The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Rime says to Doc, "It's about time the train ponies returned." Rime calls out, "Conductor. We need you in here!"

    Rime will put her backpack back in her seat. She will take her book though. She looks around for a place to sit and decides on a special place. She sits next to the alicorn and smiles up at her. Her book flips open again and she takes some notes.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Worthy looks like she is about to protest, but her daughter puts a hoof on her shoulder, and she quiets down. She's disgruntled, but quiet. Satisfied, the alicorn nods to Doc and then has her attention stolen away again by her two admirers. Her other wing, the one Doc abandoned, now wraps around Rime. "I shall, er, forgive you, yes." The alicorn seems slightly uncomfortable with Oddy's (seeming) overwhelming admiration. It is not a response she is used to.

    "I have not officially renamed myself," the alicorn says, "But I do have the power of Nightmare Moon!" She glances at Worthy, who glowers back. "To hide the connection would be deceitful, yes?"

    "Fear and love," she answers, "Those I save will love me for it. Those who would destroy them will fear my wrath if they try."

    The Conductor pops his head back in and says, "You called? Blankets and pillows, yes. We have those. Anything else?"

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miltonian View Post
    The Conductor pops his head back in and says, "You called? Blankets and pillows, yes. We have those. Anything else?"
    "Just the comforts, thank you kindly."

    Doc quietly slides off his seat and, while his attention is still mostly on the food in his thermos, slinks over quietly to Worthy. He sits down next to her. "Hungry?" Doc asks her. He wiggles his thermos slightly. "It's instant mash with cram and beans. Gives you those extra calories to keep warm in this weather. Not bad tasting either."

    In a hushed whisper, as he stirs the food like he's offering it to her, Doc adds, "I apologize for cutting you off; no one gonna win an argument against narcissism. Trust me, I learned the hard way." He lifts up his right hind-leg a bit to show a scar where someone broke his leg once a few years back. "For what it's worth, you weren't wrong; a little skepticism is good. And if you're willing to forgive my transgression, I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about your Reformed Church. I could use a little faith right now."
    Last edited by DigoDragon; 2019-10-21 at 10:41 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Roxy has to clamp a paw around her muzzle to keep quiet. The image of the alicorn sitting on a woopie cushion sending her into mostly muffled giggle fit and it takes a few moments for her to settle down. "Yes... Yes that's fair enough." Roxy has to wipe a tear from her eye as she continues the conversation in a low voice. "Right now that would be disastrous wouldn't it? Oh the look on her face though if someone did... Ah. All this talk of unification though, what do you think of it? Dunno about her story but that power is certainly something." The sand dog tilts her head towards Quoth. Unification seemed like a concept far away much like a sunny day in this part of the wasteland. There were times where it might come close but then something breaks it up.
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  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Oddy nod and give an excited nuzzle.
    "It does sound powerful, yet fair! But..." she pause tilting her thinking.
    "But if what legends told me didn't lied- (which they could k'have) with Nightmares powers, killing ponies would be such a waste!'
    She pause. "The nightmare magic can terrorize everypony into obdience. Riiiight?'


    Spoiler: Ooc:Inspiratin for Oddy in such moments
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  6. - Top - End - #156
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    The Conductor soon returns with a set of sheets and blankets. He clears his throat. "There is one bed still available for anyone that wishes to purchase it."

    Worthy does not seem pleased to have Doc approach, however that attitude swiftly changes when he reveals his true reasons for acting as he did. "I take your point, kind sir," she whispers, "And yes. Wisdom must not be wasted on foals." She reaches into her bag and pulls out a printed pamphlet, slightly wrinkled. She smooths it out and shows it to him, explaining what appears on the front. "In short," she says, "We believe that, though they no longer walk among us, the princesses remain with us in spirit and watch over those who live out the virtues of Harmony. How else do you explain that we have survived this long, when the world is full of so many dangers? The princesses protect."

    Quoth's face darkens and his good eye glowers over at the alicorn. "I like it about as well as I like a face-full of fresh pony dung, that's what," he mutters back, "I think it amounts to 'tyranny, with extra steps'. Course, I'm not exactly volunteering to go up and confront her alone, if you know what I mean. Got enough enemies as it is."

    Meanwhile, the alicorn continues to talk with her adoring fangirl. "Oh. They can kill alright. They are very good at instilling fear too. They are nightmares, after all. But that is no different than a pistol." She grins. "My weapons just pack a little more punch, you see. But at the end of the day, it is how you use the tools you are given that make your actions right or wrong, not the tools themselves."

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    "Of course, I wouldn't expect any less wisdom from a royalty like you!" Oddy coed.
    "So... k'how will it work? Are you going to anounce your presence at the first town you find, and demand everypony to bow before you?' she asked, sounding a bit ditzy and silly. Completly NOT a threat. Just a pretty doe who shower her with praises and attention.
    "You know, I am sure it will work with ease. Just few ponies to slay as an example.. right?' she smile with starry eyes.
    "So what would be your first commands? I am sure everypony will be sooo motivated to serve you, Princess... mmm.. Iremia?' she end her blabbering with a questioning tone, to make sure Allie aprove of this name.
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  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miltonian View Post
    Worthy does not seem pleased to have Doc approach, however that attitude swiftly changes when he reveals his true reasons for acting as he did. "I take your point, kind sir," she whispers, "And yes. Wisdom must not be wasted on foals." She reaches into her bag and pulls out a printed pamphlet, slightly wrinkled. She smooths it out and shows it to him, explaining what appears on the front. "In short," she says, "We believe that, though they no longer walk among us, the princesses remain with us in spirit and watch over those who live out the virtues of Harmony. How else do you explain that we have survived this long, when the world is full of so many dangers? The princesses protect."
    The bed sounds nice, but Doc will let someone more with the need to have it. He'll just ensure the two children have a warm blanket to sleep under.

    Doc reads the pamphlet over. "I reckon that'll explain my close calls. Does your orthodox say anything about an afterlife or what comes after? I, uh, well recently I had a cousin die and I'm still grappling with that; working on getting closure. I thought it might help to talk about it with someone."
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  9. - Top - End - #159
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    When she gets hugged she stores her staff nearby and holds her book in her hoofs. She is no longer using her telekinesis. She turns to a new page and continues logging her first day out in the wasteland away from Rainbow Resort.

    She compliments the alicorn, "I imagine ever since you became an alicorn you've been very powerful."

    Rime gets the conductor's attention before he can disappear on her. "Yes, over here. You may have noticed that you have an extra passenger. Will we be needing a ticket for her?" Rime cheerily asks the alicorn, "Would you like me to reserve a bedroom for you?"

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    The alicorn's wing slips off of Oddy and she inches away from her. "You are...very intent on me killing things, aren't you?" she says, seeming a little creeped out, "Is there someone you want me to kill or something along those lines? I mean, there are many levels of violence and displays of power I can do that don't end in someone dying. Broken bones, unconsciousness, maybe a light concussion... There are a lot of ways to bring ponies into compliance besides wholesale slaughter. That's reserved for those who truly oppose me and everything I try to accomplish."

    Worthy face turns to one of sadness and what compassion she can offer. She is a hard mare, but not entirely made of stone. "I am sorry," she says, "Yes. Yes it does. We believe that, in the death of their physical forms, the princesses ascended to their full potential and have created a new land for their little ponies in the realm of the spirit. When we die, those who have lived their life according to the principles of that land will find their spirits drawn there. Those that did not may seek it, if they wish, though they will be stumbling around in the dark without the internal guide to direct their path. You could say they lack the correct 'moral compass'."

    The Conductor's face pales. "N-no ticket required for her! And if she wants the last bed, and you're willing to pay, that's no trouble at all!"

    "I cannot stay long," the alicorn says, "There is nothing radioactive around here."

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Oddy is geniounly surprised. It take her out of balance.
    It didn't added up. She smiled again, and partial honesty might save the situation.
    "I am sorry. But many powerful ponies speaking about union, and usually it translated into very k'harsh violence.' she paused.
    "I was wrong. You really are diffrent.' she fold her ears looks guilty.
    "I was used for so long, that all powerful ponies k'have one train of thought... I was wrong to assume you might be the same." she apologized.

    Her ears perked. "What kind of radiation do you need? Maybe I can k'hop and bring you something?'
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  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miltonian View Post
    Worthy face turns to one of sadness and what compassion she can offer. She is a hard mare, but not entirely made of stone. "I am sorry," she says, "Yes. Yes it does. We believe that, in the death of their physical forms, the princesses ascended to their full potential and have created a new land for their little ponies in the realm of the spirit. When we die, those who have lived their life according to the principles of that land will find their spirits drawn there. Those that did not may seek it, if they wish, though they will be stumbling around in the dark without the internal guide to direct their path. You could say they lack the correct 'moral compass'."
    Doc snorted, but it was a friendly one. "Stumbling around in the dark? Yeah, that's my cousin alright. I mean, Linseed was a good pony at heart. Rather bright if she applied herself, but... well, when she fell on hard times, she turned to drugs for dealing with the stress. Didn't take long for her life to just fall apart like it did."

    For once he actually put the thermos down. Doc leaned back and studied the ceiling. "I spent a few weeks with her, trying to help her get clean, but... it didn't take. She was shot one night in a fight with someone. Dunno the details, just that she didn't live through the night. I do miss our arguments. Funny thing to say, but... she was my cousin. Shared the same stubborn streak."

    "I just hope she finds her own way. I did what I could to help her. Just hope it was enough."
    Last edited by DigoDragon; 2019-10-22 at 01:48 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    The atmosphere is getting so heavy in this place, and in general being unaware that at least one other pony on board has been offered the same job, Pepper briefly shoves her hat down further along her brow. She caught snippets of the conversations here and there and generally seems not to want much to do with them. The alicorn is going to have a harder time of things than she is--assuming word gets out of what Pepper did-- and she... honestly didn't give much thought to any afterlife until recently. Pepper would much rather focus on living now; she certainly had to live in the moment of protecting Rainbow resort from raiders with little time to ponder the theological rammifications of her actions. Certainly-- she thinks with a moment's flash of worry-- that some day she too will be brought to task. Not by her former employers, but by any ethereal watchers who were not happy with some of the things she condoned, let alone did, during her time as a security mare. Just what kind of demons were there for ponies who did things they later were to realize were bad, if not evil? Dammit, she doesn't need this kind of crap to think about.

    It's no wonder then that she leaps for the chance to be employed again mere hours after torpedoing her last occupation. She needs something, anything to get her mind off this crazy train. She responds promptly to avoid seeming even more rude than before. "Well, i imagine everypony's tired,so I won't mince words: You acting on behalf of private enterprise or an authoritative organization? Any clue at all to the contents of this strong hold? Wait. I don't suppose there are, but do you have a dossier on any of the parameters? Any other teams working to trying to get in? Has anyone already tried? And how many ponies are on the team you're in charge of sending in?
    Last edited by tonberryking; 2019-10-22 at 04:10 PM.
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  14. - Top - End - #164
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    Rime smirks at the free ticket. "Good! I'm sure she is happy to hear the ticket is provided free of charge." Alicorn is leaving soon? That isn't good at all. She holds up her pen. "One moment on renting that bed."

    She says to the alicorn. "Oddy is right. We could figure something out that'd let you spend the night here."
    Last edited by Elbeyon; 2019-10-22 at 06:29 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #165
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    Roxy scratches her chin. "Well there's the trick, get in buddy buddy like and if things do look like they're going in that direction... Maybe you'll be close enough to do something about it. I don't exactly like the sound of someone ruling over others with an iron fist, or hoof as the case may be, either but if it settles things down... Bah I don't know." That was the question wasn't it? Would things be better? Loss of freedom for stability? Roxy wouldn't mind less bloodshed in some parts of the wasteland but that also meant troublesome rules and such and penalties to go with them. Penalties that would probably be quite difficult to outrun. She keeps watching the alicorn alongside Quoth. "At least she's acting like she talks so that's something."
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  16. - Top - End - #166
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    "Yes. And someone kills them for it," the alicorn says, "I found a book, you see, about how to be an effective leader. It's a bunch of rules, one of them being that murder creates just as much problems as it solves. The cover was a bit...half burnt, but the pages were still there."

    "Any kind," she answers, "With radiation, I heal faster. All this will be gone by morning if I can find a good source of it. Which is why I will need some tonight. I must be fully healed as soon as possible."

    Worthy's face is somber. "I see." She puts a hoof on Doc's shoulder for a moment, a gesture of sympathy. "She sounds like she will find her way eventually. It just might take her longer than it would for one such as you."

    Firestarter leans forward. "Excuse me?" she asks quietly, "May I...have some of that?" She gestures to the thermos.

    If anything, this is the response Golden Opportunity expects. She chuckles and answers Pepper. "I represent myself. As such, I can't pay a lot up front, but can cut you in on an even share of the loot. So far, the team is me and Rime Verse, but I hope to bump that up to at least six. That's sizeable enough that any other groups won't ignore us but not so large as to cut too much into our respective shares." She shrugs. "I have no idea what the situation is like right now. My source said the depot was known only to him, but that information is two days old now, and it's a bit of a gold rush. Scratch that. Pristine, pre-war hardware is probably worth more than gold."

    Quoth sighs. "Well, at least there's that. Watch her corrupt us all into her mind-slaves in our sleep tonight." He shifts in his seat. "But yeah. What's the worst that could happen, right?"

  17. - Top - End - #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miltonian View Post
    Worthy's face is somber. "I see." She puts a hoof on Doc's shoulder for a moment, a gesture of sympathy. "She sounds like she will find her way eventually. It just might take her longer than it would for one such as you."

    Firestarter leans forward. "Excuse me?" she asks quietly, "May I...have some of that?" She gestures to the thermos.
    Firesarter's voice pulls Doc's eyes back down. He wipes his spoon clean on his scarf. "Sure can, young lady. Here you go," he says with a smile. Doc gives her the thermos and offers the spoon if she wants.

    He turns to Worthy. "Well, it is nice to finally talk to someone about my cousin. Hard for a stallion to find comfort for his feelings; the wasteland generally tells us to just suck it up. So, thank you a bunch for listening. Does your group take donations? I can toss you a few caps for your cause.

    Doc reaches into a pocket without waiting for an answer from Worthy and pulls out an even 23 caps.
    Last edited by DigoDragon; 2019-10-22 at 10:40 PM.

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    "I suppose I'll take you up on this job. Call me... Glint." Pepper lies, rubbing her chin gently with her hoof.

    "But it sounds like we should get there as soon as possible, and make no assumptions of whether your horse whisperer informant kept their mouth shut. I don't know much about the Law over at the Falls but is there any chance they'd send their own team to grab everything? What do we do if they get involved?"

    Vaults could have guns. Pepper's shotgun is no Saturday Night special (nor is her pistol for that matter) but compared to the ordinance she had to abandon, any surplus could be welcome, but more importantly, she needs to establish herself and a successful raid like this could lead to more job offers. All I need is some breakfast and a place to leave my 'luggage' and I'll be ready."
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  19. - Top - End - #169
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    Rime says to the conductor. "Put a pin in that thought. She may leave soon. I'll have to get back in touch with you later to work out any arrangements." She gives him a polite dismissing smile.

    She says to the alicorn, "Before you leave, Oddy and I want to have a private conversation with you in the baggage car." She looks around the car. "It's busy in here. To be expected in a passenger car, and it is what it is." Rime slightly nods. "Let me know you are leaving before you leave."

  20. - Top - End - #170
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    Firestarter's eyes light up and she eagerly accepts the food. She's so eager, in fact, that Worthy has to remind her, "Don't eat it all, dear. Leave some for the generous stallion."

    "Sorry..." the unicorn filly mutters.

    "We do," Worthy says, "And give them, sometimes. Far be it from us to discourage Generosity." She smiles almost-warmly when he pulls out the caps and graciously accepts them. Firestarter returns his thermos as well, still with a good bit of food left in it.

    --

    "Welcome aboard, Glint," Golden says with a warm smile.

    "Well, the Falls does adhere to the commonly accepted 'First Come, First Served' rule. So we have to get their first or find a way to convince whoever gets there before us to leave before they've taken everything," she says, "If the local government gets involved, we make them our customers instead of selling it on the open market. We retrieve what they ask, they pay us, and we sell whatever's left over at a markup."

    "I have tents and supplies in the luggage car. We can grab rations at the Falls."

    --

    The conductor is all too eager to be dismissed. He leaves Rime and Oddy to their conversation.

    The alicorn frowns and scrutinizes Rime's face. "I see," she says, "Well in that case, you will lead the way, correct?"

    The train begins to move forward once more. The way ahead is now clear.

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    Doc doesn't seem like he would be bothered if the filly ate all the food in the thermos. He has more in his bag he can make.

    "No worries, you are welcome, little one," he says when he gets the thermos back.

    When the train lurches, Doc's ears rise up. "Ah, seems we're moving again. Excellent," he comments. Continuing his conversation with Worthy, "I do find that kindness is often too rare in the world. Big reason I became a doctor was to help others. 'Course it seems you need to get your name out there or no one can tell you apart from every two-cap snake oil salespony. I don't even peddle in the chem business."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miltonian View Post
    Quoth sighs. "Well, at least there's that. Watch her corrupt us all into her mind-slaves in our sleep tonight." He shifts in his seat. "But yeah. What's the worst that could happen, right?"
    "We'll just have to find out won't we?" Pesemist much? Then again the decaying bunch of feathers managed to stay (un?)alive for as long as he did so perhaps he had the right idea. "Assuming she doesn't turn us into puppets this affect your gig at all?"
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    Oddy hop cheerfully, blowing a kiss to the lucky(?) conducter.
    "I am sure, the three of us could figure out somethimg. If a pony own it, I can get it for you!' Oddy said with a smile.
    Just as easily she decided to doom the alicorn, she decided to help her

    "And if you geniunly want to be a good leader, I'l try and k'help.'
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  24. - Top - End - #174
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    Rime smiles at alicorn, "Thank you for clearing the tracks. I'm sure Roxy appreciates not having to dig us out at night."

    The journal gets put down, and Rime holds out her hoof. She pulls her staff to her and uses the staff to stand up.

    Good. Rime was right about Oddy. "Oddy. Let us go." She looks to the two. She pleasantly says, "This way please." She will lead them to some privacy.
    Last edited by Elbeyon; 2019-10-24 at 06:58 AM.

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    Worthy nods in approval. "Chem dealers do Sombra's work. They lure otherwise good ponies in and bring out the worst in their hearts. Much of our relief efforts go to the victims, though no matter how many we help, there is always another Dash or Rage dealer to lead yet more astray."

    ===

    "My 'gig' is to see the kid safely to Neighagara," Quoth replies, "Got paid for a job at the Resort, have a job lined up in Neighagara, so this is just me getting paid for a trip I was already going to take. So long as this whole...thing doesn't interfere with us arriving, shouldn't affect that."

    He pauses. "Actually, if you're willing to get your claws a bit bloody, I could cut you in on an opportunity to get paid twice more."

    ===

    "Whether or not I am good or bad, history will decide," the alicorn answers, "I will do what I can, when I can, where I can. That is all anyone can expect of me."

    She sizes Oddy up and down, eyes lingering here and there. "Yes..." she says, "I suppose you could get almost anything you want. Assuming, of course, there is anything radioactive around here."

    She will follow Rime into the privacy of the next car, which is much colder than the one they were just in. The alicorn's form blends into the dim lighting, half-melding into the shadows. She raises an eyebrow. "Now what?" she asks.

  26. - Top - End - #176
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    "Yeah. When I attempted to treat my cousin, I was working on some derived drugs to help addicts ease off their addiction, rather than try quitting cold turkey. Might consider continuing that if I can get myself access to a decent lab somewhere." Doc thinks about all the research he had and how notes are very flammable on paper. Damn.

    He sees the unicorn lead the alicorn out of the train car. This gets Doc's curiosity. He looks back to Worthy. "Not gonna guess what they're up to, but at least they're not doing it here. Pretty sure that alicorn just has a delusion of grandeur and isn't powerful enough to be someone like Nightmare Moon."
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  27. - Top - End - #177
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    "Well... it might sound random..' Oddy think,
    "Aren't ghouls radioactive?"
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  28. - Top - End - #178
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    Rime opens the passenger car door and walks outside into the windy cold night. The tracks speed past underneath them. She leads the way to the baggage car and opens that door as well. The pony keeps going until she is in the baggage car. She says to Oddy while rubbing her coat, "Would you close that door behind you?"

    She says to alicorn, "One second. I am sure there is light around here somewhere. We're not caveponies." Rime pulls out her flashlight and runs her hoof over a smooth side, missing the switch. She frowns. "Why-" She tries again, presses the switch, and looks happy for a second. She looks around for the light switch.

    Rime clears her throat and looks at the massive pony in front of her. "I think... you are a good pony. You trusted me, a complete stranger, when you were at your most vulnerable. You did not have to let me cast Truthsayer on you. I think that says a lot about your character. That you can see the good in other ponies and their actions. That is why I'm going to do you a favor." She playfully warns, "Don't go telling anypony I'm nice out in the Frozen North because I don't want to have to deal with ponies trying to take advantage of me."

    She takes a breath and contemplating exhales. "I think you of all people deserve somepony telling you. You are a good pony that deserves that. You may not know because you are new up here. I went to the magical school for gifted unicorns." She pauses to let that sink in. "I have more experience with magicks than most ponies will ever experience in ten lifetimes. I've seen the slow effects of what magic can do to a pony. I've seen ponies driven mad with wild magics." She says very confidently, "That is why I'm telling you that your helmet is cursed."

    "I know you don't want to hear this, and you can feel a fight brewing inside of you. Are those even your feelings? When we freed you from the snow you went looking for that helmet like a raider missing their rage. You may not realize how that magic controlling you but that piece of metal has hooks in you. It is corrupting you from the inside and bending you to its will. That thing isn't some puffed-up showmare in what it will do to you. It will consume you entirely until there is nothing left. You will lose yourself again, and may never see the light again. That true monster you thought was gone; it isn't gone. It is working on you, shaping you against your will until controls you. Don't give into the helmet."

    "Oddy. Tell her what you felt when you picked up the helmet. What you saw with your gift. Help her."
    Last edited by Elbeyon; 2019-10-24 at 03:24 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #179
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    Worthy's eyes narrow. "Weakened doses?" she says, "How interesting. I suppose some do need help when their own will is not enough." She smiles, but it is a tighter one than before. She is not fond of the idea, but appears willing to admit its utility. "I suppose you are a doctor, so you would know best."

    ====

    The alicorn frowns, brow knitting together under her helmet's nose-guard. "I am not sure," she says, "I have not met many that didn't want to devour me. I blasted them to pieces and made sure they'd trouble no one else."

    Rime finds a light by the door and turns it on. The bulb flickers at every rattle and shake that rocks the car, but does provide enough light to bring the alicorn's form back into a semblance of focus. She sits down as Rime begins to talk, attention focused mostly on her, but watching Oddy out of the corner of her eye. Her frown becomes a bit more pronounced as she goes on. "I...do not know that spell," she admits, "But I have not felt compelled to say anything that I would not otherwise after you cast it?" Her look turns to worry. "Am I being controlled? If I cannot sense it...that has dire implications for the future."

    That statement makes Rime's next point a bit ironic. The pupils of her eyes narrow and her lips curl into a snarl. But, she pauses and looks to Oddy, to see if she dares agree with Rime.

  30. - Top - End - #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miltonian View Post
    Worthy's eyes narrow. "Weakened doses?" she says, "How interesting. I suppose some do need help when their own will is not enough." She smiles, but it is a tighter one than before. She is not fond of the idea, but appears willing to admit its utility. "I suppose you are a doctor, so you would know best."
    "For some, their will isn't enough; they need a little help to break their addictions. It's still just experiments at this stage though," he explains. He leaves it at that because he didn't want to circle back around to his cousin. Instead he pulls the topic to lighter fare. "But that's a project for another day. In the morning I need to see about a job. Maybe there's a caravan or something hiring out for a doctor. Been a while since I was traveling again. How about you--take a lot of train rides?"
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