The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Default Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rain gently pattered against the kitchen window. Rose watched the droplets strike the glass and ooze down to the sill. The view beyond the glass of her sixth floor apartment was darkness speckled with the tiny lights of other apartment windows and the street below by the alleyway. She turned and levitated a wooden spoon with her ponykinesis. Rose maneuvered the spoon into a metal pot and stirred the simmering water. Noodles swirled within, their aroma faint and salty. She levitated a small packet of seasoning and sprinkled it into the pot, then she stirred it again.

    A lightning bolt flashed through the sky upon a thunderous clap. The building shook. The lights died.

    "Damn it," Rose cursed. With the power out, she physically fumbled for the flashlight she kept in the junk drawer. She found it and turned it on. Brief flashes of lightning arced outside in the clouds. "Guess I'll be dining by candlelight tonight."

    She levitated the pot of ramen noodles to the sink and strained out the water with a lid. She then dropped the noodles into a bowl and floated a fork over. Rose levitated her simple dinner over to the little table nearby. She pulled out a candle and matches from the junk drawer and brought them with her. She sat down and lit the candle. The steam from the hot noodles slowly wafted up beside the candle flame. Rose watched the tiny fire dance on its wick as she absentmindedly blew several times over the hot noodles.

    Something in her bedroom fell to the floor with a heavy thud.

    Rose froze in place. Thunder softly rolled in the distance. A flash of lightning made jagged shadows in the kitchen. She got up and took the flashlight with her to the bedroom. Rose levitated the flashlight inside the room first and swept the area with the beam of yellow-white light. There was no movement. She walked in and approached her dresser. On the carpeted floor was her smart phone.

    She reached down and picked up the device. A reflection flashed across the glossy black screen.

    She startled and dropped the phone again. Her flashlight wobbled and dipped. She grabbed the flashlight and steadied herself. Rose took a deep breath and illuminated the phone. Nothing.

    She touched her face. It felt like the face she's had for thirty years. 'It's okay, Rose. Was just some stupid trick of the light. You shouldn't have binged The Trotting Dead tonight.' She picked up the phone and placed it back on the dresser.

    The bathroom faucet turned on.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose had a fork of noodles halfway to her mouth when the faucet turned on. "What the heck?"

    She stood up from the table and levitated the flashlight toward herself. The sink's faucet was definitely on. Rose crept over to the bathroom, flashlight level with her nose. She shoved the door open and took a defensive posture. "Ha!"

    There was no one there.

    Rose walked in and turned off the faucet. She looked around, but found nothing out of place. Her loofah was still on the hook, the towel still skewed on the towel bar. She needed to buy more toilet paper though, but she knew that. She shrugged and turned to leave. The flashlight passed over a roach.

    Rose jumped in place and kicked out. Splat! She nailed the insect dead on, but lost her balance. Rose flailed her forelegs to find purchase but her hooves missed the towel bar. Twice. She fell backwards into the shower curtain. It snagged on her and her weight yanked the whole thing, curtain and shower rod, down on top of her.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose peaked out of the bedroom and listened to the adjacent bathroom door. The water faucet stopped. She wasn't sure what to make of that. Was someone in there? Rose steadied herself, and held the flashlight close.

    She touched the door knob with a hoof, but then there was a loud bang and clatter. Rose backed away. She stood there in the silence. She listened, but here was nothing. Flashes of lighting lit through the small bedroom window nearby. Rose stepped forward again. She took a deep breath and opened the door.

    The shower rod had fallen.

    "Okay, well that... doesn't explain the faucet." She stepped in and looked around. Nothing else seemed out of place. Well, there was a dead roach on the floor by the toilet. It wasn't of consequence, so she ignored it. Rose walked to the tub and lifted the rod up. She installed it up where it was over the side of the tub again. She tugged at it. It was in place again. However, she noticed a few of the ring holes were stretched or broken. Odd.

    Rose turned to leave the bathroom. There was a groan.

    She looked around, but didn't see anything. Rose peeked out of the bathroom. "Alright, whoever you are, show yourself or I will pound you!"
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose slowly gets up out of the tub. She nurses the bruise on her shoulder. "Uhhh... stupid roach."

    She levitates the flashlight and looks in the mirror to check herself for injuries. What she sees is not her reflection, but her reflection. Perhaps she hit her head against the tub tiling.

    "Okay... and you are?"
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    "What do you mean who I am?" Rose questions. Okay, she was definitely talking to someone. Rose turned around and points the flashlight at the bathroom mirror. The reflection dazzles her eyes a moment, but she is able to recover her sight quickly by adjusting the glare compensation in her her cybernetic eyes. She looks at her reflection again... but it didn't look like her. It does, but, not quite. As if looking through a warped funhouse mirror. Or maybe a caricature?

    "I'm Rose Croix. And to whom am I speaking to? You at least have taste in your looks."
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Quote Originally Posted by DigoDragon View Post
    "I'm Rose Croix. And to whom am I speaking to? You at least have taste in your looks."
    "You're going to taste the business end of my hoof," Rose threatens the pony reflection. "I'm Rose Croix! I don't know who you're trying to fool, but it's not going to work. My friends know the real Rose."
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose scoffs at her reflection. "Oh please. I was never me after I took a mile-high nose dive into the ground. I lost 83 bones, my ovaries, part of my liver, and my self-confidence. My friends know what they've seen--a broken bird that couldn't even look herself in the mirror. It's taken me years to build back what I lost. Not just in surgeries to rivet dozens of wires and cybernetic parts, but to learn to love myself again.
    As if friends would frown upon that!
    "
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose banged at the mirror. "That's not what I'm talking about, you tramp! I'm talking about the lie you remade yourself from. The confidence? The allure? The way you move your shoulders, the turn of your glance, the sway of your hips! That's not confidence you 'found'."

    She peered closer at the mirror. "You're just a vampire, spawned from the queen herself."
    Last edited by DigoDragon; 2017-11-16 at 08:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    "Okay, no. NO. I know what you're trying to play at," Rose says. She backs away from the bathroom, shaking a hoof disapprovingly at the mirror. "I've been getting familiar with Chrysalis and so you're trying to tell me that she's got some kind of... control over me. No, it doesn't work that way. I've got antivenom shots for her bites and I still see a psychiatrist. I'm clean, okay?"

    She turns and leaves the bathroom, closing the door. Flashlight in front of her, Rose heads back to the living room. Her ramen dinner is where she left it, getting cold.
    Last edited by DigoDragon; 2017-11-16 at 09:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose darted forward and threw the bathroom door open. She charged into the living room. With the power still out, the only light sources were her flashlight and the occasional bolt of lighting outside. Rose searched around the living room, behind the couch...

    "Where are you?" she speaks at an even tone. "I know you entertained the idea of breaking Chrysalis out. You're going to help her break free aren't you? Maybe convince Celestia to release her in your custody? You think you're so clever, but I'm not going to let you get away with it! I will break you if I have to!" She saw movement reflecting from a mirror near the front door. Rose dashed in the direction to block the way out.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose trots to the front door. She's thinking maybe she could see a neighbor for safety rather than be alone. She reaches the door and puts her hoof to the knob. However safety was not here. A shadow lunges at her from the side.

    "Get away!" She jumps back, tripping over her legs and tumbling into the living room. The flashlight hit the floor and rolled around in a circle. "Okay, fine! I'm... I have feelings for her! I like her a lot! How can I not? she's tall and beautiful. But she's taught me so much about myself! I can believe it when I see myself as beautiful! So, I'll just back away from her advances then, okay? I got feelings for Sniper too. I can just spend... more time with him." Rose crawls to the flashlight and levitates it again. she searches around the front door with it to find her attacker.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    "Ha! Yeah, like you'd settle for a simple soyburger after tasting a succulent filet minon," Rose taunts. She steps out of the shadows and circles around her, horn drawn low as if poised to lunge. Her military training was sharp and she could strike this mare down easily if she wanted to.

    "Yeah, the idea has crossed your mind, hasn't it? No, ponies can't eat meat. Not naturally, anyway, but there's cybernetics you could obtain to adjust your digestive tract. And why not? You seem to have already adjusted the kind of prey you prefer. Sniper is a kind, observant stallion, but he doesn't satisfy that hunger growing inside you. You crave something fresh. Something wild. You're an insatiable monster. Luckily for you, the EDF is trained on dealing with monsters like you."
    Last edited by DigoDragon; 2017-11-17 at 10:27 AM.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose stepped back, taking a defensive stance. This mare meant business ad looked like she could kick the snot out of her in a fight. Still, Rose at least had her wits and a little magic to defend herself.

    "What, you think I'm a changeling or something? Okay, fine, I'll go seek some help, okay?! Just... just leave me alone! I wanted to help Chrysalis reform! She deserves another chance. You seem to prefer she just rots in prison for eternity." Rose continued to step away slowly, heading toward the hall and to her room.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    "Oh no you don't! Get back here!" Rose lunges to strike a leg and knock her down before she escapes!

    Attack (horn): (3d6)[8] vs. 15 [13 +4 All Out Attack Determined -2 Called shot (Leg)]
    Last edited by DigoDragon; 2017-11-17 at 06:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Damage: (1d6-1)[1]


    Rose yelped, the strike injuring her right leg. She swings the flashlight at her attacker and hobbles as fast as she can to the bedroom. "Get away from me, you freak! You're crazy!"


    Attack (flashlight): (3d6)[7] vs. 11 [Default DX-5 +4 All out attack (Determined)]
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    The flashlight strikes hard against Rose. Rose grunts and stumbles back. She growls. "Dead or alive, you're going down, infiltrator! The EDF will not allow a manipulative little succubus like you around!" She gives chase, determined to pounce.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    "I didn't do anything wrong!" Rose pleads. She runs into the bedroom and doves over her bed. She reaches under it to pull out her gun case.
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose hobbles into the room. "You're enthralled by Chrysalis! She's playing you like a lump of clay; molding you in a set up to escape custody. Give it up, we're breaking her influence on you.
    Resist and there will be other things broken.
    "
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose pulled out her gun and pointed it at her attacker. "No! Chrysalis taught me to be confident, to be happy with myself! I owe her... but maybe she's been too much on my mind. Fine, I can seek help for the venom and stuff, but I'm not just going to abandon her like everyone else did! I'm not going back to that miserable little pony I was before."
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Gun pointed at her, Rose weighted her options. She wasn't wearing her armor, but she always had her cleverness. Rose uses her ponykinesis to seize the gun's clip!

    Grapple: (3d6)[12] vs. 10 (DX 12 -2 hit location, gun)
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose pulls back and opens fire. It was like some kind of instinct to defend herself.

    Attack (pistol): (3d6)[10] vs. 14 (two shots, RCL -2)
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose dodges out of the way of the bullets, using the bed's springy nature to bounce off and dive on the gunmare. "Wrong move!" she shouts and strikes at her opponent head on.

    Spoiler: Attack
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    Brawling (horn): (3d6)[9] vs. 13

    Oh success: (1d6-1)[1]
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    This mare was fast! Rose tries to dodge out of the way and swing for the fences with the but of her pistol.

    Spoiler: Actions
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    Dodge! (3d6)[3] vs. 9

    Melee (pistol whip): (3d6)[12] vs. 12
    Dmg: (1d6+2)[7]
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    "Give me that!" Rose commands. She deftly dodges out of the swing and wrestles for the gun!

    Grapple: (3d6)[12] vs. 14 (12 -2 called location (gun) +4 All out attack determined)
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose fought back, trying to hold control of the gun.

    Grapple vs. (3d6)[6] vs. 12
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    Rose loses hold on the gun and tries punching her opponent in the head.

    Brawl (3d6)[11] vs 11 (12 -5 headshot +4 All out determined)

    Dang (1d6-1)[1]
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    Default Re: Celestia's Finest (Side Story): The Red Rose in the Black Mirror

    The blow strikes her between the eyes. The blackout fades far darker than the night. She falls backwards, the bed catches a hoof and turns her hideaways, and... then nothing. The void kisses Rose goodnight gently into the night.

    --

    Rose awoke, her head spinning. She sits up and touchs heer face. There's dried blood on her forehead. The smear is unmistakable on her hoof. On the floor next to her lies her gun. Rose tries but fails to concentrates on ponykinesis. She picks the gun up herself and opens the clip. Two bullets missing.

    The storm has passed. Her clock blinked 12:00. The power returned.

    She stands up and staggers through her bedroom. Two bullet holes are in the wall, inches from her mirror. Her phone blinked. One missed message.

    Rose continues toward the living room. The kitchen light was on. Her food, now long cold, remains on the little table. She sits down and puts her gun on the table. Her hooves shook slightly. Echoes of the fight plays in her mind. Each word stings like a knife. She begins to sob into her hooves.

    You're just a monster. A creature that the EDF will take down.
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