blossom whistles "Don't worry Whistlestop, Sky might have one more present for you later tonight." Shameless embarressment, thanks Ruby!

Magpie swats Ruby on the flank!

Whistlestop blinks and looks at Skyflower, clearly missing the boat here. "Really? But this is so nice!"

Windrose slaps a hoof to her face. "Ruby!" Though it may be more that she's not trying to ouright laugh.

Poor Skyflower turns bright, bright red. Then faints. Good going, Ruby. You gave her the vapors. I hope you're happy.
Winter-Solstice grins so broadly she has trouble keeping her cake in her mouth.

Whistlestop's eyes widen. "WAGH! Skyflower!! OH NO!" He sweeps her up in his hooves and hugs her. "I have to take her to bed RIGHT NOW!" Because she's fainted! Of course! And off he barrels to do just that, leaving waves of innuendo in his wake.

Magpie blinks. She falls on her back, cackling.

"…" And then Windrose rolls over on her back laughing, unable to keep it down any longer. "Ahahahahahaha! Now that is how you exit a party!"

Magpie gasps some air and shouts, "You might wanna get in with 'er in case she gets cold!"

Ruby beams triumphantly and leans forward to keep a curious eye on Skyflower - all but expecting her to open one eye and wink as she's lugged off to bed. "You'd almost think I planned this." she eyes the remainder of the cake "Winny - don't eat /all/ that cake you'll get a tummy ache."

"THAT IS A GOOD IDEA!" wails Whistlestop as he goes.

Winter-Solstice finishes stuffing her face and then circles a hoof in front of her chest. "Muh laff peefe. Ponyscouf'f homor." She swallows and calls after the pair. "Have fun!!!"

The big mare pushes herself to her feet. "Well, I'm gonna get goin' before Pill Bottle starts gettin' all protective or something. See you guys around."

Ruby-Blossom smirks "Yes, one last piece. I didn't know you were a pony scout." she peers curiously before chuckles and gets to her hooves "Be a dear and take out some of the trash, Winny?"

Magpie waves to Winny! She runs over to hug the big mare 'cause she didn't earlier.

Winter-Solstice reaches down to return Magpie's hug, and grins over at Ruby as she does. "I wasn't! but they're still honorable." Her ears perk at the request. "Take out the trash? Oh yeah! I can do that!" She hauls up onto her hind legs and flexes powerfully. "TAKIN' OUT THE TRASH!"

Then she charges out the door without doing anything useful, clattering down the street and out of earshot.

Windrose says "… Well, that was one way to get her out of the building before she causes trouble by accident."

Ruby rolls her eyes and proceeds to gather up the wrapping paper and stuff it into her saddlebag. She eyes the cake "If this sits out all night it'll go bad…" shifty eyes… *yoink*

Windrose rolls her eyes a bit. "No thanks, I've had plenty of cake for the night. I should probably go fly a few laps to work it off or I -will- need one of those bells for my flanks."

Ruby trots the cake into the backroom where Sky's pops is and leaves the cake before trotting off "Off home then, Windrose! Warm sheets await!"