Theft, Treasure Hunting, Vacations, and Underage Drinking
IC date: Summer 59
OOC date: 08/18/2012
PCs: Addled-Shock, Amber-ShotGamble, Glass, Rocket, Ruby-Blossom
NPCs: None
GM: None

It's a warm summer evening in Horseshoe Harbor, just like the evening before, and the one before that. Really, all of the evenings have been pretty pleasant this season— a far cry from LAST year, before the town got a dedicated weather pegasi team and every few weeks a cold front from the Wintersong Forest would cause sudden thunderstorms without warning.

It's been a reasonably lucrative day for the Champagne Bay, whose bartender spent the day out on the beach frying whatever foods he could get ahold of for partying ponies and is now spending the evening behind the counter washing glasses and mixing drinks for those sailors too salty to go out and have fun with the townies.

One such 'salty' pony is a particular rusty pony, who's recently taken to using the Champagne Bay as a place to do light research. Namely he keeps sneaking books in there from the library so he can drink while reading and looking up things on this mysterious Pirate Captain they've discovered legends to. So there he is. Gamble, substitute schoolteacher, drifter, and now treasure hunter, flipping through books to figure out clues to riddles and whatnot.

Man. Treasure hunting's haaaaard. Nopony ever told him it'd require so much research.

Ruby-Blossom may not be a sailor, but she enjoys a good drink. She arrived sometime ago with (crocodile) tears in her eyes - the result of the 'scolding' from Mad-Mare; she had to end up somewhere after running away - and it was the perfect opportunity to try score a free drink thanks to those very tears.

A brown-and-blue earth pony of average build, clad in some saddlebags, a tacky, floral-printed shirt and n old fedora, wanders onto the boardwalk from the general direction of the town square. His gait is easy and nonchalant, and he's looking with a hint of tourist-like delight at the sandy beach and the waves washing gently over it. /Not bad,/ he thinks. /Forgot what a beach actually looks like. Walking through the sand near Fillydelphia's likely to get you a half dozen needles and broken bottles shoved into your hooves. I'll have to 'hit the surf' or whatever tomorrow morning./ He frowns at a sudden rumble in his stomach. /Yeah, first thing's first, though. Where'd that brochure recommend?/ He turns and begins digging awkwardly through his saddlebags, trying not to get too much drool on his clean clothes. /What I wouldn't freaking give to be a unicorn./

Rocket has likewise settled down at a table across from Gamble, trying to look busy and occupied. She's a helper! She helps! …Okay, maaaaaybe that's… a kindergarten pony reading primer she's studying. Maybe. Slipped into a much thicker book so as to look more impressive. What? She's trying. But it's hard to help with research when you can't read the language all the books are written in! Gotta start somewhere.

Glass finally finds what he's looking for, and pulls it out triumphantly. With a deft shake of his head, he unfolds the brochure and drops it on the ground in front of him. "Welcome to Beautiful Horseshoe Harbor!" it reads, in big, bold, friendly letters. Colorful drawings of attractive ponies running and playing in the sparkling waves splash across the pages, along with pictures of serious-looking zebras in tribal attire and one, possibly inebriated, pony captioned "Mayor Salty Welcomes You!" Glass ignores them and runs a hoof down the third page, eyes narrowed. "Okay, let's see," he muses aloud. "Carrot Corner Cafe. Nice cuisine. Champagne Bay. Classy bar. Nothing about a Rusty Bucket, though. Wonder why?"

Ruby-Blossom quietly sits in the corner with her drink, a glance this way, a glance that way before quietly whipsering to herself "Chivalry must be dead in this town." rather dissapointed no pony has offered to buy a drink or console the tears that have long subsided since her arrival. She glances up at Amber-Shot quietly piping "Excuse me?"

If somepony thinks that crocodile tears are enough to get a free drink out of the bartender, they've got another thing coming! The yellow pony nods as Gamble walks in, recognizing him as a recent regular to the bar. Generally keeps to himself and his books, pays up front for his drinks, and at least so far as covered for that pesky griffon's tab as well. Hopefully he'll keep up the last part.

"The usual for you two?" the bartender asks the studious pony and the griffon before glancing in Ruby's direction. "What can I do you for, miss?"

When asked, the rusty Gambler lifts his head from his book, sparing a peek at the gryphon across from him, then to the barkeep. "Drinks? Uh. Yeah, that'll help." Because that's the only reason he does this in a bar! Because there's drinks. "The usual. Better make it a couple glasses each."

Glass shrugs and scoops the brochure back up, stuffing it into his saddlebags with a demonstrable lack of concern for its ongoing well-being. /I'm on vacation, and Calla's not here to nag me. 'Classy bar' it is./ He sets his course for the Champagne Bay, whistling quietly to himself. He pushes through the doors, and stops for a second to take in the local flavor. /O… kay. Brochure might have oversold the 'classy' part. Sobby drunk girls, really obviously shifty stallions, and is that a griffon? Great./ Casting the colorful beast a quick, distrustful look, Glass trots up to the bar, unstraps his bags, and settles onto a stool. "Hey, buddy. Apple brandy, on the rocks."

Ruby-Blossom brushes the last remnants of those tears away with the back one front leg; being able to cry on demand is a very valuable talent - she's quite good at it. She waits for the bar keep to finish with the usuals before speaking. "Didn't you lose something at the docks the other day?" She lookes awefully unsure of herself, perhaps expecting another pony to yell at her for being friendly; while darn well knowing it was Amber-Shot that 'lost' lost a good amount of bits.

The bartender gets to fixing Gamble and Rocket's drinks. He only mixes up one each for now, putting them on a tray and balancing it on his back to walk them over to the table. "Here's some to start you out, I'll mix up a couple more when you're running low."

Making his way back to the bar the yellow stallion fills up a small glass with ice and begins perusing the shelf behind him for a good brandy. "This ought to do the trick," he says as he grabs a bottle off the shelf with his teeth and tips it over the glass, filling it halfway and then sliding it down the counter towards the garishly-dressed pony.

Ruby's interesting choice of words draws the bartender's attention. "I made a report to the Harbor Watch, yeah. What of it?"

Rocket perks up a bit, reaching to sip at the drink and offering a chirp of thanks to the bartender. Hey, anything to make study time a little more fun. Silly pony language. :/

The delivery of one drink each to Gamble's table doesn't really surprise him. "Eh, a'right, that'll do." He swipes up his drink! A good swig later, a few more pages turned, and Gamble sets his book flat on the tabletop. "Hey, Feathers… D'ya know anything about these forest pony things? Selkies?" he asks of the gryphon across from him. The one with a bunny sitting on the table between her and the book, helpfully pointing out letters and words and stuff.

Ruby-Blossom looks rather hesitant if not almost afraid; eyes still red from her earlier tears. She reaches into her saddle bag only to draw Amber-Shot's coin-purse, set it on the corner, and then nudge it towards the bar keep. "I found this near the mooring line of my ship." appearing utterly sincere - and no thief would steal something then just give it back, right?

Glass nods to the barkeep and sips at his brandy.

Addled-Shock sighed, it has been months since he had attended any sort of "Social Outing", sitting in the back of Carrot Corner was what his days were mostly comprised of. He didn't hate it back there, it was nice and smelled of some of the best sweets in Equestria… But, he didn't like it either. His mind was conflicted as he decided whether or not to go in, not sure whether or not an underaged pony would be allowed in this sort of establishment. Either way, he decided to brave it as he pushed his way past the doors and snaked his way to an empty table, appologising to anypony real or imaginary that he bumped into on the way there.

The stallion behind the bar would recognize that coin purse anywhere. "Celestia above!" he exclaims as he grabs a corner in his teeth and tugs it open to see if it's still full of stalleons and irons. "Which ship was it by? The Pride of the Seas? The Sensuous Seapony? I didn't think there were that many on that dock that day."

The sound of the door opening draws the bartender's attention momentarily. "Welcome, have a seat!" he greets Addled. There are a number of open seats at the bar and a fair number of free tables as well, although all of the tables in the corners are already taken.

Glass turns slightly on his stool to get a look at the newcomer. /What's with the kid? Eh, probably washes dishes or something. That'd be a hay of a cutie mark./ Taking another sip of brandy, Glass uses the opportunity to get a better look at the other patrons. He glances up at the bartender's sudden outburst and raises an eyebrow. /Something fishy, there./ He pauses, and smirks. /Heh. Fishy. On the coastal town… right, shut up, Glass. Besides, not my problem. Guy got his purse lifted, now it's back. Just enjoy your vacation./

Rocket tilts her head. "Selkies? It sounds kinda familiar. I haven't run into many things in the forest, granted… if I can't eat it I try to stay away from it." It was a failure at that philosopy that had gotten her wing all twisted up! That was still healing. "What about 'em?"

The bunny receives a grateful petting and a sip of Rocket's drink for its efforts! Easier with a partner, this is. Though one might question that the bunny seems a better reader than it's owner!

Every Stalleon, iron, and bit is present; certainly much to Amber-shots delight. The Ruby maned pony taking a moment to emphasize "My ship. It's not a signifigent ship…." and almost as if on queue a loud expolosion offshore rattles through the walls. It clearly startles Ruby who spills her half-finished drink all over, and quickly turns to look out one of the windows - a couple miles off shore a bright flame burns.

"What was that?"

Addled-Shock nods to the barkeep as he *tries* take a seat, one that is moderately further away from all the other tables and the bar itself. He ends up on the floor instead, cowering under the chair he was aiming for, so much for bravery. "W-What was that?!" He cried, barely a whisper. But, loud enough for some of the closer ponies to hear.

Explosion? Kaboom? Gamble plants hooves on the tabletop, surrounding his drink to make sure it doesn't rattle off the table! Or..onto..a book. Yeah. That's it. After a moment's panic that shows that this bar isn't going to just come crashing down around his ears or something, he spares a glance outside. "…There hasn't been an explosion 'round here fer a good few weeks now. What in the hey was that all about?"

Fuzzball, Rocket's bunny, dives into Rocket's feathers upon explosive shaking of the bar! Though he pokes his head out a moment later, hesitantly sneaking back onto the tabletop. That was scary!

"Yeah, but which one is yours?" the bartender asks. "That dock just had the big merchant ships on it—" he doesn't get to question Ruby's story any further thanks to the convenient interruption of an explosion outside. "Shoot, was that the distillery again?" he groans. "I thought the mayor dieing was gonna cut back the explosions." He seems unfazed by the big boom and simply sweeps the sack of scratch behind the counter. "Well, whatever. Thanks for bringing it back, miss. If there's anything I can do to return the favor, let me know."

Glass sits up straight at the rumble of the explosion, his drink falling from between his hooves to clatter on the bar. He looks at the unimpressed bartender in surprise. "Uh. Really? That's your reaction? 'Oh, shucks, the freaking distillery just blew up, darned kids?'"

"You must be new in town," the bartender deadpans as he begins washing a glass.

Glass shoots the barkeep a glare. "Yeah, well, they must've left the 'parts of this town randomly explode' thing out of the brochure. Seriously, isn't anypony going to go, like, check on that?"

Addled-Shock starts to recover, ever so slightly. Putting one hoof onto the chair, then the table and dragging himself up onto his chair. That explosion was probably the largest one he had heard yet, hopefully it wasn't something important this time.

Ruby-Blossom does wander over to a window to peek out at the fiery explosion well off-shore; the bright flames burning clearly off in the distance. She glances behind to comment "I…I think a ship…exploded?" A sincere (hah) look of concern present on her face "I suppose the town watch will handle it, that's what they do right?" Making her way back to her seat, only to recall that her drink was spilt.

Rocket jumps at the sudden boom as well, wings flaring a bit as she twists her head around to look out the window. What the… She blinks and looks over at Gamble. "A few weeks? That's normal around here?" …Come to think of it, she did remember one or two from past stays in the town. Usually minor ones. But still booms.

Outside, where the BOOM happened, several officially-dressed ponies are already out and running around. With an off-white pony sporting metal hind legs bucking random Watch-members into action. The situation is, apparently, being investigated.

Gamble, meanwhile, is quite content to not go outside if there are explosions happening. He instead turns back to his book. Rocket's question earns her a shrug, "Last explosion I heard was when that big ugly blockade got blown up. Before that, I guess it was a commonplace thing ta have random things just…go up in flames."

The bartender looks up at Glass quizzically. "Brochure? We have a brochure?" Must've been something Salty came up with in the depths of one of her binges. "The Harbor Watch'll look into it. Or they would've if Red was still in charge of it. The new Watch captain just likes to strut around and flaunt her position. Buncha' uselss thugs, really."

/I'm on vacation. I'm on vacation. I'm on vacation./ Gritting his teeth, Glass forces himself to sit back down, and turns to the barkeep. "Okay. Why is this place sounding more and more like Fillydelphia? I'm here to get AWAY from these horseapples."

Ruby-Blossom glances up at Amber-Shot, hoping for another drink all the while curiously asking. "That horrible Mad-mare certainly is a thug, yelling me for introducing myself." on the verge of tears again; brushing them back with one hoof. "Why are such mean ponies in charge?

Addled-Shock sat there, still stunned from the explosion, trying to work up the courage to order a drink. "Umm…" He trailed off to himself, trying again in a slightly stronger voice "Could I get an apple-juice?" He asked, still very quietly. He had absolutely no idea how bars worked.

"I guess you picked the wrong place for a vacation," the bartender says with a shrug. "Or at least the wrong time. Everything went downhill a few months ago when the Syndicolt rolled in. Sorry to spoil your summer." His attention is drawn once more towards Ruby, who is acting like one of the weakest little fillies he has ever seen. "You'll need a thicker skin than that if you're gonna last very long in a port town, miss," he says as he mixes a drink. It's pushed down down the counter towards her with a simple, "Here, to replace the one you spilled."

Addled's timid order is noticed and affirmed with a nod. "Juice, huh? Playing it soft tonight, kid? Gimme a second and I'll bring a glass 'round to you." The bartender begins mixing a second round for Gamble and Rocket first, loading them onto his tray along with the glass of juice and makes his way around the tables dropping them off.

Rocket blinks. "Huh. Seems like that'd be inconvenient." Maybe a bit of an understatement. But it's hard to picture a fire being /too/ big a problem when you live in a place that's always cold and snowy. "So what was that about Selkies?"

"Huh?" Gamble blinks. Selkies? Oh! "Right!" He taps the book with one hoof, using his other to bring his drink up for another swig. Ahh. "Selkies. They're forest dwellers, aren't they? How long you think they've been around?"

Glass rubs his temples. "The 'Syndicolt.' Seriously. That's physically painful. That is literally causing me pain." He sighs and takes another drink. "Celestia's freaking teats. Who's the evil mastermind who came up with THAT name?"

Addled-Shock nods in thanks as his drink is dropped off at his table. Hopefully this wasn't like the time Salty served so-called "Grape Juice", he thought as he took a sip. Yup, tasted like apple juice.

Ruby-Blossom gives a small nod in return to Amber-Shot for the drink, and his comment. Sipping the mixed drink and relaxing in her chair as the conversation takes a turn in a favorable direction; information about the ongoings in town and the Syndicolt - exactly what she needs.

"That would be Mister Syndicolt," the bartender says, playing his part in this drama as rumormonger and explositionist spectacularly. "You'd do well not to let Maddie hear you talking about her boss that way or sassing his name. Look, just keep your nose out of the Watch's business and enjoy the Midsummer Bash. Your vacation'll turn out just fine."

Rocket tilts her head, looking the book over for explanatory pictures. "Hm. Dunno. Long's I've been in the forest. Probably lots longer. I've seen a couple of 'em… from what I hear, not much comes to the forest out of nowhere. If it's there in any numbers it's been there for a long time." Not many griffons, though. /She/ was an immigrant of sorts.

Glass tries and fails to keep a grin off his face. "… His NAME is Syndicolt? Like, his parents named him that? I mean, I know some parents are really good at guessing their kids' future talentslook at me, I'm named Looking Glass, and I'm a P.I.but you'd think, y'know, if the first name that comes to mind when the doctor hoofs you your newborn son sounds like a freaking Daring Do villain, you'd maybe call the kid 'Harmless Lovebunny' and hope for the best."

Gamble crosses his arms over the tabletop, resting over the book. "Well… They're the closest thing to 'forest folk' I can come up with. There's not a lot known about that forest that I can find in these books. I wonder…if Blackbird knows anything…" He shakes his head, polishing off his drink. "Either way, I think that's our next step."

Putting the glass he was washing on the shelf behind him and getting another one to rinse out, the bartender idly comments, "Lovebunny's actually pretty good in a fight, from what I've heard. Has a mean one-two uppercut that'll knock you into next Tuesday."

Ruby-Blossom quietly enjoys her drink; seemingly not interested in the conversation while in reality drinking in all the details. Seems coming to this little harbor might actually pay off in big ways. Ruby does cast a curious glance towards the Griffon and Gamble.

Glass grunts. "Yeah, I suppose he would. So… what, this Syndicolt guy's running the town? Not surprised, even the /picture/ of your mayor smells like booze." /What are you doing?/ he thought suddenly. /Vacation, Glass. None of your business. Keep your head down and let it go./

Addled-Shock quietly continued to sip his drink. Quite a lot of conversation was going on, not that he knew what any of it was about. Something about the Syndicolt, and a couple of other things. He did catch onto one bit though, "Mad-Mare"… "Was she a part of the watch now?" He wondered, only to empty his glass and stare at the empty bottom in thought.

"Dunno," the bartender says. "All I've heard about the guy is that he's Mad's boss, I don't know if he's actually in town or what. I've certainly never seen him. Probably for the best that way." He tilts his chin towards Addled. "You need a refill? Or are you ready to order something with a bit more bite?"

Rocket nods. "Look into Selkies. Gotcha. …Ain't they kinda dangerous? …Was that what went after that stripey kid a while back? …Nah, that was a kelpie, the white pony said, wasn't it. Not the same thing, I don't think."

Kelpie. Selkie. The two sound so similar! Gamble squints at his book. "Y'know… I'm not sure which is which exactly. All the more reason to go ask a professional before we go poking our noses into trouble!"
Addled-Shock thought for a moment, a bit more bite? He had never had anything with much alcohol in it, if any alcohol at all. "Ummm…" He said, mostly to himself as he thought. "I-I guess I'll try a bit of whiskey." He said, really not sure if he should be doing this or not. Couldn't you get in trouble for underaged drinking? Not that anyone would mind, probably.

The bartender gives Addled an appraising look as the colt decides to go from apple juice to whiskey. "Right, you're getting a fruity girly drink," he says plainly and pulls some mint and sugar cane out from behind the bar. Glass' continued inquiries also earn a look from the bartender. "I thought you were gonna stay out of it 'cause you're on vacation."

Addled-Shock watched as the barkeep pulled out the mint a sugar, just because his talent was thinking didn't mean he had the best judgement in the world. He pushed his glass to one side and nodded, it was probably better than whiskey anyways.

Ruby-Blossom slips to her hooves, and proceeds to trot to the door; time to call it a night now that she has returned Amber-Shot's money bag. Seems her little test of the local authorities was not only successful, but porivded valuable information in the aftermath. She's found her target =3

Rocket nods thoughtfully, scratching her chin. "Well, that white pony seemed pretty smart. We could ask him, maybe. Anyone else about town who might know 'bout stuff? I mean, I can just go find us some forest-things, sure, but it might be nice t'know what I'm gettin' into."

Glass shrugs. "Yeah, sure, but I should know who not to tick off while I'm here, right?" He brushes a hoof absently over his cutie mark: a simple, cherry-handled magnifying glass. "I mean, hey, if everypony's happy with the status quo, I'm not here to upset it. I'm just curious."

The bartender looks around conspiratorially before leaning in and whispering, "Her name's Sunshine Stormcloud, but you didn't hear it from me. Don't say it to her face or she'll kill you. I'm not exaggerating, you're a dead pony walking if she hears those words. Just stick with Mad Mare or Maddie if you want your status to stay quo."

Glass snorts. "Sunshine-" He stops himself and buries his head in his forelegs, giggling uncontrollably.

"Yeah, that's usually the reaction," the bartender says with a sigh.

Getting back to work the bartender spends a few seconds crushing the mint and mixing together a mojito for Addled-Shock. "That oughtta do the trick without knocking you flank-over-teakettle," he says a he offers the colt the drink.

Addled-Shock took the drink and gave a nod of thanks to Amber. It did indeed look quite girly, but tasted great as he quickly guzzled it down. He just remembered that it was his bed-time elsewhere, even though there was nobody to reinforce it. He quickly rushed out the door, throwing a couple bits on the table for drinks and thanking the bartender again before running out.

After nearly a minute, Glass, breathless, raises his head and wipes away a tear. "Okay. Okay. Criminal mastermind with a knack for terrible puns, and a psycho middle-manager with self-esteem issues. Divine sisters, all I had to deal with in Fillydelphia was a three-way turf war, a corrupt union boss, and an insane bank manager who wanted to take over the world. Thanks for the info, buddy." He lifts his drink and downs the rest of it. "If you'll excuse me, it's getting late, and I'm starting to worry that if I stick around any longer, I'm gonna find out there's an evil witch or something living on the town's outskirts. 'Night."

The bartender opens his mouth to let Glass know about Snowfield out in the forest then decides to let sleeping dogs lie, proverbially speaking. "Have a good night, and enjoy your stay while you're in town."

Glass tips his hat to the bartender, hefts his saddlebags across his shoulders, and heads for the door. /Well,/ he thought dryly, /this is shaping up to be an interesting vacation./

Gamble shakes his head slowly, closing the book he's just staring at now. Guess that's all the thinking he can put forth tonight! He stretches his legs out, leaning back in his cushion to squint at Rocket. "Y'think we might need a few more ponies fer this?"

Rocket blinks. "More ponies? Well…" more ponies means more ways to split the stuff. :/ But then, more ponies might also mean a better chance of /getting/ the stuff. "…Do you think we will?" After all, technically, there's only one pony on this venture so far! A griffon is not a pony. Neither is a bunny~

"Yeah. Probably." Gamble affirms. Then struggles up to his hooves to deposit some bits on the bar for the drinks. He magicks his books up into a saddlepouch. "I think…we should sleep on it. Maybe go bug someone in the morning."

Rocket nods lightly, scooping up her book(s) as well. "Sounds like a plan. Think on it and all that."